Jeep Wrangler Rubicon review

Jeep-Wrangler-thumb

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 3.6L V6 

The Wrangler is an off-road machine. I use the Helderberg Farm 4×4 trail to test 4×4 vehicles. Well, the Wrangler just wasn’t tested. It is so capable it just waltzed over the course. It is almost foolproof off-roading at its best. But loads of fun.

The Jeep Wrangler really can go anywhere, even to the ends of the earth. The wrangler we tested is the short wheelbase two door Rubicon model. The best outdoor toy a woman or man can buy, I think.

Interior Wrangler_topless

The Jeep is designed as a practical, working go-anywhere 4×4 rock hopping, trail conquering machine. Visibility is excellent.

Controls are chunky, sturdy and easy to use. It is as mud proof as a comfortable.

The interior is an excellent place for man and machine to become one. At the same time a mom with her kids will find it just dandy to go to the mall or on the morning school run.

The modern Jeeps all have the normal safety equipment including airbags and a good sound system, air-conditioner and so on.

For interior cleaning and water drainage, remove the floor drain plugs located just below the foot spaces.

Wrangler-142Bundu Basher

You can dismantle the black plastic type roof (without tools) either partially or completely remove it to make an open Jeep like you see in the old WWII movies. Just much bigger and better than the original. The Command-Trac 4WD system is unbeatable. Rubicon has a 73.3:1 crawl ratio, allowing for a controlled 0.8km/h cruise up or down the rocks.

The Wrangler is available with a V6 “Pentastar” petrol engine or a turbodiesel with your choice of automatic or manual gearbox. I would go for the automatic diesel.

Wrangler-187

With the flip of a switch, Wrangler automatically disengages its electronic front sway bar when driving under 29km/h in 4WD 4LO mode for tremendous off-road articulation which I did not need on our 4×4 test trail. It is good to know you have it though.

Front and rear Tru-Lok® electronic locking differentials lock power and distribute it evenly between the wheels for more traction. The instrument panel-mounted rocker switch can lock either the rear or both axles.

A six-speed manual transmission comes standard on Sport and Rubicon. The Wrangler Electronic Throttle Control system’s special off-road calibration is designed to help the driver “feather in” the throttle over uneven terrain, logs and rocks.

Wrangler’s hill descent control with grade sensing allows a smooth and controlled hill descent on rough or slippery terrain without the driver needing to touch the brake pedal. This system applies the brakes to each wheel individually when needed to reduce forward motion while negotiating down steep grades. Hill start assist helps when starting from a stop on a hill by maintaining the level of brake pressure applied for a short period after the driver’s foot is removed from the brake pedal.

Wrangler’s Tyre Pressure Monitoring System regularly checks inflation levels for optimal safety, security, performance and fuel economy. If the levels are off, a warning light will illuminate on the instrument panel.

The Wrangler deals with highways as easily as it does jeep tracks. Power steering and superb all round visibility makes parking a breeze.

Safety

Electronic Roll Mitigation uses innovative motion sensors that determine when a rollover may occur and applies braking force to the correct wheel or wheels to reduce the likelihood of such an accident. Other accident avoidance features include: all-speed traction control with special calibrations for driving in 4WD 4LO; antilock brake system with a unique rough road detection system; brake assist system, which applies maximum braking power during panic braking; and multiple available four-wheel drive systems.

Conclusion

The Rubicon3.6L V6 M6 (209kw and 347Nm) as tested is R416 910. The diesel Sahara 2.8L CRD A5 (147 kW and 460Nm) is R440 910.

The Long wheel base 4 door versions are about R22 000 more and may be the more practical options if you have a family.

Warranty against defects and faulty workmanship for 3 years or 100 000 km.

Wrangler-160

Auris 1.6 vs Golf 1.4 TSi

Hatch match
I was sitting in the new Auris thinking just how much Toyota has upped its interior design game when I realised that I had to compare it to the latest Golf to properly evaluate just how far the car has come. So I organised a Golf 7 to test.

