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Unnoticed heroes of the year - Here are our top 3 'stealth' cars of 2018

2018-12-31 12:00

Lance Branquinho

Image: Motorpress

For every dramatic supercar and new AMG product, there are an equal number of stealth cars. 

These might not be the most dramatically styled, or the fastest, but for those who can look beyond the assumed stereotypes, they can offer an amazingly compelling ownership experience.

READ: McLaren dreams up Stealth version of 720S

Below we list the best stealth cars of 2018. Bought by those who know – and sure to provide years of secretly superb motoring. 

1. Mahindra Pik-Up

Over the last ten years, since an initial deluge of entrants in 2008, Indian and Chinese bakkies have seen their popularity wane in the South African market. 

The remaining models have obviously proven themselves and one of these is Mahindra’s Pik Up. It might look a touch odd, with an oversized gap between the cab and loadbin, but the Pik Up’s specification is generous. And it's ability? Entirely competent.

READ: Mahindra introduces new double cab S6 variant of its popular Pik Up

The 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine is moderately advanced for a Mahindra and with 320Nm and relatively close gear ratios, you won’t have to avoid the far-right lane of the N1.

Mahindra-pik-up-s6-karoo-edition

                                                                         Image: Quickpic

Best of all, the cabin plastics don’t overwhelm you with a pungent fragrance of cheapness when a Pik Up is left parked outside in direct sunlight and it’s a capable workhorse too: capable of carrying 1 095kg on the back. 

Most South African bakkie buyers might be oblivious to the inherent ability this curiously styled Indian double-cab offers. But those willing to try something different, discover terrific value around its R300k price point. 

2. VW Caddy 1.0 TSi

The #VanLife movement might have been one of the most influential transport lifestyle trends on IG in 2018, but for many South Africans, an SUV is preferable to any van.

READ: Volkswagen launches 1.0 TSI Caddy - affordable running costs, 7 seats and loads of space

Size is one of the issues precluding van ownership, as many people don’t need the full-size T6 VW van experience – which can be daunting to drive in a crowded urban environment.

2018 Volkswagen Caddy

                                                                         Image: Motorpress

VW’s Caddy has always been a right-sized van alternative, but the pricing has been a touch too dear for those families who wish to upgrade from their Polo to something spacious enough to keep siblings happy and out of each other’s space when travelling long distance. 

Thanks to the introduction of a new 1-litre turbocharged petrol engine option, the affordability threshold for Caddy has dropped from just beyond R400k to slightly over R300 000. This new engine option has made Caddy effectively R100k more affordable in 2018. Spacious, superb – and entirely stealthy family motoring.  

3. Kia Stinger GT

Nobody could ever have imaged a time would come that an R800 000 Kia would become an eventuality in South Africa. But with the Stinger GT, that happened in 2018. And it wasn’t merely a sense of ridiculous pricing ambition.

WATCH: Here's a closer look at the fastest Kia ever built - Meet the Stinger GT

The sleek design hides the work of a former BMW engineering chief and a 272kW turbocharged V6 makes this the fastest Korean car ever marketed locally.

                                                                        Image: Motorpress

Previously, if you wanted something unusual, with driver appeal, the solution was always Alfa Romeo – with haphazard reliability and maddening ergonomics your burden of ownership. Stinger GT has style, comfort, excellent infotainment and the kind of pace which enables it to run with most German four-door performance car rivals. 

Best of all: nobody really knows what it is. "Is that a Kia, it doesn’t look like my mom’s Picanto?" Exactly. Effortlessly cool. Massively capable. And as reliable as your Samsung home appliances. Therefore, the Stinger GT is our stealth car of 2018. 

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