Mitsubishi ASX review

Mitsubishi ASX

The ASX fits right into the small familiy SUV / crossover segment which includes the Mazda CX-3, Suzuki Vitara, Honda HR-V, Nissan Qashqai, Ford EcoSport, Renault Captur and Audi Q2.

So, lots of cometition but somehow the ASX stands out with the CX-3 and possibly the Qashqai.

I liked the ASX. Right size, right performance, right fit and finish.

Nic Campbell, General Manager of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa, says: “We have to address the current affordability needs of our customers. Today’s economy often forces buyers to opt for lower-spec vehicles, but our new ASX 2.0 GL CVT derivative offers the comfort and efficiency of Mitsubishi’s CVT transmission as well as its impressive standard specification in a truly attractive package. When you consider Mitsubishi’s world-class safety ratings, the new ASX 2.0 GL CVT is easily the best sub R400 000 vehicle on the market.”

He has a point or two.

The updated interior has also gone upmarket.

Luxury features include Bluetooth with voice control, cruise control, a multi-function steering wheel, electric windows, air conditioning, rain-sensing wipers, rear park distance control and automatic lights as standard on all models. GLX and GLS derivatives offer a full-length panoramic glass roof, keyless operation, a full colour touch-screen infotainment system, heated leather seats in the front, and an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, as well as a rear-view camera.

The new Mitsubishi ASX line-up consists of five derivatives all featuring the frugal and  reliable 2.0 MIVEC petrol engine. This engine is equipped with Mitsubishi’s  Valve Timing Electronic Control System (MIVEC) and multi-point injection that produces 110 kW at 6 000 rpm and 197 Nm of torque at 4 200 rpm. Power is delivered to the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox or CVT transmission with six pre-programmed gear steps.

The system works well.

Mitsubishi ASX interior (Photo: Danita du Plessis)

The ASX is one of the safest vehicles in its class and has a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. All ASX models feature Mitsubishi’s proprietary Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body shell, seven airbags, ISOFIX child restraint mountings and a range of dynamic safety systems that include ABS, electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assistance (BAS).

In addition to the above-mentioned specification, the Mitsubishi GLS derivatives feature LED running lights, electronic active stability and traction control (ASTC) and hill start assist (HSA) as standard.

The car feels planted on the road and has the power to do what you expect. In short, it is a highly competent package and pleasant to drive.

Prices

2.0 MIVEC GL 5-speed M/T R364,900
2.0 MIVEC GL 6-speed CVT R399,900
2.0 MIVEC GLX 5-speed M/T R399,900
2.0 MIVEC GLS 5-speed M/T RF R414,900
2.0 MIVEC GLS 6-speed CVT RF R434,900

ASX is sold with a comprehensive 5-year / 90 000 km service plan and 3-year / 100 000 km manufacturer’s warranty.

 

 

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Suzuki Baleno 1.4 GLX M

Suzuki Baleno 1.4 GLX M

Suzuki Baleno

The Suzuki Baleno is a completely new car on a completely new Suzuki platform in South Africa. Despite being larger than the Swift, the Baleno is 11% lighter, with a kerb mass of just 915 kg. As a result it has sprightly performance.

It is manufactured exclusively in India, by Maruti Suzuki since 2015, as a five-door hatchback, for 30 markets around the world.

Suzuki Baleno side view

For now only the well known and reliable K14B 1,4-litre normally aspirated engine is offered in SA, but this may be a good thing as it delivers surprisingly nippy performance in this body and has less bits that can go wrong. The drag coefficient of just 0,299, makes it the most aerodynamic production model Suzuki available and helps the performance.

It is a good looking car with the typical modern Suzuki nose including HID projector elements and LED daytime running lights and low-mounted recessed fog lamps, but it is not as “sexy” as the Swift.

Baleno’s interior is 87 mm longer than that of the Swift giving it class-leading rear legroom and the rear bench seat is wide enough for three occupants. The well executed cabin has very good space for this size of car and very good noise suppression. A tall person can sit in the back quite comfortably.

It is typically Japanese in style and is pleasant and ergonomic. The dash houses a 6,2-inch TFT colour screen in the GLX models and a comprehensive small display in front of the driver with trip data.

It has a deep luggage compartment with a good at 355 normally and can be extended to 756 litres with the rear seated folded flat.

Suzuki Baleno

There are two trim levels, the entry-level GL and the well equipped GLX, which comes with a choice of five-speed manual manual with an excellent power-to-weight ratio of 76,5 kW/ton or four-speed automatic.

