The Best Cars we drove in the last year

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With manufacturers literally outdoing each other with every new vehicle they bring to market it’s really difficult to be top of the pile for any length of time, not to mention the different class of vehicles and the all important differential, personal taste. With this in mind, I pick my best cars of 2017 that I’ve driven.

The easiest way to approach this will be alphabetically and then at the end I’ll choose the best in category, so without further ado, the first vehicle in our top 10 is the BMW X3.

2018 BMW X3

The recently launched 2018 BMW X3 is a beautiful vehicle. The exterior screams look at me, not in the way a Countach would or even a Wrangler but more in an elegant stylish understated way but you can’t help looking.

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BMW X3 M40i

It’s quite difficult to put what makes the BMW X3 M40i so special into words without mentioning the performance ability of this vehicle. It’s a sports utility vehicle (BMW say Sports Activity Vehicle – must be an American thing) afterall but it just about gets to take off speed without much effort. The interior is luxurious, so much so that you can change the angle of the rear seats back rests. One of best cars of 2017. Read my impressions at the launch.


Ford Mustang

I was so excited when the Ford people dropped off the Mustang that I think I expected too much. So much so that I probably was hyper critical in my review of what is a very popular car with most people. The Mustang is a brand that promises so much, it’s cult status deserves so much and in hindsight, I probably set the bar too high for the 2.3 Ecosport version. I’ve yet to drive a V8 Mustang (hint hint Ford South Africa) but I’ve softened my opinion on the baby ‘stang in recent months, especially when I review the photos we took of the car.

She’s a looker for sure. She draws attention wherever you go and while she’s still an enormous car to park, she’ll definitely help you make an entrance, even in the baby-engined version. One of the best cars of 2017.

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Ford Everest

Ford’s alternative to the Toyota Fortuner. A capable and cheaper option than the Japanese vehicle, also much nicer looking in my opinion. My opinion at the launch of the latest edition. One of the best cars of 2017.


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Ford Focus RS

I can’t think of a small hatch that I’ve ever enjoyed driving as much as the Focus RS. I absolutely loved this hatchback car. Words fail me when I think about the symphony this little monster makes. I absolutely loved driving this car but the fuel consumption was ridiculous and I didn’t even switch it into Ken Block ‘drift’ mode. Just thinking about it makes me smile, what a treat. Recaro racing seats, nineteen inch alloys, R 700 000 price tag. I know the price is outrageous but you’ll love every second of driving this car, just don’t get caught speeding. One of the best cars of 2017.


Ford Ranger

We’ve driven a few of the Ford Rangers recently, like the Wildtrak and the FX4. Probably the best bakkie on the road and definitely taking the fight to the Toyotas. The one thing about the Ford’s I’m not sure I’m all that crazy about is the uniform dashboard throughout the range of vehicles. The Fiesta/Focus/Ranger/Mustang etc all have virtually the same dash and SYNC 3 (since 2017) infotainment system. Sure it saves a fortune in production but I just feel like it takes that something special away from the purchase you make. If it was up to me, I wouldn’t do it.


 

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Jaguar F-Pace S 3.0 diesel

Jaguar F-Pace

Where do you start when you driving the World Car of the Year? I took the F-Pace S 3.0 on a week long trip to the North Coast. The drive is magnificent, the vehicle is incredibly well balanced and long distance driving is a pleasure. I even enquired about buying the review car it is so good. Unfortunately, Jaguar and I were a bit far apart on the pricing of a used vehicle driven by the vehicle reviewing journos and I decided not to take them up on their offer. Perhaps I’ll have another look at the F-Pace this year, it really is a great SUV. Read my review on the F-Pace. Without doubt, One of the best cars of 2017.


 

 

Land Rover Discovery

If I had to sum up the new Discovery in 50 words or less I’d say the following: The 4×4 marque of choice. The latest incarnation of the Discovery is an improvement on the previous models. A super-refined offroad capable luxury vehicle you should consider if you’re in the market for such a vehicle. Land Rover took us on the best launch of 2017 to Marakele in Limpopo, read my piece on the experience in the super new Discovery. One of the best cars of 2017.


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Mazda MX5

I was quietly disappointed to read that Mazda South Africa has pulled the MX5 from the local market. This budget roadster is a superb small car. Handling is excellent and although it only has an 1800 motor it’s also really light and therefore capable. I imagine they will now hold their value and become somewhat collectible. Read my thoughts on the MX5.


 

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Range Rover Velar

Range Rover Velar

The second of three English vehicles on my list (surprising, I know) is the brand new Range Rover Velar. This vehicle launched just after I lost my father, and brought back childhood memories of the Range Rover my dad used to own. Obviously, the Velar is world’s apart from the classic V8 he owned but emotionally, I felt connected to this vehicle. The Velar oozes luxury and like it’s Land Rover siblings is exceptionally capable off-road although you would probably only take her off the beaten track in emergency situations. Read my ramblings about this great vehicle. One of the best cars of 2017.


 

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Range Rover Sport SVR

Range Rover Sport SVR

Easily the most expensive vehicle I drove in last 12 months, the Range Rover Sport SVR is a special car. The interior is the most luxurious of all the cars I drove, the supercharged 5 litre V8 engine made the best sound of all the cars, even better than the Focus RS, and the acceleration is exhilarating. I could probably go on and on about the SVR but I might have done that already in my review. See what 2.5 million buys you!

 


 

Suzuki Baleno

One of two Suzukis on my list. The Baleno is a good allrounder at less than a tenth of the price of the SVR. In it’s segment though it is a very good vehicle and should be considered by all first time buyers and even budget buyers. My thoughts after the Eastern Cape launch here.


 

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Suzuki Ignis Compact Crossover

The second of the two smaller vehicles the Ignis is a delightful and funky small car. Don’t be put off by the strange name, the Ignis is an excellent small car and should be test driven by everyone in the market for a smaller vehicle. Taller than you expect with a relatively short wheelbase, the Ignis is quite capable in all situations and should sell quite well in our market. I enjoyed the drive and here are the details on the compact crossover. One of the best cars of 2017.


 

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Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line

Last but by no means least on my list of top vehicles driven in the past 12 months is Volkswagen’s Tiguan in the R-Line guise. In my opinion this vehicle should have won the car of the year. It is that good. This turbo-charged 1.4 delivers ample power and the curb appeal is boosted by the bodykit. The emphasis on comfort above performance allows the Tiguan to be a winner in all categories that are important to most people. Check out my review of the Tiguan

Best sound:

  1. Range Rover Sport SVR
  2. Ford Focus RS
  3. BMW X3 M40i

Most Luxurious:

  1. Range Rover Sport SVR
  2. Range Rover Velar
  3. Land Rover Discovery

Most fun:

  1. Ford Focus RS
  2. Mazda MX 5
  3. Range Rover SVR

Best Value:

  1. VW Tiguan
  2. Suzuki Ignis
  3. Mazda MX 5

Most sex-appeal:

  1. Ford Mustang
  2. Range Rover Sport SVR
  3. Range Rover Velar

Car I want to own:

  1. Range Rover Velar
  2. Jaguar F-Pace
  3. BMW X3 M40i

 

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