Compare cars in New Zealand at Canstar Blue. Kia, BMW, Ford, Holden, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Suzuki were compared on driving experience, reliability, value for money, point of sale service, after sale service and overall satisfaction.

See our Ratings Methodology.

Most Satisfied Customers | Kia

Kia rated number one for customer satisfaction

Kia sweeps the board

Claiming the Canstar Blue Most Satisfied Customers Award, Kia is the leader of the pack when it comes to car brands in New Zealand.

Other than a house, buying a brand-new car is about the biggest purchase that we can make. New Zealand has one of the highest cars per capita ratings in the world, making it very clear Kiwis love their cars. But what is it we love about our cars, and why is the trend of buying brand new continuing to climb?

Obviously buying a brand-new car, rather than a used one, is going to cost you a lot more up front, so there’s quite a bit to consider before you shell out the extra cash. When buying new, it’s important to set your budget and identify what you absolutely need from your new car – five seats or seven, hatch back or saloon, diesel or petrol?  The list can be a long one but once you’ve nailed your ‘must-haves’, it’s a lot easier to narrow the field down to the vehicle that is going to be right for you.

Instead of spending hours online looking at auction sites, or spending your weekends tramping around car yards, with a new car purchase, you can visit a dealer and let them do the research and recommendations. New cars can also offer advantages, such as the latest technology, safety features, comfort, choice and availability. However, your list of ‘must-haves’ should always be your bottom line.  Don’t get carried away with a bunch of the latest gadgets that you could end up paying extra for, but never use.

And finally, don’t forget you have the ability to negotiate, set financial terms and maybe even get a few additional extras thrown in. Importantly, warranty cover and manufacturer’s guarantees can save you a few bucks if anything goes wrong in the first few years (although with a new car, you’d hope it didn’t), so always ask about those too.

What people rate about their new car

Canstar Blue recently surveyed 845 New Zealanders to find out how they rate their car buying experience.  One of New Zealand’s top selling new car brands – Kia – left its rivals standing as it took 5-stars for not only overall satisfaction, but also reliability, value for money, point of sale service and after sale service. Here’s how Kiwis scored their cars in our ratings.

Driving experience

There’s nearly 100,000km of open road in New Zealand, so you want to make sure that wherever you are going, your journey is a comfortable one.  Newer vehicles can come with all the extras, such as built in GPS, Bluetooth, and parking cameras to make life easier.  Another advantage of buying a new car is the enhanced safety features that can help prevent injuries in the unfortunate event of an accident.

Mitsubishi was the only manufacturer to be rated 5-stars for driving experience, while Kia came in with its only 4-stars.


One of the main reasons people buy new is that they don’t want to buy someone else’s problem. No one likes the sight of the dashboard lighting up like a Christmas tree, because that usually means it’s going to take a fair amount of money to make them go away.

Kia was rated a maximum 5-stars for reliability, with Toyota, Mitsubishi and Ford also bringing in 5-stars.

Value for money

Earlier, we talked about identifying what you want in your new car and this is where it comes into its own.  Whether you are paying for your new car outright, or taking out a personal loan, you want to know you’re getting bang for your buck.  Most dealers are open to negotiation when it comes to price, or they’ll sometimes throw in a few extras to sweeten the deal, but their extras only offer value if they are something you would want or need.  No good getting a tow bar added if you have nothing to tow, or a top of the range sat nav system if you only drive local.  When it comes to deals, remember you are in the driver’s seat.

Once again, Kia was awarded the 5-stars in this category, along with Suzuki. Hyundai, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Ford and Toyota received 4-stars, while BMW, Holden, Honda and Nissan all received 3-stars.

Point of sale service

We can all talk about the colour of the paint work, comfort of the interior and advantages of those little extras, but when the conversation turns to piston displacement, compression ratio and fuel distribution, most of us feel our eyes glaze over.  This is where the knowledge and expertise of a great dealer comes in.  They should be able to answer your questions, convert technical jargon into easy-to-understand information and you should be able to walk away feeling satisfied and confident in the knowledge you know what you are buying and it’s the right car for you.

Kia was awarded the sole 5-star accolade in this category, with most other brands registering 4-stars.  BMW once again rated three stars, along with Nissan.