The Baleno rides on an independent front suspension consisting of MacPherson struts, coil springs, dampers and an anti-roll bar in front, combined with a torsion beam, coil springs, dampers and an anti-roll bar at the rear which allows it to soak up road irregularities and gives it good handling performance.

Suzuki claims average fuel consumption for the combined cycle comes to 5,1 Litres/100 km for the manual model, and 5,4 Litres/100 km for the automatic version. I actually got 5.4 Litres/100km on my usual test cycle.

I liked the car and would recommend it because of the big boot, good interior space and frugal but sprightly performance. Suzuki have a winner on their hands.

Priced from R199 900 to R244 900.

The new Swift, still to be launched  has a 1,2-litre Dualjet engine and appears to be smaller and sportier than the Baleno.

The competition includes the smaller Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta as well as the  Hyundai i20, Kia Rio and Renault Clio.

The new Baleno is covered by a standard three-year/100 000 km warranty, as well as a four-year/60 000 km service plan. Services are at 15 000 km/12 month intervals.

 

Golf 7 GTI facelifted

I get why South Africans generally love the GTI.

It looks so good. The body, but especially inside. Dare I say sexy? It handles sublimely. It has oodles of power. Its a really “lekker” car.

VW Golf GTI

Our test car was a very good looking white silver metallic, with red GTI highlights around the lights for example and red stitching on the black leather upholstery. A classy package.

Oh, the sound. VW have engineered a very growly exhaust note that was really pleasant to me. Not too loud, unless the pedal has been pressed to the metal, then its music to a petrolhead’s ears.

The recently released Golf Mk VII facelifted model must be the “best” sporty Golf VW has made for the driving enthusiast who needs to go to work and go shopping in his car with his family.

You can understand why VW have been building them for 43 years and now at an average rate of one every 40 seconds. With global sales now well in excess of 33 million (nearly 350 750 sold in South Africa) since its launch where it enjoys the highest pro rata sales, GTI to normal Golf, of all markets in the world.

Golf GTI rear

The new GTI now has similar power output as the outgoing GTI Performance at 169kW. The 0 to 100km/h classic sprint is achieved in 6.4 seconds and the top speed is limited to248km/h. With DSG transmission, VW claim the GTI has a combined fuel consumption of 6.4 l/100km, but you will battle to get that unless you have a feather like foot. On one stint of spirited driving I got 12L/100km, but expect around 8L/100km provided you keep things very ‘pedestrian’. My average consumption was 10.6L/100km. The long term average (1964km) of the car is 9.7L/100km.

The 1.4-litre TSI with 92kW(5000 to 6000rpm) has been retained for the normal model. This lively engine delivers its 200 Nm maximum torque over a large speed range from 1,400 to 4,000 rpm. The Golf 1.4 TSI has a claimed combined fuel consumption is just 5.2 l/100km.

VW’s fancy Composition Media Radio /CD system is available standard on the GTI and optional on the Trendline and Comfortline models. The design has a clear glass surface and its integrated 8-inch colour display has been completely restructured. It gets finger prints quickly and looks dirty quite easily, but it works well.

Golf interior 2017

Five different views are available for the 12.3-inch Active InfoDisplay which is a fully digitalised instrument cluster with a whole load of interactive functions. It replaces the normal analogue instruments. This is the same brilliant concept which is very well executed which we have previously seen in Audis.

Taken with the digital instrument cluster, the big infotainment display becomes a little superfluous I think.
If you select the fancy key option you get to keep your key in your pocket. Entry and locking becomes keyless and you get a start button.
You don’t get a lot of space in a Golf, but it is not bad. Compact without being cramped. What you do get is a very good interior, both in design and execution. With the GTI you also get very satisfying performance.
I found the driver’s seat a little difficult to set up, but once settled it is quite comfortable and gives you good, especially lateral support.

The long list of optional features that are on offer include swivelling towbar, panoramic sunroof, 8.0-inch Composition Media Radio/CD system, 9.2-inch Discover Pro Navigation System, Active Info Display, Rear Assist with rear view camera, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Assist and Autonomous Emergency Braking System, Park Distance Control (front and rear), Park Assist, KESSY Keyless Entry and Start, Adaptive Chassis Control including driver selection (only available on GTI).

The basic sticker price of the GTI we drove is R545 800. Options fitted to the test car are: metallic paint, panoramic sunroof, KESSY advanced key, rear assist, DynAudio sound package, navigation pack, adaptive chassis control, park assist, blind spot detection, active info display, front assist and fancy Santiago alloy rims.

The cost of these accessories is at least R73 000. So the price as tested is R619 000, or more.

