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.


Renault Kadjar

Renault Kadjar

Another month, another cross-over. And so we get the Kadjar.

Renault says the Kadjar is the result of the integration of three vehicle categories: capable SUV, dynamic hatch and versatile sportswagon. So its actually a kind of cramped station wagon on stilts, and quite expensive.

The line-up comprises three models all powered by forced induction turbo engines. At the top end of the range is the turbo diesel-powered Dynamique 96kW 1.6 dCi (320Nm) 4×4 followed by the turbo petrol-powered Dynamique 96kW (205Nm) and entry-level Expression variants.

The equipment levels are quite good, especially the safety aspects, with six active devices as well as air bags, isofix points and so on.

Renault Kadjar (Quickpic)

Renault Kadjar (Quickpic)

On paper the cars appear to be powerful and frugal and should drive pleasantly.

The Kadjar lcomes standard with a 5-year/150 000km mechanical warranty and a 6-year anti-corrosion warranty. In addition the range comes standard with a 5-year/90 000km service plan. Services take place at 15 000km intervals.

– Renault Kadjar petrol Expression 96kW Turbo R 359 900

– Renault Kadjar petrol Dynamique 96kW Turbo R 384 900

– Renault Kadjar diesel Dynamique 96kW dCi 4×4 R 449 900

Maybe the Duster is still a better buy. Even the Stepway. You can get two Stepways for the price.

After we get to actually drive a Kadjar we will do a proper review.

Toyota Auris XR review

Toyota Auris XR review

Auris XR

Auris XR

Toyota entered the hatch market with the Corolla hatch in 1984 based on the FF (front engine, front wheel drive) 5th generation family size Corolla range which also included more sporty rear wheel drive models.

Today Toyota makes many different hatchback models including the very small Aygo, the compact Yaris and the family sized Auris.

The C segment which includes the medium family cars like the Auris comprises compact family hatches (30%) and sedans (70%) but is under pressure from compact SUVs which are like little station wagons on tall wheels.

The present version of the Auris is an example of just how good today’s car design and engineering is. It simply does everything so well and ticks so many boxes.

⊗ Good fuel consumption.

Toyota Auris XR at Lourensford Estate.

Toyota Auris XR at Lourensford Estate.

⊗ Excellent road manners.

⊗ Solid build quality.

⊗ Comfortable interior.

⊗ Comprehensively equipped.

⊗ Safe.

⊗ A pleasant car to drive, with a fun dimension.

The electric lime green XR Auris we got to test certainly stood out on account of its colour. But it also stands out because of its design and styling. And value for money.

Toyota_Auris-etc-011-DashI particularly like the design of the dashboard. It reminds one of an aircraft dash, but in a good technical way, not the fake styling of some other brands. The interior is really pleasant and well thought out, with plenty of storage nooks. Space is actually quite good. The boot easily passes the pram test and is surprisingly big for a hatch.
In the Auris, Toyota has caught up with VW and Ford in respect of the perceived quality and I think may exceed them in the actual quality of materials used and feel of the switchgear.
The drivability is more sprightly than sporty. It goes well and does pack a satisfying dollop of power and good almost sporty road manners. It is not a GTi or STi wannabe, rather a well behaved car with a slightly mischievous streak.
Toyota claims 0 to 100km/h in 10 seconds. In reality acceleration is on par with the competition and more than good enough.

I got 7.1 Litre/100km in Auris-Xr-Vergelegen-094-flankmixed driving, which implies that 6L/100km on the open road is more than likely. If you drive really carefully you will be able to improve on these figures.

Resale values for Toyota hatches have always been good, and I think you can expect the same or better for this range.
The competition in this niche of the market is fierce and several cars are deserving of consideration. I would recommend testing the Focus and Mazda3 before deciding.

Prices start at R223 700 for the base X version right up to R360 300 for the Hybrid. The model we tested was the XR at R287 700.

Warranty is 3 years/100000 km. Sevice plan is 5 years/90 000 km.

Also consider the VW Golf , Kia Cerato, Hyundai i30, Peugeot 308, Ford Focus and Mazda3



New Volvo V40 prices released

Volvo’s new premium hatch, the V40 will be available for test drives at all Volvo dealerships from 15 October, and will go on sale from 15 November 2012.

