The 2020 Autrotrader South African Car of the Year Awards had its share of challenges this year due to the coronavirus, but that hasn’t stopped the winners being announced this today.
Things kicked off last year where the candidates were presented to the public. Next, test drives took place before the esteemed judges. That’s when the real fun began, as each juror got the chance to drive all the nominated vehicles. One can say that the annual awards are a big deal for automakers, as a strong showing can add up to a whole lot of attention when potential owners are considering their next purchase.
The festivities came to a screeching halt by March as the coronavirus pandemic spread like wildfire. This led to the imminent cancellation of several scheduled launch events in the auto industry. With COVID-19 showing no signs of stopping, the live awards event – where the winners were supposed to be announced – was scrubbed.
Much like meetings, school classes, and more, things shifted online instead. Without further ado, we now know the winners of the 2020 South African Car of the Year Awards, including the Top Three in the finalists for each category.
2020 South African Car of the Year: Jaguar i-Pace
Since its reveal in 2018, the Jaguar I-PACE has collected nearly 100 global awards including 2019 World Car of the Year, World Car Design of the Year, World Green Car, European Car of the Year, and German, Norwegian and UK Car of the Year.
All of these titles recognise the technical excellence of the I-PACE’s zero emissions powertrain, which was designed and developed from a clean sheet of paper, in-house. Aside from being the best premium electric vehicle in the world, it’s a true Jaguar driver’s car with a combination of sports car performance, exceptional refinement, advanced driver technologies and all-wheel drive SUV usability and practicality.
A 90kWh lithium-ion battery enables a range of up to 470km (WLTP) and is capable of charging from 0-80% in just over an hour (60kW DC). The two light, compact and efficient Jaguar-designed motors generate a combined output of 294kW and 696Nm of instant torque, delivering 0-100km/h in an exhilarating 4.8 seconds.
The winner in the Urban Category was the Hyundai Atos 1.1 Motion. This category covers compact budget-friendly passenger vehicles that are ideal for in-town driving. Buyers of these cars typically rate practicality over luxury and performance.
The next category – Family – is especially popular. It consists of mid-size sedans. Buyers of these vehicles expect quality, practicality and comfort –with an element of advanced handling dynamics thrown into the equation. The winner in this category was the Toyota Corolla Hatch 1.2T XR CVT.
The third category – Leisure – was won by the Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI Comfortline 85kW DSG. This category covers sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs). Owners of these SUVs and MPVs enjoy the freedom of driving both on and off-road. This – combined a high seating position and flexible cargo space – makes this a popular category amongst the buying public.
The Lifestyle Utility Vehicles Category was won by the Ford Ranger Raptor. These vehicles typically offer supreme 4×4 ability and can be either an SUV or a single or double-cab bakkie.
Premium Car Category
The highly contested Premium Car Category was won by the overall winner, namely the Jaguar I-PACE EV400 AWD SE. Buyers of these prestigious mid to large vehicles want powerful engines, luxury features and high-end trim options.
Premium SUV Category
The Premium SUV Category caters for vehicles that offer a combination of versatility, comfort, style and performance both on- and off the road. Boasting genuine 4×4 ability without low range, these vehicles are luxurious, spacious and refined. This category was won by the Mercedes-Benz GLE400d 4Matic.
Sport / Performance Category
The final category – sport/performance – was won by the Toyota GR Supra 3.0T. Whether it’s a sportier flagship of an existing passenger range or a pure stand-alone model, vehicles in this category have one common trait: superior performance. Accordingly, thoroughbred sports cars are included in this category.