Toyota Auris 1.6

Toyota Auris 1.6

Is the Auris interior as good as that of the Golf 7? Well, yes and no. I still prefer the materials, layout, clever juxtaposing of finish and feel of the Golf, but it all comes at a price. To match the appointment and equipment level of the well-equipped as standard Auris, you need to spend quite a bundle. The result of my interior comparison is clear. On value for money, the Auris wins easily. But the Golf still has a little edge in terms of overall feel.

Ride and handling

Moving on to the ride; it quickly becomes evident that the handling qualities of the two cars and the results are similar. The Toyota has improved massively and is now similar to the Golf in performance, but the VW is still more of a driver’s car. It’s just a little sportier. Both are a pleasure to drive and handle very well. The Auris’s days of labouring behind the Golf are gone.

Golf 7 1.4 Tsi

Golf 7 1.4 Tsi

The Golf 1.4 TSI accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in a claimed 9.3 seconds and has a top speed of 203km/h. The “little” 1.4 produces 90kW and 200Nm. The Auris 1.6 develops 97kW and 160Nm to take it to 100km/h in a claimed 10.8 seconds and to a top speed of 195km/h.

They consume pretty much the same in everyday use. The Auris should give you well under 7 litres per 100km without too much trouble. I got 6.5 litres per 100km in the Golf, driving conservatively. In town, however, it goes up quite rapidly to around 7 litres per 100km. On the highway you can get under 6L/100km, though. Thus, even the fuel consumption is a close match.

Both cars sport all the safety kit you would expect from top level C segment cars. But the build quality of the Auris appears to have a slight edge on the Golf.

The price comparison is interesting. The basic price of the VW Golf 1.4 TSI is R269 500. The car I tested had R6 000 worth of optional extras. The Toyota Auris 1.6 XR costs R253 200, but has a full house of equipment as standard. Both cars come with a five-year or 90 000km service plan and three-year or 100 000km warranty, the Golf to 120 000km. There is at least a R20 000 price difference between the two cars. The Auris is much better equipped as standard. My advice would be to test them both if you’re shopping in this segment.

First published in Your Business magazine.

Chevrolet Trailblazer 2.8D 4×4 LTZ review

Chev-Trailblazer-thumbChevrolet Trailblazer 2.8D 4×4 LTZ

The question is: Is the Trailblazer as good as, or better than the Fortuner?

Mmmm. That depends.

It is certainly very capable and comfortable. A pleasure to drive.

General impressions Chev-Trailblazer-liftfront

The Chevrolet Trailblazer 2.8D 4×4 LTZ is big, she’s bold and has a huge GM bowtie on the grill. Chuck Morris’s SUV.

The ‘blazer is basically built on a shortened new Isuzu KB chassis so remains a bakkie at heart. She even sounds like an Isuzu bakkie, but of course has a completely new engine.

The Trailblazer has the power and torque for towing big caravans and boats. And going straight over mountains if needed.132kW @ 3800rpm and 470Nm @ 2 000rpm.

Space for seven , with three rows, or fold the seats down and load a few bikes. The third row seats fold flat into the floor creating a cavernous “boot”.

Although a big car she is easy to drive and park.

Chev_Trailblazer_dashInterior

The Trailblazer has space, and uses space cleverly. The cabin gives the impression of airy room, partially a result of the light trim used for the seats and most interior surfaces.

GM claims there are 11 cup holders. I believe them.

There is ample headroom and space for your legs and shoulders.

It has a very uncluttered look. There are quite a few power points scattered around the cabin.

The third row of seats are easy to use and work really well. They fold completely flat when not in use.

The steering wheel is great to use with cruise control on the right and audio controls on the left.

The second and third row of seats also get aircon, a nice touch.

The steering wheel is great to use with cruise control on the right and audio controls on the left.

The second and third row of seats also get aircon, a nice touch.

Exterior

She looks a lot like a Fortuner on steroids. Big and bold. I like the lines.

Chev-Trailblazer-leftbackDriving impressions

This is one big SUV that is a joy to drive.

On jeep trails the Trailblazer comes into its own. It has the grunt, the gears and the go to keep going. I tested it on the Helderberg 4×4 Trail just outside Somerset West. It passed with flying colours.

