Ford Tourneo Connect 1.6 Automatic

Ford-Tourneo-Connect-057-noseFord Tourneo Connect 1.6 Automatic

After many years Ford has a little van again. And what a little van it is.

The Ford Tourneo  comes in two sizes, three trim levels and choice of two engines.

The Grand Connect 1.6 Automatic we drove is a 7-seater MPV (multi-purpose vehicle), the smaller model a real 5-seater.

Ford-Tourneo-Connect-037-side

The Connect may look like a van but it drives like a car, feels like a car. The Titanium model even has climate control and of course cruise control.

Ford-Tourneo-Connect-110-interiorIt has a full trip computer indicating distance to empty, instant and average fuel consumption, average speed, outside temperature and so on.

There are sliding rear doors on both sides for very easy access.

The driver’s seat is very good with 4-way adjustability: fore/aft; recline: up/down & lumbar adjust.

I got a fuel consumption of 9.2 litres/ 100km overall and around 8 on the open road. The SWB 1litre model will get around 6 litres/ 100km overall.   The 1.6 engine delivers more than enough usable power and is quite gutsy in this application. I am told the 1.0L engine in the SWB models is also very effective.

Ford Tourneo Connect Loadspace

Ford Tourneo Connect Loadspace

The interior, at least for the front row is very car like. The dash and interior are well laid out and all the buttons are where they should be.

There is a ton of storage – from storage compartments on the facia top with lift up lids to overhead stowage lockers. You will find a spot for everything.

The audiovisual system is typical modern Ford (in other words good) and offers two power point sockets at the front and rear of the console.

Normal models have air-conditioning but there is climate control in the Titanium model which has many luxury items including for example leather steering wheel and gear knob and panoramic roof.

Ford-Tourneo-Connect-116-doors

This van has Hill Launch Assist and an impressive list of safety and handling aids including Roll-Over Mitigation, Torque Vectoring Control, Electronic Stability Programme and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. In short, she handles like a car because she has been engineered to.

The optional panoramic roof window fitted our car is a amazing.

It gives you a whole new way of looking at the world.

The tiered wing mirrors are inspiring. Look for yourself.

Ford-Tourneo-Connect-mirrorThe Tourneo Connect is practical, handles and goes well, has loads of features and is good value for money.

Starts at R273 900 for the 1.0 EcoBoost Trend SWB, R283 900 for the Ambiente and R363 900 for the 1.6 EcoBoost (or 1.6 TDCi) Titanium LWB we tested.

Also look at Toyota Avanza, Suzuki Ertiga, Honda, Nissan NP200, Golf SV, Citroen C4 Picasso, Opel Meriva.

Warranty is 4 years or 120 000km and the service plan is for 4years or 60 000km.

Suzuki Ertiga review

Suzuki_Ertiga_thumbSuzuki Ertiga

Suzuki call the Ertiga a Life Utility Vehicle. I call it a little bus car. Drives like a car, but has the space of a little bus. In fact think of it as a Swift with the space of a bus. The dashboard is just like that of a Swift, which is a good thing as the Swift is a pleasant car to live with.

Suzuki Ertiga

Suzuki Ertiga

The driving position of the Ertiga is very comfortable and relaxed, but you will have to get used to the light beige upholstery. I think seat covers may be a good idea.

Suzuki_Ertiga_dash

SPACE MACHINE

Ertiga is all about space. The rear seat, which is quite comfortable, folds flat making a really large load area, just like a small van. Access to the rear seat is pretty good too and easy thanks to the wide doors. This makes it an ideal courtesy vehicle as it is a seven seater.

Build quality of the Ertiga seems to be very good. Panels line up and there are no rattles, squeaks or flimsy feeling switches. Everything works and is in the right place.

What is it exactly?

More car like than van like. Toyota’s Avanza is a van, looks like one, drives like one. The Honda Mobilio is between a van and a car. This Ertiga feels and acts like a car, even almost looks like one. So, almost a Swift on steroids.

Suzuki_Ertiga_bootI got just under 7 litres/100km on my mixed driving route. Be warned though, she revs very high at 120km/h and so is quite noisy.

I drove it in quite windy conditions and must say it felt quite stable and handled the lateral gusts quite well. All in all it was pleasant to drive.

There are 5 models, starting with the 1.4 GA at R163 900, and tops off with the well priced GLX AT @ R211 400. The warranty is 3 year/100 000km, 6 year corrosion, 3 year road assistance, 4 year/60 000km service plan.

