CarsAwards trophies


The Consumer Awards was established to be the most prestigious, credible and influential awards programme in the South African motor industry. It recognizes nine vehicles that represent the best-considered new purchases in their respective categories of the South African new vehicle market and names three special category winners: Game Changer, Design and Brand of the Year.’s awards programme has a multi-faceted judging process, based on inputs from four members of the experienced editorial team and three highly respected external jurors (non-motoring journalists, who were selected for their analytical ability). The combined jury allocated scores to the three finalists in each category based on their assessments from a test day (on which all vehicles were compared back-to-back), as well as comprehensive feedback from thousands of South African new vehicle owners who participated in the’s Owner Satisfaction Survey,
as well as statistics supplied by leading automotive industry data specialists, Lightstone Auto.

Whereas the winners of the Game changer and Design of the Year special categories were selected based on scores awarded by the editorial team members, the prestigious Brand of the Year award was determined solely by manufacturers’ ratings in the’s Owner Satisfaction Survey (in association with Lightstone Consumer) and the market share change and resale value statistics of every vehicle brand during the period January to December 2015 (supplied by Lightstone Auto).


Complete list of winners

Compact Car                        Ford Focus 1.0T Trend

Runners-up: Opel Corsa 1.0T Enjoy, Honda Jazz 1.5 Elegance

Premium Hatchback                         Volkswagen Golf GTI DSG

Runners-up: Mercedes-Benz GLA200 CDI Auto, BMW 120i 5-dr M Sport Auto

Business Class                    Mercedes-Benz C250 AMG Sport

Runners-up: BMW 428i Gran Coupe Sport sports auto, Audi S3 quattro S trance

First Class                              Mercedes-Benz S500

Runners-up: Range Rover SDV8 Autobiography, Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe

Family Car                              Citroën C4 Picasso e-HDI Intensive

Runners-up: Nissan X-Trail 2.0 XE, Volkswagen Golf SV 1.4 TSI Comfort line

Leisure Car                            Land Rover Discovery Sport SD4 SE

Runners-up: Nissan X-Trail 2.5 SE CVT AWD, Toyota Land Cruiser Prado 3.0 TD TX

Premium SUV                       Volvo XC90 D5 Inscription


The Consumer Awards judging process

The Consumer Awards is different to other automotive-themed award programmes in a number of ways… The editorial team considered each and every model in the new vehicle market — candidates were evaluated as individual models and not as parts of complete model line-ups. What’s more, candidates were eligible for an award irrespective of when they were launched.

During the first phase of judging, the editorial team (Hannes Oosthuizen, David Taylor, Ciro de Siena and Ashley Oldfield) researched, analysed and debated each of the cars on sale in South Africa. Contenders were measured against predetermined “pillars of success” to determine if they were eligible for an award in their categories. Five finalists were selected in each of nine categories.

For the second phase, the editors completed comprehensive scoring sheets to assess the semi-finalists in terms specific criteria, such as interior comfort, performance, efficiency, packaging etc. The weightings of the criteria were adjusted to reflect the requirements of the target markets of each category. Once the scores were tallied, the finalists were trimmed to three in each category.

For the ultimate phase of the judging process, the editorial team was complemented by three guest judges who were selected based on their reputations for being no-nonsense fact finders and because they are not necessarily active in the automotive space. They were consumer journalist Wendy Knowler, The Daily Maverick editor, Branko Brkic and Business Day editor, Songezo Zibi.

The final judging day, which was attended by the combined jury, was hosted in Johannesburg in late 2015. It presented the judging panel with an opportunity to re-evaluate all the vehicles that were chosen as finalists for the Consumer Awards. However, instead of completing the in-depth scoring sheets (with the weighted criteria points system) based on only their assessments, jurors awarded their scores by referring to the findings of the Owner Satisfaction Survey.

The importance of incorporating consumer input

The Owner Satisfaction Survey, developed in association with leading automotive data specialists Lightstone Consumer, incorporated feedback from thousands of South African owners (of vehicles newer than five years old), who rated their own cars for reliability, after-sales service, cost of ownership and general satisfaction. This credible, invaluable consumer input, allied with resale value data per vehicle brand supplied by the Auto division of Lightstone, allowed the jurors to adjust their final scores to reflect consumers’ experiences as well as vehicle brands’ market performance.

“There are many awards programmes out there that claim public participation, but what we mean when we talk of consumer input, is not a popular voting mechanism,” said Consumer Experience Manager Hannes Oosthuizen. “We didn’t want a ‘beauty pageant’… we wanted real, credible input, and the only way to do that is for the public to give us their views on the cars they know best — the ones they own. The only way the public can impact the results of the Consumer Awards is by completing our survey, done in partnership with Lightstone Consumer.”

The results of the Consumer Awards were verified by respected auditing firm KPMG.

About the event

The winners of the Consumer Awards were announced at Shine Studios in Braamfontein on January 14 2016. The event was attended by approximately 150 guests including prominent South African motor industry executives, including representatives from vehicle manufacturers and importers, dealer groups, the finance sector, media agencies, social influencers and celebrities.


The head of’s video division Ciro de Siena and comedian John Vlismas presented the awards (handcrafted car-key shaped trophies made from stainless steel, titanium, aluminium and acrylic); Mike Sharman — the owner of Retroviral Digital Communications — was the quest speaker. The event was digitally broadcast on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and, in a first for an automotive-themed awards ceremony in South Africa: the Periscope Live Stream App. The significance of the multi-platform broadcast was that it allowed consumers, who are at the core of’s awards programme, to actively participate in the event. Furthermore, the #CarsAwards hashtag was one of the top trending topics in South Africa on Twitter during — and immediately after — the event.

Visit for more information about the Consumer Awards, including the winners and finalists, and view images of the award recipients that were taken at the event.

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