Top SA car by sales

And the winner is…

New vehicle sales in April 2015 saw a year-on-year decline of 3.3%, with total sales of 44 428, according to the latest data from the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa. Passenger car sales totalled 30 184, representing a year-on-year decline of 1.9%. Sales of Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) totalled 12 077, a yearly decline of 6%.

Car Sales

Car Sales

… Ford Ranger

So, just like in the US, a bakkie; specifically a Ford bakkie is king of car sales.

Vehicle manufacturers by total pushed through the system are:

Toyota           7916

VW                 7157

Ford                6492

GM (+Isuzu) 4196

Nissan             3204

Ranger 3.2 4x4 auto DC

Ranger 3.2 4×4 auto DC


Jeep Cherokee 2015 3.2L FWD Limited review

Jeep-Cherokee-thumbJeep Cherokee 3.2L FWD Limited 

Finally Jeep builds a Cherokee again that deserves to be called Cherokee. Thank you motoring gods.

Jeep has been very clever. They make three different types of Cherokee. A real 4×4 called a Trailhawk. An excellent SUV that has All Wheel Drive (AWD) and a cross hatch/ station wagon which has front wheel drive. They all have the same bodies and share engines and so on. The differences come in the suspension, ride height and gears.


We tested the FWD car. The model that will suit most city dwellers.

Jeep-Cherokee-Limited_seatStyle and clever design is what this iteration of Cherokee is all about. I know you don’t automatically  link design and Jeep. From now on you need to.

From the passenger seat base which lifts up to reveal a handbag sized ‘secret’ stash cavity to a CD player, USB port and power supply in the between seats armrest this car is practical and cleverly laid out. The front seats have heating.

A covered top bin is located above the radio on top of the soft touch instrument panel. Its big enough for glasses or a phone. The materials, fit and finishes are all premium quality.

Jeep-Cherokee-Limited_cd-binIn the boot this car has what Jeep calls the vehicle cargo management system which has handy hooks, a rail to hook onto and a removable grocery bag holder as well as some thoughtful add-on storage solutions including a First Aid Kit. The 60/40 split second-row seats slide forward and back for added comfort and cargo flexibility.

I like the exterior although some do not like the ‘shark’ nose. I think it seems both poised and elegant. The 18 inch polished aluminium rims on the Longitude model suit the car to a T.



This new Cherokee is a great drive. The 3.2-litre Pentastar V6 normally aspirated petrol engine in the model we tested is frisky and quite frugal. You can feel the power. It’s fun to drive. I got 9.5 litre/100km which included a daily commute. Highway driving should give you around 8 litre/ 100km.

Prices are as follows:

Jeep-Cherokee_boot2.4L Longitude                   R500 990.00
3.2L FWD Limited            R536 990.00 (Tested)
3.2L AWD Limited            R592 990.00
3.2L Trailhawk                    R654 990.00

Options for all models include:
Wireless Charging Pad (Limited, Trailhawk only)         R 1 400.00
Black Hood Decal (Trailhawk only)                                  R 1 400.00
Metallic Paint                                                                         R 4 000.00
Park Assist Group (Longitude & Limited)                       R 4 500.00
Electronics Convenience Group                                         R 8 300.00
Comfort/Convenience Group (Excl Limited)                 R 16 000.00
Full Sunroof                                                                           R 17 500.00
Leather Interior, front heated, electr. driver seat (Longitude & Trailhawk only)  R 18 000.00
Luxury Group (Trailhawk only)                                          R 20 300.00
Technology Group                                                                  R 32 500.0

Jeep claims Cherokee raises the bar with superior on-road ride, handling and fuel economy, best-in-class 4×4 capability and class-exclusive technology. I think they may just be right.

If you are looking for a medium sized crossover also look at the  Mitsubishi ASX, Kia Sportage, Nissan Qashqai, Hyundai ix35

If a SUV is more to you liking check out the Kia Sorento, Subaru Forrester, VW Tiguan, Nissan X-Trail, Toyota Rav4.

Real off-road capable 4×4’s include the Suzuki Grand Vitara, Two door Mitsubishi Pajero, Freelander Sport.

Warranty 3 years or 100 000km.

Maintenance plan 36 months or 100 000 km. (Optional)

Suzuki Ciaz arrives

Suzuki have just launched a new compact sedan, the Ciaz.

They are really pretty busy. It seems they are launching something new every month.

