Looking at cars in 2023? Here are some of the wheels we look forward to seeing on the roads in the new year. And these include a range of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), which have seen a rise in demand locally since 2020. These rides will save you tons of rands on petrol – and who doesn’t need that? Now, that’s music to any motorist’s ears!
The Family Car: Toyota Crown Crossover
Luxury and comfort converge effortlessly in Toyota’s well-established Crown nameplate, which is finally making its way to the South African market. Following the launch of the Prius, Corolla Cross, Corolla Sedan and RAV4, the Crown Crossover’s arrival is highly anticipated, considering that this will be Toyota’s very first partially-electrified model on our shores.
The Toyota Crown will be carried by a 2.5-litre, parallel hybrid system with a newly-developed bi-polar nickel-hydrogen battery. A parallel hybrid system basically means that you’ll be saving thousands on petrol. *insert air punch!*
How does it drive?
It glides on the road, according to José Rodríguez Jr., a US motoring journo who attended its launch in Austin, Texas earlier this year. His exact words: “The interior looks and feels luxe. I’m especially a fan of the ergonomic gear selector. But the rest of the Crown’s cabin was clearly designed with comfort and luxury in mind…”
When Can I Have One? First quarter of 2023 — that’s not too far off!
Price Indication: Around R544 367, an estimation based on pricing in the Japanese market.
The All-Rounder: Nissan Qashqai e-Power
Though Nissan’s third-gen crossover launched in South Africa around September this year, an e-Power hybrid version is set to make its way sooner than we’d anticipated.
With perks such as the silence of a fully electric vehicle, this stylish crossover feels mostly eclectic more than anything!
How does it drive?
When it comes to cars in 2023, what differentiates this hybrid model from its competitors is that it leans heavily on its electric motor side for lighter driving. However, pressing that foot on the accelerator will automatically activate the petrol engine. Plus, it can hold its own on both smooth and rough terrains.
When Can I Have One? The first quarter of 2023. While you wait, may we suggest putting together an itinerary of all the local destinations you’ve always wanted to visit in a car that can take on any terrain.
Price Indication: From around R653,221
The Off-Roader: Suzuki Grand Vitara
Unveiled at the Festival of Motoring at Kyalami in August, the new Grand Vitara is only expected to go on sale in the first quarter of 2023. Unlike its predecessor, which was a typical 4×4, the new model takes on the identity of an urban SUV, with the bulk of its variants featuring front-wheel drive.
All local variants will feature push-button start, intelligent climate control, cruise control, six airbags and LED projector headlights, and consumers will get to choose between two 1.5-litre powertrains — the all-familiar K15B petrol engine that powers most models in the current range, as well as the modern K15C mild hybrid dual-jet powertrain, which will be paired with an AllGrip all-wheel-drive system and automatic gearbox. The top-of-the-range models will spot a 9-inch HD infotainment system, 360-degree around-view camera plus wireless phone charging.
Estimated Price: Motoring experts expect the new Grand Vitara’s pricing to compete with that of larger compact SUVs like the Hyundai Creta.
The Performer: BMW Z4 M40i
The third-generation BMW Z4 has just undergone mild tweaks to both the exterior and interior. A news report published earlier in the year alluded to the Z4 production coming to an end in 2025 — with no replacement model announced! All the more reason why you should spoil yourself with what may soon become a classic — rand allowing of course!
How does it drive?
Most reports coming out of Europe place the engine’s peak power output at 250 kW, along with maximum torque of 500 Nm. However, the current Z4 M40i available on the South African market – which enjoyed a power upgrade in 2020 – features an output of 285 kW. For now, we can only hope that the SA version of the facelift will keep its power output! The final specifications should be announced closer to the launch date.
When Can I Have One? Second quarter of 2023. Lots of patience required for this wait, but as they say: Good things favour the patient, right?!
Price Indication: The facelift is said to come with not much of a change in price. If current American predictions are anything to go by ($133 900), then expect to fork out around R2,5 mil.
The Street Smart One: VW Golf 8 R
Car enthusiasts had probably lost all hope of the Golf 8 R ever arriving in SA since its reveal back in 2020! China’s lockdown, the global pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war are some of the factors that delayed the Golf R’s arrival in SA.
It’s by far one of SA’s most loved hatches — owning it instantly shoots up your street cred from 0 to a 100 — jokes! VW’s recent Golf range features some of the most timeless and performance-oriented designs in the hatchback segment, making this a somewhat sensible investment.
How does it drive?
As far as performance goes, the Golf 8 R will take just 4.8 seconds to reach 100 kph from standstill, and can go up to 250 kph. Paired with an updated, quick-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, a turbocharged 2-litre EA 888 petrol engine will offer nothing less than 235 kW and 400 Nm of torque. The Golf 8 R is also equipped with a new 4Motion all-wheel-drive system and an electronic centre, among other features, to help it deliver optimum handling ability.
When Can I Have One? The first quarter of 2023.
Price Indication: Considering that the GTI currently comes in priced from R696 700 pre any extras, it’s highly likely that the Golf 8 R could cost around R850 000 — and probably up to a million for a fully decked one!
The Head-Turner: Lexus Rx
The sleekly redesigned, 5th-generation Lexus RX with a clean and uncluttered cabin – and an exterior that features cleaner lines, a distinctive grille and intricate headlights – is finally on its way to our shores.
Lexus describes the next-gen RX as “a vehicle that perfectly blends power with sophistication”, something that remains to be experienced when the model goes on sale in early 2023. The RX, which has been a bestseller (3.5-million units worldwide to be exact) since its release back in 1998 will now spot multiple powertrains which include a plug-in hybrid model.
This forms part of Lexus’ aim to have a full line-up of battery-electric vehicles. The cockpit features new innovations such as the multimedia screen and multi-information display among other features, all of which encourage minimal eye and head movement.
ESTIMATED PRICE: Perhaps budget for over R1,5 mil.