The Golf range is as follows:
1.0 TSI 81kW Trendline Manual R289 900
1.0 TSI 81kW Comfortline Manual R304 200
1.4 TSI 92kW Comfortline DSG R356 400
2.0 TSI 169kW GTI DSG R545 800

The new range comes standard with a 5 year/90 000km Service Plan, 3 year/120 000km warranty and a 12 year anti-corrosion warranty. Service Interval is 15 000km.

With a budget of R612 000 you could get yourself one of the following: Audi A5 2.0 TDI, Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.0, BMW 320I, Mercedes Benz C250, or my pick, the Volvo S60.
As far as I am concerned the 1.4 TSI 92kW Comfortline DSG hits the sweet spot at R356 400 without any extras. But you can get away with under R400 000 including some optional items.

Gumtree WRX South Africa 2017

FIA World Rallycross – Gumtree World RX of South Africa 2017

What a weekend. RX2 must become our primary motorsport formula or class. Imagine tracks in Cape Town, Swartkops, PE and Durban with a national championship of RX2 and a support class of 1.6 ‘rally’ cars. The crowds will come back to motorsport in their droves.

WRX Cape Town 2017

The event on Saturday and Sunday 11 and 12 November was an outstanding success.

Mark Cronje in Quali 3 of WRX Cape Town.

Our two local drivers did us proud. Mark Cronje got 98 points and Ashley Haigh-Smith 95. Both drivers received tremendous support on their World RX debuts but neither driver made the semi-finals. It is seriaaasly tough out there.

Ashley said to me that he did not realise before this week what a massive jump it is to WRX. He loves it. He said it is by far the best racing he has ever done.

Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson entered the record books as the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden driver won the first ever World RX event staged in South Africa. Former World RX Champion Mattias Ekstrom finished third and consequently secured the runner-up spot in the 2017 championship after a season-long battle with Petter Solberg. Team Peugeot-Hansen’s Timmy Hansen claimed second at this weekend’s Gumtree World RX of South Africa – the 12th and final round of this year’s FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy.

 

Gumtree WRX Cape Town 2017, enjoying a little rest.

In the final round of the RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires Frenchman Cyril Raymond rounded off a near-perfect season by taking his sixth win in the highly competitive seven-event feeder series. Great Britain’s Dan Rooke had a troubled final when he rolled his car on lap two, causing the race to be red-flagged. Despite this mishap, Rooke secured second in the 2017 standings. Sondre Evjen and Tanner Whitten finished second and third in Cape Town. Belgium’s Guillaume De-Ridder claimed third in the end of year leaderboard.

“It’s fantastic to wrap up the teams’ and drivers’ championship and to also take the win at the final round of the season,” grinned 2017 World RX Champion Kristoffersson who won a staggering seven out of 12 events this season. “The team has worked so hard this year and ten podium results is credit to how fantastic everyone has been. Obviously to break records in World RX is an amazing feeling but to have won the World Championship is so unbelievably special. It was a good weekend all round – I had a slow puncture in the semi-final but I got a really good launch in the final and when I got clear space I was able to manage the gap back from Timmy and Mattias, as well as manage the tyres well. Thanks to everyone for such a memorable season – I’m really looking forward to being back with VW in 2018.”

WRX Cape Town, Hansen in the lead.

Runner-up Hansen added: “This has been one of the best weekends I’ve had this year and it’s great to finish on a high including my two qualifying wins. I really wanted to take the victory for Peugeot and this weekend we were so close – I gave it everything I had in the final but I lost a little bit too much in the first lap to be able to get ahead of Johan. The 208 has been fantastic all year and it worked especially well at this track.”

WRX semi-finals

Ekstrom’s reactions were fastest of today’s six finalists, rewarding him with the final Monster Energy Super Charge Award of 2017. Despite losing his World RX crown to Kristoffersson, Ekstrom praised the new World Champion.

“Sometimes you’re in front and sometime you’re behind – that’s just how it goes and Johan definitely deserves the win today and the World Championship too. Timmy was really fast this weekend too, but to be honest, everybody wants to win – World RX has now reached a level where everyone will battle for everything.”

When asked about the new Cape Town RX event, Ekstrom praised the enthusiasm of the South African fans. “The grandstands were full this weekend and the atmosphere and support from everyone here was amazing.”

Solberg finished fourth in Cape Town and finished the season third in the driver standings – five points adrift of Ekstrom. “Of course it’s a little bit disappointing not to take the silver,” admitted Solberg. “I am so proud of what we have done. Johan has broken so many records this year and the whole team, everybody in PSRX Volkswagen Sweden has worked and played so hard – this weekend and this year is because of them and I can’t thank them all enough.”