Initially, Volvo will be launching with the all-new V40 in T3 manual, T4 manual, D2 manual and D3 Geartronic derivatives. The remainder of the local line-up, including the Volvo V40 R-Design, will be available from March 2013.

V40 Recommended Retail Pricing.
Includes VAT and Emissions tax

V40 T3 Manual Essential          R 281,200
V40 D2 Manual Essential         R 283,200
V40 T3 Manual Excel               R 299,300
V40 D2 Manual Excel              R 301,300
V40 T3 Manual Elite                R 313,200
V40 D2 Manual Elite                R 315,200
V40 T4 Manual Excel               R 316,800
V40 T4 Manual Elite                 R 330,700
V40 T4 Powershift Excel          R 332,600
V40 D3 Geartronic Excel         R 339,800
V40 T4 Powershift Elite            R 346,500
V40 D3 Geartronic Elite            R 353,700
V40 D3 Geartronic R-Design    R 363,300
V40 T5 Geartronic Excel           R 373,700
V40 T5 Geartronic Elite            R 387,600
V40 T5 Geartronic R-Design    R 397,100

The Telegraph in the UK says of the new V40 “Volvo’s new V40 is a serious rival to the Audi A3, BMW 1-series and Ford Focus.”

It is actually built on the Focus platform, which is a pretty good start for any car.

The Telegraph continues by saying:

With the Focus’s MacPherson-strut front and control-blade independent rear suspension, Volvo has painstakingly engineered the system to new heights with a small team of just four engineers. They have strengthened the steering column and fitted expensive Tenneco monotube dampers at the rear. It’s been worth it, with an uncanny ride quality which maintains its chassis composure whatever you throw at it and recovers from road undulations faster than almost anything in the class.

The electronically assisted steering combines the Focus’s accuracy with a calmness and linearity, but at a small cost in feedback to the wheel. It drives almost as well as it rides. Whisper it, but this is the best-handling Volvo for years.

KIA Cerato Hatch 1.6 EX Manual Review

KIA Cerato Hatch 1.6 EX Manual Review

The new 2011 Cerato hatch breaks new ground for the KIA brand, which with this car establishes itself as a serious aspirational, sporty automotive brand alternative to the same old marques and announces itself as the BMW or Alfa of Korea. It’s that good. And very affordable for the package you get. The competition is going to battle to match this.

We tested the 1.6 manual in basic trim. In truth you don’t need more at sea level. It goes well, it’s nippy, a pleasure to drive and does everything it should, ticking all the right boxes on the way. I was pleasantly surprised with this car. The 2.0 litre models must be quite sporty with their extra 15% power.

Initially the electric (motor driven) power-assisted rack and pinion steering seems too light, almost unpleasantly so, and has a mid or centre spot which feels dead, until you get used to it. The steering becomes progressively stiffer the faster you go. You quickly become accustomed to it. The gears, clutch and handling are just right. It’s fun to drive and very responsive.

The interior has been well thought out. The controls for the aircon and fans feels a bit flimsy compared to the rest of the switchgear, but is much like other cars in its segment. The rest of the interior has a smart, sporty (but not boy racer) feel to it. Legroom at the back is surprisingly good. The cloth seats are comfortable and adjust easily.

Cerato Hatch comes standard with ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution), as well as dual front, side and full-length curtain airbags. Active headrests are also standard on all models.

The 0 – 100 km/h sprint takes 10.3 seconds, average fuel economy is a claimed 6.6 L/100km and CO2 emissions are 158 g/km. I got just over 7 L/100km and the acceleration felt quick.

Standard equipment includes aircon, iPod and USB connectivity, MP3 compatible CD/radio with 6 speakers, electric mirrors and windows, immobiliser and full size spare wheel.

Nice touches are keyless entry, speed sensing auto door lock, Electric Chromic rearview mirror and three spoke leather steering wheel and gear knob.

The 1.6 we tested produces 91.2kW @ 6 300 and torque of 156 Nm @ 4 200.

Price is R185 995, the top of the line 2.0 Auto costs R215 995. Warranty is 5 year / 100 000km, Service plan 4 year / 90 000km and service intervals 15 000km.