Wheelswrite car of the year 2018

The year of the SUV – 2018

We started 2018 on a pretty high note with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. In many ways just what you would expect an Alfa SUV to be. A big step up for Alfa. What could top it?

Nissan X-trail in Onrus

The next car we tested to really impress was the new Nissan X-trail. At the time I said: “Interestingly the new ‘facelifted’ Nissan X-trail, which I have been driving this week got as many , if not more ‘stop and stares’ (as the Stelvio). Especially men.”

Early in February we reported on the very capable Mitsubishu Sport and later in the month the seriously facelifted Mahindra Pik-Up.

At the end of March we drove two very good SUV’s the “new” Kuga and Mazda CX-5 of which I said at the time: “The Mazda CX-5 is not just another crossover SUV wannabe. It is a refined, well rounded car which leads the way in so many ways.”

Nissan Navara LE 4×2 Auto

In March it was the turn of two very good bakkies. Nissan’s new Navara and Ford’s fancy FX4. The Navara is burly and it’s a bit of a beast and is the basis for a whole slew of models from several brands.
And then perhaps the cat among the pigeons. The Peugeot 3008. The 3008 comes with high specification levels and exceptionally good exterior and classy interior design. It not only looks stunning, it is very clever.

You will notice a lot of SUV’s and crossovers in this list.

The year of the SUV – 2018.

In May we had the pleasure of sampling two German examples of the crossover wave. The spacious Tiguan Allspace and the Opel Grandland. The Allspace is pleasant and easy to drive in town and out touring. VW have created a really comfortable, spacious cabin. The Grandland is based on the same platform as the 3008. Similar substance but very different style.

Mazda MX5

In the spring the fresh new VW Polo GTi really impressed. At the time we said: ”A few months ago we reported about the Mazda MX-5 and how it had a grin factor. You just can’t help grinning while driving it. Well, this new VW Polo GTi also has a huge grin factor.” We really loved the Polo GTi. It gives the Golf GTi a run for its money.
The Peugeot 208 GT was another pleasing car. Similar to the Polo GTi in some respects but very different in others.
I like Suzukis so really looked forward to the new Swift. It is new from the wheels up. I thought it a delightful little runabout.

Early in December I drove two astounding SUV’s. Peugeot’s touring oriented 3008 GT-Line and Haval’s off-road toughie, the H9. Both cars do the job required of them extremely well.

Probably the sweetest car I drove this year is the Mazda MX-5 Targa. A driver’s joy, but a strict two-seater and really a toy, in the sense that it’s whole reason to exist is fun, nothing more, nothing less. The most focused car was without a doubt the Ford Fiesta RS200 Limited Edition,

Ford ST200 LE

fun, fast and almost practical.

So, which to pick?

Must be a SUVish type of vehicle. Surely.

I am tempted to pick the Haval H9, it really is that good, especially if you need low range. The Mazda CX-5 is just such a good car though.
The Peugeot 3008 GT-Line was a pleasant surprise and oh-so capable in its context. Mmmm. Let’s not forget the X-trail and the Allspace.

Damn.

May I pick the SUV as car of the year?

Or just go with the Polo GTi.

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2019 AutoTrader South African Car of the Year Finalists

2019 AutoTrader South African Car of the Year Finalists

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.

They are, in alphabetical order:

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

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 25 Jurors will be given the opportunity to drive all the finalist vehicles over the next 3 months under normal driving conditions experienced by the average consumer. The formal AutoTrader Car Of The Year evaluation days that will be held in Gauteng in March 2019 will allow judges the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the vehicles. At these evaluation days – the most critical of which will be the scheduled procedures to be held at Kyalami – the COTY Jury will assess the cars independently, with routes and modules designed to test the vehicles on specific criteria. The Jury will also have access to performance test data, comparative pricing and specification data, as well as comparative parts pricing data.

All finalist vehicles represent examples of outstanding automotive engineering, and after careful deliberation by the 2019 Jury, Category Winners will be awarded to Premium Sedan (executive and premium sedan), Leisure SUV’s (SUV’s / crossovers), Lifestyle Utility (bakkies / derived SUVs e.g. Toyota Fortuner), Urban Compact (small hatch and small sedan) and Mid-Size (MPV, medium sedan and hatch) Winners. All of the Top 12 are eligible to be crowned the 2019 AutoTrader South African Car Of The Year regardless of Category Wins. Judging by the tight scores on the Finalists there is little doubt that the scoring to find a winner will be a very close race. An invitation to the Banquet where the results will be revealed in April 2019 will be a very sought-after ticket indeed!

