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New Zealand Car of the Year announced

The Subaru Forester has been named as the New Zealand Car of the Year for 2018.

The family friendly SUV was chosen from a shortlist of 10 new vehicles by the NZ Motoring Writers Guild, an independent organisation comprised of motoring journalists from a variety of media outlets and regions across the country - including Stuff Motoring's David Linklater, Damien O'Carroll, Richard Bosselman and Rob Maetzig.

The Forester is the first Subaru to claim the accolade (now in its 31st year) and also only the second SUV to take the prize. The first was last year's winner, the Skoda's Kodiaq.

Guild president Richard Edwards noted that voting was very close, but it was clear that the Forester is the kind of vehicle Kiwi buyers now want.

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"It offers the durability and functionality Kiwi families desire, also now implementing next generation safety technology. And in starting at $39,990 it is truly affordable for new car buyers."

NZCOTY convener David Thomson says Subaru has kept the Forester true to its go-anywhere roots.

"On gravel or even unpaved roads, the new Forester is – by lifestyle SUV standards – exceptionally accomplished and surefooted."

Guild vice president Richard Bosselman said the latest model's cutting-edge safety technology deserves attention.

"Traditional toughness and real-deal ability keeps Forester sweet with loyalists, genuine cutting-edge safety and assists deserve attention from a whole new audience."

Forester is Subaru's strongest seller globally.

Other finalists this year were the BMW X3, Holden Commodore, Hyundai Kona, Kia Stinger, Mercedes-Benz A-class, Skoda Karoq, Toyota Camry and a pair of Volvos, the XC40 and XC60.

The award was presented on TVNZ's Seven Sharp current affairs programme last night.