South African COTY 2015 Finalists

Langhams, Johannesburg – The South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ) has announced the finalist vehicle ranges for the 2016 WesBank / SAGMJ Car of the Year (COTY) competition. Announced during an interactive reveal event at Langhams Lifestyle Estate in Johannesburg. Hosted by WesBank, the competition’s headline sponsor, and the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ), the finalist reveal follows a vote cast by a 26-member Jury, elected by their peers, of an original list of 45 eligible vehicle ranges.

Ford Fusion (Adell de Vos, SAGMJ)

Ford Fusion (Adell de Vos, SAGMJ, Adell@sagmj )

The finalists for the 2016 WesBank / SAGMJ Car of the Year competition, South Africa’s premier motoring event, are (in alphabetical order):

• BMW i3

The competition now moves into high gear as preparations are made for two days of stringent evaluations at the beginning of February 2016. At these evaluation days – the most critical of which will be the scheduled procedures at the world-renowned Gerotek test facility near Pretoria – 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.

The evaluation days offer the Jury the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the vehicles on specific aspects including aesthetics, build quality, ergonomics, fuel consumption, environmental friendliness, safety features and value for money.

The Jury will also have access to independent performance test data, comparative pricing and specification data, as well as comparative parts pricing data, compiled by the Guild’s digital partner, MAPO.

While all of the vehicles that are participating in the event represent examples of outstanding automotive engineering, there can be only one winner. After careful deliberation by the COTY Jury, the vehicle range that best represents automotive excellence when compared to its segment peers, will be crowned the 2016 WesBank / SAGMJ Car of the Year.
The winner will be revealed on 8 March 2016.

The South African Guild of Motoring Journalists has run the SA Car of the Year competition since 1986, with WesBank – one of South Africa’s largest vehicle finance institutions – as its headline sponsor since inception. Motul and Hollard Insurance supply support sponsorship.

My choices would be (but I do not have a say):

Ford Fusion

Honda HR-V

Volvo XC90

What do you think?

Toyota Cape Dealer Rally 2015

Toyota Cape Dealer Rally

Mark Cronje and new navigator Gerhard Snyman finished the 13th and final stage of the Western Cape event in a time of 1 hour 53 minutes 59.8 seconds to beat Gugu Zulu/Hilton Auffray (Sasolracing Volkswagen Polo) by a 3 minutes 23 seconds.

Ford Fiesta flying in the Cape Dealer rally 2015.

Ford Fiesta flying in the Cape Dealer rally 2015.

Henk Lategan/Barry White (Sasolracing Volkswagen Polo), won five stages in a row but unfortunately  did not finish and could not catch Cronje who was penalised with 20 seconds for hitting a chicane in stage 11.


Leeroy Poulter/Elvéne Coetzee (Castrol Team Toyota Yaris) hit a series of jumps at high speed sending them head over heels and ending their rally.


The proverbial sting in the tail of the rally saw to the demise of Henk Lategan/Barry White (Sasolracing Volkswagen Polo), the only team to really threaten Cronje and Snyman, in the final stage due to suspension failure.




Results: (Click here) 

