Volkswagen South Africa won the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists’ Car of the Year award for the first time, with the Polo 1,4 TDI taking the title in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Volkswagen South Africa won the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists’ Car of the Year award for the first time, with the Polo 1,4 TDI taking the title in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

It is also the third consecutive year that the award has gone to a diesel vehicle. The Audi A4 1,9 TDI won last year and the BMW 320d took the title in 2001.

"Our company has been the passenger car market leader for the past two years with a market share of more than 20 per cent and it has always amazed us that if almost one in four South African new car buyers chooses one of our products, why can't we win Car of the Year?" Volkswagen South Africa managing director Hans-Christian Maergner said.

"The Polo TDI has taken the South African market by storm and we have been battling to keep up with demand. It has gone a long way to changing the perception of small diesel-powered vehicles in this country. I can assure that that you will be hearing more about our growing range of diesel engines on offer to the South African public in the next few months.

The other finalists were the Mercedes-Benz E270 Cdi; Citroën C3 1,6; Mini Cooper S, Toyota Corolla 140i GLS; Peugeot 307 SW 2,0 XS and Opel Corsa 1,8 GSi.

The Polo also won the award for best light car in CAR and CARtoday.com’s Top 12 best buys competition. The CAR judges said at the time that the new Polo set new standards for fit and finish, with an exciting range of engines, topped by an efficient three-cylinder diesel.