Best-Rated New Cars

Compare New Cars in New Zealand at Canstar Blue. Suzuki, Mazda, Toyota, Ford, Kia, Audi, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, BMW were compared on Overall Satisfaction, After Sale Service, Driving Experience, Point of Sale Service, Reliability and Value for Money.

See our Ratings Methodology.

Most Satisfied Customers | Suzuki

Suzuki are in pole position, driving Kiwi consumers’ satisfaction and winning Canstar Blue’s New Cars Award 2024.



How we rate new cars

Our review compares new cars on customer satisfaction, so you can find out what other Kiwis think about the compared brands before you go ahead with a purchase. Think of it as like asking hundreds of your closest mates which car brand they think is best!

Canstar Blue surveyed 824 Kiwis who had bought a new car from a dealership in the past three years for their feedback on their purchase.

  • The outcomes reported in these ratings are measured via accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics.

Respondents rate their satisfaction with their new car brands from zero to ten, where zero is extremely dissatisfied and ten is extremely satisfied. Brand satisfaction was rated by respondents on the following criteria:

  • Overall satisfaction: measures consumer satisfaction with a new car brand as an individual score NOT a combined total of all criteria.
  • After Sale Service: the new car brand’s staff are readily available to contact and help answer questions or solve problems after the sale.
  • Driving Experience: the new car responds well to actions, including acceleration and handling. Plus it’s comfortable to be behind the wheel and the car offers good safety features and user-friendly connectivity.
  • Point of Sale Service: the new car brand’s staff are readily available to provide a test drive, answer questions, deal with any car upgrades and conduct a smooth sales transaction.
  • Reliability: the new car operates consistently and as expected.
  • Value for money: the cost is low for the quality and performance of the new car.

The winning brand is the one that receives the highest Overall Satisfaction rating once all the scores from the Overall Satisfaction criteria are combined and averaged.

  • Overall Satisfaction is asked as a specific question and represents an individual measure, not a combined total of all criteria.
  • When we cannot determine a clear winner from the criteria for the Overall Satisfaction rating, we will then look at the other criteria measured in the rating.
    • The brand with the highest number of five-star ratings within the supporting criteria will become the five-star recipient in overall satisfaction, and thus win the award. If a clear leader still cannot be determined from the supporting criteria, joint winners will be declared.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included, so not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The brands rated in this survey are listed below in order of best overall satisfaction.

  • Suzuki
  • Mazda
  • Toyota
  • Ford
  • Kia
  • Audi
  • Honda
  • Nissan
  • Hyundai
  • Mitsubishi
  • BMW

Find more information on our Most Satisfied Customer methodology.

Best new car brands in New Zealand

  1. Suzuki
  2. Mazda
  3. Toyota
  4. Ford
  5. Kia
  6. Audi
  7. Honda
  8. Nissan
  9. Hyundai
  10. Mitsubishi
  11. BMW

1. Suzuki

Ratings Results

This is the fifth time that Suzuki has taken home Canstar Blue’s top award, having achieved back-to-back wins in 2014-15 and 2017-18. This year, Suzuki dominates our ratings, achieving a perfect set of 5-Star ratings, from Overall Satisfaction, through to Value for Money and After Sale Service. Not only is Suzuki our winner, it’s also the only car brand in this year’s award ratings to achieve multiple 5-Star ratings, earning more top ratings from its customers than the other ten car brands in our survey combined – a remarkable feat!

Editor’s Notes

Over the past decade, Suzuki has won Canstar Blue’s New Car Award more than any other car brand, which is a testament to the customer satisfaction the Japanese car brand delivers to Kiwi consumers.

Its current range of vehicles is led by the ever-popular Swift. The fourth highest-selling car in NZ last year, the Swift is an affordable and zippy runaround that is available in three models, including a hybrid and a Sport model.

Also perfect for the city is the super-compact Ignis SUV and the cool Jimny compact 4×4. Those looking for a more family friendly, spacious SUV can choose between the Vitara and S-Cross models.

2. Mazda

Ratings Results

Mazda takes out the No.2 position on our ratings table, and its customers rate it highly across all measures of satisfaction, awarding the Japanese car manufacturer great 4-Star ratings across all our award categories.

Editor’s Notes

Mazda is well known for its Mazda2 (small hatch) and Mazda3 (medium hatch/sedan), plus its iconic CX range of SUVs, which starts with the small CX-3 and expands through the medium CX-5, to the large CX-8 and CX-9 models.

Mazda’s range also includes two MX-5 roadsters, hybrid models and a ute, the BT-50.

3. Toyota

Ratings Results

Toyota is one of the nation’s top-selling car brands, comprising around 15% of the market. On this year’s award table, the Japanese car manufacturer sits in third place, with a great set of ratings from its many contented customers. It earns 4 Stars for Overall Satisfaction, a rating it achieves in all but one category, After Sale Service, for which it earns a fantastic 5-Star rating.

