The Anticipated Winners for South Africa's Car of the Year Award

South African car enthusiasts took an Autotrader poll to vote for their favorite model. 

2018 Chicago Auto Show Media Preview - Day 2
Raymond Boyd—Getty Images

In 2017, the Opel Astra was crowned WesBank South African Car of the Year, scoring high marks for its durable structure and smooth driving.

WesBank South African Car of the Year 2018 will be announced next month, and car enthusiasts have already voted on their favorite. Here’s what the public is anticipating, based on the 10 finalists comprised of models from Audi, Porsche, Peugeot, Suzuki, Land Rover, Alfa Romeo, Kia, Volvo, and Toyota.

The BMW 5 Series is expected to win the title—it obtained nearly a quarter of the audience’s vote. The luxury model caps out at around $60,000 and boasts an extensive list of features. The semi-autonomous 5 Series has a 4.4-liter, eight-cylinder Twin Power Turbo engine, voice and gesture controls, and an elite Harman Kardon sound system, along with endless customization options.

BMW models have been named Car of the Year six times already so it won’t be a surprise if the 5 Series wins. The last time a BMW won was in 2011 when the 530d and the VW Polo 1.6 TDI tied for the award.

The second was the Alfa Romeo Giulia, receiving 13 percent of the vote. Alfa’s ultra-affordable sports sedan already earned the thumbs up from The Drive for its smooth ride and its exotic design.  But the car’s solely automatic transmission and its faulty brakes might prevent it from winning the title. Also, no Alfa Romeo model has ever won the South African COTY before.

The Volvo S90 followed the Alfa closely, with 12.8 percent of the vote. The car’s pristinely designed interior, its 360-degree surround view camera, and its Audi-like features garnered positive feedback from the audience. Volvo’s XC90 model won Car of the Year in 2016, so perhaps history will repeat itself this year.

Next in line was the Porsche Panamera, the hybrid hatchback that can drive up to 164 mph. It earned 10.5 percent of the vote. Porsche had a recent three-year streak, winning COTY from 2013-2015. The car could maybe take the title if it didn’t cap out at $85,000.

Tied with the Panamera was the Peugeot 3008, the company’s second-generation crossover that recently received an aesthetic makeover. It’s easy to drive, lightweight, and features an energy-efficient diesel engine, all suitable qualities to cruise along South Africa’s deserts and mountains.

The rest of the 10 nominees: the Kia Picanto, the Land Rover Discovery, the Toyota C-HR, Audi Q5, and the Suzuki Ignis, lagged behind with 4-6 percent of the vote.

Autotrader, a site that wheels and deals new and used cars, conducted this preliminary survey. Autotrader often receives mixed reviews so it will be interesting to see how accurate the survey’s predictions are.

The South African Car of the Year will be announced March 13. Before that, we’ll find out the winner of the 2018 World Car at the Geneva Motor Show, which begins March 8.