2019/20 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards - Powered by WesBank; Semi-Finalists


These are the semi-finalists of the 2019/20 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank. The 13 eventual category winners will be selected from this pool of 65 vehicles, which represent some of the best purchasing propositions in the new car market. 

Conceived to be South Africa’s definitive automotive awards programme, which recognises the best purchasing propositions in respective categories of the new car market, #CarsAwards enters its 5th year – has 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.” 

The #CarsAwards is regarded as an energetic, impactful opening number on the automotive industry calendar.

The list of 65 semi-finalists 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 2019/20 #CarsAwards saw the extended Cars.co.za editorial team select the 5 best vehicles in the 13 categories, some of which were specifically 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, 5 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 derivative is notably a semi-finalist in 2 separate categories. Ford (5) and Toyota (4) round out the major manufacturers.

To gain a greater understanding of how the #CarsAwards work, go here.

Full list of 2019/20 #CarsAwards semi-finalists

The recently introduced Suzuki 1.2 GLX replaces its sibling (and 2018/19 #CarsAwards category winner) in this year's list.

Budget Car

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

For more info on the category's criteria and semi-finalists, click here.

The mid-spec Kia Rio 1.4 EX has charmed its way into the semi-finalist line-up in the Compact Hatch category. 

Compact Hatch

  • VW 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

For more info on the category's criteria and semi-finalists, click here

The Premium Hatchback- replaces the Premium Compact category; the new Mazda3 2.0 Astina is one of the semi-finalists.

Premium Hatch

  • VW 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

For more info on the category's criteria and semi-finalists, click here.

Could the Range Rover Evoque supersede the Volvo XC60 as the champion in the Executive SUV category?

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

For more info on the category's criteria and semi-finalists, click here.

The eagerly anticipated Volkswagen T-Cross was launched in South Africa shortly before our September 1 cut-off date.

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
  • VW T-Cross 1.0 TSI 85kW Highline R-Line

For more info on the category's criteria and semi-finalists, click here.

The 2.0 GX-spec Toyota RAV4 is a popular derivative on the new vehicle market... Will it unseat the Volkswagen Tiguan in this category?

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
  • VW Tiguan Allspace 1.4 TSI Trendline

For more info on the category's criteria and semi-finalists, click here.

Armed with a new 2.0-litre bi-turbodiesel and a host of onboard and safety technologies, the top-spec Ford Everest in a strong contender.

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 4x4
  • Toyota Fortuner 2.8GD-6 4x4 Auto

For more info on the category's criteria and semi-finalists, click here.

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE features myriad improvements over its predecessor, but picking a winner in this category is tough.

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

For more info on the category's criteria and semi-finalists, click here.

Lexus returns to the #CarsAwards semi-finalists list with its new UX, which has garnered notable critical acclaim.


  • 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

For more info on the category's criteria and semi-finalists, click here.

The Toyota Hilux Legend 50 and updated Ford Ranger hope to unseat the defending champion, Volkswagen's Amarok 3.0 V6 TDI.

Leisure Double-Cab 

  • Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 Legend 50 4x4 Auto
  • Ford Ranger 2.0 BiTDi Wildtrak 4x4 Auto
  • Mitsubishi Triton 2.4 DI-D 4x4 Auto
  • VW Amarok 3.0 V6 TDI Highline 4Motion
  • Isuzu D-Max 3.0 TD 4x4 LX Auto

For more info on the category's criteria and semi-finalists, click here.

With its new G20-generation 3 Series, BMW has not 1, but 2, semi-finalists in the Business Class category.

Business Class

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

For more info on the category's criteria and semi-finalists, click here.

The new Audi A1 Sportback is a bigger, more sophisticated and characterful offering. The 40 TFSI S Line is a semi-finalist in 2 categories! 

Fun Hatch

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

For more info on the category's criteria and semi-finalists, click here.

The Ford Mustang utilises a mix of olde-worlde charm and bags of nostalgic appeal to combat the might of Germany (and Japan).

Performance Car

  • Toyota GR 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 all 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.

2019/20 #CarsAwards combined judging panel (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 (The Petrosexual), Thami Masemola (In4Ride), Wendy Knowler (Consumer Specialist) and Wezile Bonani (Bay FM). To learn more about the judges' backgrounds, click here.

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). 

Cars.co.za editorial and guest judges test #CarsAwards finalists back to back, but the public has an equally-big say.

“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.

Do you want to participate in the survey (even if you have before, you’re can do so again provided you've either bought a new vehicle/or had a service experience)? If you own a vehicle that is less than 5 years old and serviced by a franchised dealer? Click here

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Winners: 2018/19 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank [w/Video]

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