Category: Volkswagen

Volkswagen strikes back: Volkswagen Amarok V6 launched in South Africa

Volkswagen Amarok V6

Volkswagen Amarok V6 launched in South Africa

Back in 2010 when Volkswagen announced that the Amarok will only feature 2.0 litre engines, bakkie lovers were up in arms. “We need more power! We need more displacement!” the angry hoards and picketers screamed, forming a mob and carrying flaming objects whilst protesting toward their local VW dealers. Well that’s what we assume happened in certain parts of town where anything under 3.0 litres is an insult to someone’s manliness. This burning issue however was not really about power, because despite the Amarok 2.0 TDI producing 132kW and 440Nm, what people had a problem with was the size of the engine. So much so, the Amarok didn’t really take off as well in South Africa as VW had hoped it would. People are still buying the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger in droves, don’t forget the Isuzu KB as well. As a result Volkswagen have seen the need for change, drastic change at that. What, then, could be more drastic than a bakkie that produces 165 kW/550 N.m? How about a bakkie that produces 180 kW and 580 N.m on over-boost? Yes the new Amarok V6 is in a different performance league when it comes to pick-ups available in South Africa.

Bakkie SUV?

To be honest, the Volkswagen Amarok has always had a few advantages over its rivals, but it seems as though those advantages weren’t ever enough. Take for example the cabin and ride quality, there is nothing agricultural about the car. Instead, the Amarok is arguably the best dual purpose lifestyle bakkie out there. People don’t care however, people want power. That is why the combination of the updated cabin and the engine are a match made in bakkie heaven as you get the best of both worlds. A large touch screen infotainment is now offered in the Amarok, giving you features like Apple CarPlay as well as Bluetooth and other smart features. Ergonomically you feel like you’re in a Golf up front, of course the rear seats are still more “truckish” but purely because you have a load bin behind you and nothing’s going to change that. The overall interior and comfort levels in the V6 are fantastic, you’d swear you’re in an SUV, especially without the rackety noise of the 2.0 TDI.

 

Is all that power necessary?

No. There is no real need for all that power, unless you plan on ploughing the fields in the morning or towing your mobile home with you. Quite honestly, the power offered in the 2.0 TDI is sufficient for the average bakkie owner. The thing is though, once you put your foot down in the V6 and you feel the surge of torque – you realise that this is not power you need, it’s power you want. Once you’ve experienced it, you don’t want it to go away. The powertrain offered in the V6 Amarok can be best described as a very rich dessert, a chocolate mousse even. If you’re not a lover of chocolate mousse, you need to rethink your entire life and maybe even see someone about that.
Oh by the way, it’s not only power that’s changed in the Amarok, the front end looks different too…slightly. The entire range has been face-lifted, with minor changes giving the car a fresher face. The choices are as follows: Comfortline, Highline, Highline Plus and Extreme. The engines range from a 103kW 2.0 TDI to the 132kW 2.0 TDI and then of course, the V6 we’ve been crushing over. If money is no object and you only want the best, the top of the range Extreme model is available. This will equip your Amarok with Satellite navigation, 20 inch wheels, Bi-Xenon headlights and even 12 way adjustable “ergoComfort” seats as some of the standard features.


All these features sound like items you would get in an SUV, but that’s what the bakkie market wants. Thankfully you can still go into Africa and see the dusty sights in your Amarok. The car features an Electronic Differential Locking system for great traction but a diff lock button is still available for those really sticky situations. An Off-Road button can be selected for hardcore terrains and this allows for features like hill descent control to be activated and other nifty features such as off-road ABS as well.
If your Amarok is equipped with ESC, you get a feature called Electronic Trailer Stabilisation which assists when loss of traction occurs whilst towing. Speaking of towing, you’re good for 3300kg, which is great especially for those who enjoy a spot of caravanning. Depending on which Amarok you get, there is the choice of a 6 speed manual gearbox for the 103kW and the 132kW, but the V6 is only offered with the 8 speed automatic gearbox and only in 4Motion as well. The 2.0 TDI’s can be opted as RWD or 4Motion, with the 4Motion being the best off road choice, as it uses a Haldex system to utilise all four wheels for better traction.

Best bakkie out there?

