Category: Car reviews

Datsun GO CVT

It was just November of last year where Datsun undertook the facelift and CVT automatic introduction of the Datsun Go. Undertaking moreover due to the Datsun Go being the vehicle of choice for arguments about safety and how many A-Segment competitors are making vehicles like the Go appear dated and struggling to convince more value-driven consumers. Now given the chance to spend a week with the Go CVT the opportunity to spend a week with one would be a chance at redemption would be through the voice of low running costs. a most importantly better road dynamics that made the genesis of the Go so poorly reception in the pool of public opinion but still a fair contender in the market, nevertheless.

The Datsun Go has come a vast way as a platform, highlighted by the improvements that the facelift aimed to showcase in late 2019. The introduction of the VSC traction Control and the strengthening to the body frame aimed to improve driving characteristics, Car Play and Android Auto connectivity and interior improvements that provided decent progress from the front seat bench and “Twist and Pull” handbrake beginnings. The issue here is the sad understanding that even by budget car standards the Safety element of cars like the Go rather concerning given the lack of any crash safety ratings and the high road fatalities in a country like ours. The Go has been rather popular in the segment despite its barebones approach to motoring. The spec improvements have brought the vehicle up to date with respects to competitor offerings.

The Cabin is now a better thought out place and additions like better-shaped seats, more hard plastics to make the NVH exposure far better overbearing and acceptable build quality overall. The Lack of multi-function steering wheel at this price point makes little sense and I found myself wishing for audio controls given the Carplay and Andriod Auto USP. The USB through with the system is accessed it rather well hidden under the centre console, and provides for endless hours of entertainment with respects to playing “find the port”. The System itself is slow to responses and prompts but well enough. The seats are a bit hard and this is especially the case in the rear, where the cramped legroom is an additional feature to the experience.

What’s the Datsun Go like to drive?

The simple understanding that the A-Segment has always had Automatic variations and this not being a new concept is not the view one should view the GO with but moreover the choice for the CVT and dealing and living with the Gearbox. The steering is very light which makes the tiny dimensions a blast in tight spaces and when parking but sheer pain at all other moments but a liveable offence. The tagline that sells the CVT being “like and Auto but smoother” is true and very much a big part into the effortless shifting experience that the car possess but is plagued by the lack of progress when under full throttle and the loud and irritating drone of 5000R/pm Plus when trying to do simple tasks like getting up to speed or overtaking. This lack of progress means pedal and how hard you press it is not a true depiction of what acceleration is possible even when unladen. The 57kw and 104Nm of torque feel to struggle when paired with the gearbox as very little rapid progress can be made and gaps in traffic are matched with noisy 3-cylinder attempts and constant failures. Ride quality is nothing to fuss over with the general ability to deal with bumps and rough surfaces ok enough for most. The greatest enhancement is the better feel at speeds where the car is still blown about by wind and very body-roll inherent but a vast improvement over the Go’s of the past, with enough confidence to inspire throwing it into low-speed corners and hanging on as the bodyweight rolls and shifts about.

The summary to the Datsun Go Story must end with the appeal behind a budget car and how it fits into a budget. The Entry point for purchase is rather high at R188 300 for the CVT LUX. This may be the largest issue with the Go given the cost of ownership is not as low as competitors with the higher 7.5Litre/100 Fuel consumption best, far off the 5.5L claimed, it also is heavily affected by driving style and at points, back outright thirsty, due to the ramblings of all 57Kw’s trying to break free from the CVT oppression.

Pricing in South Africa

The Datsun Go LUX CVT prices from R188 300 which makes it an expensive entry point to the A-segment and with better offerings from other manufactures the allure of a brand new car may not be that great with the Datsun and your money should ‘Go’ somewhere else sadly.

Driven: 2020 Toyota CH-R facelift

The Toyota CH-R has been an attractive model and prospect for those looking for a funky crossover, with a quirky exterior and strong Toyota Heritage in South Africa.The CH-R stands out for its ability to fit all this trick styling and yet be a typical Toyota in that its build to a very high standard and provides a comfortable dependable choice. Being a now midlife vehicle how does the 3-Year refresher improve its stake in the highly contested segment it exists within.

Looking back at the 2017 launch of the “Coupe High Riding”, the greatest part of the lust the little Toyota showcases is the design and this is even after a facelift mainly the same. Injected with an enhanced sporty fare, the front bumper now hosts a bumper colour front chin-lip. The headlights are now standard with LED running lights with the fog lights shifting within the lower section of the redesigned bumper. At the rear with sharp lines that make the coupe-like rear flow better into the new rear LED lights and Gloss rear spoiler.

The major update to the platform come through the safety upgrades on the Standard and Plus models. The Now six airbags come standard on the range, inclusive of front passenger knee airbags. The Spec Luxury gets the Toyota Safety Sense system, comprehensive of all your blind-spot monitoring, lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, a pre-crash system, radar-guided adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist needs.

