Despite the state of our economy and the gloomy outlook predicted for new vehicle sales in the coming months, a flood of new cars is headed our way. Admittedly, I am very excited about the newbies and as you go through this list I am sure you will be too!
Audi: The all new A4 launches in SA in Q1 of this year and the 2nd-generation R8 is expected to debut in Q2, whilst a facelift of the A3 is due in Q4. Internationally Audi has a busy year planned, with approximately 7 car launches in the pipeline. These include the SQ7 ; the A5 / S5 Coupés, the S4, a new small SUV called the Q2; the TTRS; the A5/S5 Sportback; and a new Q5. Let’s hope these don’t take too long to make it to Mzansi!
Alfa Romeo: An Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde launches late in the year but for those who like a racy little number, the open-top version of the 4C and the 4C Spider, is already in dealerships.
BMW: The German automaker has already kicked the year off with a bang by unrevealing its flagship 7-Series and will also be launching the high-performance M2 Coupé in April, followed by a plug-in hybrid version of the X5, then the track-inspired M4 GTS while their long-wheelbase 760 Li will round off the year. I don’t know about you but I can already feel the adrenalin pumping! Could someone please say #SheerDrivingPleasure?
Chevrolet: Not much to look forward to this year in terms of a high new car launches. The brand only has the face-lifted Captiva SUV due for presentation to the market in Q1 and an upgraded Trailblazer towards the end of the year.
Fiat: A bit of activity is expected from this car brand this year starting with the refreshed 500 hatch. What is surprising slash interesting slash curious is that they will also release a bakkie – called the Fullback. I am not a fan of American football, which is in my opinion, rugby with shoulder pads, but I wonder if the name Fullback has anything to do with the sport. Nevertheless I sincerely hope the Fullback lives up to its name and is a strong durable bakkie. Fiat also plans to launch a new range of 500 Abarths, a 124 Spider roadster, and a budget sedan called a Tipo.
Ford: Apart from the Figo which replaces the Ikon, Ford will release the 258kW Ford Focus RS in Q2 of this year. Those are the only major offerings the brand has which can be expected given that Mustang was one heck-of-a product launch at the end of 2015.
Hyundai: We can expect an all-new Tucson (formerly ix35) SUV from the Korean car brand as well as a new Elantra sedan.
Honda: Having just launched the turbocharged Civic Type R, Honda is also set to offer an upgraded Brio. Sadly the much anticipated 429kW hybrid NSX supercar which was due to be launched later this year will no longer touch South African soil…. *sigh*. Now that would have been something worth seeing wouldn’t it?
Infiniti: The luxury arm of Nissan will release a new QX30 during the third quarter of the year as well as a hatchback model called the Q3. It will be its first hatch and I am very keen to see what it will look like and how it will drive. So far my experience with the brand has been a very sedately range of sedans. I really hope the Q3 has a bit of bite to it!
Jaguar: Jaguar has the all-new XF sedan primed to the South African market as well as their first SUV called the F-Pace, which launches in sometime during the middle of the year. It will be interesting to experience the F-Pace and I wonder where we shall peg it against the Lexus NX and Range Evoque in particular. Watch this space keenly folks!
Kia: The popular Kia Sportage is due to be launched sometime during the middle of the year. Best you place your order now! Also en route are a new Kia Optima and an upgraded Cerato.
Lexus: The luxury car brand has already kicked the year off by launching its fourth generation RX SUV, which I already have diarized to test drive! Upgrades to the IS and GS are also scheduled for presentation to the South African market and much as I would like to the sexy LC Coupé I am not holding my breath unless the Rand is able to stand upright against the USD and make bringing the LC into the country a worthwhile exercise for both Lexus and potential buyers.
McLaren: A mid-level sports car, the 570S, is due to within the first quarter of the year but my heart is already beating in anticipation of the launch of the 496kW/700Nm 675LT Spider rumoured to make an appearance sometime during the middle of the year.