Answering that question with a yes or no depends on your needs. As a lifestyle bakkie for the city and open road, the Amarok has always been a leader when it comes to comfort and trim levels. For the real hardcore off-roaders, some still prefer the likes of a Toyota Hilux. You can’t blame them because there are very few bad bakkies out there. The addition of the V6 engine has made the Amarok the best bakkie in terms of its powertrain. The new Nissan Navara still has one of the best chassis out there but again, it’s all subjective. The biggest problem facing bakkies today is cost and the Amarok V6 is not cheap. Nor is any other top of the range pick up either. An asking price of R748 600 for the Extreme is a hard pill to swallow. If it makes you sleep better at night, think of these fancy bakkies this way: if you own one of them, you don’t really need an SUV anymore. You have all the creature comforts of an SUV but the off road attributes of a bakkie, giving you a car you can do more with. Who would’ve thought that one day this segment would be so demanding? The fact that Volkswagen actually went ahead with the development of this car proves that if people complain enough, eventually they get what they want.

 

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Polo 1.0 TSI R-Line vs Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost Powershift

Polo 1.0 TSI R-Line vs Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost Powershift in South Africa

The newly launched Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI R Line is a nifty little thing. The exterior look of this car is one that will pique the interest of many buyers. It’s marketed as a “performance” Polo despite it only having a 1.0 litre engine with 3 cylinders, but after driving it we can confirm that its nippy. The question then for you as a buyer is what’s the better buy, this new Polo TSI or perhaps the also-very-good Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost PowerShift Titanium?

 

The specs:

The Ford has been around for a while as consumers have loved the 3 cylinder 1.0 litre EcBoost engine it offers. With 74kW and 170Nm, the little Ford produces good numbers for both city and open road driving thanks to turbocharging. Equipped with the 6 speed PowerShift gearbox, it makes being stuck in traffic bearable since your left foot can rest. The Volkswagen Polo 1.0 litre TSI R Line has similar figures in terms of displacement and forced induction. It too has 3 cylinders but produces more power with 81kW and 200Nm. The difference is not huge but will be felt by keen motorists who love to drive in a hurry. Since both these cars have tiny engines, you wouldn’t be wrong to assume that they would be frugal on fuel. The Fiesta has a great claimed combined fuel consumption figure of 4.9 litres/100km, but the Polo edges ahead with a claimed figure of 4.4 litres/100km, again very closely matched.

The looks: 

In this segment, aesthetics play a huge role as cars like these are aimed at youthful individuals and let’s face it, the youth “like things”. In that case then choosing between the Ford and the Volkswagen may be a challenge as they both look great. The Fiesta has ST bits on it, making it look nice and sporty. The Volkswagen on the other hand comes equipped with the R-Line package, giving it too a racier look. On the inside is where the Polo has the slight upper hand as the cabin layout is simpler whereas the Fiesta is a bit too busy. Both cars offer connectivity such as Bluetooth and USB as well as auxiliary input. The new infotainment screen on the Polo is the nicer of the two but Fords SYNC system is quite good to use as well. In terms of overall appeal, the cars are again closely matched but the Volkswagen has a disadvantage. The fact that there are so many on the road may make the car seem more “common” but the R-Line kit can set it apart. Both cars are also four doors so they’re on par when it comes to space and access into the rear.

The Drive:  

The spikey nature of the Fiesta has always been something we’ve enjoyed about the car, it’s an engine with character. As mentioned having an automatic gearbox makes the car easy to live with day to day, so it will be a dream in the city. The Polo however is more of an angry little car. The DSG gearbox in the car has changed the character of the vehicle, giving it an immediacy that’s quite surprising. The way the VW handles too is something you don’t expect from a little 1.0 litre car. The Fiesta will be the one you want if you’re of a more relaxed disposition, whereas the Polo wants to have more fun.

Overall:

Both these cars are great vehicles indeed. At the end of the day it all comes down to preference and of course price. At R290 000, the Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI R-Line is not exactly cheap, the Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost PowerShift Titanium comes in cheaper at R274 900. That price tag comes with a 4 year/60 000km service plan which is a good deal. The Polo only comes with a 3 year/45 000km service plan. So what will you buy? These cars are marketed differently but offer very similar specs. If you’re more of a thrill seeker, we recommend the Polo, but if you want to save some bucks and still have a banging little cool car, the Fiesta is a very good choice too.

Will the Volkswagen Citi Vivo Be A Future Classic?

It’s funny how things work. One moment everybody has a Citi Golf, the next moment an enthusiast will battle to find some original examples. By “original example” I don’t mean any random Citi Golf as you can easily locate one on most classified websites. I’m referring to the legendary Citi Golfs that donned the red, yellow and blue paintwork, the same one your parents used to have (probably). Growing up I saw many examples of these but now the one’s you find are generally in remote towns owned by people who won’t let them go. Which brings us to the somewhat reincarnation of this car. Yes Volkswagen want to pull on some South African heart strings by introducing a Citi Vivo, the same concept of the Citi Golf but just in a Vivo.

