What are New Zealand’s most popular commercial vehicles?

Vehicle registrations are hitting highs across New Zealand, with many destined to be fleet vehicles. In fact, in the first quarter of this year alone, there were 3,680 new commercial vehicles registered, representing a 14 per cent increase over the previous year, according to figures collated by the Motor Trade Association (MTA).

So, of those, which are the most popular and why do they have such a hold on the market?

There were 3,680 new commercial vehicles registered across New Zealand at the start of this year.

Holden Colorado

At number three in the list, with 346 units registered so far this year, is the Holden Colorado. Available as a ute or a more conventional hatchback, its three tonne towing capacity has made it a savvy choice for fleet managers.

For its latest 2015 model, Holden has made the effort to refine the driving experience, making it more usable for longer journeys. Panel gaps have been narrowed and the amount of soundproofing around the engine bay boosted.

The development of the Colorado was partially carried out in the wind tunnel at Monash University in Melbourne, as noted by CarsGuide. Consequently, its streamlined profile holds the ability to boost economy; music to the ears of fleet drivers looking to get the most out of each tank when they use their fuel cards.

Ford Ranger

The second most-popular commercial vehicle so far this year is the Ford Ranger, with 514 of them traversing New Zealand's roads. Again, like the Colorado, it's available with an array of body types, with the ute in particular likely to appeal to fleet managers.

One area that the Ranger excels in is safety. The addition of side airbags, as in any model built since May 2014, as well as a plethora of electronic aids such as hill launch assist have meant that the Ranger has been awarded the perfect five-star safety rating from crash testing body ANCAP.

Toyota Hilux

Narrowly beating out all other contenders to the top of the list with 548 units registered in 2015 so far is the Toyota Hilux. Long a bastion of reliability, the Hilux held onto a top spot once again and is one of the most popular commercial vehicles of any type on New Zealand's highways.

While it may not be the most refined vehicle in the world, it's superb when the going gets tough and can stand up to the worst conditions with aplomb.

In even more good news for fleet managers looking to incorporate the Hilux into their operations, the 2016 variant looks set to be the best yet. Announced by the company on May 21, the new Hilux is to get advanced suspension, more safety features and generally be more usable than the outgoing model.

If all of that comes to fruition, it will likely remain at the top of commercial vehicle registration charts for some time to come.