Top 21 finalists for the 2023 SA Car of the Year competition announced

The 2023 South African Car of the Year (COTY) competition, sponsored by Old Mutual Insure and presented by the South African Guild of Mobility Journalists (SAGMJ), is gearing up to crown the country’s ultimate vehicle champion at a gala event in June 2023. With a long-standing history dating back to 1986, this prestigious event showcases the pinnacle of innovation and excellence in the automotive industry and here are the top 21 finalists (in alphabetical order by category):

Category Finalists
Compact Renault Clio 5
Compact Family BAIC Beijing X55
Nissan Qashqai
Opel Mokka
VW Taigo
Midsize Alfa Romeo Tonale
Chery Tiggo Pro 8
Honda Civic RS
  Hyundai Tucson
  Kia Sportage
Premium Jeep Grand Cherokee L
Kia Sorento
Adventure SUV Ford Everest
Double Cab Ford Ranger
Isuzu D-Max
Luxury Mercedes Benz S-Class
Performance Audi RS3 Sedan / Hatch
New Energy Audi e-tron GT/RS e-tron GT
Haval H6 Hybrid
Toyota RAV4 E-four
Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge


“Congratulations to our top 21 finalists! All the vehicles have already proven to be excellent contenders and we’re looking forward with anticipation to see which deserving vehicle will take home the coveted overall winner’s crown, as well as who the category winners will be,” says Garth Napier, MD of Old Mutual Insure.

“The 2023 COTY finalists showcase cutting-edge innovation and fierce competition in the quest to offer the best mobility solutions. These finalists are the cream of the crop in South Africa, and we can’t wait to see who comes out on top,” adds Mabuyane Mabuza, Chairperson of the 2023 COTY Committee.”

After intense deliberation, the COTY Committee and the SAGMJ Executive Committee unanimously agreed that, instead of taking the top 12 scoring vehicles, a score cut-off was applied with the objective of including a broader spectrum of finalists without favouring categories. “The team looked at a few options, but once the suggestion of a score-cut off was on the table, it just made sense. It evened the playing field,” says Mabuza.

The COTY categories include Budget, Compact, Compact Family, Midsize, Premium, Adventure SUV, 4X4 Double Cab, Luxury, Performance and New Energy. The Budget category does not have contenders on this year’s finalist list.

Almost 40 percent of the overall juror votes highlighted the strong competition in the highly contested Compact Family and Midsize categories. The competition in the Premium, Luxury and ever-growing New Energy categories for a spot on the finalist’s list was just as fierce.

“The semi-finalist group was incredibly competitive, with several strong contenders narrowly missing the finalist cut. This year’s finalists include a larger selection of brands, making the competition much more exciting. The COTY Committee is pleased with the vehicle selection of the final round and anticipates a tough decision for our expert jury panel,” says Mabuza.

“As one of South Africa’s most established insurers that has gained a reputation for excellence in the non-life insurance landscape, Old Mutual Insure is proud to sponsor such a prestigious competition that recognises the best in automotive technology. Good luck to the jury and contenders in the final round of voting,” adds Napier.

The final round of scoring will commence shortly and continue until the end of March 2023, incorporating data from Lightstone for the competition’s automated scoring, based on market segment sales volumes and spec-adjusted competitor pricing.

The Motor Enthusiast’s Choice (public vote) will run again this year. Keep an eye out on social media for posts featuring each finalist and be sure to cast your vote by liking your favourite. The finalist with the most likes will be the winning vehicle, and three lucky voters will win an off-road driving course sponsored by Old Mutual Insure and the SAGMJ.

“The 2023 COTY Committee wishes all contenders good luck. The category winners and the overall winner of the SA Car of the Year competition will be announced on 1 June,” concludes Mabuza.

The official hashtag for this year’s COTY competition is #SACOTY2023.