Like the Citi Golf, the Vivo is a car that is everywhere in South Africa, no matter where you are. So much so, they’ve been sort after cars by “baddies” for a very long time. The Citi Vivo is based on the 1.4 55kW variant and it will have some white wheels to match the white mirrors on the car, similar to how the Golf’s were dolled up decades ago. Again like the Golf, you can get it in red, yellow and blue. The question is then, will this Vivo be a car we’ll battle to find in the next few decades? This may sound silly but with only 2000 units being planned by VWSA, there won’t be too many around to begin with. What most South Africans loved about the Citi Golf was how simple the car was and how easy it is to maintain. The Polo Vivo will be seen in the same light in a few decades, especially considering how complex entry level cars are becoming. Who knows, but maybe one day the Citi Vivo will be the retro hatchback we’ll look at and think “those were good times”, like how people in their 40’s look at Cape Town hipsters who drive Citi Golfs now.

Personally I think the Citi Vivo is a very cool throwback at how awesome South African car culture is. Our buying nature has for a long time forced the likes of VW to make something special for us. It’s cool because we don’t merely see cars as a means of transport, we see them as our identity. How better to show people that you’re young wild and free through a brightly coloured car with white wheels? My advice to potential Citi Vivo owners? Keep the car, you may have something super cool to pass down to your kids one day.

Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TSI & TDI – First Drive

 

Introduced in 2007, the Volkswagen Tiguan was an instant success and as many had anticipated, VW’s foray into the crossover segment most certainly paid off with nearly a million units having been sold globally in its first 3 years of production. There was no reason for the Tiguan to do anything but excel, especially in the South African market where Volkswagens are so highly regarded and crossovers outnumber station wagons 9 to 1, but despite all this the Tiguan wasn’t all smiling toddlers and glitter, or was it…

For many, the biggest issue with the first generation Tiguan was that it may have been envisioned as a more rugged and capable Golf, but you’d sooner find a man named Terece pulling into a Sorbet Man than the great outdoors. It was great, but more likely than not a mum’s car thanks, in most part, to its looks.

In 2016 the Second Generation Tiguan was launched in South Africa and as it’s based on VW Group’s MQB Platform, we already knew that it was going to be a meticulously engineered vehicle. Having been on sale for a couple of months now, demand is higher than supply which is a good thing and everyone is clambering for a Tiguan from rugged execs to chic fashionistas, and this comes as no surprise. It’s also a finalist in the Wesbank SAGMJ South African Car of The Year 2017. Whether in R Line, Highline or Comfortline trim, the Tiguan is a handsome and sophisticated thing and adds some character to an otherwise bland and predictable segment. For Francisco’s long-term review of the Tiguan at launch, click here.

At launch, the only derivatives available were the 1.4 TSI motors in 90 kW and 110 kW guises. The rest of the range has now made its way here and along with the 2.0 TDI and 2.0 TSI motors, 4Motion AWD is now available. From launch, the Tiguan has offered an impressive package and that’s no different here with LED Headlights and Taillights, Sport-comfort seats, 3-zone Climatronic Climate Control, Ambient Lighting, 6.5” Composition Media, Silver anodised roof rails and 18” alloy wheels all featuring as standard fitment on 4Motion models. In terms of off-roading equipment, hill-descent control accompanies the usual ensemble of driving modes, namely ECO, Sport, Comfort and Individual. 4Motion Live has three 2 modes, Snow and Off-road mode, as well as an automatic setting which will select the most appropriate of the two depending on road conditions.

The R Line Package adds a sport suspension system, 20” alloy wheels, R-Line bumpers, side sills and wheel housing flaring, a body coloured rear spoiler and black headlining.

We were afforded the opportunity to sample both diesel and petrol models, each of which have a differing appeals and are all welcome additions to the Tiguan range.

With 162 kW and 350 N.m on tap, the 2.0 TSI model really is a wolf in wolfs clothing and unlike the previous generation Tiguan’s 2.0 TSI derivative now has the looks to go with the performance. Sprinting from 0-100 km/h in 6.5 seconds, this model exhibits impressive straight line speed, but where we were most surprised was in the bends where minimal body-roll and spot-on damping make for a truly thrilling and engaging driver’s car, something which we didn’t quite imagine from the Tiguan when we initially tested the 1.4 TSI models. Claimed combined average fuel consumption is 7.8 l/100km and pricing for the Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TSI 162 kW starts at R542 200.

