2013 SA Car of Year finalists
2012 COTY WINNER: Hyundai's Elantra (above) has held the COTY crown for 2012. Which brand will take the trophy for the 2013 SA Car of the Year?
The 2013 South African Car of Year finalists have been chosen - which do you think deserves the title?
The finalists were chosen by a limited jury of SA Guild of Motoring Journalists' members who have narrowed their list down to 12 models.
Vehicles will be judged on aesthetics, build quality, ergonomics, fuel consumption, safety, handling, performance and value for money.
The 12 finalists (in alphabetical order) are:
• 2012 BMW 3 Series 320i Automatic
• 2012 Ford Ranger 3.2 XLT 4X4 Double Cab Diesel AT
• 2012 Hyundai i30 1.8 Executive
• 2012 Kia Rio 1.4 TEC Hatch MT
• 2012 Lexus GS 350 EX
• 2012 Mercedes-Benz B 180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY
• 2012 Nissan Juke 1.6 DIG-T Tekna (Leather)
• 2012 Opel Meriva 1.4T Cosmo
• 2012 Porsche Boxster
• 2012 Range Rover Evoque Si4 Dynamic 5-door
• 2012 Toyota 86 High Spec 6MT
• 2012 Toyota Yaris 1.5 HSD Xs
Judges will put the finalists through a two-day test session in February 2013 at the Gerotek test facility, west of Pretoria.
Vehicles will be evaluated under the same conditions (except off-road capable entries will also cover a 4x4 track) on the open road, a body-twist track and a handling track at Gerotek with each model weighed for what it is - sports car, mom's taxi, family sedan etc.
Finalists' image gallery
Following the test sessions, a final allocation of points will be tallied before an overall winner is announced.
A significant change for the 2013 competition format was a Car of the Year workshop held earlier in 2012. The judges are also no longer compiled simply of veteran SAGMJ members; instead, each member voted for 25 of their peers to serve as a judge. The 30 members with the most votes were co-opted for evaluation duty.
While all of the models are deemed to represent examples of outstanding automotive engineering, there can be only one winner and it will be revealed in March 2013.
Editor Les Stephenson says: "1. Nissan Juke1.6 DIG-T Tekna, because it's fun, frugal, family friendly and capable of modest off-tar travel. 2. Toyota 86 because it's the most fun vehicle of 2012 - and its price. 3. Hyundai i30 because of its looks and specs - and a hat trick of wins would be cool."
Sergio Davids: "1. The Toyota 86 is the most exciting ride from the Japanese automaker in the past decade. It's stylish, fun to drive and priced well. 2. Lexus GS - I believe the automaker finally has a product that poses a threat to the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-class."
Hailey Philander says: "1. The Porsche Boxster is no longer a "poor man's Porsche" - it's a proper sports car in its own right. 2. Toyota 86 because we've waited a long time for something this sexy and this exciting to come from the automaker. 3.Ford's Ranger is the plushest bakkie around. Who cares if it's not a "car", it certainly drives like one."
Will Nissan's cheeky Juke trump all rivals or could Toyota's sporty 86 take the crown? Could 2013 be the year of the mommy van as Opel Meriva takes the title?
Share your thoughts in our Readers' Comments below. Which vehicle should be crowned the 2013 Car of the Year? Email us and we'll publish your feelings on Wheels24. Look out for our home page voting booth where you can vote for you favourite ride in our Readers' Car of the Year.