Audi Q3 S-line 35 TFSI S-tronic review

She is turbo blue. Very, very blue.

Audi Q3 S-line 35 TFSI S-tronic

She is seriously sassy and has a pair of hips to make das Bavarian Mädchen blush.

Audi’s Q3 is a thing of beauty, from the neatly ironed crease lines to her alcantara trimmings to her stunning dashboard with its oh so smart displays.

Altogether a great work of design. Although I must say I think her mouth is a little big, but let’s not quibble.

Let us also put the elephant in the room to pasture. What with the R152k optional extras fitted to our review car the sticker price is a little eye watering at three quarters of a million Rand, for a subcompact luxury crossover SUV designed for on-road use.

If you have the cash lying around and your heart says yes, you will enjoy this car.

Q3 enjoying the gravel in Betty’s Bay.

I found the engine somewhat laggy and the gearbox a little undecided, but if you are “rustig” and not in a rush, all is well.

Audi claims a 0-100 kph sprint time of 8.9 seconds and it’ll run to a top speed of 204 kph. The Q3 sits well on the road like all Audi’s do and the steering is satisfactory. I got around 7.5L/100km on the open road and around 12L/100km in town, partly perhaps because the little 1.4 engine which puts out 250Nm and 110kW, is working hard (but willingly) to move the relatively large body. Hopefully Audi will add the 2.0L engine soon to the line up. Now that will be a winner.

Audi have chosen wisely in the wheels department, the 18inch 235 x 55 tyres 100v from Hankook give just the right amount of feedback without becoming harsh. A very good compromise and just another example of how well thought out this car is from a design and styling point of view.

The cabin is a pleasure to be in. There are 3 trim levels: Standard, Advanced and S Line. The MMi (multimedia) selector wheel of previous Audis, which was good for inputting instructions when the car was bouncing along a road, has been removed. Personally I think the large touchscreen, good as it is, at the expense of real buttons is a bridge too far. It’s hard to hit the icons with a jiggling finger, however sharp the image may be. One tends to leave fingerprints on the screen as well. Thankfully the climate control retains actual knobs. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster is standard and includes all the information you really need.

The rear legroom is good, partly because the seats can slide backwards or forwards depending what your greatest need is – boot space or leg room. In fact the cabin feels quite roomy.

There are four equipment and two styling packages.

The Comfort package at R21 500 adds electric seats with 4-way support and heating, electrically opening and closing boot gate, and park distance control. The Technology package adds MMi navigation, virtual cockpit plus and ambient lighting at R33 500.

For R34 900 you can get the Sport Package which will give you 19 inch cast alloy wheels, 20-spoke V style, Alcantara/leatherette combination upholstery, headlining in black and  ports contour leather-wrapped steering wheel, 3 spoke, flat-bottomed, with shift paddles and multifunction plus.

Finally the S line Interior Package offers bespoke S line styling elements which add a distinctively sporty look to the interior for R15 900.The Black package changes bright trim to black while the parking package adds a 360° camera and park assist for R26 500.

Pricing

The basic trim level costs R565 000, the advanced line R585 000 and the S line R599 000.
A five-year or 100 000 maintenance and repair plan is included.

Cars offering similar specification or space include the VW Tiguan, Volvo XC40, Jaguar E-pace, Mercedes Bens GLA, Peugeot 3008, Mini Countryman, Kia Sportage and Mazda CX5.

Hyundai i30N launched

Hyundai’s i30 N performance hatchback has been developed with the the theme “Fun to Drive”: Cornering, Race-track Capability and Everyday Sports Car.

Hyundai i30N

Based on the i30 five-door, the i30 N is a very different beast with i’ts own unique design.

The ‘N’ stands for Namyang, Hyundai Motor’s global Research and Development Centre in Korea, and for the world-famous Nürburgring motor racing complex in Germany, home to Hyundai’s European Test Centre where the manufacturer’s models built on the European continent are developed and tested.

The i30 N underwent 10 000 km of driving on the Nordschleife circuit at the Nürburgring to test its durability.

“We aren’t afraid to do things differently here. Our N cars balance performance and practicality so that they are fun to drive every day. Every N car loves cornering, hence the nickname we have given to their character: ‘Corner Rascal.’ Whether it’s urban commuting or track driving, N handles it beautifully,” says Albert Biermann president and head of the Vehicle Performance Division.

The South African version is equipped with a Performance Package that – apart from the other N-features – include the high-output 202 kW turbocharged engine, an Electronically Controlled Limited Slip Differential, a variable exhaust valve system and 19-inch alloy wheels with 19-inch wheels with 235/35R19 Pirelli P-Zero high-performance tyres.