The two diesels on offer are the more sensible options, both displacing 2.0-litres with outputs of 105 kW / 340 N.m and 130 kW / 380 N.m. with claimed consumption figures of 6.1 l/100km and 6.4 l/100km respectively. While you might not be surprising any GTI’s at the lights in the 2.0 TDI’s as you would in the 2.0 TSI, you will be impressed by how little engine noise enters the cabin, NVH is an area where VW has always excelled and the Tiguan benefits from this. In both states of tune, the 2.0 TDI motor offers maximum torque from just 1750 RPM which is useful for those who have large things to tow such as caravans, if you’re into that, and boats. Prices for the 2.0 TDI 105 kW Comfortline start at R523 800 and R549 500 for the 2.0 TDI 130 kW Highline.

The cabin is impeccably put together and is difficult to find fault with, and the same can be said for the 7-speed DSG to which all of these motors are matched. In fact, it is difficult to find fault with most of the vehicle, not even pricing as it is slightly cheaper and significantly nicer than all of its competitors.

A job well done to VW, then. Not only is the Tiguan the capable car that it always was, it is now one of the most desirable on the road.

Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI R Line – First Drive

Rewind 20 years and anyone claiming to have had a vehicle with a 1.0 – litre 3-cylinder motor producing 81 kW and 200 N.m would have been labelled a madman. If they were to continue, stating that this revolutionary vehicle would sip just 4.4 l/100km and exhibit refinement to match the then contemporary E39 5 Series, the automotive community would have locked them away in a Corolla in solitary confinement until they came around.

Having now grown accustomed to the trend of downsizing, most of the above doesn’t really come as a surprise to both the public and motoring scribes alike. What does come as somewhat of a surprise is that the vehicle boasting all of the above figures isn’t even a brand new vehicle, but rather an updated version of a car that’s been on sale in South Africa for the past 8 years. There’s no denying that the Volkswagen Polo is the most impressive vehicle within its segment and now it has been given quite a nice little final hoorah if you will.

Its full name is the Polo 1.0 TSI R-Line and it features VW’s hugely impressive 3-cylinder 1.0-litre unit, mated to the 7-Speed DSG gearbox we’ve come to know and love. Along with its the drivetrain, the Polo has also been visually tweaked with a smattering of R-Line goodness in the shape of R-Line design front and rear bumpers, R-Line sill extensions, a rear diffuser, chrome exhaust tip and 17” alloys. 8 years on, the Polo is still a handsome thing and while the interior on this model is much the same as the rest of the range, it remains a superlative example of build quality and tactile pleasure.

Set to make its way into a number of VW Group Products, the 1.0-litre unit features active balancing shafts which cancel out the inherent vibrations within a 3-cylinder motor. It’s a very smooth unit which delivers maximum torque from just 2 000 rpm.  Due it being lighter than the locally produced 1.2-litre unit alongside which it is offered, it’s a free-revving and spritely motor and is surprisingly characterful thanks to the triple thrum emanating from behind the bulkhead. A claimed consumption of just 4.4 l/100km is 0.5 l/100km less than that of the 1.2-litre motor, yet 25 N.m more torque is on offer.

While pottering around town, the low-down torque and the slickness of the DSG transmission really do make it all a bit effortless and brisk bursts between traffic lights actually bring a smile to one’s face. Dynamically, the chassis handles the twisties with aplomb and the sometimes rough and constantly undulating roads along our test route in the countryside of Port Elizabeth were where the Polo did better than expected. Its high-speed stability is far superior to that of its competitors and again, this is all thanks to a well-sorted chassis and incredible refinement, as well as the use of Volkswagen’s XDS Electronic locking diff which you can certainly feel doing its bit in the corners and comes as standard on this model. If I were to briefly sum up how the Polo drives, I would have to say that it is confidence inspiring and effortless, and can be different things to different people. The R-Line package adds an impressive duality to the Polo in that it can be sporty and playful if that’s what you ask of it, as well is comfortable and docile if its economy and a leisurely drive you’re after.

Other standard features include the usual raft of safety features, rest assist, 4 airbags (6 optional), air-conditioning, multi-function steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, sports seats with drawers beneath them and a front-centre armrest with storage compartment.

Priced at R290 200, it comes in at the same price as the already available 1.2 TSI Highline Auto but offers a different box of frogs to that vehicle. Yes, it is rather pricey, but you certainly get your money’s worth – just remember that if you were to tell someone in 1998 that your Polo would be able to match their 523i in all but size and thirstiness, it’d be back to the Corolla for you!

South Africa, give the VW Passat a chance.

I first drove the new Volkswagen Passat in 2016, the model I drove was the 1.4 TSI and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with that vehicle. Although I do remember saying that when the 2.0 TDI comes, it will probably take the Passat up another notch. I was correct.