Inside, the use of new higher-grade materials adorn takes precedence and the funky theme continues with a contoured roofliner with the Rhombus shape that is seen throughout. The hard plastics are still there but better hidden and softer and less scratchy. The push feel remains but doesn’t make statements with class-leading contention. The seats feel redesigned and are softer and more comfortable. Understandably the rear feels dark and tight given the small rear windows the space is fair which will help with this but the small rear doors and sloping roofline do limit access and after the family car of the compactness of the car.

The 4.2Inch infotainment gains CarPlay and Andriod Auto. The screen is angled towards the driver and having function buttons of the sides makes it easy to control but the system despite allowing app access like GoogleMaps and Waze is still a bit lacking in intuitiveness. As standard, a 15GB data package (monthly top-ups are available at cost) which provides to be useful when network is limited but allows suffers from connection issues at points.

What’s improved about the drive?

The launch of the updated CH-R found journo’s in George, on a small-town Grand Tour, which given the around 600Km’s travel proved a number of critical reminders as to why this Sub-compact is such a fantastic combination of sporty, dynamic and comfortable. The facelifted model retains the 1.2Litre Turbocharged engine shared with the Corolla hatch, producing 85kWs and 185Nm mated to a CVT transmission in the Luxury trim at test. The engine is smooth and the power delivery is rewarding at most, given it gets the crossover moving at a rate that allows you to be confident overtaking and building speed. The greatest element is the power progression and mid-range pull when building to freeway speeds. The large 18”-inch wheels interference very little when at speed but the roar at lower speeds is noticeable. The time spent with the CH-R included some spectacular mountain passes that lowed the genuinely dynamic chassis to shine through. Steering inputs are direct and precise and the weight increases well with speed, the chassis is very planted and when driving with a passion not familiar to a sub-compact it responded very well and still remained very comfortable when driving sedately.

In conclusion, the CH-R’s European success is not without reason, as the Sub-Compact market gets more and more saturated with entrants and competitors one should remember CH-R was one of the early cars to capture the brilliance that created this segment and this does that better than ever before. With the promise of a Yaris based replacement and a Gazoo Racing version of the CH-R this is a platform at speaks and bounds.

Facelifted 2020 CH-R Pricing in South Africa

Pricing kicks off at R371 100 for the entry-level model, climbing to just under R480 000 for the top trim Luxury CVT, which makes may make the Rav4 Bigger brother somewhat appealing at that point. When compared to a direct competitor Like VW’s T-Cross and Suzuki Vitra, it makes for an interesting departure with very high spec and driving dynamics.

Toyota C-HR 1.2T                              – R 371 700

Toyota C-HR 1.2T Plus                      – R 403 000

Toyota C-HR 1.2T Plus CVT              – R 415 100

Toyota C-HR 1.2T Luxury CVT          – R 476 600

The turn of the Dark Horse – VW’s plans for 2020

VWSA recently made use of the Premium drive information session and catch up to South African Media and the motorist was in attendance. The Premium drove told us one clear thing with respects to the dubbed Premium products and product range nevertheless. While combining the event to be introductions to the Dark Label versions of the Toureg, smaller sibling the Tiguan and the Lesire bakkie of the year Amarok Grand Canyon powered by the 190kW 3.0TDI v6 that makes it the most rapid and Amarok in V6 still the most desirable in class. The fact of the matter is VW is smashing it with respects to South Africa and the market. The T-Cross is the best selling in class beating very good offerings; Kia Seltos, Hyundai’s Creta and H2 Haval’s as the value offering.

The understanding that 22.7% of all vehicle sales was VW’s tally.
The year ahead is very clear with the mission towards autonomy. Throughout the year various test Golf 8 mules have been spotted Globally and even in S.A, following its 2020 Q4 launch.


With Golf 8 in standard and GTI, GTE and GTD having being revealed ahead of their official Geneva debut. The GTI boasting 180kW and 370Nm with a performance pack variant with a likely 221kWs, with both units receiving power from the familiar EA888 powerplant with a 6-speed manual as standard and the option for an updated drive-by-wire DSG box. GTE will also keep its 1.4Litre turbo petrol with the electric motor assistance and the duo is good for a GTI matching 180kW and 400Nm.No acceleration or performance figures have been revealed for the performance variants, which interestingly enough will be the first offerings to reach our shores with Golf 8. The swansong for the Mk7.5 GTI platform the TCR which was confirmed for March will arrive before the new model later in the tyre with a few of the 300 units making there way to South Africa with a 700k plus price tag, 5.6 Second 0-100 and 264Km/h top speed.

Tiguan and Toureg Black Edition

The recent “Black style pack” offering to the Tiguan and Toureg offerings have allowed for slight tweaking to the familiar faces, that transform and add some serious aggression and volume to the vehicles. In Tiguan guise, the R-Line kit takes on black air intakes, a new updated front grille, black window trim and side-mirrors, black roof rails, and sports suspension. 19″ Sebring” alloy wheels remain the only option for the comfort, while the larger 20″ Suzuka alloy defaults the Highline.