SR – SUPERALLY DAY 1 SR – SUPERALLY – DAY 2 POS CAR ENTRANT DRIVER / CO-DRIVER CL CAR Stage Comp SS7 POS SS8 POS SS9 POS SS10 POS SS11 POS SS12 POS SUB TOTAL PEN TOTAL DIFF to prev comp DIFF TO 1ST CAR 1 425 John Peiser John Peiser / Weston Peiser S5 Subaru Impreza 6 08:14.5 2 12:22.8 2 16:03.8 3 15:00.6 2 08:08.6 1 12:27.9 1 1:12:18.2 00:00 01:12:18.2 2 76 Lourens van Rensburg Lourens van Rensburg / Nina van RensburgS5 Ford Fiesta R2 6 08:21.3 4 12:51.2 4 16:50.0 4 15:03.4 3 08:22.2 2 13:00.3 2 1:14:28.4 00:00 01:14:28.4 00:02:10.2 00:02:10.2 3 419 Quinton Swarts Paul van Wyk / Quinton Swarts S3 Volkswagen Golf 6 09:05.8 6 13:56.4 5 17:58.1 5 15:31.7 4 09:02.8 3 14:00.8 3 1:19:35.6 00:00 01:19:35.6 00:05:07.2 00:07:17.4 4 455 Matthew Jason Kohler Ebrahim Levy / Matthew Jason Kohler S3 Toyota Corolla 6 09:33.7 7 14:54.6 8 18:23.1 6 16:05.6 5 09:14.4 4 14:51.9 4 1:23:03.3 00:00 01:23:03.3 00:03:27.7 00:10:45.1 5 423 R. Reynders H Mathee / R. Reynders S4 Datsun Deluxe 6 09:50.0 10 14:24.3 6 19:45.7 8 17:01.4 7 09:45.2 6 15:27.4 5 1:26:14.0 00:00 01:26:14.0 00:03:10.7 00:13:55.8 6 450 Paul Emmanuel Paul Emmanuel / Robin Benjaman S4 Volkswagen Polo 6 10:04.9 11 16:23.4 10 21:39.7 9 18:50.9 8 10:04.7 7 16:26.2 7 1:33:29.8 00:00 01:33:29.8 00:07:15.8 00:21:11.6 7 431 Ismaeel Davids Ismaael Davids / Yusuf Ganief S3 Toyota Corolla 6 09:35.6 8 28:34.8 14 19:24.4 7 16:09.0 6 09:29.5 5 15:59.0 6 1:39:12.3 00:00 01:39:12.3 00:05:42.5 00:26:54.1 8 430 Denzil Isaccs Denzil Isaacs / Robyn Isaacs S1 Toyota Tazz 6 12:09.0 12 18:09.2 11 22:40.6 10 19:00.7 9 11:09.1 8 19:19.6 8 1:42:28.2 00:20 01:42:48.2 00:03:35.9 00:30:30.0 DNF 62 Henry Kohne Paulus Franken / Henry Kohne S5 Volkswagen Polo 4 07:29.7 1 11:41.6 1 15:06.5 1 12:55.6 1 00:00.0 00:00.0 0:47:13.4 00:00 00:47:13.4 DNF DNF DNF 65 Ashley Haigh-Smith Ashley Haigh-Smith / Nial Burns S5 Ford Fiesta R2 3 08:17.1 3 12:42.6 3 15:18.0 2 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 0:36:17.7 00:00 00:36:17.7 DNF DNF DNF 421 Trevor Hodges Trevor Hodges / Ian Thebus S5 Volkswagen Golf 2 08:44.0 5 14:28.6 7 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 0:23:12.6 00:00 00:23:12.6 DNF DNF DNF 404 Divan de Goede Tiaan Rabe / Divan de Goede S2 Volkswagen Golf 2 14:33.7 13 18:16.1 12 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 0:32:49.8 00:00 00:32:49.8 DNF DNF DNF 406 Sakkie Bosman Charl Strydom / Sakkie Bosman S4 Volkswagen Polo 2 14:33.7 13 18:16.1 12 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 0:32:49.8 00:00 00:32:49.8 DNF DNF DNF 408 Anwar Levy Anwar Levy / Jean-Pierre Jacobs S3 Volkswagen Polo 1 09:42.4 9 15:17.3 9 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 0:24:59.7 00:00 00:24:59.7 DNF DNF DNF 413 Keenan Sassman Keenan Sassman / Clint Lingeveldt S3 Toyota Corolla 0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 0:00:00.0 00:00 00:00:00.0 DNF DNF DNF 415 Llewellyn van Greunen Darren v Greunen / Llewellyn v Greunen S1 Volkswagen Golf 0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 0:00:00.0 00:00 00:00:00.0 DNF DNF DNF 432 Andy Haigh-Smith Andy Haigh-Smith / Craig Gray S3 Mutsibushi Lancer 0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 00:00.0 0:00:00.0 00:00 00:00:00.0 DNF DNF Results brought to you by the National Rally Commission Event Timing by Calog 2015 TOYOTA CAPE DEALER RALLY 18/19 SEPTEMBER 2015 FINAL REGIONAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION 13.03 21.71 26.29 22.10 13.03 21.71 CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS 2ND STEWARD ORIGINAL SIGNED BY STEWARDS




The Volvo XC90 has walked away as the winner in the large SUV category as well as the coveted WOW Overall Car of the Year 2015 of the Women on Wheels award.

