Car Of The Year 2019 - Category Winners Revealed
That mentioned, it was a close fight for many manufacturers, producing well-thought through and well engineered vehicles; impressive for the purposes they have been built for.
Out of 107 cars, we have one car emerging tops in each of the 25 categories, and here they are!
Peter Schreyer, the man behind the original Audi TT Coupe is responsible for the Stonic’s strikingly beautiful styling. The Korean brand makes it no secret that the Stonic is built to a price, but even at first glance, we could tell that the Stonic is well-screwed together.
Stunning looks aside, the Stonic is impressively nimble, and KIA’s innovative use of structural adhesive, which reduces vibration and harshness, makes the Stonic a pleasant place to be in when clocking the miles.
Entry-level no-doubt, but the Koreans have done well in making sure that their small SUV pops, with 29 available colour choices for roof panels.
Skoda’s compact-sized SUV is powered by Volkswagen’s new 1.5 litre EVO engine, and boasts amazing fuel-saving tech like cylinder deactivation and the ability to coast when you lift off the throttle.
The Karoq is at the top of its game when it comes to versatility. Its VarioFlex rear seats can be folded, rolled forward or even be completely removed, allowing a car of its size to offer up to 1,810 litres of cargo space.
Try topping that kind of versatility if you are looking for something compact, and easy to drive.
Well-built from the ground up, SEAT’s 5+2 seater SUV features a snazzy digitised cockpit, space for the family, and a comfortable drive. Features like its top down camera and automated parking are a plus, especially for a car its size.
Build quality is impressively good, and styling-wise, the Tarraco is a handsome offering from the Spanish brand. A 1.4 litre TSI engine, mated to a 6-speed DSG transmission, provides the drive. With 150hp and 250Nm, the latter available from just 1,500rpm, provides almost instant ability to haul most any kind of load you wish to pack into their SUV, from family to farm animals to something that sounds like Fikea…
The X1 receives a mid-life facelift, with a tidied up front and rear, displaying BMW’s new design language.
The X1 does not fail to impress with its handling, and driver engagement, especially given its height. Road manners is also among the best in its class.
The BMW X1 is practical too with 505 litres of cargo space, which can be expanded to 1,550 litres. Adding to versatility, the X1’s rear seats can be rolled forward for a little more boot room, or just simply because you need to move that child’s seat a little more within your reach. Interior materials are easily among the best in class for quality.
The higher-spec 2.0 turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is good for 192hp and 280Nm, and takes the X1 to 100km/h in just 7.6 seconds.
The BMW X3 is not just built to fill the above-mentioned class, but peel through the layers, and you will find a car that has been planned well from the ground up.
Built upon BMW’s current Cluster Architecture (CLAR), the X3 exhibits excellent road manners, with a well-sorted suspension. With BMW’s obsession with having their cars perfectly balanced, the X3 does not only make a great road car, but it also has been engineered to be a competent offroader, having the ability to ford up to 500mm through water.
The xDrive30i model utilises BMW’s 2.0 turbocharged in a higher-state of tune, delivering 252bhp and 350Nm, enabling a 100km/h sprint in only 6.3 seconds.
The X3 easily checks the important boxes - Handling, utility, comfort, and tech goodies.
Unlike the rest of Volkswagen’s range, the Touareg is built on the group’s MLBevo, meant for its larger cars… which also means that it shares its underpinnings with the likes of the Porsche Cayenne and Lamborghini’s first SUV, the Urus.
Built to take on the likes of BMW’s X5 and even its relative, the Audi Q8, the Touareg is the flagship offering from Volkswagen, which is more commonly associated with building cars which are positioned just a shade below the luxury segment.
Its interior features a 12.3” Digital Cockpit and a ginormous 15” infotainment screen, which forms part of the Innovision Cockpit, the latter which can be controlled intuitively via touch-hold-select and swiping functions, and includes gesture control. Generous in passenger accommodation and in cargo space, we also love how the Touareg makes a statement with its road presence.
The Touareg’s 3.0 litre V6 delivers its drive in silky-smooth fashion to all if its wheels through an 8-speed Tiptronic transmission. The R-Line trim SUV also features four-wheel steering, which not only tightens up the Touareg’s turn circle, but also plays a crucial role in contributing to its high-speed agility; the latter works well with the car’s adjustable air-suspension, which lowers itself for added stability while on the run.
Alfa-Romeo’s first production SUV is a little late to the party. However, we are impressed at what lies underneath its skin. Carbon driveshafts, the liberal use of aluminium, and near-perfect 50:50 weight distribution, makes for an entertaining drive.
This Quadrifoglio model’s 2.9 litre V6 bi-turbocharged engine, developed by engineers from Ferrari, dishes out a delicious 510hp and 600Nm, and takes the 1,830kg beast to 100km/h in only 3.8 seconds. Blip the throttle with the exhaust flaps open in “Race” mode, and you will know why you should keep the volume of your in-car entertainment down.