Editor’s Notes

Toyota has long been a favourite on Kiwi roads, thanks to established models such as the Corolla and Camry. Last year, it dominated the Top 10 list of best-selling cars: its RAV4 model was the No.1 selling car, while its Yaris Cross and Corolla sat at No. 8 and No.9, respectively.

Toyota is best known for its dependable SUVs and 4WDs. These include the mid-range Yaris Cross, C-HR, Corolla Cross and RAV4 models, as well as the high-end Highlander, Fortuna and Land Cruiser vehicles.

Toyota also has a full range of hybrid models, as well as its new all-electric bZ4X range.

4. Ford

Ratings Results

Ford won our top award back in 2020, and this year it earns a great set of 4-Star ratings across all our ratings categories, except one: Point of Sale Service, for which it earns a respectable 3-Star rating from consumers.

Editor’s Notes

Ford’s Ranger is the top-selling ute in the country, but Ford cars are a rarer sight on our roads.

Ford’s range of passenger vehicles comprises only SUVs: the small Puma and mid-size Escape (both available in hybrid/plug-in hybrid) and the large Everest 4WD. Ford also makes the Mustang Mach-E, an all-electric SUV.

5. Kia

Ratings Results

Kia has won our Most Satisfied Customers Award | New Cars three times, including last year. In this year’s award ratings, Kia continues it great track record, achieving another strong set of ratings from its many contented customers: a clean sweep of 4-Star ratings across every category.

Editor’s Notes

Kia sells a wide variety of models, from the small Picanto and Stonic models, through to the large Carnival people mover, and its flagship EV6 and EV9 top-of-the-range luxury SUVs.

However, most of Kia’s models are mid-range SUVs that offer true value and come packed with the latest tech and safety features. These vehicles include the Sorento, Niro and Niro Plus, Sportage and Seltos models.

6. Audi

Ratings Results

German luxury car manufacturer Audi achieves mainly 4-Star ratings across all categories, including Overall Satisfaction. However, it is one of only three brands to achieve a 5-Star rating for After Sale Service. For Reliability of Vehicle it earns a 3-Star rating.

Editor’s Notes

Audi has a wide range of models for drivers to get excited about. The A range includes sleek sedans for the city, while Audi’s Q range offers spacious SUVs.

If something sporty is more your style, Audi’s RS line, including the R8 Coupé V10 performance quattro, has racing in its genes. Audi also offers a large choice of electric and hybrid vehicles.

7. Honda

Ratings Results

Honda earns a great 4-Star rating for Overall Satisfaction, which it backs up with a strong performance across all our ratings categories. Notably, Honda is one of only three brands, aside from our winner, Suzuki, to earn a 5-Star rating, which it achieves for Point of Sale Service.

Editor’s Notes

Honda sells a limited range of new cars: the small Jazz hatch, the medium ZR-V SUV and larger CR-V SUV. And, of course, there’s the iconic Civic, which is also available as the sporty Type R.

8. Nissan

Ratings Results

Nissan earns a mix of 4- and 3-Star ratings. It earns its top ratings for Overall Satisfaction, Driving Experience and Reliability of Vehicle.

Editor’s Notes

Nissan has some quirky cars in its range, including the Juke, a small SUV, and the Z sports car. And while the LEAF was an early electric car icon, now it’s largely overlook by Kiwi EV consumers, who have plenty of other options. Indeed, the current LEAF generation will be Nissan’s last.

Nissan’s strength lies in its medium to large SUV options. These include, the Qashqai, X-Trail, Pathfinder, Patrol and X-Trail models.

Oh, and let’s not forget the Navara ute, available in single or twin cabs!

9. Hyundai

Ratings Results

Although it’s the majority owner of the Kia Corporation, Hyundai doesn’t manage to reach the same heights in our award survey with its own set of ratings, which are an equal mix of 3 and 4 Stars. It achieves its best scores from consumers for Overall Satisfaction, Reliability of Vehicle and Value for Money.

Editor’s Notes

Hyundai’s Kona and Ioniq ranges of electric vehicles offer popular options for EV customers. However, the Kona also comes in petrol, while the company’s medium SUV, the Sante Fe, also comes in hybrid form.

For hatchback lovers, Hyundai has two choices, the i20N and the i30N, comprising three models. While the Palisade offers a large, luxury SUV, with a price tag to match.

10. Mitsubishi

Ratings Results

Mitsubishi earns 4 Stars for Overall Satisfaction, a rating it repeats in every other category, except for After Sales Service, for which it earns a 3-Star rating.

Editor’s Notes

Mitsubishi’s SUV range has grown over recent years to include the ASX, Eclipse Cross and Outlander, two of which feature in the top-10 list of best-selling cars in NZ for 2023: Outlander (No.2), Eclipse Cross (No.5).

While the Mirage, a compact city SUV, is the cheapest vehicle in Mitsubishi’s range, the ASX and Eclipse Cross both also deliver mid-range value for money.

Sitting atop Mitsubishi’s family of vehicles, alongside the Outlander, the Pajero Sport is a large, luxury 4WD. While Mitsubishi’s Triton remains popular with tradies, and the country’s third most popular ute.