For me, the Passat has two purposes, it’s a family car but also a highway machine. It’s built for laying down kilometres and not missing a beat. A person will look at purchasing a Passat for one of these reasons, or both.

For the family orientated buyer, the Passat is not a bad choice at all. It offers lot’s of space, modern technology, good safety and even a built in child seats in the rear. The downside is that the Passat starts at R468,200 for the petrol variant and R493,000 for the diesel model. These prices maybe out of reach for the normal South African family.

For the sales rep or businessman who uses the roads often and driving as a pivotal part of his work, the Passat is a great fit. In my home country, the Passats are extremely popular cars, mainly driven by people working for large corporations, driving my kilometres up and down the country on a daily basis.

The diesel model I drove recently, fits well into this category. With the R-line package, the Passat is striking, it has a sharp design and just oozes a professional feel.  The interior of the Passat follows suit with a clean design and good technology, such as the App Connect system and Park Assist.

How does it Drive?                

I always forget how a Passat feels until I get back the wheel of one. It feels different from other vehicles in it’s segment. It’s softer and lighter on its feet. For example, even applying the brakes is a smooth process, the same goes for its acceleration, it’s very linear. It feels refined and cautious on the road, it wasn’t designed to be driven very fast, it was designed to be driven for long periods of time. That being said, the car is very driver comfort focused and the overall feeling is one that relaxes you.

The best place then to test the VW Passat is on the open road, and that’s what I did. We had meetings for a few days in Johannesburg, so instead of flying I drove the Passat. Having experienced all the technology offered in these cars, I noticed that there were two optional extras the Passat I drove lacked. This was the Active Driver Display which gives you a digital dashboard and secondly, Adaptive Cruise Control.

The digital dashboard provides a more visual element and makes it easier to see and control certain vehicle data or elements. This means less time fiddling with the steering wheel controls, something that is important during a long drive.

The second option, Adaptive cruise control is a feature that I used on the new Tiguan and loved it. Driving to Jozi from Durban isn’t a bad drive, but over the many times I’ve done it, I find it hard to use the standard cruise control, something this Passat had.  There are lots of trucks, hills, fast cars, slow cars, speed cameras, etc. All these factors mean that cars are forever overtaking,  slowing down, speeding up and pulling out. This makes the drive frustrating because you can be on the brakes quite a bit, which deactivates the cruise control. When all is clear, you need to reactivate it again and if you hit the wrong button, it will set it to the speed that you are currently travelling, not the speed you want to be travelling. So most of the time it’s just easier to not use it at all. This is not just the standard Passat system that has this problem, these things would happen with any standard cruise control system. This is why I much prefer to have the Adaptive Cruise Control as it assists when all these factors come into play. It too is not a perfect system just yet, but it works damn well.

In terms of fuel economy, this car sips, something most people will buy the diesel version for. VW claim a combined cycle of 5 litres/100km. After arriving in JHB and driving around the city for a few days, when I returned to Durban, I got had average of 5.4 litres/100km. Pretty good if you ask me.  The 2.0 TDI performed well and it boasts 130kW/350Nm, which is more than enough for what this car was purposed is.

 

 

Just give the Passat a chance.

For such a great car, it doesn’t sell as well as it could, and you don’t see too many on the roads locally. In South Africa, we love our brands, especially when it comes to cars. When the Passat’s rivals are vehicles like the BMW 3 series, Mercedes C-Class and Even the Audi A4, you know it’s in for a hard time. The thing is, the VW Passat does quite a lot of things better than the cars mentioned above, for a cheaper price at that.

More motorists should give the Passat a chance, forget about how your friends will look at you, or what your side-chick will think. It’s a great option and will benefit your wallet too. Honestly I think it even looks better than some of it’s rivals. It’s not up to me though, it’s your money. The old car was certainly more grandfather-like in appeal, but with this new one, grandad is dead and his much cooler son has taken over.

Volkswagan Tiguan Extended Review.

Much hype has been made about the new Volkswagen Tiguan. This excitement is warranted though, because the car looks and drives amazingly. So far the car has won the Family Car award from Cars.co.za’ Consumer Awards.  It is also a finalist for the Wesbank SAGMJ South African Car of The Year 2017, so things seem to be going pretty well for the new model.  We’ve spent some time driving the models offered in South Africa during the launch, so we could confirm that the new Tiguan is indeed a revolution compared to the old car. There was nothing wrong with the model preceding it, but there was neither anything outstanding about it as well. A two day launch allowed us the opportunity to get a feel of the car, in order to report if it was good or bad.  A month long test however  helped us to better understand the true consumer experience of the new Tiguan. This is what Volkswagen gave us the opportunity to do during the month of December. As a result, we can highlight the following about the car:

Family friendly:

It may not be enormous, but it sure is comfortable. The new Tiguan has been designed for those looking for space and comfort. Most compact SUV’s are comfortable when occupied by four people, but the new Tiguan seats five in such a way that there will be few complaints in the rear. For those extra long journeys, the foldable trays behind the front seats will come in handy, provided eating is allowed in the car. The leather seats are optional and come highly recommended as they are easier to clean and give the car a much more premium interior look.

