New Sandero from Renault

Renault appear to have pulled the proverbial rabbit from the hat with the new Sandero. Definitely some magic in the air.

New Sandero

New Sandero

“What you see is a vehicle fully representative of Renault’s heritage with every gene rooted in Renault’s DNA.” says Wayne van der Merwe, product manager for New Sandero.

Because of its unparalleled value proposition, New Sandero is set to become the new reference among cars priced under R150 000, a strategic segment which weights no less than 60 000 sales per annum says Renault. I agree. Its a damn fine looking car.

Also fitted in Clio, the new generation 3 cylinder 900cc Turbo petrol 66kW power plant (code name: H4Bt) is highly efficient.

New Sandero Turbo 66kW reaches a top speed of 175 km/h and speedily accelerates, from 0 to 100km/h, in only 11.1s.

New Sandero come with Renault’s a five-year/150 000km warranty completed by a standard two-year/30 000km service plan (service intervals: 15,000 km).

According to Renault’s objective to be positioned in the TOP 5 in terms of parts affordability, New Sandero’s running costs will be very moderate, in line with the previous generation (ranking at Number 3 of its segment, according to Malcom Kinsey’s 2013 report).

PRICING (including standard Service plan)

  • NEW SANDERO Expression Turbo 66kW  5-door       R133 900 (including Aircon)
  • NEW SANDERO Dynamique Turbo 66kW 5-door       R141 500

Review to follow as soon as I get my hands on one.

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2014 TowCAR of the Year – Subaru Outback 2.0D Lineartronic

The Subaru Outback 2.0D Lineartronic has won the 2014 TowCAR of the Year competition, in association with CAR and Leisure Wheels magazines, Campworld and Forever Resorts.

Subaru Outback 2.0D Lineartronic

Subaru Outback 2.0D Lineartronic

The competition, which saw twelve automatic 4×4 vehicles tested with 1.4-ton Jurgens Penta caravans at the Boekenhoutkloof Traffic College, tries to find the SUV which performs best in a host of towing-related categories which are evaluated in controlled conditions.

The Outback Diesel CVT, which features a Boxer turbocharged diesel engine, Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive™ and Lineartronic™ CVT automatic transmission, overcame the odds after its on-paper specifications seemed to be disadvantaged against larger and more powerful automatic 4×4 SUVs.

The Traffic College’s massive skidpan, where the tow vehicles’ traction and stability systems could be tested to the limits and beyond, as well as an enclosed test track, proved to be an ideal and safe base where the vehicles could be put through all their paces. The test day also included a 15 km road section, with inclines and declines, topped off with some fast and slow stretches, and bumpy and smooth sections.

Eight judges decided the outcome of the towing test. The panel included professional vehicle dynamics testers, top advanced driving instructors who specialise in towing, award winning motoring journalists and a professional racing legend who is also a keen caravanner.

The judges had to score each SUV in ten categories. These included exterior, interior, handling, stability, engine, transmission, braking, parking, cruising ability and value for money.  All the SUVs were driven over exactly the same route, in exactly the same conditions, performing exactly the same tests along the way.

Says Jakes Jacobs, one of the judges and a legend of vehicle testing and racing in South Africa: “We judged these vehicles only as tow vehicles, towing a caravan designed for tar roads.”

The judges cited a number of the Outback’s facets which impressed them the most, including excellent handling and stability, as well as the collaboration between the two-litre turbocharged Boxer diesel engine (110 kW and 350 Nm) and the Lineartronic™ transmission, with its simulated gearing.

“The engine had almost 40 kW of power less on tap than some of the other SUVs, but thanks to the brilliant transmission, with its simulated gears and paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, the available power was always immediately accessible,” explains Jacobs.

“Some of the other SUVs had almost 500 Nm of torque to play with, but thanks to less effective auto transmissions and drivetrains, much of the torque was lost in translation, so to speak. Combine that with the Outback’s excellent handling and confidence-inspiring ride, as well as the roomy interior, and you end up with a very good, practical and safe towing package.”

VW Tiguan TSI 4×2 Trend and Fun review

VW Tiguan TSI 4×2 Trend & Fun

VW Tiguan

VW Tiguan

If you like a golf but need a bit more space, or use country roads and need a higher ride height than a Golf offers, this  Tiguan may be your solution.

The base model as tested is in effect a normal two wheel drive station wagon version of a Golf . What you get is the extra space, a more upright and higher seating arrangement and the ‘middlemannetjie’ on a rural road wont bother you.

I really like these Tiguans, the luxury and performance of a Golf with the practicality of a station wagon/SUV.

These cars are just the right size. Big enough for four adults and a toothbrush or two but small enough
to feel nimble and enjoy a reduced thirst for petrol. They are both SUV and MPV.

Tiguan 1.4 TSI dash

Tiguan 1.4 TSI dash

Interior

A number of motoring critics have said that the interior is sombre. I do not agree with them. It is sensible, ergonomic and well laid out. The materials used give the impression of quality. The black finish looks neat and purposeful.

The leather multi-function steering wheel and gear knob give the car a luxury feel. The cloth trimmed seats are comfortable and fairly adjustable. Fit and finish appears to be excellent.

I found the car very pleasant to dive. All round visibility is good, the more upright seating is comfortable and the controls are easy to hand and have a quality feel to them and make it easy to drive.

Driving impression

I found the 90kW engine a little laboured at times but still capable to get you where you have to get. The car handles well even with the slightly taller stance. It is not sporty like a GTi , but it is a pleasure at the wheel. The brakes are well balanced and cornering as well as general handling precise and predictable.

Economy is very decent but not spectacular. VW claim a combined consumption figure of 6.5l/100km. I got just over 7.5l/100km which is more than acceptable.

These new generation turbocharged petrol engines take performance and economy to new levels.

The 4×2 Trend & Fun is an interesting mix of sophisticated and basic. Its price is misleading simply due to the very basic specification, meaning that you have to fit expensive “accessories” to match for example the Ford Kuga which includes them in the sticker price. So for example climate control (as opposed to plain aircon) costs R4400 extra, park distance control R4 150, front fog lights R1 950, service plan for 90 000km is R2 492 or maintenance plan for 120 000 a whopping R25 992. It all adds up.

Practical, good looking and efficient. That about sums up this Tiguan.

VW Tiguan TS1 4x2

VW Tiguan TS1 4×2

Tiguans all come with a raft of active and passive safety and performance measures from ABS to spin control and a stability programme.

The Tiguan ISi 4×2 Trend & Fun as reviewed costs  R312 000, but we would recommend you go for the 118kW version at R345 200 especially if based on the Highveld or if you expect to load her up a bit.

Also check out the Ford Kuga, Honda CRV, Toyota Verso, Renault Duster and Nissan Qashqai.

The top of the line Tiguan is the 2.0 TSI Sport & Style  at R446 250 which comes with 7 speed DSG and AWD. There are 8 models to choose from.

It comes standard with a 3 year or 120 000 km warranty, 12 year corrosion warranty and a 60 000 maintenance plan.

Tiguan 4x2

Tiguan 4×2