SUVs dominate list of semi-finalists in AutoTrader's Car of the Year

Here are the semi-finalists for the 2019 AutoTrader SA Car Of The Year competition (COTY)…

For the first time in its 33-year history the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ), in partnership with AutoTrader, the headline sponsor, members of the public were able to cast their votes for the semi-finalists via a dedicated portal set up by AutoTrader and promoted to their over 5 million reach audience. Consumers voted alongside Full and Fellow members of the SAGMJ to select the Top 20 finalist vehicles for the 2019 AutoTrader South African Car Of The Year. The contender voting selection contained new vehicle ranges introduced to the South African new car market within the 2019 AutoTrader SA Car Of The Year eligibility period. The SAGMJ is proud to announce the semi-finalists for the 2019 AutoTrader SA Car Of The Year competition (COTY), in alphabetical order:

1. Alfa Romeo Stelvio
2. Haval H9
3. Honda Civic Type R
4. Honda Amaze
5. Hyundai Kona
6. Jaguar E-Pace
7. Land Rover Range Rover Velar
8. Lexus ES
9. Mercedes-Benz A-Class
10. Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
11. Nissan Micra
12. Opel Grandland X
13. Opel Crossland X
14. Porsche Cayenne
15. Renault Duster
16. Renault Mégane RS
17. Suzuki Swift
18. Suzuki Jimny
19. Volvo XC60
20. Volvo XC40


The changes in the competition speak directly to the evolving face of journalism and the megatrend of social media platforms impacting business models worldwide. “We are extremely proud of our new AutoTrader South African Car Of The Year public participation, and were not surprised when public voting in large part mirrored that of our voting Guild members,” said Rubin van Niekerk, Chairman of the SAGMJ. Van Niekerk added that the Competition has gradually evolved over the last 3 decades and thanks to AutoTrader the Competition now has a technological spin on public interaction. He reiterated that the sole aim of the 2019 AutoTrader SA Car Of The Year is to reward automotive excellence. The 2019 AutoTrader SA Car Of The Year Jury will put the finalists through structured testing procedures in March 2019, before scoring each finalist against its direct class competitors on aspects that include:

  • Exterior Design
  • Interior Design & Utility/Practicality
  • Engine Performance
  • Technology
  • Transmission Performance
  • Engineering Integrity, Build Quality & Noise Levels
  • Ride Handling and Brakes
  • Driver Assistance & Safety Systems
  • Overall Excellence
  • Affordability / Value for Money (automated score)
  • Vehicle sales (automated score)

The SA Guild of Motoring Journalists has run the South African Car Of The Year competition since 1986, and this is the first year with AutoTrader, South Africa’s largest online motoring market place, as a headline sponsor. George Mienie, CEO of AutoTrader believes that the contest clearly reflects the diversity of the South African automotive arena. Mienie also commented that it comes as no surprise to see SUV’s dominating the list. “This genre of vehicle is gaining in popularity – not only here in South Africa but also all over the world. Accordingly, the list of semi-finalists is reflecting global automotive trends,” he comments.

During the next few days the 2019 AutoTrader SA Car Of The Year Jury, consisting of 25 respected motoring scribes from all over South Africa, will conclude voting for the finalist vehicle ranges that will compete in the AutoTrader South African Car Of The Year competition. The Top 10 Semi-Finalists will be announced at an invitation only event at The Garden Venue, North Riding, Johannesburg on Tuesday, 20 November 2018.

It will all culminate in the 2019 AutoTrader SA Car Of The Year Winner announcement banquet which will be held in early April 2019. Another first for the Competition is that Category Winners will be introduced which includes a Premium (executive and premium sedan), Leisure (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) Winner. These categories will only be won if there is a suitable candidate and it does not affect the selection of finalist vehicles. The overall 2019 AutoTrader SA Car Of The Year winner remains the most coveted of all titles and enjoys international recognition.