Mazda 2 1.5 DE Hazumi 6AT 5DR review

Mazda2

Mazda2

Mazda2

Mazda are back with a bang in South Africa. Good looking cars. Great new engines. All the safety kit.
The Mazda2 we are reviewing here has big shoes to fill. Remember the two versions of 323 we had back in the day? Good cars which seemingly lasted for ever. This new 4th generation model was Car of the Year in Japan in its launch year.

Mazda2

Mazda2

Our test car had a beautiful colour, Smoky Rose, better in the flesh than in a photo. The same can be said about the exterior of this Mazda2. Very pleasing to look at. Mazda calls their design philosophy ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’ design. They kind of get it right, I think.

The interior is neat, uncluttered and smart, with a few luxury aspects like red stitching on the dash cowling and soft touch where it matters. The half leather trim seats are comfortable and quite adjustable. A premium cabin that not only looks good, but feels right and exudes quality.
So it looks right, but how does it perform?

The 6-speed SKYACTIV-Drive automatic transmission couples directly with the engine and combines the best aspects of a conventional automatic, continuously variable (CVT) and dual clutch transmissions. It is brilliant and points to the future.

mazda2_16_rear

This model has a very modern up-to-date robust 1.5 turbodiesel engine which develops 250Nm of torque and 77kW of power. Mazda claims a fuel consumption of 4.4L/100km and I got a very creditable 5.8L/100km in real life driving. Acceleration and top speed is fine but is definitely geared to economy. The chassis has been well set up and delivers great handling and superb road holding. As with Mazda in general, it’s a fun car to drive, and it has all the safety kit.

MZD Connect is the Mazda infotainment system. It is a complete system with a multi function commander rotary control just like on swanky German cars, a 7” touchscreen, Bluetooth and USB connections, clear, intuitive menu, several other functions and even includes internet radio (Pandora, sticher and aha). Pretty nifty. Easy to use and works well.

The Mazda 2 1.5 DE Hazumi 6AT 5DR as tested costs R290 700. The range starts at R204 100 for the 1.5 Active, which has the very good Skyactive petrol engine and feels seriously quick.

Mazda price list here. 

I would rather get the Mazda2 1.5 petrol Individual automatic at R227 200 if I was buying a B class car now. If you need a slightly bigger car have a look at the Ford Focus 1.0T.

You get a 3-year unlimited kilometre factory warranty , a 3-year service plan and a 5-year Corrosion Warranty.

Other cars in this segment include the brilliant Honda Jazz, Ford Fiesta and Focus 1.0T, Kia Rio, Hyundai i30, Toyota Yaris, VW Polo and Renault Clio.

Mazda2

Mazda2

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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

Mazda CX-5 2.2L DE Akera AWD Automatic review

Mazda CX-5  2.2L DE Akera AWD Automatic

Mazda CX-5

Mazda CX-5

Mazda sells just over 50 cars a day, of which the Mazda 3 and CX-5 make up 55%. Mazda CX-5 sales in particular grew by 93% over the past year, making the model the segment leader in the Compact SUV Segment, helped no doubt by the clever positioning of the six model range.

Why are so many people buying the CX-5?

Styling

Kodo is the mantra at the Mazda design office. They rave on about soul of motion styling with flowing lines in a package that melts away the boundaries between the interior and exterior.

Mazda CX-5 at Boschendal

Mazda CX-5 at Boschendal

It is a good looking car, inside and out. The lines are pleasing and it just looks balanced. This new generation of Mazda’s are all good looking cars but I think this CX-5 and the sporty MX-5 get it perfectly right. That balance between standing out from the crowd, but not being outlandish. It is a design that should age well.

Interior

mazda_cx5_dashI particularly liked the three different textures or surfaces from soft to semi-soft the hard plastic. Areas which you will see but rarely touch are generally semi-soft, areas you will touch tend to be soft touch and wearing surfaces hard. Not only clever and practical, but also stylish and effective.

Mazda’s infotainment system is called MZD Connect. It is an intuitive easy to use system. The controls and switches on the MX-5 just sit where they should, and work the way they should. They are a pleasure to use.

