South African Car of the Year

These 7 Cars Won In The 2022 South African Car Of The Year

The country’s most highly respected and sought-after motoring competition, South African Car of the Year (COTY) saw top-quality entrants participating for this coveted award in the South African market with 7 taking home top honours.


  • South African Car of the Year (COTY) was introduced in 1986.
  • The selection of the 2022 COTY jurors and the training of potential jurors had remained as stringent as ever.
  • The Budget and Premium categories did not have any 2022 contenders.
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This year’s COTY competition was particularly exciting, with the 2022 COTY jurors selecting 25 semi-finalists from more than 49 entrants with some hotly contended Category rivalries.


South African Car of the Year
After a four-week scoring process, the Toyota Corolla Cross was voted the 2022 South African Car of the Year. Image: Toyota South Africa

Although we saw the competition develop and grow over the past 36 years with introducing category winners, additional categories, automated scoring, the public’s favourite and Juror’s Excellence Award, one thing did not change – the exceptional contenders and their proud makers.

// Chairman of the South African Guild of Mobility Journalists (SAGMJ), Carl Wepener


The Mercedes Benz C-Class won this year’s prestigious Juror’s Excellence Award, which was introduced in 2021. The Award is particularly impressive as it only considers the raw scoring of the expert jurors without automated scoring factors. The overall winner includes additional scoring criteria like sales, segment share and spec-adjusted pricing.


The category winners for this year’s 2022 South African Car of the Year are:

  • Compact Category: Toyota Urban Cruiser
  • Compact Family Category: Toyota Corolla Cross
  • Midsize Category: Mercedes Benz C-Class
  • Performance Category: Volkswagen Golf GTI
  • New-Energy Category: Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
  • Adventure SUV Category: Toyota Landcruiser 300
  • Double Cab 4×4 Category: Nissan Navara


The public has become more involved in the COTY scoring/voting process over the last four years via social media. Two years ago, the Motor Enthusiasts Choice Category was introduced. A social media blitz lasting six weeks filtered out the vehicle the public responded to the most, in a hotly contended all-out popularity contest. It was not an easy battle as Public Relations executives seized the opportunity to showcase their Finalist. In the end, the Peugeot 208 beat out stiff competition to take top honours in this category.

One thing has remained true to this remarkable contest; it celebrates and rewards automotive excellence. Our jurors are experts in their field and clearly understand vehicles and the mobility sector.

// Chairman of the 2022 COTY Committee, Graham Eagle


Based on specific requirements, potential jurors and trainee jurors are presented to SAGMJ members, who choose 25 of their peers. Trainees are required to complete a two-year apprenticeship under the guidance of a juror mentor, ensuring a constant talent pool of newly trained jurors to step into the jury team.


The COTY scoring process is much more than just juror scoring. Once the expert panel concluded scoring, the automated scoring factors that cover sales performance, segment share and value for money are applied. The Guild’s COTY competition partner, Lightstone Auto, provided the automated scoring information, which provides data-driven insights, online market intelligence and new vehicle sales data about the South African automotive industry.

The ongoing scoring system was developed in 2017 to enable jurors to compare category contenders. Every year, we adapt the scoring system slightly to consider new global and local market trends to ensure the credibility and objectivity of our competition.

// Chairman of the 2022 COTY Committee, Graham Eagle


Additional honours instituted at the SAGMJ’s Annual General Meeting in 2021 were the Most Admired OEM and the best PR in the industry. This year’s respective winners are Mercedes Benz SA and Deon Sonnekus from Hyundai SA, and whilst these two awards are not officially part of the COTY competition, they are equally as prestigious.


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