Stares come standard:

Because Volkswagen is a favoured brand in South Africa, the new Tiguan is a car that attracts a great deal of attention. Much to our surprise, people from varying backgrounds and ages had questions to ask and looks to give. This is due to the completely redesigned exterior of the car. The added R-Line Package makes matters worse as the car will not go unnoticed. Often compact SUV’s look like knock-offs of their larger siblings, but in the case of the new Tiguan, the radical design changes that recipe.

Automatic is the way to go:

Most people looking to buy a new Tiguan have added space as a priority on their shopping list. This means that you may have a little one or three. This may also mean that traffic is a reality for you. If this is the case, we recommend you spend the extra bucks on the DSG derivative of the car. The problem with the manual is that it firstly requires more effort to operate and secondly, it tends to bog off the line which may cause unnecessary stalling. In all honesty, this somewhat annoying “niggly” is the only fault we can find on the car. Besides that, nothing negative jumped out during our four week test. As small as the engine is, the 1.4 litre TSI has enough power for both city and long distance driving, which is surprising considering the size of the car.

An excuse to road-trip:

An extended test of the Tiguan would not be complete if we didn’t take the car on a road-trip. Like most “vaalies” we did the 1500km+ trip to Cape Town from Johannesburg. This trip allowed us to use features like Adaptive Cruise Control as well as the Head-Up display, both optional in the Tiguan. The biggest highlight of this car on a long trip is the comfort levels. Despite the larger rims from the R-Line package, the long trip was not back breaking at all. The inclusion of the DYNAUDIO  Excite sound system was also able to drown out snores from the passengers to and from Cape Town. It took a total of two tanks of fuel to cover the journey one way, which was very reasonable considering the size of the engine. The boot space was also more than accommodating. Having friends that don’t know what the meaning of “packing light” is, I was worried that my rear view mirror would be blocked by silly items during the drive. This wasn’t the case though as the 615-litre trunk swallowed up all the bags with ease.

Overall:

Again, we cannot find anything to deter someone looking for a compact SUV from buying a new Tiguan. Instead, there is much to encourage a buyer to consider this car. What was once a more feminine car has been redeveloped into something even the most manliest men could drive with pride. The car maintains its premium feel inside and out, making it comparable to brands much more expensive to it. At a starting price of around R380 000 it’s also not financially out of reach for many. Therefore it comes as no surprise then that this car has won the hearts of many of those who have driven it. It’s a very good package, probably one of the best cars Volkswagen has produced in this segment. It drives like a slightly larger Golf but will fit more and do more. What more do you want out of a compact SUV? If it’s more power, but the 2.0-litre TSI. If it’s more efficiency you’re after, the 2.0TDI may do the trick, but overall the entire range has something that will keep you happy.

 

 

 

Five good and bad features on the new VW Tiguan.

The VW Tiguan came to the market with a bang. It’s sharp design, edgy looks and mini spaceship/ transformer aura caught the market’s attention.

We have a full in-depth review in our latest edition of TheMotorist Digital Magazine by Francisco, so I’m just here to tell you five things I enjoyed and found frustrating about VW’s new Tiguan.

 

The Bad Points

  • The 1.4 TSI  comfort line is a great engine, but I just feel for the Tiguan there is not enough power. 92 KWs is not much for a small SUV. The Highline engine will produce 110kw, which will definitely improve the overall drive
  • A Manual gearbox in this car isn’t for me; the clutch has very high bite point, and at first, the car can be quite awkward to drive. I also found myself dropping down a gear for more power on many occasions.
  • The side door storage has thin slots that drop right into the door, and it’s incredibly easy to lose phones and wallets in that little compartment, and tough to remove them if you have fat hands like me, you can’t get to them while driving either.
  • I found that there is a delay in the automatic boot lid when activated via the remote. When using this for the first few times,  I ended up pressing the button on the remote twice, which then causes the boot to go up and down like Nicki Minaj in any one of her music videos- I’m picky here,  but I’m struggling to find bad points
  • The Adaptive Cruise Control is a great function, but I discovered that the vehicle does take some time accelerating after a vehicle in front has moved over, it’s only 5 seconds or so, but this feels like a lifetime when half of Durban is up
 new-tiguan-static_015_1800x1800

