The new Toyota Quantam is a very important ‘car’
Here it is – Mzansi’s most prolific people mover.
To call it new and improved would be a terrible understatement, this is a from-the-ground-up reinvention, now with Hilux power. That’s right, in the nose of this obelisk on wheels beats the inline 4-cyl 2.8 litre turbodiesel from the beloved bakkie, paired with the obligatory 6-speed manual box.
Refinement levels, as you can tell, have shot through the tall roof. Obviously, it is destined for South Africa – in 11 and 14-seater (super long wheel-base) configurations. Expect to see it in the latter half of 2019. Absolutely. Everywhere.
The next RAV4 gets TRD badge
Still on Toyota, the new SA-bound RAV4 has been given some tasteful upgrades in the form of a TRD Off-road derivative.
This is the fifth generation of Toyota’s much loved 22-year-old compact SUV/Crossover and comes with a 2.5 litre 4-cyl with 152kW at its disposal. This is mated to an eight speed ‘Direct Shift’ automatic transmission – with Sport, Normal and Eco modes integrated into its neural network. It rides on the RAV4’s TNGA-K platform, good for a 218mm ground clearance, now enhanced with TRD upgrades mined from Rhys Millen’s off-road adventures. That explains those ruby red coil springs, twin-tube shock absorbers and all-terrain Falken tyres.
A proper 4x4 pack then, plus plenty of style accents such as red trim in the cabin, as well as badging and decals in all the right places.
The next coming of the Renault Clio
The smaller sibling to the Megane once again gets an overhaul in the design department that brings it closer in line with big brother. Or sister.
This is the fifth coming of Clio, a hatchling popular to the tune of 15 million sold since its inception in 1990. It has been a favourite of trendy urbanites who favour utility, just like the Renault 5 that preceded it. It has also been the base for many a sportscar, sometimes brandishing mid-mounted V6s, often with fiery four-pots under its bonnet, wearing RS badges on its bum.
This new car then has big shoes to fill, and indeed on the new tyke’s timeline you can expect electric models, autonomous and connected ones too by 2022. As it is the new car already has improved in leaps and bounds with a premium cabin, connectivity galore and a refined driving experience that challenges anything and everything in the C Segment above it. Can’t wait for the bonafide RS? Renault will deliver the goods in the shape of an RS Line package for all the visual splendour of the performance car on the base car.
Presumably so that you can promptly trade it in for the real deal when it arrives. We’re cool with that.
This is the new Ford Focus ST
But don’t go catching feelings just yet – we’ve just lost the Fiesta ST here in South Africa and there’s no reason to assume we’ll be getting its bigger brother.
With that out the way, we can now indulge in the best part – the numbers, and rest assured the Focus ST makes some big ones from its 2.3-litre turbo’d heart. That’s 206kW and 420Nm peaking at 5,500rpm and good for a sprint to 100kph just under 6 seconds – thanks in part to new anti-lag turbo technology, developed in the GT supercar and the F-150 Raptor.
The best part? Probably the six-speed manual transmission for those who love to row their boat... Racing line?
Bentley Bentayga Speed
It seems the Lamborghini Urus has already been usurped and from a threat within, in the form of a distant cousin, the Bentley Bentayga now with Speed Distinction.
The British marque couldn’t wait an extra month to debut it at Geneva, so announced it on the internet on Valentine's Day. The world’s fastest SUV is powered by a 6-litre twin turbo W12, produces 467kW and 900Nm which is good for a top speed of 306kph, and a zero to 100kph of just 3.9sec.
Job done. Your move... Ferrari?
The Honda Brexit
No, this is not the name of a new city car with a detachable engine, rather the sad observation that the Japanese auto maker is calling it quits in Britain. It does this after mounting economic fears around the UK's exit from the EU. Next comes job losses, sadly.