 

2018 WesBank South African Car of the Year Finalists announced

It is that time of year again. We start to look back on the cars launched in 2017.

The COTY cars are not facelifts but supposedly new cars.

The idea is to recognise the car which has made the biggest impact on the SA car market.

Many years the judging panel get it horribly wrong, but other years again they get it right.

They are, in alphabetical order:

  • ALFA ROMEO GIULIA
  • AUDI Q5
  • BMW 5 SERIES
  • KIA PICANTO
  • LAND ROVER DISCOVERY
  • PEUGEOT 3008
  • PORSCHE PANAMERA
  • SUZUKI IGNIS
  • TOYOTA C-HR
  • VOLVO S90

Preparations now continue for the COTY evaluation days that will be held in late January 2018. At these evaluation days – the most critical of which will be the scheduled procedures to be held at a dedicated testing facility – the COTY Jury will assess the cars independently, with routes and modules designed to test the vehicles in a similar way in which the average consumer would use them.

Volvo S90 SA 010.jpg 2017 NEW SUZUKI IGNIS THE 2018 WESBANK SOUTH AFRICAN CAR OF THE YEAR COMPETITION GIVES A BIG THUMBS UP TO THE PEUGEOT 3008 SUV  Kia Picanto

The evaluation days offer the Jury the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the vehicles on specific criteria including aesthetics, build quality, ergonomics, fuel consumption, environmental friendliness, safety features and value for money. These aspects are not only important with regards to the actual testing, but also to how the public perceives the COTY process, the finalists and ultimately the winning car. “We’ve seen many of these finalists performing well in our search volumes, with more than half appearing in our top 200 most searched for makes. It will be interesting to see who the judges choose as the winner.” Says George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO.

I personally think the Gulia and Ignis stand out.

We will see.

SAGMJ COTY – Car of the Year South Africa

Semi-finalists for the 2017 COTY

Following a vote by the full membership of the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ), on new vehicle ranges introduced to the South African new car market within the COTY eligibility period, the SAGMJ is proud to announce the semi-finalist contenders for the 2017 WesBank South African Car of the Year competition (COTY), in alphabetical order:

· AUDI A4

· AUDI Q7

· BMW 7 SERIES

· BMW X1

· BMW M2

· FORD FIGO

· FORD EVEREST

· HONDA CIVIC

· HYUNDAI TUCSON

· JAGUAR F-PACE

· MAZDA CX-3

· MAZDA MX-5

· MERCEDES E-CLASS

· OPEL ASTRA

· RENAULT KADJAR

· SUZUKI VITARA

· TOYOTA FORTUNER

· TOYOTA HILUX

· VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN

· VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT

What do you think? Is this list a fair and true reflection of the new cars that made a difference this year?

STANDARD BANK PEOPLE’S WHEELS AWARDS 2016 finalists

STANDARD BANK PEOPLE’S WHEELS AWARDS 2016

FINALISTS

“The People’s Wheels Awards are driven by the experiences, attitudes and opinions of our motoring public. In this way, it is a truly South African event – democratic and egalitarian, as the winners reflect the views of diverse voters in terms of motoring reliability, durability and loyalty,” says Nicholas Nkosi, Head of Vehicle and Asset Finance – Retail at Standard Bank. “For this reason, as one of the key financiers of car buyers in South Africa, Standard Bank views the awards as a valuable and honest informational tool for consumers.”
The finalists in the People’s Wheels Awards were determined over a three-month period which saw thousands of votes cast by ordinary motorists for the cars they drive or those they aspire to drive. Equally, a survey which ran simultaneously – in which owners of vehicles were asked to rate various aspects of their ownership experience – also drew many thousands of responses.