The ‘blazer comes as standard with highway orientated tyres, so if you are going to spend time in the bundu it is recommended you get A/T tyres.

Niggles

The very light leather upholstery looks great when new but I am not sure it will wear well if used for off-roading.

The biggest niggle for me is the lack of diff lock.

The bonnet is quite long when driving on 4×4 trials. You can’t see the trail directly in front of the vehicle.

The Trailblazer has loads of usable power and is very easy to drive.

Summary

The Chevrolet Blazer is going to give the Fortuner a bit of a run for its money. It feels more stable on gravel roads, a weak point of the Fortuner. In many ways it improves on the Toyota.

Price

2.5 LT 4X2 MT           R364,000.00

2.8 LTZ 4X2 AT         R429,900.00

2.8 LTZ 4X4 MT         R461,300.00

2.8 LTZ 4X4 AT         R476,900.00

3.6 LTZ 4X4 AT         R486,700.00

Service Plan 5yr/90 000km, warranty 5yr/120 000km

 

 

Daihatsu Gran Max 1.5 DOHC 1 Ton review

Daihatsu Gran Max 1.5 DOHC 1 Ton

Daihatsu bakkie 007

The Gran Max is a very different workhorse 1 ton bakkie designed for urban use. For the price of a half ton bakkie you get a full ton.

Its cab forward design maximises the available load area, while still offering a spacious cabin with seating for up to three occupants.

The load bed is 2,4 m long and 1,6 m wide, creating a flat-floored cargo area of more than 3,7m².

With a full one-ton carrying capacity, and drop sides around the cargo area, the Gran Max offers really easy loading.

A low load height of just 720 mm makes loading easy, while a turning circle of 10m allows exceptional maneuverability around town. It is a town bakkie, not meant for the long road. 

Functionality and utility are core for this light truck. The raised cabin and generous glass areas ensure exceptional visibility, while the seating combines a two-seater bench for passengers with an independently adjustable driver seat. The seats get a little uncomfortable after a while.

Daihatsu dashThe gear lever is located in the dashboard, close to the steering wheel, freeing up further legroom and ensuring that the Gran Max can accommodate three occupants. But not much else. There is no spare space in the cabin.

The 1.5 L Dynamic Variable Valve Timing engine develops 76kW and 134Nm at just over 3 000rpm. Fuel consumption of around 7,7 litres/100 km can be expected.

There is a slightly higher spec model for an extra R10 000 which adds dual front airbags to the safety equipment list, together with air-conditioning.

Retail price is R139 995. The price includes a three-year/100 000 km warranty.

Daihatsu bakkie 011

 

Feisty Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost Titanium review

Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost Titanium

Ford-Fiesta_tight-frontishThe overall impression of the new facelifted Ecoboost engined Fiesta is solid. Build quality appears to be very good and perceived cabin quality is high.

The cabin is pleasant, has good space, headroom, practical cup and other holders and the ergonomics are very good. Aircon works well and the front seats should be adjustable for any size.

The gears, clutch, brakes and steering are all well set up and work as expected. Acceleration is surprising. This Ecoboost engine has loads of go.

I particularly liked the hill stop control.

Ford-Fiesta_nose

Exterior

There are some who do not like the new nose. I think you will get used to it quickly.

The other lines are pleasing. The general impression is of cohesiveness. I think it won’t date too quickly.

InteriorFord_Fiesta_dash

The cabin of the Fiesta is practical and pleasant. There are enough softer surfaces to counter the hard plastics.

The seats feel firm, give good support and are quite adjustable, as is the steering wheel.

All the controls are easy to use and are easy to find.

A variety of storage spaces are provided.

The sound system and info systems work well and are simple to use.

Driving impressions

This one litre turbo petrol three cylinder engine is a joy. I heard a comment that it sounds like a sewing machine. Maybe, but it goes like a bat out of hell. I quite enjoy the sound of the three cylinder motor at full song.

Interestingly the engine switches off when in neutral (at a red traffic light for example) and switches on the moment you press the clutch.

When the turbo kicks in she pulls better than the 1.4 engine it replaces, mostly matching or beating its 1.6 normally aspirated sisters. It’s a joy to drive. The steering and handling are to my mind the best in this segment.

