Mercedes-Benz EQC. Picture: SUPPLIED
Mercedes-Benz EQC. Picture: SUPPLIED

From SUVs, to hatchbacks, electric vehicles and fire-spitting sports cars, the dawn of the new decade is shaping up as a busy automotive year. We look at 20 of the most eagerly anticipated new cars due for launch in SA in 2020.

Volkswagen Golf

VW Golf. Picture: SUPPLIED
VW Golf. Picture: SUPPLIED

The eighth generation of VW’s popular hatchback is a huge step forward, boasting a smart new touchscreen-dominated interior and more driving appeal. 

The chassis has been updated to deliver crisper steering and a gentler ride, together with the option of adaptive dampers that can soften or stiffen the ride. Our drive at the Golf’s recent international launch promised that the car will be reasserting itself as the world’s best hatchback.

Its semi-autonomous driver assistance systems include adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance and autonomous emergency braking.

Arrival date: late 2020

Toyota Corolla sedan

Toyota Corolla sedan. Picture: SUPPLIED
Toyota Corolla sedan. Picture: SUPPLIED

If the impressive new Corolla hatchback launched here in 2019 is anything to go by, the four-door version is a car to look forward to.

Along with its more upmarket feel and smooth ride quality, the new Corolla adds sassier styling to the mix, which should attract a younger customer base.

The engine line-up isn’t confirmed yet but the sedan is likely to get the same 1.2-litre petrol turbo as the hatch, paired with either a six-speed manual or a CVT automatic gearbox.

Arrival date: Early 2020

Porsche Taycan

Porsche Taycan. Picture: SUPPLIED
Porsche Taycan. Picture: SUPPLIED

Besides having up to 560kW of horizon-chasing power and a range of up to 450km, the first all-electric car from the German sports car firm still follows the spirit of the brand — that “every Porsche has a soul”. 

The five-seater sports sedan can be juiced up to 100km of range in just five minutes at one of the fast chargers Porsche will be installing at various points around SA. 

Arrival date: late 2020

Audi E-Tron

Audi E-Tron. Picture: SUPPLIED
Audi E-Tron. Picture: SUPPLIED

The E-Tron is one of three new battery-powered cars headed for SA in 2020, even as the country experiences more load-shedding and import duties on electric vehicles remain high.

Audi’s first all-electric vehicle boasts 300kW, quattro all-wheel drive and a 400km range. 

It replaces traditional side mirrors with cameras that display the view on screens in the doors.

Arrival date: 2020

Mercedes-Benz EQC

The first member of the fully electric EQ family, the GLC-based vehicle generates 300kW and 765Nm and has all-wheel drive courtesy of an electric motor at both the front and rear axles. The heavy SUV promises a 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.1 seconds and a claimed range of just more than 400km.

Arrival date: 2020

Lexus LC 500 Convertible

Lexus LC500 Convertible. Picture: SUPPLIED
Lexus LC500 Convertible. Picture: SUPPLIED

The sun-loving version of the Lexus sports coupé goes into open-sky mode with an electric soft-top that opens and closes in 15 seconds and at driving speeds up to 50km/h. The roof, available in various colours, retains the silhouette of its metal-roof coupé sibling when closed.

Neck heaters and a transparent wind deflector enhance the driving experience.

Under the bonnet is a sweet-sounding naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission

Arrival date: 2020

Mercedes-Benz GLA

Mercedes-Benz GLA. Picture: SUPPLIED
Mercedes-Benz GLA. Picture: SUPPLIED

The brand’s entry-level compact SUV, which is based on the A-Class, is reborn with a higher roof, added rear legroom, more power and improved safety.

Active Brake Assist comes standard on all models, and the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system has one of the market’s best voice control systems.

Arrival date: second quarter 2020

BMW X6

BMW X6. Picture: SUPPLIED
BMW X6. Picture: SUPPLIED

Behind its enlarged set of kidney grilles (which are optionally illuminated), the third-generation X6 has grown longer and wider than the outgoing model, but is also lower to give it a more crouched stance.

The flagship model of X5’s sexier cousin offers 390kW of turbo V8 power, with an even more powerful X6 M Competition waiting in the wings.

Arrival date: first quarter 2020

Renault Clio

Renault Clio. Picture: SUPPLIED
Renault Clio. Picture: SUPPLIED

The fifth generation of Renault’s compact hatch is sleeker, more dynamic and more connected than ever.

While the exterior has undergone an evolutionary change, the interior update is far more prominent, including a large new multimedia screen angled towards the driver, and for the first time a digital instrument panel.

The 74kW 1.0-litre turbo petrol is likely to be the mainstay of the range, while the peppier 95kW 1.3-litre turbo petrol may also be offered.

Arrival date: second quarter 2020

Land Rover Defender

Land Rover Defender. Picture: SUPPLIED
Land Rover Defender. Picture: SUPPLIED

Yes, it has a unibody chassis instead of the time-honoured body-on-frame design, and that smart new digitised interior doesn’t exactly lend itself to being washed out by a hose.

Traditionalists will scoff, but Land Rover says its reborn icon, while aimed at a more tech-savvy audience, is as off-road capable as ever. The ground clearance is impressive, and the touchscreen controlled Terrain Response system offers four-wheel-drive settings that will apparently take the new Defender deep into untamed turf.