Damn barrier bale got in the way.

MJP Racing Team Austria’s Timo Scheider’s rounded out the top five in Cape Town after an impressive rookie season at the wheel of his Ford Fiesta. Kevin Hansen finished sixth, the Swede having retired shortly after the start with transmission problems.

In what marked the final event for the Hoonigan Racing Division, America’s Ken Block showed fantastic pace. He led the event overnight and finished second in semi-final one but was later disqualified as his car was found to be underweight.

Nine-time WRC Champion Sebastien Loeb retired on the final lap of today’s second semi-final but rounded off the season fourth in the overall standings – 13 points ahead of his team-mate Hansen who ends the year in fifth place.

Hansen leads Solberg.

Paul Bellamy, World RX Managing Director for IMG, concluded: “Our first ever event in Cape Town was a resounding success – we’ve had over 27,000 people at Killarney this weekend and they were all treated to World Championship motorsport at its best. I think we’ve won over a lot of new support during our time in South Africa and the crowd really helped make this weekend a memorable event.

Brilliant start for Cronje.

Tickets for 2018 are on sale from tomorrow which will give people plenty of time to plan next year’s rallycross weekend. I’d like to thank the organisers and volunteers for all their hard work in putting on a great event and also to the City of Cape Town for its support in making this happen. I’m also very thankful that our sponsors and other commercial partners shared our vision and were so supportive of the inaugural Gumtree World RX of South Africa.

This weekend was just the start of what I hope is a long and fruitful relationship for World RX in South Africa. We finish the season on a high and congratulations to Johan Kristoffersson and PSRX Volkswagen Sweden for their incredible season and to the rest of the teams for their continued support.”

 

 

 

Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4 Summit AT

I first drove the bigger 4×4 Suzuki, the Grand Vitara, at the Bass Lake 4×4 off-road academy.

It was a case of: Love at first obstacle. The car is just so impressive off-road.

I loved the Grand Vitara so much I bought one for my wife. A bit like the guy who bought his wife a power drill.

Fortunately my wife loves the car as well, preferring to use the GV even in town.

Suzuki Grand Vitara near the Caledon Wind Farm

Australia’s caradvice.com says: “ small-budget, mid-sized SUV practicality with big off-roading capabilities… best dual-purpose 4×4 SUV. ”

That about sums it up. I would add that it has a sort of old school charm.

Its three big selling points are:

off-road performance,

car like size and handling in town and

excellent price.

It is a neat looking slightly boxy SUV. The Summit model comes with 225/60 R18 road orientated tyres which look good in town, but I would have preferred 65R17 ATs. The gearbox in the Suzuki Grand Vitara is a brilliant 4 mode full low range 4×4 unit which reminds one of the Pajero.

Ground clearance is 200mm, but you can add 40mm spacers and arrival and departure angles are good. So although the normally aspirated petrol engine only delivers 122kW and 225Nm, the kerb weight of 1670kg, shortish wheelbase, giving a good breakover angle, and gearing allows you to go anywhere effortlessly whether cruising on the highway or crawling up a rocky Richtersveld track.

Sand is a breeze. I have never felt the engine is a bit ‘pap’ or experienced a situation where the car has not had enough power. This includes a trip up to Kgalagadi drving on their 4×4 dune crossing trails.

Suzuki Grand Vitara Summit at the Tesselaarsdal junction.

Expect fuel consumption around the 11 litre per kilometre mark, dropping slightly on the open road.
In town it is as nippy as a small sedan, but with the added convenience of the height. It really is easy to drive and park. The boot is not very big when the rear bench seat is up but in the real world I found I always had enough space. When my wife and I go on long camping trips we take out either both rear seats or one of them (it has a 40/60 split) which gives you plenty of space.

Visibility forward and to the rear is clear and superb. The seats are comfortable and the driving position excellent. While the interior is not as good or modern as the Mazda CX-5 for example, it is functional and well put together. The rear parking camera is useful.

The Grand Vitara is big enough for 4 adults to tour in comfort.

It is a genuine 4×4 with a full low range transfer case. All the other vehicles of its size and price offer at best all wheel drive in normal high ratio only. The Grand Vitara has no direct competitor, but the two closest alternatives are the Toyota Prado and Mitsubishi Pajero SWB.

The GV model range starts atR369 900. Click here for prices and specs.

The model as tested, the top of the range Summit 2.4 A, is a very affordable R459 900.

The Grand Vitara is one of those models which should sell much better than it does. It is really far country capable but wieldy and small enough to be city friendly.

