The votes are in, the ballots tabulated, and a combined jury of automotive journalists from across Mzansi have officially named their Car of the Year for 2017. This year’s top prize went to the new Opel Astra.
The C-segment hatchback took the crown, edging out a win over the Volkswagen Tiguan we at SA Vibe were so much rooting for, but most importantly the VW Passat which came in at 3rd place followed by the Audi A4 as runner-up. That was still enough, however, to edge out the other finalists, including the Honda Civic, Hyundai Tucson, Jaguar F-Pace, Mazda CX-3, Renault Kadjar and Toyota Fortuner.
The Astra is GM’s challenger to the likes of the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. It’s marketed as a Vauxhall in the UK, an Opel in continental Europe, a Holden in Australia, and as the Buick Verano Hatch in China. Past versions were also sold as the Saturn Astra in the United States, but so far this latest version of the model remains out of reach to American customers – not that we care.
The award is handed out by a combined panel of 28 jurists, following semi finalist election by their peers, of an original list of 35 eligible vehicle ranges.
How, when does the scoring take place?
The 2017 Coty Jury put the finalists through structured testing procedures in early February, before scoring each finalist against its direct class competitors on aspects that include:
• Cabin Styling, Layout, and Ergonomics
• Engineering Integrity and Build Quality
• Exterior Design
• Overall Excellence
• Ride Quality
• Steering and Handling
• Value for money
Next year’s awards should be as exciting with the likes of the BMW 5 Series, Nissan Navara and MINI Countryman – just to name a few – to run for the title.