2023 IN REVIEW: These were our most popular road tests

Published Dec 26, 2023


At IOL Motoring we get to drive some exciting, and sometimes exotic cars, but when we look back at our most clicked-on road tests of 2023, it’s the popular and somewhat sensible vehicles that dominate.

Volkswagen was the most clicked-on vehicle brand when it came to the reviews that we published this year, with the Amarok, Tiguan and Polo all coming in the top 10, along with new entrants from Suzuki and Isuzu.

Without further ado, these were the most read road tests in 2023.

Volkswagen Amarok V6 is lovely but the BiTDI hits a sweet spot

The original Volkswagen Amarok was a good looking and refined bakkie that stood the test of time through its 12 year life cycle that ended last year.

Trouble is, it was never a big seller on the global scale, and so Volkswagen had a hard time trying to justify the development of an all-new model to its bean counters. Read the full story here.

Updated Toyota Fortuner is a golden oldie

It goes without saying that the Toyota Fortuner is one of South Africa’s most loved SUVs, and now having received a facelift, the firm aims to continue its sales success story. We recently spent time with the range-topping version of the latest Fortuner, the 2.8 GD-6 4x4 VX.

Overall, the updates to the Fortuner’s styling have put it on par with competitors in the looks department. The improvements to the styling should keep the Fortuner looking modern until it is replaced by the new model. Full story here.

Volkswagen Tiguan TDI is frugal and great to drive, albeit pricey

As more new car models get released we’re also unfortunately getting fewer diesel options. Blame the greenies, EU and whoever you want but the reality is that as legislation forces New Energy Vehicles onto us, oil burners hardly feature in manufacturers’ plans at all.

Which is why the Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI R-Line 4Motion comes, dare I say it? as a breath of fresh air. Full story here.

Suzuki Grand Vitara impresses on epic Mpumalanga road trip

On a recent Grand Adventure Road trip to the land of the rising sun, Mpho Mahlangu found the recently launched Suzuki Grand Vitara to be a pleasant companion on the busy N4.

Setting off early on a Saturday morning from Johannesburg, myself and two colleagues each loaded up our range topping Grand Vitara GLX Hybrid Allgrip’s with our luggage and instantly, we were impressed by the boot capacity on offer. With a route carefully mapped out, we set off on what was to be an adventure to remember. Full story here.

Mid-spec Isuzu D-Max 1.9 LS is all the bakkie you need

When Isuzu launched the new D-Max earlier this year in Gqeberha, it was done with great fanfare including a visit from the state president.

The LS double cab sits almost in the middle of the range and having spent a week driving it under varying conditions, I reckon it’s all you need in a double cab. Full story here.

Chery Tiggo 7 Pro is well priced and feature packed, but thirsty

With times being as tough as they are, it’s no surprise that Chinese cars are making some serious inroads into the South African market with their well-priced products.

Not only is it rather nice to look at, if a little generic in places, but this Chinese contender is quite a bit cheaper than these rivals. Full story here.

BMW i7 has huge presence, but wait until you step inside

Say what you want about the styling of the new BMW 7 Series and i7, but there’s one thing you can’t deny: out on the street they’ve got huge presence.

Perhaps I should avoid weighing in because styling is a subjective thing, but I think it looks somewhat better in the flesh than it does in pictures. Yet beautiful it is not. Full story here.

Haval H6 GT is a striking new take on the ‘coupe SUV’

Haval has been rocking the local sales charts with its sensibly-priced Jolion and H6 SUV models, but with the new H6 GT the Chinese carmaker is letting its hair down while taking a shot of tequila and dancing on the table.

Although based on the H6 all-wheel drive model, the GT has a completely different body shell, with a coupe-like sloping roof design. Sort of what BMW does with its X4 and X6 models, but for a lower end of the market. Full story here.

Volkswagen Polo 1.0 70kW Life is a sweet drive, but pricey

The Volkswagen Polo is a long-standing success story in South Africa. Look around, they’re all over the place.

But while it went from strength to strength in Mzanzi in the first two decades of this millennium, the Polo hatchback’s popularity has been waning in recent times. Full story here.

GWM P-Series LTD is moerse capable off the beaten track

When it comes to double cab bakkies South Africans are spoilt for choice and when GWM entered the market with their well-priced and even better specced P-Series, that really threw the cat among the pigeons.

We’re also a sucker for a good looking exterior and with the recent launch of the range topping P-Series LTD, GWM has done just that. Full story here.

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