The new DS3, customise every feature to suit your style
One thing that the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists chairman Danie van Jaarsveld was quick to assure us during the pre-announcement speech, held at the gala banquet in Midrand on Thursday night, was that there would be just one winner this time around.
Systems put in place meant that there would no longer be a repeat of last year's controversy where two cars drove away with Wesbank/SAGMJ Car of the Year accolade.
In fact, when the winner drove onto the stage later that evening it signalled a positive milestone - this being the first time that a Korean car has taken the title.
Being a far more transparent competition since it was reinvented last year, the SAGMJ also revealed the scores allocated to each car, allowing us to see the overall ranking and here we see that Korea in fact took the top two spots:
CAR OF THE YEAR RANKINGS - 2012
1. Hyundai Elantra 1.8 GLS - 230 points
2. Kia Picanto 1.2 EX - 155
3. VW Jetta 1.4 TSI 118kW Highline - 141
4. Suzuki Kizashi 2.4i SDLX - 49
5. Alfa Romeo Giulietta 125kW Distinctive - 48
6. Audi A6 3.0 TDI quattro S tronic - 30
7. Ford Focus 2.0 TDCi Trend PowerShift - 27
8. Citroën DS4 1.6 THP 200 Sport - 22
9. Peugeot 5008 Active 2.0 HDi - 20
10. Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 - 3
After putting each vehicle through its paces at the Gerotek test facility, the 30 jury members had 25 points at their disposal, which they had to divide between no more than five cars and no less than three - the same way it's done in the European COTY competition.
Judges are urged to determine how well each car fares against its natural competitors (rather than its fellow COTY finalists) in areas like value for money, driving dynamics, technology, safety and style, among other factors.
The Hyundai Elantra 1.8 GLS has received a fair amount of positive press since being launched last year for its combination of style, quality and value.
Priced at R224 900 for the six-speed manual model, it's well priced in relation to its rivals, which include the R259 900 Honda Civic 1.8 Elegance, R269 500 Toyota Corolla 2.0 Exclusive and R289 420 Mazda3 2.0 Individual.
The spacious Elantra is fitted with goodies like dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensor and automatic windscreen wipers and is powered by a 1.8-litre petrol engine that pushes 110kW and 178Nm. There's also a lesser-specced 96kW 1.6 GLS available for R199 900.
1986 - Toyota Corolla GLi Twin Cam
1987 - Mercedes-Benz 260E
1988 - BMW 735i
1989 - Toyota Corolla GLi Executive
1990 - BMW 525i
1991 - Opel Monza 160 GSi
1992 - Nissan Maxima 300 SE
1993 - BMW 316i
1994 - Opel Kadett 140
1995 - Opel Astra 160iS
1996 - Audi A4 1.8
1997 - BMW 528i
1998 - Ford Fiesta Fun
1999 - Alfa Romeo 156 2.0 T-Spark
2000 - Renault Clio 1.4 RT
2001 - BMW 320d
2002 - Audi A4 1.9 TDI
2003 - VW Polo 1.4 TDI
2004 - Renault Megane 1.9 dCi
2005 - Volvo S40 2.4i
2006 - Audi A3 Sportback 2.0T
2007 - Honda Civic 1.8 VXi Sedan
2008 - Mazda2 1.5 Individual
2009 - Honda Accord 2.4 Executive
2010 - VW Golf 6 1.4 TSI
2011 - BMW 520d and VW Polo 1.6 TDI