Suzuki Ciaz arrives

Suzuki have just launched a new compact sedan, the Ciaz.

They are really pretty busy. It seems they are launching something new every month.

The Ciaz is offered in a choice of two specification levels – GL and GLX, one engine manual or 4 speed automatic.

Efficient packaging makes the most of the space on offer, with ample head, leg and shoulder room both front and rear, while top-notch materials, upmarket finishes and an extensive array of standard features.


Looks like a cross between a Honda Ballade and a Kia Rio/ Hyundai Accent.

GL specification: includes electric windows and exterior mirrors, remote central locking, automatic climate-control air-conditioning with front and rear vents, and a six-speaker sound system with FM/AM tuner, CD player, Bluetooth connectivity and both USB and stereo analogue jacks, are standard across all models. The new Ciaz is fairly comprehensively equipped in an old fashioned kind of way.

The GLX adds 16 inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, fog lights and leather trim.

Ciaz interior

Ciaz interior

The Ciaz has Suzuki’s tried and trusted 1,4-litre four-cylinder engine equipped with multipoint fuel injection, four valves per cylinder, and variable valve timing. It gives good power and torque and sub 6 litre/100km fuel consumption in general use.

It could do well but may cannibalise Swift sales.

Prices include a three-year/100 000 km warranty, and a three-year/60 000 km service plan.

1.4 GL MT  R179 900

1.4 GLX MT  R199 900

1.4 GLX AT  R214 900

Ford B-MAX Coming To South Africa

The new Ford B-MAX,  is scheduled for launch in South Africa in the third quarter of this year.

B-MAX is a Ford B-platform car, the same as the Fiesta.

They call it a… wait for it… MAV.  Multi Activity Vehicle. What next?

The new Ford B-MAX.

The new Ford B-MAX.

“The Ford B-MAX really challenges traditional small car thinking,” says Tracey Delate, General Marketing Manager at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA). “Its ingenious design opens the doors – quite literally – to exciting new ideas about what’s possible with a compact vehicle.”

The car uses Ford’s brilliant 1.0 litre three cylinder ‘EcoBoost’ petrol engine. It is a really good little engine delivering a big punch.

A fancy combo door system seems to be the marketing team’s pride and joy. The front door swings open while the rear one slides and, look ma; no B pillar. Just a moerse big door space. Not sure why its needed.

Seems pretty cool. Looks like a MPV to me. Like a mini Espace.

Road test to follow when we get our hands on one.

Toyota HiLux 3.0 D-4D 4×4 DC Legend 45 review

Toyota HiLux 3.0 D-4D Legend 45 double cab 4×4 review

Born just before the seventies with a price of only R1 525 as a 4×2 single cab with a 1.5-litre petrol engine, HiLux has come a long way. Millions have been made.

Toyota HiLux

Toyota HiLux

It is a Legend. No other bakkie comes near in terms of sales or reputation.

We have just driven the seventh series HiLux again in Legends45 form, which is basically the outgoing version before the new bigger series 8 is launched later this year. Toyota have sweetened the deal by upping the accessories on this model but keeping the price down.

This traditional size bakkie is easier to manoeuvre and park than the new super-sized double cabs.

HiLux Legends 45

HiLux Legends 45

HiLux is a very competent all rounder and it does everything well. It is a little old fashioned but in a comfortable familiar kind of way.

It looks like a bakkie and drives like one. This double cab is a luxury workhorse without pretences.

The suspension is firm, perhaps a little too firm, as unladen it still tends to be a little skittish but the electronic stability control really helps to improve the ride. The traction control works seamlessly and invisibly.

I tested it on the Helderberg Farm 4×4 trail black route and it never hesitated. I think it will be good in sand as well.

The highway performance is good. Lock it at 120km/h with the cruise control and it just sails along without ever breaking into a sweat.

In town it is easy to use as it even has a rear camera which makes parking a breeze. My wife felt the camera’s position is a little vulnerable though.

The 3.0 D-4D turbodiesel engine has been around for a while and does not deliver exciting performance, rather it is dependable, effective and a very good mix of usable power and torque. It will do the job and not let you down. I got 10litres/100km in mixed town, highway and some 4×4 driving. So consumption is pretty good.

The cabin is functional rather than fashionable or even pretty to look at. But it works. It is a Toyota bakkie after all. The black leather seats are comfortable and have enough adjustability. It comes with all the nooks and crannies and a really pleasant to hold leather covered multi-function steering wheel.

Rear legroom is OK and access is acceptable.

It comes fairly well equipped with climate and cruise control, a good sound system, navigation with multi-function screen, bluetooth and several plug points.

Safety is also comprehensively specified.

The 3.0 D-4D 4×4 DC Legend 45 as tested costs R505 400. That is a heck a lot of money, but then this is a lot of bakkie.

I believe the trade-in value of the 7th generation HiLux will remain very good partly because the new generation 8 bakkie is reported to be bigger and many people prefer the slightly smaller size.

The limited special edition 45 is available in 4×2 Raised Body and 4×4 and across all variations – Single Cab, Xtra Cab and Double Cab. There are 13 different Toyota Hilux Legend 45 model versions.

Also consider the Mitsubishi Triton, GWM Steed and Nissan Hardbody.

The standard HiLux single cab range starts at R291 800. The 2.5 D-4D Raised Body DC Legend 45 is the base Legend model and is R420 100. The top-of-range 4.0 V6 4×4 Auto DC Legend 45 is priced at R544 600.

Warranty is 3 years or 100 000km. The service plan is 5 years or 90 000km.




Toyota Corolla 1.4D Esteem review

Toyota Corolla 1.4

Corolla comes in a wide range of models. You just have to find a model to suit you in the varied range of 11, manual or automatic, diesel or petrol and in 4 trim levels.

Corolla 1.4 Diesel

Corolla 1.4 Diesel

The E170 is a refined family sized car. It has grown quite a bit and now offers the interior space of an early Cressida with its new much roomier, more sophisticated, generously kitted cabin. The rear passenger room is substantially more spacious and comfortable than previous versions especially legroom.

The quality, appearance and layout of the interior is massively improved over older models and now matches the German competition. Build quality may even be better.

With the 1.4 diesel its all about fuel economy. Toyota claim 4.5 litres / 100km. You can expect to get under 5l/100km. It is astoundingly good for such a relatively big car, which is also quite entertaining to drive although acceleration tends to be on the leisurely side.

The noise suppression is also very good and the ride is well set up.

This diesel version is possibly the best value for money in the rollorange and in its niche. An excellent car for business.

Toyota Corolla

Toyota Corolla

All models except for the Esteem come with a new, leather-covered, multi-functional steering wheel with switches for the audio, hands-free telephone and multi-function display system.

The Exclusive model is exceptionally extensively equipped as standard with most things you can desire, from a rear camera, auto wipers and light control, to climate and cruise control and so on.

My wife really liked the Corolla she says it feels almost like a small Lexus – smooth, effortless, stylish.

Test drive a new Corolla. Do yourself the favour. You will be pleasantly surprised with the interior, styling, performance and the handling. Its a lot of car for your money.

The Corolla range is priced from R224 000 to R297 800.

We drove are the 1.4D Esteem at R253 600.

I would personally choose the 1.6 Prestige CVT (automatic) at R264 400. Its well equipped, stylish, big enough for 4 adults, decent boot, good performance and frugal.

Corollas come with a 3 year or 100 000 km warranty and 5 year or 90 000 service plan.

Also look at the VW Jetta, Hyundai i30, Chevrolet Cruz, Kia Cerato, Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Mazda3.

Corolla 1.4 D 115