The Mazda2 Individual has beaten the cream of the world's best to win the coveted title of the South African Car of the Year.
The winner was announced at a function of the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists in Johannesburg last night (Tuesday, 18 March 2008), attended by motor industry executives, dealers and members of the Guild who tested and voted for the winner out of eight finalists.
The nine finalists were the Fiat Bravo 1.4 T-Jet Sport, Land Rover Freelander TD4 HSE Auto, Honda CR-V 2.2 i-CTDI, Lexus LS460, Mazda2 1.5 Individual, Mazda5 2.0 Active, Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI Classic, Nissan Qashqai 2.0 Accenta and Toyota Corolla 1.8 Exclusive.
Last year's winner was the Honda Civic.
Previous South African Car of the Year winners were Audi (3), Opel (3), Renault (2), Toyota (2), Mercedes-Benz (1), Nissan (1), Ford (1), Volkswagen (1) and Alfa Romeo (1).
The winning Mazda2 was launched in South Africa in October last year after being introduced to the world markets in March last year.
Within months of its launch overseas it won the Car of the Year title in Denmark and was nominated for a string of other awards, including being selected as one of the finalists in the prestigious European Car of the Year awards.
The Mazda2 Individual sells for R158,990 and is the least expensive of the nine finalists chosen for the South African title, going up against the R803,400 Lexus, the R429,000 Land Rover Freelander and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class 220 diesel which retails for R318,000.
Bizcommunity.com Motoring Editor Henrie Geyser, who is a member of the SAGMJ, was one of the first South African motoring journalists to drive the Mazda2 when it was introduced to the media in South Africa and described it as “the little car with the big heart.”
He said further: “Of all the new smaller cars I have driven in the past year, the Mazda2 impressed me the most. I won't be surprised if it repeats its performance over here.”
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