RECAP | Six exciting new cars unveiled over the last fortnight

22 July 2020 - 07:00
By Brenwin Naidu
The handsome Kia Seltos can now be had with a diesel engine.
Image: Supplied The handsome Kia Seltos can now be had with a diesel engine.

The automotive product floodgates are showing few signs of narrowing even as the war against Covid-19 wages on.

Locally, with car sales having been under way for some time now as lockdown regulations ease, many have expressed upbeat sentiments about the buoyancy of the market.

Of course, only time will reveal if such positivity translates fully in reality. Luckily, there is no shortage of new metal on the horizon to fuel interest.

Here are half a dozen interesting picks launched either locally or internationally in the past fortnight.

Diesel delight

Regular readers will recall that the Kia Seltos (above) was one of our companions under lockdown. It wowed with its spacious cabin, upmarket finishes and praiseworthy road manners.

Since fuel prices had been at their lowest, we were only too happy to bask in the charms of its boosted petrol engine. Now the range has gained a more frugal turbocharged-diesel version, with a 1,493cc displacement and an output of 86kW and 250Nm. It is paired with either a six-speed manual or automatic (depending on model grade) and prices range between R410,995 and R446,995. The entry-level Seltos 1.6 EX manual kicks off at R380,995.

The new Land Rover Defender is the current talk of the motoring town.
Image: Supplied The new Land Rover Defender is the current talk of the motoring town.

Hot property

Is there a soul who fails to be moved by the revival of the iconic Land Rover Defender? Whether you are sceptical about its authenticity in living up to the reputation of its forebear or find yourself in awe at this modern interpretation of the classic, it is a product that has sparked vehement discussion. And now you can buy one.

The company launched the model at a digital event last week. Prices start at R996,600.

Stylistically, the nods to its legendary predecessor are unmistakably clear. Although it is a far cry from the rudimentary stalwart under the skin, where technologies such as pneumatic suspension feature.

The new Maserati Ghibli Hybrid.
Image: Supplied The new Maserati Ghibli Hybrid.

Italian on trend

Thoroughbred performance brand Maserati has jumped aboard the electric wave. As the company intends to embrace battery power, a hybrid version of its Ghibli sedan marks its first attempt at plugging in.

Before we mislead you, be aware that this model is not actually of the plug-in variety. Instead, Maserati described it as a mild hybrid, with a 48-volt alternator and an electric supercharger working in tandem with its two-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine. Expect a combined output of 246kW and 450Nm, with a 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.7 seconds.

The brand is adamant that it sounds like a Maserati should, thanks to an optimised exhaust with special resonators. Meanwhile, the new GranTurismo and GranCabrio will be the first all-electric models from the brand, expected in 2021.

The Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series is tuned for the track.
Image: Supplied The Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series is tuned for the track.

Dark and lovely

By now, you know that any Mercedes-AMG stamped with the Black Series insignia is going to be brutal. And the latest to wear the moniker is the GT two-door. Its face borders on frightening, with a massive grille through which an entire Datsun Go could be devoured.

Among its arsenal of highlights, the GT Black Series packs the most powerful eight-cylinder to feature from the brand. The flat-plane V8 is good for 537kW and 800Nm, which translates into a claimed 0-100km/h figure of 3.2 seconds. But straight-line pace is not the drawcard. No, the appeal of this GT will lie in its uncompromising approach towards supremacy on track. What an experience that ought to be.

Nissan has high hopes for its all-electric Ariya.
Image: Supplied Nissan has high hopes for its all-electric Ariya.

High hopes

Most will agree that it is good to see this Japanese carmaker in headlines for reasons beyond Carlos Ghosn and financial difficulty. Nissan last week took the wraps off its all-electric sport-utility vehicle, named Ariya, and also took the opportunity to reveal its new logo.

The manufacturer has ambitious plans in the electrification and autonomous spaces, saying that by 2023 it will aim to have sold over 1.5 million vehicles equipped with the latter technology.

The Ariya is one such vehicle, promising hands-off driving capability. There are four derivatives of the model in the works, in two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive guises and with power outputs ranging from 160kW and 300Nm to 290kW and 600Nm.

The rugged-looking Corolla Cross is sure to find sales success.
Image: Supplied The rugged-looking Corolla Cross is sure to find sales success.

Winning formula

One of the best-loved motoring nameplates in the world meets one of the fastest-growing segments. Enter the Toyota Corolla Cross, which is smaller than the RAV4, but has undoubtedly lifted most of its aesthetic DNA from the larger sibling. It rides on the same architecture as its sedan and hatchback namesake, a platform that underpins the C-HR crossover as well.

The bad news is that Toyota South Africa said it has no plans as yet to introduce the model locally.