Golf 7 GTI facelifted

I get why South Africans generally love the GTI.

It looks so good. The body, but especially inside. Dare I say sexy? It handles sublimely. It has oodles of power. Its a really “lekker” car.

VW Golf GTI

Our test car was a very good looking white silver metallic, with red GTI highlights around the lights for example and red stitching on the black leather upholstery. A classy package.

Oh, the sound. VW have engineered a very growly exhaust note that was really pleasant to me. Not too loud, unless the pedal has been pressed to the metal, then its music to a petrolhead’s ears.

The recently released Golf Mk VII facelifted model must be the “best” sporty Golf VW has made for the driving enthusiast who needs to go to work and go shopping in his car with his family.

You can understand why VW have been building them for 43 years and now at an average rate of one every 40 seconds. With global sales now well in excess of 33 million (nearly 350 750 sold in South Africa) since its launch where it enjoys the highest pro rata sales, GTI to normal Golf, of all markets in the world.

Golf GTI rear

The new GTI now has similar power output as the outgoing GTI Performance at 169kW. The 0 to 100km/h classic sprint is achieved in 6.4 seconds and the top speed is limited to248km/h. With DSG transmission, VW claim the GTI has a combined fuel consumption of 6.4 l/100km, but you will battle to get that unless you have a feather like foot. On one stint of spirited driving I got 12L/100km, but expect around 8L/100km provided you keep things very ‘pedestrian’. My average consumption was 10.6L/100km. The long term average (1964km) of the car is 9.7L/100km.

The 1.4-litre TSI with 92kW(5000 to 6000rpm) has been retained for the normal model. This lively engine delivers its 200 Nm maximum torque over a large speed range from 1,400 to 4,000 rpm. The Golf 1.4 TSI has a claimed combined fuel consumption is just 5.2 l/100km.

VW’s fancy Composition Media Radio /CD system is available standard on the GTI and optional on the Trendline and Comfortline models. The design has a clear glass surface and its integrated 8-inch colour display has been completely restructured. It gets finger prints quickly and looks dirty quite easily, but it works well.

Golf interior 2017

Five different views are available for the 12.3-inch Active InfoDisplay which is a fully digitalised instrument cluster with a whole load of interactive functions. It replaces the normal analogue instruments. This is the same brilliant concept which is very well executed which we have previously seen in Audis.

Taken with the digital instrument cluster, the big infotainment display becomes a little superfluous I think.
If you select the fancy key option you get to keep your key in your pocket. Entry and locking becomes keyless and you get a start button.
You don’t get a lot of space in a Golf, but it is not bad. Compact without being cramped. What you do get is a very good interior, both in design and execution. With the GTI you also get very satisfying performance.
I found the driver’s seat a little difficult to set up, but once settled it is quite comfortable and gives you good, especially lateral support.

The long list of optional features that are on offer include swivelling towbar, panoramic sunroof, 8.0-inch Composition Media Radio/CD system, 9.2-inch Discover Pro Navigation System, Active Info Display, Rear Assist with rear view camera, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Assist and Autonomous Emergency Braking System, Park Distance Control (front and rear), Park Assist, KESSY Keyless Entry and Start, Adaptive Chassis Control including driver selection (only available on GTI).

The basic sticker price of the GTI we drove is R545 800. Options fitted to the test car are: metallic paint, panoramic sunroof, KESSY advanced key, rear assist, DynAudio sound package, navigation pack, adaptive chassis control, park assist, blind spot detection, active info display, front assist and fancy Santiago alloy rims.

The cost of these accessories is at least R73 000. So the price as tested is R619 000, or more.

The Golf range is as follows:
1.0 TSI 81kW Trendline Manual R289 900
1.0 TSI 81kW Comfortline Manual R304 200
1.4 TSI 92kW Comfortline DSG R356 400
2.0 TSI 169kW GTI DSG R545 800

The new range comes standard with a 5 year/90 000km Service Plan, 3 year/120 000km warranty and a 12 year anti-corrosion warranty. Service Interval is 15 000km.

With a budget of R612 000 you could get yourself one of the following: Audi A5 2.0 TDI, Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.0, BMW 320I, Mercedes Benz C250, or my pick, the Volvo S60.
As far as I am concerned the 1.4 TSI 92kW Comfortline DSG hits the sweet spot at R356 400 without any extras. But you can get away with under R400 000 including some optional items.