The two top models get an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with power lumber support. Upholstery is leather. These seats are really comfortable.

You can tell that Mazda are aiming at the top end of the market with their top models and now match Audi with this interior.

Technically

Mazda’s 2.2 turbo-diesel engine puts out 129kW and delivers a solid 420Nm. Much more than you need for a car of this size, but its nice to have and makes overtaking a breeze. Fuel consumption is very good at an average 7.3 litres/ 100km for the week I drove the car.

I drove the smaller CX-3 with the 2.0 litre normally aspirated petrol engine and can report it is spirited and I got 8 litres/ 100km, in the smaller SUV.

The new Mazda auto shifter combines the best attributes of conventional automatic, continuously variable and dual clutch transmissions. It works for me.

Most models have Blind Spot Monitoring and Lane Keep Assist, both of which really enhance safety.

In the smarter models ( Individual and Akera models) the Adaptive Front-Lighting System swivel up to 15 degrees in the direction you’re steering, revealing more of the corner. These lights also automatically adjust for oncoming traffic.

Mazda CX-5 with the Drakenstein

Mazda CX-5 with the Drakenstein

Handling

Sweet. In a nutshell, she handles sweetly. The CX-5 feels nimble and sits well on the road.

Summary

This new generation CX-5 is an advanced luxury car which offers top class safety and luxury with really good performance, handling and fuel economy. I liked it and would personally consider it if I was in the market now.

Price

From R363 900 for the 2.0 L Active petrol to the 2.2 diesel Akera as tested at R533 400.

Full price list here.

Mazda gives you a 3 year unlimited km warranty and service plan.

Competition

Nissan Qashqai and X-trail, Audi Q3, Kia Sportage, Suzuki Vitara, Honda CR-V, VW Tiguan, Toyota RAV 4, Renault Kadjar.

mazda_cx5_bum

VW Tiguan 1.4 TSi Comfortline review

VW Tiguan 1.4 TSi Comfortline

My wife watches a programme on Dstv where they give people a little pizazz or new lease on life by giving them a new hairstyle, change of wardrobe, show them which-make up suits them and so on. A bit of spit and polish, as it were.

That’s more or less what the engineers at VW’s  massive Puebla plant in Mexico, where Tiguan is made, did. Sure the new Tiguan is built on the new MQB platform and is longer and wider than the first generation car, but it’s more of the same recipe many South Africans loved. Brought up to date by giving it bolder styling, new tech under the skin and improvements in economy and ride quality.

VW Tiguan 1.4

VW Tiguan 1.4 at the Tasting Station Elgin.

We tested the 1.4 TSi turbo-petrol engined manual derivative. It is a pleasant car to drive. I think the performance is fine and the handling is excellent, perhaps partly due to the lowering by 30mm of the new version compared to the original. The highly adjustable optional electric front seats fitted to our review car are very comfortable together with the adjustable multi function steering wheel allow you to find an optimal driving position.

The Tguan we drove was heavier on fuel by a country mile than VW’s claimed consumption. The long term average consumption of the unit driven was 8 litre/ 100km with 11.4 L/100km achieved in town.

The Tiguan comes with a Marie biscuit type spare wheel with fairly comprehensive emergency kit in the biggish boot of 520 litres with the seats up. Double that with the seats folded flat.

vw-tiguan-dashI generally like VW interiors and the Tiguan is no exception. The black trim, including the roof lining looks good. Fit and finish and the materials used have an aura of good quality. A nice touch is the CD player in the cubby hole.

The interior feels and looks very good and is a very pleasant place to travel in. The logic and layout is just right.

The water bottle holder in the door is too big though, so a normal (cycling) bottle keeps falling over.

The leg room for the back seats is much more than you normally get in this size of car and the back of the front seats even have a fold down table, although it appears to be a little flimsy.

Think of the new Tiguan as a Golf on steroids rather than a small sister to the Toureg. This new Tiguan has no off-road pretences, its strictly a car for the road, but handles gravel with aplomb.

