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SA Car of the Year: 2016 finalists revealed

2015-09-30 11:38

DIDN'T MAKE THE CUT: Audi's new TT coupe, a semi-finalist, did not make the final 2016 SA Car of the Year selection. Image: Audi

Update: Which vehicle do you think should be crowned the 2015 SA Car of the Year? Vote for your favourite in our home page voting booth!

Cape Town - The 12 finalists competing for the 2016 SA Car of the Year (CoTY) title has been revealed following a vote by members of the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ).

It looks like the 2016 competition could avoid controversy - there's no Porsche.

The 12 finalists include two Opel hatchbacks (Corsa and Adam) and the Jaguar Land Rover duo (XE, Discovery Sport). A notable finalist is BMW's electric hybrid i3. 

The 12 finalists are (in no particular order):

Opel Corsa
Jaguar XE
Peugeot 308
Land Rover Discovery Sport
Mazda 2
Kia Sorento
Citroen C4 Cactus
Honda HR-V
Ford Fusion
Opel Adam
Volvo XC90
BMW i3

New rules for 2016

With the aim of rewarding "automotive excellence", the 2016 CoTY Jury will put the finalists through structured testing in early February 2016. The winner will be announced in March 2016 in Gauteng.

Each vehicle will be scored and measured against its class competitors on aspects that include:
  • Value for money
  • Safety & technology
  • Performance
  • Overall excellence
  • Interior design & practicality
  • Handling & dynamics
  • Exterior aesthetics
  • Efficiency

READ 2016 COTY Rules and Regulations
READ 2016 COTY Timeline

Which are your favourite cars for the 2016 Car of the Year title? Email us your top three choices (and why you think they deserve to win) and we'll publish your thoughts.

#WesBankCOTY/@SAGMJ finalists 7-12 of 12: BMW i3 Ford Fusion Honda HR-V Citroën C4 Cactus Volvo XC90 Opel ADAM

A photo posted by Brent Ellis (@journobrent) on

The Wheels24 team has chosen our top vehicles for the SA 2016 Car of the Year competition:

Janine-Lee Van der Post  - Citroen C4 Cactus, Ford Fusion, Honda HR-V, Volvo XC90

Citroen C4 Cactus - The Cactus is one of my favourite cars in 2015. It has everything you need in an MPV; uber comfort, lots of tech and all the trimmings. It glides on the road and has fold-down trays for kids at the rear. Most important, it's a more affordable choice when it comes to the buying public - prices start from R224 900.

Ford Fusion - I think the Fusion is highly under-rated compared to its rivals. It's packed with gear and has a comfortable drive. What makes it a winner in the sedan segment is its humongous boot. You could probably fit 10 golf bags in there and still have room for more luggage. It's quite a good-looking car too.

Honda HR-V - The HR-V has made a great comeback with in its latest iteration with South African buyers demanding its return. It's more refined, comfortable and offers a great drive. It's a huge improvement when it comes to these fussy CVT transmissions and Honda has done well in this regard. It's great on space, comfort treats and looks good too. The CVT can be temperamental when driven hard.

Volvo XC90 - The XC90 is simply astounding in terms of technology. It does carry a rather steep price tag but its packed with a lot of standard kit and some brilliant features.

It has an in-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 almost R1million (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.

Sergio Davids - Volvo XC90,  Land Rover Discovery Sport

Volvo XC90 - It's the most technologically advanced, safest, biggest and most expensive Volvo yet. The Swedish automaker has thrown everything it has into the design of its XC90 to create a truly special SUV.

Apart from its great styling, what sets the XC90 apart from its more popular rivals (BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GL) is its interior and aforementioned tech. Its centre console “tablet” is incredibly intuitive and unique in its class. Also, it can park itself.

Land Rover Discovery Sport - Land Rover builds on the success of the Range Rover Evoque to create a compact SUV of its own. Despite its compact dimensions and sleek design, the Discovery Sport is every bit the outdoor explorer as its larger Discovery sibling, though it does suffer from reduce approach/departure angles.

The new Discovery Sport takes everything you've come to expect from Landy's traditional, large SUVs and shrinks it into a more city-friendly package. What's more, its pricetag (starting from R541 000) makes owning a Land Rover that much more attainable.

Sean Parker- Mazda 2, Jaguar XE, Ford Fusion

Ford Fusion – The Fusion left me wanting more after a week-long test. It’s the kind of vehicle that you want to drive more each time you’re behind the wheel.  It’s Ford SA’s first large, luxury sedan since the Mondeo. It has a voluminous boot, looks that would make Tom Hiddleston whimper and an adequate 2.0 litre turbocharged unit. My only gripe is the lack of stop/start tech in our Trend-spec test unit to cut fuel consumption. The Fusion is an outstanding package and my ‘dark horse’ pick for SA Car of the Year.

Jaguar XE - The XE is a very important car for Jaguar, and whether the company has the balls to admit it, the smallest cat in the range will take on the 'Teutonic' three. I drove all three models on launch and what really made me purr was the claws attached to the top of the range version in the form of V6 supercharged unit. It felt engaging, loud and most of all, boasts terrific handling. Made up of mostly aluminium and steel, the XE is the lightest Jag yet and it shows, especially on a mountain pass. Pity about that near million Rand price tag for the range-topping V6 (R908 100)...

Mazda 2 – The second generation Mazda 2 has grown up substantially to offer a premium hatchback with a superb engine and a well laid-out interior. I was impressed by the torquey Skyactiv-D 1.5 litre diesel. Coupled with a five-speed auto it proved to be quite economical. The Mazda is my top choice because it offers great value at a good price.

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