Hyundai is 2012 Car of the Year

2012-03-14 21:59

It's a long process over many months but the SAGMJ Car of the Year was named during a banquet in Johannesburg. And the winner was... as predicted by Wheels24's reader survey, the Hyundai Elantra 1.8 GLS.

The sleek medium sedan was also voted US Car of the Year.

The Elantra is the first Korean car to be named the SA Coty though Hyundai has had two finalists - the ix35 and Sonata in 2011 - and the i20 was a finalist in the 2010 Coty competition.


Alan Ross, MD of Hyundai Automotive SA, said after receiving the Car of the Year trophy: “We are extremely proud of the recognition that a world-class product such as the Hyundai Elantra has received from the guild.

“This award, and the fact that we had two finalists in the previous competition, is confirmation of the giant strides Hyundai has made locally and globally. It is also recognition of the quality and emotional appeal that the Hyundai products have developed as part of the brand’s ‘Modern Premium’ strategy.”

Since its South African launch in August 2011, the current Elantra has become a leader in its model segment and gained recognition as a sedan more than sufficiently equipped to take the brand to “the next level”.

Choosing the SA Car of the Year involves dozens of members of the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists, the men and women who monitor the local auto trade throughout the year on your behalf, driving dozens of cars as part of their job and gaining a deep insight into the state of modern automotive technology.


The competition has a heavy weighting towards value for money - not always easy to decide among the 10 finalists whittled down from perhaps hundreds of possibilities from more automakers than ever before in this country. The judges' data is carefully monitored and analysed; the individuals trying hard not to be swayed by high performance, super-luxury and extrovert gadgetry.

Which is why in previous years super-sedans have lost out to small family cars.

Below are the 10 2012 finalists as shown in the voting list for Wheels24's own readers' survey which ran for nearly six months that show how the public voted as a percentage of the total vote and the actual votes cast. If you were among the voters, we thank you for your participation; if you feel strongly about the results of the Wheels24 survey and the results of the SAGMJ judging, tell us about it in the Readers' Comments section below this report.

1 Hyundai Elantra 28% 7474
2 Ford Focus 25% 6522
3 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 11% 3006
4 Volkswagen Jetta 11% 2874
5 Audi A6 7% 1891
6 Mercedes-Benz SLK 5% 1365
7 Kia Picanto 4% 1123
8 Suzuki Kizashi 4% 1104
9 Citroen DS4 3% 803
10 Peugeot 5008 1% 239

The SAGMJ jury voted this way..

1 Hyundai Elantra
2 Kia Picanto
3 VW Jetta
4 Suzuki Kizashi
5 Alfa Romeo Guiletta
6 Audi A6
7 Ford Focus
8 Citroen DS4
9 Peugeot 5008
10 Mercedes-Benz SLK

So, if you're in the market for one of those cars over the next year, you have two excellent guides on what to choose within your budget. Whatever it turns out to be, we wish you safe driving in what could well be the car of your dreams.

And remember, the first thing you do when you slip into your seat, front or rear, driving or otherwise, is fasten your seatbelt. Please!

  • Denise - 2012-03-14 22:18

    This does not compute. Have we not got 9 months of 2012 to go?

  • Gerhardus - 2012-03-14 22:27

    Who actually wants to be seen in that crap?

      Leon Coe - 2012-03-14 22:58

      What a company. Well done. I've owned six Hyundai's and drive a IX 35.

      Patrick Saunders - 2012-03-15 07:17

      toyota groupie upset that his overpriced, under-quality rice burner didn't even feature in the top 10.

      Art - 2012-03-15 08:12

      Noted quite a few ix25's here in Amsterdam... you got them there too?

      jbester1 - 2012-03-15 08:49

      You probably drive a VW Gerhardus? It's clear that you are not a car person at all, and you're definitely not aware of the strides Hyundai has taken. Don't judge a car by it's badge.

      thabo.tebele - 2012-03-15 19:33

      I love that car

      Dusan - 2012-03-16 20:15

      As a matter of interest what car do you drive.

  • Mahomed Ismail - 2012-03-14 22:31

    why dont all government ministers drive a Hyundai instead of expensive Mercs, Bmw and 4x4's and help cut government spending if they are serious about their serving the people of this country rather than serving themselves.

      ronheidtmann - 2012-03-15 01:16

      Not only will it be cheaper to buy, it'll be cheaper to service and cheaper in fuel!

      Art - 2012-03-15 08:13

      Free service plans for 60 000km's.... LOL!

      Stig - 2012-03-15 09:24

      So you want our struggle heroes to be seen in one of these while their counterparts in America rides cadillac limos? They didn't liberate us to be poor

      jbester1 - 2012-03-15 12:43

      You're missing the point stig.....

  • Vickers - 2012-03-14 22:54

    Great stuff! And well deserved. This is actually the 2011 Car of the year for cars introduced in the 12 months preceding 31 Aug 2011 if I remember correctly. The 2012 Car of the year will be announced in March 2013

  • Lavida Koekemoer - 2012-03-14 23:38

    Crap car

      Wally - 2012-03-15 00:54

      @ Lavida and Gerhardus: Blunt statements without any substance. Plz enlighten us on your reasons for these statements. I do not drive a Hyundai but I did a couple of years ago and I tell you, I had nothing to be ashamed of. The latest models from Hyundai are beautiful from different angles, a feel of quality, and comfort others can only dream of. So, let's hear the truth now...

