consumer awards finalists judged recently hosted their two judging days of the vehicles that were announced as the 39 finalists in the 2020/21 Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank.


Now in its sixth iteration, #CarsAwards annually recognises the best purchasing propositions in 13 respective segments of the domestic new-vehicle market. It is one of South Africa’s definitive automotive awards programmes.

Photo by Roarke Bouffe /


With the support of WesBank, #CarsAwards has grown in reach, influence and stature. The theme for this year’s programme is ‘Be Part of the Journey – My Car, My Freedom.’


“As South Africa’s leader in vehicle and asset finance, it is important to us to align our brand with impactful industry initiatives, particularly those that add value to consumers. There are many aspects to consider when making a major budget-impacting decision such as buying a car. As such, consumers should have access to credible opinions and objective data on the models of cars and features available in the market, to assist them in making an informed purchasing decision,” says Ghana Msibi, CEO of WesBank Motor.


“Our successful partnership with in powering the Consumer Awards is now in its sixth year. It seems fitting that this year’s awards theme is ‘My Car. My Freedom.’ After the months of lockdown and restrictions to movement we have all had to endure, being able to get behind the wheel and drive across our country’s roads and highways is certainly a sense of freedom. However, if you are still deciding which car is right for you and your needs, the 2020/21 Consumer Awards category finalists and eventual winners should go a long way in guiding you to that decision.”


Judging days

Each of the three finalists per category were subjected to back-to-back testing at the renowned Gerotek proving ground in Gauteng by the combined judging panel. Judges consisted of six editorial team members and 14 respected guest judges from various backgrounds and fields of expertise. The results will be announced early next year once they have been tallied.


Judging panel:

  • Khulekani Dumisa (Khulekani on Wheels)
  • Aluta Maqoko (Entrepreneur)
  • Juliet McGuire (Freelance)
  • Brenwin Naidu (Sowetan & Sunday Times)
  • Leanne Manas (Morning Live)
  • Dasen Thathiah (eNCA)

    Photo by Roarke Bouffe /

  • Ciro de Siena (
  • Nafisa Akabor (Tech Journalist)
  • David Taylor (
  • Ernest Page (Performance with Page)
  • Jacob Moshokoa (Eyewitness News)
  • Phuti Mpyane (Business Day)
  • Wendy Knowler (Consumer Specialist)
  • Mpho Letsholonyane (SuperSport & Power 98.7)
  • Wezile Bonani (Bay FM)
  • Gero Lilleike (
  • Kojo Baffoe (freelance)
  • Thami Masemola (In4Ride)
  • Ashley Oldfield (
  • Lerato Matebese (Top Gear).


The 20 judges’ scores for each of the 39 finalists will only count for 50% of the final standings, however. The other 50% will be based on rankings that the respective vehicle brands represented by the finalists achieved in the Ownership Satisfaction Survey, conducted in partnership with data specialists Lightstone Consumer. The data incorporates feedback from thousands of vehicle owners, based on their experiences of their vehicles (less than five years old and serviced through franchised outlets).


04/11/2020 – #CarsAwards (Photo by Roarke Bouffe /

“The Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank is designed to be a guide for all new passenger vehicle buyers, not only those who follow motoring publications,” says Consumer Experience Manager Hannes Oosthuizen. “With 50% of the final scores determined by brands’ rating in the survey, a vehicle only really stands a very good chance of winning if it is a good product in the eyes of the judges and if its brand delivers solid after-sales service.


It goes without saying that ongoing public participation in the Ownership Satisfaction Survey enables to deliver the most relevant and accurate data-driven insights to consumers. The survey also represents a golden opportunity for owners to have a say in the outcome of the 2020/21 #CarsAwards. Have your say at


Categories reflect a changing marketplace

The 13 category winners will be selected from the list of 39 vehicles. It includes model derivatives from no fewer than 19 brands represented in the South African market. All vehicles available on the South African market on October 1, 2020 were eligible, not only new products that were launched during the past 12 months.


