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


Herewith the 65 semi-finalists of the 2020/21 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank. 

The theme for this year’s iteration of South Africa’s definitive automotive awards programme is “Be Part of the Journey – My Car, My Freedom”. As South Africa adapts to the “The New Normal” after many challenging months of national lockdown due to the impact of Covid-19, #CarsAwards recognises the importance of consumers regaining their freedom of movement and the role that car ownership plays in achieving that goal.

#CarsAwards, which recognises the best purchasing propositions in 13 categories of the domestic vehicle market, is now in its sixth year and the programme has been supported by WesBank, South Africa’s largest vehicle finance provider, for 5 consecutive years.

Volkswagen dominated the 2019/20 #CarsAwards by bagging 6 category wins, as well as the coveted Brand of the Year title.

The 13 eventual category winners will be selected from the list of 65 vehicles, which includes model derivatives from no fewer than 24 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 first phase of #CarsAwards saw the extended Cars.co.za editorial team select the five best vehicles in each of the 13 categories 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.

As with so many things that were planned for 2020, this year’s #CarsAwards judging process was delayed to allow vehicle manufacturers and importers to introduce new models as the restrictions imposed during lockdown have gradually eased. What’s more, compared with the 2019/20 #CarsAwards, the Performance Car and Fun Hatch categories have been discontinued, but they’ve replaced with new, more relevant ones.   

The #CarsAwards gala event will take place in February 2021, where the winners across all 13 categories will be announced. 

“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.”

“So, this year, you will see an additional affordable car segment, as well as a new crossover segment, to address growing demand for such vehicles at more affordable prices. We have pushed out our semi-finalist selection by a month to assist brands that have had their new model introductions delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.

Even though as many as 25 brands’ vehicles feature in the list of 65, 11 brands have at least 3 semi-finalists in the running for category honours. As was the case at this stage last year, Volkswagen has the most representatives (7), but the Wolfsburg-based firm is followed closely by Suzuki (6) and Toyota (5) – and all three brands are #CarsAwards Brand of the Year winners. Ford and Hyundai, meanwhile, have 4 semi-finalists apiece.

Full list of 2020/21 #CarsAwards semi-finalists

Weighing just 770 kg, the Suzuki S-Presso is just like the coffee, in a way... Compact and nippy.

Entry-Level Car

  • Hyundai Atos 1.1 Motion
  • Peugeot 108 1.0 Active
  • Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL
  • Suzuki S-Presso 1.0 S-Edition
  • Volkswagen 1.0 Move Up!

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

The recently-launched Toyota Starlet 1.4 Xr competes against its cousin, the Suzuki Baleno 1.4 GLX, in the budget-car category.

Budget Car

  • Ford Figo Freestyle 1.5 Trend
  • Suzuki Ignis 1.2 GLX
  • Suzuki Baleno 1.4 GLX
  • Toyota Starlet 1.4 Xr
  • Volkswagen Polo Vivo 1.4 Comfortline

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

Earlier this year, we reviewed the Citroen C3 1.2 Feel; its turbocharged sibling is a semi-finalist in the compact hatch category.

Compact Hatch 

  • Citroen C3 1.2T Shine
  • Ford Fiesta 1.0T Trend auto
  • Mazda2 1.5 Individual auto
  • Suzuki Swift 1.4T Sport auto
  • Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI Comfortline auto

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

Kia recently expanded its Seltos compact family car range by launching a turbodiesel derivative.

Compact Family Car

  • Hyundai Venue 1.0T Glide
  • Kia Seltos 1.5 CRDi EX+ auto
  • Renault Duster 1.5 dCi Prestige
  • Suzuki Vitara 1.4T GLX auto
  • Volkswagen T-Cross 1.5 TSI 110kW R-Line

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

The RAV4 is boldly styled and the GX-R – a #CarsAwards semi-finalist – is particularly striking in the metal.

Family Car

  • Citroen C5 Aircross 1.6T Shine
  • Mazda CX-5 2.0 Dynamic auto
  • Opel Grandland X 1.6 Turbo Enjoy
  • Subaru Forester 2.0i-S ES
  • Toyota RAV4 2.0 AWD GX-R

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

The flagship derivative of the updated Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is a 2020/21 #CarsAwards semi-finalist.

Adventure SUV

  • Ford Everest 2.0 Bi-Turbo 4WD XLT
  • Haval H9 2.0T 4WD Luxury
  • Isuzu M-UX 3.0 4WD
  • Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 2.4 DI-D 4x4 Exceed
  • ​Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 4x4 VX Auto

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

The Range Rover Evoque is still one of the most eye-catching vehicles in the Executive SUV segment.

Executive SUV

  • Audi Q5 45 TFSI quattro S-Line
  • BMW X3 xDrive20d M-Sport
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC 300d 4Matic AMG-Line
  • Range Rover Evoque P250 R-Dynamic SE
  • Volvo XC60 D5 R-Design

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

With its "creased" exterior design language and smart detailing, the Lexus RX 450h SE looks suitably premium.

Premium SUV

  • BMW X5 xDrive30d M Sport
  • Land Rover Defender D240 HSE
  • Lexus RX 450h SE
  • Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI Executive R-Line
  • Volvo XC90 T8 Twin-Engine R-Design

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

The top-of-the-range Ford Ranger Wildtrak will be looking to unseat the Volkswagen Amarok in the leisure double-cab category.

Leisure Double-Cab 

  • Ford Ranger 2.0 Bi-Turbo 4x4 Wildtrak
  • Isuzu D-Max 3.0 TD 4x4 LX auto
  • Mitsubishi Triton 2.4 DI-D 4x4 Extreme
  • Volkswagen Amarok 2.0BiTDI Highline Plus 4Motion
  • Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 4x4 Legend Auto

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

The long-serving Mazda CX-3 is a contender in the new-for-2020 crossover category of the #CarsAwards.


  • Hyundai Kona 2.0 Executive
  • Mazda CX-3 2.0 Individual Plus
  • Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 1.5T GLS
  • Subaru XV 2.0i-S ES
  • Toyota C-HR 1.2T Luxury

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

The Volvo XC40 faces stiff competition in the premium crossover category from Audi, Jaguar, Lexus and Mini.

Premium Crossover

  • Audi Q3 Sportback 40 TFSI quattro S Line
  • Jaguar E-Pace P250 AWD
  • Lexus UX 250h SE
  • Mini Countryman Cooper  S
  • Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design

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

Renault's Megane RS Trophy derivatives are renowned for setting fastest hatchback laps at various circuits.

Hot Hatch

  • Honda Civic Type R
  • Hyundai i30 N
  • Renault Megane RS300 Trophy
  • Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR

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

Inspired by the 325iS Gusheshe, the 330is Edition leads BMW's charge in the (now renamed) sports executive category.

Sports Executive

  • Audi A4 40 TFSI Sport S Line
  • BMW 330is Edition
  • Jaguar XE P250 S
  • Lexus IS 350 F-Sport
  • Mercedes-Benz C300 AMG Line

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

In the next round (due to take place in mid-October 2020), 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 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:

Khulekani Dumisa (Khulekani on Wheels), Aluta Maqoko (The Kolloquium), 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 (SA Car Fan), Jacob Moshokoa (947 & EWN), 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 here.

For more information about the programme, categories & contenders, visit the #CarsAwards website

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