The Good Points

  • The new Tiguan looks fantastic, and I found many people checking this car out. The previous Tiguan did not look great, and it looks like the apple fell very far away from the tree this time. There is even talk that mummy tree had an affair with Mr Oak tree across the garden because the New Tiguan is styled entirely different.
  •  The Adjustable Cruise Control I mentioned earlier allows you set distance and applies the brakes when cars pull out in front of you or traffic arises ahead. The Tiguan responded quickly when another vehicle came up head and made highway driving much easier. Usually, I don’t normally use Cruise Control because of the amount of times I have to brake and deactivate it.
  • The Active Info driving display is one of my favourite features VW provide. The dashboard is fully digital and can be adjusted to the driver’s preference in regards to what driving data is shown on the display. For example, a driver may want to view efficiency, speed and gear change indicator, tyre pressures, music, navigation and so on.
  • Price – The Tiguan I tested had the R-Line exterior package and a bunch of optional extras including premium sound, Metallic paint, Automatic boot lid, app connect, adaptive cruise control, leather seats, composition media, Panoramic sunroof, app connect and the Active Info Display, and LED headlight. You could say the car was pretty kitted out, and the price – R419000. Personally, I feel you get a lot of car for that price.
  • I put the 1.4 TSI engine in the bad list, but its small size and performance also have benefits. For example, if you are a soccer mum (or dad). The 1.4 is a great engine for running around in, while also providing decent fuel economy. I would enjoy it more if mounted to a DSG box.

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So that is just some of the things I liked and didn’t like about the new VW Tiguan, overall it’s a fantastic car, which will only be made better with 2.0 petrol and Diesel variants. For in-depth driving and lifestyle reviews, check out our digital magazine here. 

 

VW Polo Beats – Great sound for your travels

The VW Polo is probably one of the most popular cars on South Africa roads, especially with the young generation.  It’s a small hatch, its German – which makes it extremely reliable and its reasonably priced.

A problem that I find with these little hatchbacks is that the audio quality is never great. The majority of people that drive these cars are young adults, many young adults love music, especially when cruising around and on road trips. Whether it’s hip-hop, Jazz, Pop, Dubstep, Classical ( everyone has room for a little bit of classical), there is nothing worse when you pump up the volume and with that increase comes distortion, crackle, and hiss. You wanted to listen to your favourite tracks on your way to work. Instead, it sounds more like firework show on New Year’s Eve, not great.

VW have fixed this issue by teaming up with Beats Audio. You know, those bright pink, red, yellow, orange, black, and white colored earphones you see the hip kids and “cool Dad’s” wearing. Beats Audio knows their stuff when it comes to sound and in conjunction with VW, has introduced the Polo Beats – a VW Polo with seven speaker – 300 Watt sound system.

Here is the not so good part, The Polo Beats differs from other Polo’s with different 16” wheels, red door mirrors, dark red tail lights, beats side film and a beats badge on the b-pillar.  After looking at the images, it doesn’t look as bad as first thought. The interior also has changed with  Beats sports seats and a few other bits such as a leather steering wheel and coloured seatbelts. In fairness, it looks pretty good.  Personally, this should have also been available as an option extra rather than a sperate model; I’m sure the whole Beats branding might put a few people off.

It will, however, be an optional extra in the new VW UP released later this year. We may see it as an optional extra in future Polo models. Not everyone wants red wing mirrors.

 

The Polo Beats comes in at R260,700

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Volkswagen South Africa’s new launched Passat, is it a game-changer?

Not just a great personality: Volkswagen South Africa’s new Passat.

Most people have experienced what it’s like to be set up with a potential boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s awkward and uncomfortable. When this happens, there is usually a build up to the first “date” and this build up often involves a great deal of selling. Your friend or friends that are facilitating all this tell you about all the good things and they omit the bad. At this point, it’s a known fact that if the phrase “he/she has a great personality” is the biggest selling point, chances are the person you’re being set up with is not good looking. We’re not supposed to be shallow in life and focus purely on beauty, but it’s always easier to get to know somebody who is easy on the eyes. The person does not need to look like a model, but it’s nice to see that he/she tries to do the best with what they’ve got.

