The race is now on for the coveted title of South African Car of the Year with 12 finalists having been whittled out of a starting list of more than 20.
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.
George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO and sponsor for the event, believes 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 says.
“The South African Guild of Motoring Journalists believes each and every finalist is a contender worthy of wearing the 2019 AutoTrader SA Car of the Year crown.
“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.
“Colin Windell and Stuart Johnston are current jurors who were part of the Jury at the very first historic Car Of The Year Competition 33 years ago.”
Although the cars and price categories vary considerably, it must be emphasised the finalists are not judged against each other. Rather, each Juror has extensive data available to them allowing direct comparison of the competing vehicle against its peers in its own market niche.
As anticipated, voting revealed such close scores the SAGMJ increased the Finalists from 10 vehicles to 12 worthy contenders. They are, in alphabetical order:
1. Alfa Romeo Stelvio
2. Honda Civic Type R
3. Hyundai Kona
4. Lexus ES
5. Mercedes-Benz A-Class
6. Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
7. Nissan Micra
8. Porsche Cayenne
9. Renault Duster
10. Suzuki Jimny
11. Suzuki Swift
12. Volvo XC40
The 25 Jurors will be given the opportunity to drive all the finalist vehicles over the next three months under normal driving conditions experienced by the average consumer. The formal 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.