VW CrossPolo (Urban) Ice cool

The Volkswagen CrossPolo is now available with an optional Urban Ice package.

The Urban Ice package is exclusively with Oryx White pearlescent paint. This exterior colour blends well with the Urban Ice package’s black roof rails, tinted rear windows, piano black-painted side mirrors and black 17-inch Budapest alloy wheels.

The interior is has a silver-painted centre console, black roof liner, Alcantara/Meteor sport seats with heating function, and grey stitching for the carpets and the hand brake housing.

The price for the Urban Ice package is R9 800.

CrossPolo 1.6       77kW                 R214 200 + R9 800
CrossPolo 1.6 TDI 77kW                R238 500 + R9 800

Made in China taxis for SA

History is being made in Springs on the east Rand. Two huge events have taken place in the automotive industry.

The first new light vehicle manufacturer, which is assembling and building vehicles in South Africa – in 40 years!

The other is the news of direct Chinese investment in the South African light vehicle motor industry – for the first time ever.

BAW South Africa is a JV of Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Company (BAIC), the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), and China Africa Motors (CAM).

They will be assembling minibus taxis from semi knocked down kits.

R196 million has been invested in BAW South Africa, which will employ 469 people.

John Jessup, head of sales and marketing at BAW South Africa, notes that the establishment of the company is a real automotive milestone for South Africa.

Jessup believes that there will soon be annual taxi replacement demand to the tune of 25 000 units in South Africa alone. “Then there is the sub-Saharan market, which will experience replacement demand in excess of this,” he reports.

BAW South Africa’s Springs factory – with an annual capacity of 9 600 vehicles – will be in its first phase of operations over the next three years. Thereafter, the plan is for BAW SA to move to full CKD manufacturing at far greater capacity levels.

It kind of looks like a HiAce to me. Its model name is Haice.

There are conflicting news reports suggesting that the plans have been halted after opposition from taxi associations.

Toyota Avanza SX 1.5 Automatic review

Toyota Avanza SX 1.5 Automatic

Avanza is a plain but almost nimble inner city transport machine. It turns on a tickey, pulls away quite briskly and stops rapidly. The SX Avanza has a 4 speed box and a 4 cylinder 1.5 litre petrol engine putting out 76kW @ 6000rpm and a torque of 136Nm @ 4400.

Bearing in mind it is a smaller vehicle it takes quite a load, 7 people or especially if you take the rear bench seat out a huge boot with a cabin wide door and a conveniently low cargo floor.

In short, the Avanza is a great little commercial vehicle well suited to city life.


The SX is a seven seater with three rows of seats finished in what looks like durable cloth. The seats are not very adjustable.

Equipment includes manual air conditioner, electrically adjustable windows and mirror, power steering, courtesy lamps with door ajar warning and an entry lamp in the door, speakers but no radio. The latter cost around R600 from a car radio dealer.

Interior finishes tend to hard plastics. The cabin is not unpleasant, it is just very functional. The interior of a workhorse, which it is. There are a large number of nooks and crannies to put things. Even a flip down spectacle holder in the roof.

The air conditioner is very effective. The controls feel a little flimsy and will take a little getting used to.


Its a box on wheels. The overall impression is easy on the eye, with a balanced relationship between the various elements. It is available in six colours.

Driving impression

The Avanza is a really good little runabout. The automatic gearbox as tested is very effective. The steering is light and easy to get used to. Acceleration is surprisingly good.

For a commercial vehicle the Avanza is quite nimble and not unpleasant to drive. Just take corners carefully.

ABS brakes are fitted as standard. Ground clearance is good at 200mm.

Toyota claim fuel consumption of  7.2 litres/100km. I think you will battle to improve on 8 litres per 100km, and nearer to 9 in town.


The interior is a little plastic. There is just too much hard plastic. It is a little noisy, but not overly so.

A strong cross wind tends to push this somewhat slab sided little van all over the place.

I personally feel it is a little narrow. The upside of its small dimensions is it fits everywhere.


The Avanza is a practical runabout workhorse which seats seven adults in comfort.

It really works as a tough, simple car which can seat 7 people and give years of trouble free motoring for a very reasonable price.
It can be used as a van when the seats are folded away.


Priced from R157 500 for the base S range to R204 200 for the top TX model.

The SX automatic as tested is R191 500.

Standard warranty is 3 years/100 000km. The service plan is 4-year/60 000 km.

