Servicing my car – who is best?

Purchasing & Servicing quality awards

Ipsos, the market research company, measures the Competitive Customer Experience of car owners each year.

Its divided into the buying experience and the quality of servicing. It is split between cars and LCV’s (or bakkies and vans).

Here are the car results for this year.


Ipsos interviewed more than 23 000 customers about their purchasing and servicing experience in 2015, representing more than 75% of all cars sold, or 15 of the locally available brands. The missing brands include BMW and Hyundai/ Kia.

The biggest changes over the previous survey include a 3.7% improvement in the free of faults result but a 4.7% drop in the handling of queries or faults. So the dealers need a bit of polishing, but the manufacturers are improving.

Over time the quality has been improving and now sits at almost 95% for the industry, up from around 90% in 2004.

The gold medal achievers in the sales department are VW and Audi. GM, Mercedes Benz, Nissan and Toyota come next. Ford, Lexus, Renault and Honda also did well.

sales time

“The achievements by the industry overall in our ongoing study over the past four years have been outstanding and are a tribute to staff at the manufacturers’ head offices who are responsible for training and supporting the dealers as well as for the commitment of the dealers themselves. In particular the consistent excellence of Audi, Isuzu, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen brands must be highlighted for special praise,” said Patrick Busschau, the Ipsos SA Automotive Business Director. “It is amazing how the retail industry manages to lift the bar ever higher each year.”.


The Servicing Experience over Time has improved by 1% a year over the past decade and has now reached 90%.

Customers feel the are more appreciated and  are happy that they are offered transportation to the next destination. They are unhappy about the preparation of the staff and contact about progress.

Interestingly there is no difference between men and women concerning their perception of the servicing experience.

There are big differences between the races.

Servicing Race

Asian, not Indian, customers are the most unhappy while whites are happiest.

And the servicing awards go to:

Servicing winnersAudi received a platinum award for sustained customer satisfaction in both the passenger car purchasing and servicing experience categories, having won gold awards every year from 2012-2015. The Volkswagen brand received a platinum award for the purchasing experience with cars and LCVs from 2012-2015.
Other brands to receive platinum awards were Isuzu for the LCV purchasing experience, while Toyota and Nissan received these prestigious awards for LCV servicing in the period 2012-2015.

It is interesting the BMW withdrew from the research and that Hyundai may be sure of their product quality but not about their customer relations.


Suzuki Super Carry bakkie arriving soon

Suzuki is about to launch a three-quarter ton light bakkie in SA.

Its a cab over design and gets a 1.4 litre four cylinder petrol engine with a five-speed manual gearbox.

The Super Carry is 3,8 m long and 1,56 m wide, yet features a load deck measuring  2,18 x 1,49 m.

It goes on sale through Suzuki’s national dealer network from June at a recommended retail launch price of R129 900. The price includes a three-year/100 000 km warranty.

suzuki super carry

Ford Ranger line-up gets 2.2 TDCi Automatic

Ford has announced that from July 2016 the 2.2 Duretorq TDCi range will include automatic models.

A total of nine 2.2 TDCi Auto variants will be offered, boosting the revised Ranger line-up to a total of 36 models. It will be available across all three body styles.


The existing manual version of the Ranger.

“The success of the automatic transmission option on the Ford Ranger is unprecedented, with almost 70% of buyers opting for the auto instead of the manual in the powerful 3.2-litre models,” says Tracey Delate, General Marketing Manager, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.

“The latest refinements, increased performance and enhanced fuel efficiency of the New Ranger, particularly with the updated 2.2 Duratorq TDCi engine, has led to growing customer interest in the option of an automatic transmission on these models.

In addition, customers will be able to select from all three trim and specification levels in the case of the Ranger Double Cab 2.2 Auto, comprising the entry-level XL, the mid-range XLS and the top-end XLT which provides a peerless combination of luxury and convenience. The Single Cab and Super Cab can be specified in XL and XLS guises for the 2.2 Auto.

Prices will be released later.

Ford Ranger 2.2 XLT

Ford Ranger 2.2 XLT

Sheldon van der Linde scores on debut

Sheldon van der Linde, 17, scored a spectacular double victory on his international race debut in the opening round of the Audi Sport TT Cup at Hockenheim, Germany over the weekend. It was at the Audi Sport TT Cup Round 1, Hockenheim, Germany on 7-8 May 2016.

Double SA Engen Volkswagen Polo Cup champion and Audi Sport Race Academy bursar, Sheldon beat a competitive international field including former F1 driver Scott Speed and WRC star Andreas Mikkelsen en route to victory at his first attempt in the prestigious series.

Sheldon van der Linde races to victory on his Audi TT Cup debut

Sheldon van der Linde races to victory on his Audi TT Cup debut

Sheldon won the first race after qualified second on the grid.

