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.

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.

Citi Vivo

Citi Vivo

Remember this?

Citi Golf 1985

Citi Golf 1985

Thought you would.

Production of the Citi Golf at the Volkswagen factory in Uitenhage ended in 2009 after 25 years. The plant produced over 377 000 units many of which are still on our roads. The Citi Golf gained some of its popularity from the quirky and humorous television and print adverts that told a South Africa story. These adverts were complemented by the engineering ingenuity that gave Citi Golf longevity in the local market and cult status.

Citi Vivo 2017

Citi Vivo 2017

It’s 2017 and VW need to give the Vivo a bit of vim.

“There is no better way to celebrate the success of the Polo Vivo as the best-selling passenger car in South Africa than to pay homage to its iconic predecessor, Citi Golf. The three colours of Red, Yellow and Blue are synonymous with the classic Citi Golf and it was fitting for us to use them as the only colours for Citi Vivo. Citi Vivo is a special edition with about 2 000 units planned,” said Stefan Mecha, Director: Sales and Marketing at Volkswagen Group South Africa.

Mecha added: “Polo Vivo is a proudly South African car with German engineering ingenuity. About 70% of its parts are sourced locally which has helped local suppliers to create jobs. Polo Vivo has the best resale value in its class.”

The Citi Vivo is based on the 1.4i Conceptline, but gets 15-inch alloy wheels painted in white (similar to the original Citi Golf), side mirrors painted in white, door and tailgate handles in white and CITI decals.

Its recommended selling price is R177 300.

VW Golf SV

Golf-SV-105-noseVW Golf SV – the versatile one

It may be a good idea not to think of the SV as a Golf. It is its own car, a real (not so) little MPV. Part Touran, but part Golf, where it counts.

I liked the well equipped simply styled interior. It is classy, ergonomically well thought out and beautifully executed.  Quite different to a normal Golf though. It is somewhere between a Golf and a Touran, but I found it a pleasant and practical compromise.

VW Golf SV

VW Golf SV

Space is what it is really all about. The boot is 500 litres to start off easily passing the pram and golf bag tests, but the rear seats also fold down and slide enlarging the cargo area to over 1 500 litres. Access is superb, as is leg room at the back. Get the full list of specifications at: http://www.vw.co.za/en/models/new-golf-sv/trimlevel_overview.html

Golf-SV-180-dashFuel consumption is an excellent 6.2 litres/ 100km in mixed driving. My route includes town, highway and a ten level parking garage.

These new generation petrol engines are more economical in town than the diesels generally, it appears. Performance is also peppy. Even the 1.2 will do the job on the Highveld due to the clever engine management and turbocharging.

The 1.4 we drove has ample power and accelerates effortlessly from 80 to 120km/h. The safety and handling systems built into the car are comprehensive, delivering superb safety and handling with a fun element.

You can quite easily kid yourself you are driving a Golf, its road manners are that good.

Golf-SV-093-obliquePerhaps it is good to think of the SV as a Golf with a big boot, but in reality it is a very different car with a taller stance and much more legroom and space in general. The stance means that the seats are higher off the ground making it easy to get in and out. The driving position is really comfortable.

The model we tested was the TSi Comfortline with a list price of R325 200. The range starts with the 1.2 Trendline at R292 500 and tops off with the 2.0 TDi DSG at R359 200.

The full price list is at: http://www.vw.co.za/en/models/new-golf-sv/prices_and_options.html

As you will have seen, typical of most German manufacturers the options list is long and expensive, and the basic car is just that; basic.

The real competition to this car is all more expensive. Especially the Germans from Stuttgart and Munich. So in effect the SV is good value for money and gives you more space than a hatch but does not significantly drop in performance or style.

Golf-SV-168boot

The service plan is for 5 years or 90 000km, but ask to upgrade to the maintenance plan.

Also look at the VW Touran, Mercedes Benz B series (R390k +), BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (R380k +), Citroën C4 Picasso and Opel Meriva.

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.

VW Golf 7 in SA

VW Golf 7

VW_Golf_generations_top

VW South Africa have launched 7 models of the new  Golf 7. But no GTi.

The new line-up enjoys a number of new engines.

The 1.2 TSI with 77 kW is the new entry engine and it replaces the 1.6 MPI 75 kW. The 1.4 TSI with 103 kW and 2.0 TDI with 110 kW engines replace 1.4 TSI with 118 kW and 2.0 TDI with 103 kW respectively. Both engines combine dynamic sporty driving experience and frugal fuel consumption.

The combined fuel consumption of the 1.4 TSI engine is: 5.3 l/100 km (equating to 121 g/km CO2) whilst the 2.0 TDI has a combined fuel consumption of 4.5 l/100km (equating to 119 g/km CO2 ).

They claim the new the base model 1.2 TSI 77kW with BlueMotion Technology consumes only 4.9 l/100 km.

Walter de Silva, Head of Design, Volkswagen AG: “One of the keys to the Golf‟s success lies in its continuity. There are but a handful of cars in the world with a design like the Golf‟s. It has been refined, tweaked and enhanced down the decades and has thereby become timeless.”

VW_golf7_25%

New Golf in short

Electronic Stability Control (ESC including anti-lock brake system, brake assistant, traction control, XDS electronic differential lock, engine drag torque control, counter steering support and trailer stabilization);

Light Assist main beam control; cruise control system including speed limiter; multi-collision brake; ParkPilot; Park Assist park steering assistant; tyre pressure monitoring indicator; Rear Assist.

