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CAR Magazine has announced its annual Top 12 Best Buys for 2015, sponsored for the second consecutive year by leading safety technology company, Tracker. The magazineâ€™s editors cast their votes for the best vehicles in 12 categories of the South African new vehicle market. With over 1000 individual models to choose from, the results of the 16th awards installment should give drivers a head start.
Once again, technology took centre-stage as nominees across all categories were recognised for their innovation. CAR Magazine editor, Steve Smith, confirms; â€œVehicles that offer better combinations of performance, efficiency, safety and convenience technology than rivals of similar prices score highly in terms of value for money and, as a result, tend to achieve higher overall road test scores and win categories of the CAR Top 12 Best Buys.â€
Jaguar Land Rover was the standout performer, scooping the coveted Car Manufacturer of the Year Award, while Ford (Ranger and Kuga) and Volkswagen (Polo, Polo Vivo) picked up two awards each.
The rest of the spoils were shared amongst industry stalwarts, Audi (A3 Sportback), BMW (3 Series), Toyota (Corolla Quest), Ferrari (458 Spider), Range Rover (Sport) and Mercedes-Benz (S-Class).
Trackerâ€™s involvement in the awards underlines the continued emphasis of safety in overall car performance ratings. Wayne de Nobrega, Tracker CEO, addressing a room filled with leading vehicle manufacturers, praised the high standards of technological advancements in the automobile industry.
â€œSeeing vehicle safety constantly shift closer to the centre of the automotive ecosystem and driver decision making shows that, as an industry, we have a big role to play in the lives of car owners. Ensuring that their families stay connected and enjoy the journey at the same time,â€ says de Nobrega.
In finalising the candidates for category wins, the CAR Magazine journalist team factored in the road tests and driving impressions that were published in CAR during the previous year â€“ meaning only vehicles they had actually driven themselves were considered.
In most categories, a vehicleâ€™s entire range and not a particular model was considered.
The selection criteria includes package, personality, performance and price, however, Steve Smith says, â€œYou can add safety to the list. Safety is intrinsic to the process and underpins every selection we make. A model would not make it onto a shortlist if the satisfactory level of safety technology was not in place.â€
CARâ€™s Top 12 Best Buys for 2015 are:
Budget Car: Chevrolet Spark Campus
Light Hatchback: Volkswagen Polo
Light Sedan: Volkswagen Polo Vivo
Compact Hatchback: Audi A3/A3 Sportback
Compact Sedan: Toyota Corolla Quest
Compact Executive Sedan: BMW 3 Series
Luxury Car: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Performance Car: Ferrari 458 Spider
Light SUV/Crossover: Nissan Juke
Compact SUV/Crossover: Ford Kuga
Large SUV/Crossover: Range Rover Sport
Double Cab Bakkie: Ford Ranger
Company of the Year: Jaguar Land Rover
Design of the Year (Production Car): Mercedes-AMG GT
Design of the Year (Concept Car): Volkswagen XL Sport
Redesign of the Year: Toyota Yaris
Green Award: Volvo
Engine of the Year: BMW i8
Safety Award: Drive-ID
Most underrated product: Mazda CX-5
Motorsport Award: Sheldon van der Linde
Company to watch: Opel