“I’m speechless right now,” a delighted van der Linde admitted on the first race podium. “A win on my international race debut — this is the best day of my life!”

Sheldon started the second race in third, moved into second at the first turn and then consistently added a half a second a lap to take a dominant 7.5 second victory and carry home a healthy early championship advantage.

Opel Corsa Sport review

Opel Corsa Sport

OPEL-Corsa-Sport-117-thumbOpel in South Africa are positioning themselves as the small German luxury car brand.

The (micro) Adam, the (small crossover) Mokka, are brand new models.

The Corsa is the small Opel that the SA public has known and largely loved the last few years.

This new Sport model brings it in line with its younger siblings.

Opel Corsa Sport

Opel Corsa Sport

I have a problem with describing the car we tested as a ‘sport’ model, although it certainly looks the part. The Corsa Sport is a pleasant car to drive and has good roadholding and enough power to drive normally. It just does not feel overtly sporty or precise. The 4-cylinder, 1.4 Turbo ECOTEC engine will give you 100km/h in 9.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 204km/h on paper, so it is no slouch. To me, with three adults on board it did not feel planted on the road. It was a bit wishy washy, for a sport model.

It has a City mode button which lightens the steering, which coupled with the park sensors make city driving a breeze. In fact, the Corsa Sport comes comprehensively equipped. You would not need to get anything extra.

Opel-Corsa-Sport-seatsThe seats in the Corsa look great but seem to be sub-par. After even just an hour behind the wheel your back knows about it. A passenger in the back seat also commented how uncomfortable it becomes after a while. Otherwise the interior is well laid out and pleasant and offers reasonable space and practicality.

The intellilink audio system coupled to a 7″ touch screen is pretty advanced and features Siri Eyes Free which recognises your voice so you can make calls, play music, send or listen to text messages and emails using voice instructions.

Corsa Sport is also well equipped in the safety department with six airbags, ABS with EBD, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control, Straight Line Stability (SLS) and Brake Assist System (BAS). The headlights are exceptionally good.

Also look at the Suzuki Swift Sport, Volkswagen Polo, Hyundai i20, Renault Clio, Ford Fiesta and Mazda2.


Corsa 1.0T Essentia – R185 500
Corsa 1.0T Enjoy – R216 200
Corsa 1.4 Enjoy Auto – R216 500
Corsa 1.0T Cosmo – R236 300

Car as tested: Opel Corsa 1.4T Sport – R255 200

Corsa Essentia Option Pack 1: Radio with Bluetooth & USB, AC – R12 200
Corsa Essentia Option Pack 2: IntelliLink, AC, 15” alloy rims – R15 600
Corsa Enjoy Option Pack 1: IntelliLink – R4000
Corsa Enjoy Option Pack 2: IntelliLink, Advanced park assist 2 – R8 000
Corsa Cosmo and Sport Option Pack 1: Advanced park assist 2, side blind zone alert – R5000


Prices include Opel’s 5-year/ 120 000 km warranty and a 3-year/ 60 000 km service plan.



VW T6 Kombi review

VW T6 Kombi 

The VW Type 2, or Kombi was introduced in 1950 and was related to the Type 1 or Beetle. The new Kombi is the sixth generation or T6 version and is an improvement on the T5 which was a radical change from earlier designs.

Without a doubt this is the best Kombi to date. It sticks to the basic recipe. Loads of space, good visibility, reasonable economy and pleasant to drive. The improvements and changes are all in the details.

VW Kombi

VW Kombi


There are five variants to choose from.

All are diesels, but you get to choose a lower or higher power version.

Long or short wheel base and basic or smart.

VW make three types of minibus. The Transporter range, Kombi and Caravelle.

Transporter is basically a bakkie, either single or double cab and sells from around R300 00, to R400 000, but a crew bus and a panel van are also available.

The Kombi range are 8 seater mini-busses, available in Trend or Comfortline trim levels and with either a 75kW or 103 kW diesel engine. Comfortline also has a long wheelbase version with a 7-speed DSG gearbox which is also an 8-seater.

The Caravelle is a seriously well appointed big MPV type personal bus. Caravelles start at R760 600 and top off at R873 500, befitting the luxury limo feel.

What its like

I got around 8 litres/100km on the open road and about 12 litres/100km in town, which is pretty good considering the size of the van.

The interior is very neat and functional. VW know a thing or two about car interior design and it shows.

From the driver’s seat you have very good visibility and all the controls are within reach and well laid out.

I found the air-conditioning rather rudimentary, although it does work especially for the front seats.

Issues I had with this new Kombi include the following – the gear stick obstructs the gear markings, although the display does indicate which gear you are in. The gearbox seems to hunt on occasion especially at low speeds, fortunately the less powerful version only comes in manual.

