2013 SA Car of Year finalists

2012-10-30 14:09

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.

Wheels24 says:

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.

  • kenpeg.dawson - 2012-10-30 15:15

    Ford ranger my choice

  • hugo.mathee - 2012-10-30 15:25

    Time for ze Germans to return... 320i

      thando.gqabaza - 2012-10-31 12:54

      but its the automatic

  • nrgx.nrg - 2012-10-30 15:32

    Hyundai i30

      nrgx.nrg - 2012-10-30 15:33

      or Kia Rio, I feel the rest pretty much fail on economy alone!

  • jbooyse - 2012-10-30 15:40

    Juke !!!

      mogo.naut - 2012-10-30 19:06

      Funny one XD

  • henk.grundlingh - 2012-10-30 15:54

    Ford Ranger 4x4 3.3 XLT d/cab

  • marius.burger.14 - 2012-10-30 16:24

    Since when is the Ranger a car?? It was the same bull last year with the Amarok. If you select the Ranger then why not the Mazda BT50 which is the twin of the Ranger? Shouldn't there rather be a different category for trucks then? Why 2 Toyota's? This Coty Car of the year is so full of it it's not even funny anymore. Corrupt just like the Goverment. Most of these so called "journalist" promote the brands they can gain most of...free free free...

      gregbecker - 2012-12-21 08:33

      Because the BT-50 is FUGLY!

      Nelson Rodrigues - 2013-10-20 11:27

      i so so agree with you how do some of these cars even get to finalists is a joke

  • brak.jan - 2012-10-30 16:27

    Some stiff competition here. The Yaris and Merc should lose out on value for money, the rest is debatable....

      art5SA - 2012-10-31 08:52

      New B Class is cheaper than the previous shape.... with LOADS more extra's as standard.

      brak.jan - 2012-10-31 14:00

      @Art5SA - I'm a big Merc supporter and saw the price cuts, but still thinks compared to its rivals, it's expensive. All B-Class owners I have spoken to are very happy though.

  • de.stig.9 - 2012-10-30 16:40

    Range Rover Evoque is no value for money so out.

  • akozik - 2012-10-30 16:45

    Toyota 86!

      de.stig.9 - 2012-10-31 11:47

      Why not the original copy from Subaru?

      thando.gqabaza - 2012-10-31 12:54

      The original is half Toyota / Half Subaru. This car wouldn't exist if not for Toyota

      niveshm - 2012-11-01 09:06

      infact the whole conception of the vehicle was toyota, in the beginning (its been stated) that Subaru had dismissed the idea until they drove the original prototype and decided not to just lend an engine but also build their own version

  • andrez.kolesky - 2012-10-30 16:46

    I vote for a Company car, any Company car.

  • khomisani.abahsam - 2012-10-30 17:27

    Last year was too easy by a long shot. The current crop is less predictable. But I think it's going to be .......... C what I mean!!!

  • art5SA - 2012-10-30 23:57

    Will be between the Ford Ranger or the B Class...

  • MuhammadSheikOumar - 2012-10-31 09:06

    Very biased nation are we? Last year everyone was making a moan about the Amarok being a finalist. This year majority want the Ranger to win. The 320i, Toyota 86, Porsche Boxster and Ford Ranger are the strongest contenders for the title since they made the biggest improvements and represent the best buys in their respective segments. However, the Toyota looks a little shaky when compared to certain hot hatches but it nevertheless offers good value for a coupe. My vote will go the Ranger. Its arguably the most capable of the lot and its built in SA. Bloody hell, I'm a biased Safa as well.

  • braam.basson - 2012-10-31 09:14

    Ford Ranger hands down.

      adriaan.swanepoel.14 - 2012-10-31 10:35

      Ford’s reliability tumbles - survey. http://www.iol.co.za/motoring/industry-news/ford-s-reliability-tumbles-survey

  • Bra Tebzaah Sibilanga - 2012-10-31 10:36

    Yaris is dull and outdated,I wonder why was Volvo excluded.

  • Davidj56 - 2012-10-31 11:34

    What a bunch of junk. Merc B class??? What about the Audi Q3, much better than the Merc. Much more value than the Evoque. And I agree with Bra, where is the Volvo S60 or V40??

  • rahil.khanna.520 - 2012-10-31 13:35

    BMW ...F30 is one of the best 3 series ever made surpassing th E90 which was rated highly.

