2020/21 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards - Powered by WesBank; Finalists


Cars.co.za is proud to announce the 39 finalists of the 2020/21 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank.

Now in its sixth iteration, #CarsAwards annually recognises the best purchasing propositions in 13 respective segments of the domestic new-vehicle market and is widely acknowledged as South Africa’s definitive automotive awards programme. 

With the support of WesBank, #CarsAwards has grown in reach, influence and stature. The theme for this year’s programme is “Be Part of the Journey – My Car, My Freedom”. 

“As South Africa’s leader in vehicle and asset finance, it is important to us to align our brand with impactful industry initiatives, particularly those that add value to consumers. There are many aspects to consider when making a major budget-impacting decision such as buying a car. As such, consumers should have access to credible opinions and objective data on the models of cars and features available in the market, to assist them in making an informed purchasing decision,” says Ghana Msibi, CEO of WesBank Motor.

“Our successful partnership with Cars.co.za in powering the Cars.co.za Consumer Awards is now in its sixth year. It seems fitting that this year’s awards theme is ‘My Car. My Freedom’. After the months of lockdown and restrictions to movement we have all had to endure, being able to get behind the wheel and drive across our country’s roads and highways is certainly a sense of freedom. However, if you are still deciding which car is right for you and your needs, the 2020/21 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards category finalists and eventual winners should go a long way in guiding you to that decision.”

Categories reflect a changing marketplace

The 13 category winners will be selected from the list of 39 vehicles, which includes model derivatives from no fewer than 19 brands represented in the South African market. All vehicles available on the South African market on October 1, 2020 were eligible, not only new products that were launched during the past 12 months.

The 39 finalists for the 2020/21 programme were selected by the extended Cars.co.za editorial team; each member scored the 65 pre-selected semi-finalists individually, based on the "Filters of Eligibility" and the "Pillars of Success" of the 13 respective categories. Once the scores were tallied, 3 finalists remained in each of the segments.

Compared with the preceding #CarsAwards, Performance Car and Fun Hatch have been replaced with new and more relevant categories: Entry-Level and Premium Crossover. Nonetheless, as many as 10 of the previous programme’s category winners have made the list of finalists again, although only four of them with exactly the same derivative as in 2019/20: Volkswagen Polo, Mazda CX-5, as well as BMW X3 and X5 respectively. 

“We made some revisions to the categories to make sure that they are in line with what South Africans are shopping for in the new vehicle market, but also factored in which segments had seen significant activity in terms of new launches,” says Cars.co.za Consumer Experience Manager Hannes Oosthuizen. “We also consider pricing movements, to make sure that our categories remain relevant to the consumer.”

Suzuki, Toyota have the most finalists

Whereas the 2019/20 #CarsAwards Brand of the Year, Volkswagen, had the most semi- finalists (7), followed by Suzuki (6) and Toyota (5), the Japanese marques, both of which have won the Brand of the Year title on two previous occasions, lead the list of finalists with 5 contenders apiece – the Wolfsburg-based firm has 4, followed by BMW and Volvo (3 each). Citroën, Honda, Isuzu, Land Rover and Subaru, which weren’t represented in the decisive round of the programme last year, each have at least one finalist in 2020/21.    

Full list of 2020/21 #CarsAwards finalists

Entry Level

  • Hyundai Atos 1.1 Motion

  • Suzuki S-Presso 1.0 S-Edition

  • Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL 

The Suzuki Swift was last year's Budget car winner but fits into this year's Entry Level category. 

Budget Car

  • Suzuki Baleno 1.4 GLX

  • Suzuki Ignis 1.2 GLX

  • Toyota Starlet 1.4 XR

Both the Suzuki Baleno and Toyota Starlet feature as Budget Car finalists this year, it is a very tight category.

Compact Hatch  

  • Ford Fiesta 1.0T Trend auto

  • Suzuki Swift 1.4T Sport auto

  • Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI Comfortline auto

The VW Polo is back this year to continue its winning streak in the Compact Hatch category.