Buttons on the steering wheel alternate the i30 N’s five drive modes: Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Custom. Each mode changes the car’s character, adjusting the high-performance parameters of the vehicle, including its engine and rev matching.

To help performance the n is equipped with electronically controlled suspension (ECS) and an electronically controlled limited slip differential
Hyundai claim a top speed of 250 km/h and acceleration from 0-100 km/h in just 6.1 seconds. That is all thanks to the powerful T-GDi engine, generating 353 Nm torque from 1 500-4 700 rpm, reaching a maximum of 378 Nm for a brief period when in overboost.

The South African i30 N dealerships are: Belville, Somerset West, Port Elizabeth, Durban South, Pinetown, Umhlanga, Richard’s Bay, East Rand, The Glen, Sandton, Roodepoort, Centurion, Wonderboom and Polokwane.

The i30 N can be serviced at all Hyundai dealerships in South Africa, Botswana Namibia and Eswatini.
Price

The Hyundai i30 N goes on sale at a suggested retail price of R 679 900, which includes a 7-year/200 000 km warranty, roadside assistance for 7-years or 150 000 km, and 5-year/75 000 km service plan. Service intervals are 15 000 km or once a year.

PEUGEOT LANDTREK entering the One ton Pick-up segment later this year

Peugeot is entering the One ton Pick-up segment with the Landtrack later this year, just as Mercedes Benz is exiting with tail between the legs. Hopefully the French learnt a thing or two.

Peugeot Landtrack

It is based on the fundamentals of the segment says Peugeot: 3.5 t towing capacity, versatility, different body shapes, real off-road and overtaking capabilities with unbeatable robustness and ease of repair.

They say sub-sahara Africa is one of the initial launch areas, but give no indication of pricing.

I think the engines are borderline powerful enough for our market.

Diesel : 1.9L displacement and 111kW thanks to a variable geometry 16-valve turbocharger. Its torque of 350 Nm and 6-speed Getrag manual gearbox . It has chain timing to optimise maintenance costs. Roller rocker arms reduce noise, have higher speeds and less friction for less wear. This engine has a combined fuel consumption of 7.8L/100km,
Petrol : turbocharged with 2.4L displacement and a comfortable power output of 156kW and 320 Nm of torque combined with a 6-speed Getrag manual gearbox or a 6-speed Punch automatic gearbox with sequential, Sport or Eco modes.

The vehicle has a length of 5.33m for the double cab version and 5.39m for the single cab versions, all with a width of 1.92m.

The size of the cargo box is a central design element of the architecture and makes it possible to load:

2 “Euro-pallets” in Double Cab versions (1.63m x 1.60m x 500mm body and 1.22m wheel width),
3 “Euro-pallets” in Single Cab versions (2.43m x 1.60m x 500mm tipper and 1.22m wheel width).

For 4×4 versions, the front transmission is engaged using a dedicated thumbwheel to transmit some of the power to the front axle. This allows the driver to choose between 2 modes:

  • 4H (4 High speed) : for standard 4×4 use,
  • 4L (4 Low speed) short gear mode : thanks to a 2.7 to 1 reduction gearbox, an increase in torque at reduced speeds for driving in low-adhesion terrain or on steep slopes.

Finally, the rear differential is equipped with the eLocker system with automatic disengagement and provides extra traction when one wheel spins.

According to archywordlys Peugeot Landtrek is also not a completely independent design. It is based on the modern Changan F70 pickup truck introduced last year (Changan and PSA have a joint venture in China). The development of machines under the Chinese and French brands went in parallel, but the PSA joined the project later.

Renault Triber arrives

The Triber is a completely new car in South Africa.

It is a budget crossover 5-seater with an extra third row to make it a 7-seater if needed. You lose your boot though. The boot space is 625L in 5-seater mode. EasyFix seats allow for the 2 rear seats of the 3rd row to be completely removed to make a big boot. Interestingly there are separate aircon vent controls for the 2nd and 3rd rows.

The base or Expression model is quite basic and lacks the 8” touchscreen, rear speakers, side airbags, keyless entry, rear power widows, ECO mode, smartphone replication, LED headlights, electrical mirrors, and reverse parking camera which the other models have.

The Prestige enjoys an 8″ MediaNav Evolution touchscreen integrated with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Voice Command button and video playback on the screen, while a Smart Access Card for Keyless Entry and Stop/ Start functionality enable an easier driving experience.

