We recently walked the halls of the Paris Motor Show where many important new models were shown to the media and the public for the first time. The 13 cars listed here are all production ready and should find their way to South African dealerships in the next few months.
While the world may currently be going through what can be described as a "rough patch" and the economic outlook isn't particularly rosy, the globe's carmakers are not slowing down on the product development front. So, inbetween the futuristic headline-grabbing concepts and bullish talk of autonomy, electrification and digitalisation, there were numerous production-ready new cars on display at the Paris Motor Show, and many of these will be available in South Africa very shortly. From chirpy cheapies such as the Suzuki Ignis and Nissan Micra, to stylish crossovers like the Peugeot 3008 GT and Toyota C-HR, and stretching all the way to the glamorous Lexus LC500h, there was something for everyone in Paris.
The second-generation Q5 made its debut in Paris and features an evolutionary design that won't offend anyone, except perhaps those who may have wanted something a bit more adventurous from Audi. I think existing fans of the brand and current model will like it, however, because the detailing is quite superb, especially inside where it get the minimalistic facia design of the latest A4, including the completely digital instrumenation. As per usual, the quality levels are arguably class-leading – the Q5 feels, looks and smells like a very expensive product inside.
The new Q5 will arrive in South Africa during the second quarter of 2017. Read more about the newcomer here.
Audi RS3 Sedan
A surprise reveal at the Paris Motor Show was the hottest version of the A3 sedan line-up, the RS3 Sedan. With its compact dimensions, chiselled lines and wheelarch-filling alloys, the RS3 Sedan is a real looker in the metal. The 2.5-litre turbocharged engine under the bonnet delivers a whopping 294 kW, so the performance will be sizzling.
Audi South Africa has confirmed that the RS3 Sedan will come to South Africa but that the exact timing is still to be finalised. A spokesperson has told us that the second quarter of 2017 is most likely. Read more about the new Audi RS3 Sedan here.
The all-new Hyundai i30 made its world-debut in Paris and is said to major on connectivity and info-tainment for "today's digital natives". It features a conservative, but neat exterior design and a cabin that represents a significant jump in tactile quality and design. In that sense, it seems to mirror the Golf's approach and it is therefore less of a surprise that Hyundai boldly describes it as the "new people's car".
The new Hyundai i30 is likely to reach South Africa during the second quarter of 2017. You can read a more detailed report here.
Another stylish and beautifully finished Korean at the Paris Motor Show was the new-generation Rio, a car which has quite big boots to fill as the current model remains an appealing proposition. The new model features a careful evolution of the design of its stylish predecessor, but make no mistake, it's all-new from the ground up. The more spacious cabin features premium finishes and a neat layout, which includes a trendy "floating" info-tainment touch-screen system.
The exact timing of the Rio's local launch has not been confirmed yet, but it is a definite for South African launch in 2017. Read more about it here.
Land Rover Discovery
From a South African perspective the new Land Rover Discovery is a much-anticipated product. The current Discovery has been on the market for a very long time – since 2004 if you regard the Discovery 3 as the genesis of the current offering – and in that time it has become a firm favourite. The newcomer, Land Rover says, is even more spacious and practical than its predecessor, yet offers more advanced features and is still a very capable off-roader. In the metal, it is a lot larger than it appears on images, and the styling is now very much from the new Land Rover design language, which will please many, but not those who regarded the outgoing model as such a design icon.
The new Discovery will arrive in South Africa during the first half of 2017. Find out more here.
Lexus LC 500
The big new Lexus sports coupe has already been confirmed for a South African debut early in 2017. Shown in Paris was the LC 500 h, claimed to offer the world's first multi-stage hybrid system specifically developed for performance vehicles. We're not yet sure whether this model, with its 3.5-litre V6 engine and powerful electric motor will reach South Africa, but we're pretty confident that it will. Besides, it looks near identical to the 5.0-litre V8-equipped LC 500, and the Paris Motor Show was our first opportunity for a closer inspection. It is a beautifully proportioned car with hints of muscle car in its shape. We will be driving it before the year is out, so watch out for more information soon.
