Month: February 2016

Exploring in the Chevrolet Trailblazer

For the explorer: Chevrolet’s Trailblazer.

If you and your loved ones are in the habit of exploring, you will know that a small hatchback or sedan might not get the job done for your needs. In most cases, a large vehicle is required in order to fit the luggage, the tents, the skottel-braai and of course the people. This is where a car like the Chevrolet Trailblazer comes in. With a high ground clearance, mansion like space and a good old reliable diesel in the front, it can make exploring look like a walk in the park.

How does it drive?

Being a large vehicle, the driver needs to be aware of the fact that this is no city car when it comes to size. A class in parking may be needed to learn how to park the car in small shopping mall parking spaces. Also if you happen to not be blessed with a basketball players’ height, get used to plummeting to the ground each time you get out of your Trailblazer. Besides that, the car drives very well, comfortable enough for day to day activities and of course very comfortable on the open road, presuming this is where you will spend most of your time in the car.

What we loved most about the way the Trailblazer drives, is how the car didn’t suffer too much from body roll, which is good for tackling sweeping bends on far away roads. The 2.8 litre Duramax diesel engine fitted in our test unit didn’t disappoint us one bit as well. The 500 Nm of  torque was delivered in a timeous manner and the automatic gearbox is well mated to the engine too. Interestingly, one would not expect a car of this size to use a 4 cylinder engine, but times have clearly changed and the engine in the Trailblazer is in no way underpowered for the mass of the car.

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Practicality.

One of the most appealing qualities about the Chevrolet trailblazer, has got to be vast amount of useable space that the car offers. The car is a real seven seater vehicle, with seven adults being able to sit comfortably in the car. Some seven seat vehicles merely pose as “seven seaters” but in reality the last two seats are as big as those found in a 911 Porsche.

Up front the dashboard in the Trailblazer is not exactly fancy, it’s more functional than luxurious. That being said, the lack of expensive finishes has not impaired things like connectivity since the MyLink infotainment system allows you to pair your cell phone and enjoy all your road trip music.

One cannot judge the Chevrolet Trailblazer on not having a premium feel, instead the car has a boy/girl next door appeal to it. It’s not meant for pavement climbing, it’s meant for proper exploring. For its purpose, the lack of low profile tyres and shiny wheels makes perfect sense because African roads and low profile tyres should never be in the same sentence, nor should burr wood trim and mud.

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Verdict.

After considering what Chevrolet’s Trailblazer is built for, one realises just why this car makes a whole lot of sense. Add all that to a starting price of R 451 000 and the car starts to make even more sense for an explorer or someone with an extended family. All that space and practicality for that starting price? We say for what you get, the Chevrolet Trailblazer is indeed a bargain.

 

Drive review: Mazda 3 Astina sedan

Narrowing the gap: Driving the Mazda 3

In the past one had to buy a very premium car to get features like electric seats, reverse camera and head – up display. Those days are gone because brands like Mazda are giving their clients the same features at half the price. Does this mean you get half the car in terms of build quality? We managed to answer that question when we drove the Mazda 3 2.0 litre Astina sedan.

Bold and beautiful:

The outward design elements of the Mazda 3’s design are bold and dare we say it, beautiful.  The front end is as dramatic as the actual show itself, with sharp lines from the headlights and a large grille meeting up to create an appealing look. The rest of the car is also attractive to look at, on top of that our test unit had the larger wheels fitted to it, making the stance of the car more aggressive.

The interior of the Mazda 3 is where the car shines, the dashboard although simple in design is built very well.  Japanese meticulousness can be seen all around through the well stitched leather seats and the overall set up of the interior. The various options that the touch-screen infotainment system gives you, are all easily accessible though the centre console which has been placed in a convenient place for the driver to navigate. Entertainment wise, the Bose sound system we had thumped away to our Bluetooth streamed music, keeping us entertained in traffic. Keeping our eyes on the road was Mazda’s head – up display that projects onto a small screen on the dashboard.

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Solid and Spacious:

The ride quality in the Mazda 3 can’t be faulted as the vehicle feels well grounded on the road. The steering of the car is direct and comfort levels are where you would expect them to be, if not better than what you would expect. Occupants will also not battle for space in the car as there is ample room for five to sit and not have backache after a few hours.

The 2.0 litre engine in the Mazda 3 Astina is normally aspirated and quite high revving, which is great for coastal drivers but us inlanders up in the reef may long for more torque, even though the car develops 121 kW/ 210 Nm. The test unit we drove was fitted with the automatic gearbox which did well from a comfort point of view, but it did tend to have a mind of its own when a lower gear was needed to overtake. Despite the Mazda feeling “old – school” in terms of the engine due to the lack of a turbocharger, when it gets going on an open road it does a good job of picking up speed and maintaining it.

 

Verdict:

At a starting  price of R232 000 and R330 800 for the top of the range Astina, the Mazda 3 sedan is a very well priced vehicle. Bang for buck, few cars can compete with what this car offers in its class. To answer the question posed in the beginning, one does not get half the car. What you do get is a well built and well-specified sedan. The gap is narrowing due to cars like these being on the market and with many people tightening their belts due to the economic crisis, cars like the Mazda 3 are going to make much more sense.

 

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Driven: BMW’s new 7 Series

The art of luxury: BMW’s new 7 Series

In the world of art, artists often use their works to reveal what thoughts and feelings are going on in their creative minds. Their art becomes a means of communication between the viewer and themselves and how the artist wants to be perceived. For well acclaimed artists there is often that one work that most people remember them for. This work acts as a flagship for the artist, regarded as their best by the public. If cars were viewed the same way artworks are, the F-luxury segment would surely be regarded as the “pièce de résistance” for all car makers who participate in that segment. For BMW, the 7 Series has occupied that role as the flagship vehicle for the manufacturer.  After seven years, the outgoing 7 Series has been laid to rest and a new model has taken over the reign.

One word comes to mind when looking at the length of the car, the elongated nose and of course, the large chrome kidney grille. That word is presidential. Simplicity was of upmost importance when designing the car and it worked well to create an appealing shape that is both modern and classic.

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The most visually appealing exterior package is what BMW calls Design Pure Excellence. Chrome inserts around the whole vehicle and large shiny wheels make a statement that this is indeed a luxury car. The previous car had an understated look to it that was overshadowed by the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Now with the new 7 Series, you can park the vehicle next to the current S-Class and battle to choose one, because they both have that parliamentary look to them.

One automatically expects to see drivers in black suits standing outside the vehicle, waiting to open doors for you. Interestingly, that is exactly what happened on the last leg of our journey in the car when we were chauffeured to the airport. This allowed us to envision a life as a one of the “one percent” and it helped us draw the conclusion that the back seat of the new BMW 7 Series is one of its most prominent features.

The blend of technology, beauty and comfort come together to create such a good experience you wouldn’t mind being driven in your 7 series all the time. Optional electrically adjustable seats, rear entertainment screens and a detachable centre tablet would undoubtedly keep you very entertained until you reached your destination.

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Should you wish to drive the car yourself, you wouldn’t be sorry. Large vehicles have a tendency to make the driver very aware of the mass that is being controlled by their hands. This is not the case in  the new 7 Series. The loss of 130 kg’s due to BMW’s Carbon Core design has made the new car feel nimble, direct and malleable enough to easily navigate through corners at high speeds. From a dynamic point of view, BMW’s formula has not changed in the new 7 Series. The biggest difference between this car and the one it succeeds are the technological advancements that have been made.

Semi autonomous driving is something BMW have taken very seriously in the new car. The best part is that it actually works. Small steering inputs can be felt at each corner, breaking is applied and acceleration too when Steering and Lane Control assist is activated as well as Adaptive Cruise Control. Having these two assists on whilst on an open road allow you to enjoy your music ever more so through speakers supplied by Bowers and Wilkins or Harman Kardon, the choice is yours.

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Obviously you can’t enjoy your sound system if your ride quality is poor. Hence why BMW have equipped the new 7 Series with various suspension damping settings. The double air suspension in the car allows you to toggle between two Sport Modes, two Comfort Modes and a completely new Adaptive Mode that adjusts itself between a sporty and comfortable driving setting depending on how you’re driving.

Another very exciting feature in the new 7 Series is the Smart Key. The larger than normal key features a small colour screen that informs the driver of some useful information about the car. Don’t you hate it when you enter a car that has been sitting in the sun for a few hours? 7 Series owners won’t have to worry about that since the Smart key allows the driver to activate the fan before you enter into the car. Fuel range and other information can be seen by the driver long before they enter the car. The coolest feature available in the Smart key is Remote Parking. One can reverse their vehicle out of a parking lot without physically being in the car. Unfortunately South African specified vehicles do not have that feature available yet, but be prepared to see it in the near future.

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The next few months will also bring us the most exciting power plant in the range, the 750i/750Li. At the launch we had available the 730d and the 740i, both extremely capable engines that never left us longing for more power or torque. So why would the 750i be necessary you may wonder? For the level of client buying a car like this, it’s often a case of having the best. So even though the 240kW/450Nm in the 740i may be enough power, or the 650Nm/195kW in the 730d may do the job,  having 330kW/650Nm in the 750i make the world of a difference when it comes to driving the best.

BMW as the artist in our illustration want us to see that technology is at the forefront of their new cars. Using technologies from their i-Products and incorporating them in all their cars is something we can expect to see in the future. At the same time BMW wants us to see that they have not lost sight of the dynamic aspects of their cars, even with a large car like the 7 Series. This car or “work” is an opportunity to show-off the brand to customers. It’s to show us where the future of BMW is going whilst keeping elements of the car that made customers fall in love with the brand in the past.

Have they executed their vision through this “artwork” effectively? After spending some time in the front seat, driving the car fast and slow as well as using many of its technologies. And then to change roles and be driven in the rear of the car and imagine what life would be like as a back seat passenger. We can definitely say that the new 7 Series is BMW’s Mona Lisa.

Pricing:

730d:  R 1 356 500

740i:   R 1 339 000

750i:   R 1 755 000

750Li: R 1 893 500

 

 

New Volkswagen Caddy driven: Surprisingly fun.

Midlands meander meets the new Volkswagen Caddy.

As we were driving through the Valley of a thousand hills on a beautiful Durban morning, the road ahead swept and as we turned the corner, we noticed the green lush scenery swooshing by.  As we turned into another corner and applied some power, “this Caddy is fun!” we thought. Sorry what, a Volkswagen Caddy being fun? Yes you read correctly.  It’s not the kind of vehicle you would imagine having fun in on the road, but the Caddy 4 took us by surprise.

Our test run of this vehicle started at King Shaka International Airport with our destination being deep in the Natal Midlands, a beautiful countryside area with some of the best scenery in the country. It’s the type of place you would imagine enjoying a hot hatch or sports car on, due to its twisty roads. The VW caddy though, was also very enjoyable. We drove two Caddy’s, the first being a manual 81kW 2.0TDI. Let’s be honest, 81kW is not much power but that  being said, the Caddy 4 did not feel underpowered at all, mainly due to the torque from the turbocharger.

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The VW caddy 4 comes under the commercial vehicle range, but it doesn’t really feel like a commercial vehicle. For starters the interior is clean and crisp, extremely spacious and stylish. The steering wheel felt and looked like something you would find in a passenger car. Most noticeably the large infotainment system finished things off nicely, a very nice cabin indeed.

When it comes to handling, one can turn in quickly into a corner and you don’t end up with a heap of body roll. This vehicle has the capacity of carrying eight people and considering all of that, one wouldn’t expect it to handle very well, but it does a good job. The car took the Midlands’ sweeping bends in its stride, it’s safe to say that this is not a boring commercial vehicle at all.

Heading back to Durban the following day after a fantastic evening, we had the chance to drive the other more powerful automatic 2.0 TDI. The manual vehicle was good, but we wouldn’t recommend it over the 103kW DSG variant.  The extra 21kW really makes a difference, when cruising and overtaking it gets up to speed that much more faster, making for an easier and more comfortable drive. The DSG gearbox is smooth and precise, the Sport mode was also perfect for the windy route. You will have to part with an extra R40K for the DSG gearbox, but it’s definitely worth it.

At the end of the day this is a commercial vehicle and one sees that due to how Volkswagen have made it incredibly easy to remove all the rear seats. A simple pull on a lever and the whole seat system slides out, fantastic if you need to load equipment or you’re going away for the weekend. Adding to the versatility is the option of either a tailgate or twin doors, each come with there own advantages and based on user preferences.

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The Caddy 4 also features some nifty technology systems, such as driver fatigue systems, reversing camera, advanced infotainment and our favourite, anti-collision braking. This is a system which applies full braking power after the vehicle has been in an accident, which helps eliminate the chance of a secondary collision.

There are various models of  the Caddy ranging from a stripped down panel-van and Crew bus aimed at the commercial market, to the Trendline and Alltrack aimed at the more private user. Longer wheel-base Maxi versions are also available which differentiate themselves by adding a generous 469mm of length.

Overall we enjoyed our experience with new Volkswagen Caddy, we were pleasantly surprised with the comfort levels in the car. The exterior looks fantastic and it really wouldn’t look out of place sitting next to passenger Volkswagens which are more sporty. It looks more like a sibling rather than an ugly cousin and fits into the entire range well.

It’s also worth noting that VW South Africa have not been affected by the emissions saga at all so don’t let that discourage you from buying a diesel. The panel vans start at the R230 000 mark, crew buses come in at a similar starting price of R226 000 while the Trendline and Alltrack will cost you around R350 000 depending on specification.

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A Swift week: Suzuki family test.

What if you had to drive a Suzuki for the rest of your life?

 for fast food. But let’s for a moment use our imagination and picture a world where we only had one brand of cars to choose from. Imagine for some inexplicable reason, Japan ruled the world and the only cars they produced were Suzuki Swifts. We at TheMotorist had to imagine such a world for a week, when Suzuki decided to involve us in their “family test”. This entailed us driving a different model Swift every two days and the final one for the weekend.

Monday to Wednesday: Swift 1.2 GL Dzire.

The Swift Dzire is an interesting car. We won’t call the boot section ugly, we’ll rather say it’s functional. What you sacrifice in looks, you gain in practicality. This vehicle comes in handy in our “Suzuki Swift only” alternate universe because the start of the week is when most people decide to do some shopping, this where the extra boot space of the Dzire comes in handy.

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Besides the added space, the Dzire shares the same interior as its hatchback siblings. Which means a nice and neat dashboard is included, as well as features such as Bluetooth radio, CD and USB input. Electric windows and remote central locking are features this model was equipped with too.

The small 1.2 litre engine in the Dzire is extremely frugal on fuel, which makes it an even more appealing package for those needing some extra space. Priced at R 145 900 for the entry level GA variant, many small cars will battle to give you all that for that price.

Wednesday to Friday: Swift 1.4 GLS Hatchback.

Now this is a good looking little car. This vehicle has the right combination of cute in it not to feel too feminine or too masculine. What you lose in boot space over the Dzire, you gain in visual appeal. Interestingly the 1.4 GLS, apart from having a more powerful engine, is very taught on the road which gives you a great feeling of nimbleness behind the wheel. It’s no super hatch but it makes for some good fun around corners because you can chuck it around and feel safe at the same time.

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Again despite more enthusiastic driving, the 1.4 GLS was also very good on fuel, a feature which seems to be a recurring theme amongst the models. The comfort levels of the GLS are great and the LED lights on the exterior, as well as the larger wheels make this car a great package for an up and coming young person who wants something trendy to commute with everyday.

Friday to Sunday: Swift 1.6 Sport.  

Remember the 1.4 GLS we were discussing right now? Now take that car, give it some steroids and a caffeine addiction, then you get the Swift Sport. Suzuki South Africa planned this week well, because the Sport is a car that does well in the weekend atmosphere. During the week, you have work and errands so your time is limited, whereas on the weekend you have more time to be silly. The Sport is a car that brings out the silly in most people, it’s an involving car therefore it makes you work for your fun. When you’ve worked hard enough, you appreciate what the essence of the car is about.

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The car is all about feeling and revving that 1.6 litre engine all the way to 7100 rpm is a good feeling. The size of the car also has much to do with the experience it provides. Since it’s small and low and light on its feet, it can do things bigger cars can’t. It’s like a mouse. Mice aren’t the fastest creatures out there, but because they’re small and nimble, they can fit in many little nooks and crannies. Similarly, the Swift Sport allows you to explore every inch of its rev happy engine. The suspension setup also allows you to do things you shouldn’t do, and just when you think you’ve gone too far, you come out thinking “how did I make that gap?” or “how did I make that corner?”. For R253 900, you get a great deal of fun for the price you pay.

So at the end of the week we can say that an alternate world of just Suzuki Swifts wouldn’t be a terrible thing. The question is, in the real world if we had to choose one car from the models we tested, which one would it be? As practical as the Dzire is, we’re too vain to turn a blind eye to that boot. The natural choice then would be to pick the Sport, but truthfully no one drives like a hooligan all the time and even if you did, Jacob Zuma’s laws and traffic wouldn’t allow it. So as a result, the most logical choice would be to opt for the 1.4 GLS, and at R 212 900, it’s also very well priced too.

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Infiniti’s answer to the 4 Series and C-Class coupé.

With the Geneva Motor Show happening soon, there are some interesting vehicles to look out for. One of those cars is Infiniti’s new sports coupe, named the Q60. Just looking at this car you can see the segment it will compete in, the likes of the BMW 4 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe are the definite rivals.

Design:

Much like the design of many Infiniti’s today, the Q60 uses sharp and sleek lines to create a sporty look for the car. A large low slung black and chrome grille stares you straight in the face, whilst a more minimalistic rear is seen with an exhaust pipe on either side.

Engine:

The Q60 will use a 3.0L twin turbocharged engine which produces 298 kW and 475 Nm of torque. As good as those power figures are, this car doesn’t seem to want to challenge the likes of the M4 and C63, but rather the 435i and the forthcoming C450 AMG. Will it be a worthy contender? Only time will tell.

Impressions:

On first impressions, we notice that the car does share very similar lines to both the Mercedes and the BMW, but don’t most cars nowadays? It’s good looking but not savagely aggressive. Perhaps it will be a good grand tourer. Let’s hope it’s exciting.

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Zooped up: Hyundai i20 Sport

Remember the time guys would buy ordinary hatchbacks and slowly but surely turn them into something more radical? Most car lovers have gone through a time where a go faster kit, bigger wheels and a loud exhaust pipe was all you wanted. Well Hyundai have realised that this is an inevitable phase in a car lovers life and as a result they have created something to appeal to this market.

What happens when you take an i20 and give it some boy racer treatment? You get what they call the Hyundai i20 Sport. A set 17 inch alloy wheels, a sports kit and a cat back exhaust later and you’re ready to hit the streets. By hit the streets we don’t mean that you’re going to go out there and win races, after all you only have 85 kW/ 160 Nm coming out of that 1.4 litre engine, even though the car has been given a performance chip. So don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a powerhouse, it’s not.

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How does it drive?

The Hyundai i20 Sport is solid in terms of ride quality. The lower suspension and firm damping means that it corners well too. Even though that little engine is not that fast, it’s not terrible slow either, but with the exhaust screaming along, you feel like you’re going much faster than you are.

What does it cost?

This is where the Hyundai i20 Sport will face a challenge, because it costs R 253 900. That puts it up against the Suzuki Swift Sport and the Opel Corsa Sport. The Suzuki is an exciting little car but the Opel Corsa Sport is the most appealing in this segment because unlike its normally aspirated competitors, it has a turbocharger and much more power. The Corsa Sport is also more refined than both the Hyundai and the Suzuki.

Verdict.

If the Hyundai i20 Sport cost less, it would be a much more appealing package. Unfortunately, it’s price is going to hinder it against the competition. On the bright side, though, at least it has a loud exhaust and some shiny wheels.

 

 

Five new features in the new Jaguar XF.

What you can expect in the new Jaguar XF.

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The Jaguar XF was the first car in the brand to feature the modern lines we see in many new Jaguars today. Since its initial launch in 2007, the car has undergone some facelifts, making it look sleeker than what it already was. Now 2016 brings us a new XF in South Africa and you can expect to see these interesting new features in the car.

  • Jaguar’s new InControl infotainment touch screen system: This system features Bluetooth, USB and a feature called JaguarVoice.
  • Head-up display: This is a first for the Jaguar XF and it will feature useful information that will be projected to the drivers line of sight via the windscreen.

 

  • LED Bi-Xenon headlights: All XF models will feature this light design. Like it’s younger sibling the XE, the XF will have the beautiful  “J” design LED light strips.

 

  • Lane Keep Assist & Driver Conditioning Monitoring: These safety features are extremely important especially on the long trips that many XF drivers will be doing. The Lane Keep Assist stops the car from veering into another lane and the Driver Conditioning Monitoring will warn drivers and encourage them to take needed rests during a long trip.
  • Pedestrian Contact Sensing: The new Jaguar XF doesn’t only have the driver’s safety in mind, but the pedestrians too. The Pedestrian Contact Sensing feature uses air-bags to lift the bonnet in the unfortunate event of hitting a pedestrian. This will reduce the injury to the pedestrian upon impact.

Besides all these new technologies, the new Jaguar XF features some sharp lines, an aggressive front grille and large interior space. This car comes in at the right time as Mercedes will launch its E-Class soon and BMW will launch its 5 Series later this year too.

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Opel Corsa Sport: Baby boy racer.

We wish Opel’s reasoning as to why the Corsa Sport has wind-up windows in the rear was because of weight saving. That’s the only logical explanation we can think of, even if we know it’s not true. At least with that explanation, boy racers can use it as a bragging tool at meet-ups when the topic comes up.

It was a very annoying thing to realise, mainly because by the time we realised it, we had talked up the Corsa Sport so much to our peers. How great it drives, how economical it is and how well built it is are but a few of the praises we gave it until someone piped up and said “why doesn’t it have electric windows in the back?”. Then silence occurred, “your face has no electric windows in the back!” we wanted to say, but that wouldn’t have worked, so we had no come back.

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That’s the thing about the new Corsa’s, they’re very good so you end up growing too attached to them. Maybe it’s the looks, maybe it’s the comfortable hugging seats or maybe it’s because as a normal day to day car, it does such a fine job even when you’re driving like a civilised person. The Corsa Sport is not the fastest thing to come out of the brand and competitors like the Suzuki Swift Sport provide a better cheap thrill. But, thrills only last so long, as long as you have an empty road which isn’t often nowadays.

So it’s when you’re doing everyday things that you come to really appreciate the Corsa Sport. It’s when you need to overtake, or when that more luxurious German brand tries to move you off the right lane, but you decide to show him/her that you too can keep up. It’s also when you look at it, and those Bi-Xenon light’s give you a wink and that front end smiles at you. It’s then that you appreciate that this is a good all round package, the same feeling we had with Sunny, the Sport’s 1.0-litre sibling.

Maybe that’s why Opel didn’t bother with the rear electric windows and instead gave us PDC, reverse camera, City Steering and touch screen infotainment as standard. They knew that as irritating as it will be, it won’t be a make or break factor. Maybe it will be for non-boy-racers who knows? But for those that enjoy some fun behind the wheel, they can just say it’s for “weight saving”. So if you’re into a little excitement but at the same time want a good looking, quality car, then perhaps the 110 kW from the Sport’s 1.4-litre turbo is for you. At just under R260 000, it’s well priced for a junior hot(ish) hatch.

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Finally: Honda’s new Civic Type R driven.

It’s arrived: Honda’s new Civic Type R

For many years  VW, BMW and even Mercedes fans have had to hear about the new Honda Civic Type R that’s on its way and how this car is destined to annihilate anything that challenges it. We all awaited this car and the hype behind it, the first ever turbocharged Civic Type R. Car magazines from around the world published concepts of it, later Nurburgring times were announced with video evidence, and some journalists even drove the car. Yet we kept waiting and waiting for this car to be released on our South African soil. Eventually after many years of threats, the car arrived and we finally had the chance to drive it.

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Now here’s the thing about hyping a car too much, for those doing all the talking, they put themselves in a position to look very stupid if the car fails to deliver. Even we were sceptical about all the figures, “228 kW’s and 400 Nm’s on the front wheels? This was surely deemed to be a torque steer machine” we thought.

Well crunch time arrived and just looking at it in the pits sparked a fire of excitement in us. The sharp lines on the outside and the blood red bucket seats inside added to the suspense. So what’s it like behind the wheel? After a few laps around Killarney raceway, all we could think about was the smug look that all the Honda lovers would have, after we all had to admit that they were correct.

You see there is a simple factor that determines the reception of a hot hatch. Speed is important obviously, handling too, but one factor is the deal breaker, fun factor. This is where the Type R outshines the competition because there is fun everywhere in this car. From the bold design, to the short-throw gearbox, to the ludicrous induction sounds it makes. The character of this car is like that of an ADHD child, it wants to play all the time. The difference is that an ADHD child will set the house on fire but the Honda will set your emotions on fire.

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Not only is the new Civic Type R fun, it is very capable on the track. The way that differential works and how the car uses its power and how it grips through corner after corner is something that makes it really stand out. Yes the competition may have faster cars but there is something so special about this car that getting beaten on a straight line is not on your mind when you’re behind the wheel.

 

The combination of turbo charging and V-Tec technology is remarkable, because the high revving nature of the car is still there. Only this time it’s accompanied by torque, torque and more torque. The “R” button further adds to the hooliganism in the car by sharpening the throttle response and firmness of the suspension.

The Type R is not flawless though, the ride is still quite hard on the road and it’s not exactly discreet. So if you’re in the type of industry that doesn’t welcome large spoilers and protruding diffusers, you may be in trouble if your order is already in. That being said, if you didn’t buy a Type R for whatever reason you had, we don’t think Honda would care really. They didn’t mean for this car to be the ultimate all rounder, they developed it to be fast and to excite and to show-off what Honda can do. Based on the finished product we can say they did their job.

 

The biggest pill to swallow is the price of R586 400. Then again when you were a little boy, you didn’t worry too much about how much that toy you really wanted cost, did you? You were willing to spend all your savings on it. The same applies for those in the market for cars like these. The reason for purchasing one will not be about price, it will be about want. Hence why despite the hair raising price of a Mercedes-Benz A45, you still see a good amount of them on the road.

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The competitors in this segment play a different game to the one that Honda is playing though. For instance, The VW Golf R is a massively impressive car and it is practical as well. It is probably the best all-round hot hatch money can buy. It is an everyday car that can be a hot hatch when you want it to. Whereas the Honda Civic Type R is a hot hatch all the time that can be used as an everyday car, if you don’t mind all the stares. As a result, the Type R’s direct competitor in terms of its purpose is probably the Renault Megane RS. These two cars share the same interests, that of making grown men feel like little boys again, and boy oh boy the new Civic Type R made us want to play. After many years of waiting, we’re happy to say we weren’t disappointed.

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