Volvo XC 90

Volvo XC 90

Thousands of votes were cast by WOW readers and combined with the judges’ votes the winning cars in 11 categories were decided.

Together with the reader vote, the judging panel for this year’s awards was Charleen Clarke and Juliet McGuire ; Liana Reiners, editor of Autolive; Vuyi Jabavu, managing director of Driving in Heels; Sukasha Singh, motoring editor at Mail & Guardian; Lindsay Vine of DStv motoring channel Ignition (189); member of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists since 1987, Peta Lee; and Wheels24 content producer Janine-Lee Gordon.


Budget buy   Volkswagen up!

Hatchback    Opel Adam

Sedan            Mercedes Benz C-class

MPV              Opel Mokka

Green Car    BMW i8

Crossover/compact SUV   Land Rover Discovery Sport

Large SUV     Volvo XC90

Convertible  BMW 2 Series convertible  Our 2 Series review

Road Racer Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Super cars   McLaren 650S Coupe


No Porsche. Really. WOW.

This may just be proof that women drivers are really better than male drivers.

BMW 220d Tourer review

BMW-220-Tourer-112_noseBMW 220d Tourer

I really liked this Beemer. It is not as spacious as some medium MPV’s (or station wagons if you are an old timer) but has more usable space than its ‘bigger’ sister the 3 Series cars.

The Tourer has a good practical boot. If you like an X3 but don’t go off tar and don’t like the X3 price tag you will be very happy. Think of it as an X3 without the bling. Think of it too as a smaller BMW with space, especially in the boot.

BMW 220 Tourer

BMW 220 Tourer

The Tourer has the typical BMW interior, it’s very smart and really well finished. I liked the seats which adjust easily to give a good driving position and have a near perfect seat height to easily get in and out.

The cabin is a little tight as in all smaller BMW’s with just enough room for the driver, and very little space for your feet.

The air conditioner is a full manual unit. No climate control here. It does not quite fit with the rest of the car or the asking price.

This front wheel drive BMW has a very smooth gearbox and good handling albeit very different to traditional cars from Munich.

BMW-220-Tourer-064I like the looks but some did not. Take the BMW badge off and you may not think it is a BMW from the outside. It is less quirky than some of its siblings.

The 2 Series is much more practical and good looking than the very pricey  BMW 1 series, to my mind.

There are three trim levels you can choose from to ‘dolly up’ your car. Sport, Luxury and MSport.

Expect good fuel consumption on all the models and around 6 litres/ 100km for the diesels.

The BMW 2 Series Tourer is in my opinion better value than its 3 Series sisters and has more usable space. It is a bit pricey though when you add in the extras.

The competition includes the Opel Meriva, Mercedes B Series, VW Golf  SV and the Citroën C4 Picasso amongst others.

The model we tested, the 220d, costs R446 500 without the extras.  The range starts at R378 000 with the 1.5 manual. Get the full specsheet and pricelist here.

Standard model 218i 220i 220d 225i
Six-speed Manual R378 000 R401 000 R428 500
Automatic Transmission Steptronic (6-speed for 218i, 8-speed for 220i, 220d and 225i) R396 00 R419 000 R446 500 R447 000
Sport Line
Six-speed Manual R395 300 R418 300 R445 800
Automatic Transmission Steptronic (6-speed for 218i, 8-speed for 220i, 220d and 225i) R413 900 R436 300 R463 800 R464 300
Luxury Line
Six-speed Line R403 900 R426 900 R454 400
Automatic Transmission Steptronic (6-speed for 218i, 8-speed for 220i, 220d and 225i) R421 900 R444 900 R472 400 R472 900

The maintenance plan is 5 years or 100 000km.