2013 WesBank / SAGMJ Car Of The Year Finalists Announced

The twelve finalists for the 2013 WesBank / SAGMJ Car of the Year competition, South Africa’s premier motoring event, are (in alphabetical order):

  • 2012 BMW 3 Series 320i Automatic
  • 2012 Ford Ranger 3.2 XLT 4X4 Double Cab Diesel AT 2012 Hyundai i30 1.8 Executive
  • 2012 Kia Rio 1.4 TEC Hatch MT
  • 2012 Lexus GS 350 EX
  • 2012 Mercedes-Benz B 180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY
  • 2012 Nissan Juke 1.6 DIG-T Tekna (Leather)
  • 2012 Opel Meriva 1.4T Cosmo
  • 2012 Porsche Boxster
  • 2012 Range Rover Evoque Si4 Dynamic 5-door
  • 2012 Toyota 86 High Spec 6MT
  • 2012 Toyota Yaris 1.5 HSD Xs

The next step in the process is to determine the winner from a two-day test session to be held in February 2013 at the Gerotek test facility near Pretoria, where the Jury members will assess the cars independently.

In keeping with the competition’s broadened scope, the testing at Gerotek will allow the vehicles to be evaluated under the conditions individual vehicles would be expected to perform under, with routes designed to test the vehicles in a similar way the average consumer would use them. The test days offer the Jury the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the vehicles and specific aspects such as aesthetics, build quality, ergonomics, fuel consumption, environmental friendliness, safety features and value for money.

I personally think the Ranger, Evoque and Rio should be the top three.

October 2012 Car Sales in South Africa

Naamsa figures for sales in South Africa and exports by SA factories in October 2012.

Mercedes Benz sales are around 2400, but are no longer reported as per the industry standard.

At 2883 sales the VW Polo range is the biggest selling car range. Toyota HiLux continues its success with 2283 sales and exports of 3530 units.

New Ford Kuga for 2013 announced

Ford South Africa has confirmed that the all-new Ford Kuga will be available in 2013 with a 1.6L EcoBoost petrol engine with 6-speed SelectShift automatic transmission and a 2.0L TDCi turbo diesel engine with PowerShift automatic transmission.

Smart technologies like Ford’s voice activated in-car SYNC connectivity system will be available as standard while features such as Active Park Assist will be available as options on certain models.

The global EcoBoost technology also features turbocharging and direct injection so that the EcoBoost engines can rival the power and performance of a larger engine – but at a fraction of the fuel consumption.

The inclusion of a diesel will be welcomed by South African buyers. Ford may have a winner on their hands if it improves on the first Kuga which we tested earlier this year.

Looking at the picture it looks like a good looking car.

Ford Focus updated

Focus upgrade


The Fors Focus range is getting a bit of an upgrade. Ford has added 4 models to the Focus line up.

Additional models

Hatch (5-door)
2.0 TDCi Trend (6-speed manual transmission)
2.0 TDCi Trend (6-speed PowerShift auto transmission)

Sedan (4-door)
1.6 Ti-VCT Ambiente (6-speed PowerShift auto transmission)
2.0 GDi Trend (5-speed manual transmission)


The 1.6-litre Duratec Ti-VCT has a maximum power output of 92kW @ 6 000rpm and 159Nm at 4 000rpm. CO2 emissions are as low as 145g/km with an average fuel consumption of 6.2 litres/100 km on a combined cycle, dependent on bodystyle and transmission.

The 2.0-litre petrol engine found in the Focus is one of the first on the market to combine the technology of gasoline direct injection (GDi) with twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT), producing 125kW of power and 200Nm of torque. CO2 emissions are as low as 154g/km with an average fuel consumption of 6.6 litres/100 km on a combined cycle, dependent on bodystyle and transmission

The 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi model produces 120kW @ 3 750 rpm and 340Nm @ 2 000 – 3 250 rpm. Thanks to its efficient fuel pump and a low friction accessory drive power, torque, economy and emissions are notably enhanced.  CO2 emissions are as low as 134g/km with an average fuel consumption of 5.1 litres/100 km on a combined cycle, dependent on bodystyle and transmission.

All engine options can be paired with Ford’s acclaimed PowerShift transmission. Unlike regular hydraulically operated automatic transmissions, which use power-sapping torque converters, wet clutches and pumps, Ford’s dual-clutch PowerShift automatic consists of two manual transmissions working in parallel. Each has its own independent clutch unit controlled by computers and fast-acting electromechanical actuators that shift the gears.

Other changes

The information system, called SYNCH, has been improved and is now fitted to most of the range.

Ford SYNC is a software platform that provides hands-free, voice-activated in-car connectivity. Available on the Trend and Sport derivatives, the SYNC system allows customers to connect a compatible mobile phone or digital media player to their Focus via Bluetooth®1 or USB.

The SYNC system can recognise up to 150 voice commands and is able to cope with variations in accents and vocabulary, making it easier to access more content by voice.  It is compatible with most mobile phone devices and allows the driver to make calls via voice commands and steering wheel mounted audio controls.

SYNC is able to retrieve text messages and reads them aloud. It is even able to identify popular abbreviations and emoticons such as LOL (laugh out loud) and 😀 (big smile). Using voice activation, the driver can also send a reply from a predetermined list of 15 responses while on the move.

The second change is a  capless refuelling system, new to the whole range.


Prices start at R217 560 for the 1.6 Ambiente 5-door and increase  to R353 700 for the ST 2.0 GTDi 3 door.