CAR magazine's distinguished annual Top 12 Best Buys were presented at a gala dinner in Johannesburg on Wednesday night. Look out for our upcoming March 2017 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 CAR team has driven: We factor in the findings of road tests and driving impressions we've published during the past year.
  • Ranges, not individual models: Except in the Budget Car and Performance Car segments, we consider an entire range, not merely one outstanding example.
  • Consider all the facets: We look at the package, personality, performance, and, ultimately, 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. And then we vote...

1. Budget car (under R160 000)
Suzuki Celerio 1,0 GA

Top 12
Runners up
Chevrolet Spark Campus
Suzuki Swift Dzire 1,2 GA

2. Light hatchback
Volkswagen Polo

Top 12
Runners up
Ford Fiesta
Mazda2

Best light hot hatch: Ford Fiesta ST

3. Light sedan
Volkswagen Polo Vivo

Top 12
Runners up
Kia Rio Sedan
Suzuki Ciaz

4. Compact hatchback
Volkswagen Golf

Top 12
Runners up
Audi A3
Opel Astra

5. Compact sedan
Toyota Corolla Quest

Top 12
Runners up
Ford Focus
Mazda3

6. Compact executive sedan
BMW 3 Series

Top 12
Runners up
Audi A4
Mercedes-Benz C-Class

7. Luxury car
Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Top 12
Runners up
Mercedes-Benz E-Class
BMW 7 Series

8. Performance car
Overall: Ferrari 488 Spider

Top 12
Everyday sportscar: BMW M2 Coupé M-DCT
Family sportscar: Audi RS6 Avant Quattro S tronic

9. Light SUV/crossover
Honda BR-V

Top 12
Runners up
Kia Soul
Mazda CX-3

Best light MPV: Suzuki Ertiga

10. Compact SUV/crossover
Volkswagen Tiguan

Top 12
Runners up
Hyundai Tucson
Mercedes-Benz GLC

Best compact SUV: Volkswagen Caddy

11. Large SUV/crossover
Range Rover Sport

Top 12
Runners up
Volvo XC90
Audi Q7

Best large MPV: Kia Sedona
Best value large SUV: Ford Everest

12. Double-cab bakkie
Ford Ranger

Top 12
Runners up
Toyota Hilux
Volkswagen Amarok

Best half-tonne bakkie: Chevrolet Utility

Also read: CAR's Top 12 Special Awards announced!