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Opel MOKKA X 1.4T Cosmo 6AT

Opel MOKKA X 1.4T Cosmo 6AT

Opel Mokka X 1.4

Opel Mokka X 1.4

I drove the previous model of the Mokka around the test track at Gerotek and almost kept up with a gaggle of Opel Adam Sports. My nerve gave in on the third corner as it felt I was going to roll it. Actually it had very good stability control. This new Mokka X is very good on the road, I think. It is an upgrade on the previous model, especially the interior, media centre and the headlights.

The mechanicals remain unchanged from the original Mokka  and along with the four model lineup of Enjoy and Cosmo trim choices in either manual or automatic. Powering all four MOKKA X derivatives is Opel’s proven 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged ECOTEC petrol engine, which produces 103 kW between 4 900 and 6 000 rpm and 200 Nm between 1 850 and 4 900 rpm.

Although not really an Opel fan, I have to say this Opel is pretty good. Just sitting on the very comfortable, highly adjustable seat, looking at the dash and interior you can see just how far Opel have come. You feel it too. Top class materials and finishes.

Opel Mokka X dashboard

Speaking at the launch of the new Opel MOKKA X, Ian Nicholls said “Opel is on its way to achieving its vision of becoming the second largest passenger car brand in Europe by 2022. Part of this success is a renewed focus on bringing competitive new products to market, in fact the MOKKA X is the 13th new or refreshed Opel to be launched in South Africa since 2012.”

Aimed at drivers who are looking for a vehicle that is safe, family oriented and powerful, the MOKKA X merges functionality, connectivity, technology and safety in a vehicle which is just 4.28-metres from bumper to bumper.

Consumption, back home with the X 1.4 driving my usual routes, I got was 8.1L/100. You could possibly improve on this as Opel claim 6.5 L/100km or less, depending on model.

I have to say this crossover has brilliant brakes and nippy performance. It is not only a looker, considering the genre, but a little performer.

The interior is very good and feels quite upmarket. It has one of the best media centre/ touchscreen centres I have used.

Opel Mokka X 1.4

It is a snazzy little crossover which feels well put together.

All new Opel MOKKA X derivatives are backed by Opel Complete Care with a comprehensive 5-year/ 120 000 km warranty and come with a 5-year/ 90 000 km service plan linked to service intervals of 15 000 km.

Prices look like this:  Latest click here.

New Opel Mokka X Retail price incl. VAT
MOKKA X 1.4T Enjoy 6MT R 317, 500.00
MOKKA X 1.4T Enjoy 6AT R 328, 400.00
MOKKA X 1.4T Cosmo 6MT R 357, 400.00
MOKKA X 1.4T Cosmo 6AT R 368, 100.00

Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4 MIVEC GLS EXCEED 4WD CVT review

Mitsubishi Outlander

The Outlander is a very comfortable, very capable and spacious car.

Mitsubishi Outlander

It is one of those cars which don’t sell in big numbers, but should because it is such a good solution to the motoring needs of particularly families and entrepreneurs. It is also a pleasure to drive.

“The Mitsubishi Outlander is a luxury lifestyle vehicle in every sense of the word,” says Nic Campbell, General Manager for Mitsubishi Motors. “It’s spacious, comfortable and stylish with all the features customers expect in a vehicle of this calibre. The new design language gives it a fresh, bold appearance that truly illustrates the Outlander’s capabilities.”

The Outlander is fitted with a fully adjustable multi-function steering wheel with gearshift paddles and access to voice controls and hands-free Bluetooth phone functionality. The touch-screen audio display is user-friendly, and a separate display screen ensures all vehicle information is available to the driver at a glance. The Rockford Fosgate sound system is above par.

Distributed across three rows, the Outlander’s seven seats offer real comfort and many loading options. The second and third row seats can be folded completely flat, opening up an impressive amount of loading space.

The seats in the second row can slide 250mm forward which makes for easy access to the third row from either side of the vehicle.

Mitsubishi Outlander in profile at Moonlight Bay

Very good  ground clearance at 190mm makes it easy to get in and out of as the seat is hip high, and also very capable off tar.

I got 9.8ℓ/100km during the week that I drove it although Mitsubishi claims 8.2 ℓ/100km. The good news is the 2.4-litre 16-valve DOHC MIVEC petrol engine producing 123kW and 222 Nm really wafts you to your destination without ever breaking into a sweat. It is a superb touring car.

Power is delivered to all four wheels through Mitsubishi’s  INVECS-III Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT) with a 6-step Sports Mode shift control. The CVT gearbox adapts to varying road conditions and power demands.