The brakes are very good and behaviour on the road is excellent.

The engine produces 92kW and 170Nm between 1400 and 4500rpm. Thats pretty decent.

Claimed fuel consumption is 4.3litres /100km. I got 6.5litre /100km, perhaps because it is such a spirited car to drive. The testers over at Car magazine got it down to 5.6litres/100km.

Its fun to drive.

Niggles

My biggest niggle is the price. Other than the lack of cruise control the Fiesta does not have any major negatives.

SummaryFord-Fiesta_rear

A little expensive, but if you want to go green, a really good option.

Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost costs R231 500 –

4yr 120 000km warranty, 4yr 60 000km service plan

I really liked the Fiesta. To me it is a great little car. Smooth gears, good clutch and excellent road manners.

It also has good interior space and feels solid. The Ecoboost engine also packs a mighty punch.

It’s just a pity about the price. I think it is a little steep.

The competition comes in at R218 900 for the Suzuki Swift, R203 600 for the VW Polo 1.6 (excl extras), the  Kia Rio 1.4Tec at R177 995 and the Toyota Yaris at R206 900.

Citroën DS3 VTi 82 vs Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost

Dynamite comes in small packages

The era of small 3 cylinder turbo boosted petrol engine cars has dawned quite quietly. We test two of them, the luxury orientated Citroën DS3 VTi 82 and the practical Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost Titanium.

In the previous edition of Your Business we discussed the change in the way we have to look at engines (and especially their capacity) with the introduction of new green technologies. Here we look at two cars which demonstrate this perfectly.

Citroen_ds3_frontishCitroën DS3 VTi 82

The DS range is the chic “upmarket” offering from Citroën. As such the DS3 has all the bells and whistles you would expect in a little luxury car, including cruise control, scented air freshener and automated lights. It does not have hill stop control.

I never quite got the hang of the clutch and gears during the week I drove it. The clutch and the brakes take very high. I assume this is for high heels, as the DS3 is very much a ladies car with in the case of the test car a pretty eye candy two tone purple and white colour scheme.

I did not like the cruise controls and remote audio control hidden behind the wheel. The car has no headroom.

Some of the fit and finish seemed to be decidedly economic. The handles for the seats are flimsy.

Space at the back is suitable only for pre-teens. It is also a mission to get in and out of the back.

The engine is more than adequate with 60kW and 118Nm at 2750rpm.

Fuel consumption is claimed to be 4.5litre /100km, but I only managed 6.5litre /100km.

Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost TitaniumFord-Fiesta_tight-frontish

The overall impression of the Fiesta is solid. Build quality appears to be very good. The cabin is pleasant, has good space, headroom, practical cup and other holders and the ergonomics are very good. Aircon works well and the front seats should be adjustable for any size.

The gears, clutch, brakes and steering are all well set up and work as expected.

I particularly liked the hill stop control.

Interestingly the engine switches off when in neutral (at a red traffic light for example) and switches on the moment you press the clutch.

When the turbo kicks in she pulls better than the 1.4 engine it replaces. It’s a joy to drive.

The engine produces 92kW and 170Nm between 1400 and 4500rpm. Thats pretty decent.

Claimed fuel consumption is 4.3litres /100km. I got 6.6litre / 100km.

A little expensive, but if you want to go green, a really good option.

Summary

Citroën DS3 VTi82 costs R199 900  – 3yr 100 000 warranty, 4yr 60 000km service plan

Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost costs R231 500 – 4yr 120 000km warranty, 4yr 60 000km service plan

I prefer the Fiesta. To me it is the better car. Smoother gears, better clutch and excellent road manners. It also has more space and feels solid. The Ecoboost engine also packs a punch.

GWM Steed Double Cab 2.0 VGT 4×2 review

Steed 5 Double Cab

Steed5_frontGetting more than one bargained for is always a nice surprise. Driving the latest Steed bakkies from GWM is just such a little treat in life. They are very good.

I drove the Steed 2.0 turbo-diesel double cab down to Gondwana Game  Reserve (http://www.gondwanagr.co.za/) using the N2 and coming back on the gravel road ( Route  327) over Van Wyksdorp. A good test of high speed highway and various types of gravel road.

