SA’s 13 Best New Cars Revealed!
Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, BMW, Volvo and Mazda were among the manufacturers that won awards at this year’s Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – Powered by WesBank, but it was Suzuki that popped a bottle of well-deserved sparkling wine: not only did they walk away with the Brand of the Year award, they also won in the categories for Budget Car and Compact Family Car!
Conceived as South Africa’s definitive automotive awards programme, #CarsAwards has steadily grown in stature, reach and influence since the inaugural event in 2016. The Awards programme combines a 18-strong jury with the input of South Africa’s car owners.
“With 50 percent of a vehicle’s final score determined by a brand’s performance in the Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey, a car only really stands a very good chance of winning if it is a good product, in the eyes of the judges, and if the brand delivers solid after-sales service,” says Hannes Oosthuizen, Cars.co.za’s consumer experience manager.
A total of 20 car brands were represented in the 39 finalists.
Category winners of the 2017/18 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards
- Budget Car: Suzuki Ignis 1.2 GL
- Compact Hatch: Mazda2 1.5 Individual
- Premium Hatch: Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI Comfortline R-Line DSG
- Compact Family Car: Suzuki Vitara 1.6 GLX Auto
- Family Car: Mazda CX-5 2.5 Individual
- Business Class: BMW 420d Gran Coupe Sport Line Sports Auto
- Executive Sedan: Mercedes-Benz E350d Avantgarde
- Leisure Double-Cab Bakkie: Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 V6 TDI 4Motion Highline Plus
- Adventure SUV: Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Auto
- Executive SUV: Mercedes-Benz GLC250d 4Matic AMG Line
- Premium SUV: Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine R-Design
- Fun Car: Mini John Cooper Works Sports Auto
- Performance Car: BMW M2 M-DCT
Multifaceted judging process
There are several reasons the #CarsAwards is of greater significance than most other automotive awards programmes. For one, the winners aren’t chosen exclusively by motoring journalists, who report on (and review) the latest new vehicles in the market.
Although the seven members of Cars.co.za’s editorial team chose the finalists, the combined judging panel (including 11 respected guest judges from various backgrounds and fields of expertise) compiled the finalists’ individual scores only once they’d evaluated the cars back-to-back during a thorough two-day test at the Gerotek facility at the end of 2017.
All derivatives listed on the new vehicles price list on September 1 2017 were eligible for selection and the public had just as much say in the outcome of 2017/18 #CarsAwards as the 18 judges did.
Fifty percent of the final standings was based on rankings that the respective vehicle brands achieved in the Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey, conducted in partnership with data specialists Lightstone Consumer.
The data incorporated feedback from thousands of vehicle owners, based on their experiences of their vehicles (less than five years old and serviced through franchised outlets).
In fact, the most prestigious title awarded by #CarsAwards – Brand of the Year – was based solely on the findings of the Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey.
Brand of the Year
Following its surprise win last year, Suzuki’s good reputation received another boost from this year’s #CarsAwards.
The Japanese brand again emerged victorious in the Brand of the Year category, which is determined entirely by market and customer data, the latter from the aforementioned survey (sales and after-sales service in particular).
Suzuki narrowly defeated Mercedes-Benz by one percent, with Mazda scoring the third podium position.
“We think the Brand of the Year trophy is the ultimate accolade in the South African automotive industry,” says Oosthuizen.
“It represents validation from the people that matter most – actual car owners. Suzuki has managed to achieve impressive market share growth in the past 12 months and has maintained excellent service levels.”