It’s too early to accurately predict a winner, but we can look at the merits of every competitor while we wait a few months for the winner to be announced.
Kia Rio 1.4 TEC manual: By far the cheapest car on the list. It comes loaded with standard kit, however, and at the end of the day there isn’t much wrong with this inexpensive, cheerful hatch.
The Yaris HSD Hybrid: The biggest trick in Yaris HSD Hybrid’s bag is its astounding claimed fuel consumption. We achieved under 2.0 litres/100km at its launch, which is impressive whether you’re a fan of hybrid technology or not.
Hyundai i30: Hyundai is the defending COTY champion this year and stands a good chance for a repeat with the i30, especially from a value-for-money perspective.
Opel Meriva: Which parent wouldn’t want funky suicide doors that create a protective capsule around the entrance to the vehicle? We also dig the 1.4-litre turbo engine, because it manages to be both powerful and frugal.
Mercedes-Benz B-Class: Mercedes-Benz hopes to attract a younger crowd to its new, freshly styled B-Class. Together with a silky smooth diesel engine that matches the car’s upmarket, yet accessible appeal, the B-Class makes a very strong case for itself.
Nissan Juke: With its unique styling, high entertainment levels and the fact that it has no direct competitors, this car is aimed squarely at people who love to stand out, which in this competition is no bad thing.
BMW 320i: A previous COTY winner, the new 3-Series has left its competitors playing catch-up once again. The 2.0-litre engine is gutsy, yet frugal and being a typical BMW, its drive in the highlight.
Lexus GS: Unlike the previous-generation GS, the new one might give the German trio a few sleepless nights. The 350 EX features a powerful V6, an involving drive and generous standard specification, making it a very strong contender.
Ford Ranger: We bakkie-crazy boertjies have gone loony for the new Ranger! The 3.2-litre diesel engine offers enough torque to pull a building down and it’s spacious interior makes it a fantastic day-to-day vehicle.
Toyota 86: Affordable, driving enjoyment at any speed and a reminder of why rear-wheel-drive is such a treat. No wonder is was perhaps the most talked-about car of 2012.
Porsche Boxster: Motoring media has been raving about the Boxster since its launch. One of the best roadsters on the planet at prices below that of its main rivals, it offers everything your average performance enthusiast could want.
Range Rover Evoque: People may have laughed when Victoria Beckham was brought on as a consultant, but the Evoque turned out to be smaller version of the aristocratic Range Rover without losing any of its big brother’s essence.
Check out our exciting COTY competition page @ CAR OF THE YEAR 2013.
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