Transmissions: 5-speed manual (2.0 TDI with 81 kW), 6-speed manual (1.2 TSI with 77 kW, 1.4 TSI with 90 kW and 1.4 TSI with 103 kW); 6-speed DSG (2.0 TDI with 110 kW) and 7-speed DSG (1.4 TSI with 90 kW). Cargo capacity: 380 litres to 1,270 litres

Colours: Base: Urano Grey, Pure White, Tornado Red. Metallic: Night Blue, Pacific Blue, Sunset Red, Reflex Silver and Tungsten Silver. Pearl effect: Deep Black

Dimensions: 4,255 mm long, 1,799 mm wide (without door mirrors), 2,027 mm wide (with door mirrors), 1,452 mm tall, 2,637 mm wheelbase. Drive: Front-wheel drive. Engines – diesel: 2.0 TDI with 81 kW and 2.0 TDI with 110 kW. Engines – petrol: 1.2 TSI with 77 kW, 1.4 TSI with 90 kW and 1.4 TSI with 103 kW.

Equipment lines: Trendline, Comfortline, Highline. Fuel tank: 50 litres Infotainment: “Composition Colour” CD/radio (5-inch touchscreen) – standard in Trendline and Comfortline models, “Composition Media” CD/Radio (5.8-inch touchscreen) – standard in Highline models, “Discover Pro” radio-navigation system (8-inch touchscreen) – optional. Production site: Wolfsburg plant and Mosel plant (Zwickau).

Running gear: MacPherson-type front suspension; modular lightweight rear suspension (1.2 TSI with 77 kW and 2.0 TDI with 81 kW) and modular performance rear suspension – multi-link rear axle (1.4 TSI with 90kW, 1.4 TSI with 103 kW and 2.0 TDI with 110 kW).

Wheels: 15-inch „Lyon‟ alloy wheels on Trendline; 16-inch „Toronto‟ alloy wheels on Comfortline and 17-inch „Dijon‟ alloy wheels on Highline

Sales: Over 29 million worldwide and 323 100 in South Africa. Model introductions in South Africa: Mk 1 – 1978; Mk 2 – 1984; Mk 3 – 1992; Mk 4 – 1999; Mk 5 – 2004; Mk 6 – 2009.

VW_Golf7_dash_15%

Retail Prices (VAT and Emissions Tax included)
1.2 TSI with BlueMotion Technology Trendline (77 kW) 6-speed Manual     R233 800
1.4 TSI with BlueMotion Technology Trendline (90 kW) 6-speed Manual     R246 700
1.4 TSI with BlueMotion Technology Comfortline (90 kW) 6-speed Manual R264 900
1.4 TSI with BlueMotion Technology Comfortline (90 kW) 7-speed DSG       R279 400
2.0 TDI Comfortline (81kW) Manual 5-speed                                                             R282 300
1.4 TSI with BlueMotion Technology Highline (103 kW) 6-speed Manual     R293 600
2.0 TDI with BlueMotion Technology Highline (110 kW) 6-speed DSG           R334 800
The new Golf model 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.

Volkswagen Tiguan 4×2 Trend and Fun review

Volkswagen Tiguan 4×2 Trend & Fun 2.0 TDi BlueMotion

VW are good at spotting a little niche and creating a new vehicle from an existing platform. In the case of the Tiguan, they followed the rest of the pack and came up with a quite compelling package. It is in effect a Golf with a bit more space, higher ride hight and a much bigger boot, provided you fold the seats forward. A Golf for the business owner or outdoor person. If you look at it in this light, then the 4×2 version which we tested when compared to the Golf makes a lot of sense.

The equivalent golf, the 2.0 TDI Highline Manual costs R315 800, this Tiguan R294 800. I know the specs are a little different, but not much. If anything, the Tiguan’s basic spec list is more practical than the Golf’s.

The model we tested was the 6 speed manual 2.0  turbodiesel 4×2 Trend & Fun with 81kW and 280Nm between 1750 and 2750rpm. It has a top speed of 174km/h and takes around 12 seconds to get to 100km/h. The claimed fuel consumption of 5.3 litres/100km must have been achieved in dreamland. Expect around 6.5 litres/100km at best.

Likes

The courtesy lights built into the mirrors are a nice touch, makes getting in and out at night a breeze. The automatic light system which switches on when it senses fading light works well.

The dash layout and finishes are typical VW and I think are well thought out and well made. The feel of the switches is superior.

With the rear seats folded the boot becomes enormous.

Dislikes

The car we tested was a little sluggish at low revs and lacked oomph at manoeuvring speed. But once on the go and with the turbo in full song it is different matter all together.

The Tiguan has two blind spots. The “A” pillars are a little thick, causing a minor blind spot. The other blind spot is to the left and slightly behind the car.

The rear seats do not quite fold flat, but do fold enough to make an enormous boot.

We have heard numerous reports of turbo and water pump failures on this range of  VW engines, but then they sell huge numbers of them.

Conclusion

The Tiguan is a Golf with serious space for shopping when the rear seats are folded down. It cannot compete with the likes of a Freelander or X-trail offroad, but rides higher than a Golf. It is almost as good as a Golf on tar.

I think it is a very real option to look at if you want a compact car but need a bit more space and practicality. I enjoyed driving it.

Also look at the Nissan Qashqai (R324 925, but is well appointed) and Juke (R226 925), Kia Sportage (R303 995, includes park assist etc) amd Mitsubishi ASX (R297 900).

Price

List price R289 100, Price as tested R346 450, extras fitted: towbar, roof rails, front foglights, park assist with reverse camera, satnav and leather seats.

Warranty –  3 years / 120 000km

Service plan – 5 years / 60 000km