The Multi Select Four Wheel Drive system makes driving the Outlander in varying terrain easy. The system has three separate modes: Eco, Auto and Lock. In Lock mode under normal road conditions, priority is placed on performance. More torque is directed to the rear wheels than in 4WD Auto Mode to provide greater power off the line, better control when accelerating on gravel or loose surfaces, and enhanced stability at high speeds. This system works very well.

Outlander has a full Euro NCAP crash test five-star safety rating as it is equipped with all the crucial safety features, including Active Stability and Traction Control (ASTC), ABS brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (BAS), as well as Hill Start Assist (HSA) for tricky inclines.

Touring, space, driving long distances are this car’s forte. It is a family car in the tradition of the Ford Fairlane, Valiant Regal Safari, Borgward station wagon and Chevy Kommando of old. Space and place for everyone, power and good looks.

I found the Outlander a really nice car to live with. Highly recommended.

The new Mitsubishi Outlander costs R549 900 with a 3-year or 100 000 km warranty and a service plan for five years or 90 000 km.

Mitsubishi Outlander at Moonlight Bay

Competition includes Subaru Forester, Subaru Outback, Volvo V60 Cross Country and possibly the Mazda CX-5.

Audi A5 Coupé review

Audi A5 Coupé
The Audi A5 Coupé is a beautiful car, both inside and out.

The signature design element of the body is the wave-shaped shoulder line which starts at the nose and flows along below the windows through to and over the broad hips to a small lip on the rear. The nose has just the right dimensions. Aggressive, but not brutal. The rear is curvy, yet simple and elegant. With a drag coefficient of 0.25, the A5 Coupé is also the segment leader with respect to aerodynamics. It looks the part. This car drew people to look at it appreciatingly.

Audi says: “The new generation of the A5 Coupé is athletic, sporty and elegant, while its design goes hand-in-hand with sophisticated aerodynamics. Under the skin the Audi A5 impresses with an all-new chassis, powerful engines, and innovative infotainment features and driver assistance systems.” That about sums it up.
The interior is… well, a cockpit. As you get to spend time in it, you appreciate the materials, the layout, the dimensions. It is a very satisfying place to spend time at the wheel, whether just going to the mall, or pushing over a mountain pass at a good pace. The A5 easily transforms from luxury conveyance to sporty car at a press of the “Dynamic” button. On a mountain pass with the sport mode selected this car is a load of fun.
Our test car was equipped with the optional Audi virtual cockpit, a 12.3-inch TFT display which is highly adjustable to suit the driver’s needs. This is the future of instrumentation for cars.

Audi A5 cabin

Audi is a world leader in car cabin design. In the A5 the interior is exciting and relaxing at the same time. I loved the little details. As with all coupés the doors are a little long, so there is an arm that extends forward and holds your seatbelt for you. Pretty cool hey? Subtle lighting brings up the ambient light in the cabin at night just enough to see what you need to without distracting you.

The comfortable and supportive front seats are electronically adjustable and have two memory settings (extra cost item). Leg room at the back is acceptable, but not for very tall passengers. The boot is large. As a result the car is both a good family car, bearing in mind the two large doors, and an exciting sporty car.

In 2007 Audi introduced the A5 to the world. This year the second generation of A5 and S5 based on the B9 platform which it shares with the A4 is being introduced. The 5 comes as a coupé, sportback and convertible, and with a choice of three engines: two TFSI and one TDI unit. Their power output has been increased and is now between 140 kW and 185 kW. The sportback and coupé are on our roads already but the Audi A5 and S5 Cabriolet will only be available later this month.
The TDI we drove has a four-cylinder 2.0 TDI producing 140 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque with a claimed consumption of 4.1 L/ 100 km. We got 5.9L/100km, which is still very good.

Audi A5

These cars have all the driving safety aids, whether passive or active, of a top class car. Fortunately there is a comfortable setting for normal driving, as well as the eco and dynamic settings, which results in a smooth restful ride. If you are feeling a little restless you just select “Dynamic”. It also has an auto mode which switches between the modes as well as a personal setting which allows you to choose how it will behave.

The car we tested was the Audi A5 Coupé 2.0 TDI 140 kW Stronic Sport at a base price of R 653,000 excluding extras, which in this case included S-line trim, panoramic sunroof, Navigation with MMI, parking plus, rearview camera, three-zone aircon and special Mythos Blue paint.

