The fastest-expanding sub-segment here is compact SUVs or crossovers - the line between these is very blurry - like Renault's Captur. This has proven a popular machine on our market with over 4 500 units sold since its launch in May last year, and now we can expect sales to further boom with the advent of the new turbodiesel variant.
There are two mechanically identical Captur diesels available. First up is the Sunset Limited Edition which is painted Diamond Black while the roof, mirrors, and various bits of trim are finished in Sunset Orange. There are splashes of orange in the interior, too, and the whole package is indeed striking if hardly anonymous. Only 100 are available.
Powering both this edition and the standard Dynamique is Renault's well-known 1.5 dCi engine linked to a five-speed manual with drive going to the front wheels. At the moment, a self-shifter using the manufacturer's six-speed EDC transmission is only a possibility. But if it does hit our market it will be the one to go for, just as the petrol-powered Captur using an EDC is the one to go for.
These days manuals only seem to make sense on special-occasion sports cars and similar where you want to revel in the tactile joys of changing gears yourself. Less so on daily drivers where massive amounts of time are spent stuck in traffic.
This little turbodiesel is pretty punchy with 66 kW at 4 000rpm and 220 Nm at 1 750 rpm. Top speed is a claimed 171 km/h, and zero to 100 km/h comes up in an acceptable but hardly explosive 13.1 seconds. And fuel consumption? Figure on a claimed 3.6 litres per 100 km in the combined cycle.
You read right, and while you might battle to match this figure, there is no escaping the fact that this machine is extraordinarily light on fuel. Important as it seems probable that our rand will be in for further battering followed, of course, by fuel price increases.
Equipment levels are high, from LED daytime running lights and cornering fog-light activation to 17-inch alloys to climate control to automatic-on headlights and rain-sensitive windscreen wipers to cruise control.
You also get Renault's MediaNav infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen (it's strange that in the age of near-universal metric measurements these screens along with wheels are still quoted in metric).
It's a merry little thing on the move, and because it's compact it's easy to dock in what seem to be ever-shrinking parking bays - something that's paradoxical and counter-intuitive as cars are getting so much larger.
The Captur also has a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, and the full mix of useful acronyms from ESP (Electronic Stability Program) to HSA (Hill Start Assist).
Just as reassuring is that Renault SA has a massive parts warehouse up in Gauteng, so those horror stories of waiting forever for parts from overseas are pretty much gone.
Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 66kW Turbo Dynamique (diesel) Sunset Ltd Edition - R292,400
Renault Captur 1.5 dCi 66kW Turbo Dynamique (diesel) - R 289,900
Renault Captur 66kW Turbo Expression (petrol) - R249,900
Renault Captur 66kW Turbo Dynamique (petrol) - R264,900
Renault Captur 88kW Turbo Dynamique EDC (petrol) - R304,900
Prices include a five-year/150,000km mechanical warranty, a three-year/45,000km service plan, and a six-year anti-corrosion warranty. Services are at 15,000km/one-year intervals.