2016 CAR OF THE YEAR WINNER: The Volvo XC90 is the 2016 SA Car of the Year. Does it deserve the title? Image: Ignition TV / YouTube
Emperor’s Palace, Ekurhuleni - The Volvo XC90 has been crowned the 2016 SA Car Of The Year earlier in March 2016. It's the second win for the Swedish automaker since its S40 2.4i grabbed the title in 2005.
Bernard Hellberg Jnr, Chairman of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ), said: "Reflecting changing trends in the buying patterns of the South African public, the XC90 is the second Volvo (following the S40 in 2005) and the second SUV in the competition’s history to be crowned the winner."
Wheels24's resident 'SpeedQueen' and Car of the Year judge, Janine-Lee Van der Post, said: "The XC90 is simply astounding in terms of technology. It does sport a rather steep price tag but its packed with a lot of standard kit and some brilliant features.
"It has an dash display the size of an iPad - and functions like one too! It self-parks and has the boot space of a tanker when the seats are all folded flat. However, for such a premium car, the ride quality is not on par with rivals and at times can be rather disappointing. My biggest gripe is its price at nearly R1-million (the cheapest model is priced at R853 200, while the range-topper is R907 600.) It's a worthy contender but realistically the price is a setback."
'Do only expensive cars win?'
Hellberg Jnr says there is a perception that only the most expensive cars win the award: "If we look back at the last 10 years of the SA Coty competition, only one has been the most expensive car in that year's competition.
"Looking back at more recent winners, in the last four years none of the Porsche vehicles that won were the most expensive car in that year's competition. The Porsche Boxster was eclipsed by the Range Rover Evoque in 2013 for example and last year the Porsche Macan was less expensive than the BMW M4.
"So the perception that only expensive cars win, is certainly not true."
According to Volvo SA: "The most expensive car did not win again. In the previous few years of the competition, the winners were not necessarily the most expensive of all the finalists. The Volvo, in this case, is, but this is not the continuation of a trend.
"The Volvo XC90 received the largest amount of high scores across the board from the collective Jury, indicating that in fact it answers the mandate of being the best car in its class."
Read Volvo SA's full response here: 8 reasons why the XC90 deserved to win Car of the Year
We asked Wheels24 readers "Does an SA Car of the Year title influence your vehicle purchase" and a homepage poll garnered more than 22 400 responses. Only 1891 readers (8%) said the Car of the Year would affect their purchase of a new car, while 4903 users (22%) said it would depend on the model.User car of the year is...
Ford's stylish Fusion is the 2016 Wheels24 Users' Car of the Year with 1932 votes of 8000.
Read: 'It should be renamed most expensive SA Car of the Year'
Wheels24 user Johan Goosen wrote in and asked: "Why do "expensive" cars keep winning the award?
Goosen said: "You (SAGMJ) keep mentioning your criteria, compare in class, etc. however the most expensive car keeps on winning. Even though your “criteria” is ridiculous? How many years in a row has the most expensive car won this thing?
SAGMJ chairman responds below: Watch the video
Hellberg Jnr says: "In addition, the Volvo XC90 has garnered accolades from multiple international publications, Car of the Year contests, and road safety authority awards. Locally, the XC90 has also found favour with consumers, who have voted the XC90 as the best SUV in its respective category.
"Not only did this year’s Jury select the XC90 as overall winner with 1512 points, the Jury also awarded it the highest number of high scores available in the competition. The SAGMJ also recognises the Ford Fusion (1489 points) as first runner-up, as well as the Mazda2 hatch (1453 points) as second runner up in this year’s competition.
Hellberg added that the SUV market represents approximately 30% of the total South African passenger car market: “The Volvo XC90 represents a significant portion of this market and has proven itself a worthy winner of the SAGMJ’s ultimate accolade.”
Car of the Year trivia
• Hyundai Automotive became the first Korean brand to win the title in its history in 2012
• In 2011 BMW 530d and Volkswagen Polo 1.6 TDI shared the crown.
• BMW has won the SA Car Of The Year title a record six times (1988, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2011).
• Audi, Opel, Volkswagen and Porsche – have all won the SA Car Of The Year title three times.
• Honda, Renault, Toyota and Volvo has taken the crown twice.
• Alfa Romeo, Ford, Hyundai, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, and Nissan have won the title once each.
• Opel is the only manufacturer who has won the SA Car Of The Year title for two consecutive years.
• Porsche is the only manufacturer who has won the SA Car Of The Year title for three consecutive years.
Previous winners of the SA 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