BMW 220d Tourer

BMW 220d Tourer

Mercedes Benz B250 review

Mercedes-B250-038-thumbMercedes Benz B250 – Luxury and the mother of all hatches

A colleague of mine at Wheels24 almost disparagingly called it a mommy wagon. In fact I think it is the mother of all smaller MPV or super hatches.

Seeing that some people thought it is only a mommy’s taxi type car I asked my wife what she thought.

Mercedes-B250-044-sceneMy wife had this to say:

My first impression was: What a feeble little Merc wannabe, it is to be frowned upon and the production of this little joke must be stopped immediately!

Oh my word was I wrong, very very wrong! Right from the moment when I moved in behind the oval shaped steering wheel and shifted the gearlever into Drive, the world became a much much better place!

The sheer power that is trembling under that aluminium bonnet is just awesome beyond! I now know why the seats come with proper adjustments for real lumbar support – you need it when Sport Mode pushes you back into the backrest.

I just love all the little courtesy lights in the doors, by the sunscreen mirror and in the control panel, plus the fact that all the lights stay on for quite some time when switching off the car and getting out.

Leg room and head room is very good.

So, my wife was surprised by it and I think most people who take it for a test will be. Bearing in mind we had the B250 model, which truth be told is a little excessively powered. Fuel consumption will be around  8.5 litres/ 100km if you can keep your foot off the volume pedal.

B250-&-Ouma-pics-008-dashMercedes has this thing about sticking the multi display on a flimsy looking leg sticking out of the dash very much like it was an afterthought. I just do not like it. Otherwise the cabin is good.

The new B Series grows on you. I know it doesn’t look like a typical Benz, but don’t let that worry you it is very much a Mercedes.

This car is a pleasure to drive and has all the safety and handling items you would expect in a premium brand car.

B250-&-Ouma-pics-011-legroomMy recommendation would be the B200 Auto model at R407 223. You can expect fuel consumption around 7 litres/ 100km and still get 100km/h in under 9 seconds.

The model we tested was the B250 listed at R467 160. The range starts with the B200 at R389 763.

The maintenance plan is for 6 years or 100 000km.

Mercedes Benz B250

Mercedes Benz B250



Peugeot 308 GT Line review

Peogeot-308-GT-Line-041-nosePeugeot 308 GT Line

This new 308 is much less quirky than earlier versions, and it is the better car for it. So much so that it was voted European Car of the Year in 2014. I am not sure it is quite that good.


The interior is smart, uncluttered and, well… chic. It is French after all. I did not like the counter clockwise rev counter, but otherwise the cabin is really pleasant, with many controls via the large touch screen, which is really easy to use. The materials appear to be good quality and have been well chosen with pleasant contrasts, from brushed aluminium to soft touch plastic. Fit and finish is good.

The boot is big enough to pass the pram test twice over and when you fold down the back seats is borderline huge.

Rev counter

Rev counter

The 1.2L turbo-petrol engine, like in the Cactus, puts out 230Nm of torque, which coupled to the rather light body means good performance is the order of the day although the clutch and I never really made friends. I got fuel consumption of around 7 Litre/ 100km on my normal route, but Peugeot claim below 6L/100km.

The suspension has been soundly engineered to achieve that balance or sweet spot between being able to take on the rough but not insulate the driver from the road. It is very good. The brakes, steering, acceleration are all well set up. Its a nice car to drive.

An automatic gearbox is expected early in 2016.

As with all French cars the safety package is comprehensive. Its got everything.

Although it is a refined and classy car, I feel it is a little pricey at R329 900.

This car competes with all the C sector heavyweights: Ford Fusion, VW Golf, Toyota Auris, as well as the Renault Megane, Mazda3, Kia Cerato and Opel Astra.

It comes with a 5 year maintenance plan.

Peugeot 308 GT Line

Peugeot 308 GT Line