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VITO

If you are in the market for a nine seater vehicle, look no further!! We have tested the Mercedes Benz Vito 111.

The Walk Around:

The exterior of the vehicle is not very attractive, let’s just be honest but that all goes away as you experience the med-size van. Two large doors on either side of the van makes loading passengers or goods easy. The boot opens from the bumper so you will have to be careful when opening as the boot lid opens about 10cm higher than the vehicle.

 Inside the van you will have loads of storage and space as this is a nine seater van, although there are no cup holders for the passengers seated behind the driver. The seating is not very comfortable as I drove the van over a long distance, my back began to strain. The seating adjustments are limited and even for the passengers that wanted to catch a nap it was not that great. You have tons of leg room, and there is no carpet which makes cleaning the van easier. You will have to view the PROS and CONS because if you have a growing family, a passenger transport business or if you require a vehicle for transporting goods but keeping in mind your budget the Vito makes financial sense. The aircon system works well throughout the vehicle although trying to have a conversation with your passengers if you are driving can be a bit frustrating as you can’t hear them well. Your sound system is basic, the interface is user friendly. Connecting to the Bluetooth or navigating though the radio stations is easy.

The 111 is front wheel drive system pushing out 84kW and can average 7.0l per 100km. I found the fuel economy great for the size of this van. Only issue I have with these van is putting in fuel. It’s not the best designed system. You will have to unlock your door and have the passenger door open to allow the fuel cap to open. Living in South Africa this makes you an easy target! But this is most vans in South Africa not just Mercedes.

The breakdown:

111 CDI Panel Van –                          R 372,780.00

114 CDI Panel Van –                          R 409,830.00

116 CDI Panel Van                            R 443,460.00

111 CDI Mixto                                     R 443,460.00

116 CDI Mixto                                    R 556,320.00

111 CDI Tourer PRO                          R 516,272.00

114 CDI Tourer PRO                          R 540,314.00

116 CDI Tourer PRO                          R 572,348.00

116 CDI Tourer Select                      R 676,088.00

119 CDI Tourer Select                      R 744,386.00

 

The price for the Vito 111 is R517k and will do exactly what you need, however if you have a further R733k you can see yourself in the V250d Avantgarde which is in a world of its own!! It is similar to the Vito but with Class and Luxury thrown in. please see links for more images:  

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcE3Hg6jxwD/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=c4j63mtwhvxr

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcE3vUaj-w1/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=md6ixw3zfh17

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  • vito 2

BATTLE OF THE BAKKIES

This week we put two GREAT bakkies to the test.

Firstly the new Mercedes X Class. Mercedes has been known for producing luxury vehicles like fine wine, but it is time for a change and they produced beer. As this is Mercedes Benz first bakkie it is a great leap forward for the manufacture. The X Class definitely turns heads, the design is stunning and striking with that huge Mercedes grille, smooth lines and curves. The rear of the bakkie is bold hosting the Mercedes badge in the middle. The rear tail lights looks a lot better when they are on. Mercedes has designed brilliant storage bins which no other vehicle in this segment has. The X Class is powered by 4 or 6 cylinder engines, 6 speed manual transmission or 7 speed automatic transmission. The 2.3 liter turbo diesel motor has two power outputs: X220d pushing out 120kW and the X250d pushing out 140kW. We had the X250d and I loved but hated it at the same time. Stepping inside the X Class it is very disappointing. Mercedes-Benz is a premium brand and there are some area’s within the X Class where it is missing in the heritage of Mercedes-Benz. The dash is a hard plastic and with the Mercedes air vents and badges were just stuck on. This looks like it was an afterthought and does not flow like you would expect in any other Mercedes-Benz. The X250d we tested was a manual and even changing gears was not Mercedes at all. If you don’t look down at the badge, you won’t believe you are sitting in an X Class. This is where Mercedes has lost points. On the other hand I get that they were testing the marketing and using the Nissan Navara as a base – good, and you have a well know base model – bad, it is not Mercedes quality. Mercedes could have taken the G Wagon chassis and built their first bakkie and keeping it all Mercedes-Benz. There will be a 3.0 liter V6 model that will be coming out and this will be all Mercedes-Benz!!

