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Hold onto your steering wheels, South Africa

The finalists for the 2024 Car of the Year have been announced, writes SHERYL GOLDSTUCK.

Get ready for some serious tyre-squealing excitement as 18 top contenders battle it out across eight categories, from budget-friendly chariots to luxurious land yachts. The South African Guild of Mobility Journalists (SAGMJ) has narrowed down the field, and these finalists are ready to prove their mettle.

But who will stand out from the pack?

In the Budget and Compact arena, the Suzuki Fronx goes head-to-head with the sleek Citroen C3, both promising value without breaking the bank. The Compact Family category heats up with a three-way race between Suzuki Grand Vitara, Toyota Urban Cruiser, challenged by the ambitious newcomer, the Omoda C5.

Electric dreams take centre stage in the Family category, where the GWM Ora 03, South Africa’s most affordable electric car, faces off against the established powerhouse, the BMW X1.

For those seeking Premium experiences, the Mercedes-Benz GLC and Lexus NX battle it out, while the Luxury category showcases the ultimate automotive indulgence with the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz EQS.

Need a truck with some bite? The Volkswagen Amarok reigns alone in the 4×4 Double Cab category, while the Adventure SUV battle features the luxurious Lexus LX and the rugged Mahindra Scorpio N in a clash of titans.

But wait, there’s more. This year, history is in the making with the Performance category. The mighty Ford Ranger Raptor, basking in the glow of its sibling Ford Ranger Double Cab’s 2023 COTY win, muscles in alongside the Toyota Corolla GR, BMW M2, and Honda Civic Type R, proving that bakkies can be beasts too.

The experts have spoken, but the people have a say too! Cast your vote on social media for the Motor Enthusiast’s Choice and help crown your favourite finalist. Three lucky voters will even win an off-road driving course.

The road to the top is long and winding, but only one car will be crowned the 2024 SA Car of the Year. Mark your calendars for the finale in May, and buckle up for a ride you won’t forget.

P.S. Don’t forget to cheer on your favourite finalist and share your picks on social media using #SACOTY2024. Let’s get this competition rolling!

 * Sheryl Goldstuck is editor of GadgetWheels and a trainee juror for the Car of the Year awards.

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