The Ciaz is offered in a choice of two specification levels – GL and GLX, one engine manual or 4 speed automatic.

Efficient packaging makes the most of the space on offer, with ample head, leg and shoulder room both front and rear, while top-notch materials, upmarket finishes and an extensive array of standard features.


Looks like a cross between a Honda Ballade and a Kia Rio/ Hyundai Accent.

GL specification: includes electric windows and exterior mirrors, remote central locking, automatic climate-control air-conditioning with front and rear vents, and a six-speaker sound system with FM/AM tuner, CD player, Bluetooth connectivity and both USB and stereo analogue jacks, are standard across all models. The new Ciaz is fairly comprehensively equipped in an old fashioned kind of way.

The GLX adds 16 inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, fog lights and leather trim.

Ciaz interior

Ciaz interior

The Ciaz has Suzuki’s tried and trusted 1,4-litre four-cylinder engine equipped with multipoint fuel injection, four valves per cylinder, and variable valve timing. It gives good power and torque and sub 6 litre/100km fuel consumption in general use.

It could do well but may cannibalise Swift sales.

Prices include a three-year/100 000 km warranty, and a three-year/60 000 km service plan.

1.4 GL MT  R179 900

1.4 GLX MT  R199 900

1.4 GLX AT  R214 900

Ford B-MAX Coming To South Africa

The new Ford B-MAX,  is scheduled for launch in South Africa in the third quarter of this year.

B-MAX is a Ford B-platform car, the same as the Fiesta.

They call it a… wait for it… MAV.  Multi Activity Vehicle. What next?

The new Ford B-MAX.

The new Ford B-MAX.

“The Ford B-MAX really challenges traditional small car thinking,” says Tracey Delate, General Marketing Manager at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA). “Its ingenious design opens the doors – quite literally – to exciting new ideas about what’s possible with a compact vehicle.”

The car uses Ford’s brilliant 1.0 litre three cylinder ‘EcoBoost’ petrol engine. It is a really good little engine delivering a big punch.

A fancy combo door system seems to be the marketing team’s pride and joy. The front door swings open while the rear one slides and, look ma; no B pillar. Just a moerse big door space. Not sure why its needed.

Seems pretty cool. Looks like a MPV to me. Like a mini Espace.

Road test to follow when we get our hands on one.

Toyota HiLux 3.0 D-4D 4×4 DC Legend 45 review

Toyota HiLux 3.0 D-4D Legend 45 double cab 4×4 review

Born just before the seventies with a price of only R1 525 as a 4×2 single cab with a 1.5-litre petrol engine, HiLux has come a long way. Millions have been made.

Toyota HiLux

Toyota HiLux

It is a Legend. No other bakkie comes near in terms of sales or reputation.

We have just driven the seventh series HiLux again in Legends45 form, which is basically the outgoing version before the new bigger series 8 is launched later this year. Toyota have sweetened the deal by upping the accessories on this model but keeping the price down.

This traditional size bakkie is easier to manoeuvre and park than the new super-sized double cabs.

HiLux Legends 45

HiLux Legends 45

HiLux is a very competent all rounder and it does everything well. It is a little old fashioned but in a comfortable familiar kind of way.

It looks like a bakkie and drives like one. This double cab is a luxury workhorse without pretences.

The suspension is firm, perhaps a little too firm, as unladen it still tends to be a little skittish but the electronic stability control really helps to improve the ride. The traction control works seamlessly and invisibly.

I tested it on the Helderberg Farm 4×4 trail black route and it never hesitated. I think it will be good in sand as well.

The highway performance is good. Lock it at 120km/h with the cruise control and it just sails along without ever breaking into a sweat.

In town it is easy to use as it even has a rear camera which makes parking a breeze. My wife felt the camera’s position is a little vulnerable though.

The 3.0 D-4D turbodiesel engine has been around for a while and does not deliver exciting performance, rather it is dependable, effective and a very good mix of usable power and torque. It will do the job and not let you down. I got 10litres/100km in mixed town, highway and some 4×4 driving. So consumption is pretty good.

The cabin is functional rather than fashionable or even pretty to look at. But it works. It is a Toyota bakkie after all. The black leather seats are comfortable and have enough adjustability. It comes with all the nooks and crannies and a really pleasant to hold leather covered multi-function steering wheel.

Rear legroom is OK and access is acceptable.

It comes fairly well equipped with climate and cruise control, a good sound system, navigation with multi-function screen, bluetooth and several plug points.