The move to electrification by VW in South Africa is growing to be a huge movement and investment from VW into support and infrastructure. This is garnered the need for a fleet of Press E-Golf’s and the Later 2021 launch of the ID.3 EV vehicle. The idea is the E-Golf and launch of WE Connect intelligence vehicle connectivity will usher the era of smarter cars with remote access to diagnostics and vehicle information. This being key to EV ownership given the need for access to charging and how this process is intuitive.

Corolla Quest Facelift – Fresher, beefier, and more vuma!

Back in 2014, the Corolla Quest moniker hit the South African market as an interesting perspective into affordable and Uber reliable transportation for fleet and passenger buyers. It provided transport that offered a great badge in the nose that stood for a brand with some serious ability to tug at the emotions of South Africans and enough credibility to bring out the typical book of Toyota review words, ‘Dependable’, ‘Reliable’ Great dealer support’ and boot space. Based on the 10th generation of the Corolla the Polo Vivo effect meant, the basic shape, design and engines remained in a new guise that is designed for a local market and thusly the 1.6 from the Auris, and everything else from the corolla with more copy past friendly door cards, bumpers, seat designs with less plush feeling trim birthed the quest of old. The ‘Cheapness’ of a vehicle is typically an Achilles heel of sorts but given the competitive pricing that the quest offered and the bigger 11th gen Corolla serving as the true model to buy if focused on anything other than pricing, Quest makes sense, it some serious cents if you catch my drift.

The Current 11th Gen Corolla range has always been a rather interesting option for the South African market given it offered one of the better 3 box sedan options on the market, in a market that prefers SUV’s and chases the term ‘elevated driving position’  when making vehicle purchases. Toyota is aware of this but once again combats this with numbers that simply can’t be trumped in terms of value. Using the same formula that worked so well the first time the new model takes the existing platform, with the 103kW and 173Nm 1.8litre engine and mates it to either a six-speed manual or a CVT and that’s about it. Three trim levels are offered Quest, Prestige and Exclusive with contrasting equipment levels

Cosmetically the changes are slight with the model looks almost identical to the outgoing facelifted model, with the addition of the slight tweaks to the front bumper to make clear denotations between trim levels, with the lower-spec models making use of black grill pieces and the rest of the line up now featuring colour coding and losing the front fog lights.
At the Rear, the number plate guard now is body colour and not chrome platted and the addition of the quest and exclusive badging respectively. Internally again changes are few and far between with the only major difference I was able to note on the Top Spec exclusive models on test was the foam wheel which now replaces the leather which preceded it. All the materials have been altered and fettled with local suppliers taking presidencies to achieve the goal of decreasing the price of the Older Corolla, while seamlessly making it the New Quest.

Spec levels on the new quest are impressive and the standard model features, dual front airbags with drivers and passenger knee airbag protection, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with Hill Assist Control (HAC), ABS, EBD, Isofix, LED daytime running lights and rear fog lights are standard across the board. Radio with CD/USB and AUX integration and 4 door-mounted speakers. 15-Inch steelies with hub caps, remote central locking and follow me home lights. The Prestige model adds the upgraded Touch Screen interface with Bluetooth and DVD interface with 6 speakers. Creature comforts line, Cruise control, reverse camera, fabric and leather combination seats and larger 16-inch alloy wheels. The top-spec Exclusive gains LED headlamps, keyless entry and start, automatic single-zone climate control leather seats and rains sensing wipers.

Dynamically the Quest is refined enough to make communing even over long distances effortless, which with the CVT option is the most accurate depiction of the performance. The Drone is dampened well and the NVH is very low and makes the Corrolla feel very well put together. Overtaking is swift enough and the engine does enjoy being revved with the power being up top, With the 4000Rpm peak torque. The manual has a very light clutch with a very early engagement which takes a second to get used to, but obviously with the comfort bias is not going to be an issue for more fighting their way through traffic. Fuel consumption even with the larger engine is low with the route combining city, open road and intense traffic a 6.9L/100 in the CVT and 7.2 in the manual makes the car frugal enough for a car of its class.

In summary, the pun about the 2020 Corolla Quest making cents remains true, and the large boot, decent performance and great road dynamics make it feels more of a car designed to be better than it is or feels, though a bit dull it’s not intended to set your world on fire just get you around rather comfortably and with very little in the way of complaints. The lack of Sat-Nav is an irritation at times but later models will have better app integration sorting that out.