The Triber is powered by the Renault 1.0 litre 3-cylinder turbo-petrol unit which generates 52kW with 96Nm torque. So do not expect much performance. Renault claims fuel consumption of 5,5L /100km. I think the Triber may battle a bit with seven up, especially up hills and at altitude. It appears that Renault is promoting the car as a five-seater and not as a seven seater, possibly because of the power to weight issue.

Pricing at launch is pretty good. The base Expression costs R164 900, the mid-range Dynamique is R174 900, while the ‘fancy’ Prestige is R189 900.

VW Amarok Canyon the most fun Leisure Bakkie

VW Amarok Canyon

The VW Amarok 3.0TDI V6 4Motion Canyon is Leisure Wheels magazine’s Bakkie of the Year.

The German bakkie, up against nine other double cab bakkies for the crown, scored 90.5% ahead of Ford’s Ranger Raptor (86.3%) and Toyota’s Hilux 2.8GD-6 Legend 50 (85.4%). The new competition format revolves around Average Joe’s bakkie requirements, and not flippant matters such as 0–100km/h acceleration times.

Instead, the competition focused on real-world issues such as fuel consumption, load carrying ability, towing, safety, handling, 4×4 ability, interior, long-term ownership and, counting 20% of the overall score, a subjective driving test score, as adjudged by five industry experts and professional drivers.

The Leisure Wheels test lab.

The results are:
1) Volkswagen Amarok 3.0TDI 4Motion Canyon AT 90.5%
2) Ford Ranger Raptor 86.3%
3) Toyota Hilux 2.8GD-6 4×4 Legend 50 (manual) 85.4%
4) Ford Ranger 2.0 Bi-Turbo 4×4 Wildtrak AT 83.4%
5) Mercedes-Benz X350d 4Matic 81.6%
6) Isuzu D-Max 3.0DT 4×4 LX (manual) 78.9%
7) Nissan Navara 2.3D 4×4 Stealth AT 78.8%
8) Mitsubishi Triton 2.4Di-D 4×4 AT 75.9%
9) Mahindra Pik Up 2.2CRDe 4×4 Karoo 70.4%
10) Toyota Land Cruiser 79 Namib 64.2%

The Raptor is wide and has an almost mean stance.

“Our aim with this test was to focus on real-world factors that affect real bakkie owners, and to go the full nine yards establishing those results. For the fuel consumption test, conducted on Gerotek’s high speed oval, we devised a set route that included stop-and-pull-off simulations, full throttle overtaking simulations, as well as slow and high speed laps. We also added 190kg to the bak, so the results are what consumers can realistically expect to achieve, on a daily basis,” explains Leisure Wheels’ Danie Botha.

And what is it about the Amarok that set it apart from the rest of the pack? Is it really perfect in every which way?

“It’s certainly not perfect,” says Botha. “It didn’t score well in the 4×4 ability, long-term ownership and safety segments. But for the rest, it really is a solid, classy package. It seems VW’s engineers worked some kind of magic with the leaf-sprung rear suspension, offering an SUV-like ride on all surfaces. And that V6 engine… here’s a bakkie that will outrun many hot hatches between traffic lights, yet it can carry nearly a ton on the bak.”

The March issue, featuring the comprehensive Bakkie of the Year report, goes on sale on Monday, 17 February. More detailed results in the respective segments will be published on leisurewheels.co.za.

2019/20 #CarsAwards – powered by WesBank

Category winners: 2019/20 #CarsAwards – powered by WesBank

Adventure SUV: Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Auto

Budget Car: Suzuki        Swift 1.2 GLX

Business Class:               Volkswagen Arteon 2.0TSI 4Motion R-Line

Compact Family Car:      Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI Highline R-Line

Compact Hatch:              Volkswagen Polo 1.0TSI Comfortline Auto

Crossover:                       Audi Q3 35 TFSI S Line

Executive SUV:                BMW X3 xDrive20d M Sport

Family Car:                      Mazda CX-5 2.0 Dynamic Auto

Fun Hatch:                     Volkswagen Polo GTI

Leisure Double-Cab:      Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 V6 TDI Highline 4Motion

Performance Car:           Toyota GR Supra 3.0T

Premium Hatch:             Volkswagen Golf GTI

Premium SUV:               BMW X5 xDrive30d M-Sport

Volkswagen Amarok and Toyota Fortuner have now won the categories Leisure Double-Cab and Adventure SUV ­respectively – for three consecutive years. Suzuki won the Budget Car category with a Swift  for four years in a row.