 

Category 1 Category 2 Category 3
Budget Buys Compact Commuters Compact Executive Cars
CHEVROLET – Spark AUDI – A1/A1 Sportback AUDI – A3 Sedan/Sportback/Hatch
FORD – Figo FORD – Fiesta BMW – 1-Series
HYUNDAI – i10/Grand i10 OPEL – Adam CHEVROLET – Cruze
RENAULT – Sandero OPEL – Corsa FORD – Focus
VOLKSWAGEN – Polo Vivo RENAULT – Clio MERCEDES-BENZ – CLA
VOLKSWAGEN – Up VOLKSWAGEN – Polo VOLKSWAGEN – Golf
Category 4 Category 5 Category 6
Family Friendly Cars Mid-Sized Executive Cars Premium Luxury Cars
AUDI – A4 AUDI – A6 AUDI – A8
AUDI – A5 Sportback AUDI – A7 Sportback BMW – 6-Series Gran Coupé
BMW – 3-Series BMW – 5-Series JAGUAR – XJ
FORD – Fusion JAGUAR – XF MASERATI – Ghibli
MERCEDES-BENZ – C-Class LEXUS – GS MERCEDES-BENZ – S-Class
VOLVO – V60 MERCEDES-BENZ – E-Class PORSCHE – Panamera
Category 7 Category 8 Category 9
Super Luxury Cars Sporty Drop Tops Super Sports Cars
ASTON MARTIN – Rapide AUDI – A5 Cabriolet AUDI – R8
BENTLEY – Continental Flying Spur BMW – 4-Series Convertible LAMBORGHINI – Aventador
FERRARI – F12 Berlinetta JAGUAR – F Type LAMBORGHINI – Hurracan
MERCEDES-BENZ – S-Class Coupé MERCEDES-BENZ – E-Class Cabriolet MERCEDES-BENZ – AMG GT
ROLLS ROYCE – Ghost MERCEDES-BENZ – SLK MERCEDES-BENZ – SL Roadster
ROLLS ROYCE – Phantom PORSCHE – Boxster NISSAN – GT-R
Category 10 Category 11 Category 12
Sport Coupés: Two-Door Hard Tops Premium Class Coupés Hot Hatches/Sedans/ Coupés
AUDI – TT Coupe AUDI – A5 Coupé AUDI – S3
BMW – 2-Series BMW – 4-Series FORD – Fiesta ST
OPEL – Astra GTC JAGUAR – F-Type Coupé FORD – Focus ST
RENAULT – Megane Coupé MERCEDES-BENZ – GLE Coupé MERCEDES-BENZ – A45/CLA45 AMG
TOYOTA – 86 MERCEDES-BENZ – E-Class Coupé OPEL – Astra OPC
VOLKSWAGEN – Scirocco PORSCHE – Cayman VOLKSWAGEN – Golf GTI
Category 13 Category 14 Category 15
Compact MPVs & People Carriers Large MPVs & People Carriers Small SUVs & Crossovers
CHEVROLET – Orlando FORD – Tourneo Custom CITROEN – Cactus
DODGE – Journey HYUNDAI – H-1 FORD – EcoSport
FORD – Tourneo Connect MERCEDES-BENZ – V-Class JEEP – Compass
MERCEDES-BENZ – B-Class OPEL – Vivaro MITSUBISHI – ASX
VOLKSWAGEN – Golf SV TOYOTA – Quantum OPEL – Mokka
VOLKSWAGEN – Touran VOLKSWAGEN – Kombi RENAULT – Duster
Category 16 Category 17 Category 18
Compact SUVs & Crossovers Premium Class SUVs & Crossovers Luxury SUVs & Crossovers
AUDI – Q3 CHEVROLET – Trailblazer AUDI – Q7
CHEVROLET – Captiva JEEP – Grand Cherokee BMW – X6
FORD – Kuga LAND ROVER – Discovery Sport MERCEDES-BENZ – G-Class
HYUNDAI – ix35 MERCEDES-BENZ – ML-Class PORSCHE – Cayenne
MERCEDES-BENZ – GLA PORSCHE – Macan RANGE ROVER Sport
TOYOTA – Fortuner RANGE ROVER – Evoque VOLKSWAGEN – Touareg
Category 19 Category 20 Category 21
Hybrids/Electrics Light Delivery Vehicles Single Cab Bakkies
BMW – i3 FORD – Transit Custom CHEVROLET – Utility
BMW – i8 HYUNDAI – H-1 Panel Van FORD – Ranger
HONDA – CR-Z MERCEDES-BENZ – Vito Panel Van ISUZU – KB
MERCEDES-BENZ – E-Class Hybrid OPEL – Vivaro Panel Van NISSAN – Navara
PORSCHE – Cayenne Hybrid TOYOTA – Quantum Panel Van TOYOTA – Hilux
PORSCHE – Panamera Hybrid VOLKWAGEN – Caddy Panel Van VOLKSWAGEN – Amarok
Category 22
Double Cab Bakkies
FORD – Ranger
ISUZU – KB
MITSUBISHI – Triton
NISSAN – Navara
TOYOTA – Hilux
VOLKWAGEN – Amarok
Ownership Survey Fuel Brand Tyre Brand
AUDI BP BRIDGESTONE
BMW CALTEX CONTINENTAL
CHEVROLET ENGEN DUNLOP
HONDA SASOL FIRESTONE
MERCEDES-BENZ SHELL GOODYEAR
NISSAN TOTAL MICHELIN

Wheelswrite’s vote highlighted in red in each category.

