Recent motoring launches

There were quite a few announcements about new models during August.

GWM P-Series
GWM which sells the Steed bakkies and Haval SUVs locally has just launched a new bakkie model range on their new P71 platform. It will get an 8-speed ZF automatic box coupled to a two litre VVT turbo-diesel engine putting out 140kW and 360 Nm, smart four-wheel drive with three diff-locks, high-strength body, the latest generation of Bosch version 9.3 ESP (stability control), 360 View, Rear View Camera, Lane Departure Warning, intelligent forward view (adaptive cruise control) and 12 radars.
The body measures 5 425 mm long, 1 972 mm wide and 1 893 mm high. The wheelbase is 3 230 mm.
With this bakkie they intend become number three behind Toyota and Ford. Watch this space.
Interestingly they have aligned themselves with several accessory and equipment suppliers and related players to form a complete ecosystem.
Expect the P-Series in the middle of the year (2020). The slightly more compact Steed will be continued.

Audi Q3 35 TFSI S-tronic
The second generation Audi Q 3 is here.
It now features a digital cockpit and a large MMI screen with touch response, assist systems to support the driver when parking, in town and on long journeys and has more knee room, headroom and elbow room.
There will be only one engine version – a 1.4 petrol engine with front wheel drive and a six-speed S tronic box. The power output delivers 110 kW and 250 Nm of torque from a four-cylinder direct injection unit with turbocharging. Six modes or driving profiles can be selected depending on conditions using the drive select dynamic handling system.
Audi South Africa has introduced a new package concept which will be adopted for all new models to be launched. The packages are: Comfort, Technology, Sport, Parking, S-line and Black. For example, the Comfort package includes storage and luggage; parking aid plus; electric tailgate; electric seats; seat heating and 4 way lumbar support.
The standard equipment list is more comprehensive than in the past and includes the digital cockpit, climate control, electronic stability control, rear parking aid and light / rain sensor.
In my opinion the new Q 3 looks great inside and out. Customers have many options for customizing their car. These include a contrasting paint finish for the lower body section or the S line exterior package which offers more sporty looking bumpers, sill trims and diffuser.
The instrument panel is divided into two levels: the top part includes the air vents; the bottom section incorporates the large octagonal area with its black-panel look. It is a really attractive interior.
The Audi Q3 range gets the Audi Freeway plan (5 year / 100 000 km) and is priced as follows:
Audi Q3 35 TFSI S-tronic at R565000, Advanced is R585 000 and S-line a solid R599 000.

Toyota becomes hotspot
“As of 01 September 2019, all new Toyota and Lexus models sold in South Africa will come standard with in-car Wi-Fi including 15GB free data (which you can top up) as well as a host of connectivity features and benefits courtesy of Toyota Connect, a major extension of the MyToyota App,” says President and CEO of TSAM, Andrew Kirby.
Known as Toyota Connect, the new connectivity hub will be housed within the MyToyota App which was launched in 2014. The technology allows owners access convenience, connectivity and safety benefits. Toyota the only manufacturer to offer a mobile App that is fully integrated with manufacturer and dealer systems, it is also the first organisation to offer the convergence of Wi-Fi and connectivity features in one package across the model range internationally.
The benefits of Toyota Connect can be grouped into three main areas: Connectivity features, Convenience and Safety features.
All the big brands are innovating and taking the present technology to the highest levels yet seen. The next generation will be very different and possibly powered either by hydrogen or batteries or they will be hybrids. They will be more automated and less driver orientated, almost like Ubers without the driver.

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GWM Steed 5 Double Cab 2,0 VGT 4×2 review

Steed-5-E-00_thumbGWM Steed 5 Double Cab 2,0 VGT 4×2

GWM have introduced a new, bigger leisure double cab bakkie as flagship, the Steed 6. A full road test will follow in due course.

The Steed 5 remains in the line-up as a workhorse single cab bakkie, but getting a new 2.0 turbodiesel engine.

GWM have upgraded the smaller (normal) Steed 5 double cab to the Steed 5 E, which now comes in two models, the basic SX and the Xscape which adds leather upholstery, a touch-screen media system with Bluetooth, rear diff-lock, side steps, roll bar and tyre pressure monitoring.

Steed 5 E

Steed 5 E

The biggest difference in the new Steed 5 E is the nose. It looks really good. The Steed 5E Double Cab 2,0 VGT SX is now a good looking, well equipped bakkie, and comes with climate control, radio/CD with USB support, dual front airbags and ABS/EBD as standard.

Steed-5-E-025Changes include a new aerial built into the windscreen (very effective) , quieter and more effective windscreen wipers, integrated side indicators, extra sound-insulation around the cabin and revised rear seat cushions.

These bakkies appear to be well put together. No dust, no squeaks or rattles and everything opens and closes properly. The cabin feels well appointed and quiet in a bakkie context.

A strange omission is no clock and I missed a simple trip data display with fuel consumption and the like.

Steed-5-E-039The ride when empty is a little skittish but very similar to the previous Isuzu KB.  Steering is very direct and light but not unpleasantly so. The gearbox, clutch set-up is very good and smooth, a real pleasure and easy to use.

They claim a fuel consumption of 8.3 litres/100km. I got around 9. So its on a par with the best.

If you want a smaller double cab, you must test drive the 5 E. Also look at the Nissan NP300, Mitsubishi Triton and outgoing Toyota HiLux.

Pricing of the Steed 5E range (excluding service plan) is as follows:

Steed 5E 2,4-litre SX                             R229 900
Steed 5E 2,4-litre Xscape                      R244 900
Steed 5E 2,0-litre VGT SX             R259 900 (as tested)
Steed 5E 2,0-litre VGT Xscape             R274 900

The cost of the service plan needs to be confirmed with your dealer. A 4×4 version of the Xscape will be available soon.

Warranties are really good. Manufacturer’s warranty is for 5 years or 100 000 km, while the corrosion guarantee is 10 years and unlimited km.

As tested R259 900. The 4×4 is R289 900.

The bigger Steed 6 Double Cab 2,0 VGT SX costs R294 900.

Steed-5-E-034

 

 

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