Picture: Chris Wall Media via SAGMJ.

Johannesburg - The South African Guild of Motoring Journalists has announced the finalists for next year’s SA Car of the Year competition, now sponsored by AutoTrader.

The 25 jury members, which include IOL’s Jason Woosey and Pritesh Ruthun, were tasked with whittling the list of 20 semi-finalists down to just 10 vehicles, but the scores were so close that the Guild deemed it necessary to increase the number of finalists to 12.

From here, the jurors are expected to kick off the judging process by driving all the finalist vehicles in their own time over the next three months, and this will be followed by two formal evaluation days, one of which will take place at the Kyalami Grand Prix circuit.

During this process jurors will input scores across a variety of categories, taking into account all dynamic impressions and data as well as pricing, including parts costs, and specification data.

As always, the wide variety of vehicles here don’t compete against each other, but are instead compared with their natural rivals. The competition is also introducing categories for the first time.

These are the finalists for 2019:

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Honda Civic Type R

Hyundai Kona

Lexus ES

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Mitsubishi Pajero Sport

Nissan Micra

Porsche Cayenne

Renault Duster

Suzuki Jimny

Suzuki Swift

Volvo XC40

This year's competition is however missing some candidates that might have seemed like obvious contenders, such as the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo. This is due to those companies not agreeing to participate in the competition.

Winners are expected to be announced in early April 2019.

IOL Motoring