The South African Car of the Year competition is over 30 years old and has always been known as the most prestigious car event in the local market.
The Jaguar I-Pace has won the 2020 Autotrader/SAGMJ SA Car of the Year competition, making it the first time an electric vehicle has taken the coveted title.
Now in its 34th year, the event is run by the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists and AutoTrader SA. The digital car sales platform has been the title sponsor these last couple of years.
Tuesday (April 21) marks the very first time in the competition's history that there'll be no fancy extravaganza to announce the winner. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the first virtual event took place at 15:00 on April 21 via the AutoTrader SA Youtube channel.
Since AutoTrader is known for being such a tech-savvy digital company, the event was quick, but incredible!
According to the Wheels24 homepage poll, our readers think the title should go to Volkswagen's T-Cross. The BMW 3 Series was second in line with the most reader votes, followed by the Suzuki Swift Sport.
Who do you think should win the 2020 Car of the Year title? Email us.
The 14 finalists were, in no particular order:
BMW 3 Series
Citroen C3 Aircross
Ford Ranger Raptor
Suzuki Swift Sport
The 2020 competition has been the most challenging yet with 14 finalists, yet only eight vehicles were present for the two evaluation days. Several manufacturers had declined to participate in this year's competition.
Wheels24's Janine Van der Post has been involved in the competition for several years as a jury member and has found this year's event to be the most difficult to evaluate.
Van der Post says: "Not having six of the manufacturers present at the event was a challenge for all the jury members this year, and certainly a first. However, we had scored all the vehicles previously on the online scoring system and I had used my previous road tests for evaluation throughout the year since the finalists were announced late in 2019.
"I am anxious to see who the winner will be today. There are some great cars. The Jaguar I-Pace, the first electric entry in the local competition was a big favourite, while the Supra performed really well during the two testing days.
"The Citroen C3 Aircross did surprisingly well too, along with the 5008 SUV."
Van der Post said after the event: "I can't say I am too surprised that the Jaguar I-Pace took the crown, it was a huge favourite among the jury members. It's an incredible car, and even more difficult to fault. Too pricey for most South Africans to afford, but a well-deserved winner!"