The annual privilege of being part of the Jury that selects the South African Car of the Year seems to get tougher as the wealth of product and high levels of excellence keep raising the bar – and this year is no different with 18 vehicles having made it through to the finals.

The SA Guild of Mobility Journalists ‘Car of the Year’ is a competition all about excellence, innovation and raising the automotive bar, whether it be for overall honours or category recognition and the chosen ones will be tested by the Jury in back-to-back trials early next month.

Backed by Old Mutual Insure, the culmination of the competition is the gala dinner in May when the winners will be revealed.

"Congratulations to the top 18 finalists! We eagerly await the upcoming competition phase, where the contenders will undergo comprehensive testing by COTY's expert juror group in early March," says Garth Napier, MD of Old Mutual Insure.

Across the eight categories of the 2024 COTY competition, ranging from budget-friendly entry-level vehicles to luxurious top-end limousines, the most intense rivalry emerges in the Performance category with four formidable rivals and the Compact Family category with three outstanding competitors, all vying for coveted category honours.

The Finalists:

Budget and Compact

White Citroen C3Citroen C3

  • Suzuki Fronx
  • Citroen C3

Compact Family

Omoda C5Omoda C5

  • Omoda C5
  • Suzuki Grand Vitara
  • Toyota Urban Cruiser


  • BMW X1
  • GWM Ora 03


  • Mercedes-Benz GLC
  • Lexus NX


  • BMW 7 Series
  • Mercedes-Benz EQS

4x4 Double Cab

  • Volkswagen Amarok

Adventure SUV

Mahindra Scorpio NMahindra Scorpio N

  • Lexus LX
  • Mahindra Scorpio N


Honda Civic Type RHonda Civic Type R

  • Toyota Corolla GR
  • BMW M2
  • Honda Civic Type R
  • Ford Ranger Raptor

"Congratulations to the finalists selected from the highly competitive semi-finalist group across all eight COTY categories," says Mabuyane Mabuza, chairperson of the 2023 and 2024 COTY Committee and Vice-Chairperson of the SAGMJ. "Rapid technological advances intensify the annual competition, with innovative features becoming commonplace, even in entry-level vehicles, showcasing the evolution of automotive technology."

In early March, the competition enters the testing phase at Zwartkops Raceway, where the juror group assesses the vehicles. Subsequently, the final scoring round incorporates data from Lightstone Auto, utilising automated scoring based on market segment sales volumes and spec-adjusted competitor pricing.

"The culmination of the COTY competition is its most thrilling phase. Using their expertise and experience, jurors meticulously evaluate every aspect of the cars. Their discernment determines the crème de la crème that caters to diverse market needs and elevates local mobility standards," adds Mabuza.

The Motor Enthusiast's Choice (public vote) returns for the 2024 COTY competition. Watch out for upcoming social media posts featuring each finalist, and vote for your favourite by liking it. The vehicle with the most likes wins, and three fortunate voters secure an off-road driving course sponsored by Old Mutual Insure and the SAGMJ. Stay tuned for the competition launch!

Colin Windell


Pre-owned versions of all of these - and more - can be found here