The most important vehicle to hit the market in the first half of 2016 was undoubtedly the Toyota Hilux. Since going on sale, the Hilux has topped the sales chart by selling over 3 000 units a month. In fact, it’s been a strong first half for Toyota as the new Fortuner has also been a sales success, leading the medium/large SUV market. Not many other newcomers have set the sales charts alight, although we don’t have individual figures for Hyundai or Mercedes-Benz, both of which launched important models this year. The new Hyundai Tucson has reportedly been selling very strongly, too.
It has also been a good year for the performance car, especially if you like hot hatches. The facelifted Mercedes-AMG A45 was a big hit as was the Honda Civic Type R and the Audi RS3. BMW launched two M cars in the M2 and the M5 Pure Metal and there are Competition Packs available for the M3/4.
So what’s left in store for 2016? There’s still a load of cars hitting the market this year, some of which we hope will make a decent dent in the sales charts (Alfa Romeo Giulia QV, please!).
The local importers are working hard to get the Giulia to South Africa before the end of 2016.
Alfa Romeo is making waves overseas with the new Giulia and if the reviews are anything to go by, Mercedes, BMW and Audi may have a fight on their hands. The QV model is the top spec sports sedan made to compete with the M3, C63 and RS4 whilst there are other models in the range including turbodiesels and turbopetrols. It will hopefully be here by year-end, maybe early in 2017.
A dose of extra versatility compared with a traditional sedan is the 3 Series GT's greatest asset.
The 3 Series GT is back - with its hatchback. It offers a bit more practicality in the rear and slightly less awkward looks with this facelifted model. Expect the 340i (3-litre turbopetrol) to hit the market first with the 320i and 320d following soon after.
The new Kia Sportage arrives in South Africa very soon.
The Kia Sportage has had a major overhaul making it visually polarising. Kia claims improved interior space, higher quality interior surfaces and a better ride. It should be arriving in SA during this quarter (3rd quarter 2016).
The new Honda Civic again features a bold design underpinned by the brand's usual mechanical solidity.
The Honda Civic has quietly snuck onto the South African launch roster. It will be here as of 11 August 2016 and we will be driving it. The design is radically different, if not to everyone's taste, but the engines look quite appealing with turbopetrols and naturally aspirated models in the lineup.
The Mercedes-Benz CLA gets a similar upgrade to the A-Class earlier this year.
The CLA will receive a minor facelift and engine update in line with what we see on the current A-Class. It will be launched locally on the 1st August.
Want your GLC with some individuality, then the GLC Coupe is for you. It targets the BMW X4.
Mercedes-Benz will add another coupe variant to its SUV lineup. If they didn't sell, they obviously wouldn't make them despite the reduced practicality over the standard GLC. Mercedes notes it will be on sale in SA before year-end with more models joining the range in 2017.
The Megane is an important image leader for Renault and arrives before year-end.
The Renault Megane has not had much success in its current form (apart from the Renault Sport derivatives), but thankfully, the French marque's other models are really hitting their straps locally. The new Megane looks to have upped its game in the styling and quality departments. We'll have to see if that translates into sales.
The compact Kwid crossover is selling up a storm in India and Renault SA expect similar popularity in SA.
The Kwid is an A-segment Crossover that will ride on an all-new platform from Renault. The Kwid looks to be up to date with interior tech whilst using the 0.8-litre turbopetrol engine for power.
The already stylish Clio gets a nip-and-tuck before year-end.
The Renault Clio has been a hit for the French brand since this latest generation hit the market. The facelifted model promises to upgrade the level of interior materials whilst remaining good value for money. There's a turbodiesel being added to the range as well as a manual gearbox for the 1.2 turbopetrol.
The Volvo S90 impressed us at the international launch and comes to South Africa soon.
Volvo's S90 is the brand's next step in its rejuvenation project that started with the XC90. It is set to go head-to-head with the Merc E-Class, Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series.
The popular crossover/SUV segment will feel the arrival of the eagerly anticipated Tiguan, soon.
Tiguan should be here quite soon. The new model boasts better styling, a more family-friendly interior and a more supple ride. It will also be offered in two-wheel-drive as well as VW's 4Motion all-wheel drive offering.
The most hardcore Golf GTI ever will arrive in South Africa in extremely limited numbers.
As a swansong to the current generation GTI, the Clubsport S comes with just 2 doors and 2 seats. It's also shod with semi-slick tyres, more power and more downforce. Just 47 models are likely to come to SA and we can expect them sometime around November 2016.