It is set to be a memorable year for petrolheads and also a solid one for those who are infinitely practical when they go about choosing their next car.
Many have said that 2013 was the year of the hot hatch. I agree with this statement, but would also like to remind everyone about the crop of performance hatchbacks due to make their local debuts this year.
First up is a car that has been available overseas for a while already, the Renault Clio RS EDC. Its predecessor left a rather large pair of racing shoes to fill and with this car’s turbocharged engine and controversial double-clutch gearbox, it will have to be very good indeed to beat out the Fiesta ST, Peugeot 208 GTi and the third-generation Mini Cooper S, which is also making its local debut.
Then there is the Chevrolet Sonic RS, which on paper at least appears to compete with the Suzuki Swift Sport. Pricing for this model will be very important indeed. The Koreans are in the thick of it too, with Hyundai due to release the Veloster with its latest turbocharged engine, something this car sorely needed to match its athletic appearance.
In the upper echelons of hot hatchdom, the Honda Civic Type R may make its 206kW presence felt within the local market, as too will the facelifted Renault Mégane RS. The Volkswagen Golf R and its cousin, the Audi S3 share the same 206kW 2.0-litre powerplant and will be looking to take on the BMW M135i or even the mighty Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG.
The coupé and hot-sedan segments will also heat up with the introduction of BMW’s 2 Series and Audi’s A3 and S3 sedans due to take on the CLA. The new Subaru WRX, which was shown at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, is another car to watch out for, as well as the Kia Cerato Koup with the aforementioned turbocharged engine from the Hyundai Group.
The more exclusive segments will see the introduction of the Alfa Romeo 4C with its carbon-fibre monocoque, massive steering wheel and fantastic looks. There is also the not-so-small matter of two new BMW M cars in the form of the M3 and M4, which for the first time will feature turbopower as we have already experienced with the rest of the M range.
Jaguar will release the coupé version of its gorgeous F-Type, which should turn it into an even more formidable Cayman/911 rival.
A year would certainly not be complete without an updated version of the Nissan GT-R. For 2014, Godzilla has received a few more tweaks - there is even a Nismo version on the way that sprints to 100km/h in 2.0 seconds.
There is even a trio of hot compact SUVs to look forward to in the form of the Audi RS Q3, Porsche’s Macan and the Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG. The regular SUV segment will also see a few new contenders, like the new Nissan Qashqai, the smaller Peugeot 2008, new Suzuki SX4 and the evergreen BMW X5.
For those of us who aren’t looking to scorch the earth with our performance, there are a number of efficient, practical vehicles on the way. For many the Toyota Corolla is still one of the most dependable vehicles on the road and 2014 will yield the next generation of one of the world’s best-selling cars. Another new version of a popular sedan will be introduced when we see the Mazda 6. The Japanese manufacturer will also release the new generation of its Golf rival, the Mazda 3.
The Honda Civic Tourer and new Accord, which were both on display at the 2013 Johannesburg International Motor Show, will also be introduced. The former may be out to prove that perhaps South Africans do enjoy a good wagon. For those who are environmentally conscious, BMW will be introducing its new range of fully electric vehicles, the i3 city car and the i8 sports car.
This year will see the rebirth of the MG 3 on local shores. As we can see, this year is set to be another cracker for the motoring world. We can’t wait to get started.