By Khulekani Dumisa
“39 finalists (3 in each of 13 categories) of the 2019/20 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank have been announced. They were selected out of 65 vehicles that Cars.co.za’s extended editorial team agreed were the best derivatives available in the South African new passenger vehicle market on 1 September 2019,” says Cars.co.za
- Kia Picanto 1.2 Style
- Suzuki Swift 1.2 GLX
- Volkswagen Polo Vivo Trendline
Budgets are tight. Fuel costs are rising. Yet buying an affordable car doesn’t mean you should compromise on safety, technology and quality. The winner of this category represents as much good car as possible for the money. Value is very important, as are running costs and all such “common sense” considerations. The price cap in this category is set at R200 000.
- Ford Fiesta 1.0 Trend Auto
- Mazda2 1.5 Individual Auto
- Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI Comfortline
In this extremely competitive category, we’re looking for a balanced offering that is excellent across the board. Cars in this segment must appeal to a very wide audience – from the young professional or family buying up from an entry level car, to pensioners buying down from something larger and expensive. The winner of this award must truly reflect what is best about modern automotive design and engineering, but present it in a concentrated, reasonably affordable form.
- Mazda3 2.0 Astina
- Mercedes-Benz A200 AMG-Line
- Volkswagen Golf GTI
Stylish and sophisticated yet practical enough for most motoring needs, these are the cars for the upwardly mobile go-getter. The winner in this category must not only offer outstanding quality, refinement, performance and the latest technologies, but also broadcast a message of success and ambition.
- BMW X3 xDrive20d M-Sport
- Range Rover Evoque D180 R-Dynamic SE
- Volvo XC60 D5 R-Design
Increasingly regarded as the status symbol to have, most premium brands now offer road-biased SUVs that combine prestige and practicality in a package that is characterised by superior refinement. Drivetrain performance and refined road manners are a priority as is a cabin that features upmarket materials and the most up-to-date technology.
Compact Family Car
- Renault Duster 1.5 dCi Prestige
- Suzuki Vitara 1.4T GLX Auto
- Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI 85kW Highline R-Line
With household budgets stretched to breaking point, the reasonably affordable modern-day family car has to wear many hats – from compact traffic dodger, to spacious school-run specialist and even weekend getaway machine. Practicality and spaciousness are important considerations, but so are safety, technology, fuel efficiency and a modicum of lifestyle flexibility.
- Mazda CX-5 2.0 Dynamic Auto
- Peugeot 3008 2.0 HDI Allure
- Toyota RAV4 2.0 GX Auto
The typical family car fulfils a wide variety of duties and needs to be a practical, safe all-rounder. The winner of this category should be ideal not only for the morning school run, but also the school holiday run to a distant location. In judging this category we’ve placed particular emphasis on interior flexibility, comfort and safety.
- Ford Everest 2.0 Bi-Turbo 4WD Limited
- Haval H9 Luxury
- Toyota Fortuner 2.8GD-6 4×4 Auto
We’re looking for the ultimate recreational vehicle to transport a family and all their holiday and lifestyle gear in comfort to almost any destination, on- or off-road. Off-road ability is emphasised, in combination with practicality, comfort and long-distance cruising.
- Audi Q8 55 TFSI Quattro
- BMW X5 xDrive30d M-Sport
- Range Rover Velar D300 R-Dynamic SE
Luxurious SUVs may primarily appeal for irrational and emotional reasons such as design and status, but at their core they are some of the most sophisticated and capable vehicles on the market. Blending station wagon spaciousness with high-tech off-road equipment and powerful engines, as well as luxuriously trimmed cabins and prestige badges was always going to be a hit with image- and practicality obsessed buyers.
- Audi Q3 35 TFSI S Line
- Jaguar E-Pace D180 AWD R-Dynamic
- Volvo XC40 D4 R-Design
These stylish vehicles offer a popular SUV look but in a smaller, more city-friendly package. They aim to attract attention with eye-catching looks, colours and capable powertrains. Individuality is the name of the game in this segment, where models’ interior and exterior looks can be tailored to buyers’ specific tastes, while still providing the most up-to-date in car technologies.
Leisure Double Cab
- Ford Ranger 2.0 BiTDi Wildtrak 4×4 Auto
- Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 Legend 50 4×4 Auto
- Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 V6 TDI Highline 4Motion
In this immensely popular and fiercely contested vehicle category, the search is on for the ultimate all-rounder. From luxurious touring vehicle, to hardcore off-roader, capable carry-all, family do-all and lifestyle activity machine, leisure double-cab bakkies can no longer be too utilitarian and rough around the edges, but should be highly sophisticated offerings.
- BMW 320d Sport Line
- Mercedes-Benz C300 AMG Line
- Volkswagen Arteon 2.0 TSI 4Motion R-Line
In this category you will find the type of cars that realistic dreams are made off. We’re looking for an aspirational vehicle that will appeal to the image-conscious driver who places a priority on performance, dynamics, technology and design. The target customers have achieved success and want a car that isn’t only a personal reward, but also one which broadcasts their achievements.
- Mini Cooper S Sports-Auto
- Suzuki Swift Sport 1.4T
- Volkswagen Polo GTI
With very few compact fun cars currently available in South Africa, our focus falls on the traditional hot hatch, which these days offers sportscar-humbling performance while retaining admirable practicality. In this new category we’re looking for a total package that is not priced in fantasy land. This is one for the petrolheads – a car that must leave the die-hard enthusiast smiling after every drive, in the way it looks, handles, sounds and, yes, performs.
- BMW M2 Competition M-DCT
- Ford Mustang GT 5.0
- Toyota Supra 3.0T
While supercars and other “exotics” are mere fantasies for most, there are cars priced near the R1-million mark that offer near-supercar thrills and performance. In this category we are not only looking for sizzling performance, but also driver engagement, whether driven on the track or on the road.
17 brands are represented in the list of finalists, with Volkswagen leading the nominations with 7 derivatives, followed by BMW, Ford and Toyota (4 apiece), Mazda and Suzuki (3 apiece).
Chinese SUV brand Haval makes its first appearances in the final stage of the #CarsAwards.
A total of 16 finalists from last year’s programme will return for another round of judging in the 2019/20 programme, including the BMW X3 xDrive20d M-Sport, Mercedes-Benz C300 AMG Line and Volkswagen Golf GTI. There also different (or updated) versions of the BMW M2, Ford Everest and Fiesta, Mazda2, Volkswagen Polo Vivo and Volvo XC40.
Announcement of winners
The 13 category winners and Brand of the Year recipient will be announced at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg in February 2020.
The next phase of the programme will take place on October 31 and November 1, when all the finalist vehicles will be judged back-to-back (against the rivals in their categories) during a 2-day test session at Gerotek by a diverse judging panel, which includes the experienced motoring journalists of Cars.co.za’s extended editorial team, plus 14 respected and influential guest judges with a broad base of expertise. Yours truly has the honour of being one of the judges.
However, the findings of the 21 judges will only count for half of the finalists’ total scores – the remaining 50% will be based on rankings that the respective vehicles’ brands achieved in the Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey, which is conducted in partnership with leading data specialists Lightstone Consumer. The data incorporates feedback from thousands of vehicle owners, based on their experiences of their own vehicles, which are less than five years old and serviced through franchised outlets.
To access more information about the programme (including categories, judges and finalists) visit http://www.carsawards.co.za.
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