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Leading online motoring portal Cars.co.za is proud to announce the semi-finalists of the 2019/20 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank. #CarsAwards

Conceived to be South Africa’s definitive automotive awards programme, which recognises the best purchasing propositions in respective categories of the new vehicle market, #CarsAwards enters its 5th year – having steadily grown in stature, reach and influence with the support of WesBank, South Africa’s largest vehicle finance provider.

“Vehicle purchases are amongst the biggest that consumers are likely to make in their lifetime,” says Ghana Msibi, Executive Head of Sales and Marketing at WesBank.

“Initiatives such as this offer credible opinions on the types of cars and features available in the market, and in so doing help consumers make informed decisions when choosing a new or used vehicle,” he adds.

The 13 eventual category winners will be selected from the list of 65 vehicles, which includes model derivatives from no fewer than 24 brands represented in the South African market. All vehicles available on the South African market on September 1, 2019, were eligible, not only new products that were launched during the past 12 months.

The first phase of #CarsAwards saw the extended Cars.co.za editorial team select the five best vehicles in each of the 13 categories devised for this year’s programme. Careful attention was paid to the respective categories’ “Filters of Eligibility” and the “Pillars of Success” in order to come to a consensus on the list of semi-finalists.


New categories reflect market changes

Compared with the 2018/19 #CarsAwards, the Executive Sedan category has been replaced with one that caters for premium-positioned crossovers. The former Hot Hatch category (now named Fun Hatch) encompasses more affordable contenders and the price caps for the Premium SUV and Performance Car segments have been raised.

“It is important to note that we analyse market changes proactively and adapt the categories to be better aligned with the South African consumer,” says Cars.co.za Consumer Experience Manager Hannes Oosthuizen. “With no new contenders in the Executive Sedan category, as well as very poor sales in that segment, we saw it fit to create a new category (to reflect growth and interest in upmarket crossovers) instead. 

“Meanwhile there have been no new launches in the traditional hot hatch category, but there has been activity at a lower price point, so we’ve created a new category called Fun Hatch. Plus, given the rapidly rising prices of cars, we believe that sticking to a R1-million barrier for our Premium SUV and Performance Car categories is no longer practical.”

Volkswagen leads the charge again

Even though as many as 24 brands’ vehicles feature in the list of 65, five marques have more than 3 semi-finalists in the running for category honours. As was the case at this stage last year, Volkswagen has the most representatives (8), followed by BMW (6) and Audi, which has 5, although the A1 Sportback 40TFSI S Line is notably a semi-finalist in two separate categories. Ford (5) and Toyota (4) round out the major manufacturers.

Full list of 2019/20 #CarsAwards semi-finalists

Budget Car

  • Kia Picanto 1.2 Style
  • Renault Sandero Stepway Expression
  • Hyundai Grand i10 1.0 Fluid
  • Suzuki Swift 1.2 GLX
  • Volkswagen Polo Vivo Trendline

Compact Hatch

  • Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI Comfortline
  • Nissan Micra turbo Acenta Plus
  • Mazda2 1.5 Individual Auto
  • Kia Rio 1.4 EX
  • Ford Fiesta 1.0 Trend Auto

Premium Hatch 

  • Volkswagen Golf GTI
  • Audi A1 Sportback 40TFSI S Line
  • Mercedes-Benz A200 AMG-Line
  • Mazda3 2.0 Astina
  • Mini Cooper S Hatch 5-Door Sports Auto

Executive SUV

  • Volvo XC60 D5 R-Design
  • Audi Q5 40 TDI Sport quattro
  • BMW X3 xDrive20d M-Sport
  • Range Rover Evoque D180 R-Dynamic SE
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC 220d AMG-Line

Compact Family Car

  • Ford Ecosport 1.0 Titanium Auto
  • Opel Crossland X 1.2 Turbo Enjoy Auto
  • Renault Duster 1.5 dCi Prestige
  • Suzuki Vitara 1.4T GLX Auto
  • Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI 85kW Highline R-Line

Family Car

  • Mazda CX-5 2.0 Dynamic Auto
  • Peugeot 3008 2.0 HDI Allure
  • Subaru Forester 2.0i-S ES
  • Toyota RAV4 2.0 GX Auto
  • Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace 1.4 TSI Trendline

