Categories
Cars

Audi A7 fills the page

“There is nothing more liberating than a blank piece of paper,” reckon Audi. “It’s the chance to create something original.”

The A7 may not be quite as groundbreaking as the marketers will have you believe. Cynics may (incorrectly) dismiss it as little more than a bigger A5 Sportback. And visually it harks back to the company’s 100 Coupé from the ’70s. But the stylish, sophisticated five-door coupe certainly sees the German manufacturer entering new territory.

Categories
Cars

Renault Sandero: big in value

My first car was a 20-year-old Renault 5. Bought new by my parents in 1976, it came with all the decade’s quirks – apple green body colour, faux leather (i.e. plastic) seats, thatched effect for the ceiling, a luxury spec featuring cigarette lighter and one of those analogue dial radios.

But even after two decades, it was easy to see the car’s original appeal: with VW’s Beetle its only real rival, the 5 was tailor-made for young families.

In 2009 so is Sandero.

Categories
Cars

Desire: South Africa’s most exclusive cars

Yes, South Africa’s in its first recession in over a decade. The global economy looks about as healthy as Amy Winehouse. But, not unlike food and water, fast, expensive cars remain an absolute necessity. Here are SA’s most exclusive.

Categories
Cars

Suzuki Swift sensation

“You are not special,” Chuck Palahniuk once spat onto a page. “You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”

Brutal, perhaps, but what else would you expect from a book as ragged as ‘Fight Club’? And he does have a point. If we’re all as unique as Oprah and Dr Phil tell us, why are our choices always the same: life or death, chicken or beef, Yaris or Polo?

With Toyota and VW’s littlest cars more common than potholes on the N1, it’s easy to forget there are other options. Like the Suzuki Swift, a car that gets the priorities right.

Categories
Cars

The ugliest cars, ever!

Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. It goes a long way in explaining how our future president has amassed five wives. And also how cars like the SsangYong Stavic, Fiat Multipla, and Pontiac Aztek ever made it out of the design studio and onto the showroom floor.

“But cars are there just to get us from A to B,” you may argue. Fine point. But there’s no reason to look like an idiot on the way there.

Categories
Cars Movies

Driving off the deep end: cars in film

We’ve been conned. In the real world, a car is a comfortable place to sit during rush hour. Or, while waiting behind minibus taxis on the main road, a support structure for a hooter.

But in Hollywood, people know what a car’s really for: spinning on its roof; driving (or flying) into trees; demolishing public property; performing barrel-rolls; transporting bodies; time travelling; or making out. Even when it’s stationary, there’s more going on inside than a guy picking his nose waiting for the lights to change.

Categories
Cars

MINI Clubman gives much more

Remember Postman Pat’s van? The red one with the gold Royal Mail logo on the side? The one with the black and white cat in the passenger seat? The one that bore a striking resemblance to the Morris Mini Traveller circa 1970? Yes?

Well, the latest MINI Clubman is nothing like it. Even though the new arrival is a natural progression of the classic Traveller, Austin Mini Countryman, and Mini Clubman Estate. And there’s certainly room in the back for a mailbag or two.

Categories
Cars

Kia Picanto: small car, big heart

Forget pink — small is the new black. Compact cars are so fashionable today that even the Americans have been seduced by the smart fortwo. And with the South African petrol price racing towards the R10/litre mark faster than you can say “Bugatti Veyron”, it’s no surprise that tykes like Toyota’s Yaris continue to park near the top of the sales charts.

So what better time for Kia to spice up their little Picanto. Visually it’s always managed to escape the oversized-trolley look of its kissing cousin, the Hyundai Atos, but the face-lifted new arrival certainly looks a lot better than the model it’s replacing. Amazing what new tear-drop shaped headlights and restyled circular taillights can do. The front grille too has been restyled, the previous gaping mouth replaced with a more subtle, more stylish design.

Categories
Cars

Honda CR-V: smooth cruiser

Refined. It’s a word you’d use to describe afternoon tea at the Mount Nelson, a performance by the London Philharmonic, or one of those overly groomed men on the cover of GQ. Despite the recent technological advances, it’s still not really a word you’d even use in the same sentence as “diesel engine”. And yet there’s no better way to sum up Honda’s newly arrived 2.2-litre i-CTDi mill doing duty in the CR-V.

Gently pushing memories of noisy tractors, smoky Golden Arrow buses and smelly generators out of your mind, the oil burner surreptitiously gets on with its job: powering the SUV in such a way that you almost glide along. A refined engine for a refined vehicle.