– Wallace du Plessis. Above: The Car of the Year – Jaguar I-PACE EV400 AWD SE. Photo: Supplied.

The 2020 Auto Trader Car of the Year (SA COTY) winners were announced virtually due to the lockdown.

 As is usual the winner is out of reach of most of the car buying public. But it is a deserving winner by all accounts. Although I have not driven it, I saw it perform at the Simola Hill Climb last year. And what a performance. It is a SUV and a luxury car and it is expensive. But it really does advance motoring in SA. It is ground-breaking. It does point to a possible future for cars, or at least some of them.

A Toyota Corolla Hatch 1.2T XR CVT.

A Toyota Corolla Hatch 1.2T XR CVT.

The winner is the Jaguar I-PACE EV400 AWD SE. It won the 2019 World Car of the Year, World Car Design of the Year and World Green Car awards.

Richard Gouverneur, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover South Africa, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to add the 2020 AutoTrader South African Car of the Year title to the long list of awards the I-PACE is gathering globally. It’s also an honour to have an all-electric vehicle listed among a long line of high-profile previous winners since this competition’s inception in 1986. This is literally history in the making.”

The Mercedes-Benz GLE400d 4Matic was placed second.
On the more affordable side Toyota’s three contenders; (Corolla Hatch, RAV4 and GR Supra) stood tall among a variety of candidates – ranging from small city cars to large-SUV and double-cab bakkies.

Toyota won the following:
Family category winner: Corolla Hatch 1.2T XR CVT
Sports/Performance category winner: GR Supra 3.0T
Third place overall: GR Supra 3.0T
Other winners were:
Urban Category: Hyundai Atos 1.1 Motion
Leisure Category: Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI Comfortline 85kW DSG
Lifestyle Utility Vehicles Category: Ford Ranger Raptor

All of the winners this year are deserving, in my opinion.
Next year will be interesting with the new Suzuki S-Presso and Isuzu and GWM bakkies set to light up the competition.