For such a big vehicle the omission of park distance control or assist coupled to a lack of a rear camera was disappointing.

I found the brakes overly sharp and the hill hold control unrefined.



The Kombi Comfortline 2.0 TDI DSG (103kW) we tested retails for R583 900 and included the following options: metallic paint, towbar, comfort package, 17-inch alloy wheels, multifunction steering wheel and the audio system, which all adds up.

Prices vary from R496 300 for a Trendline to R609 00 for the top of range Comfortline, excluding extras.

Also look at the Hyundai H1 which has been recently facelifted, Ford Tourneo, Chrysler Grand voyager, Kia Grand Sedona and the Mercedes Vito/ V-class.

VW gives you a 5 year or 60 000 maintenance plan and a 3 year or 120 000 warranty.


Ford B-Max review

Ford B-MAX

I have been enjoying the parade of new cars from big blue. The new Ford B-MAX is no exception. Its a cleverly designed premium compact car which can double as a micro van.

The pretty unique feature is the rear doors which slide open, which is great in a garage and in a parking lot and because the middle (or B) pillar is built into the door the opening is as big as a van, or 1.5m wide. Ford calls it the easy access door system, and it is just that.

Ford B-Max

Ford B-Max

The B MAX is built on Ford’s B platform on which it shares with the Fiesta and EcoSport, but the interior feels bigger than that of the Fiesta and the boot is really bigger, squeezed into a just over 4m long car. The boot space is 304 litres when rear seat is being used but enlarges to 1 372 litres with the rear seat folded. The rear seats have seven folding combinations giving a 2.35m long load area.

Ford-B-Max-297_dashIt comes with a choice of one engine in two power outputs and three trim levels, Ambiente, Trend and Titanium but only in manual, at least for now.

The engine is the very efficient and effective 1 litre 3 cylinder EcoBoost unit which provides a zippy 92kw and torque of 171 Nm. The cherry on top is that you can expect around or just above 5 litre/100km.

Electronic stability control and hill launch assist are standard as are all the expected safety systems.
Nice to have items include electric windows, rear parking distance sensors, rear fog lamps, follow me home lights and daytime running lights, and a 1.5 litre bottle holder.

Ford-B-Max-252-bumThe fuel computer displays distance to empty, average fuel consumption, average speed, outside temperature. Included as standard is a rear power point and rear view mirror with reverse camera display, except in the base model.

The sound system includes a good Radio, CD, USB & Aux, Bluetooth, 8 speakers, 4.2″ TFT colour screen and the SYNC Gen1 interactive connectivity system.

I liked this car. It is practical, comfortable, handles and performs well and is a good size being small enough to fit small spaces but big enough to take a proper load and have good road manners. It drives almost as well as the Fiesta.

The Titanium model we drove had the panoramic roof, which gives an impression of space. The interior feels bright and airy.

The range is priced from R223 900 to R274 900.

Possible alternatives include the Ford Ecosport, Toyota Avanza, Honda Mobilio, Kia Soul and Suzuki Ertiga. A direct competitor is the Fiat 500L.

All B-MAXs have a warranty of 4 yr / 120 000km and a service plan for 4 yr / 60 000km.


Renault Captur review

Renault Captur

The Captur is a sexy looking little crossover, about the same size as the Citeoën Cactus we tested earlier. You can really play with colour and colour combinations. I personally liked the warm cream colour of the test unit which Renault calls ivory white.


The Captur is fairly meek in ECO mode but mildly gnarly in standard mode in which the car comes alive and becomes fun and fairly sure footed thanks in part to the McPherson front suspension with rectangular lower arm and anti-roll bar.

Performance is very impressive for a 898cc engine. Of course the advanced management and turbocharging make this little petrol mill a little performer in overboost mode putting out 70kW and 150 Nm.

I got 6.7 Litre/100km of mixed driving, although Renault claim 4.9L/100km, which I believe is not possible in real world driving.


It has a double layer boot above the Marie biscuit spare, with a parcel shelf about 10cm above the spare. The boot itself will just pass the pram test. The car interior overall is smaller than it appears from outside.

There is a very interesting backseat mechanism. The rear bench does not flip over but rather folds down and shifts forward. It is a bit unusual, but it is effective.


Speaking of seats, as per all modern Renaults, the seats are comfortable and adjust enough to find a comfortable position. They are also a handy hip height making entry and egress a pleasure.

The Captur is a pleasure to drive but is not quite as sporty as she looks.

Prices are as follows:

Captur Expression 66kW Turbo              R219 900
Captur Dynamique 66kW Turbo             R239 900
Captur Dynamique 88kW EDC Turbo   R279 900


Also look at the Citeoën Cactus, Renault Duster and Stepway, Nissan Juke, Suzuki Vitara.

The warranty is 5 years or 150 00km.