2020 Toyota Corolla Quest Pricing in South Africa
Arriving in dealers March of 2020, All models come standard with a 3year/45 000Km Service plan and 3year/100 000KM warranty.
QUEST R249 900
QUEST CVT 270 400

New BMW 1 Series- 118i Review

It’s almost impossible to mention the new one series without the mention. FWD platform UKL2 that underpins the likes of Mini and X1. The New and of us right now only other option other than the New M135i in SA before 2020. You see the issue is the niceness of the 1 series was always the RWD and chassis combination, it allowed for the joy that at a point was only reserved to a select group of vehicles given the layout. 50:50 weight distribution, RWD, 6-speed manual option across the range, it was rather brilliant given a meagre 116i offered a driving experience that was comparably better than most in class. More engaging than an A3, less dull than a Golf and still a premium badge.

Now Power comes from a 1.5 litre 3-cylinder that produces 105Kw and 190nm mated to an 8-speed auto. Longitudinally mounted engines by nature need a longer bonnet and thusly a shorter hood gives way to the familiar face with the larger grill. F-series 1 mantra may have carried RWD DNA but by no means does that render the 1 series a terrible car. What may be lacking in the ability to create some variation of driver engagement and with enough stabs at the DSC button some pretty interesting moments now days gone.
The new Platform results in the 2-series active tourer (MPV) are not shared and can be translated into this model. That means That’s the first collection of thoughts one comes to when you climb into the driver’s seat. The low, planted seating position is a bit off in comparison to the previous model but the sense of overall space in the cabin is vast. Not that it’s a much bigger car but the change in the profile means the cramped, and somewhat dark feeling is no longer exists. More arm room, light and overall spatial confinement are gone. In an RWD hatch, The boot given the limited space needs to accommodate for differentials, transmission tunnels and as a direct result, one has a smaller boot and less rear legroom. Rear seat passengers need not be limited to short people or children given the reason you still bought the car was the cause of this appeal, has grown to 380litres leading its class.

Tech! oh glorious Tech, towards the runout of this model the interior began to feel dated, granted all the features one would expect-generosity with the options list required- but the new cabin leans heavily on the new BMW synergy that all the models share. You still get a lovely thick leather wheel and BMW’s Live Cockpit pro (R26 900) is at its most refined yet, the Heads up display, and wireless charging very nice options to have but can be ditched through better selection with options, for example, saving you about R12k, therefore once again careful with the options. It’s on par with the likes of MBUX and the long list of connectivity offered with its gesture control trinkets to top it off.

On the Road the new 1 – series is rather composed and not lacking in anything with respects to the drive. Its planted and drives as a “BMW would”. A statement very true despite FWD but at this point, you should understand the importance of holding on to this is a bit silly now. Expansion of the range is obviously to follow but the important thing to understand is the move to FWD has changed the car into a bit of a more serious contender although for the more mundane models making them somewhat cut and paste by the previous mantra. The new model is a vast improvement, yes but having not yet driven the M135i X-drive but the engines vast power leads to some interesting thoughts of hope and interesting competition to the A35 which at present big brother A45 and A45 S BMW has no answer to, and given the extensive focus on M2 and it still holding on to RWD through to the next generation hope should not be lost Purists.
Prices start at R481 909.51 for the standard 118i rising to Sport R502 609, M Sport R514 609 models respectively

The Return of the Hyundai Atos

A short trip back to February of 2005 revealed the launch of the then-New Hyundai Atos in South Africa. A supermini that served as the little brother to the tasteful Getz and thankfully shared in the beginnings to the Korean wave of brilliance in the early 2000s, that transformed their brand. The range has expanded somewhat at present-day, meaning the new age return of the appellation has a rather different market to contend with and a tricky role to fill. Consumers demand far more from cars than basic wheels yet the contrasted conundrum and greatest hindrance in the South African vehicle market is pricing and at R159 900 Atos becomes a promising perspective.

The New 2019 Atos 1.1 Motion. Atos returns as a 1.1 4-cylinder with a total output of 50kw and 99Nm, which when matched with a low kerb weight of 870kg and snappy responsiveness to the way the car moves about at city speeds makes progress brisk enough. There’s a bit of character with the looks clear Hyundai design language at the front end. The list of standard features is rather impressive and despite the entry-level market contention, the build quality transforms into so much more than numbers can translate. A 7-inch touch screen display with Apple car play and Android Auto with screen mirroring for Google maps navigation, USB and Smart Bluetooth connectivity that reads Whatsapp messages. Front electric windows, steering mounted stereo controls which when streaming Audio and allow for full integration even when streaming via apps like Youtube music. In practice, it feels best in class and the experience replicates a far more expensive user interface interaction.

Dynamically the Atos shines brighter than its main A-segment rivals Renault Kwid and Datsun Go which is the largest division of the class. The Atos feels planted and stable and even a touch cheeky; the additional cylinder removes some of the noise, vibrations and overall harshness to the car. This smoothness transforms the car intensely and the feel that true thought was put into the overall driving experience blares through. Fuel consumption at a real-world 6.2L/100 enough to offer real promise with respects to economy, and not far off the claimed 5.9L/100. Atos extra sense of refinement translates to stability at freeway speed and very little of the drive is affected by the wind or passing trucks, a statement not true all A-segment vehicles even to this day. Atos is not without shortcomings cabin space is limited in the rear with legroom being an issue of taller folk but it offers enough comfort for most. The meagre 235litre boot will prove a challenge with a large suitcase filling the space entirely. The lack of steering adjustment (rake or reach) means the seating position needs some time to get used to.

