1st place: Porsche Panamera.
1st place: Porsche Panamera.
2nd place: Volvo S90.
2nd place: Volvo S90.
3rd place: Alfa Romeo Giulia.
3rd place: Alfa Romeo Giulia.

Midrand - The 2018 WesBank South African Car of the year is the Porsche Panamera.

Volvo's S90 came second, while the Alfa Romeo Giulia took third place in the competition.

The winner, announced at a cocktail banquet in Midrand on Tuesday night, was the result of an extensive scoring process undertaken by a team of 24 jury members selected by the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists.

Jury members spent two days in late January assessing the 10 finalists in a variety of conditions. These jurors then scored each finalist in 12 categories that covered exterior design, interior materials, layout, technology, engine, gearbox, engineering, ride, steering/handling, affordability, value and overall excellence.

Porsche controversy

The contest has faced public criticism in recent years after a spate of Porsche victories (2013: Porsche Boxster, 2014: Porsche Cayman S, 2015: Porsche Macan). Last year's victor, the Opel Astra, was the first lower-end car to have won since the Hyundai Elantra of 2012.

However there is also a misconception that lower and higher-end cars are directly compared in the competition. In reality, jurors are instructed to compare each finalist with its natural rivals within its price context, thus a Kia Picanto should not be directly compared to a Porsche Panamera. 

Still, the frequency of Porsche victories is causing many to question the relevance of the competition, particularly within the context of the South African market and the country's socio-economic realities. The opposing argument is that the contest seeks to honour excellence and technological advancement in the auto industry.

It's a debate that will no doubt continue to rage. 

These were 2018’s finalists

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Audi Q5

BMW 5 Series

Kia Picanto

Land Rover Discovery

Peugeot 3008

Porsche Panamera

Suzuki Ignis

Toyota C-HR

Volvo S90

Previous winners

Note that since 2016, the award applies to the entire model range rather than an individual derivative.

1986: Toyota Corolla 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 T-Spark

2000: Renault Clio 1.4 RT

2001: BMW 320d

2002: Audi A4 1.9 TDI

2003: Volkswagen Polo 1.4 TDI

2004: Renault Mégane 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: Volkswagen Golf 6 1.4 TSI

2011: BMW 530d and Volkswagen Polo 1.6 TDI

2012: Hyundai Elantra 1.8 GLS 

2013: Porsche Boxster

2014: Porsche Cayman S

2015: Porsche Macan Diesel S

2016: Volvo XC90

2017: Opel Astra

IOL Motoring