Its intelligent Q4 AWD is built by default to send 100% of its drive to the rear axle, and only sends up to 50% of its drive to the front wheels, when drive to those wheels are required, ensuring optimum use of the engine’s potential.
Premium quality build and materials in a car that is intended for the everyman. Mazda has designed and built an impressive hatchback, which rivals even the best available. Consistent panel fit, materials which have a premium feel to them and one of the best painted surfaces in the business, means that the Mazda 3’s quality is comparable to cars in higher luxury segments.
Mild hybrid assistance translates to smoother and quicker acceleration off the line, while features like G-Vector Control which adds to cornering stability, contributes greatly to improved ride quality.
The result is a car that is not only pleasant to drive, but one which is comfortable for long journeys.
There is always a bit of playfulness that comes with MINI ownership. The 5 door version of the MINI hatch adds a little more practicality to this winning formula.
A recent midlife refresh, adds a new set of Union Jack themed tail lamps, and redesigned headlights. We got our hands on their 60 Years Edition, which includes themed badging and vinyl to the bodywork, a new set of 17” alloys and fancy 60th anniversary leather seats.
New to the car, is MINI’s new Mobile Assistant, which adds another dimension to your ownership experience, by integrating your day-to-day scheduling with the car.
The Cooper S model is powered by a 2.0 turbocharged inline-four, delivering 192hp, while its 280Nm of torque, from 1,350 to 4,600rpm, ensures heaps of fun the moment you put your foot down. A new 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox replaces the previous 6-speed unit for improved economy.
Handling, as always is well-sorted, and the driving experience you get, is entertainingly priceless! A grown-up’s go-kart you might say!
Versatility and value are key factors in the Octavia’s recipe for success. Boasting a large 590 litre boot, complete with a liftback style bootlid, heaps of legroom for rear passengers, large rear doors, and suspension tuned for comfort. The Octavia effortlessly delivers a comfortable ride for the entire family, and makes so much sense!
Powered by a 1.4 litre turbocharged engine, dishing out 148bhp and 250Nm, and mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the Octavia is able to haul whatever you may throw in it with ease.
The Skoda Superb delivers a comfortable ride and offers heaps of room thanks to its long wheelbase and a suspension that is designed to be on the softer side. Best of all, the Superb does not cost the bank!
A simple-yet-thoughtful design brief is reflected in how the Skoda Superb is built with just the right amount of frills. The Czech brand is unapologetic about not including fancy materials in its interior. Instead, you get a longer car than its Volkswagen cousin, including a larger boot, offering an estate car-rivalling 625 litres. The Superb’s cargo area also comes with built-in hooks and boot organisers; thoughtful inclusions, for better organisation of your stuff. Like the Octavia, the Skoda Superb also features a liftback-style bootlid, making loading and unloading of the boot a much easier process.
The key to what defines success of the Lexus ES300h, boils down to two key factors; excellence in build quality, even in their consistent panel gaps, and how well the ES is packaged. In-fact, the ES is actually more spacious than the larger LS flagship sedan.
Its interior is built with high quality plastics, leather and wood inserts. Lexus is proud of their Takumi craftsmanship, which shows in how well their wooden surfaces are lacquered.
Comfortable accommodation, a quiet cabin, and linear delivery of its drive, thanks to its natural-breathing engine, and hybrid drive, contributes to the mid-tier Lexus’ smoothness on the road.
A recent mid-life refresh keeps BMW’s flagship sedan up-to-date. A larger grille, and larger upright breathers behind the front wheels, helps with crucial airflow into the engine, and also to reduce turbulence to its front wheels.
Innovations like its available Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Parking Assistant Plus and Reversing Assistant adds autonomous capabilities to your drive. In ensuring that occupants are travelling in utmost comfort, a self-levelling air suspension supports the BMW’s double-wishbone front axle and five-link rear axle.
Premium Nappa upholstery, wooden trim and comfortable massage seats makes the interior of the 7 Series one which you would not want to leave. Soundproofing elements in the B-pillars are further complemented by thick 5.1mm laminated glass used throughout.
Its quirky design hides a car that is actually very versatile. The Volkswagen Golf SV is quite the ideal family car for those who might need that little extra space. If you do like how the Golf Hatchback delivers the goods, the Golf SV offers a similarly engaging drive. Up front, a 1.4 litre turbocharged engine drives the front wheels through a quick-shifting DSG transmission, and returns an impressive combined 18.2km/l.
The SV offers buyers added practicality, thanks to its slightly higher ride height, making it ideal for those who may have kids to buckle into the rear seats, which can also be rolled forward, up to 180mm. This adds to greater in-cabin and cargo-carrying flexibility.