Pivotally in this class is the element of safety and standard ABS, EBD and 2 airbags are contrasted with the ultimate problem that exists cars of this class. Sadly the 2-Star Global NCAP Crash test rating means it does not shake this image. Despite the safety concerns the verdict concludes the Atos as a rival for the best car in the segment, brilliant driving dynamics, build quality that carries the strength of the Hyundai brand, through unrivalled aftersales support. The 7year/200 000km warranty with roadside assistance adds real value at such a budget-constrained price point, happily dropping the “free insurance gimmick” and making this a properly sorted car. Such a tightly contested segment will be glad to receive more offerings like Atos combining the genuine cheap car thrills that make cars of this class really clever, in tough car markets and make so much financial sense to limited budgets. Offering a genuinely well-executed package, toughly enjoyable and possibly the best brand-new entry-level car.

Pricing in South Africa
Atos 1.1 Motion R159 900
Standard with a 1-year service plan with 15 000Km intervals, 7 year/200 000Km Warranty, and 7 year/150 000Km roadside assistance.

New Volkswagen Polo vs Peugeot 208 GT-Line

Volkswagen Polo

New Volkswagen Polo v Peugeot 208 GT-Line

“Cool”, “eye-catching” and “snazzy” are just a few words than can be used to describe both Volkswagen’s new Polo and the updated Peugeot 208 GT-Line. These hatchbacks play in a competitive market, each manufacturer has their own version of what they perceive that market wants. For those looking in this segment, there needs to be a balance between fun factor, functionality, technology, practically and appearance – a tough ask in my opinion. That being said, a lot of those attributes are on offer in many cars operating in that segment. So, building a hatchback that meets those requirements is easy, but selling it in South Africa is a different story. In a country where the Volkswagen Polo is the bread and butter, how does the “Frenchie” stack up? Let’s get down and dirty.

Peugeot 208


This reminds me of the common topic of argument among boys and men. Jennifer Anniston or Angela Jolie? They are both beautiful women in different ways. The same rings true with the new Polo and Peugeot 208. The Polo, on the one hand features an edgy design which gives off a “young professional” look. The 208 GT Line on the other hand is curvier and quirkier, creating a fun overall appearance.

Volkswagen Polo

Interior and Technology

While both vehicles boast good quality interiors, the experience is totally different. The new Polo features a typically clean Volkswagen look and the 8” Composition Media display really adds a nice premium touch. It’s also built into the dashboard resulting in a classy, clean look. Opting for the optional Active Info Display further adds to the premium feel of the new Polo cabin, the 11” display replaces conventional dashboard dials and provides a completely different interface for the driver. This option brings features not normally associated with a hatchback in this segment.

Jumping in to the 208 GT Line results in an unusual but sportier environment. The dashboard is high, the steering wheel is small and located particularly low. After a short while pulling leavers and twisting nobs, I found a low seated driving position that I enjoyed. The sporty appeal, supportive seats and small diameter steering wheel offer something different from the Polo and once you’ve settled in, it becomes rather enjoyable.

Both cars offer Apple CarPlay, (Android auto is compatible but still not available in ZA) but in terms of usability and interface responsiveness, the VW Polo comes out on top.


The 208 produces a nippy 81Kws of power and has a nimble chassis. The front end of this vehicle stood out to me as it was very positive and provides plenty of grip. Combine this with the sporty driving position and driving 208 GT Line is a fun affair. If you are one who enjoys a good twisty road, the 208 might be your weapon of choice. The manual variant in the Peugeot is what we preferred, as the automatic had a mind of its own. On the other hand the DSG gearbox in the Polo is class leading and definitely the one to get, especially if traffic is a reality of your life.

When it comes to the Polo, it produces 85Kw and is slightly calmer in its approach. It’s the more grown up car out of the two and doesn’t have as much of a sporty appeal, but rather a gentleman-like persona (The optional R-Line package may spice things up). I say this a lot, but the Polo has a young professional aura about it, which is excellent for the “up and coming”.

What you choose depends on the type of person you are. Both the Volkswagen Polo and the Peugeot 208 GT Line are good cars, they both look great, drive well and offer unique packages as well as a host of tech. A major factor for consideration is what sells more. The simple rule of thumb is, “if it sells more, it will trade in better” – supply and demand. Looking at Polo sales compared to the Peugeot in that aspect makes it the obvious choice for when you want to sell it. If you’re buying with your heart however, you may be swayed by the appeal of the Peugeot, it is a great looking car after all. That being said, the Polo is rather handsome as well. Choose wisely.


