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

Servicing my car – who is best?

Purchasing & Servicing quality awards

Ipsos, the market research company, measures the Competitive Customer Experience of car owners each year.

Its divided into the buying experience and the quality of servicing. It is split between cars and LCV’s (or bakkies and vans).

Here are the car results for this year.

PURCHASING

Ipsos interviewed more than 23 000 customers about their purchasing and servicing experience in 2015, representing more than 75% of all cars sold, or 15 of the locally available brands. The missing brands include BMW and Hyundai/ Kia.

The biggest changes over the previous survey include a 3.7% improvement in the free of faults result but a 4.7% drop in the handling of queries or faults. So the dealers need a bit of polishing, but the manufacturers are improving.

Over time the quality has been improving and now sits at almost 95% for the industry, up from around 90% in 2004.

The gold medal achievers in the sales department are VW and Audi. GM, Mercedes Benz, Nissan and Toyota come next. Ford, Lexus, Renault and Honda also did well.

sales time

“The achievements by the industry overall in our ongoing study over the past four years have been outstanding and are a tribute to staff at the manufacturers’ head offices who are responsible for training and supporting the dealers as well as for the commitment of the dealers themselves. In particular the consistent excellence of Audi, Isuzu, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen brands must be highlighted for special praise,” said Patrick Busschau, the Ipsos SA Automotive Business Director. “It is amazing how the retail industry manages to lift the bar ever higher each year.”.

SERVICING

The Servicing Experience over Time has improved by 1% a year over the past decade and has now reached 90%.

Customers feel the are more appreciated and  are happy that they are offered transportation to the next destination. They are unhappy about the preparation of the staff and contact about progress.

Interestingly there is no difference between men and women concerning their perception of the servicing experience.

There are big differences between the races.

Servicing Race

Asian, not Indian, customers are the most unhappy while whites are happiest.

And the servicing awards go to:

Servicing winnersAudi received a platinum award for sustained customer satisfaction in both the passenger car purchasing and servicing experience categories, having won gold awards every year from 2012-2015. The Volkswagen brand received a platinum award for the purchasing experience with cars and LCVs from 2012-2015.
Other brands to receive platinum awards were Isuzu for the LCV purchasing experience, while Toyota and Nissan received these prestigious awards for LCV servicing in the period 2012-2015.

It is interesting the BMW withdrew from the research and that Hyundai may be sure of their product quality but not about their customer relations.

 

VW T6 Kombi review

VW T6 Kombi 

The VW Type 2, or Kombi was introduced in 1950 and was related to the Type 1 or Beetle. The new Kombi is the sixth generation or T6 version and is an improvement on the T5 which was a radical change from earlier designs.

Without a doubt this is the best Kombi to date. It sticks to the basic recipe. Loads of space, good visibility, reasonable economy and pleasant to drive. The improvements and changes are all in the details.

VW Kombi

VW Kombi

Variants

There are five variants to choose from.

All are diesels, but you get to choose a lower or higher power version.

Long or short wheel base and basic or smart.

VW make three types of minibus. The Transporter range, Kombi and Caravelle.

Transporter is basically a bakkie, either single or double cab and sells from around R300 00, to R400 000, but a crew bus and a panel van are also available.

The Kombi range are 8 seater mini-busses, available in Trend or Comfortline trim levels and with either a 75kW or 103 kW diesel engine. Comfortline also has a long wheelbase version with a 7-speed DSG gearbox which is also an 8-seater.

The Caravelle is a seriously well appointed big MPV type personal bus. Caravelles start at R760 600 and top off at R873 500, befitting the luxury limo feel.

What its like

I got around 8 litres/100km on the open road and about 12 litres/100km in town, which is pretty good considering the size of the van.

The interior is very neat and functional. VW know a thing or two about car interior design and it shows.

From the driver’s seat you have very good visibility and all the controls are within reach and well laid out.

I found the air-conditioning rather rudimentary, although it does work especially for the front seats.

Issues I had with this new Kombi include the following – the gear stick obstructs the gear markings, although the display does indicate which gear you are in. The gearbox seems to hunt on occasion especially at low speeds, fortunately the less powerful version only comes in manual.

For such a big vehicle the omission of park distance control or assist coupled to a lack of a rear camera was disappointing.

I found the brakes overly sharp and the hill hold control unrefined.

VW_Kombi_2

 

The Kombi Comfortline 2.0 TDI DSG (103kW) we tested retails for R583 900 and included the following options: metallic paint, towbar, comfort package, 17-inch alloy wheels, multifunction steering wheel and the audio system, which all adds up.

Prices vary from R496 300 for a Trendline to R609 00 for the top of range Comfortline, excluding extras.

Also look at the Hyundai H1 which has been recently facelifted, Ford Tourneo, Chrysler Grand voyager, Kia Grand Sedona and the Mercedes Vito/ V-class.

VW gives you a 5 year or 60 000 maintenance plan and a 3 year or 120 000 warranty.

VW_Kombi_3

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.