Audi A4 recall for airbag software issue

Audi South Africa has confirmed that a software issue affects the airbags of some local A4 models, including its A4 Allroad. The manufacturer reports a total of 16 798 vehicles (built from 2013 – 2015) in SA are affected.

According to Audi SA: “Audi South Africa are in possession of all VIN numbers of affected models and have begun personally contacting customers.

“The software update will be available in Audi dealers on 30 October.”

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Van or Bakkie with canopy?

Bakkies are the love of southern Africa car owners. The Toyota Hi Lux is often the biggest selling ‘car’ model not only in South Africa, but also in Botswana and Namibia and is the best selling vehicle this year.

Bakkies are great. There is just the little problem of the load being unprotected from the weather and from wondering eyes. Fortunately there is an easy solution. Get a canopy.

Roof high canopy with swinging doors.

Roof high canopy with swinging doors.

We are spoiled for choice of canopies.

Four materials are generally used for making canopies.

Canvas is the original material and remains a good choice of you only need a temporary cover from time to time. It does not give good security though.

Mild steel metal canopies have lost their popularity due to rust and weight issues. In some cases 3CR12 stainless steel is now used in both canopies and trailers. It is very corrosion resistant, strong and light, but pricey.

Aluminium canopy

Aluminium canopy

Aluminium canopies are gaining in popularity. They are extremely light and tough.

Most canopies are made of fibreglass/glass reinforced polyester. They are cheaper than metal and almost as strong and durable. They are slightly heavier than aluminium products.

Generally aluminium canopies are the most durable and secure, but also the most expensive.

Canopies come in two basic shapes. Space saver or full door canopies often come with a nose cone to help with aerodynamics and are higher than the roof of the cabin of the bakkie. The other shape is as high as the roof of the cabin and often has a half door that swings up.

Tall canopy - high security

Tall canopy – high security

Comparing the cost of a van with a bakkie and canopy it looks a bit like this in the case of the most popular smaller commercial vehicle range, the Nissan 200 series.

Nissan NP200 bakkie, the base 1.6 8v model is R134 600, but with air-conditioning and safety pack it costs R152 200. The diesel 1.5 DCi is R193 400.

The Nissan NV200 1.6i van starts at  R212 300. It comes with safety pack and air-conditioner as standard. The diesel 1.5 DCi costs R240 900.

The full canopy costs R11 500 installed. The slightly bigger canopy with nosecone is R13 000. The half height or roof height standard canopy costs around R9 000, while an executive low-line canopy is around R11 000. The differences between the standard and executive models include gas struts, roof rails, lockable door, UV tinted windows and interior light.

The NP200 with a full (highline) canopy is R205 000, With a roof height (lowline) canopy is R203 000.

Variety of fibreglass canopies

Variety of fibreglass canopies

The difference between a small van and a half ton bakkie with canopy ranges from R30 000  to R35 000.

I have used Beekman fibreglass shell canopies as the example for pricing, partly because they are nationwide and partly because their service is so good. They are the only local canopy manufacturer to achieve ISO9001 quality accreditation and offer a 2 year warranty on the shell and one year on the mechanical parts. Andy Cab offer a 3 year warranty on their shells.

The full height canopies have better security due to their unitary construction without side windows and the large galvanised double doors.

For the best security a van is still the best option. Also the side door of most vans should improve productivity markedly. The R30 000 cost difference is quite substantial.

The full height canopy is very useful. The doors are just so much more substantial and it is easier to work inside. I think they are worth the extra R1 000.

 

 

 

Suzuki Jimny updated

Suzuki has updated the Jimny with changes and upgrades to both the exterior and interior, while an equipment upgrade has also been introduced.

An automatic transmission is being offered as an alternative to the manual gearbox for the first time.

Changes include the fitment of new 15-inch alloy wheels, boasting a dark silver finish and two new colours: Bison Brown, and Khaki Pearl Metallic.

jimny-2_880x500

The cabin has also been spruced up, with an all-new instrument cluster the primary feature. The cluster features main dials for speed and rev count, with a third, intersecting instrument hosting a digital display.

The display includes fuel tank level and engine temperature readouts, as well as a digital clock, ambient temperature display, gear and transfer case indicator, a fuel economy readout, and a trip meter.

The Jimny’s interior features upgraded seat upholstery aimed at boosting both comfort and durability, while a new steering wheel design has also been introduced.

The introduction of a four-speed automatic transmission option for the Jimny will please owners seeking the convenience of clutchless operation, especially in urban traffic conditions, while also making access to the Jimny’s legendary off-road capability even easier.

As with the manual gearbox version, the automatic transmission is still partnered by a transfer case offering low-range operation.

jimny-dash

The Jimny is still powered by a lively and economical 1 328 cc four-cylinder engine, with a maximum power output of 63 kW at 6 000 r/min, linked to a torque peak of 110 Nm at 4 100 r/min.

Equipment includes remote central locking, a CD receiver sound system, electric windows and air-conditioning. Safety features include dual front airbags, head restraints, inertia reel seatbelts, and ABS anti-lock brakes.

Both the manual and automatic transmission-equipped versions of the Jimny are covered by a three-year/100 000 km warranty, as well as a four-year/60 000 km service plan.

BMW X5 xDrive 40d review

BMW X5 4.0BMW X5 xDrive 40d

Classy, cool, collected… that sums up the X5, BMW’s mid-size SUV.

We tested the 40d, which is actually a 3.0 litre but with not one, but two turbos. We were quite blown away! Actually its total overkill, but what the hell, if  you’ve got it spend it and watch the other guy in your dust.

The X5 is not a Jeep or Land Cruiser wannabe. Its more at home on roads, tar or gravel. It functions like a performance car on tar and rally car on gravel. Amazing road holding and handling.

BMW X5 4.0d

BMW X5 xDrive 40d

Fast. What is fast? This car goes like the wind. Fuel consumption is even something to smile about. Astoundingly good compared to SUV’s of only a few years ago. Expect under 8 litres/100km unless you go racing.

BMW-X5-4d-Ongegund-002I liked the interior and found the seats to be very comfortable and supportive. This is like  a little luxury limo. You are cosseted in safety, comfort and relative quiet. Nothing to complain about. Even the fiddly multimedia control paddle has been improved.

A first for me was the 3D park sensors. A combination of sonars and four cameras create a 3D image of the car and its surroundings. This is the best parking aid I have used. Works like a charm.

The BMW X5 is a vey good SUV. It is not an off-roader. Think of it more as a sport station wagon.

Also look at the Audi Q5, Lexus , Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover Sport, Mercedes ML, Mitsubishi Pajero, VW Tuareg and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

X5-4-Elim-Onrus-262List price for the basic model is R986 000. The car as tested had the following extras: aluminium running boards (R5 400), tow hitch (R9 900), surround view (R9 600), lumber support (R4 500), active cruise control (R17 900), comfort access (R10 800), hud (R14 700), B&O sound system (R32 000), rear seat dvd (29 100). That’s pretty much R120 000 for the extras.

To me it is a lot of money for a car, but then it is a lot of car for the money. Get the 3.0d.

You get a five year / 100 000km maintenance contract and BMW on call support.