Peugeot 208 Pricing in South Africa

208 ACTIVE 1.2 PureTech BVM 60kW MT                  R 224 900

208 ALLURE 1.2 PureTech BVM 60kW MT                 R 239 900

208 GT-LINE 1.2 PureTech BVM 81kW Turbo MT       R 259 900

Pricing includes a three-year/100 000 km warranty and 3 year/ 45 000km service plan.



Volkswagen Polo Pricing in South Africa

1.0 TSI 70kW Trendline                                     R 235 900

1.0 TSI 70kW Comfortline                                 R 264 700

1.0 TSI 70kW Comfortline DSG                         R 280 700

1.0 TSI 85kW Highline                                      R 286 200

1.0 TSI 85kW Highline DSG                              R 302 200

The new Volkswagen Polo models come standard with a 3 year/45 000km Service Plan, 3 year/120 000km warranty and a 12 year anti-corrosion warranty. Service Interval is 15 000km.


The South African Motoring Experience 2017

South African Motoring Experience 2017

 TheMotorist Attends the South African Motoring Experience 2017

Following a turn-out of 51 000 patrons last year, Kyalami Proves year and year again to be the hub of all motoring shenanigans. 2017’s Festival was different to the years past given the strange partnership with a Boat show, which was ‘same, same but different’; although it was the Motoring Experience S opposed to the Festival of Motoring, which only takes place every second year. Nevertheless, the boats were still a very popular attraction and reminded many that boats are rather cool. The largest attraction without a doubt was the Pit Lane, test drives and ride alongs which allowed for anyone off the street to have either the experience of driving some of their favourite cars on the track or have the trained drivers hurl them around at breakneck speeds. Unsurprisingly the waits were long and plentiful but warranted by the smiles on hundreds of faces afterwards, suggesting that this was all worth it.

South African Motoring Experience 2017

Personally, the long quest for smiles proved a bit too daunting and I opted for a ride in the more exclusive stuff that I hadn’t yet sampled namely the Lexus LC 500 on a track which was a rather enlightening experience with the GT being a lot less luxury cruiser and more Apex bruiser on the track. The space in the rear was not amazing and more so when you have a racing driver attacking Sunset Corner at 180km/h plus and your face feels like it’s coming off, and knees rather numb. The was the usual mix of V8 Jags and Range Rovers, AMG Merc’s, fast VW’s and RS Audi’s to sample around the track but no BMW – partly due large to their own exclusive M Festival next month and the presence of new faces to the festival’s Pit area. The likes of Suzuki, BAIC, Haval and even Peugeot’s 3008 SUV were taking to the track, all of whom offering the chance to sample a track driving experience and most importantly for the manufacturer, a chance to drive their latest products.  Having again sampled the larger portion of their offerings, the three the stand out model for me by-in-large the Haval H6 and H6C, which for a Chinese entry into the market is really impressive, good road manners, good power and even when kicked around on a track still proved well put together with no rattles or squeaks to my nit-picking ears.  Another surprise was the debut of the BAIC X25, which again drove rather well, and this was a view few shared me and the drivers. There was a fair amount of shove from the 85 kW-1.5 Litre engine, enough to make the drive fun enough on track but again I was surprised at the level of refinement, both in the chassis and in the interior, proving that the Chinese are most defiantly upping their game in terms of vehicle manufacturing.

Moving around the festival, there was much to see from all the manufacturers; interactive experiences of active safety systems, tandem attacks at the Skid pan and even Aerobatics stunts from the very loud Puma Energy stunt planes. Cell C’s Supercar Zone was another clear favourite with the presence of a rather young looking man in a suit with the keys to Aston’s DB11 and a Malaren 570S. The Suited Youth would turn them on and allow for rev’s and pictures in the machines, much to the approval of the crowd. In the same room was Bentley’s new Continental GT Speed, an Aventador S, and and  R8 V10 Sypder, all in bright colours aside from the black 911 Turbo hidden in the corner.

4X4 Fans were not forgotten as a short shuttle ride took you to the mud and dust where the diff locks and hill descent controls were more important. Providing an in-depth look into the more slow paced stuff, where speed is not the objective. On showcase was the New Pajero Sport, which was highly capable on the track and yet still rather well appointed and less rudimentary than the previous models. With striking looks and very clear off-road ability and comfort, it’s an interesting alternative to the likes of the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Everest.  The 4×4 track was rather tricky and difficult with all kinds of grip testing and axle twisting stuff and the likes of the VW Amarok V6, Nissan Navara and the G range of Mercedes-Benz SUV’s, with the exclusion of the tamer GLC and GLA. The Renault Duster made an appearance and proved it’s not as soft as one would think but lacking in low-range and hill-descent control, and instead of a very skillfully footed instructor and a slightly different track with only the Plucky little Suzuki Jimny keeping up with the behemoths that were the double cabs and Diff-look toting SUV’s.

