2017/18 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank; Semi-Finalists

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The semi-finalists for the Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank, now in its 3rd year, have been announced. The 13 eventual category winners will be selected from this pool of 65 vehicles, which collectively represent some of the best purchasing propositions in the new car market.

In the first round of the Awards (also referred to as the #CarsAwards), the Cars.co.za extended editorial team selected the 5 best cars in each of the 13 categories devised for this year’s programme. Careful attention is paid to the respective categories' "Filters of Eligibility" and the "Pillars of Success" in order to come to a consensus on the identities of the semi-finalists. All vehicles available on the South African market on September 1, 2017, were eligible, not only new products launched in the past 12 months.

To catch up on all the categories and for more information on the CarsAwards programme, visit the micro-site here.

"The debate and agreement by consensus is a core pillar of our programme," says Cars.co.za Consumer Experience Manager, Hannes Oosthuizen. "We debate each eligible vehicle within the context of its category, and will not move on until the entire team is in agreement. This means far deeper interrogation and more exhaustive investigation than is typical in a 'secret vote' set-up."

In the next round, due to take place early in October, the same jury will score each vehicle individually, taking into account the various, different criteria that each category prescribes. The top 3 (finalists) will then be announced next month, and be put through back-to-back testing at Gerotek in Gauteng early in November, by the entire Cars.co.za Consumer Awards - Powered by WesBank, jury. Check out the video of last year's test days below.

 

Remember, your consumer experience helps pick the eventual winners (as well as the Brand of the Year) of the CarsAwards via the Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey, developed in conjunction with Lightstone Consumer. Relevant data collected from the surveys accounts for 50% of the final category scores, and 100% for Brand of the Year.

To have your say, complete the survey here.

Here are the semi-finalists in their respective categories

Budget Car (under R175k)

Buying an affordable car doesn’t mean you should compromise on safety, technology and quality. The winner of this category represents as much good car as possible for the asking price. Value is very important, as are low running costs and all such "common sense" considerations. Given the financial pressure that all South African households face, we've only raised the price cap for semi-finalists to R175 000 this year. ABS and dual airbags are must-have safety requirements. The semi-finalists are:

Compact Hatch (R175k-R250k)

In this extremely competitive category, we’re looking for a balanced offering that is excellent across the board. Cars in this segment must appeal to a very wide audience – from the young professional or family buying up from an entry-level car, to pensioners buying down from something larger and expensive. The winner of this award must truly reflect what is best about modern automotive design and engineering, but present it in a concentrated, reasonably affordable form. The semi-finalists are;

Premium Hatch (R350k-R500k)

Stylish and sophisticated yet, practical enough for most motoring needs, these are the cars for the upwardly mobile go-getter. The winner in this category must not only offer outstanding quality, refinement, performance and the latest technologies, but also broadcast a message of success and ambition. The semi-finalists are;

Compact Family (R250k-R350k)

With household budgets stretched to breaking point, the reasonably affordable modern-day family car has to wear many hats - from compact traffic dodger, to spacious school-run specialist and even weekend getaway machine. Practicality and spaciousness are important considerations, but so are safety, technology, fuel efficiency and a modicum of lifestyle flexibility. The semi-finalists in this category are;

Family Car (R350k-R500k)

The typical family car fulfils a wide variety of duties and needs to be a practical, safe all-rounder. The winner of this category should be ideal not only for the morning school run, but also the school holiday run to a distant location. In judging this category we’ve placed particular emphasis on interior flexibility, comfort and safety. The semi-finalists are;

Business Class (R500k-R700k)

In this category you will find the type of cars that realistic dreams are made off. We’re looking for an aspirational vehicle that will appeal to the image-conscious driver who places a priority on performance, dynamics, technology and design. The target customers have achieved success and want a car that isn’t only a personal reward, but also one which broadcasts their achievements. The semi-finalists are;

Executive Sedan (R700k-R1 million)

These technological masterpieces represent an enviable blend of First Class luxury and comfort, and Business Class technology and dynamic appeal. Prestige is usually a given in this segment, but we’re also looking for significant technological advancement, yet without compromising the level of comfort and quiet style that these sedans are renowned for. The semi-finalists in this category are;

Leisure Double Cab (above R500k)

In this immensely popular and fiercely contested category of the market, the search is on for the ultimate all-rounder. From luxurious touring vehicle, to hardcore off-roader, capable carry-all, family do-all and lifestyle activity machine, leisure double-cab bakkies can no longer be too utilitarian and rough around the edges, but should be highly sophisticated offerings. The semi-finalists are;

Adventure SUV (R550k-R800k)

We’re looking for the ultimate recreational vehicle to transport a family and all their holiday and lifestyle gear in comfort to almost any destination, on- or off-road. Off-road ability is emphasised, in combination, with practicality, comfort and long-distance cruising. The semi-finalists are;

Executive SUV (R600k-R900k)

Increasingly regarded as the status symbol to have, most premium brands now offer road-biased SUVs that combine prestige and practicality in a package that is characterised by superior refinement. Drivetrain performance and refined road manners are a priority as is a cabin that features upmarket materials and the most up-to-date technology. The semi-finalists are;

Premium SUV (R900k-R1.25million)

Luxurious SUVs may appeal for irrational and emotional reasons such as kerb appeal and status, but at their core they are some of the most sophisticated and capable vehicles on the market. Blending spaciousness with high-tech off-road equipment, powerful engines, as well as luxuriously trimmed cabins, the prestige-badged premium SUV we are looking for in this category should be tailor-made for image- and practicality obsessed buyers. The semi-finalists are;

Fun Car (under R600k)

What is it that makes a car "fun" to drive? Is it purely about performance and handling? To a large degree it is, but for this award category we’re looking for a total package that is not priced in fantasy land. This is one for the petrolheads – a car that must leave the die-hard enthusiast smiling after every drive, in the way it looks, handles, sounds and, yes, performs. The semi-finalists are;

Performance car (R600k-R1 million)

While supercars and other “exotics” are mere fantasies for most, there are cars priced below the magical R1 million mark that offer near-supercar thrills and performance. In this category we are not only looking for sizzling performance, but also driver engagement, whether driven on track or road. The semi-finalists are;

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