Mazda2 named car of the year

Xolile Bhengu

Xolile Bhengu

Mazda's latest entry-level car, the Mazda2, has been named the winner of the 2008 Car of the Year award.

The South African Guild of Motoring Journalists and Wesbank made the announcement on Tuesday night at Johannesburg's Kyalami Theatre on The Track.

The Mazda2 1.5 Individual hatchback, which was introduced to the local market last October and has made 3500 sales since, beat eight other contenders for the title.

The other finalists the car beat for bragging rights this year include the Mazda5 2.0 Active, Fiat Bravo 1.4 T-Jet Sport, Honda CR-V 2.2 I-CTDI, Land Rover Freelander 2.2 TD4 HSE Commandshift, Lexus LS 460, Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI Touchshift, Nissan's Qashqai 2.0 Acenta, and Toyota's Corolla 1.8 Exclusive.

Hal Feder, president and chief executive of Mazda Ford SA, said the vehicle manufacturer was pleased with the uptake of the car in the South African market barely five months after its entrance.

Feder said early demographic statistics had shown that 70percent of the car's buyers were female.

He said the award was a great addition to 27 other international awards that the car had won between last year and this year.