Jasmine concludes her automotive equivalent of the Rasberry Awards, the biased, unsubstantiated and unscientific Bottom 12, with a dig at South Africa's infamous MPVs, SUVs and bakkies.

Jasmine concludes her automotive equivalent of the Rasberry Awards, the biased, unsubstantiated and unscientific Bottom 12, with a dig at South Africa's infamous MPVs, SUVs and bakkies.

The "bovine" - thanks Independence - is back to take on the big boys of the roads and hopefully batter some more egos – after all, I can't be held responsible for people who choose to ditz about in yuck-mobiles!

Compact MPV/SW

One of these sunny days, someone will apprehend the bright spark who came up with the idea to bolt chairs into delivery vans and call them lifestyle-activity vehicles. Those contraptions are entirely devoid of charm, awkward in execution and industrial in spirit. Yummy.

Most of us thought the Venture was the worst thing Toyota could unleash on the unsuspecting public, but then came the Condor. I know people who swear by their Condors and to each his (or her) own, though I must add that I cried when I saw that TV advertisement in which a cruel, aesthetically challenged Condor rode over a heap of innocent televisions, crushing their fragile tubes with its Marie-biscuit wheels... It's because of vehicles such as the unsightly Condor that people are increasingly opting for function over form... If this trend continues, we'll soon see our rides as nothing more than arbitrary consumer items and then we'll all be Yanks.

Runners down: Another blot on the landscape was recently removed from the price lists. Good riddance, I say, because there was nothing vivacious about GM's rebadged Tacuma - the Chevrolet Vivant. It may have been a brilliant vehicle (although that's unlikely), but Chevrolet's knackered hamster was so ugly that no-one was brave enough to go near it. The Peugeot Partner Grand Raid is a van, pretending to be an MPV while moonlighting as an SUV. That's probably why it's so expensive, fake light guards and all.


It's been said that your life changes when you have kids. I wouldn't know about that, but there's a price to pay for the social fulfilments of spawning brats. At some or other point, sexy coupés and smart subcompacts will drop off your shopping list. That's when you enter the world of Sunday school picnics and u/11 rugby matches – welcome to MPV country!

Not to be confused with a gangly Croatian tennis player with a naff goatee, fiery temper and gross overbite, the Ssangyong Stavic is cursed with a tragic nomenclature and even more tragic styling. Never seen one of these in the metal, but it's so ugly it makes its Korando sibling look like Miss Universe. What's the deal with that front end and those ridiculous three-quarter lights, anyway?

Runners down: Many will be glad to know that South Africa's primary instigator of road rage, urban noise pollution and general traffic mayhem, the Toyota Hi-Ace Siyaya can still be purchased here. Though, unless you are an expert at using a spanner as a "steering wheel", your garden hose as a fuel line or squeezing seven people onto a seat designed for two, the Siyaya is something I wouldn't touch with a bargepole. The Kia Pregio is another close contender because, other than tourists with larny cameras dangling over their kitschy commemorative T-shirts with matching safari shorts, nobody could (or should) be coaxed into those South Korean brick-shaped buses.

Compact SUV

In general, SUVs and I share a long-standing love affair, though to me, the smaller ones are an utter waste of road surface. My perennial favourite has to be the Land Rover Freelander, simply because it is what it is - remarkably unreliable and prone to instant disintegration at the slightest touch...

What was Daihatsu thinking when it decided to create its Terios, which is about as small as a stale and crusty KFC mini-loaf with a mouldy interior. It definitely looks the part too. There's always the Suzuki Grand Vitara to consider because, while it’s apparently a very capable off-roader, you won't really find many of them on the road since they have all seemingly disappeared down the deep pit of forgotten vehicles. Pity that...


The Ssangyong Musso gets my vote since, besides the fact that its name is completely unpronounceable after seven tequila slammers, its quasi-Benz styling dating from the early ’90s combines to form what is truly a travesty!

For what it’s worth, the original M-Class was not that much better either. Mercedes-Benz should have saved itself the effort and stuck to the Unimog instead, which in many ways is more appealing than this behemoth pastiche could ever be. And lastly, the current Land Rover Discovery could not be excluded simply because those who have them feel the need to defend them to the death, especially while knowing what complete pieces of doodah they are!


The final category on my list, and another Indian jewel, Tata's Telcoline, makes the ratings simply because it entered South Africa under a cloud of doubt and cynicism, and has definitely failed to disappoint.

Runners down: Nissan's perennial 1400 has fought the good fight and should really call it a day. Hardy as they are, after what must be at least 75 years, I fail to see how this septuagenarian can still make an interesting proposition. For these and many more compelling reasons, the "Champ" and that other favourite, Volkswagen's Citi Pickup, should be offered lifetime Dinosaur Club membership to the big scrapyard beneath the sea.

That's it for my bottom 12 of the bottom feeders... Until next week, Jasmine.

Original article from Car