Mini Clubman JCW
Another of the Paris show stars that will reach South Africa during the second quarter of 2017 is the Mini Clubman JCW. At Cars.co.za we are big fans of the Clubman model, as it adds a healthy measure of practicality to the Mini recipe without robbing it off too much quirk. Plus, it looks really good in JCW trim and can be pesonalised to your heart's content. Interestingly, the Clubman was launched with an all-wheel drive system, so it should very effectively put all of its 170 kW onto the tarmac.
The fifth-generation Micra was one of the real-world stars of the Paris Motor Show. It represents a total transformation, and has made big steps forward in terms of not only design, but also cabin finish and features. Unlike its predecessor, which targeted the lower – more affordable – end of the B-segment, the new Micra looks set to storm the upper B-segment, where vehicles such as the VW Polo, Mazda2 and Opel Corsa do battle. Just on first appearances, it certainly appears to have the tools to do just that.
The new Micra is not yet confirmed for South African launch, but we've been told that its chances look good. We predict a local introduction around mid-2017. Read more about the new Micra here.
Opel Mokka X
The Paris Motor Show was all about the electric Ampera-e for German brand Opel, but seeing as that model is not yet confirmed for South Africa, my attention turned to the Mokka X, which will arrive in South Africa before year-end. The current Mokka is an attractive, premium offering, but due to its age mostly, has fallen behind in certain respects, particularly when it comes to ergonomics. The Mokka X addresses this very effectively with a smartly designed new facia and up-to-date info-tainment capabilities. It should do wonders for Opel's chances in this very popular segment of the South African market.
Peugeot 3008/3008 GT
Peugeot seemingly had one of the busiest stands at the Paris Motor Show, with its new 3008 and 5008 crossovers being there in numbers and attracting lots of attention – I returned to the stand several times but never could quite get the photo I wanted! The company has already made an impressive turn-around in Europe and the recovery looks set to gain further momentum with the striking new 3008 and 3008 GT models. The previous 3008 was impressive in many ways, but ungainly in appearance and more MPV, when the market preferred sporty SUVs. The newcomer is very attractive, and boasts an interior that may just give the German brands serious nightmares. As an aside, the bigger 5008 (an X-Trail rival) was also on the stand and was similarly impressive, but this model has not yet been confirmed for South Africa.
The 3008 and GT flagship arrives in South Africa early in 2017. Look out for a first drive report later this week, but until then you can find more information here.
It was probably the first time that I've seen a significant pick-up presence at the Paris Motor Show. Industry analysts predict that this is a segment that will boom in Europe in the coming years, so not only did Volkswagen show its new V6 Amarok, but Nissan had its new Navara and Renault its Alaskan. The Alaskan (a development of the Navara) has not yet been confirmed for the South African market, but we're confident enough that it will to include it in this list. It's a very attractive vehicle, and somehow manages to appear less bulky than other recent new arrivals.
One of the unexpected stars (for yours truly) of the Paris Motor Show was the Suzuki Ignis. This quirky little urban crossover offers an appealing blend of modern and retro design, inspired by the little SC 100 coupe from the '70s. It will be offered in 2- and 4-wheel drive guise and power comes from either a 1.2-litre petrol engine, or the new 1.0-litre turbopetrol "Boosterjet" powerplant. It is not a replacement for the Jimny, but is positioned similarly to the Fiat Panda 4x4 of old. We've been told that the Ignis could go on sale in South Africa as early as April 2017, but this timing remains unconfirmed.
The Paris Motor Show afforded us our first close look at Toyota's eagerly awaited sub-RAV4 crossover, the C-HR. Initially most industry commentators had expected the new Toyota to be a direct rival for the Nissan Juke, but in reality it appears likely to be positioned closer to the larger Qashqai. It's a very quirkily styled vehicle, and certainly eyecatching. Inside, I was impressed by the quality fittings and the youthful design – you can sense that the designers and product planners were very keen to position the C-HR at the upper end of its intended segment.
The Toyota C-HR will likely reach South Africa during the first half of 2017. You can find out more here.