      Juan - 2012-03-15 00:54

      Crap car when maybe comparing it to your local ANC cadre's X5 or Merc ML 63 AMG, but it's a very good car for it's price range, and the type of car your comrades in government should be driving.

      dbarnardo1 - 2012-03-15 08:19

      Why is it crap? It drives well, it is economic in terms of fuel and maintenance. It looks nice, have a 5 year / 150 000 km warranty and reliable So why is it crap?? Because it is not German.

      jbester1 - 2012-03-15 08:51

      Suur druiwe! Dis al.

  • Ian - 2012-03-15 06:39

    More interesting is the discrepancy between the readers and journalists in the ratings. Seems like the journalists are off the mark with what is really stirring the market.

      Vickers - 2012-03-15 06:57

      Ian the voting was mostly done by PR departments. Any regular visitor to this site will know that it was far removed from a one man one vote system and one could vote every now and then.So it basically came down to who shouted the hardest and the longest. The picture painted by sales figures tells quite a different story. With the Elantra selling an estimated 650 units a month it would be a regular in the top10 while the Focus battles to get into the top20 with less than half of that.

      Art - 2012-03-15 08:15

      The outcome of the COTY results are all down to WHICH CAR MAKER HAS THE BEST "FAVOURS" offered to the Motoring Journo's... i.e. Which company entertains the best!

      Ebon - 2012-03-15 11:58

      Popularity does not necessarily always equate with excellence. As such I don't believe any CotY competition should ever become a simple popularity contest judged by the lowest common denominator. True, many motoring journos can, and do, have their biases, but at the end of the day, they mostly know their craft, and importantly, know a lot more about cars than mr Joe Average. I place far more value in the opinion of the SAGMJ than that of the average guy on the street who is easily swayed by marketting and popular opinion.

  • Faizie - 2012-03-15 07:06

    And you win with 28 percent. Thats even lower than the matric pass rate

      jbester1 - 2012-03-15 08:53

      Faizie Faizie.... You don't understand how the voting works.

  • Hanno Van Helsdingen - 2012-03-15 09:07

    Well done Hyundai! This is a great car.

  • Adrian - 2012-03-15 09:51

    I think Hyundai is a well deserved winner but... Have you seen the journalists that drive and vote on these results, half of them have one foot in the grave and way too many of them are extrememly biased and will vote for whoever gives them the most "freebies". These journalists get flown around the country and put up in hotels by the manufacturers to test their cars and they expect certain favours eventually and if they dont get them then that manufacturer can forget about a decent write up. On one occasion last year a motoring journalist was flown up to Johannesburg by a manufacturer only to find out the so called MOTORING JOURNALIST did not even have a drivers license and then was upset when he was told he could not drive the cars??!!Here is the actual scoring from the judges, in my opinion the huge gap between 1st and last place scoring wise is definitely suspicious? Hyundai--230 points Kia--155 points VW--141 points Suzuki--49 points Alfa--48 points Audi--30 points Ford--27 points Citroen--22 points Peugeot--20 points Mercedes--3 points

  • Roger - 2012-03-15 12:07

    Congrats Hyundai. Good quality cars from this manufacturer, and a deserved winner. Spoken to a few owners, and all are very impressed with what they have purchased. The Japs and German cars are starting to lose their way. Koreans are on the up.

  • Gerrit - 2012-03-15 13:10

    If I look at the differences between the actual results and the poll held by Wheels24, I just wonder how much the journalists actually know about the SA car buying public and their likes and dislikes.

  • etienne.swanepoel2 - 2012-03-15 14:16

    Nice crap heading media24...how can Hyundai be car of the Year? Hyundai is a car manufacturer not a car......

  • Wikus - 2012-03-15 17:09

    How will the elantra look, feel and drive in five years time is still to be seen. Is a car good car now, or is it a good car (maybe like the beatle)when it stays a good car in years to come? I really wonder if the Koreans can do that, built a legendary car which the German's have done continuously?

      jacques.teebs - 2012-03-16 14:21

      Well, have you been in a 5-year old BMW lately? Cheap quality leather worn through everywhere (driver's seat, steering wheel, etc.). Over and above that, it rattles & squeaks. Doubt if the Hyundai could do much worse than that.

      JJ Oberholzer - 2012-03-17 15:31

      My wife bought 2006 car of the yaer Renault Clio III, fantastic car, just very costly to repair, so let's hope her 2012 Car of the year bought yesterday would be the same.

  • Shaun - 2012-03-16 20:27

    Well done no.11 Great Wall Motors! - Cheers

  • charles.w.blount - 2012-03-24 12:47

    The East usually copy things from the west - and here is another poor example!

  • Conrad - 2012-03-30 16:19

    Finally! Congrats! I've love the way Hyuandai improved their fleet over the years, but recently it had to be rewarded, Big time! Continue to design & build innovative cars that are breathtaking as your current fleet. When I'm back on my feet, the Elantra is sure to be on the top of my list of new cars. To more future success! "NEW THINKING, NEW POSSIBILITIES!" I'm stunned.

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