Thursday, 18 December 2008


topCar magazine presents its top cars for 2009 in their January 2009 issue. Have a look at what this quirky bunch from the fast Cape are doing for their first issue of the year.

HATCH COMPARISON: Honda Jazz vs Ford Fiesta vs Suzuki Swift. If form ever met function in the biblical sense, their offspring would undoubtedly be a five-door hatch. And it could be one of these.

ROAD TEST: Honda Accord Tourer

Ignore the herd and find greener pasture - Just because everyone’s doing the same thing, doesn’t mean it’s the clever thing to do. Take the latest craze of men wearing white leather shoes and pink golf shirts. Yes, I know it’s fashion, but they said the same thing about permed peroxide mullets and stonewashed jeans not so long ago. The moral of the story? Following the herd will make you look stupid and you’ll have to learn the lyrics to all Abba’s greatest hits.

ROAD TEST: Toyota Hilux

It’s now six generations since the modest HiLux pickup from Japan caught the attention of the South African public in 1969, and the latest beasts truly live up to the name. The Spartan cabins and basic technology of those early days have been transformed to luxury palaces bristling with gadgets. Hard cross-ply tyres have been replaced with magic carpet radials; the basic monochrome bodyshell is now a shimmering feast of upswept curves in pearlescent hues. Hell, in one of these you even feel pretty sharp taking the garden refuse to the local dump.

FEATURE: Soweto Car Wash

If you want to fit in at the Junxion, your ride better have some street cred.

I’m in the heart of South Africa’s most famous township and, thankfully, I’m in a flash car. It’s a smart little 2+2, a Lexus SC430 not the world’s latest convertible, even if it’s new to SA. But is it going to get any attention in the world of black diamonds?

FEATURE: The Cars that count 2009

We rate the new Nissan 370Z, Focus RS, Audi A1, the next GTI, Honda’s hybrid Insight, the breakthrough Porsche Panamera and Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. We unveil Honda’s next NSX, the next VW Polo and the BMW X1, amongst others.

FEATURE: GT40 Revival

Mimic an iconic automotive recipe and you will win hearts, just as Ford has done with the Ford GT and Superformance with the SPF GT40. The difference is that one followed a microwave instruction booklet, the other stayed true to grandma’s favourite method.


The Kadett/Astra 200tS represented the swansong of locally developed specials and in the early 1990s only Delta still had the independence and the courage to develop a uniquely South African performance car.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


Honda is truly on a cost-cutting mission. Possibly the most conservative of the already-conservative three Japanese giant carmakers, Honda today reported a first half year operating loss for the first time in 11 years, this after pulling out of Formula One. Then CEO Takeo Fukui said that the NSX supercar has been cancelled indefinitely. NSX would have marked the return of Honda to the realm of rear-wheel-drive sports cars where the previous generation NSX was a king similarly to Nissan’s GT-R.

The company is now focusing on building environmentally sustainable cars, which means heavy battery packs, hybrid power and no V10 engines. This was the configuration of the NSX, a 5.0-litre odd V10 with over 370kW. Development had been as far as track testing for the car, and it was to be launched within the next few months. Now it’s on ice and we don’t know if it will thaw out anytime soon.


After yet another fatal road accident involving inter-provincial bus operator SA Roadlink, the provincial government of KwaZulu Natal has decided to invoke the company’s trading licence in the province with effect from Friday the 19th December at just before midnight. Transport MEC Bheki Cele said his government, through the traffic police department, would immediately arrest Roadlink drivers and impound their vehicles if found driving in KZN after the deadline.

A Roadlink bus driving in Port Shepstone on the south coast got into an accident and killed 11 people on Tuesday. About 22 people have been killed and more than 70 injured over the past two years from accidents involving Roadlink buses.

Rob Handfield-Jones of the Automobile Association (AA) said: “We applaud the swift action by the MEC in light of Tuesday’s KZN crash involving an SA Roadlink bus. We hope that his colleagues in other provinces will take similar steps and that bus operators will take note of this development."

But SA Roadlink is adamant that they have the legal right to operate in the province and will continue to do so even after Friday night. Some reports have suggested that because Roadlink drivers get paid per trip, they are often in too much of a hurry so as to do as many trips as possible.

Image courtesy of


Audi has shelved plans to produce a hybrid version of its Q5 mid-sized SUV. We’ll see the Q5 on Mzansi roads by May 2009. It competes primarily with the BMW X3 and new Mercedes-Benz GLK. Q5 range includes 2.0 TFSI (155kW, 350Nm), 2.0 TDI (125kW, 350Nm) and 3.0 TDI (176kW, 500Nm) powerplants, which are incidentally the only confirmed engine choices for Mzansi so far. As an Audi it uses a quattro 4x4 system to pull all four wheels.

As part of the features and optional extras, things listed would be the likes of MMI infotainment system with satellite navigation, power steering, air conditioning, leather interior, iPod and Bluetooth phone connectivity.

Audi’s change of mind makes sense since hybrids are most popular in the US where currently the market is extremely bad. The Germans make very good diesel engines anyway, so sticking to that is probably the better option.


A concept Subaru is on the cards for Detroit Motor Show which starts in January 2009. The concept car previews what the next generation Legacy will be based on in terms of design elements. The motor industry’s latest design fad, those blue front LED lights, can also be seen.

Currently Mzansi has Legacy sedan models, as well as the Outback wagon version in its lineup featuring 2.0-litre, 2.5-litre turbo and 3.0-litre engines.

The next Legacy would go on sale in 2010.