In the various rooms and looking points, the list of exotic cars and classics that we saw last year was not as extensive with no ‘Porsche Room’ and 918’s just a hall with exhibitors trying to sell you car related stuff at inflated prices, like an Automotive rand show, well I thought this until I saw a few classic Ferrari’s Like the 264 Gt Dino and older brother 308 GT4. Race 1 brought a large collection of wide-body super and hyper-cars, but overall internally not as great as 2016.  

Overall, this year’s festival as a day out in the sun with the family or as the group of enthusiasts is an ideal way of spending your day if you like keeping up to date with the trends of the motoring world. I wouldn’t miss it at all but as always, the rather lengthy queues in the pits, even from as early as 10 am, do mean you must be rather patient if you want a ride around the track but for the experience, it’s difficult to rival. If I was to break it down in terms of highlights, low lights and a numerical rating out of 10, it would be simple, The KIA Stinger 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 coupe on the track and the ever developing Chinese were standouts for me, as were the dynamics of the X25 BIAC and H6 Haval and 2018 Nissan 370Z which is rather dated but still quick. The Lengthy queues and pricey vendors of refreshments no so much but forgivable, overall a solid 8 from The Motorist.

The next event will be the BMW M Festival in October and we’ll most definitely be there, providing the ins and outs to the happenings of the day.   

The Chevrolet Lumina SS Ute – the Australia-American love child.

Chevrolet Lumina SS Ute

Chevrolet Lumina SS Ute Driven Review

Fewer things scream “Merrrica” more so than the fabled V8 motor. Large, boisterous and incredibly charismatic, all combined with the warm fuzzy feeling you get inside, knowing that you have very angry and deaf neighbours. This is the stuff of petrolhead dreams, in theory at least. The enormity and thirst of a V8 in a country like South Africa is a rather silly notion to the average person. This primarily due to the underlying fact that at around R12.86 for a litre of 95 unleaded, it’s rather hefty on the pocket. More so if you have the joys of 16l/100 km while driving your noise machine around town. But nonetheless, the V8 is simple, uncomplicated and rather cool.

So what happens when you combine a 6.0-litre V8 shafted from a Corvette and another uncomplicated thing, the ute, or half-ton bakkie to you and I. This sounds like a rather ponderous mess, but GM didn’t think so when they introduced the Chevrolet Lumina SS UTE, as a performance variant that cost far less than the typical German alternatives. Years later, I have finally sampled this machine in its final SSV rendition and have managed to compile some rather interesting thoughts.


This is by no means the best element of the bruiser, as it does consist of materials found in far cheaper cars, but the list of standard features is comprehensive, like the standard touchscreen radio with iPod/USB/Mp3 and Sav nav. The two power leather buckets are rather well bolstered and the list of safety and convenience features is long and inclusive. Auto-lights and wipers, Cruise control, six-airbags and storage behind the two front seats.

Driving Impressions

The V8 Swansong is where this big-ol’ girl comes to life, even cruising around town, you are constantly reminded by this deep rumbling baritone of whats lurking under the bonnet. A generous 6.0-litres, good for 270 kW and 530 N.m, all of these horses driving just the rear wheels, and after much searching, in the configuration of the test car, a ‘stick shift’, enough for a 6.5 second robot dash and a rather un-bakkie like 240 km/h. When driving spiritedly, the Ute is incredibly accomplished, both as a bakkie and more so as a proper full-cream sports car. The V8 provides very linear and constant power all the way to the red line and doesn’t really feel like you are standing on a bomb that explodes and vomits power at your spine, but instead a sustained machine-gun fire, it’s still rather good at ‘killing you’ so to speak. Silly metaphors aside, It’s quick, period. The steering is good, but feels strangely numb and is not the greatest at communicating the direction of the tyres, but does the job fairly well.  The brake pedal did get a bit soft when really pressing on, even with the 335 mm Brembo vented-discs hidden under the 19-inch chrome drug-dealeresque wheels. Getting this car to behave is the tricky part, turning off the driver aids is like strapping yourself to the tail of an excitable shark, eager to turn around and show its digestive tract. The rear end skids about and powerslides are initiated at the slightest touch of the loud pedal and the sheer brutality of the torque lets you pin its giant haunches way out there in fantastic hero like slides. It’s a complete laugh, and you’ll marvel at the amount of fun you can have and just how quickly it humbles many a 2-seater sports car.

Final Thoughts

The SS Ute could only be a product of a country that really loves beer because simply it makes no sense what so ever. Two seats, a thunderous V8 and all in all, a bakkie that can take corners far too quickly for most and makes rather rubbish drivers like myself look like DK’san himself Keiichi Tsuchiya, in mammoth smokey skids. Realistically, I think this would grow tiring, because the best consumption figure I managed was a rather high 11 l/100 km on the freeway in top gear, and the owner tells me the rear tyres are down to the steel belting after a rather scary 40 000 kms. This is a silly car; it would cost you more money than an aggressive cocaine habit and is just as likely to kill you.

