With the silly season behind us and the reality of the New Year accepted, it’s time to get back to business. For us at IgnitionLIVE that means delivering the finest content about the machines that move you. And this year promises to be a thrilling one, with a surfeit of new models ahead.
We’ll start with the first letter of the alphabet: Audi will be bringing out the lighter, sharper and decidedly more masculine TT next month. South Africa will also be receiving the Q7, revealed late last year — and a string of facelifted models are planned too, such as the A1, Q3, A4, A6 and A7. More excitingly, the potent RS3 is due to arrive on these shores in the fourth quarter of this year.
If you’re planning to graduate to the ranks of those who drive open-air sports cars — but find the Porsche Boxster too ubiquitous — Alfa Romeo has the 4C Spider. It’s expected to arrive in South Africa in the second half of this year. BMW will finally introduce its new, green duo: the i3 compact and i8 performance car. Anticipation is high, especially since the cars were supposed to have arrived a year ago. But when the 2 Series Active Tourer is released, brand loyalists will be in a quandary: is a front-wheel drive BMW still a real BMW? A more traditional product will be the 2 Series Convertible, which seeks to leave bruises in the flesh of the Audi A3 Cabriolet.
The weird and wonderful Citroën C4 Cactus will be available locally around April. We drove the crossover at its international launch last year — and praised traits like the “air bumps” on the side panels, which serve to guard against nasty car-park scuffs. Seeking to capitalise on the lucrative compact SUV market, Fiat will offer the 500X. It’s a bigger and more rugged member of the popular 500 family. One manufacturer to look out for in particular this year will be Ford. It’s planning a global product assault — South Africa included — the first wave has arrived in the form of the Fusion sedan, with its striking Aston Martin-esque frontal styling. The Focus will be upgraded in the second quarter, with the revised ST model set to go on sale here in the third quarter.
The muscular Ranger bakkie will also be treated to some enhancements. And a new Everest plans to take the fight to the likes of the Toyota Fortuner and Chevrolet Trailblazer. Finally, the car everybody has been waiting for — the Ford Mustang — will gallop ashore by the end of this year. Moving on to the letter “H”, after an absence in the hot hatchback segment, Honda will return to South Africa with the Civic Type R in the third quarter. The revised CR-V SUV will launch before July.
Hyundai’s new i20 looks set to be a game changer, adopting a slightly more premium persona. It will arrive here in February. The manufacturer will also consider bringing out the Genesis luxury sedan and Veloster Turbo. Jeep’s new baby, the compact Renegade, is expected in April, with meaner, all-wheel drive Trailhawk derivatives following in September. Also in September, Jaguar will set a cat among the medium-executive sedan pigeons with its new XE. Kia’s B-segment con- tender, Rio will be the recipient of an update and its smaller sibling, the Picanto, will be refreshed too. Families after an MPV can look forward to a new offering joining the fray: the Sedona.
To capture some sales from the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, Land Rover will launch the Discovery Sport. The new NX crossover from Lexus is likely to cause a stir in the premium SUV segment with its origami- like design. And Lexus plans to take on the BMW 4 Series with its RC coupé, followed by the RC F, designed to tackle the mighty M4. Following its separation from Ford, Mazda is back on track. This year will see the launch of the all-new 2 Hatchback, the CX-3 crossover and the latest iteration of the iconic MX-5.
Mercedes-Benz isn’t standing still either: it will be launching the upgraded B- Class here at the end of February, the new C63 AMG in March and the flagship AMG-GT in April. Highlights from Opel this year will include the new Corsa and the Mokka compact crossover. Moving on to the letter P, South Africans can look forward to the Peugeot 308, Europe’s car of the year for 2014, in March. Subaru’s new Outback, landing at the end of February, promises greater emphasis on refinement. The latest Legacy sedan is also on the cards. Although Toyota won’t be bringing the new Hilux here this year, it will offer a revised Land Cruiser and Auris.
Volkswagen has finally decided to sell its city-slicker the UP! in South Africa, starting in February. The two-door Scirocco will also receive some improvements. And the new Polo GTI lands in the second quarter — with a manual transmission offered for the first time. Last but not least, those quirky Swedes will offer something different in the luxury segments: Volvo’s XC90 and the V60 Cross Country.