Price as standard is R419 000 without all the extras fitted to our test car. As tested with all the extras:

  • Sunroof  R4000vw-tiguan-backseat
  • Towbar   R7500
  • Auto boot lid   R5000
  • Active info display with 6.5-inch touchscreen R8000
  • App connect    R1500
  • DynAudio sound package   R13000
  • Adaptive cruise control  R5000
  • Vienna leather seats R11000
  • R-line exterior package  R18000
  • LED headlights   R7500                                  Total R80 500

The price of the car you see in the pictures is actually an eye watering R500 000. With some of the items you have to buy another as the come bundled. So if you want the DynAudio package you need to also take the space saver spare wheel! What the wheel has to do with the audio is a mystery. Perhaps they use it as a type of boom box.

I think the car is a little on the expensive side. If you are a VW fan you will love this car.

The range starts with the very basic Trendline from R379,900.44, next up is the Comfortline trim level in petrol from R419 900 to diesel R469 500 and finally the Highline from R549 000. In all cases you are going to pay much more because the basic car has very little in the way of equipment, clearly demonstrated by the extra options fitted to our review car. Add R50 000 to the sticker price of the VW when comparing to cars which come fully equipped.

Here is the official VWSA price list.

Other similar cars to look at include Suzuki Vitara, Ford Kuga, Nissan Qashqai, Jeep Renegade, Audi Q3, Renault Kadjar, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi ASX and Honda CR-V.

We recommend you take the Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Qashqai for a test before deciding.

vw-tiguan-back

Datsun GO+ Panel Van review

The new Datsun 1400 bakkie has arrived

I had a little powder blue Nissan 1400 bakkie with a white canopy when I started working. It was a great little vehicle, except on the long road to… anywhere. The cabin was a little small for real travelling comfort, but around town and as a runabout it was without par.

The Datsun 1200 pickup (120Y) was launched in June 1971 at just R1295. There were no options, except colour. The Datsun 1200 pickup model B120 which had 12”wheels became the Datsun 1400 in 1980. It was again updated and facelifted as the Nissan 1400 (B140) in 1982 and was built till November 2007. Over 285 000 were built at Rosslyn near Pretoria over the years and quite a few hundred were exported each year.

In 2007 at the end of its life it cost R74 990 and produced 47kw and 97 Nm to achieve a top speed of 146 km/h.

In October this year Nissan quietly launched the Datsun GO+ Panel Van, the spiritual successor to the 1400 bakkie.

The GO+ is based on a 7 seater multi-purpose vehicle, but is a real little panel van with a proper loadbay. Like the bakkie of old, it carries just over half a ton.

Datsun Go+ van

Datsun Go+ van

The GO+ has a modern 1.1 litre 3-cylinder engine which pushes out 50kW 105 Nm letting you get to 160 km/h eventually, on a longish downhill. Like the original 1400 bakkie it does not have ABS or EBD, which I think is a pity.

If you love dogs this little van is perfect. The two rear windows can open and the back can just be wiped clean. The rear windows all have dark security film.

Like its ancestor, the Go is a simple vehicle and simple to drive. There is nothing fancy, but what it has got works well. The aircon cools the whole van down in no time. The engine is a tad noisy but is very willing in town conditions. The breaks are fine but beware: there is no ABS.

datsun-go-dashThe quality, fit and finish of the interior is somewhat industrial but is acceptable.
It comes with a docking station or unit into which you can plug a GPS, phone or iPod. It has a USB port for charging.
The rear door has a remote lock. The side doors work exactly like the car’s.
I think this little panel van is going to do very well, especially considering the price and low operating costs.

The biggest thing that keeps entrepreneurs awake at night is often cash flow. Making sure that money coming in exceeds money going out is one of the biggest challenges facing any small business. If your business involves carrying goods, chances are that payments, maintenance and running costs come a close second to worries about cash flow.

Des Fenner, General Manager of Datsun South Africa, suggests that taking time to draw up a schedule before paying out hard-earned cash for a delivery vehicle pays major dividends. It’s all about checking what’s available and then listing the pros and cons, he says.