The full price list is at: https://www.suzukiauto.co.za/models/ertiga/specifications/

Also look at the Honda Mobilio, Toyota Avanza, Ford Tourneo Connect, VW Caddy. (All of which we have tested)

Suzuki_Ertega_bum

BMW 220d Tourer review

BMW-220-Tourer-112_noseBMW 220d Tourer

I really liked this Beemer. It is not as spacious as some medium MPV’s (or station wagons if you are an old timer) but has more usable space than its ‘bigger’ sister the 3 Series cars.

The Tourer has a good practical boot. If you like an X3 but don’t go off tar and don’t like the X3 price tag you will be very happy. Think of it as an X3 without the bling. Think of it too as a smaller BMW with space, especially in the boot.

BMW 220 Tourer

BMW 220 Tourer

The Tourer has the typical BMW interior, it’s very smart and really well finished. I liked the seats which adjust easily to give a good driving position and have a near perfect seat height to easily get in and out.

The cabin is a little tight as in all smaller BMW’s with just enough room for the driver, and very little space for your feet.

The air conditioner is a full manual unit. No climate control here. It does not quite fit with the rest of the car or the asking price.

This front wheel drive BMW has a very smooth gearbox and good handling albeit very different to traditional cars from Munich.

BMW-220-Tourer-064I like the looks but some did not. Take the BMW badge off and you may not think it is a BMW from the outside. It is less quirky than some of its siblings.

The 2 Series is much more practical and good looking than the very pricey  BMW 1 series, to my mind.

There are three trim levels you can choose from to ‘dolly up’ your car. Sport, Luxury and MSport.

Expect good fuel consumption on all the models and around 6 litres/ 100km for the diesels.

The BMW 2 Series Tourer is in my opinion better value than its 3 Series sisters and has more usable space. It is a bit pricey though when you add in the extras.

The competition includes the Opel Meriva, Mercedes B Series, VW Golf  SV and the Citroën C4 Picasso amongst others.

The model we tested, the 220d, costs R446 500 without the extras.  The range starts at R378 000 with the 1.5 manual. Get the full specsheet and pricelist here.

Standard model 218i 220i 220d 225i
Six-speed Manual R378 000 R401 000 R428 500
Automatic Transmission Steptronic (6-speed for 218i, 8-speed for 220i, 220d and 225i) R396 00 R419 000 R446 500 R447 000
Sport Line
Six-speed Manual R395 300 R418 300 R445 800
Automatic Transmission Steptronic (6-speed for 218i, 8-speed for 220i, 220d and 225i) R413 900 R436 300 R463 800 R464 300
Luxury Line
Six-speed Line R403 900 R426 900 R454 400
Automatic Transmission Steptronic (6-speed for 218i, 8-speed for 220i, 220d and 225i) R421 900 R444 900 R472 400 R472 900

The maintenance plan is 5 years or 100 000km.

BMW 220d Tourer

BMW 220d Tourer

Mercedes Benz B250 review

Mercedes-B250-038-thumbMercedes Benz B250 – Luxury and the mother of all hatches

A colleague of mine at Wheels24 almost disparagingly called it a mommy wagon. In fact I think it is the mother of all smaller MPV or super hatches.

Seeing that some people thought it is only a mommy’s taxi type car I asked my wife what she thought.

Mercedes-B250-044-sceneMy wife had this to say:

My first impression was: What a feeble little Merc wannabe, it is to be frowned upon and the production of this little joke must be stopped immediately!

Oh my word was I wrong, very very wrong! Right from the moment when I moved in behind the oval shaped steering wheel and shifted the gearlever into Drive, the world became a much much better place!

The sheer power that is trembling under that aluminium bonnet is just awesome beyond! I now know why the seats come with proper adjustments for real lumbar support – you need it when Sport Mode pushes you back into the backrest.

I just love all the little courtesy lights in the doors, by the sunscreen mirror and in the control panel, plus the fact that all the lights stay on for quite some time when switching off the car and getting out.

Leg room and head room is very good.

So, my wife was surprised by it and I think most people who take it for a test will be. Bearing in mind we had the B250 model, which truth be told is a little excessively powered. Fuel consumption will be around  8.5 litres/ 100km if you can keep your foot off the volume pedal.

B250-&-Ouma-pics-008-dashMercedes has this thing about sticking the multi display on a flimsy looking leg sticking out of the dash very much like it was an afterthought. I just do not like it. Otherwise the cabin is good.

The new B Series grows on you. I know it doesn’t look like a typical Benz, but don’t let that worry you it is very much a Mercedes.

This car is a pleasure to drive and has all the safety and handling items you would expect in a premium brand car.

B250-&-Ouma-pics-011-legroomMy recommendation would be the B200 Auto model at R407 223. You can expect fuel consumption around 7 litres/ 100km and still get 100km/h in under 9 seconds.

The model we tested was the B250 listed at R467 160. The range starts with the B200 at R389 763.

