CAR’s Top 12 Best Buys for 2013

The recent CAR Top 12 Awards function yielded several surprises as the best vehicle buys in 12 categories were revealed at a gala event in Johannesburg this week. Changes to the categories, as well as a very competitive market, meant that only four of last year’s category winners retained their titles for 2013.

FNB Vehicle Finance

The Top 12 Best Buys for 2013, in association with Vehicle Finance by FNB, saw the creation of two new categories to reflect local product trends. The low-volume Best Grand Saloon and Executive Saloon categories were consolidated into Best Luxury Saloon, which allowed CAR to recognise excellence in the saloon sub-segment of the all-important class for Light Cars.

The Best MPV title also fell away, freeing up space for a Light SUV/Crossover category – although CAR continues to recognise the best people movers in that segment as well as those in the Compact SUV/Crossover and SUV/Crossover sections.

The team considered the vehicles tested in the past 12 months and also took into account the results of RamsayMedia Research Solutions’ 2012 AutoBrand Survey before casting their votes, based on the criteria of personality, price, performance and package. Readers were also polled online, with their preferences published in CAR’s March issue, alongside the category winners.

The 12 category winners are:

Best budget car – Ford Figo 1,4 Ambiente
Best light hatch – Volkswagen Polo
Best light saloon – Kia Rio
Best compact hatch – Volkswagen Golf 7
Best compact saloon – Hyundai Elantra
Best compact executive – BMW 3 Series
Best luxury saloon – BMW 5 Series
Best performance car – Porsche Boxster S
Best light SUV/crossover – Nissan Juke
Best compact SUV/crossover – Honda CR-V
Best large SUV/Crossover – Chevrolet Trailblazer
Best double cab – Ford Ranger

The prestigious CAR Awards also recognise excellence by companies or individuals in the motoring sector, with a focus on the local automotive industry. The award winners were selected by CAR’s editors based on achievements in the industry during the preceding year. These special awards include categories such as Design of the Year, Motorsport Personality of the Year and Motor Company of the Year, which got scooped up by Audi for 2013.

The Top 12 Used Best Buys is now in its third iteration. CAR’s road-test engineer and pre-owned vehicle specialist, Peter Palm, selected the best value-for-money options available in the second-hand market. Over and above the criteria of personality, performance, packaging and price, Palm also considered expected resale values and long-term cost of ownership in the respective selections.

The full results of the 2013 CAR Top 12 Best Buys Awards and the Top 12 Used Best Buys are published in the March issue, on sale 25 February.


  • Knormoer

    Congrats to all the winners! Great choices made by the panel and this obviously came after a long and well thought out process. One glaring absentee… Toyota. How long before the sleeping giant realizes that sitting on its laurels will not keep the competition at bay for ever

    • Popiro

      and no Audi, yet the company wins an award. How ironic.

  • Wynand Stander

    how can the golf 7 get in when it was just launched

    • Confido

      Wynand since its launch on 3 Feb and with some pre-launch testing a top publication like Car magazine would have had more than enough time to test and compare the Golf7 with its rivals and come to the same conclusion as most overseas motoring magazines and websites.

  • Golf 7 LOL have not even seen one and howcome already included !!! Come on Car Be Fair

    • i mean really im also puzzled by this, people dont even know its here and its already the best…trust goes a long way hey

  • Trailblazernewcastle

    WOW, at last the Blazer will get the recognition it deserves. We recently took it on a 4×4 demo weekend, along with all the big 4×4 names and the Blazer surprised many a men. Comfortable, able and incredible power. I challenge everyone to test drive before claiming it to be a copy of the Fortuner. Don’t get me wrong, the Fortuner is great, but the Blazer has the edge.