South African COTY 2015 Finalists

Langhams, Johannesburg – The South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ) has announced the finalist vehicle ranges for the 2016 WesBank / SAGMJ Car of the Year (COTY) competition. Announced during an interactive reveal event at Langhams Lifestyle Estate in Johannesburg. Hosted by WesBank, the competition’s headline sponsor, and the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ), the finalist reveal follows a vote cast by a 26-member Jury, elected by their peers, of an original list of 45 eligible vehicle ranges.

Ford Fusion (Adell de Vos, SAGMJ)

Ford Fusion (Adell de Vos, SAGMJ, Adell@sagmj )

The finalists for the 2016 WesBank / SAGMJ Car of the Year competition, South Africa’s premier motoring event, are (in alphabetical order):

• BMW i3
• CITROEN C4 CACTUS
• FORD FUSION
• HONDA HR-V
• JAGUAR XE
• KIA SORENTO
• LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SPORT
• MAZDA 2 HATCH
• OPEL ADAM
• OPEL CORSA
• PEUGEOT 308
• VOLVO XC90

The competition now moves into high gear as preparations are made for two days of stringent evaluations at the beginning of February 2016. At these evaluation days – the most critical of which will be the scheduled procedures at the world-renowned Gerotek test facility near Pretoria – the COTY Jury will assess the cars independently, with routes and modules designed to test the vehicles in a similar way in which the average consumer would use them.

The evaluation days offer the Jury the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the vehicles on specific aspects including aesthetics, build quality, ergonomics, fuel consumption, environmental friendliness, safety features and value for money.

The Jury will also have access to independent performance test data, comparative pricing and specification data, as well as comparative parts pricing data, compiled by the Guild’s digital partner, MAPO.

While all of the vehicles that are participating in the event represent examples of outstanding automotive engineering, there can be only one winner. After careful deliberation by the COTY Jury, the vehicle range that best represents automotive excellence when compared to its segment peers, will be crowned the 2016 WesBank / SAGMJ Car of the Year.
The winner will be revealed on 8 March 2016.

The South African Guild of Motoring Journalists has run the SA Car of the Year competition since 1986, with WesBank – one of South Africa’s largest vehicle finance institutions – as its headline sponsor since inception. Motul and Hollard Insurance supply support sponsorship.

My choices would be (but I do not have a say):

Ford Fusion

Honda HR-V

Volvo XC90

What do you think?

WOW COTY 2015

WOW COTY 2015

The Volvo XC90 has walked away as the winner in the large SUV category as well as the coveted WOW Overall Car of the Year 2015 of the Women on Wheels award.

Volvo XC 90

Volvo XC 90

Thousands of votes were cast by WOW readers and combined with the judges’ votes the winning cars in 11 categories were decided.

Together with the reader vote, the judging panel for this year’s awards was Charleen Clarke and Juliet McGuire ; Liana Reiners, editor of Autolive; Vuyi Jabavu, managing director of Driving in Heels; Sukasha Singh, motoring editor at Mail & Guardian; Lindsay Vine of DStv motoring channel Ignition (189); member of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists since 1987, Peta Lee; and Wheels24 content producer Janine-Lee Gordon.

AND THE WINNERS ARE:

Budget buy   Volkswagen up!

Hatchback    Opel Adam

Sedan            Mercedes Benz C-class

MPV              Opel Mokka

Green Car    BMW i8

Crossover/compact SUV   Land Rover Discovery Sport

Large SUV     Volvo XC90

Convertible  BMW 2 Series convertible  Our 2 Series review

Road Racer Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Super cars   McLaren 650S Coupe

OVERALL CAR OF THE YEAR    Volvo XC90

No Porsche. Really. WOW.

This may just be proof that women drivers are really better than male drivers.