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Saturday / 15 May 2021
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The coolest cars we do not get in South Africa

We have a lot of cool cars in South Africa, but we do not have them all.

Take a peek outside our borders and you will see a whole world of automotive beauty that is not available locally.

For whichever reason, the makers of these models have decided not to bring them into South Africa (and I am quite upset about that).

Below is a list of five cool cars I wish we had in our dealerships.


Ford F-150 

As one of the best-selling Ford vehicles since it rolled of the line, the F-series is an iconic bakkie in the United States.

So you would hope that – with the prominence of the Ranger in South Africa – Ford may one day bring the new F-150 over as a fully-supported model.

Starting at $28,940 (roughly R440,000 if directly converted), the F-150 XL base model is very capable.

A choice of six engines are available, including a 3.5-litre hybrid V6 that puts out 321kW of power and 773Nm of torque, while using regenerative braking to be more efficient.

Further customisation come in the form of eleven – yes, 11 – different grille options, six trim levels, optional interior and exterior work surfaces for laptops and paperwork, a 12-inch gauge cluster, and an 8-inch or 12-inch infotainment display.

The F-150 features class-leading loading capacities as well as connectivity with the SYNC4 system – which allows over-the-air updates to and from your vehicle, assistance in an emergency, and 10,000 hours of on-demand streaming content.

For safety, it features 10 active drive assist features and a lockable cargo area below the rear bench.


Tesla Model S

If you don’t know the name Elon Musk by now, where have you been all 2020?

The South African-born entrepreneur has a knack of creating fast electric vehicles.

The epitome of that philosophy being the Tesla Model S (until the Tesla Roadster touches the streets).

Starting at $90,490 (roughly R1,370,000) the Model S is not cheap, but it can go all the way up to $138,490 (R2,100,000) for the Plaid edition, which will be the focus here.

Thanks to three electric motors and an all-wheel drive system, the Model S Plaid edition can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 2 seconds – not bad for a 5-seater family saloon – and goes on to reach a maximum speed of 322km/h.

An autopilot program is also available, able of scanning a 360-degree, 160m area to analyse risks on the road.

Other cool features include a 17-inch infotainment screen with a wide variety of functions – such as over-the-air software updates, drive mode select, or streaming Netflix – a 647km range, and  hidden features inside the software, such as displaying your car on a rainbow road or as a Mars rover when using the navigation functions.

Tesla does not officially state the power figures of their cars, however multiple online publications have estimated it to be above the magical 1,000HP mark.


Polestar 1

Another battery-powered vehicle comes in the form of the Polestar 1.

In collaboration with Volvo, Polestar has created a hybrid-electric performance car that uses two electric motors to power the rear wheels, while using the traditional engine to power the front.

The combination of the engines produce 462kW of power and a torque figure of 1,000Nm.

This lets the Polestar 1 hit the 0-100km/h mark in 3.8 seconds and puts it on par with cars such as the Aston Martin DB11 and the Porsche 911 Carrera GTS.

As with speed, the price of the Polestar can be compared with luxury sports cars as it comes in at a cool $155,000 (roughly R2,342,000).

For that amount you get the longest electric-only range out of all hybrids at 97km on a single charge, and an “unprecedented” use of carbon fibre on almost the entire upper body, according to Polestar.

As well as:

  • Heads-up display
  • Active rear spoiler
  • Digital key function
  • 12.3-inch infotainment screen
  • Heated front seats, steering wheel, and windscreen wipers


Nissan Skyline

You read that correctly, in 2021 Nissan still offers a Skyline that is not the GT-R.

The latest Nissan Skyline, announced in late 2019, is a 5-seater family sedan that gives you a taste of what Nissan can do.

It receives the signature V-motion grille treatment that gives the onlooker hints of its bigger brother, and it’s fitted with an electric motor and 3.5-litre V6 engine that sends 268kW to either the  rear, or all four wheels.

With this model you also get Nissan’s new ProPilot 2.0 system, which allows the Skyline to navigate itself through a predetermined route, while multiple sensors around the car makes sure it stays safe by alerting the driver if a risk appears in the road or if an adjustment needs to be made.

Available only in Japan, the Skyline sedan is on sale for a starting price of 4,353,800 yen (roughly R640,000), making its main competitors the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.


Cadillac Escalade

The baller wagon.

Known for being the original vehicle of choice for sports legends and celebrities alike, the Escalade has been a common household name in America since 1999.

For the newest version of this famous SUV, Cadillac made sure not to spare any expense.

This includes the addition of a world-first 36-speaker AKG motor audio system and an industry-first curved OLED display in a car, ensuring that all the competition will be fighting for second place.

In fact, the combined screen real estate inside the car exceeds 38 inches, and has twice the pixel density of a 4K television, according to Cadillac.

A choice of two engine specification is available, starting with a 3-litre turbo-diesel – the first of its kind for the Escalade.

Since there is no replacement for displacement, there is also an option for a more traditional 6.2-litre V8 petrol engine that delivers 313kW.

Surprisingly enough, both these engines have the same torque figure at 623Nm.

More luxuries include soft-close doors, augmented reality navigation, rear camera mirror, 12.6-inch rear seat displays, and hands-free driving on more than 300,000 kilometres of compatible highways in the United States and Canada.

With a starting price of $76,195 (roughly R1,152,000), the Escalade rivals popular SUVs such as the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE, while offering more luxurious features as standard.


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