The maintenance plan is for 6 years or 100 000km.

Mercedes Benz B250

Mercedes Benz B250

 

 

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.

Ford B-MAX arrives in SA

The Ford B-MAX has finally made it to our shores.

Based on Ford’s global B-car platform – shared with the Fiesta – the B-MAX is Ford’s idea of a premium compact multi-activity vehicle. So its a MAV not a MPV!

Ford B-MAX

Ford B-MAX

“The new Ford B-MAX really challenges traditional small car thinking, and pioneers a concept not attempted by any other manufacturer,” says Tracey Delate, General Marketing Manager, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. “Its ingenious design opens the doors – quite literally – to exciting new ideas about what’s possible with a compact vehicle.”

ford-b-max__side_door_openSome interesting aspects:

Unobstructed entry and exit with hinged front and sliding rear doors integrates the traditional central pillar structure into the front and rear doors, rather than forming part of the bodyshell itself.

The flexible seating system features 60/40 split rear seats that can be folded flat with a simple “one-hand, one-motion” mechanism. The front passenger seat can also be folded, creating an extensive flat load floor from front to rear.

ford-b-max__dashThe entry-level B-MAX Ambiente 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine produces 74kW while the mid-range Trend and range-topping Titanium derivatives boast a 92kW output. Both versions feature a peak torque of 170Nm. Combined cycle fuel consumption is rated as low as 4.9 l/100km (says Ford) matched to a CO2 emissions figure of 114 g/km for the 92kW models.

Ford SYNC® voice control, device integration and connectivity interface.

Equipment includes Sony audio system, keyless entry, Power Start Button, Ford MyKey® functionality, Rear View Camera and leather-trimmed upholstery on the range topping model.

There are three trim levels.

B-Max 1.0 EcoBoost Ambiente R 221 900
B-Max 1.0 EcoBoost Trend R 246 900
B-Max 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium R 271 900
Options:
Metallic Paint R 750 R 658

The B-MAX is sold with a 4-year/120 000km Comprehensive Warranty, 4-year/60 000km Service Plan, 3-year/unlimited km Roadside Assistance and 5-year/unlimited km Corrosion Warranty.

ford-b-max__bum

 

Full road test to follow.

Chevrolet Orlando LS 1.8 review

chev_orlando-thumbChevrolet Orlando

GM’s smaller multi purpose vehicle, the Orlando manages to be a little van, 7 seater bus and car all in one. And all in a neat, versatile  package. It would make a great taxi.

Think of it as an upmarket Avanza. It is slightly wider and longer than the Avanza and feels much more solid.

In SA we only get only one model. But GM has chosen it well. It is a 1.8 petrol manual with standard but good hard working trim and a good specification level.

Interior Chevrolet Orlando

Interior Chevrolet Orlando

The vehicle has 16 different seating combinations, meaning  you really can fit seven adults into the Orlando or when in van mode, a driver and a jumbo load.

Passengers will find the inside of the Orlando is surprisingly roomy with more than enough leg- and headroom. Access to the third row is OK, but headroom a little limited.

Load volume at the back is between 100 and 800 litres depending on how you have folded the seats. Fold down the rear seats and you’ve got a 1499 litre load space.The  cabin feels like a car, with neat finishes and a plethora of map pockets, armrests with cup holder, and quite a few nooks and crannies to keep things in.

Power windows for driver and front passenger are standard as is a good sound system, cruise control and power steering.

The interior is upmarket compared to the cheaper Avanza and is pleasantly finished reminding one of the Cruze, its sedan sibling.

Chevrolet Otlando

Chevrolet Otlando

The Orlando does not lack safety and security systems.  It comes with anti theft alarm and immobiliser.

An  ‘Electronic Stability Control’ system provides traction control to help avert slides, by automatically applying corrective braking to appropriate wheels to help you quickly regain control. It also has ABS and electronic brake distribution with an additional brake assist system.

Driving the Orlando is easy and pleasant. All round visibility is surprisingly good and it handles well in the context of an MPV. Road holding is above par for this category. The Cruze roots shine through.

Chevrolet Orlando 1.8 LS

Chevrolet Orlando 1.8 LS

GM claims 7.2l/100km but work on 8 in general and around 6 on the open road, which is very acceptable.

Priced from R287 000 you get real value for money.

The Warranty & Roadside Assistance package is  5 years/120 000km.  The Service Plan is for 3 years /60 000km.

Also look at the Toyota Avanza 1.3  from R190 000, Suzuki Ertiga 1.4 starting at around R160 000, VW Caddy 1.6 from R190 000 or the Nissan NV200 1.6 Combi R254 800.

First published in Small Business Connect.