The bakkie I drove had 10 000km on the clock. There was not a squeak or rattle to be heard. The Steed 5 seems to be a very well built bakkie on the lines of the previous (outgoing) Isuzu design platform, but with a better engine and gearbox.

Ride height is 198cm, which is fine for normal uses. Tyres are 235/70 R16, which make for a comfortable ride and a purposeful look.

Fit and finish appears to be good.

The Steed comes with ABS, EBD, two airbags and fog lamps.

Interior

The cabin does not try to be car like. It is a comfortable well laid out bakkie.

The aircon works very well and like all the other controls is simple to use. Radio/CD player is a standard unit. The on/off switch is a bit finicky.

The seats are comfortable, also over  longer distances. The driving position works well. They are not height adjustable.

The interior is completely dust free. I drove over 300km on gravel roads without a speck of dust.

Exterior

The Steed looks exactly like the outgoing Isuzu KB from the middle of the bonnet backwards. The nose is unique and I think looks like  the nose of a modern bakkie should look.

It is a neat design and looks up to date.

Steed5_side

Driving impressions

The Steed behaves superbly on gravel roads. It is much better than the HiLux or the previous KB. On tar it is a pleasure to drive. The sixth gear is a long overdrive only suitable for level cruising, but in fifth she climbs hills without effort. Fifth can also  be used for overtaking.

The steering is a pleasure. It is light at low speeds and stiffens with increased speed. Very good.

I found the brakes effective and well modulated.

The suspension has been really well sorted for both on-road use and gravel travel.

The 2.0 litre turbodiesel produces 110kW@4000rpm and 310Nm @ 1800 – 2800.

Expect fuel consumption of around 10litre per 100 km.

Likes

Very smooth gearbox coupled to a very willing engine.

Fantastic value for money. Feels and looks like a real bakkie, which it is.

Dislikes

There is a small digital clock in the radio display when the radio is off. Otherwise no clock.

The 4 cup holders are all can size, so water bottles do not fit properly.

I would have liked a cruise control.

The doors lock automatically 15 seconds after being closed. This can be very bad if your keys are in the car. Some people will like this feature. I worry that I will lock myself out.

Steed5_LFConclusion

This is the first Chinese bakkie which you have to consider when you are in the market for a bakkie . It is a very very good value proposition. I liked it.

The Steed does not try to be anything other than a fine one ton light truck. Build quality seems to be good.

The Steed 5  Double Cab 2.0 VGT 4×2 costs R239 900. Its 4×4 sibling R264 900. Prices which are almost impossible to beat.

There is a 3 year / 100 000km warranty.

There is no competition at the price.

The nearest competitors are the Foton Tunland at R279 950 and Nissan NP300 at R338 400.

Steed5_ass

Ford Transit and Tourneo launched

Ford Transit Custom 

“The Transit Custom is a welcome introduction to the South African market,” said Gavin Golightly, Marketing Manager, Ford South Africa. “This is a stylish, modern van that customers will be proud to have in their driveway. At the same time it’s up for the tasks required by this segment.”

Ford_transit

The Transit Custom is available in a choice of short wheelbase (SWB – overall length 4.97 metres) and long wheelbase (LWB – overall length 5.34 metres) versions.

To provide customers with a wide range of payload options from 600-1,400kg, Transit Custom is available with multiple GVM options.

The 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi engine is offered in three variations. The 74kW model offers 310Nm of torque from just 1 300rpm, the 92kW version offers 350Nm at 1450rpm while the high-powered 114kW version offers 385Nm at 1 600rpm.

The three units deliver differing fuel consumptions figures but all come in at under 7.3l/100km on a combined cycle run* while emitting less than 192g/km CO2..  The high-powered 114kW is the most frugal using just 6.6l/100km and emitting only 174g/km CO2.

Ford Tourneo Custom 

Ford_tourneo

“The Tourneo Custom offers the kind of style and performance which will have a very broad appeal, particularly to personal use customers looking for a spacious and versatile vehicle,” explains Ford Marketing Manager Gavin Golightly. “It’s a fantastic-looking people mover – inside and out – and offers outstanding day-to-day practicality while still being great to drive.”

