The Toyota 86 and its hybrid sibling, the Yaris HSD were selected on Monday as Wesbank SAGMJ South African Car of the Year finalists by a 29-member jury of the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists. (Not forgetting of course sister brand Lexus which made it onto the finalists’ podium with the GS 350, making it a record three finalists from the Toyota stable.)

Toyota Yaris Car Of the year

What is it that makes the Toyota 86 and the Yaris HSD worthy contenders in this year’s Car of the Year competition?

Calvyn Hamman, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Toyota SA Motors, on the Toyota 86:

“Numbers and stats are worthy starting points, but I believe that in order to drive off with the title as the best in the land, a car should stir something deep within your soul. You should dream about it, but at the same time it still needs to be accessible. The Toyota 86 is just that sort of car – it hasn’t just broken the mould, it’s reinvented it. A perfect distillation of the classic, affordable sports car experience, the 86 proves conclusively that fun and motoring are not mutually exclusive terms. In short, the 86 is an affordable real driver’s car.”  

2012 Toyota 86 GT

Toyota 86 High (manual) Key Stats:


2.0-litre Boxer engine with Toyota’s latest direct fuel injection system to create the world’s first horizontally opposed engine with D-4S (Direct injection 4-stroke)


147 kW / 7000 rpm

0 to 100 km/h

7,6 seconds

Selected Features

17-inch alloys, LED lamp technology, frameless windows, Smart (keyless) entry, leather/alcantara upholstery, automatic climate control, cruise control, digital speedo read-out, 7 airbags, ABS and VSC.


R329 400 (incl VAT)

Kerry Roodt, General Manager of Marketing Communications for Toyota SA Motors, on the Yaris HSD:

“It was a big ask for the designers to create the ideal green compact car. Buyers expect CO2 emissions and fuel economy that’s much lower than its contemporaries, yet there shouldn’t be any shortfall in performance, dynamism or refinement. Add to that the market requires a high level of standard equipment, while keeping ownership costs reasonable. In short the perfect green car needs to be just that – the near-perfect car requiring very few compromises from its owner. Well, the Yaris Hybrid comes pretty close to ticking every single one of these boxes, while also offering the most dynamic and sporty styling in the range – thanks to features such as the large air dam, 15” alloy wheels and LED running lights. Isn’t that what a car of the year should be?”

Toyota Yaris HSD XS Key Stats:


1,497 cc, 16-valve, DOHC Atkinson Cycle petrol engine combined with a compact electric motor

Total Hybrid System Output

74 kW

Fuel Consumption

3,8 litres/100 km in the combined cycle


88 g/km (lowest in SA)

Selected Features

Automatic climate control, remote central locking, touchscreen audio incorporating Bluetooth and on-board computer with hybrid-specific “Eco” functions, audio jack with USB port and steering wheel controls


R223 800 (incl VAT)

About COTY 2013

South Africa’s Car of the Year competition – sponsored for the past 28 years by the wheels bank, WesBank, with additional support from Total and Hollard Insurance – is unique in the world in that it is determined by three rounds of voting. The first round of voting is open to all full members of the SAGMJ and yields the semi-finalists, where after a second round of voting, open to only the jury, determines the finalists. Following the two-day test sessions at Gerotek, a final allocation of points by the jury is tallied and audited before an overall winner is announced.

In keeping with the competition’s broadened scope, the testing at Gerotek will allow the vehicles to be evaluated under the conditions individual vehicles would be expected to perform under, with routes designed to test the vehicles in a similar way the average consumer would use them. The test days offer the Jury the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the vehicles and specific aspects such as aesthetics, build quality, ergonomics, fuel consumption, environmental friendliness, safety features and value for money.

A significant change to this year’s competition is the manner in which the COTY Jury was determined. Following a Car of the Year workshop held earlier this year, the Jury is no longer compiled from those SAGMJ members who had the greatest exposure to the eligible model ranges (by means of launch events and test cars). Instead, after casting a vote in the first round, each member had the opportunity to vote for 25 of his or her peers to serve on the Jury. The members with the most votes – to a maximum of 30 members – were co-opted onto the COTY Jury.

While all of the models are deemed to represent examples of outstanding automotive engineering, there can be only one winner and, in the eyes of the COTY Jury, that model will epitomise all-round automotive excellence. The winner of the 2013 WesBank SAGMJ Car the Year will be revealed at a gala banquet in March 2013.