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.

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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 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

VW Passat 1.8 TSI Highline DSG review

VW Passat 1.8 TSI Highline DSG

VW_Passat_Clarendon

The Volkswagen Passat is a large, classy family saloon that delivers great refinement and quality in an accomplished, discreet package  the UK Auto Express summarises this car as. I could not agree more. They continue to say the only negatives they can think of are: Understated styling, not much fun to drive, lacks premium image of rivals.  I don’t quite agree. I like the styling of the Passat, but it is subjective of course.

I think its pleasant to drive but perhaps not quite up to the standard of the Ford Fusion or Honda Accord. The cabin is just stunningly good.

Do not forget the boot.  You can fit three golf bags, or a pram and a folding cot. It’s really big.

If you have just over R400k to spend and you want or need a bit of space and a big boot the Passat or Fusion is a much better buy than 3 Series, C-class or A4. Lets just look at what you get.

VW_Passat_roof-open

This car has one of the smoothest most efficient gearboxes out there in the 7 speed DSG box and when coupled to the turbocharged 1.8 petrol engine delivers a top speed of 232 km/h. Do you need to go faster? Not only that but it will get to 100km/h in 7.9 sec and VW claims using only 5.8 litres/100km, although I got 7.4L/100km on average the week I drove the car. Not too shabby.

vw-passat-dashThe interior of this car does not hit you with its brilliance. Rather you come to realise just how well designed and made this cabin is. You could live with it for years as it is ergonomic, spacious, comfortable and cleverly designed. There is quite a long list of optional extras, so you could kit it out to your heart’s desires. Basically you could get a fully kitted Passat for the price of a base, very sparsely kitted out Audi A4 which probably has the identical engine, gearbox and much of the underpinnings.

The Passat range is well equipped as standard, better than most VW models. It includes intelligent cruise control, park distance control, flat tyre monitoring, climate control, heated front seats, electronic stability control, fog lights and a good infotainment centre. All the essential stuff.

Options fitted to our test unit include sunroof, DiscoverPro navigation, ambience light package, adaptive cruise control, electric front seat, Nappa leather seats and LED headlights. Nice to haves, but not necessary, except for the adaptive cruise control which I consider a great safety feature.

VW-Passat-1.8-side

The Passat will probably surprise you if you take it for a test drive. It is, like the Ford Fusion, a seriously commodious, comfortable, complete package.

The price of the 1.8 TSI Highline DSG as standard is R457 500. The range starts from R432 000 and tops out at R518 000. The car as tested had around R50 000 extras.

Warranty is 3 years or 120 000km, but the maintenance plan is 5 years or 100 000km.

Other cars in this size range include the previously mentioned Ford Fusion (R424 000) and Honda Accord (R434 600), the more expensive but not really better MB C-class, BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and the exciting Mazda 6 and Volvo S60.

 

 

VW Cheat

OK, so here is what our local VW has to say:

Official statement from Volkswagen Group South Africa

There has been extensive international media coverage relating to irregularities in Nitrogen oxide emission values measured during? dynamometer regarding the emission standard Euro 5 of Volkswagen diesel vehicles fitted with the type EA189 Euro 5 engines.

In South Africa the compliance standard is EU 2. All Volkswagen Group diesel vehicles of the type EA 189 retailed in South Africa, that is, Volkswagen passenger, Audi, Light and Medium Commercial Vehicles comply with this standard for Nitrogen oxide emissions.

We want to further confirm that the bench mode in the software does not affect negatively the CO2 values. Our vehicles accordingly comply with the published CO2 values. Furthermore they are technically safe and roadworthy.

We would like to apologise to our customers for any uncertainty that may have been created over this issue and want to assure our valued customers, that their vehicles meet all the legal requirements in terms of which the National Regulator approved the sale for use in South Africa.

There is therefore no action required on either the part of the customer or our dealers.

Daar het jy dit.

SA standards so low even VW can meet them without cheating. A little sad, I think.

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.

VW Tiguan TSI 4×2 Trend and Fun review

VW Tiguan TSI 4×2 Trend & Fun

VW Tiguan

VW Tiguan

If you like a golf but need a bit more space, or use country roads and need a higher ride height than a Golf offers, this  Tiguan may be your solution.

The base model as tested is in effect a normal two wheel drive station wagon version of a Golf . What you get is the extra space, a more upright and higher seating arrangement and the ‘middlemannetjie’ on a rural road wont bother you.

I really like these Tiguans, the luxury and performance of a Golf with the practicality of a station wagon/SUV.

These cars are just the right size. Big enough for four adults and a toothbrush or two but small enough
to feel nimble and enjoy a reduced thirst for petrol. They are both SUV and MPV.

Tiguan 1.4 TSI dash

Tiguan 1.4 TSI dash

Interior

A number of motoring critics have said that the interior is sombre. I do not agree with them. It is sensible, ergonomic and well laid out. The materials used give the impression of quality. The black finish looks neat and purposeful.

The leather multi-function steering wheel and gear knob give the car a luxury feel. The cloth trimmed seats are comfortable and fairly adjustable. Fit and finish appears to be excellent.

I found the car very pleasant to dive. All round visibility is good, the more upright seating is comfortable and the controls are easy to hand and have a quality feel to them and make it easy to drive.

Driving impression

I found the 90kW engine a little laboured at times but still capable to get you where you have to get. The car handles well even with the slightly taller stance. It is not sporty like a GTi , but it is a pleasure at the wheel. The brakes are well balanced and cornering as well as general handling precise and predictable.

Economy is very decent but not spectacular. VW claim a combined consumption figure of 6.5l/100km. I got just over 7.5l/100km which is more than acceptable.

These new generation turbocharged petrol engines take performance and economy to new levels.

The 4×2 Trend & Fun is an interesting mix of sophisticated and basic. Its price is misleading simply due to the very basic specification, meaning that you have to fit expensive “accessories” to match for example the Ford Kuga which includes them in the sticker price. So for example climate control (as opposed to plain aircon) costs R4400 extra, park distance control R4 150, front fog lights R1 950, service plan for 90 000km is R2 492 or maintenance plan for 120 000 a whopping R25 992. It all adds up.

Practical, good looking and efficient. That about sums up this Tiguan.

VW Tiguan TS1 4x2

VW Tiguan TS1 4×2

Tiguans all come with a raft of active and passive safety and performance measures from ABS to spin control and a stability programme.

The Tiguan ISi 4×2 Trend & Fun as reviewed costs  R312 000, but we would recommend you go for the 118kW version at R345 200 especially if based on the Highveld or if you expect to load her up a bit.

Also check out the Ford Kuga, Honda CRV, Toyota Verso, Renault Duster and Nissan Qashqai.

The top of the line Tiguan is the 2.0 TSI Sport & Style  at R446 250 which comes with 7 speed DSG and AWD. There are 8 models to choose from.

It comes standard with a 3 year or 120 000 km warranty, 12 year corrosion warranty and a 60 000 maintenance plan.

Tiguan 4x2

Tiguan 4×2