Media release 4 March 2009
CAR magazine, FNB Vehicle Finance announce annual best buys and
automotive achievements awards
Honda and Mercedes-Benz each boast three winners in CAR’s Top 12 Best Buys,
and Suzuki SA has been nominated Motor Company of the Year, in the magazine’s
annual awards programme, announced in its March issue. Dakar Rally winner Giniel
de Villiers is the Motorsport Achiever of the Year.
The economic crisis is afflicting most countries around the world, and the global
motor industry is one of the worst hit by the recession. For South African operations
it is a double-edged sword: much-needed export business for manufacturers has
declined dramatically, and the local market is suffering from drastically falling sales
caused by continual price increases combined with less disposable income and
tighter credit availability. The extra tax levied on fuel also contributes to the
depressed market scenario.
To this end, CAR’s Top 12 Best Buys awards, which began 10 years ago, take on a
more significant role than ever before. The winners are chosen by the combined
editorial team of CAR magazine and its website offspring, CARtoday.com. Using the
well-established “four Ps” voting criteria of package, price, performance and
personality, the panel determines a winner in each of 12 categories that represent
the major segments of the South African passenger vehicle market. With over 1 500
vehicles available, making the right purchasing decision is becoming increasingly
difficult , and the Top 12 programme is aimed at highlighting the best value-for-
money buys in each of the categories.
Supporting CAR’s awards programme for the first time is FNB Vehicle Finance,
which is the first bank to offer private to private vehicle finance to all customers who
qualify and will finance cars that are up to eight years old. FNB, one of the South
Africa’s leading accredited financial institutions, will host an awards ceremony for all
the winners at Bank City, central Johannesburg, on 25 March.
The Top 12 winners are:
Best Budget Car (under R100 000) – Chevrolet Spark 1,0 LT
With the emphasis on safety at the bargain basement end of the local market, the
Chevrolet Spark 1,0 LT continues as first choice. The Spark LT demonstrates that
cheap does not have to be austere.
Best Light Car – Honda Jazz The new Honda is a considered evolution of its predecessor and has won back the
No 1 spot from some very fierce competition. It has style, practicality, fuel efficiency
and an enviable quality record.
Best Compact Car – Honda Civic The Civic range offers the choice of relatively conservative saloons and eye-catching
sporty hatchbacks to suit most tastes and requirements. Like most Hondas, the Civic
boasts a proud quality image.
Best Compact Executive – Mercedes-Benz C-Class
All around the world this is one of the toughest market segments to compete in.
Right now the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is stoutly defending its recently-acquired No
1 spot from some equally determined competition.
Best Executive Saloon – Jaguar XF Just too late for serious consideration last time around, the XF introduces a whole
new breed of Jaguars and has immediately stepped up to pole position with
considerable panache. A very impressive vehicle.
Best Grand Saloon – Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The big Merc has dominated this category for so long that it is often referred to as
the S-Class class. Its status is a given, and the advanced technology that it offers
simply adds to its superiority.
Best Hot Hatch – Renault Mégane R26
A surprise package emerged from CAR’s 18-car performance shoot-out in January –
the Renault Mégane R26 proved itself to be equally at home on track and road.
There are not many of this limited edition model left, though…
Best Sports/Performance Car – Porsche Boxster/Cayman Another unexpected winner is the Porsche Boxster/Cayman duo. These siblings are
just so right – the Boxster has changed little in 13 years such is its design excellence
– and they offer 911 thrills for less money.
Best MPV/SW – Mazda5
Although the range includes just a single powertrain, the three-model Mazda5 line-up
just about captures all the best attributes an MPV can offer. Combines style and
practicality and is fun to drive.
Best Compact SUV – Honda CR-V
An upgrade to the petrol engine and the introduction of an efficient turbodiesel have
given the Honda CR-V the adrenaline injection it needed to become the leader of the
pack. Part-time four-wheel drive standard on all models.
Best SUV – Mercedes-Benz M-Class
Another category in which Mercedes-Benz is battling against some fierce rivals and
manages to rise to the top. The M-Class has numerous powertrain options and now
stands as an off-roader of note.
Best Double-cab/Pick-up – Toyota Hilux Simply irresistible – the Toyota Hilux “is as South African as biltong”. The current “world market” models display more style than before, but there is no questioning
their legendary strength and dependability.
Achievement and excellence in the industry
Now in its second year, the CAR awards programme acknowledges the companies,
products and people that have made a significant impact on the South African
automotive scene. In addition, it recognises the country’s top motorsport
personalities, including the past season’s overall winners of the magazine’s
Motor Company of the Year – Suzuki SA … for shaking-up the establishment by introducing quality products, high
specification levels, and impressive value for money.
Motor Personality of the Year – Peter du Toit … for keeping alive South Africa’s great motorsport heritage.
New Car Design of the Year – BMW X6 … a radical approach to crossover vehicles.
Technical Innovation of the Year – Mazda SISS
… a smart idle stop system that bypasses the power-hungry starter motor.
The Safety Award – The RMI Road Safety Foundation
… and all its volunteers for their dedication to saving lives and the spread of road
The Green Award – Lexus SA
… for introducing sporty hybrids into the South African motoring scene.
Motorsport Achiever of the Year – Giniel de Villiers
… for winning the 2009 Dakar Rally.
CAR Challenge winner – Ben Morgenrood
… has won this series, which is run in conjunction with the South African National
Production Car Championship.-
CAR Rookie of the Year – Michael van Rooyen
… was adjudged the year’s best newcomer in production car racing.
The full Top12 Best Buys – including runners-up and, for the first time, readers’ choices – and The CAR Awards in association with FNB Vehicle Finance, are
presented in the March 2009 issue of CAR magazine.
For more information, contact Dean Dicks - Marketing Manager
021 530 3205