In no fewer than five of the 13 categories the judges’ favourites did not win, due to the impact of data from the Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey. Fifty per cent of the final scores of the #CarsAwards category finalists was determined by the rankings the vehicles’ respective brands achieved in the Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey

The Toyota Fortuner (Adventure SUV), Volkswagen Amarok, Arteon and T-Cross (Leisure Double-Cab, Business Class and Compact Family Car) and BMW X3 (Executive SUV) did not score the highest marks from the panel of judges following evaluation, yet emerged victorious because consumers rated their brands’ experiences higher than those of their competitors.

Volkswagen – the only brand to have won at least one #CarsAwards category every year since the programme began in 2015/16 – walked away with the most prestigious accolade. Having won six of the 13 #CarsAwards categories in 2019/20, Volkswagen is comfortably the most prolific category winner (with 16 trophies) in the history of the #CarsAwards programme.

#CarsAwards was conceived to be South Africa’s definitive automotive awards programme; the list of vehicles it recognises is meant to guide car buyers to make the best-informed purchasing decisions… Cars are judged directly against their peers in specific categories, each of which has distinct requirements. What’s more, 50% of the final scores is based on brand-specific after-sales data that incorporate customer feedback from thousands of South African vehicle owners.

VW T-Cross 1.0 R-Line review

Very soon Volkswagen will offer a full range of SUVs, some will be soft roaders, others like the Tiguan, more capable off the beaten track.
Although the T-Cross is built in Spain, it is interesting that VWSA built 161 954 vehicles in 2019, which is the highest production volume the Uitenhage plant has achieved since it began manufacturing Volkswagen vehicles in 1951.

Of the 161 954 vehicles, 108 422 were manufactured for export and 53 532 were produced for the local market. The production volume consists of 131 365 Polos and 30 589 Polo Vivos.

The T-Cross is the entry level crossover in VWs SUV range. It is not really that capable offroad but on gravel, on the highway and especially in town it does a really good job. It does have a slightly higher road height at 180 mm but for now at least only front wheel drive and at the moment only the little 3 pot 999cc turbo-petrol mill doing duty with one performance level available for now, 85 kW with 200 Nm, more than capable for around town. A detuned 70kW version of this motor and a 1.5 TSI engine with 110kW are on the way. You can order one already.

 

VW T-Cross at Moulie Point

Things to like

  • Looks – she is certainly a looker
  • Size  especially rear leg room
  • Ride is good, but I would prefer 16″ wheels and higher 60 profile tyres
  • Good visibility even for a short driver
  • The cockpit layout in the R-Line is very pleasant and functional. The VW multi-function steering wheel is a joy to use.

 

Little niggles

  • Start button behind gear lever on left
  • Hard plastics
  • Small boot
  • No climate control only air-conditioner, only mentioning it because it is an expensive little car
  • With my driving style I found the car had an irritating pause before the power came on. Its as if it misses a beat.

The optional ‘Energetic Orange’ design package makes the T-Cross truly eye-catching for the very young at heart:

VW T-Cross

• Seat covers in ‘Diag’ design with seat centre and inner sections in Orange and Ceramique
• Décor in ‘Transition’ 3D design in Energetic Orange and Grey
• Design element in steering wheel in Energetic Orange
• Exterior mirror housings in Energetic Orange
• Black 18 inch ‘Cologne’ wheels with Hot Orange finish for T-Cross Highline

Pricing

Note the review car has a few optional extras:

  • KESSY Keyless entry
  • beats® Sound System
  • Park Package (Park Assist, Rear View Camera and Power-fold Mirrors)
  • Infotainment Package (Discover Media: 3D Map, App-Connect, Voice Control, Inductive Charging and Active Info Display)
  • LED Headlights and Rear View Camera
  • R-Line Exterior with 17-inch Manila alloy wheels

The Comfortline we drove costs R334 600 without the optional extras. The extras fitted to our test car cost R70 050, bringing the total cost to R415 035 including VAT.

The 1.0 TSI 85kW Highline DSG® costs R365 000 and the 1.5 TSI 110kW R-Line DSG®  is priced at R403 500.

T-Cross side-by-side with a Polo. You can see it is taller, wider and rides substantially higher.

Competition

Renault Duster 1.5dCi TechRoad auto R332 900 ¬- Best buy
• Ford EcoSport 1.0T Titanium auto R357 300
Haval H2 1.5T Luxury auto R329 900 – Good option, facelift just launched
• Mahindra XUV 300 1.5 TD R324 999
Suzuki Vitara 1.4T GLX auto R399 900 – Solid alternative
• Kia Seltos 1.6 EX auto R371 999
• Hyundai Creta 1.6 Exec LE auto R397 900

The warranty for the T-Cross is still only 3 years or 120 000 km.
The small SUV/ crossover market segment is wide open. Take your time and go and test drive a number of cars before deciding, especially the three cars which have been highlighted.