Mitsubishi ASX review

Mitsubishi ASX

The ASX fits right into the small familiy SUV / crossover segment which includes the Mazda CX-3, Suzuki Vitara, Honda HR-V, Nissan Qashqai, Ford EcoSport, Renault Captur and Audi Q2.

So, lots of cometition but somehow the ASX stands out with the CX-3 and possibly the Qashqai.

I liked the ASX. Right size, right performance, right fit and finish.

Nic Campbell, General Manager of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa, says: “We have to address the current affordability needs of our customers. Today’s economy often forces buyers to opt for lower-spec vehicles, but our new ASX 2.0 GL CVT derivative offers the comfort and efficiency of Mitsubishi’s CVT transmission as well as its impressive standard specification in a truly attractive package. When you consider Mitsubishi’s world-class safety ratings, the new ASX 2.0 GL CVT is easily the best sub R400 000 vehicle on the market.”

He has a point or two.

The updated interior has also gone upmarket.

Luxury features include Bluetooth with voice control, cruise control, a multi-function steering wheel, electric windows, air conditioning, rain-sensing wipers, rear park distance control and automatic lights as standard on all models. GLX and GLS derivatives offer a full-length panoramic glass roof, keyless operation, a full colour touch-screen infotainment system, heated leather seats in the front, and an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, as well as a rear-view camera.

The new Mitsubishi ASX line-up consists of five derivatives all featuring the frugal and  reliable 2.0 MIVEC petrol engine. This engine is equipped with Mitsubishi’s  Valve Timing Electronic Control System (MIVEC) and multi-point injection that produces 110 kW at 6 000 rpm and 197 Nm of torque at 4 200 rpm. Power is delivered to the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox or CVT transmission with six pre-programmed gear steps.

The system works well.

Mitsubishi ASX interior (Photo: Danita du Plessis)

The ASX is one of the safest vehicles in its class and has a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. All ASX models feature Mitsubishi’s proprietary Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body shell, seven airbags, ISOFIX child restraint mountings and a range of dynamic safety systems that include ABS, electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assistance (BAS).

In addition to the above-mentioned specification, the Mitsubishi GLS derivatives feature LED running lights, electronic active stability and traction control (ASTC) and hill start assist (HSA) as standard.

The car feels planted on the road and has the power to do what you expect. In short, it is a highly competent package and pleasant to drive.

Prices

2.0 MIVEC GL 5-speed M/T R364,900
2.0 MIVEC GL 6-speed CVT R399,900
2.0 MIVEC GLX 5-speed M/T R399,900
2.0 MIVEC GLS 5-speed M/T RF R414,900
2.0 MIVEC GLS 6-speed CVT RF R434,900

ASX is sold with a comprehensive 5-year / 90 000 km service plan and 3-year / 100 000 km manufacturer’s warranty.

 

 

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Suzuki Baleno 1.4 GLX M

Suzuki Baleno 1.4 GLX M

Suzuki Baleno

The Suzuki Baleno is a completely new car on a completely new Suzuki platform in South Africa. Despite being larger than the Swift, the Baleno is 11% lighter, with a kerb mass of just 915 kg. As a result it has sprightly performance.

It is manufactured exclusively in India, by Maruti Suzuki since 2015, as a five-door hatchback, for 30 markets around the world.

Suzuki Baleno side view

For now only the well known and reliable K14B 1,4-litre normally aspirated engine is offered in SA, but this may be a good thing as it delivers surprisingly nippy performance in this body and has less bits that can go wrong. The drag coefficient of just 0,299, makes it the most aerodynamic production model Suzuki available and helps the performance.

It is a good looking car with the typical modern Suzuki nose including HID projector elements and LED daytime running lights and low-mounted recessed fog lamps, but it is not as “sexy” as the Swift.

Baleno’s interior is 87 mm longer than that of the Swift giving it class-leading rear legroom and the rear bench seat is wide enough for three occupants. The well executed cabin has very good space for this size of car and very good noise suppression. A tall person can sit in the back quite comfortably.

It is typically Japanese in style and is pleasant and ergonomic. The dash houses a 6,2-inch TFT colour screen in the GLX models and a comprehensive small display in front of the driver with trip data.

It has a deep luggage compartment with a good at 355 normally and can be extended to 756 litres with the rear seated folded flat.

Suzuki Baleno

There are two trim levels, the entry-level GL and the well equipped GLX, which comes with a choice of five-speed manual manual with an excellent power-to-weight ratio of 76,5 kW/ton or four-speed automatic.

