Twelve exceptional vehicles will battle it out for the ultimate automotive accolade: the 2019 AutoTrader South African Car of the Year. The list comprises vehicles from Italy, Japan, Korea, Germany, France and Sweden and, in keeping with the diverse South African automotive landscape, it covers almost every motoring genre.
George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO, believes that it is fitting to see the spread of vehicle categories contained within the list of finalists. "South African motorists have access to vehicles from all over the world and to every conceivable type. This is reflected in the list of finalists," he notes.
The list of finalists includes three hatchbacks (the Nissan Micra, Suzuki Swift and Mercedes-Benz A-Class) as well as one hot hatch (the Honda Civic Type R).
There is one sedan in the Iine-up (the Lexus ES), one small 4x4 (the Suzuki Jimny) and one crossover (the Renault Duster). Then, in keeping with the global popularity of sports utility vehicles (SUVs), the balance of the list – the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Hyundai Kona, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Porsche Cayenne and Volvo XC40 – is made up of SUVs.
Rubin van Niekerk, Chairman of the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists believes that each and every finalist is a contender worthy of wearing the 2019 AutoTrader SA Car of the Year crown. “The three hatchbacks are all outstanding cars. The Micra is a real looker, the Swift is another superb product from the Suzuki stable while the A-Class is both solid and elegant. The Honda Civic Type R, on the other hand, is a wonderful car to drive,” he comments.
The ES is a luxurious and well-equipped large-sized sedan, van Niekerk believes, while the Jimny is an enormously capable 4x4 that looks good too. “The Duster is a real value for money offering,” he adds.
The judges will have their work cut out for them when it comes to evaluating the SUVs because, as van Niekerk notes, they represent the crème de la crème of the SUV crop. “The Stelvio, Alfa’s first SUV, is a good looking car while the Kona has a bold and bespoke design, which is also sure to turn heads. The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is very capable off-road while the Porsche Cayenne is at the top end of the SUV game and the Volvo XC40 has already garnered countless awards, which is a testament to its credentials,” van Niekerk adds.
The next step in the 2019 AutoTrader SA Car of the Year journey is the actual testing of these finalists by the jury members. Each vehicle will be scored against its direct class competitors on aspects such as exterior and interior design, engine and transmission performance, ride and handling, braking, safety features overall excellence and affordability. The results will be made known in early April 2019.
The twelve finalists:
- Alfa Romeo, Stelvio
- Honda, Civic Type R
- Hyundai, Kona
- Lexus, ES
- Mercedes-Benz, A-Class
- Mitsubishi, Pajero Sport
- Nissan, Micra
- Porsche, Cayenne
- Renault, Duster
- Suzuki, Jimny
- Suzuki, Swift
- Volvo, XC40