After sale service

All of your excitement may be focused on your lovely shiny new car, but you still want a strong relationship with your dealer after you drive off the forecourt.  As you get to know your new vehicle, you may have a few additional questions you want to ask, or one or two niggling little problems you would like fixed. All of these are much easier to sort if you have a good after sales relationship with your dealer – so, check out what support is available before you sign any contracts.

Overall satisfaction winner – Kia – was rated a maximum 5-stars here too.  The rest of the fields achieved a 4-star rating, apart from BMW and Suzuki who were each given a 3-star rating.

What to look for when buying a car

In addition to the insights from Canstar Blue’s survey, here are a few more things to bear in mind before you buy a new vehicle:

  • Ongoing costs such as servicing (European and American models tend to be more expensive than Asian)
  • It’s a given that you should have it with a new car, but get some quotes before you buy
  • Finance – You’re not obliged to take out finance through your dealer, so shop around, as there might be a better deal for you with another lender
  • Compare the same car at different dealers – prices or incentives may differ
  • There is always a deal to be done!

Pros and cons of electric cars

With more than 14, 000 electric cars registered in New Zealand (as at July 2019), electric cars are becoming more and more popular.  In fact, according to Canstar Blue’s survey, 45% of new car owners would consider purchasing a hybrid/electric vehicle. While these types of cars may cost more to purchase initially, there are many advantages in the long run.

So, here are some electric cars facts to help you with your decision:

Advantages of electric cars

  • Cheaper to run – electricity is cheaper than petrol, so you’re bound to see savings in your back pocket. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority calculates the cost to run an electric car is only around 15% of the cost to run the same sized petrol-run vehicle.
  • No need to go to a petrol station – You can re-charge your car from your own house or any available charging points, saving you the hassle of actively seeking a petrol station. Say goodbye to the days where you’d leave the house on empty. As of January 2019, New Zealand has 175 DC rapid charging stations, along with more than 300 AC charge points (registered on Plugshare).
  • Environmentally friendly – Electric vehicles don’t produce exhaust emissions, and if you charge your car with renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions can be decreased even further. As well as this, a lot of electric cars are manufactured with eco-friendly materials.
  • Safer – Electric cars usually have a lower centre of gravity, meaning there’s less of a chance of them rolling. With their body construction and durability, the risk of major fires and explosions is also reduced.
  • Cheaper to maintain – Electrically powered engines don’t need engine lubrication and additional expensive engine work.

Disadvantages of electric cars

  • Range – Fully charged electric cars tend to not travel as far as fully-fuelled standard cars. There’s therefore more of a chance of being caught needing to re-charge, if you aren’t careful.
  • Lack of charging points – if you’re on a long road trip, charging points are far and fewer than petrol stations. You will need to plan around this.
  • Longer recharge time – Electric cars take 3-6 hours to fully charge to 100km of charge – a huge difference in comparison to the few minutes it takes to get fuel at a petrol station. A quick recharge when you’re running out the door is not an option.
  • Price – New electric vehicles cost more than standard cars – so, you will initially need to fork out more. However, this is offset by the low cost of running them.
  • Lack of choice – The range of electric cars is limited, meaning you won’t have as much choice when it comes to purchasing one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Canstar Blue surveyed 5214 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 customers who have bought a brand-new car from a dealership in the last 3 years. In this case, 845 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 criteria.

Latest Car Articles

10+ Tips to Save Fuel While Driving

Kiwis love to drive and, according to the AA, around 3.4 million of us hold a driver’s licence. A recent survey conducted by AA Insurance found only 23% of Kiwis use public transport on a …

– Read more

Fuel efficient cars are driving women’s vehicle selection

A fuel-efficient car is far more likely to drive women’s vehicle selection, compared with their male counterparts, Canstar Blue research reveals.

– Read more
Coloured Tyres used as plant holders

Recycling old or used car tyres

Millions of tyres are illegally dumped every year in New Zealand, which has adverse effects on the environment. Find out how to recycle your tyres responsibly.

– Read more
tesla vehicle

Tesla is headed for our roads

Tesla announces the Model 3 is headed to New Zealand

– Read more

How to check for tyre leaks

Accidents can and will happen, so it’s best to be prepared. David Basha gives his top tips on checking for tyre leaks.

– Read more