South African motorists pick their winner for car of the year

A poll conducted by AutoTrader provides some indication as to who motoring enthusiasts believe should win the WesBank South African Car of the Year for 2018.

Wesbank announced the 10 finalists for competition in September last year already, which were then subject to a series of stringent tests and a judging process by a panel of experts. The jurors have completed their evaluation of the finalists with the winner set to be announced on 13 March.

AutoTrader, a support sponsor of this event, recently ran a public vote on its site calling consumers to name their favourite vehicle.

There are 10 COTY finalists this year: Alfa Romeo Giulia, Audi Q5, BMW 5 Series, Kia Picanto, Land Rover Discovery, Peugeot 3008, Porsche Panamera, Suzuki Ignis, Toyota CH-R and Volvo S90.

Members of the public believe that the BMW 5 Series will be crowned Car of the Year. The BMW emerged triumphant via AutoTrader’s two month-long poll, with 24.6% of the vote. In second position– with 13.2% of the vote – was the Alfa Romeo Giulia. Third was the Volvo S90, with 12.8%.

“AutoTrader users praised the beauty and technology of the BMW, the power and design of the Alfa, the innovation and safety features of the Volvo, the bold styling of the Peugeot and the elegance and performance of the Porsche,” the trade publication said.

The winner is chosen exclusively by members of a 26-member jury, who completed two days of back-to-back road and track testing of the finalists before scoring each finalist against its direct class competitors on aspects that include:

  • Affordability
  • Cabin Styling, Layout, and Ergonomics
  • Engine Performance and Technology
  • Engineering Integrity and Build Quality
  • Exterior Design
  • Overall Excellence
  • Ride Quality
  • Steering and Handling
  • New Technology
  • Transmission Performance
  • Value for Money

The Opel Astra was crowned the 2017 winner, with the Audi A4 placing second, and the Volkswagen Passat third.

These are 10 finalists for the South African car of the year in 2018 and how they rated on Autotrader’s poll:

BMW 5 Series  – 24.6%

Alfa Romeo Giulia  – 13.2%

Volvo S90 – 12.8%

Porsche Panamera – 10.5%

Peugeot 3008 – 10.5%

Kia Picanto – 6.8%

Land Rover Discovery – 6%

Audi Q5 – 6%

Toyota C-HR – 5%

Suzuki Ignis – 4.6%


Some motoring journalists picked their favourites ahead of the gala event next month:

Denis Droppa said that the Ignis, Giulia or Discovery will triumph. “The Ignis will score highly because it’s a likeable compact crossover with great practicality and space at an attractive price. The extrovert exterior and interior styling prove a budget car doesn’t have to lack charm,” he said.

Of the Giulia, he said: “underneath that charismatic Italian styling is a chassis that’s a work of art”. “The corner-scything handling makes this a real driver’s car, but it’s matched to impressive ride comfort to make this a very civilised sports sedan. He described the Land Rover Discovery as an “all-surface limousine” – and a deserving winner.

Hannes Visser said that the Alfa or Suzuki could take top honours. “The Alfa speaks to a lot of emotions and it’s a really good car. The little Suzuki, on the other hand, scored extremely well. If ever there was a chance for an affordable little car to win COTY, then this is it,” he said.

Wynter Murdoch said that the winner will be one of four cars: the Audi, BMW, Alfa or Porsche. “A Porsche win should come as no surprise to people who appreciate good engineering, attention to detail, lots of space and real excellence. It’s quite affordable versus its competitors. Also, it’s got everything you need in terms of technology, safety, performance and space. It’s a good all-round package,” he said.

Anica Kruger said that the Kia, Alfa, Volvo or BMW will win. “The Picanto bowled me over – especially on the track. It’s a car that’s got everything and it’s very affordable too. I love the Alfa; it’s in my blood because I used to drive one. The moment we left the pits, the car was in its element. When it comes to the S90 … I love the restrained Swedish interior; it’s one of the most harmonious environments on the road. Then there is the 5 Series, which also stands a good chance. It’s a selfish car; it’s very driver centric and a pleasure to drive,” she said.

Andrew Leopold said the Toyota, Kia or BMW will win. “The CH-R will do well because of its youthful styling and new turbo engine. The Picanto is really well made and it’s high quality. The BMW is very capable and offers a fantastic ride, a smooth gearbox and all the tech that you could expect in that segment. It’s a very slick car,” he said.

Mabuyane Kekana said the Suzuki, BMW or Peugeot will win. “The Ignis is an entry-level vehicle yet it has all the features that any motorist would want in a small car. The interior layout is beautiful. The vehicle looks small but it’s very spacious. The BMW is a well-rounded car, which is quietly beautiful and makes a real statement. The Peugeot is beautiful to look at while its interior is both different and extremely attractive. The styling is tops.”

Charleen Clarke said that the Alfa, BMW or Suzuki will take top honours. “The Alfa is – quite simply – a dream to drive. It’s so good that you just want to drive and drive and drive! The BMW, on the other hand, is exceptional in all departments; it’s impossible to fault. And the Suzuki proves that you don’t need to make major sacrifices when opting for a small car,” she said.

Read: These are the 10 South African car of the year finalists

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South African motorists pick their winner for car of the year