The inaugural TopGear Awards 2023

The inaugural TopGear South Africa Awards, in partnership with Wesbank, South Africa's leading asset-based finance provider for personal and business financial needs, took place last night at the prestigious Steyn City Helistop in Northern Johannesburg. It honoured remarkable cars and the individuals and companies behind them. 

Twenty-four awards were handed out on the evening. All recipients, except the Reader’s Choice Awards, were chosen by the TopGear South Africa team. Eight (8) of the 24 awards are unique to TopGear South Africa. These categories include;

Noise of the Year; Instant Icon Award; Motoring Moment of the Year; PR of the Year; Driving Academy of the Year; All the Car You Need, Bargain of the Year and Fun Car of the Year. 

Judging for the TopGear South Africa Awards is a process that takes place throughout the year as the TopGear South Africa team evaluates cars through its review process. The finalists are then selected before another evaluation and judging process takes place before determining the winners for each category. Winners must score highly using TopGear South Africa’s evaluation system that measures cars on all aspects of performance, ownership, quality, design, and innovation.

“Our Awards are simply about context and experience. We need to have driven the cars in order to evaluate them and that is how they are eligible for nomination. None of these awards are going to cars that we have not driven. In terms of the people awards, we are celebrating people that have shown exceptional excellence in what they do,” says Avon Middleton, Publishing Partner at TopGear South Africa.

When asked which award stood out as an interesting surprise, Lerato Matebese, Publishing Editor at TopGear South Africa said that the Reader Choice Awards was very interesting as all the finalists were Chinese brands. “This is a great insight as it shows South Africa’s appetite for cheaper alternatives that still tick the boxes of convenience, safety, and style. The sales figures of these brands further drive the point home,” said Matebese. 

It's a great honour for WesBank to have been part of the first ever TopGear South Africa Awards. The event is a fitting tribute to all the models, individuals and companies that played a pivotal role this year in advancing mobility for South African consumers. We also commend the TopGear South Africa team for its role in presenting to the public the best of what’s on offer in the local market. This ensures that car buyers are fully equipped with the information they need to make prudent purchasing decisions on what is for most South Africans one of the biggest investments they’ll ever make,” says WesBank CEO Ghana Msibi.

The Award Categories and Winners

AWARD 1:        Hot-Hatch of the Year

Winner:            Honda Civic Type R

AWARD 2:        Family SUV of the Year 

Winner:            KIA Sportage

AWARD 3:        Hatch of the Year  

Winner:            Volkswagen Polo

AWARD 4:        Reader's Choice Award  

Winner:            Beijing X55

AWARD 5:        Supercar of the Year

Winner:            Porsche 911 GT3 RS  

AWARD 6:        Luxury Car of the Year  

Winner:            Range Rover

AWARD 7:        Performance Car of the Year

Winner:            Honda Civic Type R

AWARD 8:        Manufacturer of the Year 

Winner:            Ford South Africa

AWARD 9:        Urban Crossover of the Year

Winner:            BMW X1

AWARD 10:      Bakkie of the Year

Winner:            Ford Ranger Raptor

AWARD 11:       MPV of the Year

Winner:            KIA Carnival

AWARD 12:      Efficiency Award

Winner:            Renault Duster dCi

AWARD 13:      Bargain of the Year  

Winner:            GWM Ora

AWARD 14:      EV of the Year

Winner:            BMW iX3

AWARD 15:      Fun Car of the Year

Winner:            Toyota GR86

AWARD 16:      Instant Icon Award

Winner:            Porsche 911 Dakar

AWARD 17:      Motoring Moment of the Year

Winner:            Ford South Africa - 100 Years

AWARD 18:      Noise of the Year

Winner:            Alfa Romeo Stelvio Q

AWARD 19:      All the Car You Need

Winner:            Audi RS6 Avant

AWARD 20:      PR of the Year

Winner:            Christo Kruger  - Porsche, Lamborghini and Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit

AWARD 21:      Fleet Manager of the Year

Winner:            John Mulder  

AWARD 22:      Motoring Personality of the Year  

Winner:            Leyton Fourie

AWARD 23:      Driving Academy of the Year 

Winner:            AMG Driving Academy

AWARD 24:      Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner:            Athol Van Heerden – Volkswagen South Africa 

“The beauty about the TopGear South Africa Awards, is that it allows us to openly show our candid opinion and there’s nothing like that out there. Awards events in the automotive industry can be highly complicated, very technical, and poured over by many people. The TopGear South Africa Awards is a unique celebration that reflects the spirit and ethos of TopGear South Africa,” concludes Middleton. 

“Bringing these awards to light casts an even bigger spotlight on what we deem excellence in the automotive space, which is something that we pride ourselves on at TopGear South Africa. To also honour the people that have gone beyond the call of duty to ensure that we can create such world-class content, is something that resonates with the team at large,” concludes Matebese. 

TopGear South Africa themselves have celebrated many wins in 2023 such as the launch of their new TopGear SA Test Track, which is a first for any motoring title in South Africa; their new feature called “Bakkie Wars” and another successful instalment of Speed Week. Speed Week was a resounding success with all 13 contenders being exhibited on the beach at the Valley of the Waves at Sun City – a first for the resort, a first for a car brand, and a first for any motoring title in South Africa. 

Last night’s TopGear South Africa Awards closed the year on an auspicious note.