The South African Guild of Mobility Journalists (SAGMJ) has announced the winners in this year’s South African Car of the Year (SACOTY) awards. This year included a total of 23 finalists, competing over nine categories – Budget, Compact, Family Compact, Family, Premium, Performance, New Energy, Adventure SUV and Double Cab. Here are the winners… 

Budget category: Toyota Starlet

Toyota’s Suzuki Baleno-based Starlet was the first of the Japanese manufacturer’s category winners.

For the 2021 SACOTY awards, three cars competed for top honours in the Budget category. Here, the Toyota Starlet managed to claim victory over Hyundai’s Grand i10 and Suzuki’s quirky S-Presso city crossover.

Compact category: Hyundai Venue

Hyundai’s small crossover – the Venue – claimed victory over the Suzuki Vitara Brezza and Opel Corsa.

In a category comprising two compact SUVs and a hatchback as finalists, it was the popular Hyundai Venue that was awarded the gold. The cars it had to beat was the Suzuki Vitara Brezza and new Opel Corsa.

Compact Family category: Peugeot 2008

Peugeot 2008
The 2008 received top honours in the most competed category in this year’s SACOTY awards.

In the most contested category at this year’s SACOTY awards, the new Peugeot 2008 was handed first place over its five competitors. These included the Hyundai Creta, Toyota Corolla Sedan, Volkswagen T-Roc, Kia Seltos, and Mazda CX-30. 

Family category: Audi A4

Ingolstadt’s category winner – the refreshed A4.

Out of the three nominees in the Family category, the car that received the nod from the judges was the refreshed Audi A4. The cars Ingolstadt’s premium sedan was up against was the Mercedes-Benz GLA and Volkswagen’s much-loved people mover, the Caravelle.

Premium category: BMW 4 Series 

The BMW coupé was the second runner up for SA Car of the Year…

Only two cars competed for first place in the Premium category – the BMW 4 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Between these two German finalists, it was the 4 Series that nosed ahead to claim top honours. 

Adventure category: Toyota Land Cruiser Prado 

Land Cruiser Prado
The updated Land Cruiser Prado received the nod from the judges in the Adventure category.

In the Adventure category, the venerable Toyota Land Cruiser Prado claimed victory over its British rival, the new-generation Land Rover Defender, making this Toyota’s second category win. 

Double Cab category: Toyota Hilux Double Cab 

Toyota’s bestselling bakkie – the Hilux – went uncontested in the Double Cab category.

With only one finalist in contention for a win in the Double Cab category, the Hilux claimed Toyota’s third category win at the SACOTY awards. 

Performance category: Porsche 911 Turbo S 

Porsche 911 Turbo S Coupe PDK car
The Porsche bested the Hyundai i30 N for this category win.

A hot hatch versus a super sports car; in this year’s Performance category, Porsche’s flagship super sports car, the 911 Turbo S, was victorious over the Hyundai i30 N. 

New Energy category: Porsche Taycan 

Porsche-Taycan car
The Porsche’s emissions-free saloon was the sole nominee in the New Energy category.

The sole finalist in the New Energy category, Porsche’s second category win comes courtesy of the Taycan. 

Car of the Year: Peugeot 2008

Peugeot 2008 car
And the overall winner is … the Peugeot 2008!

Claiming the title of South African Car of the Year for 2021, the Peugeot 2008 was awarded top honours. The Toyota Hilux was the runner up, while the BMW 4 Series finished third.

The Motor Enthusiast’s Choice award went to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, while the Jurors Excellence Award was given to the Peugeot 2008. Additional honours the SAGMJ instituted were Most Admired OEM, which was presented to Stellantis, and the Lifetime PR Achiever’s Award, which was presented to Lindsay Pieterse from BMW.