  • Dolf - 2012-10-31 14:22

    I would say the Toyota 86,but the Koreans also have a shot!!

  • suren.ramayerser - 2012-10-31 14:30

    juke all the way

  • abel.lecheko - 2012-10-31 14:36

    Ford Ranger

  • lloyd.macklin.5 - 2012-10-31 16:17

    have you ever noticed that their is no correlation between being chosen as 'car of the year' and sales success?

  • Dev.Oli4 - 2012-10-31 20:25

    Ranger or BMW.

  • Mark - 2012-11-01 09:33

    I like the Opel Meriva, it's got a lot going for it

  • glenn.senthumule - 2012-11-01 14:50

    Kia Rio 1.4 TEC Hatch MT is taking this one.

  • glenn.senthumule - 2012-11-01 14:57

    Kia Rio 1.4 TEC Hatch MT is taking this one. The Koreans have arrived......

  • dominique.deligiannidis - 2012-11-01 15:52

    BMW all the way.

  • templar.known - 2012-11-01 16:22

    What, no Volvo? S60 D3 would win this.

      johan.joubert.315 - 2012-12-21 21:51

      I agree! Why no volvo!!! Volvo would steal tje 1 st price!

      johan.joubert.315 - 2012-12-21 21:51

      I agree! Why no volvo!!! Volvo would steal tje 1 st price!

  • firstseed.mbeva - 2012-11-01 17:01

    There is personal vendetta against Audi

  • riotousr - 2012-11-02 10:35

    Toyota 86 High Spec 6MT

  • JayBaileyy - 2012-11-04 10:31

    At the price, features and gorgeous shape nothing can beat the Kia Rio 1.4 Tec. Hands down the king of its class. THe Hyundai I30 is also impressive but felt very underpowered. Ford Ranger is awesome but SUV prices for a bakkie is ridiculous. I wouldn't mind seeing the Nissan Juke win. Super fun to drive. If only Nissan backed their own products and gave 5 year warranties. 3yr warranty is the only reason I did not buy a Juke.

  • hendrik.schutte.3152 - 2012-11-04 19:57

    I would like to see: 1] Toyota86, 2]Nissan Juke, 3]Ford Ranger and further down I really don't care for any of the other. The Porsche is nice but way too espensive for "ordinary people".

  • brak.jan - 2012-11-07 10:01

    It’s going to get down to splitting hairs in some cases I think, so here is my 5c: Yaris and B-Class too expensive Juke will lose out on looks (you either love it, or hate It. esthetics is a criterion, unfortunately not quantifiable) Ranger is very-very good, but priced at the upper ranges for pickups. Evoque has the same problem. A (small) price cut would have helped its case a lot. The new i30 is good, but it competes with the Golf, which is great. The fuel consumption figures claimed by Hyundai will also rarely be achieved. The Toyota 86 brings the ‘fun’ driving experience back to the masses and reminds us that Toyota can make sporty cars. The normally aspirated engine struggles at the reef though and the Hilux/Fortuner radio is unforgivable To find fault with the remaining 5 is very hard. My vote will go with the 3-series (and I’m a Merc fan)

  • wikus.burger.7 - 2012-11-07 15:07

    Ford Ranger also my choice

  • wikus.burger.7 - 2012-11-07 15:08

    Ford Ranger also my choice

  • jacques.shepperson - 2012-11-07 21:58

    who of those commenting here have driven all these cars for a week?

  • seunghyun.t.park - 2012-11-08 04:25

    kia rio!!

  • johan.joubert.315 - 2012-12-21 22:00

    Why is there no Volvo's? This is all just junk. The s60 D3 would be a great competitor. And the v40. Everyone just sees merc and Toyota... which neither is value for money. Corruption... just like our lovely covernment!

  • johan.joubert.315 - 2012-12-21 22:00

    Why is there no Volvo's? This is all just junk. The s60 D3 would be a great competitor. And the v40. Everyone just sees merc and Toyota... which neither is value for money. Corruption... just like our lovely covernment!

  • hannes.jones.5 - 2013-01-26 10:19

    Kia rio is king in all aspects,i own two of them

  • manie.devilliers.7 - 2013-02-10 20:20


  • Nelson Rodrigues - 2013-10-20 11:25

    i thought car of the year was a affordable car,easy to drive and that was simple what happened to all these things like why isnt the clio 4 in the finalists where all i see driving around is clio 4 s

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