The annual South African Car of the Year competition is a prestigious event, and the scoring system has been recognised as one of the best in the world. A large number of experienced motoring journalists from the SA Guild of Mobility Journalists do their duty as judges and a large list of potential finalists are whittled down until a winner is crowned. Or in this case for the first time ever, a top three. These events can only run properly when there’s a great partner involved, and this year Old Mutual Insure came on board, and it looks like it will be a continuing partnership, and that’s really great news. There were 21 finalists for this year featuring cars from various segments in various price ranges, and that made the judging quite a task, but after seeing the overall winner we have confidence in the scoring system. For the first time in the 37-year history of the COTY competition, a bakkie was crowned South Africa's Car of the Year for 2023 in the form of the next-gen Ford Ranger. Mabuyane Mabuza, Chairperson of the 2023 COTY Competition, said that this remarkable achievement is a testament to the automotive industry's commitment to producing high-quality double cabs that offer unrivalled performance while seamlessly blending comfort, safety, and cutting-edge technology. "Over the past decade, the popularity of SUVs and Double Cabs has skyrocketed at the expense of sedans. Double cab bakkies have become a common choice for everyday commuting, family adventures and various work applications, providing a popular solution for South Africans' mobility demands," says Mabuza.
An eye-opener was the amount of EVs that made the cut, especially with the way SA is right now. That and the fact that we saw Chinese cars compete and win, showing how far and how fast the country’s automotive market is evolving. The categories seen in the SA Car of the Year competition include Budget, Compact, Compact Family, Midsize, Premium, Adventure SUV, 4x4 Double Cab, Luxury, Performance, and New Energy categories. This year in the Budget category the one finalist didn’t rack up enough points to score a win, so there was no winner this year. The category winners for this year’s competition are as follows:
Compact Family Category: BAIC Beijing X55
Midsize Category: KIA Sportage
Premium Category: KIA Sorento
Adventure SUV Category: Ford Everest
Double Cab 4x4 Category: Ford Ranger
Luxury Category: Mercedes Benz S-Class
Performance Category: Audi RS 3
New-energy Category: Volvo XC 40 P8 Recharge2023 SA Car of the Year: Ford Ranger Double Cab 4x4
The Mercedes Benz S-Class also won the coveted COTY Jurors Excellence Award, and the Chery Tiggo 8 Pro won the "Motor Enthusiasts Choice" award that was chosen by public vote.
Take a look at the YouTube video that shows off all the cool bits of the next-gen Ford Ranger but in the top-spec Wildtrak guise. It's an amazing thing to drive, super capable and features an interior on par with luxury car offerings. With the number of bakkie sales in SA, it makes sense that this platform would one day win the prestigious SA Car of the Year competition, I mean just look at it: Ford SA | Next-Gen Ranger Wildtrak | Ford South Africa
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