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The Automobile Association has warned South African motorists to brace for another big fuel price hike in April, despite the substantial increases in March.

“The projected basic fuel price increase is being billed as 98 cents for petrol, 70 cents for diesel and 63 cents for illuminating paraffin,” the AA said, commenting on unaudited mid-month fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund.

But, as the AA notes, increases to the country’s fuel levies will push the prices at the pumps even higher when they come into effect in April.

“With the addition of the increases to the levies, our outlook for April sees petrol increasing by R1,18 a litre and diesel by 90 cents a litre. There are no levies added to illuminating paraffin,” the Association explained.

The AA said movements in the exchange rate had contributed 23 to 26 cents of this increase, with the balance coming from [...]

A new report out of Australia suggests the hot GTI and hotter R versions of the Volkswagen Golf 8 are due in 2020, soon after the launch of the broader range.

The news comes after Jürgen Stackmann, VW’s member of the board responsible for sales, marketing and after sales, told Automotive News Europe the launch of the standard eighth-generation Golf had been pushed back (the hatchback had initially been scheduled for an unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2019).

Now, speaking to Which Car, a VW Australia spokesperson said the broader Golf range – along with the GTI – would hit that country by the third quarter of 2020, with the R-badged model following before the end of that year.

“We’re still on track for early Q3 2020 at which time we’ll launch GTI together with the broader range with R to follow later in the year,” the spokesperson said.


Tesla has taken the wraps off its new Model Y, saying its all-electric, mid-size, seven-seater SUV was designed for “maximum versatility and safety”.

The Model Y – which slots in below the Model X – will be offered in standard-range form (priced from $39 000) as well as long-range guise, plus as dual-motor all-wheel-drive and performance variants.

The US-based automaker claims a zero to 60 mph (97 km/h) sprint time of just 3,5 seconds for the fastest derivative, along with a top speed of up to 150 mph (that’s 241 km/h). The standard model features a claimed range of 230 miles (around 370 km), with the long-range derivative stretching to 300 miles (that’s 483 km) on a single charge.

Tesla claims the Model Y is “spacious enough to carry seven adults and their gear”. The SUV can be specified with a panoramic glass roof, while its cabin appears to share much with [...]

Back in November 2018, the facelifted Toyota Prius was revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show. And now the updated hybrid has quietly touched down in South Africa.

While the model shown in LA boasted a new all-wheel-drive system (dubbed AWD-e), it seems this option will not be offered locally (which makes sense, considering the distinct lack of snow in SA).

But the SA-spec version of the updated Prius does feature the new front and rear exterior styling, along with various “interior updates”.

According to Toyota SA’s website, the refreshed Prius will cost you R490 200, some R4 200 more than the pre-facelift model. We’ve yet to hear if the specification level has changed at all (but we’ll certainly keep our eyes open).

As before, oomph comes from an unchanged hybrid powertrain comprising a 1,8-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine and two motor/generators linked to an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission.

A new report out of Germany suggests Audi is planning to drop a V6 diesel engine (as used in the recently revealed SQ5 TDI) into the three derivatives in its S5 range.

According to Automobile Magazine, the S5 Sportback, coupé and cabriolet will all be offered with Ingolstadt’s oil-burning six-cylinder, which also employs an electrically powered compressor to ensure maximum torque is available from low in the rev range.

In the case of the SQ5 TDI, this 3,0-litre engine makes 255 kW and 700 N.m, fed to all four corners via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The French magazine says Audi’s motivation to use this new powertrain stems from an effort to cut fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, with regulations in Europe continuing to tighten.

Of course, Audi Sport has so far offered diesel engines only in S-badged SUVs (the SQ5 TDI and SQ7 TDI). If this latest report does indeed [...]

A new report out of the United Kingdom suggests Mercedes-AMG plans to eventually offer a plug-in hybrid version of every single one of its performance vehicles.

Speaking to Autocar, a senior executive revealed the Affalterbach-based firm’s plans to create performance plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

“All the AMG vehicles will be available in the future with plug-in hybrids as an option,” Frank Overmeyer, the brand’s head of external affairs for emissions, told the British publication.

“Mild hybrid is not the strategy of AMG, because the emissions savings are too small,” he added.

That final comment is interesting since Mercedes-AMG already offers mild-hybrid models in the form of the CLS53, E53, GT53 and GLE53, each of which features the automaker’s so-called “EQ Boost” system.

While Mercedes-Benz also sells PHEV versions of various models, Autocar says the first plug-in hybrid offerings from the AMG performance arm are expected [...]

When the new Renault Duster launched in South Africa in October 2018, the range was missing the 4×4 model. Now, however, this derivative has joined the local line-up, which swells to six variants.

Priced at R327 900, the 1,5 dCi Dynamique 4×4 sits near the summit of the range, with only the flagship 1,5 dCi Prestige EDC (at R340 900) above it.

As with the front-driven oil-burning models, power comes from the French brand’s familiar 1,5-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine. But in this case the 80 kW engine generates 260 N.m (up from the EDC-equipped 4×2 model’s 250 N.m), and is mated to all four corners via a six-speed manual gearbox. Renault claims a combined fuel consumption of 5,2 L/100 km for this model.

The 4×4 derivative boasts hill-descent control and a special “MultiView” camera that lends the driver an improved view of the terrain at the front, rear and side of the vehicle. [...]

CAR magazine’s distinguished annual Top 12 Best Buys were presented at a gala dinner in Johannesburg on Tuesday evening. Look out for our upcoming April 2019 issue for the full article and rationale behind each decision.

Top 12 Best Buys is our definitive guide to the very best cars in South Africa. As a reminder, here is our judging criteria:

Only vehicles that the majority of the eight-member CAR editorial team has driven: We factor in the findings of road tests and driving impressions we’ve published up until this March issue. Don’t see your favourite in the running? The CAR team might not have driven it yet, with a number of important vehicles (such as the new BMW 3 Series and the fresh Mercedes-Benz GLE) launching locally just too late to meet the deadline.

Ranges, not individual models: Except in the Budget and Performance Car segments, we consider an entire range, not [...]

The launch of the Volkswagen Golf 8 has been delayed, although the Wolfsburg-based firm insists it is not because of technical issues with the new hatchback’s fresh digital features.

German newspaper Bild initially reported the delay, with Automotive News Europe contacting VW to confirm.

While Bild cites boardroom sources suggesting technical bugs with the eighth-generation Golf’s “advanced technology” saw the launch pushed back, the automaker provided another reason.

“We think it’s better to come early next year [2020] with a full-throttle offensive. It doesn’t have anything to do with production. It’s a sales decision since you don’t try to put cars under the Christmas tree when no one is paying attention,” Jürgen Stackmann, VW’s member of the board responsible for sales, marketing and after sales, told Automotive News Europe.

The Golf 8 was scheduled to be shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2019, but Volkswagen says it [...]

The head of Volkswagen’s R division says fans of the brand should not expect to see an R-badged Polo any time soon.

Despite hinting to Top Gear UK that more models (in addition to the Golf R and T-Roc R) would wear the “R” moniker in future, Volkswagen R managing director Jost Capito said the Polo would not be one of them.

“With R you have four-wheel drive, and you don’t have four-wheel drive in the Polo platform. I also think the effort and the money you put in works from the Golf size of car upwards,” Capito said, suggesting the GTI would be as hot as the Polo would go.

Back in late 2017, a report suggested Volkswagen was developing a flagship Polo R, but had yet to decide whether to put what would essentially be a mini-hyper-hatch into production. VW insiders had apparently confirmed the existence of a handful of [...]

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