Chevrolet Lumina SS Ute Pricing in South Africa

Early 5.7 models start from as little as R140 000 and range all the way up to R550 000 for the later facelifted  6.0 SSV.


New Look and More Tech – All New Discovery Driven

All new Discovery

All New Discovery Driven

All new Land Rover Discovery

The saying “don’t fix what’s not broken” went completely out the window with Land Rover’s design team when they were constructing the All New Discovery. We’re so used to the car’s iconic tall and boxy shape, it was a huge surprise when the new one launched and looked like the lovechild of a Range Rover Sport and a Discovery 4. So much so, there has been a huge outcry of differing opinions on social media. Some say that the car isn’t appealing, whilst others have embraced the new design language. I am on the fence at the moment as there are some elements which I like and others that puzzle me. Take, for instance, the front end, personally I think it looks great. Modern and quite pretty are the words I would use. The rear was nearly there for me but it’s the silliest thing that irks me, the number plate. The previous Discovery’s made use of a square number plate, placed to the side of the car. This looked fine but now they’ve substituted it with a standard size number plate, but still placed to the side of the car and it now looks skew to me. My eyes simply can’t adjust.

Another thing all consumers will have to adjust to, is the pricing of modern large SUV’s in general. This new Discovery starts at R992 540 for a 3.0 TDV6 S. If you want more kit, be prepared to be spending around R1.1 – R1.3 million. As expensive as this seems, this is on par with the German competition, some of which only offer five seats instead of seven.   

Going back to the new Discovery’s looks, overall the design is really not bad, but it’s a massive departure from the old car. The interior is a lovely place in which to be, roomy, of high quality and did I mention roomy? Yes the new Discovery is not short on space, but has the Discovery ever been? Not really. Besides the finishes, the infotainment system is similar to that found in modern JLR products, only better. The All New Discovery also comes loaded with technology, ranging from a seat folding app to a waterproof bracelet that acts as the vehicle’s key, so you can engage in sports and lock the main key in the car. The list goes on but an article on all the tech the car has will give you the full breakdown. What’s most important is the question you’ve been wondering since the car was first revealed with softer looks. Can it still hold its own in the rough stuff? Judging by our drive, we can confirm that the car’s Hyde Park aesthetics don’t mean it’s not afraid to get dirty.

Our launch drive route included a variety of activities including standard highway driving and rough gravel roads, as well a semi intense off-road course. The latter included going off-road whilst towing a trailer and treading some deep water. With a ground clearance of 283 mm and a wading depth of 900 mm, the large vehicle can get into some interesting angles and basically swim too. Towing can be a pain for most, but the new Discovery makes it an easier task with Tow Assist which integrates the rear view camera for easy latching. Thereafter, the vehicles air suspension is able to raise and drop onto the hitch, making the job capable for a single person to do.   

All new Land Rover Discovery

What this means is that the versatility of the car remains and is further amplified in the model. You would have no problem taking your new Discovery into remote areas. Off road systems like Hill descent control and All Terrain Progress Control basically do all the work for you, taking the nervousness of going off-road away. The ladder frame has also be done away with and replaced by a Monocoque construction, meaning that the car is lighter on its feet. This can be felt on the road as there is no sluggishness in its power delivery in both the petrol and diesel variants. The former is a sweet sounding 3.0 Supercharged V6 which produces 250 kW, whilst the 3.0 diesel is all about torque of which it produces 600 N.m. An 8-Speed Auto gearbox supplies drive to all four wheels in a seamless manner.  The way the car feels on gravel is very impressive, even at speed, you don’t feel like a visit to the chiropractor will be necessary afterwards. Instead, the optional massaging seats in the 3.0 TDV6 HSE Luxury we drove made this experience more comfortable.

All new Land Rover Discovery

Our experience of the all new Discovery has made us realise the need for manufacturers to please two parties in this segment. On the one hand, you have die hard Land Rover fans that have trusted this brand to take them to various places around the world. This camp may be sceptical of the design but impressed by the car’s capabilities. As an off road vehicle, it does what you would need it to do, and then some. On the other hand, you have the city SUV owners who want aesthetics and creature comforts. The peculiar design will resonate with this market as Evoque owners and even Range Rover owners may look at the new Discovery as their next car. In the higher spec variants such as the HSE Lux or the First Edition, you can have a great number of features in the car. The downside is pricing as a First Edition will set you back just under R1.5 million. Our pick would be the 3.0 TDV6 HSE, at approximately R1.25 mil, it’s is in the middle in terms of pricing and comes with some good features too. In conclusion, the new Discovery has managed to blend two worlds successfully, giving us an adventure ready package with quirky aesthetics. Who knows, maybe we’ll get over the rear in the end.

All New Discovery Pricing in South Africa

All New Discovery  S – R980,000

All New Discovery SE –  R1,109,250

All New Discovery HSE – R1,223,000

All New Discovery HSE Luxury – R1,314,000

All New Discovery  First Edition – R1,440,000

Spec your Land Rover Discovery Here