Thu. Jan 23rd, 2020

They’ve arrived: Autotrader SA Car of the Year finalists are here

The South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ) has announced the 14 finalists in the 2020 Autotrader South African Car of the Year competition on Wednesday.

theyve arrived autotrader sa car of the year finalists are here - They’ve arrived: Autotrader SA Car of the Year finalists are here

The field of contenders for the prestigious title of Autotrader South African Car of the Year is a mixed bag of hatchbacks, compacts, bakkies, crossovers, SUVs and an electric car in the form of the Jaguar I-Pace.

The finalists
are (in alphabetical order):

  • BMW 3 Series
  • BMW X5
  • Citroën C3 Aircross
  • Ford Ranger Raptor
  • Hyundai Atos
  • Jaguar I-PACE 
  • Mazda3
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE
  • Peugeot 5008
  • Suzuki Swift Sport
  • Toyota Corolla Hatch
  • Toyota GR Supra
  • Toyota RAV4
  • Volkswagen T-Cross
fa7223a2 toyota rav 4 1800x1800 - They’ve arrived: Autotrader SA Car of the Year finalists are here
Toyota’s popular RAV4. Image: Supplied

Toyota are the odds-on favourite with three contenders in the running, but the last time Toyota won the competition was in 1989.

This time, the company has representation with the Toyota GR Supra sports car, the popular RAV4 and the Corolla hatch, which increases their chances of category wins in the competition as well.

The Car of the Year competition also awards winners in the Family,
Leisure, Lifestyle, Premium Car, Premium SUV, Sport/Performance
and Urban
categories.

The BWW X5 and 3-Series are also in the hunt, the only other manufacturer with more than one contender vying for the prize.

BMW is historically, the most successful car company in the history of the competition with six overall wins, the 3-Series itself having taken top honours on two previous occasions.  

Having
just returned to the country and with promises of a powerful resurgence, the Citroën C3 Aircross joining the
fray is a good boost for the French marque.

Winning
the overall competition and its category will be a hard ask considering that
the Citroën will go head to head with
the Volkswagen T-Cross and Toyota RAV4 in the Leisure category – each of these
boasting some formidable credentials, sales popularity and brand strength – as
well as another French product, the Peugeot 5008.

8dbddc71 jaguar i pace 1800x1800 - They’ve arrived: Autotrader SA Car of the Year finalists are here
The premium, everyday-use electric car the Jaguar I-Pace. Image: Supplied

First-timers in the running for Car of the Year title

Will
we see a bakkie win the COTY title or perhaps an electric car? This has never
happened before but these two contenders certainly stand a chance representing
a serious shift in the goalposts in each of their segments.

The Ford Ranger Raptor has been dubbed the first “performance bakkie” of its kind in South Africa and the Jaguar I-Pace a truly capable and practical execution of a premium, everyday-use electric car.

The next phase of the competition involves each of the finalists being tested by SAGMJ jury members in early 2020, after which a scoring process takes place to determine the overall winner.

Also new to the competition is an additional public voting score which gets added to the mix to bring the competition more in line with a fair and relevant Autotrader Car of the Year result.

The Autotrader Car of the Year winner and category winners will be announced in April 2020.

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