This Suzuki comes with a 6 year or 90 000km service plan and a 3 year or 100 000km warranty.

2018 WesBank South African Car of the Year Finalists announced

It is that time of year again. We start to look back on the cars launched in 2017.

The COTY cars are not facelifts but supposedly new cars.

The idea is to recognise the car which has made the biggest impact on the SA car market.

Many years the judging panel get it horribly wrong, but other years again they get it right.

They are, in alphabetical order:

  • ALFA ROMEO GIULIA
  • AUDI Q5
  • BMW 5 SERIES
  • KIA PICANTO
  • LAND ROVER DISCOVERY
  • PEUGEOT 3008
  • PORSCHE PANAMERA
  • SUZUKI IGNIS
  • TOYOTA C-HR
  • VOLVO S90

Preparations now continue for the COTY evaluation days that will be held in late January 2018. At these evaluation days – the most critical of which will be the scheduled procedures to be held at a dedicated testing facility – the COTY Jury will assess the cars independently, with routes and modules designed to test the vehicles in a similar way in which the average consumer would use them.

Volvo S90 SA 010.jpg 2017 NEW SUZUKI IGNIS THE 2018 WESBANK SOUTH AFRICAN CAR OF THE YEAR COMPETITION GIVES A BIG THUMBS UP TO THE PEUGEOT 3008 SUV  Kia Picanto

The evaluation days offer the Jury the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the vehicles on specific criteria including aesthetics, build quality, ergonomics, fuel consumption, environmental friendliness, safety features and value for money. These aspects are not only important with regards to the actual testing, but also to how the public perceives the COTY process, the finalists and ultimately the winning car. “We’ve seen many of these finalists performing well in our search volumes, with more than half appearing in our top 200 most searched for makes. It will be interesting to see who the judges choose as the winner.” Says George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO.

I personally think the Gulia and Ignis stand out.

We will see.

Opel MOKKA X 1.4T Cosmo 6AT

Opel MOKKA X 1.4T Cosmo 6AT

Opel Mokka X 1.4

Opel Mokka X 1.4

I drove the previous model of the Mokka around the test track at Gerotek and almost kept up with a gaggle of Opel Adam Sports. My nerve gave in on the third corner as it felt I was going to roll it. Actually it had very good stability control. This new Mokka X is very good on the road, I think. It is an upgrade on the previous model, especially the interior, media centre and the headlights.

The mechanicals remain unchanged from the original Mokka  and along with the four model lineup of Enjoy and Cosmo trim choices in either manual or automatic. Powering all four MOKKA X derivatives is Opel’s proven 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged ECOTEC petrol engine, which produces 103 kW between 4 900 and 6 000 rpm and 200 Nm between 1 850 and 4 900 rpm.

Although not really an Opel fan, I have to say this Opel is pretty good. Just sitting on the very comfortable, highly adjustable seat, looking at the dash and interior you can see just how far Opel have come. You feel it too. Top class materials and finishes.

Opel Mokka X dashboard

Speaking at the launch of the new Opel MOKKA X, Ian Nicholls said “Opel is on its way to achieving its vision of becoming the second largest passenger car brand in Europe by 2022. Part of this success is a renewed focus on bringing competitive new products to market, in fact the MOKKA X is the 13th new or refreshed Opel to be launched in South Africa since 2012.”

Aimed at drivers who are looking for a vehicle that is safe, family oriented and powerful, the MOKKA X merges functionality, connectivity, technology and safety in a vehicle which is just 4.28-metres from bumper to bumper.

Consumption, back home with the X 1.4 driving my usual routes, I got was 8.1L/100. You could possibly improve on this as Opel claim 6.5 L/100km or less, depending on model.

I have to say this crossover has brilliant brakes and nippy performance. It is not only a looker, considering the genre, but a little performer.

The interior is very good and feels quite upmarket. It has one of the best media centre/ touchscreen centres I have used.

Opel Mokka X 1.4

It is a snazzy little crossover which feels well put together.

All new Opel MOKKA X derivatives are backed by Opel Complete Care with a comprehensive 5-year/ 120 000 km warranty and come with a 5-year/ 90 000 km service plan linked to service intervals of 15 000 km.

Prices look like this:  Latest click here.

New Opel Mokka X Retail price incl. VAT
MOKKA X 1.4T Enjoy 6MT R 317, 500.00
MOKKA X 1.4T Enjoy 6AT R 328, 400.00
MOKKA X 1.4T Cosmo 6MT R 357, 400.00
MOKKA X 1.4T Cosmo 6AT R 368, 100.00