Editor's pick | Man, do we love bakkies and SUVs - this week's top motoring stories

2020 JAC T8. Image: RoadTrip / Ryan Abbott
2020 JAC T8. Image: RoadTrip / Ryan Abbott

Goodness, if there's one thing I miss the most during the lockdown, it's driving. Whether it's the horrid, congested commute to work, fetching my child at school on Fridays, or taking a leisurely cruise to Malmesbury to visit the in-laws. I just miss being behind the wheel of a car.

Even Wheels24 contributor Lance Branquinho said in an article earlier this week: "Without the rush of traffic, venturing onto uncrowded roads has been a purer driving experience for me. Like many of you, I savour my journey to the store now. Driving slowly, I deliberately take pleasure in the smallest independent inputs allowed: steering, gear-changing, braking and throttle control."

And so does everyone else, I am sure of it. But besides that, and even though I have always known this, our Wheels24 readers really love SUVs and bakkies. It's the one thing everyone reads about, and they're always our best stories. 

Last week Charlen Raymond wrote about GWM's new P Series double-cab bakkie which would eventually make its way to local shores once things return to some kind of "new normal" after lockdown, but no one knows what that means yet. Our readers wanted to know more and more about the new bakkie which could possibly rival the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger. So it was no surprise when our most-popular story this week was about another Chinese bakkie already in SA, albeit not as well-known.

Perhaps it's our culture, our upbringing, or memories of our childhood. And, let's not forget that South Africans love bakkies so much that it remains the most popular segment in the local auto industry, along with SUVs. There's also just a wide variety of amazing products on offer (well, not precisely while we're in lockdown), but we have lekker bakkies here.

The other top-read was about Honda's Land Cruiser rival, the SUV known as the Crossroad - the forgotten V8.

Here's a look at this week's best motoring stories:

jac t8.bakkie,china

Image: RoadTrip / Ryan Abbott

1. RoadTrip | Almost unknown in SA, here's another Chinese bakkie pulling its weight under the radar

With all the hype currently around the pending introduction of the new GWM P-Series bakkie, the release of another strong Chinese contender in the keenly contested local one-ton bakkie market has gone all but unnoticed.

Yes, the Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Company (JAC Motors) may be an almost unknown entity locally, but the state-owned manufacturer is a giant in the Chinese auto industry and a prolific producer of electric vehicles.

2. WATCH | A hilarious reminder why the Toyota Hilux is damn-near unbreakable

A good few years ago, Jeremy Clarkson (when he still worked at Top Gear), took an old-spec Hilux and tried destroying it. What it came down to was him driving the bakkie against trees, scraping it against walls, and even sinking it to the depths of the ocean. Okay, that last one is a push, but it did happen.

After every 'big test', Clarkson would attempt starting the bakkie again, hoping that it would not start. Sadly for the presenter, the Hilux kept coming back.

toyota hilux

Image: YouTube/TopGear

3. Lower fuel prices for SA motorists as oil, Rand continues to crash due to coronavirus

Such bitter sweet news. For the second month in a row, we have seen significant drops in fuel prices, yet we're stuck at home. Thankfully, those who are at the front line as essential workers can at least benefit from this small joy when filling up for work. 

Globally destructive economic instability has pushed fuel prices into drastic retreat, leading to some very rare good news for South African motorists. This is according to the Automobile Association (AA), which was commenting on unaudited mid-month fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund.  

4. The forgotten V8 - Remember when Honda had a Land Cruiser rival?

In the mid-1990s Honda had a treasure of desirable cars: NSX, Prelude and the V-Tec engine technology which would make many of its Civics so legendary. 

The one thing that Honda didn’t have was a large SUV with low-range. Mindful that developing such a vehicle would be costly, and aware that its engineers had no experience with building oversized off-road vehicles, Honda did something unusual: the Crossroad. At this time of unparalleled strength for the Japanese auto industry, things were falling apart in the UK - especially at Land Rover.


Image: Honda

SEE | The 5 cheapest diesel-powered cars on sale in SA today

Interestingly, not many automakers have diesel engines lower down their model line-ups, while some, like Mahindra, are riddled with diesel offerings.

The Indian automaker offers nine vehicles in its line-up, of which six cater to the passenger car market. The other three are bakkies.

Mahindra Thar Adventure

Image: Mahindra

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