Old Mutual Insure 2024 Car of the Year Semi-Finalists Revealed

The 2024 Car of the Year (COTY) Committee unveiled the long-anticipated semi-finalists for its 2024 competition. Hosted by the South African Guild of Mobility Journalists (SAGMJ), the 38th COTY annual event is sponsored by Old Mutual Insure (OMI) for the second consecutive year.

"We are excited to reveal this year's semi-finalists; a diverse set of competitors that are great examples of innovation and excellence in the automotive industry, which is what the competition is all about. We anticipate a highly competitive and thrilling competition this year as the Validation Committee meticulously evaluated each contender," said Garth Napier, MD of Old Mutual Insure.

The COTY Validation Committee selects vehicles, assessing eligibility against the rules stipulating that only entirely new model ranges and not a new derivative of an existing model range qualify for entry. The only exception is a sports derivative of an existing model range, which is eligible to compete in the Performance Category.

For the 2024 competition, over 80 vehicles underwent evaluation, resulting in 30 meeting stringent entry criteria. SAGMJ members cast their votes, elevating 25 to semi-finalists. This meticulous process ensures adherence to competition standards, setting the stage for an exciting 2024 COTY competition.

"The 2024 COTY edition has a competitive lineup across all categories, setting the stage for fierce competition among overall and category winners," said Mabuyane Mabuza, Chairperson of the 2023 and 2024 COTY Committee and Vice-Chairperson of the SAGMJ.

The 25 semi-finalists boast strong representation across all categories. Starting with the Budget and Compact category that targets accessibility for first-time buyers, the Citroen C3 is joined by the Suzuki Fronx and the Toyota Vitz. The Compact Family category sees heightened competition from the previous year, including a newly launched luxury Chinese brand, Omoda. The Family category welcomes the first Chinese battery-electric vehicle, the GWM Ora 03, in the COTY competition, adding a groundbreaking element to the mix and highlighting the competition's evolving landscape.

In the Premium and Luxury categories, the dominance of brands like Mercedes Benz, BMW, and Lexus is evident with three, two, and one entry, respectively. The Adventure SUV category sees competition from an Indian contender, the Mahindra Scorpio N, while the 4x4 Double Cab category is represented solely by the Volkswagen Amarok this year.

In an interesting move, Ford Motor Company, the 2023 COTY overall winner with the Ford Ranger, entered its new Ranger Raptor V6 in the Performance category set to challenge high-performance derivatives from BMW, Honda, and Toyota. This competitive category promises huge excitement and anticipation.

The semi-finalists representing the eight categories of the 2024 Car of the Year competition are:

Budget and Compact

  • Citroen C3
  • Suzuki Fronx
  • Toyota Vitz

Compact Family

  • Omoda C5
  • Renault Captur
  • Suzuki Grand Vitara
  • Toyota Urban Cruiser


  • BMW X1
  • GWM Ora 03
  • Mazda CX-60
  • Nissan X-Trail
  • Mitsubishi Outlander


  • Lexus NX
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC


  • BMW 7 Series
  • BMW XM
  • Mercedes-Benz EQE
  • Mercedes-Benz EQS

4x4 Double Cab

  • Volkswagen Amarok

Adventure SUV

  • Lexus LX
  • Mahindra Scorpio N


  • BMW M2
  • Ford Ranger Raptor
  • Honda Civic Type R
  • Toyota Corolla GR

The rising prevalence of battery-electric vehicles (BEV) and hybrid-electric vehicles (HEV), coupled with the expansion of local infrastructure to support this sector's growth, prompted the removal of the New Energy category of the COTY competition. These vehicles will now integrate seamlessly into other qualifying categories.

"The calibre of the 2024 COTY semi-finalists is truly impressive, reflecting the industry's commitment to pushing boundaries and delivering outstanding vehicles. Best wishes to each participant as they vie for the coveted title in their respective categories," said Napier.

"Congratulations to the 2024 COTY semi-finalists for completing the rigorous selection process. Choosing the 25-vehicle lineup is challenging for our expert members, but it is the start of an exciting time in the COTY history every year. Best of luck in this year's competition, and thank you for actively participating in this superb, long-standing, and prestigious automotive event," concluded Mabuza.

January 2024 sees the COTY jury narrowing this list to finalists. These contenders undergo rigorous evaluation before the jury finalises scores, revealing the official 2024 South African Car of the Year winners in May.