VW Golf SV

Golf-SV-105-noseVW Golf SV – the versatile one

It may be a good idea not to think of the SV as a Golf. It is its own car, a real (not so) little MPV. Part Touran, but part Golf, where it counts.

I liked the well equipped simply styled interior. It is classy, ergonomically well thought out and beautifully executed.  Quite different to a normal Golf though. It is somewhere between a Golf and a Touran, but I found it a pleasant and practical compromise.

VW Golf SV

VW Golf SV

Space is what it is really all about. The boot is 500 litres to start off easily passing the pram and golf bag tests, but the rear seats also fold down and slide enlarging the cargo area to over 1 500 litres. Access is superb, as is leg room at the back. Get the full list of specifications at: http://www.vw.co.za/en/models/new-golf-sv/trimlevel_overview.html

Golf-SV-180-dashFuel consumption is an excellent 6.2 litres/ 100km in mixed driving. My route includes town, highway and a ten level parking garage.

These new generation petrol engines are more economical in town than the diesels generally it appears. Performance is also peppy. Even the 1.2 will do the job on the Highveld due to the clever engine management and turbocharging.

The 1.4 we drove has ample power and accelerates effortlessly from 80 to 120km/h. The safety and handling systems built into the car are comprehensive, delivering superb safety and handling with a fun element.

You can quite easily kid yourself you are driving a Golf, its road manners are that good.

Golf-SV-093-obliquePerhaps it is good to think of the SV as a Golf with a big boot, but in reality it is a very different car with a taller stance and much more legroom and space in general. The stance means that the seats are higher off the ground making it easy to get in and out. The driving position is really comfortable.

The model we tested was the TSi Comfortline with a list price of R325 200. The range starts with the 1.2 Trendline at R292 500 and tops off with the 2.0 TDi DSG at R359 200.

The full price list is at: http://www.vw.co.za/en/models/new-golf-sv/prices_and_options.html

As you will have seen, typical of most German manufacturers the options list is long and expensive, and the basic car is just that; basic.

The real competition to this car is all more expensive. Especially the Germans from Stuttgart and Munich. So in effect the SV is good value for money and gives you more space than a hatch but does not significantly drop in performance or style.

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The service plan is for 5 years or 90 000km, but ask to upgrade to the maintenance plan.

Also look at the VW Touran, Mercedes Benz B series (R390k +), BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (R380k +), Citroën C4 Picasso and Opel Meriva.

Land Rover Defender – last round gentlemen

Celebration Edition Defenders will be available from September 2015

Only 215 of these special models will be sold in South Africa. Two variants will be made available: the Defender Heritage Edition and the Defender Adventure Edition.

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Adventure Edition Defender

Key features for the Adventure Edition include:

Corris Grey, Yulong White or Phoenix Orange paintwork.
Santorini Black ‘Adventure’ grille, wheel arches, bonnet, roof, and rear door.
Seven-inch LED projector headlamps.
Clear indicator lenses.
Underbody sill and sump protectors.
Atlas ‘Defender’ bonnet script.
Gloss Black split-spoke diamond-turned alloy wheels.
Goodyear MT/R tyres with white lettering.
Bright Pack.
Decals on front wings.
Windsor Leather upholstery.
Windsor Leather front passenger facia.
Leather trimmed door panels.
Bright Aluminium finish clock and air vent bezels.
Aluminium interior door handles and door locks.
Bright finish and rubber pedals.
Santorini Black centre console.
Fully wrapped leather steering wheel.
Perforated leather gear knobs, handbrake lever and grab handles.
Ebony Alston headlining.
Heritage logo carpet floor mats.

Heritage Edition Defender

Heritage Edition Defender

Key features for the Heritage Edition include:

Unique Grasmere Green metallic paintwork with body colour wheel arches.
Unique Alaska White roof.
Silver front bumper with black end caps.
Heritage style front grille and headlamp surrounds.
Body coloured heavy duty steel wheels.
Clear indicator lenses.
Indus Silver door hinges.
Heritage style badges.
Heritage logo mudflaps.
HUE 166 graphics.
Bright aluminium finish clock and air vent bezels.
Aluminium interior door handles and door locks.
Perforated leather outer steering wheel rim, gear knob and handbrake lever.
Almond Resolve Cloth upholstery with Ebony Vinyl sides and backs, with HUE tags.
Padded cubby box with Almond Cloth lid.
Heritage logo rubber floor mats.

Prices of both still to be confirmed.

 

Toyota Fortuner Mk2 revealed

The second generation Fortuner goes on sale in Thailand on the 16th July 2015 and locally in Q1 2016.

According to Calvyn Hamman, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Toyota South Africa Motors, the brief was simple: “Design a Fortuner than can compete in terms of style and aesthetics while staying true to its authentic SUV characteristics and genuine 4WD performance.

“I like the analogy used by the Fortuner’s Executive Chief Engineer, Hiroki Nakajima, in which he compares the new Fortuner to a well-made suit. The style and quality are clearly apparent on the outside, and this assures you of the fine quality and detail of the lining on the inside, even although you may not be able to see it. In other words, there’s nowhere I can’t go and nothing I can’t do with my Fortuner, but I’m sure going to do it in style!”

