CONGRATS, OPEL! The Opel Astra has been named the 2017 South African Car of the Year. Image: MotorPress
Kyalami International Race Track, Midrand - With a fourth win for the German manufacturer, the Opel Astra took top honours at the 2017 WesBank South African Car Of The Year (COTY) announcement on Wednesday, March 15.
Facing tough competition in this year’s 9-vehicle strong line-up – Mazda withdrew its CX-3 from the competition - the Opel Astra ultimately took South Africa’s most prestigious motoring prize.
READ: And the 2017 SA Car of the Year is...
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Wesbank, COTY sponsor, said: “Car buying patterns of the South African public are changing and the Opel Astra reflects those changes in terms of offering both value for money as well as innovative technology. The Opel Astra has proved tremendously popular globally and has won numerous awards.”
Powered by new-generation 1.0-, 1.4- and 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engines, which are available in either manual or automatic, the Opel Astra impressed the COTY Jury with its road holding and build quality. This year’s Jury selected the Astra as overall winner with 2370.25 points. More impressive, 94.8% of its points were awarded in the 5 to 10 scoring range.
The South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ) also recognises the Audi A4 (2338.56 points) as first runner up, as well as the Volkswagen Passat (2337.35 points) as second runner up in this year’s competition.
The SAGMJ says that the South African competition still boasts a world-first purpose-designed digital scoring system; breaking new ground for vehicle evaluation and assessment. Yet, although the scoring mechanism may have evolved, the SAGMJ continues to adhere to COTY’s most unique feature in that each of the finalists was still put through a stringent testing procedure by the peer-elected COTY Jury at the world-renowned Kyalami Race Track in Midrand.
Proving its worth
Here, the winning vehicle is evaluated and scored in relation to its segment competitors, with each vehicle’s final score determined by exterior design & styling; interior use of materials; interior layout; technology; engine performance; gearbox & transmission; engineering integrity & build quality; ride quality & refinement; steering & handling; affordability; value for money; and overall excellence.
READ: Readers vote for their 2017 SA Car of the Year
Bernard Hellberg Jr, COTY convenor and SAGMJ chairman said: “By virtually unanimously approving of the Opel Astra as the 2017 WesBank South African Car Of The Year, the COTY Jury has again proven that experience is the key to the success of the COTY competition. The Opel Astra, a multiple award-winning car, perfectly embodies much of the spirit of the competition by combining engineering excellence, driving pleasure and value for money in a worthy winner of South Africa’s ultimate motoring accolade.”
HAPPY TEAM: The team from General Motors SA celebrating the Opel Astra's win. Image: MotorPress
• BMW has won the SA Car Of The Year title a record six times (1988, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2011).
• Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche have all won the SA Car Of The Year title three times, with Honda, Renault, Toyota and Volvo taking the crown twice.
• Alfa Romeo, Ford, Hyundai, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, and Nissan have won the title once each.
• Opel is the only manufacturer whom has won the SA Car Of The Year title for two consecutive years, and has ultimately won the competition four times.
• Porsche is the only manufacturer in the history of the SA Car Of The Year competition to win the title for three consecutive years.
Previous winners of the WesBank / SAGMJ Car Of The Year competition:
1986 Toyota Corolla Twin Cam
1987 Mercedes-Benz 260E
1988 BMW 735i
1989 Toyota Corolla GLi Executive
1990 BMW 525i
1991 Opel Monza 160 GSi
1992 Nissan Maxima 300 SE
1993 BMW 316i
1994 Opel Kadett 140
1995 Opel Astra 160iS
1996 Audi A4 1.8
1997 BMW 528i
1998 Ford Fiesta Fun
1999 Alfa Romeo 156 T-Spark
2000 Renault Clio 1.4 RT
2001 BMW 320d
2002 Audi A4 1.9 TDI
2003 Volkswagen Polo TDI
2004 Renault Mégane 1.9 dCi
2005 Volvo S40 2.4i
2006 Audi A3 Sportback 2.0T
2007 Honda Civic 1.8 VXi Sedan
2008 Mazda2 1.5 Individual
2009 Honda Accord 2.4 Executive
2010 Volkswagen Golf 6 1.4 TSI
2011 BMW 530d and Volkswagen Polo 1.6 TDI
2012 Hyundai Elantra 1.8 GLS Executive
2013 Porsche Boxster
2014 Porsche Cayman S
2015 Porsche Macan Diesel S
2016 Volvo XC90
2017 Opel Astra