Compact Family Car

  • Kia Seltos 1.5 CRDi EX+

  • Renault Duster 1.5 dCi Prestige

  • Volkswagen T-Cross 1.5 TSI 110kW R-Line

The Kia Seltos is a top challenger this year, hoping to steal the T-Cross' title.

Family Car 

  • Citroën C5 Aircross 1.6T Shine

  • Mazda CX-5 2.0 Dynamic auto 

  • Toyota RAV4 2.0 AWD GX-R

Reigning Family Car champ the Mazda CX-5 is back to defend its trophy.

Adventure SUV

  • Ford Everest 2.0 Bi-Turbo 4WD XLT

  • Isuzu M-UX 3.0 4WD

  • Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 4x4 VX Auto

The facelifted Isuzu MU-X has shown improvements worthy of inclusion as a finalist this year.

Executive SUV 

  • BMW X3 xDrive20d M-Sport

  • Range Rover Evoque P250 R-Dynamic SE

  • Volvo XC60 D5 R-Design

The same 3 contenders are up against each other in Executive SUV this year, maybe the Consumer Survey could change the outcome this time around.

Premium SUV

  • BMW X5 xDrive30d M Sport

  • Land Rover Defender D240 HSE

  • Volvo XC90 T8 Twin-Engine R-Design

The new Defender has proven to be both rugged and premium in the judges' eyes.


  • Mazda CX-3 2.0 Individual Plus

  • Subaru XV 2.0i-S ES

  • Toyota C-HR 1.2T Luxury

The Crossover category is an all-Japanese affair in the finals.

Premium Crossover

  • Audi Q3 Sportback 40 TFSI quattro S Line

  • Mini Countryman Cooper  S

  • Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design

In the new Premium Crossover category, Audi's recently-launched Q3 Sportback has made the cut.

Hot Hatch

  • Honda Civic Type R

  • Hyundai i30 N

  • Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR

The GTI badge has been a serial winner of awards at the CarsAwards event, can the new TCR version continue that trend?

Leisure Double-Cab  

  • Ford Ranger 2.0 Bi-Turbo 4x4 Wildtrak

  • Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 4x4 Legend Auto

  • Volkswagen Amarok 2.0BiTDI Highline Plus 4Motion

Facelifted for 2020, this looks to be the Hilux's best shot yet at taking the Leisure Bakkie title.

Sport Executive

  • Audi A4 40 TFSI Sport S Line

  • BMW 330is Edition

  • Mercedes-Benz C300 AMG Line

Audi's revitalised A4 will be up against familiar rivals in the Sports Executive category.

Each of the three finalists per category will now be subjected to back-to-back testing at the renowned Gerotek proving ground in Gauteng by the combined judging panel (the 6 Cars.co.za editorial team members and 14 respected guest judges from various backgrounds and fields of expertise) on 3 and 4 November 2020.

Combined judging panel for the 2020/21 #CarsAwards (in alphabetical order):

Khulekani Dumisa (Khulekani on Wheels), Aluta Maqoko (Entrepreneur), Juliet McGuire (Freelance), Brenwin Naidu (Sowetan & Sunday Times), Leanne Manas (Morning Live), Dasen Thathiah (eNCA), Ciro de Siena (Cars.co.za), Nafisa Akabor (Tech Journalist), David Taylor (Cars.co.za), Ernest Page (Performance with Page), Jacob Moshokoa (Eyewitness News), Phuti Mpyane (Business Day), Wendy Knowler (Consumer Specialist), Mpho Letsholonyane (SuperSport & Power 98.7), Wezile Bonani (Bay FM), Gero Lilleike (Cars.co.za), Kojo Baffoe (freelance), Thami Masemola (In4Ride), Ashley Oldfield (Cars.co.za) and Lerato Matebese (Top Gear).

The 20 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 2020/21 #CarsAwards. Have your say at bit.ly/CarsSatisfSurvey