This has been part of the problem for Volkswagen South Africa when it comes to the Passat over the years. The car has always been the one in its segment with “the great personality” and as a result in South Africa, it’s always battled to get a date to the matric ball. As mentioned before we shouldn’t be shallow when looking for relationships but when it comes to cars, we have every right to be. A car needs to have a want factor, something that makes you say “that’s hot” and the Passat has lacked that over the years. Not to say it’s been an ugly car, but it can be likened to the introverted girl or guy who doesn’t put much effort in presenting themselves to others in an appealing way. This has been the opposite with its competitors, the “big three” who have always made an effort to be dolled up and present themselves as the “cool kids”, making them the popular ones in school or in this case, the roads.

The new Passat has been launched by Volkswagen South Africa recently and it has undergone an extreme makeover. The nerdy glasses have been replaced with contact lenses, the old polo neck and sweatpants have been done away with and replaced with a new wardrobe. The results? A car that makes you say “that’s hot”. This is especially the case when the new Passat is kitted with the R-Line Package, this package acts as the little black dress that makes everyone look. The “think new” slogan that’s marketed with the new Passat shows that Volkswagen has thought deeply about the importance of creating a “want one” factor for the car, something the likes of Mercedes, BMW and Audi have accomplished over the years with their cars.

So we’ve established that the car looks good, but besides that, what’s new in the B8 Passat? Everything. The car is built on the MQB platform, which makes it lighter through the use of more lightweight materials such as metals found in the engine and suspension. The total weight difference between the new and old model is 85 kg’s. Despite the car’s new physique, it’s longer on the inside yet shorter on the outside as well as lower than the car it replaces. As a result the car offers great interior space for its five occupants. The extra space comes with a great view as the cabin is a great place to sit in physically and aesthetically, with modern lines and good quality materials creating a premium feel.

To add to the interior experience, the new Passat comes with a host of new features which modernise the car even further. One of the most notable being the optional Active Info Display which is a fully digital instrument cluster that offers the driver various modes to view such as  navigation, entertainment and economy. The cluster adapts to whatever mode it’s set in and is automated with the centre 6.5 inch colour infotainment system which comes standard with Bluetooth. The option of Head Up Display is also available in the Passat, which enhances the technological prowess of the car too.

Since the new Volkswagen Passat has undergone such drastic changes, does it mean that the car has lost its great personality? Not at all. The new Passat retains a comfortable ride quality but adds some nifty driving aids such as Automatic Multi Collision Braking System (which applies the brakes on the car after an accident has occurred to prevent a secondary collision), Adaptive Cruise Control and Driver Alert System. Driver Profile Selection is standard on all Passat’s, allowing you to choose between economy, sport, normal and individual mode to suit your driving style.

The engines in the Passat are very refined and quiet, with a 1.4 TSI (110 kW), 1.8 TSI (132 kW) and the current flagship 2.0 TSI (162 kW) being the choices to choose from at the moment. A 2.0 TDI option will be available mid 2016. The current offering is well matched to the car, with all the engines providing enough power to get the car moving smoothly and comfortably. All models except the 1.4 TSI are fitted with the DSG gearbox as standard, with the 2.0 TSI being given the faster 6- Speed DSG found in the Golf GTI. In the case of the 2.0 TSI, the Golf GTI DNA has been imprinted in the car, giving it a sporty edge that the other engines cannot match.

The 2.0 TSI also comes as standard with lovely the R-Line package, but the R-Line kit is available from the 1.4 TSI up-words. The new Passat’s handling characteristics are impressive, combining suppleness with sportiness very well. At speed the vehicle is quiet, giving you the illusion that you’re doing much slower speeds than you really are. Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) which adjusts vehicle damping is standard in the top of the range 2.0 TSI which also comes standard with the XDS limited slip differential to improve handling dynamics. The 2.0 TSI is a sure rival for the likes of the BMW 330i, the Mercedes C300 and the recently launched Lexus IS 200t. Whereas the other models are sure to create some competition for the big three’s lower end models.

Overall the new Passat is a wonderful vehicle in its segment. It has already claimed the title of Eurpean Car of The Year 2015 which speaks for the car immensely. This comes as no surprise as the car offers a great deal of features and quality for the segment it operates in. The new Passat also happens to be priced competitively compared to its rivals. Being that as it is, the deciding factor is how the market receives this new Passat in South Africa. Has it managed to get out of the “old man” stigma it has carried for a long time now? We certainly think so. Now it’s up to Volkswagen South Africa to market the car as something hot and not the fact that it only has a great personality. If they can succeed in changing people’s perception of the Passat, maybe people can finally see that blind dates aren’t always a bad thing.

 

Prices:

1.4 TSI Comfortline 110kW Manual                                                                                R378 800

1.4 TSI Comfortline 110kW DSG                                                                                     R398 800

1.8 TSI Highline 132kW DSG                                                                                           R444 200

2.0 TSI R-Line 162kW DSG                                                                                              R476 800