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WATCH: 2019 SA Car of the Year finalists - which top car gets your vote?

2018-11-23 08:45
SA COTY finalists

Image: SAGMJ

Wheels24 will run our annual Readers' SA Car of the Year competition poll for the finalists. Vote here.

Twelve exceptional vehicles will battle it out for the ultimate automotive accolade - the 2019 AutoTrader South African Car of the Year.

The list comprises vehicles from Italy, Japan, Korea, Germany, France and Sweden and, in keeping with the diverse South African automotive landscape, it covers almost every motoring genre.

Worthy contenders

George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO, believes that it is fitting to see the spread of vehicle categories contained within the list of finalists. "South African motorists have access to vehicles from all over the world and to every conceivable type. This is reflected in the list of finalists," he notes.

WATCH: Here are the top 12 finalists for the 2019 SA Car of the Year

The South African Guild of Motoring Journalists believes that each and every finalist is a contender worthy of wearing the 2019 AutoTrader SA Car of the Year crown.

The three hatchbacks are all outstanding cars. Nissan Micra is a real looker; the Swift is another superb product from the Suzuki stable, while the A-Class is both solid and elegant. Honda Civic Type R, on the other hand, is a wonderful car to drive and the Lexus ES is a luxurious and well-equipped premium sedan.

Suzuki Jimny has been very well received and is an enormously capable 4x4 that looks good too, though the Duster is a real value for money offering.

Stelvio, Alfa’s first SUV, is a stunner while the Kona has a bold and bespoke design, which is also sure to turn heads. Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is very capable off-road, whereas the Porsche Cayenne is at the top end of the SUV game and the Volvo XC40 has already garnered countless awards, which is a testament to its credentials.

The judges will have their work cut out for them when it comes to evaluating the finalists because they represent the crème de la crème of the crop, but we believe we have a jury that has vast experience in judging our competition.

Wheels24 will run our annual Readers' SA Car of the Year competition poll for the finalists. Vote here.

Stuart Johnston and Colin Windell are current jurors who were part of the Jury at the very first historic Car Of The Year Competition 33 years ago. The record for the juror serving for the most consecutive years is Bobby Cheetham with an impressive 29-years, although he is not a juror this year.

As anticipated, voting revealed such close scores the SAGMJ increased the finalists from 10 vehicles to 12 worthy contenders.

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post is one of the 25 jury members for the 2019 SA Car of the Year. She says her thoughts on each of the finalists below.

What do you think of the top 12 finalists competing for the 2019 SA Car of the Year title? Which car gets your vote?  Email us and tell us why!

They are, in alphabetical order:

1. Alfa Romeo Stelvio

As Alfa's first SUV, the Stelvio is a great entry by the brand and deserving of more credit its due. A beautiful car with great driving characteristics. It's not one of the top-sellers in the market but it's worth being considered an alternative in an SUV segment heavily dominated by German offerings.

2. Honda Civic Type R

This is a pleasant surprise in the top 12 as I have a personal rule when it comes to voting - a car won't get my vote unless I have driven it. This is one of those cars. My peers reckon it's the bees' knees, so I look forward to getting acquainted with the sporty Civic Type R. 

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That wing. #Honda #Civic #TypeR #CarsofInstagram

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3. Hyundai Kona

This is a refreshing new entry from the Korean brand. It's a great-looking SUV and good value for money. The Kona slots in between the Creta and the Tucson in the Hyundai stable. 

4. Lexus ES

It's great to see the Lexus as a sedan competitor in the top 12. It's a stunning car with all the bells and whistles you can dream of backed by the automaker's exceptional attention to detail.

5. Mercedes-Benz A-Class

The A-Class has evolved from a boring vehicle to a sexy little beast on our roads. Fuel consumption is a plus as Mercedes have mastered efficiency in its products.

6. Mitsubishi Pajero Sport

The Pajero Sport is such an underrated SUV in the local market, yet off-road enthusiasts sing its praises. It's packed with features, is pleasant on the eye and has good consumption figures too.

7. Nissan Micra

The latest Micra has gone premium; it has sharper styling, drives like a dream and is rather agile on the road too. Looking forward to see how this Nissan will perform during the three evaluation days in March next year.

8. Porsche Cayenne

Its no surprise to see the Cayenne on the top 12 list. It's a ridiculously good car and for a large SUV, it handles and performs like one of its sports car siblings. It's deliciously 'devilish' to drive and is difficult to fault.

2018 Porsche Cayenne navy

                                                                Image: Wheels24/Janine Van der Post

9. Renault Duster

The new Duster has a fuel consumption that's very difficult to beat. You can drive a couple hundred kilometres before the needle even thinks about moving. It's a better SUV than before and with slight styling tweaks, it's much better looking than the model it replaces. Definitely one of my top 10 cars I have driven this year.

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Good morning!

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10. Suzuki Swift

The Japanese automaker is really proud of this little car. Another good entry for the small-car segment and proper value for money. An all-round great performer.

Suzuki Swift

                                                                          Image: Suzuki

11. Suzuki Jimny

The Jimny has been around for decades, even its second and third generation versions had about 20 years each in the markets. I finally understand what the huge fuss is about the smallest and toughest little 4x4 yet. Its off-road capabilities are astounding for its size and it will make even a novice off-road driver feel like a pro. 

Suzuki Jimny

                                                                           Image: Suzuki

12. Volvo XC40

It might have acquired styling but the Swedish offering is stunning in more ways than one. I love the two-tone look on the XC40 and it offers all the trimmings one would expect from Volvo. 

The 25 Jurors will be given the opportunity to drive all the finalist vehicles over the next 3 months under normal driving conditions experienced by the average consumer.

The formal AutoTrader Car Of The Year evaluation days that will be held in Gauteng in March 2019 will allow judges the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the vehicles.

At these evaluation days – the most critical of which will be the scheduled procedures to be held at Kyalami – the COTY Jury will assess the cars independently, with routes and modules designed to test the vehicles on specific criteria. The Jury will also have access to performance test data, comparative pricing and specification data, as well as comparative parts pricing data.

SA COTY finalists

                                                                             Image: SAGMJ

All finalist vehicles represent examples of outstanding automotive engineering, and after careful deliberation by the 2019 Jury, Category Winners will be awarded to Premium Sedan (executive and premium sedan), Leisure SUV’s (SUV’s / crossovers), Lifestyle Utility (bakkies / derived SUVs e.g. Toyota Fortuner), Urban Compact (small hatch and small sedan) and Mid-Size (MPV, medium sedan and hatch) Winners.

All of the Top 12 are eligible to be crowned the 2019 AutoTrader South African Car Of The Year regardless of Category Wins. Judging by the tight scores on the Finalists there is little doubt that the scoring to find a winner will be a very close race.

An invitation to the Banquet where the results will be revealed in April 2019 will be a very sought-after ticket indeed!

The Guild was born in East London on 29 December 1962 and 24 years later the SAGMJ Car Of The Year competition was born. Since then the Guild grew from a tiny band of rebels to a large professional organisation with 300 members, where our philosophy is about excellence, professionalism and skills transfer.


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