Friday, 7 January 2011


We loved this car at first sight. Styled along the lines of the new Insignia, the Astra is a quiet but very capable. From where we sit, it is now a more mature drive, very refined and stylish, no longer the little boy racer that was the old Kadett. We’d actually say it’s the most stylish car in its class today. Those little engines are serious performers too, while the interior appointments only increase its appeal.


German website has revealed these leaked pictures of the upcoming Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe. It is expected the car will debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, although one cannot totally discount a Detroit unveiling next week.


After winning the first four special stages, Volkswagen had to take a back seat to the BMW X3 of former champion Stephane Peterhansel on stage five of the 2011 Dakar Rally between Calama and Iquique in Chile on Thursday.  But in another strong showing on an event they have dominated so far, the four works Volkswagen Race Touaregs finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th with Carlos Sainz retaining his overall lead of the race.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


For some time Jaguar defined the luxury sedan segment. With this new XJ the company is getting back to its innovative and sporting roots by doing things differently, while keeping the important stuff together; integrity, design excellence, performance and lavishness. The interior is best in class.

It wasn’t even five years ago that a Kia could not even be mentioned in the also-rans sections. Today however, things have changed. The Koreans are building some of the best looking cars in the world, and engineering them even better. The Sportage is the current poster child of this growing movement towards being a top 3 global automaker and Kia couldn’t have chosen a better ambassador.

The C-Class leads the pack in sales in its segment for a reason. Built right here in South Africa, the C220 CDI also leads by example in terms of driveability, comfort and enviro-friendliness. Although due for a facelift in 2011, the car still looks quite fresh, thanks to those convex/concave lines and aggressive front end.

Over 1200km on one single tank? You bet! This is the S350 BlueTec’s major claim to fame, besides the fact that it’s the S-Class of the automobile world. BlueTec technology cuts C02 emissions to levels found in much lower classes of car, while performance improves (try 620Nm!) exponentially. Diesel engines have not traditionally been popular with Mzansi buyers in this segment, but after reading this it absolutely makes sense to at least have a look in.

The hottest car of 2010 as far as South Africa is concerned turned up at our parking lot and created such a stir that we’d be very embarrassed to get inside, thanks to all the stares, cell phone camera clicks, gawks, questions, requests to sit in it etc etc etc! The worry was it wouldn’t be able to match its exterior heat with performance. Wrong. Blasting a 4.0 second time from 0 – 100km/h made it the fastest car we’ve ever tested, plus it turned corners too.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011


South African circuit racing champion Anthony Taylor, performing in the unfamiliar role of technical support truck driver on the 2011 Dakar Rally in Argentina, has maintained his overall position of 38th after the first two special.

Monday, 3 January 2011


Chevrolet did everything right when it came to the new Spark. Looks are very attractive, space is abundant, performance adequate and price accessible. Add to that the fact that GM is marketing it to the right people, the Spark is the car leading the General back in from the cold.

Premium mini hatchbacks are about to become the next craze and Citroen’s DS3, the Frenchman’s first attempt at the genre, is almost flawless. Mzansi people are still very much attached to their favourite old brands and are possible not yet willing to try out new things. Despite that, the DS3 is doing relatively well, and deservedly so. It has to be our favourite premium mini hatch of 2010 by a mile.

Front-wheel-drive and 224kW later, Ford is perched nicely in the minds of South Africans as the company that’s built an instantly legendary hot hatch. For two years we were told we’d never see it in the country, but 60 x R479 000 later Ford can claim massive success. Soon the new ST will roll up and we’ll have to buckle up and burst out laughing once again. Ford performance is back!

We weren’t too bowled over by the CR-Z’s lack of power and torque. However, its dynamics are top of the class stuff and its fuel-efficiency credentials among the best in any category. Honda has shown us there is a future in hybrid powertrains stuffed into an excellent driving machine.

A busy exterior design masks a complex compact SUV that challenges the status quo. Replacing the popular Tucson was always going to be a tough act but the ix35, said to be selling over 1000 units a month, is proving that sequels can work. Hyundai has really moved upmarket here with a car that’s well-equipped, very comfortable and fun to drive.


Volkswagen’s quest for a third successive Dakar Rally victory began on Saturday as the 33rd running of the world’s longest and toughest motor sport event got underway in Argentina’s capital city of Buenos Aires.  A total of 407 cars, trucks, bikes and quads started the epic 9 500-km 16-day journey through Argentina and Chile.

Sunday, 2 January 2011


1.     The year 2010 was one of the busiest the motor industry has seen in recent years. Coming in at the back of a dismal 2009 in terms of sales, 2010 gave us promises of an upturn as well as fresh, cutting-edge products to lure buyers back into empty showroom floors.


MINI is readying yet another concept car for the 2011 North American International Auto Show at Detroits’s COBO centre. The car, called the Paceman, is probably going to be built sometime in the next two years.