However in 2016 the rules changed, among the finalists were no surprises.
And the winner is...
The 2016 edition of the competition has revealed another SUV winner in the form of the Volvo XC90, the second vehicle to claim the title for the Swedish marque and a true reflection of how the SUV as a derivative has grown in popularity.
To read our full write up on the XC90, click here.
On the podium
In second position we saw the big Ford Fusion, an American sedan and perhaps something we would have seen as a winner a decade ago when sedans were so popular. In third spot is the excellent Mazda2 hatchback, another very complete car from a brand that is growing well locally.
Followed by the Mazda 2 as the 2nd runner up:
For all of the information on the Car of the Year competition, click here.
The surprise exclusion
Among the surprises left from the podium in our eyes was perhaps the BMW i3, a vehicle that we feel, really moved the game on, which is the spirit of the competition.
Autodealer was involved in the evaluation and judging process for the competition. The big Swede did impress us throughout the evaluation days not just because it is the first all-Volvo-developed-Volvo in a while but because the XC90 is now held in the same regard and in many instances higher regard than its rather accomplished German peers.
It is expensive though...
Sure, the Volvo is an expensive car, with pricing starting at a shade over R800 000 which will have many people asking about its relevance. However in the Swedes defence, in terms of the rules of the competition it does excel while the popularity of SUVs in general cannot be ignored.
What Volvo had to say
"We are absolutely delighted with our victory," comments Volvo Car South Africa Managing Director, Greg Maruszewski. "With the all-new XC90 we are not only re-writing the rules of a post-modern luxury driving experience but reinventing our brand as well. Our ethos, 'Made by Sweden', expresses our intrinsic Scandinavian roots, love for people, heritage and attitude to building some of the world's most desirable - and safest - luxury vehicles.