The Best Cars Of 2017

Use the best wheels of 2017 to start 2018 faster, smarter, and with better kerb appeal



We’re not a typical car-review magazine. We aren’t going to compare rear leg space, or debate the merits of different interior plastics – we’ll leave that to the experts. But here’s what we will provide: the eight cars that get our heart rates racing, and for the right reasons. Fast, furious, and most importantly, fun. Choose right, and you don’t have to sacrifice the enjoyment of the drive for the practical decisions that work, home and family life demand. You can have both, and they don’t have to come with an Italian hypercar pricetag. Here are our favourite drives that we were lucky to test in 2017, and why you should be getting behind the wheel of one of them.

Related: Should Guys Drive Convertibles?

Luxury sedan of the year

BMW 5 Series 520d

The pleasure cruise(r)

It’s seven generations later, and the Bavarians have got it right. Again. This sleek, pedigreed sedan does business, comfort and driving pleasure equally well, and it has more tech than a Silicon Valley lounge. Powerful, efficient, and versatile – our kind of business partner. bmw.co.za

Price R782 100

Fuel 4.7l/100km* | CO2: 124g/km*

Runner up Volvo S90 T6 AWD

Related: Fuel The Revolution: Should Your Next Car Be Diesel?

 

Family car of the year

Audi Q5 2.0TDI Quattro

The quiet conqueror

It’s a tough market, but this is a very capable, solid car, with a premium, refined look. It excels on the road (where it’ll live 95% of the time), but it also revels in weekend duty on jeep track and farm roads. But let’s be honest here: if you have the cash – spring for the sublime SQ5 option. audi.co.za

Price From R698 000

Fuel 4.9l/100km* | CO2: 129g/km*

Runner up BMW X3 (out in Dec)

Small car of the year

Kia Picanto

The urban ninja

Small, but perfectly formed. This third-gen model isn’t going win drag races, but it crushes the daily commute. It has a great spec level and surprisingly good interior, looks fantastic, and the warranty is a winner too. Plus, the boot is bigger than you’d expect. kia.co.za

Price From R134 995

Fuel 5l/100km* | CO2: 116g/km*

Runner up Ford Fiesta

Related: If You’ve Ever Considered Getting a Motorbike, This Is The One You Should Buy

 

Luxury SUV of the year

Land Rover Discovery S

The superlative SUV

The ultimate in luxury and versatility, this handles both on- and off-road duty with more comfort (and black magic suspension) than any other car; and the 3.0l 6-cylinder turbodiesel engine offers decent performance (190kW and 600Nm) and consumption figures, considering its size and weight. landrover.co.za

Price From R980 000

Fuel 7.8l/100km* | CO2: 207g/km*

Runner up Porsche Panamera

Related: Should Your Next Car Be a SUV?

 

Bakkie of the year

Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Raider

The highlander

Nothing is more controversial in our country than the bakkie brand wars. This race was close; but this immortal beast edged it (for now – there are a few new competitors rolling in soon). This potent truck (130kW and 450Nm) offers never say- die reliability and performance – that cemented it for us. toyota.co.za

Price R589 800

Fuel 8.5l/100km* | CO2: 225g/km*

Runner up Ford Ranger Wildtrak

 

Hatchback of the year

Volkswagen GTI

The ass-kicking all-rounder

The perfect example of compound interest. It just gets better with every release, and it’s a solid entry into our five-car dream garage. Handles grocery runs as well as chicanes, and it destroys its petrol peers when it comes to interiors. PS – we loved the GTD and ‘normal’ Golf too. vw.co.za

Price R545 900

Fuel 6.4l/100km* | CO2: 149g/km*

Runner up Audi S3

Convertible of the year

Mazda MX5 Roadster

VROOM WITH A VIEW

It may not have ridiculous amounts of power (118kW), but it’s light and beautifully balanced, and thrives on curves, bends and weekend drives. It’s more of a scalpel than an axe. It also offers one of the most satisfying manual gear boxes. Scores very high in the daily drive happiness-versuscost stakes. mazda.co.za

Price R441 700

Fuel 6.7l/100km* | CO2: 156g/km*

Runner-up Ford Mustang Convertible

Related: Here’s Why Men Should Drive Convertibles

 

Performance car of the year

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

The four-leafed cleaver

You had us at Ferrari engine. But if you need more motivation: just look at the lines, and then turn it on. It’s throaty, visceral, and offers tar-tearing power (the 2.9 V6 engine is good for 375kW and 600Nm), and the build quality isn’t like the Alfa of old. Oh, and it does 0 to 100 in 3.9 seconds. alfaromeo.co.za

Price R1.4 Million

Fuel 8.5l/100km* | CO2: 198g/km*

Runner-up Jaguar F-Type SVR

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Turn the ignition on your next adventure

Here are our favourite road (and off-road) trips to conquer with one of the cars above. Just remember to buckle up – the only statistics we like are horsepower & torque numbers.

1. Storm’s River

Explore the winding roads and rocky outcrops, and then hit the white water on a tube or a raft – or take on the scenic Otter Trail.

2. Oudtshoorn

Rev the needle on the flat, straight roads on the plains. Then take on an MTB route or spelunk at the Cango Caves.

3. Waterberg Meander

A 350km self-drive route with plenty of views and natural highlights in the biosphere.

4. The Panorama

This drive in Mpumalanga includes the Blyde River Canyon and the highest tar road in the country. Take a fishing rod.

5. Inhambane

Granted, the EN1 Mozambique is no longer a lesserknown route, but if you haven’t done the 12-hour-plus trek to this spot, you need to. Don’t rush it – and then reward yourself with swimming, surfing, snorkelling and diving, in this wild coastal town.

Related: How To Save Your Body On A Long Drive During A Holiday

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