Toyota South Africa has announced that their much-loved and highly trusted entry-level contender, the Tazz, has reached the end of the road. While Toyota is keeping very quiet about a replacement for the entry-level segment, General Motors has brought out the ‘Oil of Delay’ and now offer the wrinkled first generation Corsa Lite with power steering. But with true German precision, Volkswagen takes the cake when it comes to keeping models on life support. Its 21-year old Citi recently had another botox injection, now sporting new taillights that fit in with the marque’s new rounded-designs, as well as a new front bumper. A legend in its own time, Volkswagen has denied claims that the Citi will be phased out in the near future.


Just as we pegged the VW Golf GTI against Ford’s delightful new Focus ST, Volkswagen announced that the brand new Golf R32 would in fact be coming to South Africa in about September this year. The R32 is the most powerful Golf to date and is fitted with a 3.2-litre V6 engine that delivers 184Kw of power and 320Nm of torque; enough to get you from 0 to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds! Now Golf can tackle the Audi A3 3.2 FSI and BMW 130i for the title of hottest hatch. Prices have not been confirmed yet, but expect the 6-speed manual to retail for about R310 000, and the DSG for R325 000. Ouch!


It’s annoying to admit that for once I was wrong. The South African Guild of Motoring Journalists recently surprised many – including myself – by announcing that the Audi A3 2.0T FSI Sportback is the 2006 South African Car of the Year. Call me a sore loser, but I still feel that there are a number of more deserving cars that didn’t even make the nominations list, and that at least two other vehicles that did should’ve grabbed the title. It is interesting to note that many of SA’s finest motoring publications and journalists have distanced themselves from the competition, including CAR magazine (widely considered the best local motoring publication), motoring fundi Michele Lupini and his team from Cars In Action and Egmont Sippel from Rapport. Sour grapes aside, the A3 remain a fine automobile in its own right and Audi should be very proud of its third victory in the local competition.


Speaking of Car of the Year, the winner of the annual World Car of the Year was recently announced, and like last year, I was quite surprised. The list of nominees was dramatically shortened compared to previous years, and out of the Porsche Cayman S, the BMW 3-series and the new Mazda MX-5, it was the BMW that was crowned the 2006 World Car of the Year. The new Honda Civic Hybrid took the title of World Green Car of the Year while Citroën walked away with the World Car Design of the Year for their gorgeous C4.


A new law passed in Gauteng (and apparently soon to be applicable nationwide) declares that learner drivers must pass their driver’s license in a vehicle that measures at least three metres from bumper to bumper. Many driving schools are up-in-arms, claiming that they now have to replace their fleets and that people prefer small urban run-abouts nowadays. But what they seem to not have realised is that the three-metre rule doesn’t really affect very many vehicle. A car like a Citi or Tazz (which many driving schools use and is still popular amongst first-time drivers) is more than sufficient in length. Unfortunately the Smart Car does not make the grade. Can you imagine the havoc learner drivers will soon be creating on our roads if they are to be taught in dad’s luxury German sedan?

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