When compiling a list of all the new vehicles due in South Africa in 2017, we were struck by what a high proportion of these were SUVs.
While the list includes a handful of sedans, hatches and coupés here and there, there are well over 30 SUVs and crossovers due to make their appearance during the course of the year.
To whet your appetite, we’ve chosen 13 of what we feel are the most keenly anticipated:
Audi’s new compact crossover arrives in February and should prove a popular addition to the brand’s 'Q' portfolio. The local line-up has yet to be confirmed, but the Q2 is offered with a wide range of turbocharged engines abroad, with outputs ranging from 85kW to 140kW and with a choice between Quattro all-wheel drive and budget-friendlier front-wheel propulsion.
Likely to land around July, Audi’s new Q5 closely follows the larger Q7's design idiom in a slightly sportier fashion and the mid-sized SUV inherits all the cool modern Audi features such as Matrix LED headlights and Virtual Cockpit. It’s also available with air suspension and adaptive damping.
Assuming that the fire debacle is resolved by then, Ford will be hoping to turn over a new leaf with its facelifted Kuga during the second quarter of this year. The upgraded SUV has a more muscular appearance upfront and has been modernised inside with the availability of Ford’s Sync3 connectivity system.
The fifth-generation CR-V might not have made any dramatic design departures but the SUV has been completely redesigned and reengineered. Though the local line-up, due later in 2017, has yet to be confirmed, with a little luck Honda SA will include the new 142kW 1.5-litre turbopetrol version offered abroad.
With compact SUVs becoming all the rage these days, Hyundai is no doubt keen to capitalise with the new EcoSport-rivalling Creta, due here in February. The mainstay of the range is likely to be Hyundai’s 90kW 1.6-litre petrol engine, although a turbodiesel of the same size is also offered abroad.
Built around FCA’s latest compact car architecture, the 2017 Jeep Compass, due around July, will not only be a lot more sophisticated than its long-in-the-tooth predecessor but it also promises best-in-class off-road ability, at least in the case of range-topping Trailhawk 4WD model. It also does the geek thing with a range of Uconnect infotainment systems and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features.
Land Rover Discovery
Set to go on sale in SA this July, Landy’s new Discovery ditches its predecessor’s boxiness for streamlined new styling, which decorates a lightweight aluminium monocoque structure that shaves off up to 480kg. Disco 5 promises to be an all-rounder of note, featuring a luxurious and gadget-packed seven-seat cabin and proper all-terrain ability.
The original CX-5 was never a bad looker to begin with, and now Mazda is taking this crossover's style game to the next level with an all-new version sculpted around the brand's latest 'Kodo' design trends. Expect to see it in local showrooms around the third quarter.
A good 20cm longer than its predecessor, it goes without saying that the new Countryman, due in the first half of this year, is the least-miniature Mini ever created. Yet the upside is that it's also the most practical, with more cabin space, a considerably bigger 450 litre boot as well as some nifty new features, including a fold-out picnic bench and a gizmo that will help you locate lost stuff.
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
Although the styling is perhaps an acquired taste, Mitsubishi’s new Pajero Sport will position itself as a bold alternative to Toyota’s ever-popular Fortuner when it arrives mid-year. New under the bonnet, as per the imminent Triton bakkie that it’s based on, is a 133kW/430Nm 2.4-litre turbodiesel engine, mated to Mitsubishi's first eight-speed autobox. Earlier in the year, Mitsubishi SA will also launch facelifted versions of the ASX and Outlander.
Taking the form of a true crossover this time around, Peugeot’s new 3008 boasts a far more striking design inside and out. The cabin looks truly futuristic, with its high-tech flight deck based on a completely customisable 31.2cm i-Cockpit display. The EMP2 platform that it’s built around (as per the 308 hatch) enables a weight saving of about 100kg over the previous 3008.
Although exact timing and specifications have yet to be confirmed, the facelifted version of Nissan’s X-Trail is expected to reach South Africa during the course of 2017, featuring a larger and bolder grille and a mildly revised cabin. The Qashqai will also receive and nip and tuck around the same time.
Toyota’s radical-looking C-HR crossover is due here in March, slotting just beneath the Rav4 with provisional pricing in the R320 000 to R350 000 range. Power comes from Toyota’s new 1.2-litre turbopetrol engine, pushing 84kW and 185Nm and mated to either a manual or CVT transmission, powering the front wheels.