The 39 finalists for the 2020/21 programme were selected by the extended editorial team. Each member scored the 65 pre-selected semi-finalists individually, based on the ‘Filters of Eligibility. and the ‘Pillars of Success’ of the 13 respective categories. Once the scores were tallied, 3 finalists remained in each of the segments.


Photo by Roarke Bouffe /

Compared with the preceding #CarsAwards, Performance Car and Fun Hatch have been replaced with new and more relevant categories: Entry-Level and Premium Crossover. Nonetheless, as many as 10 of the previous programme’s category winners have made the list of finalists again, although only four of them with exactly the same derivative as in 2019/20: Volkswagen Polo, Mazda CX-5, as well as BMW X3 and X5 respectively.


“We made some revisions to the categories to make sure they are in line with what South Africans are shopping for in the new vehicle market. We also factored in which segments saw significant activity in terms of new launches,” says Oosthuizen. “We also consider pricing movements, to make sure that our categories remain relevant to consumers.”


Suzuki, Toyota have the most finalists

Whereas the 2019/20 #CarsAwards Brand of the Year, Volkswagen, had the most semi- finalists (7), followed by Suzuki (6) and Toyota (5), the Japanese marques, both of which have won the Brand of the Year title on two previous occasions, lead the list of finalists with 5 contenders apiece – the Wolfsburg-based firm has 4, followed by BMW and Volvo (3 each). Citroën, Honda, Isuzu, Land Rover and Subaru, which weren’t represented in the decisive round of the programme last year. Each have at least one finalist in 2020/21.


Full list of 2020/21 #CarsAwards finalists

Entry Level

  • Hyundai Atos 1.1 Motion
  • Suzuki S-Presso 1.0 S-Edition
  • Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL


Budget Car

  • Suzuki Baleno 1.4 GLX
  • Suzuki Ignis 1.2 GLX
  • Toyota Starlet 1.4 XR


Compact Hatch 

  • Ford Fiesta 1.0T Trend auto
  • Suzuki Swift 1.4T Sport auto
  • Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI Comfortline auto

    Photo by Roarke Bouffe /


Compact Family Car

  • Kia Seltos 1.5 CRDi EX+
  • Renault Duster 1.5 dCi Prestige
  • Volkswagen T-Cross 1.5 TSI 110kW R-Line


Family Car

  • Citroën C5 Aircross 1.6T Shine
  • Mazda CX-5 2.0 Dynamic auto
  • Toyota RAV4 2.0 AWD GX-R


Photo by Roarke Bouffe /

Adventure SUV

  • Ford Everest 2.0 Bi-Turbo 4WD XLT
  • Isuzu M-UX 3.0 4WD
  • Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 4×4 VX Auto


Executive SUV

  • BMW X3 xDrive20d M-Sport
  • Range Rover Evoque P250 R-Dynamic SE
  • Volvo XC60 D5 R-Design


Premium SUV

  • BMW X5 xDrive30d M Sport
  • Land Rover Defender D240 HSE
  • Volvo XC90 T8 Twin-Engine R-Design



  • Mazda CX-3 2.0 Individual Plus
  • Subaru XV 2.0i-S ES
  • Toyota C-HR 1.2T Luxury


Premium Crossover

  • Audi Q3 Sportback 40 TFSI quattro S Line
  • Mini Countryman Cooper S
  • Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design

Photo by Roarke Bouffe /


Hot Hatch

  • Honda Civic Type R
  • Hyundai i30 N
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR


Leisure Double-Cab 

  • Ford Ranger 2.0 Bi-Turbo 4×4 Wildtrak
  • Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Legend Auto
  • Volkswagen Amarok 2.0BiTDI Highline Plus 4Motion


Sport Executive

  • Audi A4 40 TFSI Sport S Line
  • BMW 330is Edition
  • Mercedes-Benz C300 AMG Line


Read more MasterTests 


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