The range starts with the A5 Coupé 2.0T FSI 140 kW S tronic at R 589,000. The top model is the S5 Coupé 3.0T FSI 260 kW quattro S tronic at R 928,000. The top Audi S5 Cabriolet 3.0T FSI quattrotiptronic comes in at R 1,028,000. The base A5 Cabriolet 2.0T FSI S tronic is R 689,000 without extras.

To these prices you need to add quite a few thousands to pay for the ‘optional’ equipment.

The cars all have a 5 year/100 000km Audi Freeway Plan and a one year unlimited warranty.

Fiat Tipo Hatchback 1.4 review

FIAT Tipo Hatch 1.4

The VW Golf has a certain status in our market. It is considered by many as just the right size and feel to be their car of choice.

In the last few years the Golf has got competition in the medium-compact segment with cars like the Hyundai Accent and i20, Kia Cerato, Mazda 3, Suzuki Ciaz and Baleno.

Fiat has just launched a simple but comprehensive range of sedan and hatch models to take Golf and these cars on, the Tipo. The Fiat Tipo is a little bigger than the Golf internally and is more down to earth, but we think, much better value for money.

FIAT Tipo Hatch

The Tipo family was developed around the brief “Skills, no frills” and combines the brand’s historic concepts of functionality, simplicity and personality in an extraordinary value-for-money offering.

Don’tbe fooled into thinking it is inferior, the Tipo family has been awarded a string of accolades, the latest of which is the prestigious Autobest “Best Buy Car 2016” award, chosen by a jury of 26 journalists from the most authoritative European car magazines. Tipo is sold in 50 countries and uses the selling point of generous standard equipment along with active and passive safety systems in an affordable package.

Locally two body styles, three trim levels, three engines and three transmission types will be available.

The hatch we drove is attractive without breaking the mould and yet has great detail design elements. We found it to have excellent ergonomics: comfort, space configuration, accessibility, visibility and driving position. The handling and roadholding, especially on slightly rough road surfaces is very good. The car feels settled.

The interior of the Tipo has loads of compartments with a variety of shapes and capacities totalling no less than 12 litres and can be used for storing personal objects, smartphones, bottles, coins and more. Furthermore, a media centre for connecting devices is situated in front of the gear lever. The Tipo features the latest-generation audio systems including a hands-free Bluetooth interface, audio streaming, text reader and voice recognition, AUX and USB ports with iPod integration, controls on the steering wheel and, on demand, the optional rear parking camera and the new TomTom 3D built-in navigation system is optionally available on all models except the EASY.

The load capacity is also class-leading: 440 litres for the hatchback and 520 litres for the sedan. The boot sill is low and stepless, to facilitate loading even the bulkiest of packages.

Modern active and passive safety devices are standard, including driver and front passenger airbags (with side and curtain airbags as an option). Also standard is electronic stability control (ESC), an effective but non-invasive driving aid. This sophisticated system helps to maintain steering control under extreme conditions, such as on wet or slippery roads, or when tackling tight corners or making sudden emergency manoeuvres.

All Tipos get LED daytime running lights.

The 1.4 16v Fire is the entry-level petrol engine of the Tipo family. This engine delivers 70kW at 6,000 r/min and reaches maximum torque of 127Nm at 4,500 r/min. This engine is fine here in the Cape but may be a little ‘pap’ on the highveld

The models we recommend are those with the 1.6 E-torQ petrol engine mated to 6-speed auto box.

The top-of-the-range 1.3 MultiJet II diesel with a 5-speed manual box is energetic, to say the least.

The Tipo has a range of 70 Mopar accessories , which include a jacket hanger, work table and tablet holder on the headrests of the front seats among more mundane items.

The Fiat Tipo Hatchback and Sedan is now available from Fiat dealerships countrywide.

The South African Range range consists of:

Fiat Tipo Sedan

1.4l Pop – R229,900

1.4l Easy – R249,900

1.3l D Easy – R274,900

1.6l Easy Auto – R274,900

Fiat Tipo Hatchback

1.4l POP – R249,900

1.4l EASY – R269,900

1.4l LOUNGE – R289,900

1.6l EASY Auto – R294,900

We think the EASY models, particularly the 1.6 hit the sweet spot.

All Fiat Tipo models come with a standard 3 year / 100,000km warranty and service plan.

 

Peugeot 2008 SUV GT Line 1.2 PureTech Auto review

Peugeot 2008 SUV GT Line 1.2 PureTech Auto

Small, slick city crossover cars are all the rage right now and the Peugeot 2008 not only fits the description to a T, but is a classy example of what one should be like. Perceived build quality is superb.

