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 March 2018 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 nine-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.
  • Ranges, not individual models: Except in the Budget and Performance Car segments, we consider an entire range, not merely one outstanding example. While it may appear odd to have a Ford Everest and a Range Rover gunning for the same award, for example, 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.

1. Budget car (under R160 000)
Suzuki Celerio 1,0 GA
Runners up
Kia Picanto 1,0 Street
Nissan Micra Active 1,2 Visia

2. Small hatchback
Volkswagen Polo
Runners up
Volkswagen Polo Vivo
Mazda2

3. Midsize hatchback
Volkswagen Golf
Runners up
Audi A3
Ford Focus

4. Midsize sedan
Toyota Corolla Quest
Runners up
Ford Focus
Mazda3

5. Premium midsize car
BMW 3 Series

Runners up
Audi A4
Mercedes-Benz C-Class

6. Luxury car
Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Runners up
Porsche Panamera
BMW 5 Series

7. Performance car
Porsche 911 GT3 PDK
Runners up
Audi TT RS Coupé Quattro S tronic
Audi RS6 Avant Quattro S tronic

8. Small SUV/crossover
Honda BR-V
Runners up
Renault Captur
Kia Soul

9. Midsize SUV/crossover
Volkswagen Tiguan
Runners up
Hyundai Tucson
Mazda CX-5

10. Premium midsize SUV/crossover
Audi Q5
Runners up
BMW X3
Range Rover Velar

11. Large SUV/crossover
Range Rover Sport
Runners up
Volvo XC90
Audi Q7

12. Double-cab bakkie
Ford Ranger
Runners up
Toyota Hilux
Volkswagen Amarok

Also, be sure to check out the Special Award winners here...