The eight-seater Tourneo Custom is available in a 2933 mm short wheelbase version (SWB – 4.97 metres overall length), and a 3300 mm long wheelbase (LWB – 5.34 metres overall length).

At a height of less than two metres, the Tourneo Custom also comfortably complies with most car park height limits. This advantage is retained when the vehicle is fitted with the innovative deployable integrated roof rack system, which is seamlessly integrated into the roof and can easily be raised or lowered when required.

Tourneo Custom models offer twin side sliding doors as standard, with running boards below the doors for improved low level step access, as well as a strong visual differentiation. A liftgate is fitted as standard at the rear.

The Tourneo Custom is powered by Ford’s latest 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel engine.

The Tourneo Custom is available in two power ratings: 74kW on Ambiente derivatives and 92kW on Trend derivatives. Both are mated to a six-speed manual transmission delivering fuel consumption figures of 6.5 l/100 km on a combined cycle and 172 g/km CO2 emissions.

The Tourneo Custom has been engineered to deliver outstanding functionality, durability and low cost of ownership. The Tourneo Custom comes with a 4-year / 120 000km comprehensive warranty. Service intervals are every 15 000km with a Service Plan covering 5 years or 90 000km and 3 year /unlimited km Roadside Assistance.

Prices

Tourneo 2.2 TDCi Ambiente SWB FWD 6MT          R337 895

Tourneo 2.2 TDCi Trend LWB FWD 6MT                 R363 772

Transit 2.2 TDCi Ambiente Low SWB FWD 6MT  R266 526

Transit 2.2 TDCi Ambiente Hi LWB FWD 6MT     R278 421

Transit 2.2 TDCi Sport SWB FWD 6MT                     R319 825

Isuzu KB generation 6

The new KB is here at last.

Its bigger.

Its bolder.

Image

But, is it better?

The new KB is 260mm longer – that’s more than 5% – than the previous model. It’s also 60mm wider (up 3%) and 60mm taller (up 3,5%).  This translates into an increase in interior space as well as a more space efficient load box. That’s good.

The top specification Isuzu KB LX models are available with a 5-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission mated to the 3,0 litre D-TEQ diesel engine. Features include driver operated sequential shift as an alternative to full automatic shift and a torque converter lock-up clutch. That’s better.

The new Isuzu KB chassis is both longer and wider than the previous generation model in overall dimensions and has a longer wheelbase, up by 45mm on the previous model. Track on both the 4X2 and 4X4 models in increased by 50mm. Both of these increased dimensions improve ride and handling, overall vehicle stability and comfort. That’s better.

The driver is able to select from a number of 4X4 driving modes using the Terrain Command Dial. The 2 wheel drive to 4 wheel drive high ratio change can be implemented on the fly at speeds of up to 100km/h. The vehicle, as with all 4X4 vehicles, must be stopped to change to the extreme condition 4L (low-range) mode. This selection is also initiated via the Terrain Command Dial.

All LE and LX models, as well as the 4X4 Fleetside models, have a driver activated differential lock as standard equipment, operated by an easily accessed push-button switch. That’s better.

The engine range starts with the 2,4 litre petrol 16V DOHC engine available on the Base, Fleetside, and LE models. This multi point fuel injected engine produces maximum power of 112 kW with 233 Nm of torque. Fuel consumption for the combined cycle has been measured at 10,4 l/100km with CO2 emissions of 245 gm/km (4X2 models).

Next up in the engine range is the 2,5 litre low pressure turbo diesel engine available on the Base and Fleetside specifications. This engine provides 58 kW of power with 170 Nm of torque.

The latest generation 2.5 litre D-TEQ engine is available on Base, Fleetside, and LE specification levels and produces 85 kW of power with maximum torque of 280 Nm available from a low 1800 r/min.

The top engine in the new Isuzu KB range is the upgraded 3,0 litre D-TEQ engine that is offered on LX specification models and now has maximum power of 130 kW – up by 10 kW – with 380 Nm of torque. That’s good.