The 2008 has a notch in the roof, a bit like the Discovery, which gives the back ample space. The ride height of 165mm allows you to take that gravel road and the suspension is very good. To give it a bit more out-of-city ability it has a real full size spare tyre.

Peugeot 2008.

Boot space is fair with 410L normally, but with the rear seat folded down the boot is large. I like the brushed metal trim protection plate on the sill of the boot which is at a very comfortable height.

The interior is stylish classical French chic, with all sorts of little touches you will appreciate, like a refrigerated glovebox. It is a really pleasant cabin with soft touch and carefully thought out materials, colours and textures. The hand brake is a very different, aviation style device, but it looks good.

The rear seat does not recline as much as one perhaps would like it to, but legroom is quite good. The otherwise comfortable seats are at a very comfortable height for getting in and out.The basic interior is half leather trim as standard, but full leather is an option. I would not bother as the half leather feels just right and is exceptionally comfortable. The smallish multifunction leather steering wheel is a joy to use, as are all the controls.

Features include SMEG+1 digital touch screen with a jack/ usb, bluetooth and climate control except in the base model.

Peugeot 2008 GTLine

Optional extras include a Cielo panoramic glass roof, full leather seats, retention net and a number of other items.
Peugeot claim consumption figures 6.6 L/100km urban 5.2 combined, but I got (a still good) 7.8L/100km.
The 6-speed automatic gearbox coupled to the 3-cyl 1.2L turbo petrol engine delivers a more than adequate 81kW of power and 205 Nm of torque. There are actually 4 models in the 2008 range, two 1.6 HDi diesels which have manual gearboxes and two turbopetrol models with auto boxes. I recommend the latter.

Peugeot 2008 Interior

The lighting is very up-to-date with cornering assist fog lights, follow-me-home lights, bright headlight beams and LED running lights.
Technically the GTLine model we drove is sate-of-the-art with stop-start, grip control, rear park sensor with camera, hill assist, cruise control, auto wipers and auto lights.

From a safety point of view this crossover has ABS with EBD, ESP which allows you to select the right driving mode for the circumstances – mud, snow, sand or standard; EBA, anti-slip function, in fact all the safety kit you could want to help you get home safely.

The 2008 comes with a year or 100 000km warranty and a 3 year or 45 000km service plan. A maintenance plan is available at extra cost.

The GTLine costs R349 900, but the range starts at R274 900 for the diesel manual in Active trim.

The competition includes the Renault Captur (very good for touring especially on gravel), Toyota C-HR, Audi Q2, Suzuki SX4, Mazda CX-3 (seriously stylish and a driver’s car) and Nissan Qashqai (a best seller).

 

Ranger 3.2 TDCi Double Cab XLT AT 4×4

Ranger 3.2 TDCi Double Cab XLT AT 4×4

Ranger 3.2 TDCi Double Cab XLT AT 4×4

We tested this bakkie before in 2.2 and 3.2 guise but I have to say this facelifted version is even better. Ford has really pulled out all the stops to improve an already good vehicle. The interior sets the standard for the bakkie sector.

You can move effortlessly between 2WD and 4WD high mode or low mode with what Ford calls Shift-on-the-fly. It waltzes over any obstacle effortlessly.

I really like the e-Locking Rear Differential, ESP braking system and the clever underseat storage.
The big turbo diesel puts out a massive 470 @ 1500 – 2750 and achieves a claimed 8.6L/100km. I got just over 10L/100km.

It is a pleasure to drive on and off-road. It has the power. To do almost anything… a bakkie should.

There are a number of trim and equipment levels to choose from

Base – Fleet workhorses: manual windows, vinyl flooring, no ABS or air-con
XL – Mid-level: ABS, ESC, radio with bluetooth, electric windows
XL plus – Heavy duty: like XL but adds 4×4, dual batteries, expanded wiring harness, 17” wheels and AT tyres
XLS – With instrument panel incorporatingSYNC® with a CD player and Bluetooth.
XLT – With even more goodies for the leisure market, and dual colour 4.2-inch TFT screen.
Wildtrak – Top of the range is our equivalent to the Raptor in the bigger US Ford bakkies.

The Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux are somewhat different but they are equals. One does some things better than the other and vice versa.

I personally prefer the Ranger above the HiLux.

The bakkie as tested costs R570 900

Ford Ranger XLT TDCi 3.2 Auto

Ford Ranger XLT TDCi 3.2 Auto