Here are the Wheels Car of the Year finalists for 2020

There can only be one winner – and it’ll come from one of these five finalists

Wheels Car of the Year 2020 - Finalists

This is it. Out of a field of 17 contenders, here are the five finalists for Wheels Car of the Year 2020. And the mix of cars couldn’t be more varied with a heathy mix of pragmatism and performance, while both ends of the price spectrum are accounted for, too. You could also say that the electric car (or SUV) has come of age in 2020. So without further delay, and in no particular order, here are the 2020 finalists.


The Mazda 3 is a favourite among private buyers and at Wheels HQ, with one winning a comparison against the venerable Golf and forming part of our long-term garage for three months. However, COTY isn’t a comparison test; it’s a far tougher ringer to pass through. Both the hatch and the sedan range offer a huge step up in quality, sound deadening and design, which should hold it in good stead against the criteria. But has it moved the small-car game forward?


As a convincing package that’ll make you consider a shift to a full electric vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz EQC makes a pretty compelling case. And for it to be the German marque’s first production EV, that’s an impressive feat – it certainly doesn’t do things by halves. In our first drive of the EQC we boldly stated that the “premium EV SUV has come of age” with this model. However, does that recommendation make it a COTY winner? You’ll have to wait and see.


As an object of desire, the 992 Porsche 911 Carrera S pretty much takes the $265,000 cake. And despite being endowed with 331kW and 530Nm of turbocharged flat-six grunt, the 911 isn’t all about numbers. How this accomplished sports car makes you feel is even more impressive. Perfecting perfections seems to be Porsche’s thing. The 911 has made the final five, is this Porsche’s best chance yet of taking a COTY crown.


The impressive Model S almost claimed the ultimate prize and the Model X SUV acquitted itself well, but a Tesla hasn’t won COTY despite offering one of the most complete EV experiences on the market. The Model 3 Performance was almost the quickest car in the field, its 3.5 second 0-100km/h time only eclipsed by the 911’s 3.4-second marker, while the Standard Range Plus proved to the judges that a comfortable and dynamic EV is possible. Could this be Tesla’s year?


Last, but not least, the Toyota RAV4 makes the final cut – and rightly so, given its status as a pre-event favourite. As an SUV that outguns its predecessor so heavily and simply meets its brief in such a comprehensive way, the likeable RAV ticks so many ownership boxes. But are they COTY-friendly boxes, too? We have everything from the base 2.0-litre four-cylinder to the popular hybrid to see what’s what.

So there you have it, the top dogs for the class of 2020. The final three and the overall winner will come from this group. Did we get it right? Have your say with our COTY poll.


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Trent Giunco

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