Adventure SUV

  • Ford Everest 2.0 Bi-Turbo 4WD Limited
  • Haval H9 Luxury
  • Isuzu M-UX 3.0 4WD
  • Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 2.4 D4 4×4
  • Toyota Fortuner 2.8GD-6 4×4 Auto

Premium SUV

  • Audi Q8 55 TFSI quattro
  • BMW X5 xDrive30d M-Sport
  • Range Rover Velar D300 R-Dynamic HSE
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE 400d 4Matic AMG-Line
  • Volvo XC90 T8 Twin-Engine R-Design


  • Volvo XC40 D4 R-Design
  • Audi Q3 35 TFSI S Line
  • Jaguar E-Pace D180 AWD R-Dynamic
  • Lexus UX 200 EX
  • Mini Countryman Cooper S sports-auto

Leisure Double-Cab 

  • Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 Legend 50 4×4 Auto
  • Ford Ranger 2.0 BiTDi Wildtrak 4×4 Auto
  • Mitsubishi Triton 2.4 DI-D 4×4 Auto
  • Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 V6 TDI Highline 4Motion
  • Isuzu D-Max 3.0 TD 4×4 LX Auto

Business Class

  • BMW 320d Sport Line
  • BMW 330i Sport Line
  • Mercedes-Benz C300 AMG Line
  • Volkswagen Arteon 2.0 TSI 4Motion R-Line
  • Audi A5 40 TFSI Sport

Fun Hatch

  • Volkswagen Polo GTI
  • Suzuki Swift Sport 1.4T 
  • Audi A1 Sportback 40 TFSI S Line
  • Opel Corsa GSi
  • Mini Cooper S Sports-Auto

Performance Car

  • Toyota Supra 3.0T
  • BMW M2 Competition M-DCT
  • BMW Z4 M40i
  • Ford Mustang GT 5.0
  • Porsche Cayman GTS

Visit CarsAwards.co.za for more info on the #CarsAwards categories & semi-finalists.

In the next round (due to take place in October 2019), the extended Cars.co.za editorial team will score the semi-finalists individually, taking into account various criteria set out for each of the respective categories. Following that, the top three finalists per category will be announced and subjected to back-to-back testing at Gerotek in Gauteng by the combined judging panel (the 7 Cars.co.za editorial team members and 14 respected guest judges from various backgrounds and fields of expertise) in November 2019.

Combined judging panel for the 2019/20 #CarsAwards (in alphabetical order):

Aluta Maqoko (The Kolloquium), Ashley Oldfield (Cars.co.za), Brenwin Naidu (Sowetan & Sunday Times), Ciro de Siena (Cars.co.za), Claire Mawisa (Carte Blanche), Dasen Thathiah (eNCA), David Taylor (Cars.co.za), Ernest Page (SA Car Fan), Gero Lilleike (Cars.co.za), Jacob Moshokoa (947/EWN), Juliet McGuire (Freelance), Khulekani Dumisa (Khulekani on Wheels), Khutso Theledi (YFM), Kojo Baffoe (freelance), Lerato Matebese (Driven), Mike Fourie (Cars.co.za), Nafisa Akabor (Tech Journalist), Phuti Mpyane (Business Day), Thami Masemola (In4Ride), Wendy Knowler (Consumer Specialist) and Wezile Bonani (Bay FM).

The 21 judges’ scores for each of the 39 finalists will only count for 50% of the final standings, however. The other 50% will be based on rankings that the respective vehicle brands represented by the finalists achieved in the Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey, conducted in partnership with data specialists Lightstone Consumer. The data incorporates feedback from thousands of vehicle owners, based on their experiences of their vehicles (less than five years old and serviced through franchised outlets). 

“The Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank is designed to be a guide for all new passenger vehicle buyers, not only those who follow motoring publications,” Oosthuizen concludes. “With 50% of the final scores determined by brands’ rating in the survey, a vehicle only really stands a very good chance of winning if it is a good product in the eyes of the judges and if its brand delivers solid after-sales service.

It goes without saying that ongoing public participation in the Ownership Satisfaction Survey enables Cars.co.za to deliver the most relevant and accurate data-driven insights to consumers. The survey also represents a golden opportunity for owners to have a say in the outcome of the 2019/20 #CarsAwards. Have your say at bit.ly/CarscozaSurvey