Two SUVs in 2010 Car of the Year

  •   Alfa Romeo MiTo 1.4i Turbo Petrol
  •   Audi Q5 2.0 T S tronic
  •   Chevrolet Cruze 1.8 LS
  •   Hyundai i20 1.6 GLS
  •   Suzuki Alto 1.0 Litre GLS
  •   Toyota Prius 1.8 ECVT Advanced
  •   Volkswagen Golf VI 1.4 TSI 90 kW Comfortline
  •   Volvo XC60 3.0T Geartronic

The next step in the process is to determine the winner from a two-day test session to be held in February 2010 at the Gerotek test facility near Pretoria, where the cars will be assessed independently by the jury members.

The evaluation includes high speed dynamic assessment; an autokhana test to mark manoeuvrability, parking prowess and general ease of control; driving tests under various conditions on track and road, in town and on gravel, all the while taking fuel economy into account.

A static evaluation of each finalist also contributes to the car’s score in terms of aesthetics, build quality and ergonomics, while considerations based on perceptions of value for money, cost of a spares’ basket, safety features and environmental friendliness contribute to overall points.

Then there’s value for money to consider. What does the vehicle cost to run? Are parts expensive? What kind of fuel consumption figures does it return? How practical is the car? Is it equipped with all the comfort and user friendly features you would expect at the quoted price? Is its performance worth the money? What innovations does it bring to the automotive mainstream?

South Africa’s Car of the Year competition – sponsored for the past 25 years by wheels bank, WesBank, with additional support this year from Total, Hollard Insurance, Garmin and Varta – is unique in the world in that the victor is determined not by popular vote as in most countries, but by actual testing of the finalists to determine by what margins they meet criteria for COTY honours.

While all of the models are deemed to represent examples of outstanding automotive engineering, there can be only one winner and, in the eyes of the COTY jury, that model will epitomise all-round automotive excellence.