11. BMW

bmw logoRatings Results

Rounding out our awards table is BMW. Despite being a luxury European car marque, BMW is the only brand in our ratings that doesn’t manage to earn at least one 4-Star rating. In all categories, it is awarded 3-Stars by its customers. However, while not a top rating, 3 Stars is by no means a measure of dissatisfaction – rather it shows that the BMW customers in our survey are happy with the levels of value and service they’ve received.

Editor’s Notes

A BMW used to be one of the three Bs all Kiwis aspiring for the high life wanted to own, along with a boat and a bach. However, in recent years, BMW has somewhat lost its crown of Teutonic auto excellence to Audi. However, BMW still sells a huge range of cars here in NZ, covering EV, hybrid, petrol and diesel models.

The main range spans the numbers 1 to 8, and covers mainly sedans and coupés. For NZ’s favourite type of car, the SUV,  you need to look to BMW’s X Series. And if you want more speed and handling, BMW’s M range of sporty vehicles delivers power and performance … at a price.

Choosing the Right New Car Brand Provider for You

There are many things to consider when purchasing a new car, but our research highlights two main factors that drive customer satisfaction: the car’s reliability and how it drives.

Most modern cars are pretty reliable. In return for regular servicing, we can expect well over a decade of worry-free motoring from most new cars.

However, driving experiences do differ greatly between cars. And, of course, nowadays, how a car drives covers much more than just accelerating, braking and steering. It includes smart safety features, Bluetooth and phone connectivity, as well as high-tech entertainment and navigation systems.

And for the consumers in our survey, these factors are much more important than just Value for Money:

  • Reliability of Vehicle: 36%
  • Driving Experience: 32%
  • Value for Money: 18%
  • After Sale Service: 12%
  • Point of Sale Service: 2%

Listed above are the top-rated cars, as ranked by Kiwi consumers, in Canstar Blue’s 2024 Award. But here are the top-selling cars, electric cars and utes for 2023. Numbers sold shown in brackets.

Top 10 cars in NZ

Top Selling Cars 2023
1 Toyota RAV4 (8757)
2 Mitsubishi Outlander (4058)
3 Tesla Model Y (3936)
4 Suzuki Swift (3922)
5 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (3638)
6 BYD Atto 3 (3171)
7 MG ZS (3123)
8 Toyota Yaris Cross (2310)
9 Toyota Corolla (2284)
10 Honda Jazz (2176)

→Related article: Top Selling Cars in New Zealand

Top 10 electric cars in NZ

Top Selling EVs 2023
1 Tesla Model Y (3936)
2 BYD Atto 3 (3171)
3 MG 4 (1793)
4 MG ZS (1648)
5 Tesla Model 3 (971)
6 Kia EV6 (955)
7 Kia Niro (660)
8 Hyundai Kona (597)
9 Hyundai Ioniq (558)
10 Polestar 2 (541)

NB: This list includes total electric vehicles (BEV) only, petrol-electric hybrids (PHEV) are not included.

→Related article: Top Selling EVs in New Zealand

Top 10 utes in NZ

Top Selling Utes 2023
1 Ford Ranger (9907)
2 Toyota Hilux (8054)
3 Mitsubishi Triton (3105)
4 Toyota HiAce (1818)
5 Nissan Navara (1143)

→Related article: Top Selling Utes in New Zealand

About the editor of this page

This report was written by Canstar’s Editor, Bruce Pitchers. Bruce began his career writing about pop culture, and spent a decade in sports journalism. More recently, he’s applied his editing and writing skills to the world of finance and property. Prior to Canstar, he worked as a freelancer, including for The Australian Financial Review, the NZ Financial Markets Authority, and for real estate companies on both sides of the Tasman.

More Information

Key statistics

Know costs of running their car: 59%

Car’s safety rating impacts choice of car: 51%

Bought car with cash: 44%

Cost and availability of parts important factors in choice of car: 43%

Car’s phone connectivity very important: 30%

Used finance to purchase new car: 29%

Believes car you drive makes statement: 28%

Next car purchase will be an electric/hybrid car: 24%

Can’t afford an electric/hybrid car: 23%

Average number of cars in household

Total: 2

Most important car features

Price 21%
Safety 18%
Functionality 18%
Economy 12%
Brand 6%
Speed/Performance 4%
Appearance 3%
Environmental footprint 3%

How do you get to work?

Drive 64%
Public transport 8%
Walk 5%

Where do you get information when buying a new car

Dealership 40%
Online reviews 34%
Friends/family 15%
Social media 6%
Print media 2%
Government website 1%


Canstar Blue surveyed 5007 New Zealand consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from respondents who had bought a brand new car from a dealership in the last three years. In this case, 824 New Zealanders. Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criterion.

  • 2023: Kia
  • 2021: Mitsubishi
  • 2020: Ford
  • 2019: Kia
  • 2018: Suzuki
  • 2017: Suzuki
  • 2016: Hyundai
  • 2015: Suzuki
  • 2014: Suzuki
  • 2013: Kia
  • 2012: Hyundai

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