These are the best cars in South Africa in 2023

 ·2 Jun 2023

The South African Guild of Mobility Journalists (SAGMJ) has announced the winners of the South African Car of the Year (COTY) competition for 2023, with a historic win for the overall champion.

As many as 55 vehicles made it into the qualifying stages this year, which were spread out over a total of 10 different categories.

The categories were as follows:

  • Adventure SUV
  • Budget
  • Compact
  • Compact Family
  • Double Cab
  • Luxury
  • Midsize
  • New Energy
  • Performance
  • Premium

Chairperson of the 2023 COTY competition, Mabuyane Mabuza noted, however, that the Budget category for its year was cancelled due to no considerable contenders and the product lifecycle timing of key competitors.

He added that there were also no winners for the Compact category, as the sole contender – the Renault Clio – did not meet the required percentage to secure a category win.

“These categories remain an important entry point into the market, and the automotive industry is encouraged to persist in its innovation efforts, aiming to create vehicles that cater to the diverse requirements of the South African public,” he said.


The official winner of the 2023 South African Car of the Year Award is none other than the next-generation Ford Ranger Double Cab – securing the win over 21 finalists.

The SAGMJ noted that this was the first time in the 37-year history of the COTY competition a leisure double cab 4×4 bakkie was crowned South Africa’s Car of the Year. 

“Over the past decade, the popularity of SUVs and Double Cabs has skyrocketed at the expense of sedans.

“Double cab bakkies have become a common choice for everyday commuting, family adventures and various work applications, providing a popular solution for South Africans’ mobility demands,” said Mabuza.

He added that this remarkable achievement is a testament to the automotive industry’s commitment to producing high-quality double cabs that offer unrivalled performance while seamlessly blending comfort, safety, and cutting-edge technology.

Winners across the sub-categories included the first ever-win for the Chinese automaker, two wins for Kia, another placement for Ford, and three titles for luxury brands – Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Volvo.

The first-ever win for a Chinese automaker went to BAIC’s Beijing X55 crossover – winning the Compact Family category.

The stylish new Sportage managed to take home the Midsize title, while the Sorento achieved the number one spot in the Premium segment.

Ford’s Everest SUV came on top in the Adventure SUV category, while the performance sector was dominated by the Audi RS3 and the New Energy award was taken by a pure battery-electric vehicle in the form of the Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge.

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class, meanwhile, claimed two titles with the Luxury Award as well as the Juror’s Excellence Award, which “signifies recognition of exceptional quality and craftsmanship.”

All the winners of the 2023 Car of the Year competition are listed below – with pricing.

2023 Car of the Year – Ford Ranger Double Cab 4×4

  • Starting price: R539,200

Adventure SUV – Ford Everest

  • Starting price: R832,400

Compact Family – BAIC Beijing X55

  • Starting price: R420,900

Double Cab – Ford Ranger 

  • Starting price: R495,800

Luxury – Mercedes-Benz S-Class

  • Starting price: R2,435,939

Midsize  – Kia Sportage

  • Starting price: R573,995

New Energy – Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge

  • Starting price: R1,260,000

Performance – Audi RS 3

  • Starting price: R1,246,600

Premium – Kia Sorento

  • Starting price: R861,995

Read: New vehicle sales in South Africa shoot up – despite interest rate pain

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