Datsun Go+ Panelvan

Datsun Go+ Panelvan

With this new mini panel van from Datsun easy access to loads is offered through the two rear doors on both sides, and the high opening rear hatch, which will make quick deliveries and pick-ups easy. A solid partition separates the cargo area from the driving compartment. The divider is topped with a sturdy mesh grill, that ensures loads stay where required, and provides the driver with the ability to quickly visually check loads.

The GO+ van has all the creature comforts of the car on which it is based. Electric front windows, air conditioner, neat little trip and consumption indicator, bottle holders and the like are standard but not a radio.

With a total loading capacity of 542 kg and a loading area of 3.4m³ it is ideal for small businesses that need to deliver and/ or collect small to medium sized parcels/ goods. The Datsun GO+ Panel Van has the biggest cargo space and cargo carrying capacity of 542kgs – about 267kgs more than its closest priced competitor, in the upper A-segment/ lower B-segment.

The vehicle’s strongest selling point, however, is the Datsun GO+ Panel Van’s total cost of ownership. At an extremely appealing selling price, the cost per kilometre will surely assist any start-up and business-conscious entrepreneur.

Datsun claims the following consumption figures:
• Cost per kilometre R1.87 prices as of 01/10/2016 FLEETCUBE
• Claim back 14% VAT if a registered business owner
• An economical 1.2 litre petrol engine that delivers 50kW at 5 000 rpm Torque 104 Nm at 4 000 rpm
• Fuel consumption of 5.2 litres per 100km in an urban/country cycle

I got fuel consumption figures of around 6.5 litres / 100km, but bear in mind the car was brand new, so the figure should improve.

datsun-go-van-rear
The selling price is R 149 900 (incl. VAT)
The service plan includes replacement of lock nuts, average labour rate, engine oil and some consumables, with the following options available:
• 3 year/ 90 000km at R14 765 (incl. VAT)
• 5 year/ 90 000km at R15 299 (incl. VAT)
• 7 year/ 120 000km at R20 449 (incl. VAT)
A maintenance plan is also available with the following options:
• 3 year/ 90 000km at R28 904 (incl. VAT)
• 5 year/ 90 000km at R29 979 (incl. VAT)
• 7 year/ 120 000km at R46 033 (incl. VAT)
I recommend taking out the 5 year maintenance plan.
Datsun provides a 3 year/100 000km warranty.
The competition includes Toyota Avanza, Honda Mobilio and Suzuki Ertiga.

Mazda MX-5 2.0L Roadster Coupe STP review

Mazda MX-5 2.0L Roadster Coupe STP

It’s not practical.

Who cares, with the roof down, sun shining, the road open and you are piloting a MX 5 Miata. mazda_mx5_thumbMotoring bliss. Officially its just an MX-5, but I love the Miata moniker; forgive me.

It is a mobile grin generator. You can’t help it.

But does it have a boot?

Well sort of. If you only have a tog bag and a laptop, no worries. Its big enough for a two basket shopping trip. Who needs more? The MX 5 will never pass any pram test, but you could fit one large pack of disposable nappies, but nothing else, in the boot.

If you and your paramour went on a romantic weekend breakaway you would have enough space, just pack sparingly.

Is it very fast?

No, not super fast. On paper 216km/h and 0 to 100 in 7.6 seconds. But its more about how you get there. It feels fast and sure. It sits on the road, with a light touch. I found my self tootling along at a ton quite happily and enjoying the slow lane quite often. The thing is, if you want push on, you can go for it and enjoy that side of this little devil as well. As TopGear said: “A complete sweetie of a roadster… It dances along difficult roads.

Mazda MX5

Mazda MX5

The suspension is set up for overall driving so may be a little soft for outright cornering performance but I like the compromise. It just soaks up bumps and rough spots. Speed bumps don’t worry it at all.

The MX-5 has very good brakes.

Is it noisy?

TopCar says of the MX-5: “It’s got a decent noise to it, zingy and bubbly all at once, none of that active exhaust or dashboard acoustical nonsense here.” I just say it sounds sporty and growly when it should and otherwise just purrs. Perfect.

What, no turbo?

