The South African Guild of Motoring Journalists has announced the 10 finalists for the 2018 Wesbank South African Car of the Year.
This follows an electronic vote by a jury comprising 26 guild members, including yours truly. After a list of 21 semifinalists was created from a general vote by the guild’s full members, the 10 vehicles that received the most votes are: Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.0 Base; Audi Q5 2.0TDI Sport quattro S-tronic; BMW 520d Steptronic; Kia Picanto 1.2 Style; Land Rover Discovery TD6 SE; Peugeot 3008 1.6THP Allure; Porsche Panamera 4S; Suzuki Ignis 1.2 GLX; Toyota C-HR 1.2T Plus CVT and the Volvo S90 D5 Inscription AWD Geartronic.
Each finalist will be put through its paces over two days’ testing in January 2018 after which the winner will be announced at a gala event in March.
Now in its 31st year, the competition remains SA’s longest-running and most-coveted car award. Judging by the finalists, it is representative of the new vehicle landscape and the markets that buyers continue to buy into. The boom that is the crossover and SUV segment is evident even here, with no less than four of the finalists being of this variety.
Of the manufacturers that made the finalists, BMW has won the competition a record six times — in 1988, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2011. Three of those wins were with a 5 Series. Volvo has won it twice, with the S40 in 2005 and the XC90 in 2016. Porsche has won the competition three times with the Boxster in 2013, the CaymanS in 2014 and the Macan in 2015. Audi has won three times, with the A4 1.8 in 1996, the A4 1.9 TDi in 2002 and the Audi A3 Sportback 2.0T in 2006.
Toyota won with the Corolla twice, first in the inaugural year, 1986, and in 1989.
Alfa Romeo took the accolade in 1999 with the 156 sedan. – Lerato Matebese