The South African Guild of Mobility Journalists (SAGMJ) unveiled the 21 contenders vying for the coveted title of the 2023 South African Car of the Year (COTY) Awards. These finalists are a testament to the relentless pursuit of excellence and ground-breaking ingenuity in the realm of mobility solutions. With nominees spanning nine distinct categories, the competition is fierce, and the innovation is cutting-edge.

By Dumi Xaba

Ah, the momentous occasion has arrived! The time of year when we journalists must don our thinking caps and determine which of these magnificent cars will reign supreme as the all-around champion.

It’s a daunting task, to say the least, as the contenders are all top-notch in their respective categories. It’s like trying to pick the ultimate Olympian from a pool of gold medallists. This year, however, is particularly thrilling.

We have never had as many finalists as we do now since the inception of the COTY Award back in 1986. Manufacturers have pulled out all the stops, unleashing their finest products in an effort to boost sales post-COVID.

We are positively giddy with excitement, as our publication has already identified many of these gems as winners. The real challenge lies in selecting one that’s not only exceptional but also practical for everyday use. Perhaps, with a little help from our readers, we can predict the ultimate victor.

21 candidates are competing in 9 different vehicle categories, including Budget Car, Compact Car, Compact Family Car, Mid-Size Car, Premium Car, Luxury Car, Performance Vehicle, Adventurer SUV, Double Cab, and New Energy Vehicle.

However, the Budget Car category has been eliminated in 2023 due to none of the vehicles meeting the criteria. Instead of selecting only the top 12 scoring vehicles, the adjudicators have decided to implement a score cut-off to allow for a wider range of vehicles to be included and level the playing field.

The contenders are judged against their direct competitors, not each other. The final verdict will be announced on June 1st. The 2023 contenders have advanced technology never seen before in their class.

The panel consists of 27 jurors from the South African Mobility Journalist (SAGMJ), and the public can vote on SAGMJ’s social media platforms. Three lucky voters will win an off-road driving course sponsored by Old Mutual.

Category Finalists

Compact car: Renault Clio

Compact Family Car: Baic Beijing X55, Nissan Qashqai, Opel Mokka, VW Tiago

Midsize car: Alfa Rome Tonale, Cherry Tiggo Pro 8, Honda Civic RS, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage

Premium Car: Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Kia Sorento

Adventurer SUV: Ford Everest

Double Cab: Ford Ranger, Isuzu D Max

Luxury Car: Mercedes S Class

Performance car: Audi RS3 hot sedan and hot hatch

New Energy: Audi e-tron GT/RS, Haval H6 Hybrid, Toyota RAV4 E-four, Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge

The Women’s World Car of the Year panel, consisting of women from various countries, has picked out a few potential candidates for Car of the Year, and I concur with their selections. The 2023 Ford Ranger and Audi RS 3 seem to be the top choices at the moment, and I think the Baic Beijing X55 is also a strong contender. It will be a challenging task for the judges to determine a winner this year since all of the competitors are almost perfect. They are equipped with cutting-edge technology, enjoyable to drive, and visually appealing. In my view, all of the finalists are worthy of the award.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *