MESSAGE IS CLEAR – DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE

At this time of the year many companies across South Africa will be hosting end-of-year functions for their staff. While these are festive, celebratory occasions, the Automobile Association (AA) urges all motorists to remember that alcohol and driving do not mix, and that alternatives are available to drivers who want to drink at these events.

According to figures published by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) the most fatalities on South African roads occur on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 5pm in the evening and 10pm at night. The AA said these periods are significant and clearly coincide with times of increased drinking, when the risk is higher.

“It’s become somewhat of a ritual at this time of year to warn drivers of the dangers of drinking and driving. But, unfortunately, the message appears to be lost as many people still insist on drinking and driving, not only endangering their lives, but those of other road users,” said the AA.

The AA noted that traffic authorities around the country have been clear that they are increasing their activities and that more checks, and roadblocks, are commencing.

“There really is no excuse for drink driving nowadays. There are many take-me-home services available, including AA Designated Driver (www.aa.co.za), which are reliable, affordable and safe. We urge anyone who is going to be drinking to consider these options before getting behind the wheel themselves. Companies hosting year-end events must also take responsibility and not allow workers who have been drinking to drive home,” the AA said. Read more

Drive for him and for her

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dec16-14-01

Honda has released their all-new 2017 Civic – a sedan that is sleek, elegant and streamlined.  The aggressive lines, curves and angles display a daring side to the Civic, particularly in the Sport variant, and the overall perception and comments were that of a very appealing sedan.

Sleekness flows from the outside to the interior where simplicity flows through the cabin area that is totally uncluttered, yet chock-full of the latest equipment, including a seven inch central touchscreen with integrated smartphone capability, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start/stop, electric parking brake and a digital gauge cluster with customizable information displays.

The feature list is extensive and includes auto lights with LED daytime running lights, rain-sensing wipers, heated front seats, electric mirrors and windows with driver and passenger auto, Bluetooth telephony and media streaming, cruise control with speed limiter.  Comfort and style shines through with a leather-bound multifunction steering wheel and a nice little feature is that the volume control on both the steering wheel and alongside the touch screen have touch-sensitive sliders to adjust the volume.

The Civic Sport features a six-speed auto gearbox that offers a sport drive as well as an eco mode.  The sport mode is further enhanced thanks to the paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

The drive is smooth and silent.  Leather seats provide comfort all round and space is afforded to all passengers.  The reverse camera is handy for parking and the rear spoiler appeals to many but it’s not my favourite feature on this highly appealing car.

The boot has a large capacity.  Being deeper than it is high, can create some packing issues with large luggage items, however the rear seats having a 60/40 split allows the Civic to carry various loads thanks to the extra load space with the seats down.

The overall perception of the Honda Civic Sport is one of a versatile option with a stunning design and a comfortable ride; however the 8.2l per 100km would raise an eyebrow for me.

dec16-14-02

The Volvo V40 is certainly something to behold.  The pert hatch is stylish, sleek, sporty, sophisticated and has lines, curves and angles in all the right places.

It goes without saying that the V40 is a dream to drive.  The 8-speed auto glides with smoothness, the handling is smooth and accurate from cruising to having the power to go!

The cabin area is set out in clean lines with brushed silver detail.  The leather seats with auto-setting memory function and lumbar support ensure a comfortable ride.  The leather-bound multifunction steering wheel is soft to the touch and includes a number of controls for easy operation.

The V40 D4 R-Design features auto lights with LED daytime running lights, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, lane departure warning, reverse camera with park pilot, blind spot warning, collision detection and alert as well as adaptive cruise control as well as Bluetooth telephone and media streaming, navigation, heated seats, keyless entry with push-button start and auto-stop/start.  These are just some of the features on the Volvo V40.  Not all features are standard though and many of them require the purchase of add on packs.

The Volvo V40 D4 seats 5 passengers and comfort and space is afforded for all.  Rear-seated passengers have cup holders on the sides of each seat and ones that fold out of the seat.

The rear seats have a 60/40 split enabling versatility in the large boot area which also has a concealed tray for those items one needs to keep completely out of sight.

There is much to be said about the V40.  For one, it is the one car that I drive in and feel completely safe, as is Volvo’s longstanding claim.  It is refined, it is appealing to look at and the roof fin denotes the sporty side.  The interior is clean, clear and crisp with much information displayed via the central display screen.

Detail is synonymous with Volvo.  Your speed dial indicates via a red dot what the speed limit is, and displays the speed limit as well via an icon embedded in the dial.

The Volvo V40 also offers a sport drive and an eco-drive, and best of all, it self-parks – and it works well.

The stop-start is the best I have ever encountered – it is not temperamental as I find with most others.  It works perfectly all the time.

The Volvo V40 D4 R-Design being a diesel makes it economical.  It is certainly worth a look and it is welcome in my driveway anyday.

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TATA INTRODUCES ADDED-VALUE WITH NEW INDICA FLASH

dec16-15

Tata has introduced an additional, limited edition variant of its Indica hatch as an added-value offering. The new model, known as the Indica Flash, is based on the Indica LGi model, with several distinguishing features and significant additions to the list of standard equipment.

The Flash is now specified well above the standard specification of its main competitors in the market. At the price of R124 995 it is only R6 000 higher than the standard Indica, while the value of the added features and equipment far exceeds this.

Externally people will be able to identify this model with its bold black stripes, incorporating the Flash logo, running along the bottom of the doors, as well as the Flash logo on the corner of the bonnet. The steel wheels have also been replaced with distinctive, spoked alloy mag wheels.

However, the scope of the big upgrade comes once one sits inside the Indica Flash. Firstly, there are leather seats with the Flash logo embroidered in the top of the front seats, while the steering wheel has a soft leather grip. An audio system with USB and hands free Bluetooth capabilities have also been added.

The Indica Flash is powered by the 1.4-litre engine which delivers 56kW of power and drives the Flash’s front wheels through a five-speed gearbox. Claimed overall fuel consumption is 6.5l/100km.

The Indica Flash is covered by a 3-year/100 000km warranty and has a 2-year/45 000km service plan plus road side assistance.

There is also a launch special finance package available.

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Mitsubish Pajero review for her

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The Mitsubishi Pajero Legend is indeed the legend of off-road.  True to expectations, the Pajero Legend is big, bold, macho and strong.  High off the ground, with large wheel arches, a big body and a muscular squar-ish look.

Inside it has leather seats, leather and woodgrain multifunction steering wheel, a central display screen with a smaller display above that which displays compass, range, info and more.  Auto windows and side mirrors, manual aircon, auxiliary and USB inputs – in the cubbyhole.  It certainly took me long enough to find it.

Space abounds with extra seating at the back.  The boot is large and with the rear extra seats folded down there is more than enough space.

nov16-15-2

The automatic drives like a big boy, no doubt in that.  The Legend is built for tough terrain, not suburban streets, even though it is very able in suburbia too.  The Legend is very nice to drive, with clear vision on the road from the high-seated driver position.  While the Legend is fairly agile, mall parking is not the best due to the large turning circle.

The Legend is by all means the macho off-roader it is known for and if one uses this just for city driving, the true value, character and “built for terrain” authenticity will be lost.  Consecutive Dakar Rally winner is not a title merely ignored or given away.

Let me say that the Legend offers a very comfortable ride for all passengers on city roads, but I could definitely picture this one climbing mountains.

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Driving the long and short-based Pajero one after the other, gives one the opportunity of really seeing the difference, the short-base being far more spritely and light.

Having said that, this is the Pajero – the tough one, and is a Dakar Rally winner, but it felt more comfortable on city roads.

Short it certainly is, with only 2 doors.  Large wheel arches, a well-rounded bonnet and a large windscreen with a step up into the vehicle.

The dash is neat and compact with the info cluster in the centre, also displaying compass, trip and other info, just like the big daddy Pajero.

The interior is the same as the Legend.  The difference is in the size.  Here you have the option of a light city ride Monday to Friday and the option to take to the dirt roads and mountains on the weekend.

I found myself really enjoying the ease of this one – the higher ride for clear visibility as well as the light feel to the ride.

Space is slightly limited but rear-seated passengers sit comfortably – after climbing in.

The automatic transmission is silent and changes effortlessly.

The two Pajero’s are indeed legends – one the big daddy and the other a teenager.

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HONDA LAUNCHES NEW BR-V

nov16-16

Honda has extended their SUV stable adding to the CR-V and the HR-V, the new BR-V.

While instantly recognisable as a member of the Honda family, the new BR-V features bold, distinctive styling and a sporty, agile appearance, linked to the raised stance and rugged appeal expected of a SUV.Inside, the cabin’s roomy dimensions allow the introduction of a third seating row, boosting the BR-V’s occupant seating capacity to seven. Access to all seating positions is easy and convenient, thanks to split seat rows that can be tumbled forward at the pull of a lever.

All derivatives of the new Honda BR-V are powered by the same, efficient 1,5-litre four-cylinder engine. The SOHC unit uses Honda’s i-VTEC variable valve technology to produce 88 kW of maximum power at 6 600 r/min, together with a torque peak of 145 Nm at 4 600 r/min.

BR-V buyers get to choose between a six-speed manual gearbox and Honda’s refined Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). In the case of the latter, paddle shifts are provided for manual shifting between the CVT’s virtual ratios.

The new BR-V is available in four colours: White Orchid, Urban Titanium, Alabaster Silver and Carnelian Red.

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NEW RENAULT KWID SET TO BE ENTRY-LEVEL CONTENDER

nov16-17Renault has just launched another new vehicle which is hot on the heels of a number of Renault’s launched this year.

Joining the line-up is the all-new Renault KWID – an entry hatch with a SUV inspired design.  The KWID sits in the market position of an entry hatch in a segment that has seen substantial growth.

Meticulously designed, the new KWID hatchback is sure to meet the needs of anyone looking to buy an entry-level car.  Setting it aside from its competitors is its design and spec level.

Although classed as an entry hatch, it has a definite SUV style including a 180mm ground clearance and wheel arch cladding which add to the SUV look and characteristics.  Boot space of 300 litres puts the new Renault KWID on par with an upper segment vehicle.

The Renault KWID is available in two derivatives, namely the Expression and the Dynamique.  Both KWID derivatives are powered by a new 999cc Smart Control efficiency (SCe) engine mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox.  With its distinctive SUV-like design and high ground clearance KWID offers a high driving position and greater visibility making it ideal for zipping around in urban traffic or cruising down the open highway.

Entry-level KWID is modern, smart and stylish inside and out. It combines the comfort and functional user-friendliness of a city car with a spacious interior and a raft of stowage solutions.

Pricing for the Renault KWID starts at R119 900 for the Expression with the Dynamique being priced from R129 900.

Renault is offering a 5 year 150,000km warranty with 24 hours roadside assistance, plus 1 year comprehensive insurance.

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FINAL ROUND OF WPMC REGIONAL KARTING CHAMPIONSHIP AT KILLARNEY

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The 8th and final round of the WPMC Karting Regionals took place at Killarney International Raceway on Saturday 29 October.

Above: Joey Oelz (63) fighting off relentless opposition from Troy Dolinschek (17) and Kai Van Zyl (34) in the Maxterino class.  Joey took part in 2 classes during the final 8th round of the WPMC Regional Karting Championship. The young Constantia resident took overall honours for the day in the Maxterino class while, after winning the first 2 heats in the Mini-Max class, was unlucky to finish far down the field after a racing incident.

nov16-18-1Left: Young Joshua Smit (83) showed that he is a maturing driver by winning all 3 heats of the Cadet class on Saturday.  Joshua had extreme pressure from the rest of the field including Reese Koorzen (55), Reza Levy (45), Joaquin De Oliveira (32) and Paul Malcolm (not in shot). Joshua is only just completing his second season of racing but level of driving he displayed on Saturday shows that he has the skills to achieve his goal of winning the 2017 Western Province championship.

Drive for him and for her

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oct16-13-1Smart FourTwo 900 coupe
review for her

Some people call it a bumble bee; maybe it was the green/yellow colour of my test unit?  But it is the Smart FourTwo Prime and hails from the stable of Mercedes Benz.  It is smaller than small and it is compact from the outside.  The Smart is certainly a car that brings forth many opinions.

The proportions are so different that confusion reigns going from the boot to the door, because you walk right past the door.  Actually, right past the car!

Okay, so we have established that the car is small, but it is also feisty and vibey, and the quality of Mercedes shows in the interior and all round.

The FourTwo is for two people only and provides you with a nippy drive where you sit in leather seats, stitched in white, with heating buttons on the side of both seats.

The interior is curvaceous with a mixture of textures, from a cloth dash to black gloss trimmed in silver.  There is a very circular feel on the inside with big round air vents as well.

The leather-bound multi-functional steering wheel features a number of controls and is adjustable.

With five forward gears and capable of reaching a top speed of 180km/h, the Smart FourTwo can certainly perform.  The sportiness of the Prime, from the silver pedals to steering wheel more than shows through.

The features on my test unit included cruise control, Bluetooth streaming and telephone, electric windows and side mirrors, manual air-conditioner and a touch screen display with Aux and USB inputs.

The drive is easy, light and a bit on the hard side, but this is bearable thanks to comfortable seats.  The Smart must be the easiest vehicle to manoeuvre.  It is super easy to turn, park and make a U-turn in even the narrowest space – I absolutely loved it.  It has power that loves to be used.

The boot is tiny – naturally, but there are little ingenious packing spaces and little extras all over.  The only drawback is that you can only carry one passenger.  That aside, as the driver, the Smart is smart.  It drives nicely, has a style all of its’ own, and somewhere it will no doubt suit perfectly.

oct16-13-2Renault Captur 66kW dCi Dynamique
review for her

Dynamic styling, cross over SUV with curves and large wheel arches, the Renault Captur is certainly stylish and appealing.

The appeal is based on the exterior and interior appearance, as well as performance and features.

The exterior presents with all that is an SUV  large wheel arches, higher ground clearance and lines and style of design.  I found all of this to be rather appealing.

The interior is spacious, uncluttered and neatly and clearly laid out.  My test unit was among the top end and included snazzy zip covers. These are indeed a unique and an ingenious and handy idea!  The seat covers can unzipped and taken off to be washed and then zipped back on again.  The seats themselves do have decent covering, so while the covers are being washed, at least nothing looks amiss.

The dash is neat and culminates in the middle with a touch screen display edged in black gloss.  The screen provides various options, from navigation, to media and a host of vehicle settings.  The leather-bound steering wheel is multifunction, with a number of controls and is adjustable.

Neatly stocked, the Captur caters to all your needs.  Features include cruise control, Bluetooth streaming and telephone, Aux and USB inputs, electric windows, electric side mirrors, auto lights with LED daytime running lights, push button start/stop, keyless entry and auto-locking on walk-away  this is a feature I really enjoy.

With a five-speed gearbox and an eco-mode, the Captur provides and easy, smooth ride.  The gears change effortlessly and the handling and maneuvering are easy and comfortable.

The dCi in particular is the new Diesel variant that has been added to the line-up.  This is definitely a good idea in my opinion as the inclusion of a diesel variant greatly improves on the economy offered by the Captur.

The Captur can be quite sporty and provide an interesting ride, I found. However, the power was a bit lost when driving in eco-mode.

The versatility of the Captur means it can appeal to a diverse and different group.  From family to fun, all can be achieved in the Captur.

Volvo reveals adventurous side with new V90 Cross Country

oct16-14

Volvo Cars has unveiled the eagerly-awaited V90 Cross Country, completing its 90 Series line-up.

Since the introduction of the first Cross Country almost 20 years ago, Volvo Cars has become synonymous with the rugged all-road, all-weather product category, with a growing stable of Cross Country models.

Volvo Cars’ Cross Country models fulfil an increasingly important part of the Swedish automaker’s product portfolio as luxury car buyers seek out a more experienced-based lifestyle that occasionally takes them off the beaten track.

“The new V90 Cross Country takes the elegance of the V90 and transforms it into an all-road car that delivers safety, comfort and performance in a capable and adventurous package,” says Håkan Samuelsson, President & CEO, Volvo Car Group.

With some of the harshest winters on the planet and over 77 per cent of the country covered in forest and lakes, Sweden is the perfect place to develop and test extreme durability and all-weather capable cars. This hard-won expertise represents a large part of Volvo Cars’ heritage, reflected in the company’s Cross Country model line-up.

From secret testing facilities in the frozen north of Sweden, where temperatures regularly hit -40 degrees centigrade, to the searing desert heat of Arizona, where Volvo Cars performs its high temperature testing programme, the V90 Cross Country has been built to last.

With a design that clearly stands out from the crowd, the V90 Cross Country’s rugged character belies a sumptuous interior that delivers a level of luxury uncommon in the segment, combining all the benefits of the connectivity and entertainment features that were launched with the new S90 and V90, including a high-end sound system by Bowers & Wilkins.

The V90 Cross Country’s exterior design cues communicate the powerful and dynamic capability that the car exemplifies, while offering the flexibility to choose from both rugged and elegant expressions.

The new V90 Cross Country takes this well-established segment to a new level of comfort-inspired capability. Production of the car is set to start during the northern hemisphere autumn at Volvo Cars’ Torslanda Plant in Sweden.

The new Volvo V90 Cross Country is destined for South African roads, with timing and availability currently in planning stages.

NEW RENAULT MEGANE HAS ARRIVED

oct16-15

Launched locally in 1996, 20 years have passed since the birth of the popular Renault Mégane. Accorded the prestigious title of flagship model of the French automaker’s line-up, it’s now time to welcome the fourth generation New Renault Mégane range to South Africa.

Bigger, bolder and boasting a classy road posture, the New Renault Mégane’s sporty exterior styling is more sensual than ever. Perfectly proportioned and well-balanced, its volume seems to be drawn from a single line with generous and contoured shoulders reinforcing a perception of quality and strength. This, together with the brand’s trademark vertical diamond-shaped logo and wide grille, is inherent to Renault’s new design philosophy.

At first glance, it’s immediately apparent that the consistency of New Renault Mégane’s exterior and interior design, together with the quality of the materials used throughout, is attributable to a vehicle competing in an upper segment.

New Mégane boasts distinctive front and rear lighting signatures which are illuminated by day and night. The front C-shaped lighting features 3-D Edge Light (LED) technology while as previously mentioned, the New Mégane GT comes equipped with full LED headlights.

The permanently-lit rear LED lights also feature a unique 3D-effect signature with the slender brush stroke-like lines emitting a deep red light.

The interior is modern, sporty and inviting and has been designed to draw in driver and passengers with its invitation to settle comfortably into the contoured seats in back and front.

The New Mégane GT model is the first vehicle in its segment to have 4CONTROL technology which affords the driver control, handling responsiveness and absolute precision. A Renault innovation, 4CONTROL chassis turns the rear wheels (maximum 3.0° angle) which affords the driver exceptional cornering ability.

It brings energy and precision on winding roads, stability at high speed and offers handling responsiveness at low-speed and when manoeuvering. The four-wheel steering system’s ability to react immediately is extremely reassuring in emergency situations; driving control is cleaner and more precise offering more peace of mind and genuine driving enjoyment.

New Mégane comes with the Renault MULTI-SENSE button or settings can be accessed from the R-LINK 2. MULTI-SENSE affords driver and passengers the ability to immerse themselves in a uniquely personalized driving experience; technology unprecedented within the highly populated vehicle segment in which New Mégane competes.

MULTI-SENSE enables users to modify driving dynamics:  accelerator pedal mapping, variable-power steering response, gearbox mapping, powertrain response (injection ECU) and 4CONTROL chassis behavior (New Mégane GT only).

Leading the New Renault Mégane petrol-powered pack is the GT flagship model. Powered by the marque’s new generation Energy TCe 205 151 kW (1.6 litre) engine, the New Mégane GT has a seven-speed dual-clutch (EDC) auto gearbox plus Renault’s 4CONTROL chassis four wheel steering system.

Next up are the two New Mégane GT-LINE variants. Both powered by Renault’s Energy TCe130 97 kW (1.2 litre) engine, there are two transmission options: seven-speed dual-clutch (EDC) auto gear box (just like the GT) or six-speed manual gear box.

New Mégane’s Dynamique model is powered by Renault’s 84kW 1.6 litre engine and mated with a five-speed manual gear box.

New Renault Mégane has been awarded the prestigious 5-star Euro NCAP rating.

The new Renault Megane starts at R279,900 for the Dynamique.

The New Renault Megane line-up comes standard with a 5-year/150 000km mechanical warranty and a 6-year anti-corrosion warranty. Also standard is a 5-year/90 000km service plan. Services take place at 15 000 km intervals (10 000km on Megane GT).

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