Driver aids like Blind Spot Sensors with Rear Traffic Alert adds another layer of safety to the Volkswagen Golf SV.
SEAT’s large MPV is a full-sized 7-seater, ideal if you are planning to haul your extended family around, including kids who are no-longer pint-sized.
Built-in booster seats, which means you do not have to stow them into the boot when not in-use, is a boon to those who may need to do more than haul just the family around.
Its 1.4 litre engine, which produces 150hp and 250Nm is surprisingly a good fit, especially given the size of the SEAT Alhambra, and the duties the car is designed to perform.
Bang-for-buck performance… and it is amazingly practical too! The Skoda Octavia RS245 delivers all the practicality of the milder family version… a massive 590 litre boot, practical storage solutions and heaps of space for those at the rear.
The Octavia RS245 is powered by a potent Volkswagen-sourced 2.0 turbocharged four-cylinder engine, good for 241bhp and 370Nm, and is mated to a quick swapping 7-speed DSG transmission; enabling you to propel you and the family to 100km/h in 6.4 seconds. The Czechs have also reworked the entire rear suspension on the compact Skoda, to ensure that handling is right up there with the rest of the big boys.
We love how the Skoda RS245 delivers the goods without breaking the bank!
Extra doors at the rear means that more can enjoy the fun… courtesy of its potent 2.9 litre V6 which delivers 450bhp and 600Nm to all-four wheels.
Its signature quattro all-wheel drive system is able to direct drive to the front and rear wheels to a maximum of 85% or 70% respectively.
The Audi RS5 Sporback is not only practical, its tastefully sculpted lines, and widened wheel wells, delivers a powerful statement. Perhaps a little more silent than its counterparts, the RS5 Sportback is deceivingly quick in acceleration, achieving the 100km/h sprint in a blisteringly-short 3.9 seconds.
Four-door coupes go against the grain of traditional car design. But in the case of the Audi A7 Sportback, going against the grain has never been this good looking… And going against the grain here, also means that the A7 is a practical car, featuring a liftback-style automated bootlid, and 525 litres of cargo space.
A must-have for the car, is its available dynamic all-wheel steering, which adds more maneuverability and enhanced stability to the drive.
Haul the family… haul the family looking really really good!
Punch it hard through first, flick it to second… hear a thunderclap!
The Lexus LC 500 is truly a masterpiece from the luxury marque. Up in-front, a natural-breathing 5.0 V8 delivers the drive in traditional linear style, while a 10-speed automatic transmission never seems to tire itself of swapping cogs.
While Lexus is known mostly for producing cars which are refined, silent and stately… The LC 500 does the first two… and replaces the last with emotions.
Can a true coupe still be practical? Audi thinks so in the form of the A5 Coupe. A generous boot delivering 465 litres, means that even with its sporty intent, you get around… while getting your stuff around!
The star of the show is its 2.0 turbocharged B-Cycle engine, capable of 18.2km/l. The Audi A5 is however no slouch, being able to hit 100km/h in 7.3 seconds.
Ah yes, the Supra is back, and this time with a little help from the Germans. What we have here is a car which is a little mental, and we love it!
Its stonking 6-cylinder in-line engine easily delivers the 335bhp and 500Nm, with an elastic band of torque, spanning between 1,600 to 4,500rpm.
The Supra is well-balanced, and features a traditional RWD setup. The Supra tucks easily into bends with the help of its electronically-controlled active differential, which adds to greater cornering stability.
Performance aside, the Supra also delivers well as a daily driver.
Wider than before! The new Porsche 911 combines all the good in eight generations of 911s, and adds additional technology to the iconic coupe.
Timeless in style, and with a storied history, the 911 is one of the most desirable sports cars on the planet. Improved dashboard design also ensures that switchgear is even easier to find, while a new infotainment unit benefits from a larger screen.
New features like Wet Mode, which cuts the power down, ensures safer passage over wet surfaces.
Hyundai’s compact crossover goes electric! The Kona is able to go up to 482km on a single charge.
We love how Hyundai product planners conceived the Kona. Thoughtful touches, like how its regenerative braking adjusters right behind the steering wheel, just like gearshift pedals, are intuitive; while Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning (RCCW), which gives you a 180 degree view behind the car, makes it easier for you to back the Kona from a nosed-in position.
A silent cabin, and front ventilated seats adds to passenger comfort.
KIA revised its Niro Hybrid crossover. A subtly revised front grille and reworked tail lights keeps the Niro fresh.
The Niro’s instrument cluster, features a clever mix of analogue and digital dials, while its modernised infotainment system, as well as the instrument controls, are all exceptionally well-executed.
Most importantly, you can buy the KIA Niro now with a Category A COE, meaning that if you are keen on a compact-sized hybrid, the Niro for now, is the most affordable.