A new year means new models are just around the corner

By David Thomson on Fri, 11 Jan 2013

Welcome to the first edition of Drivesouth for 2013, after what I hope has been a relaxing and rewarding holiday break.

We ease into this new year with a retrospective, in which - over this issue and next - Richard Bosselman and I look back on the cars that have made a real impression on us over the past 12 months.

This weekend we make our choices in the small, medium, large and luxury categories, while next weekend SUVs, light commercials, sports cars and our overall picks are revealed.

I always find making these selections an interesting exercise, not least because in doing so I am forced to spend time reflecting on the array of more than 50 new cars that have passed through my hands in the most recent 12-month period.

Looking ahead, I am sure that this time next year there will be an equally diverse list of cars to ponder as I look back at 2013.

The first three months of the year alone look set to see new models released here by Subaru, Volkswagen, BMW, Hyundai and Mazda, and probably by a few other manufacturers too.

There's plenty to look forward to in terms of motorsport in the South over the coming months as well, including this weekend's opening round of the summer motor racing series meeting at Teretonga, and the continuation of the series at Timaru's Levels circuit next weekend.

Trucks make what is sure to be a popular return at Teretonga, as one of several support acts to the premier Toyota Racing Series single-seater and NZV8 touring car categories.

It's not long either until the Nitro Circus hits Dunedin, where - on the night of Friday, January 25 - it will be the first big event of the year for the Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Looking further out, international interest in the April 5-7 Drivesouth Rally of Otago continues to gather pace.

The biggest piece of news since the last Drivesouth issue of 2012 is an entry from former Australian rally champion Neal Bates.

Bates, who is a class act behind the wheel, will square off in a 1980 Toyota Celica against former world champion Miki Biaison (Porsche) and the best of the Kiwis in what should be a great contest for classic rally honours.

Just another reason why 2013 is a year I am really looking forward to.

David Thomson