Arrival date: third quarter 2020

Jaguar F-Type facelift

Jaguar F-Type. Picture: SUPPLIED
Jaguar F-Type. Picture: SUPPLIED

The midlife update to Jaguar’s two-seat sports car involves a restyle to give it a more assertive stance, and the cabin has been modernised with a new high definition virtual instrument cluster.

The range-topping F-Type R all-wheel-drive model huffs and puffs with more aggression, with power in the supercharged 5.0-litre V8 upped to 423kW and 700Nm.

Arrival date: unconfirmed

Mazda CX-30

Mazda CX-30. Picture: SUPPLIED
Mazda CX-30. Picture: SUPPLIED

Mazda’s new compact crossover SUV slots in between the CX-3 and the CX-5, with its 4,395mm length pitting it against rivals such as the recently launched Kia Seltos and VW T-Cross.

Drive will be sent to either the front axle or all four wheels, but it seems that Mazda’s innovative Skyactiv-X petrol motor with diesel-like compression ignition is not on the menu due to the quality of our fuel not being up to scratch.

Arrival date: unconfirmed

Opel Corsa

Opel Corsa. Picture: SUPPLIED
Opel Corsa. Picture: SUPPLIED

Fresh from its international launch late in 2019, the sixth generation of Opel’s compact hatch recently won the “Best Buy Car of Europe in 2020”, voted for by a panel of journalists from 31 countries.

The car introduces an adaptive glare-free IntelliLux LED matrix light, which Opel offers for the first time in the small car segment. In addition, there are numerous state-of-the-art driver assistance systems such as Forward Collision Alert with Automatic Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Detection, as well as radar-based Adaptive Speed Control.

Arrival date: fourth quarter 2020

Hyundai i30N

Hyundai i30N. Picture: SUPPLIED
Hyundai i30N. Picture: SUPPLIED

Hyundai’s first hot hatch will arrive in the next few weeks to light up the performance-car wars.

With 202kW and 353Nm from its turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine, the i30 N will directly take on the Renault Megane RS 280 Lux (205kW/390Nm) while outgunning the VW Golf GTI’s 169kW and 350Nm.

Harnessing the power is computer-controlled suspension and an electronic limited-slip differential

Arrival date: first quarter 2020

Mitsubishi Xpander Cross

Mitsubishi Xpander Cross. Picture: SUPPLIED
Mitsubishi Xpander Cross. Picture: SUPPLIED

Mitsubishi’s new crossover MPV is a seven seater that will compete with affordable people carriers such as the Toyota Rush and Honda BR-V.

It has front-wheel drive only but a decent 225mm ground clearance gives it some gravel ability. Power comes from a 77kW 1.5-litre petrol engine and there will initially be one derivative.

Arrival: third quarter 2020

Audi RS Q8

Audi RS Q8. Picture: SUPPLIED
Audi RS Q8. Picture: SUPPLIED

The quickest SUV to lap the Nurburgring Nordschleife to date, the hot version of Audi’s Q8 was seven seconds quicker than the previous record holder, the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S.

Power comes from a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 with outputs of 441kW and 800Nm — it’s the same fire-spitting engine found in the Audi RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback.

Arrival date: second quarter 2020

 Aston Martin DBX

Aston Martin DBX. Picture: SUPPLIED
Aston Martin DBX. Picture: SUPPLIED

The British firm is late to the all-terrain party but expects its first SUV to become its best-selling vehicle and boost its total sales by two thirds. Judging by the popularity of prestige SUVs such as the Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus, we won’t bet against that happening.

Behind the signature DB grille is a 4.0-litre Mercedes-AMG V8 flexing 405kW and 700Nm sized muscles. With its height adjustable air suspension the DBX can alternate between sporty handling and decent off-road ground clearance.

Arrival date: third quarter 2020

Maserati Levante Trofeo

Maserati Levante Trofeo. Picture: SUPPLIED
Maserati Levante Trofeo. Picture: SUPPLIED

The most powerful incarnation of Maserati’s Levante SUV is gunned along by a 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 packing 433kW and 730Nm, for a claimed 0-100 km/h sprint time of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 304km/h.

Power is transferred via an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox used on all the Levante versions, and the vehicle features intelligent all-wheel drive.

Every Trofeo will have Maserati’s exclusive Pieno Fiore Italian leather as standard, and is equipped with a 1,280W, 17-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium surround sound audio system for a concert hall sound experience.

Arrival date: first quarter 2020

Ferrari Roma

Ferrari Roma. Picture: SUPPLIED
Ferrari Roma. Picture: SUPPLIED

The hard-top version of the Portofino convertible grand tourer has adopted a new name. Going up against the Aston Martin Vantage, the prancing horse’s 2+2 coupe is powered by a turbocharged V8 engine putting out 456kW and 760Nm, good for a sprint from 0-100km/h in 3.4 seconds.

Arrival date: first quarter 2020

Kia Seltos diesel

Kia Seltos. Picture: SUPPLIED
Kia Seltos. Picture: SUPPLIED

In November 2019 the Seltos arrived to join the battle of small SUVs, initially only in petrol models in four variants — all front-wheel driven. It will soon be joined by a 1.5-litre turbo diesel version, giving the Seltos range a possible edge over rivals such as the VW T-Cross and Citroën C3 Aircross, which offer petrol models only.

Arrival date: first quarter 2020