True bakkie heritage: The Toyota Dakar

Toyota has brought out the limited edition Dakar which holds a new front black grille and silver Toyota badge. The limited edition Dakar badge sits on the blacked out grille, along the side doors and the rear of the bakkie. The door handles and wing mirrors are black, which allows the vehicle to stand out. Inside the Dakar you are graced with leather seats, touch screen media center. Toyota has always stuck to what they do best, quality and not quantity. We tested the 2.8 liter four cylinder turbo diesel. The Dakar pushes out 130 kW and 450 Mn. The Dakar was better on fuel by achieving 8.8 liters per 100km. the dive was a lot more comfortable and the best part is that the Dakar is R30000.00 cheaper!

 

Vehicle stats Mercedes X Class Toyota Hilux Dakar
Wheelbase 3 150 mm 3 085 mm
Vehicle length 5 340 mm 5 335 mm
Vehicle width 1 920 mm 1 855 mm
Vehicle height 1 819 mm 1 815 mm
Braked towing capacity (depending on engine and equipment) 1 650–3 500 kg 1 500 – 3 500 kg
Torque max total 450 Nm 420 Nm
Power Max 140 Kw 130 Kw
Fuel range 850 KM 800 KM
Fuel consumption 10.50 8.8l/100km
Air bag quantity 7 7
Price R824 205 R601 100

 

Verdict: Buying the New X-Class will turn heads but you will be disappointed as the bakkie is overpriced for what you get and the Dakar is the better bakkie overall.

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  • dakar 1
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HOT HATCH, WITH A BAD ATTITUDE

Honda Civic first arrived on our streets in 1982, giving the ‘’boy racer’’ the perfect amount of street cred but this led to other manufactures using the same platform in producing performance hot hatches. This segment is growing and now you can purchase the same power in an SUV.  

The Honda Civic Type-R has the perfect mixture, power, performance, looks and size. Both your Ford ST and Volkswagen GTi has the performance nailed down but definitely lacking in the boy racer looks and cabin space.

Honda has re-designed the Type-R and looking more aggressive than its 2016 model but has maintained the 2.0l engine pushing out 228 kW and 400 Nm, 0 -100 km/h in just 5.7 seconds. With a new look Honda has upgraded the suspension making it a lot stiffer. You notice the difference when switching from comfort mode to Sports. The Type-R has another mode called +R which enhances the throttle and tightens the steering. Being in R mode corning at higher speeds is a breeze. When selecting a lower gear the revs pick up automatically which is great to get going again but in comfort mode there was no change and I think Honda should have kept that feature for sports mode. I found that using comfort mode was a real pleasure with day to day driving. The suspension and steering was not as stiff and I was archiving around 8 liters per 100 km and I bumped it up to 10 liters per 100 km in sports mode. Having the car in Sports or R is a lot more work to drive the car. This is not all bad if you were on a race track. This was a love hate relationship, you don’t really want to work while driving and sitting in traffic but on the other side the Civic Type-R is a real sports car! No automatic gearbox, flappy paddle or a big turbo stuck on just for speed. Like I said Honda has the correct balance with this car, power, performance, looks and cabin space.

Sure you will be noticed in this aggressive beast! It has a huge spoiler at the rear, three exhaust pipes, grilles and lots of air vents. If Dom had to replace his Dodge Charger in Fast and Furious it would be with the Honda Civic Type-R although it is front wheel drive. I was hoping that Honda changes it to a four-wheel drive with all that power….. Maybe in the next model, let’s wait and see.

Inside the cabin is all sports. Front seats are racing bucket seats, the dashboard has a 7” touchscreen display that is easy to navigate. You can customize your speedometer to display your G-Force, Turbo reading, lap time and gear shift lights. I did find that for a sports car the steering wheel is slightly bigger than it should be, the Audi RS3 for example is a comfortable size for a sports car. The media center is equipped with two USB ports and an HDMI port that is tucked away nicely. Sitting in the driver’s seat I thought the rear spoiler would get in the way and you actually don’t notice it. In the rear the leg room is quite amazing. I was really surprised that a performance hot hatch had that much room, you could fit three adults comfortably or two car seats if you have any kids and yes there is ISO Fix.

Verdict

This car is a no brainer if you are in the market for performance vehicle. They Type-R is priced at R628 000 and the vehicle comes with a five year/ 200 000 km warranty. Service intervals are scheduled at 10 000 km’s.   

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  • Honda Civic23
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  • Honda Civic

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

BMW began manufacturing motorcycles in 1921 which was the R32. This had a 486 cc engine which produced 6.3 kW of power and a top speed of 100 km/h. This bike became the foundation of BMW’s boxer engines. BMW did launch the R39 which was a 200 cc but this was not a hit. Over time BMW stuck to producing larger engines BUT it is time for a change…… introducing the BMW G310RR32

 

The G310R is lightweight, single cylinder 313 cc pushing out 25kW of power and you can reach speeds of 140 km/h. The bike only weighs 158.5kg, with the aerodynamic design, power and weight the BMW G310R is nimble around town and quick enough for the highway. It definitely has the looks of a serious bike and it delivers every time!!