We hope to test the KB soon and will then give a full description and evaluation.

Prices:

DIESEL

Single Cab

Isuzu KB 250 D-Teq                                                            R229,300

Isuzu KB 250 Fleetside D-Teq                                         R242,700

Isuzu KB 250 Fleetside D-Teq (Safety)                       R244,900

Isuzu KB 250 LE 4×4                                                          R315,700

Isuzu KB 250 LE                                                                  R274,800

Isuzu KB 300 LX                                                                  R311,700

Isuzu KB 300 LX 4×4                                                         R362,300

 

Extended Cab

Isuzu KB 250 E/Cab LE                                                      R290,700

Isuzu KB 300 E/Cab LX                                                      R359,400

Isuzu KB 300 E/Cab LX 4×4                                              R412,300

Double Cab

Isuzu KB 250 Double Cab LE                                           R363,200

Isuzu KB 250 Double Cab LE 4×4                                   R384,100

Isuzu KB 300 Double Cab LX                                           R410,400

Isuzu KB 300 Double Cab LX Automatic                    R423,400

Isuzu KB 300 Double Cab LX 4×4                                   R464,400

PETROL

Single Cab

Isuzu KB 240 Base                                                              R218,900

Isuzu KB 240 Fleetside                                                     R233,700

Isuzu KB 240 Fleetside 4×4                                            R258,500

Isuzu KB 240 LE                                                                  R253,200

Double Cab

Isuzu KB 240 Double Cab LE                                           R309,100

Isuzu KB 240 Double Cab LE 4×4                                   R380,200

Service Plan 5yr/90,000km (Except on base models)

Warranty 5yr/120,000km

Kia Rio 1.4 Tec review


Kia Rio 1.4 Tec manual

Kia_Rio_thumb

This new “B” class car from Kia was a finalist for car of the year 2013. A Porsche beat it. It is so good, and so much of an improvement on its predecessor.

The Kia Rio 1.4Tec is a little luxury car, fitted as standard with all the goodies you could reasonably want with two omissions, more of later.

The 1.4 normally aspirated multipoint fuel injected petrol engine produces 79kW and torque of 135Nm at 4 200rpm to take you to a top speed of 183km/h and a 0 – 100 sprint in 13.35 seconds. Kia claims a very low consumption of 6.4 litres/100km. I managed to get 6.4litres/100km in combined town and highway driving. My usual route is about 100km a day and includes a stretch on the N2, town driving and parking on the 8th floor of a parking garage.

InteriorKia_Rio_dash_2

The interior of the Rio is superb. It comes with all the goodies you can expect as standard and all packaged in a great trim and finish. From leather multifunction steering wheel to climate controls, everything feels right.

This new Kia matches, or beats the  interiors of its direct competition.

Included in the package are luxury big car items like automatic lights, wipers, rear parking sensors electrically operated side mirrors and windows and awesome LED running lights.

The leg room at the back is good and the boot is generous.

The Rio is a great looking car in both hatch and saloon iterations. The nose is more than pretty.

Kia_Rio_white_side
Driving impressions

On the road the Kia feels competent. I would have preferred one size smaller wheels I think, to improve the comfort of the ride.

The steering which was iffy on previous Kias is much improved and is accurate. You do not notice it. That is a compliment.

Acceleration at the coast is better than brisk.

This new Kia is fun to drive. All the flaws in earlier Kia designs seems to have been fixed. Ride quality is not quite Ford Fiesta yet, but matches VW Polo I think and is better than Toyota’s Etude.

What I did not like

I thought the omission of cruise control and hill start assist is unfortunate. I would have preferred them to for instance, park sensors.

The bottom corners of the dash are quite high and could be a problem for a short person.

Summary

Possible competition includes the Suzuki Swift, VW Polo, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and the Toyota Yaris.

Overall a very good package and hard to beat.

Price of the 1.4 Tec hatch as tested R177 995, which includes park sensors, auto lights and wipers, climate control and audio system.

Its automatic sibling is R187 995. The range starts at R144 995 for the 1.2 manual.

Includes 4 year 60 000km service plan and a 5 year 100 000km warranty.

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