Motors that made us go meh: 5 most forgettable cars of 2018

Motoring editor Thomas Falkiner racked up a lot of miles driving cars this year. Here are the ones that failed to excite him

16 December 2018 - 00:14 By Thomas Falkiner
The Range Rover Velar is more like a tank than a car.
The Range Rover Velar is more like a tank than a car.
Image: Jaguar Land Rover

1. RANGE ROVER VELAR

Price: R976,500

Look, the Velar isn't a bad car - it's just a confused one. To me, anyway. It is pitched as a more urban-friendly version of the Range Rover Sport. Now this is all well and good, but thanks to its massive proportions it still feels like you're piloting a tank.

For considerably less money you'd be better off getting an Evoque, which is far better suited to life in the city.

And away from it you'd be a fool not to spend the relatively insignificant premium commanded by the Range Rover Sport.

It is considerably more adept across the rough stuff and, if you get your tape measure, not much bigger in stature either.

The Panda TwinAir Cross.
The Panda TwinAir Cross.
Image: Supplied

2. FIAT PANDA TWINAIR CROSS

Price: R270,900

A small city car fitted with a teeny turbocharged two-cylinder engine should be a blessing at the fuel pumps, right? In reality the Panda TwinAir Cross proved anything but. In stop/start traffic it was thirsty, and out on the highway it had to work hard to keep up with life in the fast lane.

I couldn't get it to sip less than 8l/100km, which seems ridiculous for something that should, on paper, be super frugal. So if you are looking to save money by downscaling, look elsewhere.

Honda Jazz Sport.
Honda Jazz Sport.
Image: Supplied

3. HONDA JAZZ SPORT

Price: R319,200

The Jazz Sport could have been a thing of old-school warm hatch beauty. Loud paint. Fancy wheels. A free-revving motor bestowed with a little more power and torque. Not to mention a firmer suspension setup better suited to the business of cutting through corners.

The right ingredients were all there and then Honda SA went and soured the whole recipe with an awful CVT gearbox that not only ruined the driving experience and blunted straight-line performance but also pushed the price up to over the R300,000 mark. So close yet oh so far.

VW Polo GTi.
VW Polo GTi.
Image: Supplied

4. VOLKSWAGEN POLO GTI

Price: R381,500

The old fifth-generation Polo GTI was a lovely thing. It was fun and youthful and slightly flawed. Compared to the Golf it was - in size and concept - far truer to the original GTI models that I grew up with in the late 1980s and early '90s.

Earlier this year VW launched its successor and I was less enamored. Why? Well, simply because its replacement - the sixth-generation Polo GTI - has been refined to the level of genetically modified flour.

It's become so flawless, so close to perfect that it left me cold and genuinely uninterested behind the wheel.

BMW M240i.
BMW M240i.
Image: Supplied

5. BMW M240i

Price: R809,800

If you think the M240i is a bargain alternative to the M2, think again. Yes, it may be cheaper and pack similar power to its more sought-after brother, but the chassis is ill-equipped to deal with it.

Driven at full lick, the M240i feels ragged around the edges - the tyres and suspension constantly playing catch-up with the amount of muscle being thrown down to the asphalt.

 At 7/10ths all is good. Beyond this the M240i becomes a hot mess. But this won't matter a shred to the target market: cherry-vaping, flat-cap-wearing frat boys whose sole automotive objectives in life are going fast in a straight line and baiting gold diggers on a Saturday night.


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