Toyota Fortuner 2016

Toyota Fortuner 2016

 

New Kia Sorento

The new KIA Sorento goes on sale nationwide on 1 July 2015.

“The all-new Sorento is a key model for KIA due to our affinity for the SUV class of vehicles,” says David Sieff, Marketing Director, KIA Motors South Africa. “The third generation Sorento is especially exciting to bring to market as we make the next step up the quality and refinement ladder. We realise innovation and technology is expected from KIA but we have again brought key conveniences that make owing the new Sorento a driving pleasure.”

New Kia Sorento

New Kia Sorento

 

The new Sorento is bigger with an increased length (+95 mm to 4 780 mm), reduced height (down 15 mm to 1 685 mm) and extra width (+5 mm to 1 890 mm.

sorento-22-crdi-sx-awd-86_1800x1800All models come as standard with a Radio / CD / MP3 player, as well as multimedia ports for USB and AUX-in connections, and six speakers around the cabin. In entry-level models, information is displayed on a 3,8-inch display, while higher specification grades feature a 4,3-inch colour touch screen that incorporates the rear-parking camera.

Available in five- or seven-seat versions, the new Sorento features 40/20/40 second row split folding seats for improved versatility, with a higher folding centre armrest. Depending on the model grade, the second-row seats can be ‘remotely’ folded by conveniently located levers in the side of the cargo bay.

Local KIA Sorento models come with a choice between a 2,4-litre multi-point injection petrol engine and the established 2,2-litre ‘R’ turbodiesel engine.

Kia says the high-specification versions of the all-new Sorento are equipped with KIA’s DYNAMAX™ all-wheel drive system, which delivers a high level of stability and confidence in poor driving conditions and on low-grip surfaces, balancing torque distribution to the front and rear wheels depending on the specific requirement. The system is further enhanced with a ‘4WD Lock’ mode, which splits torque distribution evenly between front and rear wheels and gives greater traction and even more predictable handling in snow, on sand, on other low-traction surfaces, and around bends. Does not look as if a low range option is available.

sorento-22-crdi-sx-awd-22_1800x1800

Manual models are equipped with KIA’s Flex Steer system, allowing the driver to switch between three levels of steering assistance – ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ (which reduces the level of assistance for a more engaging drive), and ‘Comfort’ (which requires less effort to steer).

KIA South Africa will offer the all-new Sorento in four specification grades, ranging from LS and LX at the entry level to the mid-spec EX and top-spec SX.

Pricing
KIA Sorento 2.4 LS R 379 995
KIA Sorento 2.2 CRDi LX R 499 995
KIA Sorento 2.2 CRDi EX AWD R 599 995
KIA Sorento 2.2 CRDi SX AWD R 634 995

All models ship as standard with KIA’s industry-leading 5-year / 150 000km warranty, as well three years of unlimited roadside assistance. The Sorento 2.4 LS comes as standard with a 4-year / 90 000km service plan, while LX, EX and SX models include a 5-year / 100 000km maintenance plan.

Mitsubishi Pajero review

Pajero-boesmanskloof-thumbMitsubishi Pajero LWB3.2 Di-DC GLS 4×4 Exceed (A/T) Diesel 

Mitsubishi have been building these Pajeros for long time now almost unchanged from the original. My brother-in-law has a 2005 model which has breezed through the Richtersveld, Kgaligadi, Kaokoveld and Delta and with which he is very happy. He drove the new model and thinks its the same as his. “Just as good!” he says. I think they have refined it a bit and made the small changes that owners asked for.

Most changes have been cosmetic, some for new safety standards. The dash is new, as is the sound/ display system to accommodate newfangled tech like USB and MP3. The rear door has changed quite a bit. Spare is now centred, the triangle etc housed behind a plastic panel and the door now has a gas strut to hold it open.

Otherwise its the original paj. The car many say Land Rover should have made the Defender station wagon. It can go anywhere, it is reliable and very comfortable.

Mitsubishi Pajero LWB in its element

Mitsubishi Pajero LWB in its element

Pajero is all about the ride and the journey. On highways she behaves like a big family saloon. You can cruise all day at the legal limit and never get tired. Acceleration is on tap and ready the moment you need to get a move on. The seats, steering position and finishes are all top drawer. It is in effect a luxury car which will take you to the edge of excitement.

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Venture off the beaten track and she really comes into her element. The 4×4 and gear system is one of the best available. It is a tough versatile set up which allows you to adjust to your driving conditions without resorting to fancy fragile electronics. Fantastic. The automatic box coupled to this traction system is hard to beat.

The system is called Super Select 4wd and has 4 modes: 2H (2WD high range), 4H (4WD high range) like AWD, 4HLC (4WD with centre differential locked) and 4LLC (4WD LOW range with centre differential locked).

This vehicle is in a category above your normal 4×4 double cabs and derivatives like the Fortuner and Pajero Sport. Pajero matches and plays with the big boys.

You have 441Nm from 2000rpm and over a wide band, coupled with the 235mm ground clearance and good angles and very little will stop you.

