Would it have been your choice? The Honda Accord 2.4i Executive has been named as the South African Car of the Year from a shortlist of nine.

The announcement was made during a banquet at Gallagher Estates in Midrand, north of Johannesburg.

Honda also won the event in 2007 with its Honda Civic 1.8VXi sedan.

Honda SA's MD Yoshiaki Nakamura said: "The Accord's win is particularly sweet, given the highly competitive market conditions and the widely-held expectation that the title would be bestowed on a compact contender.

"Buying trends are favouring smaller, more economical models, but the Accord is a perfect example of how space, performance and luxury can be combined with frugality, efficiency and value to deliver a highly desirable and relevant motoring package."

The brand has also been represented as a COTY finalist several times. The CR-V SUV was a 2008 finalist and previous versions of the Accord and the Jazz also achieved finalist status.

The Accord sedan range offers a choice of two-litre and 2,4-litre petrol engines, as well as a recently announced i-DTEC turbodiesel. Transmissions offered are a six-speed manual and a five and six-speed automatic gearboxes.

Prices start at R270 900, which includes a three-year/100 000km warranty, and a five-year or 90 000km service plan.

SCORE SHEETS

The original long list of potential winners was polled from motoring journalists across South Africa towards the end of 2008 and was pared down to nine, which were tested on the same roads, on the Gerotek test tracks west of Pretoria, and on dirt roads near Johannesburg, in January.

That went on over three days.

Comprehensive score sheets were filled in by more than two dozen experienced motoring writers while on the move and the data crunched by independent auditors with a special focus on price.

Then it was the big wait until the announcement...

These were the nine finalists and adjacent to each is their average fuel consumption (in litres/100km) over the three days of testing in January.

Click on the names to read more about them…

Ford Fiesta 1.6 Trend - 9.05

Suzuki Swift 1.5 GLS - 8.4

Mazda6 2.5 Individual - 11.2

Jaguar XF 3.0 V6 Premium Luxury a/t - 13.1

VW Tiguan 1.4TSi Trend&Fun 4Motion - 12.0

Audi A4 1.8T Ambition Multitronic - 10.9

Honda Accord 2.4i Executive - 11.3

Honda Jazz 1.5 EX - 6.95

Suzuki SX4 2.0 - 9.85

The SA Car of the Year competition, organised by the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists, is recognised worldwide as the best there is for its depth and detail - the Mazda2 1.5 Individual that won in 2008 was shortly afterwards named as World Car of the Year.

PREVIOUS SA COTY WINNERS

1986 Toyota Corolla Twin Cam

1987 Mercedes 260

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 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 1.8VXi Sedan

2008 Mazda2 1.5 Individual

The competition is sponsored by WesBank, with support from Total South Africa.