Car of the Year Finalists revealed
The South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ) announced on the 30th of September its finalists for the 2017 WesBank / SAGMJ Car of the Year (COTY) competition at Langhams Lifestyle Estate in Johannesburg.
2017 COTY to be the best yet
The 2017 edition of the Wesbank-powered event has seen a few changes made to the rules along with the decision to narrow down the list of finalists to ten vehicles. I recently attended the unveiling of these nine vehicles, which were voted for by the Jury after the same panel selected 20 semi-finalists weeks earlier.
For a reminder of who the finalists were for the 2016 WesBank / SAGMJ Car of the Year competition, South Africa’s premier motoring event, please see below:
Audi A4 Sedan
I am a big fan of the new A4. The step-up in terms of quality, design, drivetrain and ride quality is steep when compared to the car it replaced. With a range of efficient engines, a supple ride quality, one of the most solid platforms in the business at the moment as well as a modern interior, this is one to watch.
The latest Civic was a bit late to the party and just crept in to be eligible for voting. The latest car to wear the rather iconic Civic badge is a refreshing return to form for the brand. A solid powertrain combination, improved design ethos and a product that is altogether more grown up, yet more exciting at the same time.
The Tucson, which replaced the popular ix35, has been a great success story for the brand which has embraced downsizing with this new model. The Tucson ticks all the modern SUV boxes while adding that value-for-money proposition the brand is renowned for.
I didn’t anticipate the introduction of a Jaguar SUV, but when I caught wind of the concept all those years back some scepticism crept in. After sampling the car briefly at its local launch I remember feeling impressed with the engineering, styling and quality. It is definitely a desirable car in the current automotive market.
The quantum leap (if you’ll excuse the pun) from the previous generation model to this latest Fortuner was indeed impressive. Despite the fact that the Hilux was excluded from the list the Fortuner can certainly speak for the brand, much like the sales figures for this model, which appears to be liked by jury members and the public alike.
The latest Astra already boasts a number of awards from overseas markets, making its place in this competition more than warranted. The latest model from Rüsselsheim brings in a new premium nature to the Astra, which now has the drive quality, technology and Germanic design prowess to take on the best in its segment.
The Kadjar makes use of a great recipe for success, it combines a solid Nissan platform, to which Renault added a sleek, highly stylised body along with an interesting interior and improved powertrain options. The Kadjar simply feels like a complete product, impressive in many areas and worthy of its place in the final.
The latest Passat has made what has always been seen as an older persons car appear desirable to a younger audience while still maintaining the grown-up appeal that the car has always held. The ride quality, tangible interior quality, ergonomics and efficient powertrain options make the Passat one of the most under-rated cars currently on sale.
The new Tiguan was also late to the party in terms of eligibility and joins its Passat relative as Volkswagen celebrates two finalists in this year’s competition. The new Tiguan is quite something. In addition to having the right design inside and out, it is also a supremely comfortable and efficient. Couple these factors with the fact that it is a Volkswagen and an SUV in our ride height-mad market and you have a deserving finalist.