When the G310R is idling it sounds like a 125 cc but you will not be disappointed once you get going. The power delivery is awesome! You can be cruising in 6th gear doing 60 km/h and just open the bike up and it goes. I am really impressed!! I couldn’t ask for a better bike, using the motorcycle on a daily bases testing it through traffic and on the highway I could not fault the performance. The G310R is R63000.00 and this is a little steep if you look at the Zonets R310. Similar performance with the Zonet pushing out 1 kW more than the BMW, honestly looks better and is keyless. On the plus side the BMW’s technology is better and does not feel like they used cheap plastic. We will be testing the Zonet R310 to give you a more accurate review.

The BMW G310R is a perfect entry level or commuter motorcycle. What I really like about midsized bikes is that you can grow your range. Upgrade in a few years to something bigger. Overall I loved the bike but after some research I found you can pick up a demo model for around R40000.00 with around 1000 km on the clock. Now that is a bargain G310R 

Reliable Quality and FUN

Last year we saw the Toyota Yaris Pulse which was a hit, affordable and cheap to run. Toyota has brought out the New Yaris but is it better? When a manufacture re-designs a model we tent to pick at it, looking for faults as new cars should be better. With the New Yaris it’s a home run!! Definitely bigger by 163 mm longer and 5 mm wider. This is the “hatch” gone are the days where you buy a small hot hatch. With the bigger hatch the Yaris has a new look to go with it. A lot more eye catching and blends in with its modern sporty design. The Yaris Sports is a 1.5 liter which is really punchy. But it is the design, real sporty and has a bold feel to it. The rear of the vehicle has been re-designed as well. A lot more sleek, and you will love walking up to this car, I love the looks!

Inside the Yaris Sports, you are graced with black leather with red stitching, and yes this is still a Toyota. I do take my hat off for this car. The exterior ten out of ten and this carry’s throughout the interior. We now have CAR PLAY added to the Toyota range. Connecting your mobile is easy and you have access to your messages and music via the USB port. One thing is that the USB is not situated in the best place. Having this cord dangling from the top of the dashboard is not great and it does tend to get in the way when changing gears.

The “Hot Hatch” market is really competitive but this Hatch is a strong contender not only with looks but with the price tag as well.

1.5 Xi MT  R230 800

1.5 Xs MT R253 400

1.5 Xs CVT R268 500

1.5 Cross R268 500

1.5 Sport R286 000

 

The Yaris market is for either young adults trading up or older buys trading down. The only vehicle I think that would stand in the way is the new Volkswagen Polo which is R5100 more than the Yaris. We will be testing the new Polo so that we can compare these vehicles.

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THE ROSE AMONGST THE THORNES

The Germans have been dominating the sedan market for years. Cool looks and speed has been the recipe for these machines. After the launch of Volvo’s CX90 which was a hit, Volvo introduced the S90 into our market. The Rose Amongst The Thorns. The S90 definitely has the looks! The rear of the vehicle is bold and very square, unlike its rivals going for curvy. The boot lid can be activated by waving your foot under the rear bumper to open and close. A plus in my books if your hands are not free. Moving along the car you are graced with more boldness and a solid chrome lip, the front is more aggressive with the signature Thor hammer lighting.

Volvo has brought a healthy range of the new S90 to meet every body’s needs and wants:

Momentum, Inscription, R – Design but has kept their safety heritage. These vehicles don’t only have the capability to notify you when another vehicle is in your blind spot but apply the brakes when needed or swerve to avoid an obstruction. I found these features are great however the parking sensors activated while in traffic which turns off your music. This does get annoying after being in Johannesburg traffic, fortunately you can turn this off but it does reset its self once the car is turned off. The interface inside the vehicle is user friendly, allowing you to connect to your Bluetooth easy, hotspot or search the web. The Ambient lighting has a really cool feature – you can set the lighting to sync with the temperature, this allows the light to change colour as the temperature drops or raises. Only major flaw there is only one light on the roof lining shining down to the center console. This is hardly noticeable unlike Mercedes or BMW the lighting is throughout the vehicle. Volvo has come up with a solution for this: S90 Ambience Concept – This connects your car to your senses. The passengers can personalise the cars atmosphere by using the app. You can choose from a range of different visual themes with audio and scent. This is only a concept but this could give the S90 a greater advantage in the sedan market.