Maserati: The launch of the brand’s first SUV, the Levante, is set to take place within the first half of the year. I can barely imagine that it will look like but I guess we’ll find out soon enough.mini 1
Mini Cooper: I already have my invitation to the launch of the new Clubman which takes place later this month. Other than that, the brand will launch a convertible as well and that will also be within the first quarter of the year.
Mitsubishi: The all-new Triton range is set to arrive round about the middle of the year where it will enter a fiercely contested bakkie war. At about the same time the brand will also introduce the new Pajero Sport.
Mazda: Apart from upgrades to the Mazda 3 and Mazda 6 I am excited that the brand will launch an upgrade to its bakkie, the BT-50 because my dad had a Mazda bakkie way back when I was knee-high to a grasshopper so the vehicle has some nostalgic effect on me.
Mercedes-Benz: The German carmaker is determined to keep us busy this year, with plans to release a myriad of new vehicle offerings such as a plug-in hybrid S500e, updated SLK now known as the SLC, and AMG A45 facelift all which are scheduled for Q1 of the year.
Thereafter, Mercedes will launch their S-Class Cabriolet and C-Class Coupé in Q2 of the year, followed by an all new E-Class in the middle of the year and a facelift to the CLA in Q3, before rounding off the year with additional E-Class models plus an exciting 450 AMG.
Nissan: Nissan SA has a new-generation Navara which will hopefully see here soon. The new-look Navara has a sleek and sexy design which might make it appear too pretty to do the hard core labour it has become known for. That said Nissan have a way of with packaging their vehicles in a velvet glove sort of way and we can rest assured that what lies under the hood of the pretty looking Navara will not disappoint.
Opel: Opel’s popular little number, the Adam S is due to be launched in February this year. If you haven’t already driven the Adam best you have a test dive before you climb into the S version. Of course you’ll have to decide for yourself thereafter what S means to you but I’ll be willing to settle for Sexy, Sporty, Speedy, you get my drift. The brand also plans to release the all-new Astra hatch soon after the Adam as well as a new Opel Mokka towards the end of the year.
Peugeot: Peugeot will release its 308 GTI in Q3 as well as launch a new version of the 2008 crossover.
Renault: Renault has a couple of offerings with names that make you go “hmmmm”. First up is the Kadjar, which is a crossover and will be launched in Q2. Thereafter a smaller crossover called the Kwid (not to be mistaken for the British currency but pronounced the same) makes an entrance later in the year as does the new Megane.
Range Rover: And let’s hear it for all the yuppies out there coz this one is for you! The niche Evoque Convertible launches in Q3 and is bound to sell like hot wings! Much as I want to see it up close and personal I can’t shake the feeling that the luggage compartment will be just enough for my bags and that my boo will have to send his ahead!
Suzuki: Suzuki has a couple of new vehicles to present starting with a delivery van called the Super Carry followed by a new hatch called the Baleno later in the year.
Subaru: It will be a bit of a quiet year for Subaru who only seem to have two upgrades to present to the market being the Subaru Forester and the Subaru XV. Both these vehicles are rather understated but immensely capable and in particular, the XV is a fantastic little number.
Toyota: The highly anticipated new Hilux launches later this month and given the fight to dominate the bakkie top-spot it will be interesting to see what Toyota have done to give the new Hilux , more ammunition against rivals Ford Ranger and the Isuzu. Thereafter, the brand will launch the Fortuner. Toyota will also release an all new Prius hybrid as well as a face-lifted Toyota 86 sports Coupé.
Volvo: A more powerful T8 hybrid version of Volvo’s highly acclaimed XC90 is headed our way plus a new sedan called the S90 and an upgraded V40. The Swedes have really been busy upping the design of their vehicles and introducing world class technology to their products and I am in no doubt that the new Volvo offerings will be worth waiting for.
Volkswagen: The brand has a few vehicles to let lose to the public such as the new Caddy, a turbo-diesel engine for the all-new Passat, and a completely new-look Tiguan which I must say looks pretty darn sexy! VW will also be releasing their VW Up! And Up! 5-door.