Here are 10 cars we would love to see on South African roads!
The South African car market is extremely small in comparison to other markets such as the United States and China, for example, and local market conditions dictate that there are a wide range of vehicles that are sadly not on sale in South Africa for various reasons.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t dream and we, therefore, pose the question to you. If you could choose 10 cars that you would want to see in South Africa, what would they be?
Here are our suggestions… Share yours with us!
We kick this list off with the current 2020 World Car of the Year, Kia’s flagship SUV, the Telluride, which in itself is a pretty cool accolade to have under its belt. What a machine, just look at it! The Telluride isn’t produced for right-hand-drive markets like South Africa but we think it would be a great alternative to the German SUVs that are on sale locally.
The Telluride offers a plush ride and is powered by a 3.8-litre V6 engine that churns out a meaty 217 kW and 355 Nm of torque and comes paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The Telluride is offered in either front or all-wheel-drive formats with variable power distribution to cope over various terrain. The interior can seat 8 and comes well-appointed with all the bells and whistles you would want in a large, luxury SUV.
South Africans love the outdoors and while we have a good choice of very capable adventure vehicles, there is one particularly cool double-cab bakkie that’s missing from South Africa’s motoring landscape and that is the Honda Ridgeline.
It’s built to primarily serve the North American market and it’s powered by a 3.5-litre V6 engine that develops 209 kW and 355 Nm of torque. It’s offered with a 9-speed automatic transmission which can be had with all-wheel-drive. If the Ridgeline was offered in South Africa, we think it would sell fairly well against rivals such as the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger. Also, it would serve as a cool V6 alternative to the Volkswagen Amarok. The Honda Ridgeline isn't just another bakkie though, it features a unibody design making it stiffer and less bumpy to drive over rougher terrain, something which ladder frame bakkies suffer from.
We are fans of the station wagon body shape and Volvo’s family-friendly V60 station wagon is sorely missed in South Africa. Unfortunately, station wagons are not very popular in South Africa and in 2017 our very own Ciro De Siena aptly coined the term ‘Anti-stationwagonism’ which is a condition that afflicts local car buyers (watch this video to learn more about Anti-stationwagonism).
It’s our loss though, because the Volvo V60 is as stylish as they come. The V60 is offered as a plug-in hybrid (T6 and T8 Twin Engine) or can be had with a choice of petrol (T5 and T6) or diesel engines (D3 and D4). With a near-perfect blend of style, practicality and performance, we think the V60 is a damn cool wagon that we would love to see on South African roads.
BMW Alpina B5 Touring
Talking about the love for wagons, we have a particular soft spot for wagons that offer scintillating performance. How does this BMW Alpina B5 Touring grab you?
This wagon will blast from zero to 100 kph in just 3.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 322 kph! Under the bonnet lurks a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine that’s been tuned to deliver 457 kW and 800 Nm of torque. With those performance figures thrown into wagon form, it’s hard not to have the Alpina B5 Touring on our wishlist.
Electric cars are typically well out of financial reach of most South African consumers and we hope that a more affordable and widely-accessible electric car option is offered in South Africa sooner rather than later. The latest third-generation Renault Zoe is an electric car that we think fits the bill, so to speak.
It comes equipped with a 50 kWh battery that allows for a useable range of 382 km (WLTP) which represents a 30% increase over its predecessor. A new R135 electric motor generates 100 kW and 245 Nm of torque and comes mated with a single-speed gearbox. An 80 kW engine option is also offered. Fast direct current (DC) charging is now also offered alongside alternating current (AC) options.
Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
While the Ford Mustang has been well received in South Africa since its local launch back in 2015, we would love to see some more American muscle cars on local soil. Arguably one of the coolest, fastest and most powerful muscle cars available across the pond is the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.
Built to dominate the drag strip, the Demon packs a supercharged 6.2-litre V8 engine that cranks out 603 kW and 972 Nm. Sipping on race fuel and equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission that drives the rear rubber, the Demon will decimate the quarter-mile in just 9.5 seconds. Zero to 100 kph is to happen in around 2.3 seconds! That should do it, yes?
Cupra is the high-performance brand for Spanish car brand SEAT and the Formentor is a new crossover coupe that takes square aim at rivals such as the Audi Q3 Sportback, Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe and BMW X4 Coupe, for example, but at Seat pricing.
As such, it boasts sharp and edgy styling that’s hard to not to like and we think it has the looks to best the best in this segment. As for firepower, a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine is fitted with 228 kW and 400 Nm of torque on offer, combined with 4-wheel-drive and a 7-speed DSG transmission. A plug-in hybrid powertrain is also offered. If available in Mzanzi, we can’t see why the Formentor wouldn't serve as an attractive choice to counter the mostly predictable design direction offered by the German trio.
First launched in 2009 with the name Yeti, this Skoda has serious off-road ability but more than that, it has a wide range of talents, including powerful performance, a spacious and well-designed cabin with high levels of practicality and safety, while also boasting excellent levels of comfort for both passengers and in terms of on-road refinement which all played a part in it becoming a notable sales success before being replaced by the Skoda Karoq in 2017.
The Yeti was powered by with a choice of both petrol and diesel engines with power outputs ranging from 77 kW all the way up to 125 kW with front- and all-wheel-drive options coupled with a manual or dual-clutch transmission. The Yeti’s offroad prowess came courtesy of a Haldex clutch with a multi-plate coupling system as well as an electronic differential lock. The Yeti wore many hats with utter confidence and we would love to drive the Yeti in South African conditions.
Ford F-150 Raptor
We are big fans of the Ford Ranger Raptor as it’s perhaps the most capable offroad bakkie currently on sale in South Africa. But sometimes bigger is better and in the case of Ford’s F-Series range of pickups, this is certainly the case. The full-size F-Series is the most-sold pickup in the U.S. and in South Africa, enthusiasts seem to have an affinity for the F-150 and in particular, the F-150 Raptor.
While various powerful powerplants are offered for the F-150, the F-150 Raptor is fitted with a twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 engine with 331 kW and 690 Nm of torque and mated with a 10-speed automatic transmission that drives all 4 wheels. The larger F-150 Raptor is an offroad beast, especially because of its impressive variable damping Fox shock absorbers that deliver exceptional offroad performance. Variable drive modes are on offer, but as on the Ranger Raptor, Baja mode is the mode that allows you to achieve truly astonishing high-speed offroad performance in tough terrain. There is so much to like about the F-150 Raptor and it simply must feature on our list of coolest cars we would want in South Africa.
Back in 2016, we reported that Tesla added South Africa to its order book for the Model 3 compact sedan. The announcement sparked huge excitement in South Africa that finally perhaps we would indeed see the electric car giant arrive on South African shores.
Almost 5 years on and Tesla’s electric cars are nowhere to be seen in South Africa or in Africa and we couldn’t be more disappointed. Now, the Model 3 is old and so is Elon and perhaps the only chance of ever seeing a Tesla in Mzansi is if the space-going Tesla Roadster with Starman behind the wheel makes a miraculous about-turn in the deep of space and rockets itself onto the runway at OR Tambo International Airport with David Bowie blaring from its speakers. What a day that would be…