 

There is nothing boring about this car, its smooth, powerful with its 2liter engine pushing out 173kW and 480Nm. You are embraced with luxury, great safety features. I would steer away from the wood finish – this is a modern car, great sound system and stylish.

 

PRICING OF THE VOLVO S90

Volvo S90 D4 Geartronic Momentum                   R698 500

Volvo S90 D4 Geartronic Inscription                     R742 000

Volvo S90 D4 Geartronic R-Design                        R727 500

Volvo S90 D5 Geartronic AWD Momentum      R777 700

Volvo S90 D5 Geartronic AWD Inscription         R821 200

Volvo S90 D5 Geartronic AWD R-Design              R806 700 

Volvo S90 T5 Geartronic Momentum                   R675 200

Volvo S90 T5 Geartronic Inscription                     R718 700

Volvo S90 T5 Geartronic R-Design                         R704 200

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DOES THE LEXUS NX STAND OUT ENOUGH IN THE SUV MARKET?

Vehicles in 2017 and 2018 have definitely become more fashionable where SUV belong on the high streets and not off road. And that is where the new Lexus NX300 sits, with its gorgeous curves and stunning chrome touches. This car does remind me of Lexus younger brother the Toyota CH-R, both cars are designed to catch your eye. The front of the NX does get some getting use too. The huge front grille and day time running LED does look out of place but after a while it grew on me. When walking up to the vehicle the cabin lights automatically tern on but very majestic. Inside you are in a different world!! It is what you would expect from Lexus, It’s spacious, easy to navigate media center, connecting your mobile to the Bluetooth system took under 30 seconds. When vehicles are fitted with an analog clock it definitely sets a professional feel in the vehicle and Lexus embraces that class all the way.

We had the opportunity to travel from Johannesburg to Hazyview and what a pleasure. The NX300 was comfortable, smooth on the road and when you needed that extra power it was all there waiting for me. I felt like I could take the long way to Hazyview and back home.

The NX is powered by the 2.0 liter turbo 4-cylinder pushing put 175KW and 350Nn, on the long road we were achieving 8.4 liters per 100km. Urban driving you will get between 10 liters and 12 liters per 100km.The NX has paddle shifters however there is a slight delay but I felt that they are not needed. The SUV has the speed but inside you are surrounded by class there is no rush – AND I JUST WANTED TO ENJOY THE RIDE.

 

Verdict:

We had the Lexus NX300 E, one issue I had was for the price tag and the sheer size of the SUV, parking sensors and blind spot detection should be standard on these cars. We didn’t have Satellite Navigation as well but that is not major. The NX is really price competitive in the SUV market even the top spec F Sport is under a million Rand.

 

Price List:

NX300 E – R599 900

NX300 EX – R677 300

NX300 F Sport – R789 700

NX300h EX – R746 700

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KNOW YOUR PRODUCT

know your product

Vehicle reviews are important in making a decision on what vehicle to buy. The more info the better really. It’s not all about how much power a car or bike has but how you will be using the vehicle from day to day. Unfortunately when testing a vehicle before purchasing it, you hardly ever get to keep it for a few days – which would actually benefit you with your choice. The vehicle is an extension of yourself, the design and character needs to suit you and your needs. You need to look at affordability as well – NEW/DEMO or USED. Once you have decided on a brand or a specific vehicle try and visit a few dealerships. Compare prices but most of all get a feel of their customer service. Do they know what they are talking about – DO THEY KNOW THEIR PRODUCTS?

CUSTOMER SERVICE

The reason I say get a feel of their customer service is: When buying your vehicle, you are ‘’getting married’’. Your vehicle may be financed and you are committed to your repayments for a few years. Your vehicle may have a maintained plan or you will need to send it in for a service. This is where your research of customer service will come in. After service sales can be the turning point you hate your vehicle. Recently I attended the CARS.co.za Consumer Awards proudly sponsored by Wesbank and the top three brands where: 1 – Suzuki 78.2%, 2 – Mercedes-Benz 77.2%, 3 – Mazda 74.7%

There were a few brands that stood out:

Premium SUV – Volvo XC90

Compact Hatch – Mazda 2 1.5

Executive Sedan – Mercedes-Benz E350d

Premium Hatch – Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI

Family Car – Mazda CX-5 2.5

Executive SUV – Mercedes-Benz GLC250d

Performance Car – BMW M2

Budget Car – Suzuki Ignis 1.2 GL

Leisure Double Cab – Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 TDI V6

 Fun Car – Mini Cooper JCW

Compact Family Car – Suzuki Vitara 1.6

Business Class – BMW 420d

Adventure SUV – Toyota Fortuner 2.8

 

Events like these can help you save money and get the best vehicle that suits your needs.

