The Hyundai Venue was announced as winner in the Compact Category of the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists’ 2021 Car of the Year competition during a virtual awards ceremony that was streamed live this week.

The Venue, which was launched in South Africa as a compact SUV at the end of 2019, is a popular buyers’ choice and one of the best-sellers in Hyundai Automotive South Africa’s model line-up. The Venue was one of four Hyundai finalists for the 2021 Car of the Year (COTY) competition – the others were the Grand i10, the Creta and the i30 N.

According to the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ) the 2021 SA Car of the Year competition had its unique challenges. For the first time in the competition’s history, the SAGMJ did not host its scheduled two-day juror evaluation event, where the finalists are driven and evaluated. Instead, an ongoing online scoring system was made available to all its members in 2019 based on scoring criteria that closely mirrored COTY’s voting criteria. The scoring system was initially created to build up a database of vehicles tested, their strengths, weaknesses and to be able to compare them to category contenders.

COTY jurors had access to this scoring system and were encouraged to score vehicles as they experienced them on launches or as test-drive vehicles and to input scores and notes via the SAGMJ scoring system.

In the last two years, the public has become more involved in the COTY scoring/voting process. This voting counted towards the juror scores and effectively held the weight of a single juror. Having discovered that this made minimal impact, the SAGMJ wanted to encourage the public to be more involved and felt that the public deserved their own award: the Motor Enthusiast’s Choice Award.

Once the panel has concluded scoring, the automated scoring factors that cover sales performance, segment share and value for money are applied. The automated scoring information is provided by Lightstone Auto, which provides data-driven insight, online market intelligence and new vehicle sales data to the South African automotive industry. For the Jurors’ Excellence Award, raw scoring is used to reveal which vehicle received the highest marks before automated factors were included.

The other category winners in the 2021 South African Car of the Year competition are:
  • Budget Category: Toyota Starlet
  • Compact Family Category: Peugeot 2008 SUV
  • Family Category: Audi A4
  • Premium Category: BMW 4 Series
  • Adventure Category: Toyota Land Cruiser Prado
  • Double Cab Category: Toyota Hilux Double Cab
  • Performance Category: Porsche 911 Turbo S
  • New Energy Category: Porsche Taycan
  • Motor Enthusiast’s Choice: Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  • Jurors Excellence Award: Peugeot 2008 SUV
The first-place overall winner of the 2021 Car of the Year competition is the Peugeot 2008.