The Baleno rides on an independent front suspension consisting of MacPherson struts, coil springs, dampers and an anti-roll bar in front, combined with a torsion beam, coil springs, dampers and an anti-roll bar at the rear which allows it to soak up road irregularities and gives it good handling performance.

Suzuki claims average fuel consumption for the combined cycle comes to 5,1 Litres/100 km for the manual model, and 5,4 Litres/100 km for the automatic version. I actually got 5.4 Litres/100km on my usual test cycle.

I liked the car and would recommend it because of the big boot, good interior space and frugal but sprightly performance. Suzuki have a winner on their hands.

Priced from R199 900 to R244 900.

The new Swift, still to be launched  has a 1,2-litre Dualjet engine and appears to be smaller and sportier than the Baleno.

The competition includes the smaller Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta as well as the  Hyundai i20, Kia Rio and Renault Clio.

The new Baleno is covered by a standard three-year/100 000 km warranty, as well as a four-year/60 000 km service plan. Services are at 15 000 km/12 month intervals.

 

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.

 

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.

MINI One review

MINI ONE

The MINI One is like a Mini Cooper, only not quite, it’s been trimmed down a bit.

Mini One

Mini One

In its way closer to the original Mini than any of the other modern Minis. So on one level it is a winner. It has a certain stylistic integrity and nostalgic feel to it.

But then you look at what else you could buy and keep a bag full of change and you wonder.

What do I really get in the package MINI calls One?

The engine you get is a three cylinder twin turbo 1.2 unit delivering 75kW and 180Nm. Not too Mini_one_outlineshabby. They claim a very optimistic 4.9litre/100km. I got just under 7 L/100km, which is not bad, but its not even close to 5.

You get a really pleasant driving experience. It’s fun and feels sure footed. I think it sounds fabulous. I just loved the roar of the three cylinder mill being fed by the two turbos.

You get a funky looking car on the outside.

You get a ‘nice’ interior, but nothing to write home about.

You get to drive a MINI. Nice badge.

That’s what you get.

You do not get climate control, onboard computer with consumption figures, front fog lights, multi-function leather sport steering wheel, and so on as standard. You have to buy additional expensive Chilli and Wired accessory packages.

You do not get a big boot or rear doors or windows that can open or that children can see out of.

Mini_one_Jordans

I am a little ambivalent about this ONE. So I got a second opinion, from my wife, Danita.

I grew up with Minis when they were still King- of- the road on the racetrack and the fast forest stages in the Monte Carlo rally.

I fondly think about them as cute, fast and very “agile”. I was extremely excited when we signed for the funky looking tomato red test car.

The outside is still a chubby road clinger look and a real eye catcher. I just love the headlights that “stay behind” when you lift up the bonnet.

Mini_one_dashUnfortunately I was quite disappointed with the interior of the car. The speed dials and layout of the dashboard looks outdated and just too basic. It just did not keep up with the hightech look of the outside. The armrest on the console and inside of the doors are way too high in comparison with the very low bucket seats. The safety belt is not easy too reach, it is too far behind you.

Surprisingly the legroom at the back of this two door car is good. A real pity that the back windows cannot open at all, quite claustrophobic!

But then…we hit the road….Yes yes yesssss!!!! I just love it – fast and footsy, oh man! So…yes you pay big time for the Branding and yes, there are many other options in this price range but oh man if I had that kind of money to spend on toys THIS would be it for sure!!!!!

So there you have it.

The manual costs a whopping R272 000 and the auto an eye watering R290 000. That’s a lot of money for a quite basic little car. But it is different and may be worth a bit of a premium.

Also look at the Mazda 2, Suzuki Swift Sport, Audi A1, Ford Fiesta, VW Polo GTI, Renault Clio, Opel Adam and Fiat 500.

Warranty is 2 years, with no distance limit but 3 years for the paintwork. A service motorplan is available at extra cost.

Suzuki Super Carry bakkie arriving soon

Suzuki is about to launch a three-quarter ton light bakkie in SA.

Its a cab over design and gets a 1.4 litre four cylinder petrol engine with a five-speed manual gearbox.

The Super Carry is 3,8 m long and 1,56 m wide, yet features a load deck measuring  2,18 x 1,49 m.

It goes on sale through Suzuki’s national dealer network from June at a recommended retail launch price of R129 900. The price includes a three-year/100 000 km warranty.

suzuki super carry