HAPPY MOTORING

know your product car

RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE

When you think of the new Mercedes-Benz E Class you immediately think luxury, business vehicle, stylish and you would be right. BUT the E63 S 4MATIC is in a class of its own. The hand crafted machine pushes out 450 kW of power and 850 Nm of torque, this 4 liter V8 can do 0-100km/h in 3 seconds with the help of the twin turbo charged engine. Yes the roar is there in every gear and you feel the power in your fingertips through the steering wheel.  The great thing is that half the engine shut down while you are city driving. On average with only 4 cylinders running you can get 10 liters per 100km. With the beast running on all 8 pushes your consumption to 15liters per 100km.

The E63s is not all about pure power, with touches of carbon fiber and light weight body parts like the bonnet and boot lid makes this performance saloon eye catching.

Inside the E63 S 4MATIC the huge cluster display with all the chrome and carbon fixtures makes you feel like you in a fighter jet. You can customize the display in a choice of three colours and then you get a further 64 colours to light up your interior. The front seats are pretty magical if you ask me!! Heated massaging seats. You can choose from ten different massages which lasts for 15 minutes. This is a real pleasure on your way home from a busy day at the office. The front seats are also equipped a brilliant feature that actually keeps you snug as you take a corner. The Mercedes E63 S 4MATIC is all about great technology, CarPlay and Mercedes ME. Both are excellent features however you will have to pay a small annual fee to access Mercedes ME – BUT it’s worth it.

 

The price tag on this car is just under R1.9 million. If you pick this car apart with the great tech, the performance, the engineering, the looks and design – Mercedes have given us the future. This is the stepping stone for Mercedes and we can only expect better. Other vehicles within in the same price bracket would be the Range Rover SVR. AND I would go for the E63S!!         

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Are the French doing it right with the NEW Renualt Duster?

The facelift Duster was introduced into our market in August 2017 with some huge improvements.

Starting with the exterior: new grille design brings a fresher look. Two chrome lines with a new diamond Renault logo. New black alloy wheels, I do think having black allows makes the vehicle look sportier but this suits the 4×2 giving it that edge. The Duster has new rook racks and colour coded wing mirrors. Parking sensors and cruise control is now standard across the range and all vehicles are fitted with a 7 inch touchscreen media center, the Dynamic variants do have SatNav. The rear of the Duster is really similar to the older model with only the rear light clusters were designed. Renualt started the Duster production in 2015 and sold more than 8000 unit locally, this popular mid SUV is now being manufactured in Romania, giving the Duster a refresh overall design and keeping cost lower for the South African consumer.   

Renault is keep its theme with the two models; the Expression and Dynamic and two engines – Petrol and Diesel. Your petrol is a 1.6l that pushes out 74kW/148Nm and your diesel which we tested is 1.5l dCi turbo pushes out 80kW/240Nm. Renault claims the diesel model will give you 5.5l per 100km. On my test I achieved 6.5l per 100km BUT putting the new automatic Duster into manual mode I was getting better results – between 5.7 and 6.0l per 100km. This was achievable but changing gears sooner than the vehicle would. The car handles really well on the highway and is a pleasure if you are sitting in that urban city traffic. The new Duster is slightly lower than the older model but with the new technology, new design, new engine and transmission takes the facelift giant steps ahead the older model and in its class. Pricing for the New Duster is remarkable in the B SUV segment: 

Duster 1.6 EXPRESSION 4×2 75kW petrol – R215 900
Duster 1.6 DYNAMIQUE 4×2 75kW petrol – R233 900
Duster 1.5 DCI DYNAMIQUE 4×2 80kW diesel – R254 900
Duster 1.5 DCI DYNAMIQUE 4×4 80kW diesel  – R269 900

 

VERDICT:

With all the new technology, design and pricing the Duster is definitely a tough contender in the B SUV class. Good boot space and even enough space for your passengers traveling in the rear. Car Seat no problem with two ISO fix at the rear. You do get a lot for your buck for your car but having an automatic and getting better fuel consumption in manual, when the gears change down automatically it’s not as smooth as when it changes up. I have to give the Duster 5 out of 10.

Other options are the Haval H1 or the Renault Captur.

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