Goodies to make travel more enjoyable include a Rockford Fosgate® Sound System with touch screen radio, climate control, cruise control, rear view camera, Multi-information Display (Compass, Barometer and Altimeter, Outside Temperature, Range to Empty and Average Fuel Consumption, Time and Date Display), full leather trim and so on.

It has removable 3rd row seats and heated front seats with electric control.

Outside equipment includes HID Headlamps with Automatic Levelling Function, Rear Park Distance Control, mudguards, fog lamps and more.

Safety features include ABS and EBS,  Active Stability and Traction Control, six airbags and keyless entry.

She tows up to 750kg with ease.

Mitsubishi 3.2 Di-DC GLS Exceed 4X4 A/T

Mitsubishi 3.2 Di-DC GLS Exceed 4X4 A/T

Summary

Seriously versatile and superbly capable, both offroad and onroad.

Best value for money in the family sized real 4×4 SUV niche.

The Pajero enjoys a deserved reputation of toughness and reliability.

We suggest you get the Exceed model.

A new Pajero is expected late in 2016.

Also look at Range Rover, MB Gelendewagen, Toyota Land Cruiser, Nissan Patrol, Discovery, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler.

Costs

The flagship 3.2 Di-DC GLS 4×4 Exceed (A/T) Diesel is R669 900 (as tested).

The workhorse 3.2 Di-DC GLS 4X4 A/T is  R649 900

3 Year/100,000km Manufacturer’s Warranty

5 Year/100,000km Maintenance Plan

Pajero-boesmanskloof-rear

Honda Mobilio review

Honda Mobilio

Seven seaters are really very useful. They can be a little bus or a big hatchback, or a van; you take your pick. With the back seat removed the ‘boot’ becomes large.

With the second and third rows either folded down or even removed the car becomes a little van.

Honda Mobilio

Honda Mobilio

I haven’t tested the Xylo or Suzuki Ertigo yet but I can say the Mobilio is a step up from Toyota’s Avanza. It feels and looks more classy, yet they cost more or less the same.

Its got a good ground clearance of 188mm and is wide enough for general light cargo duties. This translates to 223 dm3 of cargo with all seats being used, which increases to 521 dm3 with the third row folded down.

The engine is very utilitarian though, it does the job but without much flair getting to 140km/h on a long straight or slight downhill. Fuel consumption is around 7 litre/100km. Actually, driving it around town is fine.

The cabin is comfortable and practical with loads of storage spaces and fairly comfortable cloth covered seats.

Honda Mobilio interior

Honda Mobilio interior

Standard features include central locking, electric front and rear windows, height-adjustable headlights, air conditioner and tilt-adjustable steering wheel.

This mini-MPV has been well executed. The package works and feels much more upmarket than the Avanza, I thought.

This is a very practical vehicle for a small business or a growing family. It feels more like a car than a van and is passenger orientated.

You can fit a lot of luggage if you fold the third row of seats down or keep it up and seven people fit easily. Preferably fit children in the back row. Space is at a premium back there, especially for your knees. Its a bit like SAA cattle class.

The Mobilio Trend costs R188 000, while the better specced Comfort costs R207 900 in manual and  R224 300 in automatic form.

The Mobilio comes with a 3 year or 100 000km warranty. A service plan is included.

Also look at the Toyota Avanza, Suzuki Ertiga or Mahindra Xylo.

Honda-mobilio-077

Honda Ballade 1.5 review

Honda Ballade 1.5

Honda Ballade holds a special place in our motoring world. Merc built wonderful classy little Benz’s when they built and marketed the first few generations of Ballade.

After a bit of a splutter Honda now offer us a Honda built Ballade. It is a nice little car, but sadly not quite the class act you remember.

Honda Ballade 1.5

Honda Ballade 1.5

The new Ballade is a modern and well designed subcompact sedan with loads of interior space for its size, is well specced and it has good roadholding .

You can choose manual or automatic (8speed CVT), base or Trend trim or fancy (Elegence) specification. Both models safety equipment which includes six airbags, ABS with EBD, emergency brake assist, vehicle stability assist and hill-start assist. The Elegance also has shift paddles, Eco button on the CVT version, cruise control and a reversing camera with three viewing options: top, normal and top-down view.

The sound system is very good, with Bluetooth, broad connectivity, easy controls and pleasing sound.

I was a little disappointing with the wind noise and one or two places in the cabin were just not smart enough for my liking or expectations.

The Ballade is pleasant to drive. Fuel economy is pretty good at around 7 litres/100km in real world conditions dropping to around 5L/100km om highway. Tyres are 175/65R15, so are economical to replace and give a comfortable drive.

Also look at the Kia Rio, VW Polo, Hyundai Accent, Suzuki Swift, Toyota Yaris and Renault Sandro.
My choice would perhaps be the Suzuki Swift (Dezire) GL 1.2 Auto at R160 900

Price

Ballade Trend Manual R208 900 Automatic (CVT) R223 900
Ballade Elegance Manual R237 100 Automatic (CVT)  R252 100

Warranty

Three-year or 100 000km warranty and four-year or 60 000km service plan (intervals of 15 000km).

Honda-Ballade_011_ass