A mixed bag of 10 French, Italian, German and Korean vehicles have made it through to the finals for the 2012 South African Car of the Year competition. The finalists were determined in a vote by the full members and a jury made up of 30 selected members of the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ).
The 10 finalists are:
•2011 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 125 kW MultiAir Distinctive
•2011 Audi A6 3.0 T TDI Quattro S tronic
•2011 Citroen DS4 THP 200 Sport
•20i11 Ford Focus 2.0 TDCI Trend Sedan Powershift
•2011 Hyundai Elantra 1.8 GLS
•2011 Kia Picanto 1.2 EX
•2011 Mercedes Benz SLK 350 BlueEFFICIENCY
•2011 Peugeot 5008 2.0 HDi Active Man
•2011 Suzuki Kizashi 2.4 SDLX Man
•2011 VW Jetta 1.4 TSI 118 kW Highline
The winner of South Africa’s most prestigious motoring award will be determined in a two-day test session to be held in February 2012 at the Gerotek test facility near Pretoria, where the cars will be assessed independently by the jury members.
In keeping with the broadened competition, the testing at Gerotek will allow the vehicles to be evaluated under the conditions individual vehicles would be expected to perform under. While jury members are already familiar with the vehicles they have voted into the final, the testing days offer an opportunity to re-acquaint themselves with the cars.
“It allows jury members to pay close attention to the cars’ aesthetics, build quality and ergonomics, while considerations based on perceptions of value for money, cost of a spares’ basket, safety features and environmental friendliness can be taken into account before scoring the top ten. Fuel consumption figures are also available as is a range of data that must be considered before pronouncing on which vehicle is the best of the best,” according to Mark Jones, convenor of the competition.
South Africa’s Car of the Year competition – sponsored for the past 27 years by wheels bank, WesBank, with additional support from Total and Hollard Insurance – is unique in the world in that it is determined by three rounds of voting, the first which is open to all full members of the SAGMJ yields the semi-finalists, a second round open to the only the jury, which determines the finalists and then a final allocation of points after a two-day evaluation session at the world class Gerotek testing facility.
The jury is selected from those SAGMJ members who has had the greatest exposure to new models launched between 1 October 2010 to 31 August 2011.The winner of the 2012 WesBank / SAGMJ Car the Year will be announced in March 2012.