Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Eye candy

I've commented before on this blog that Johannesburg has a way of distorting your perceptions of reality, because there appears to be so many people living ridiculously prosperous lives. Every second car on the road is a BMW or Mercedes-Benz. Every third car is an SUV. You actually see Ferraris and Lamborghinis on the road.

In my line of work as an automotive journalist, we get a steady stream of new cars in to test-drive for a week at a time. Admittedly they're across the spectrum from ultra-budget to ultra-expensive, but you do get a fair amount of really impressive heavy metal here. This example - the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 Alpine Edition - just arrived in today.

It costs ZAR 860 000 (around RON 313 355). It's pretty obscene given South Africa's poverty levels, but that's Johannesburg for you: a glittery city where the majority of people are chasing an impossible dream, and a minority are proving that it can be done. Something that blew my mind is a study of the richest South Africans, which showed that the wealthiest 10% of households earned a combined ZAR 500 000 (RON 182 183) PER MONTH ... that's right. Not per year, but Every. Single. Month. *gob smacked* 

And no, I'm not one of them, unfortunately. If I was, I'd be at my nearest Jeep dealership signing some papers now. As it is, I'm blogging about this instead ... so enjoy!


  1. So trippy seeing the right hand steering wheel.
    I once drove a Jeep, I don't remember if it was a Liberty or Patriot, it was a smaller model though. Most uncomfortable ride ever. Unfortunately, that's the impression Jeep left me with.

  2. Yeah, that's right, you guys drive on the wrong side of the road :P

    Most cars these days have uncomfortably harsh rides: try driving a sporty BMW or Audi sometime and you'll need some serious back therapy. James May calls it the 'Nurburgring' effect, where motor manufacturers are all testing their cars for the fastest time around the track, so they're effectively rubbish during normal driving.

    I sometimes feel cheated that the era of big muscle cars and huge tailfin cruisers has completely ended, and all I'm left with is a huge number of generic plastic toys by comparison.