Safety is also comprehensively specified.

The 3.0 D-4D 4×4 DC Legend 45 as tested costs R505 400. That is a heck a lot of money, but then this is a lot of bakkie.

I believe the trade-in value of the 7th generation HiLux will remain very good partly because the new generation 8 bakkie is reported to be bigger and many people prefer the slightly smaller size.

The limited special edition 45 is available in 4×2 Raised Body and 4×4 and across all variations – Single Cab, Xtra Cab and Double Cab. There are 13 different Toyota Hilux Legend 45 model versions.

Also consider the Mitsubishi Triton, GWM Steed and Nissan Hardbody.

The standard HiLux single cab range starts at R291 800. The 2.5 D-4D Raised Body DC Legend 45 is the base Legend model and is R420 100. The top-of-range 4.0 V6 4×4 Auto DC Legend 45 is priced at R544 600.

Warranty is 3 years or 100 000km. The service plan is 5 years or 90 000km.




Toyota Corolla 1.4D Esteem review

Toyota Corolla 1.4

Corolla comes in a wide range of models. You just have to find a model to suit you in the varied range of 11, manual or automatic, diesel or petrol and in 4 trim levels.

Corolla 1.4 Diesel

Corolla 1.4 Diesel

The E170 is a refined family sized car. It has grown quite a bit and now offers the interior space of an early Cressida with its new much roomier, more sophisticated, generously kitted cabin. The rear passenger room is substantially more spacious and comfortable than previous versions especially legroom.

The quality, appearance and layout of the interior is massively improved over older models and now matches the German competition. Build quality may even be better.

With the 1.4 diesel its all about fuel economy. Toyota claim 4.5 litres / 100km. You can expect to get under 5l/100km. It is astoundingly good for such a relatively big car, which is also quite entertaining to drive although acceleration tends to be on the leisurely side.

The noise suppression is also very good and the ride is well set up.

This diesel version is possibly the best value for money in the rollorange and in its niche. An excellent car for business.

Toyota Corolla

Toyota Corolla

All models except for the Esteem come with a new, leather-covered, multi-functional steering wheel with switches for the audio, hands-free telephone and multi-function display system.

The Exclusive model is exceptionally extensively equipped as standard with most things you can desire, from a rear camera, auto wipers and light control, to climate and cruise control and so on.

My wife really liked the Corolla she says it feels almost like a small Lexus – smooth, effortless, stylish.

Test drive a new Corolla. Do yourself the favour. You will be pleasantly surprised with the interior, styling, performance and the handling. Its a lot of car for your money.

The Corolla range is priced from R224 000 to R297 800.

We drove are the 1.4D Esteem at R253 600.

I would personally choose the 1.6 Prestige CVT (automatic) at R264 400. Its well equipped, stylish, big enough for 4 adults, decent boot, good performance and frugal.

Corollas come with a 3 year or 100 000 km warranty and 5 year or 90 000 service plan.

Also look at the VW Jetta, Hyundai i30, Chevrolet Cruz, Kia Cerato, Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Mazda3.

Corolla 1.4 D 115

Mercedes-Benz bakkie coming

Mercedes-Benz will launch a midsize pickup before the end of the decade but perhaps in 2017.

The new Mercedes-Benz pickup will initially be targeted at markets in South Africa, Latin America, Australia, and Europe – all of which are posting sustained growth in this segment.

Says Nicolette Lambrechts, Vice-President Mercedes-Benz Vans South Africa: “This is a really exciting time for Vans. This will give Mercedes-Benz Vans the opportunity to reach a whole new customer in an entirely new segment. For Mercedes-Benz South Africa this gives us the ability to offer the customer the entire spectrum of products to suit not only their business needs but also cater for their lifestyle requirements – from a car, van, truck, bus and now the pickup.”

It is expected to be a bakkie version of the V-Class and the Vito models and will be developed by the same team. It appears it will be more consumer orientated than workhorse. More like an Amarok, less like a Land Cruiser.

Styling exercise for the proposed new Mercedes-Benz bakkie.

Styling exercise for the proposed new Mercedes-Benz bakkie.

“We can perfectly serve customers looking for a vehicle that offers a high level of utility and at the same time has the comfort, safety, and design of a Mercedes-Benz passenger car,” says Mercedes-Benz. “We will design our brand’s first pickup according to this recipe for success.”

The existing Mercedes Sprinter bakkie.

The existing Mercedes Sprinter bakkie.