No turbo. Just the smoothest, willingest 2.0 litre four cylinder petrol engine coupled to a slinky short throw 6-speed gearbox and a brilliant clutch which when coupled to a light body of around a ton gives a stunning power to weight ratio. The power output is 118 Kw @ 6000 rpm and max torque is 200 Nm @ 4600 rpm.

Is there space in the cabin?mazda_mx5_dash

What for? Its got two very comfortable seats, a place for your phone and a small cubby between the seats. Oh, and two cup holders. But beware, an almost empty cup can be sucked out of the holder when at full song.

The interior is smart and practical and appears to be well put together, as with all of today’s Mazdas. The heated seats are great, especially with the top down. The steering wheel is highly adjustable and is a comfortable size. There is not a lot of foot space for the driver but the pedals are well set up even if you want to heel-and-toe.

mazdfa_mx5_roof-foldingThe MX-5 is very well equipped with 203 watt Bose audio system, cruise control, a very good air-conditioner, heated leather seats, 7-inch touchscreen (MZD connect), Bluetooth and heated mirrors.

I just loved the fold away canvas roof which takes about 30 seconds to stow or to raise, using one hand and one locking lever.

What else?

Equipment fitted as standard includes automatic LED headlights, daytime running lights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, hill hold and idle stop, limited slip differential, as well as all the normal safety tools. In other words  the car is fully equipped straight out of the box.

mazfa_mx5_roof-up-bum

A word of warning. There is no spare wheel. Instead they give you a full tyre repair kit with a compressor.

Biased?

I got a second opinion from my wife in case you thought I was perhaps too emotional about this little motoring gem.

To say compact or small is a severe understatement, so is the word “cute”.
A midnight trip with the roof down and the seat heater on is Sooo incredibly nice it feels totally illegal, actually each and every trip is a mmm (memory making moment)!
Smooth gearbox, very agile, clinging to the road together with an extremely good brake- and sound system is awesome beyond.
I must admit that being so low scares me a bit when changing lanes and there are big delivery vans and buses to take into account. It cannot be easy to see such a little car in your rear or side mirror. It is also quite a scary feeling that you will not stand a good chance of walking away from an accident unscathed. Aluminium is lightweight etc but it feels a bit flimsy when you stop next to something like an Amarok! Even so…..eye candy with illuminated LED eyeliner, super sexy…I really enjoyed this adorable little funmaker…oh yesss!!!

Housekeeping

Mazda claim a combined fuel consumption of 6.7 litres per 100km, I got 6.9L/100km, including some spirited driving, so as far as sports cars go its amazingly frugal.

The Mazda MX-5 must be one of the best toys you can get yourself. Midlife crisis? Nah. Life in a Miata is just too much fun.

Suggested retail of the MX-5 2.0L Roadster Coupe STP is R441,779. For the moment you only get to choose the colour. Simple.

mazda_mx5_frontish

In the second quarter of 2017 a folding hard top or targa model called the Mazda MX-5 Retractable Fastback, will be launched locally with a choice of automatic or manual gearboxes.

The Mazda MX-5  won the 2016 World Car of the Year award and the World Car Design of the Year, the first time one car has won both awards since the wards were established in 2004.

Price includes a 3-year unlimited km warranty, 3-year service plan, 5-year Corrosion Warranty and 3-year roadside assistance.

There is no real direct competitor to the MX-5 on our roads, but also look at the Toyota 86 (R474 200), Audi TT (R602 000), BMW Z4 (R612 945), BMW 2 220i (R465 554) and VW Golf Cabriolet 1.4 Tsi (R391 800)

Naamsa vehicle sales data for November

Naamsa vehicle sales data for November

Wesbank’s take on November sales. The graphic tells the story.

Locally manufactured vehicles continue to top sales charts. Year-to-date sales indicate that the most popular vehicles are volume sellers from mainstream brands, while the five top-selling vehicles for the year are all built in South Africa.

Ford really struck a chord with SA consumers when they introduced the automatic 2.2 bakkie range. Ranger outselling HiLux by 1 200 units.

Naamsa November vehicle sales

Naamsa November vehicle sales