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CAR magazine’s distinguished annual Top 12 Best Buys were presented at a gala dinner in Johannesburg on Tuesday evening. Look out for our upcoming April 2019 issue for the full article and rationale behind each decision.

Top 12 Best Buys is our definitive guide to the very best cars in South Africa. As a reminder, here is our judging criteria:

Only vehicles that the majority of the eight-member CAR editorial team has driven: We factor in the findings of road tests and driving impressions we’ve published up until this March issue. Don’t see your favourite in the running? The CAR team might not have driven it yet, with a number of important vehicles (such as the new BMW 3 Series and the fresh Mercedes-Benz GLE) launching locally just too late to meet the deadline.

Ranges, not individual models: Except in the Budget and Performance Car segments, we consider an entire range, not merely one outstanding example. Also, remember that we measure cars against their direct rivals in their classes and then rule on their relative levels of excellence.

We consider all the facets: We look at package, personality, performance and, most importantly in the more value-led categories, price.

The bun fight … and then the vote: We set aside a day for the team to debate, argue and arm wrestle over the contestants. Then we draw up a list of six finalists per award and vote.

So, here are all the winners…

Budget car (under R170 000): Suzuki Swift 1,2 GA
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2nd: Kia Picanto 1,0 Street
3rd: Suzuki Celerio 1,0 GA

Small car: Volkswagen Polo Vivo/
2nd: Ford Fiesta
3rd: Volkswagen Polo

Midsize car: Volkswagen Golf


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2nd: Audi A3
3rd: Toyota Corolla Quest

Premium midsize car: Audi A4
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2nd: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
3rd: Volkswagen Arteon


Luxury car: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
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2nd: BMW 5 Series
3rd: Porsche Panamera

Performance car: McLaren 720S

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2nd: Ferrari 488 Spider
3rd: Porsche 718 Cayman GTS PDK

Small SUV/crossover: Renault Duster

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2nd: Ford EcoSport
3rd: Honda BR-V

Midsize SUV/crossover: Volkswagen Tiguan

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2nd: Kia Sportage
3rd: Mazda CX-5

Premium midsize SUV/crossover: Volvo XC60

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2nd: BMW X3
3rd: Audi Q5

Large SUV/crossover: Kia Sorento

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2nd: Ford Everest
3rd: Toyota Fortuner

Luxury SUV/crossover: Range Rover Sport

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2nd: Volkswagen Touareg
3rd: BMW X5

Double-cab bakkie: Ford Ranger

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2nd: Toyota Hilux
3rd: Volkswagen Amarok

Company of the year: BMW Group South Africa

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