Cape Town - The 2016 SA Car of the Year competition enters the final stage of testing later this week (February 3-4) in Pretoria.
South African Guild of Motoring Journalists chairman, Bernie Hellberg Jnr, says: "The competition has accelerated into high gear as preparations are under way for stringent evaluations of the finalists to assess which car will come out tops.
"This year we have made some really exciting and cool changes. I think the most important of those is that we've brought in an electronic scoring system into this year's competition.
"We've also made a couple of changes to our rules so we're really exciting about what is happening this year."
SA Car of the Year competition: Favourite cars
Hellberg lists his top five favourite cars of the SA Car of the Year competition from the past 10 years.
• Audi A3 Sportback 2.0 litre FSI - 2006 winner
• Mazda2 1.5 Individual - 2008
• Honda Accord 2.4 Executive - 2009
• Volkswagen Golf VI 1.4 TSI Comfortline - 2010
• Porsche Boxster - 2013
Users' Car of the Year
We asked Wheels24 users "Which vehicle do you think should be crowned the 2016 SA Car of the Year?" in our homepage voting booth.
Our poll has garnered more than 6300 votes.
The Ford Fusion leads with 1506 votes (24%) followed by the Volvo XC90 in second place (801 votes or 13%) and, surprisingly, BMW's i3 electric car with 672 votes (11%), in third.
The Peugeot 308 and Citroen C4 Cactus (185 votes) trail in last place.
Ford Fusion - 1506 votes
Volvo XC90 - 801 votes
BMW i3 - 672 votes
Land Rover Discovery Sport - 659 votes
Mazda 2 - 566 votes
Honda HR-V - 391 votes
Jaguar XE - 383 votes
Opel Adam - 344 votes
Kia Sorento - 327 votes
Opel Corsa - 292 votes
Citroen C4 Cactus - 185 votes
Peugeot 308 - 185 votes
Jaco de Villiers: "Ford Fusion or Kia Sorento - both are extremely good looking cars, very good value for money, spacious and safe - real family vehicles but also good enough for a single person because of their street appeal - they are head turners! Good warranty and service plans. Overall a great all in one package!"
DJ Bezuidenhout: "My choice is by far the new Volvo XC90. Fresh, sleek, innovative and definitely something to drool over."
Peter Booysen: Honda HR-V - That bullet proof engine, thank goodness no turbo! It makes it really durable, also cheaper to maintain. The V-tech does its job well.
Lerato Nteso: Volvo XC90 - that's just it for me. And if you happen to be giving one away for free, please consider me first :-)
Zunaid Patel: "Ford Fusion - I think it’s one of the most stylish cars from Ford in over a decade. The drive is impeccable. The interior is beyond lovely and the extras phenomenal.
"Overall, I think this goes beyond some of the German vehicles (i.e. BMW and MERCEDES) and the price is fantastic. It’s been a long time coming."
New rules for 2016
With the aim of rewarding "automotive excellence", the 2016 CoTY Jury will put the finalists through structured testing on February 3-4 2016. The winner will be announced in March 2016 in Gauteng.
Each vehicle will be scored and measured against its class competitors on aspects that include:
• Value for money
• Safety & technology
• Overall excellence
• Interior design & practicality
• Handling & dynamics
• Exterior aesthetics