Tag: volkswagen

Living with the legacy of a local legend – the VW Golf 8 GTI

It takes generations to build up a near-immortal legacy with an adoring customer base at the core. In Mzansi, there are staples for different types of mobility where everything else in the segment becomes an outlier. Our go-to bakkie is the Hilux while the Golf GTI is glorified in its hot hatch segment. We lived with the 8th generation of the beloved German derivative to see if the recipe has deviated from its predecessors.

Volkswagen may not have been the first automaker to culminate the recipe of the hot hatch many decades ago, but the Giugiaro penned GTI MK1 from 1975 was perhaps the most refined option to enter the mainstream market. It gained instant success for being sports-car fun with a supermarket price tag. By definition, the GTI is a fast Golf which is inherently an economy hatch built to appeal to the masses. While the sales of normal hatches dwindling in comparison to their SUV siblings on an annual basis, the hot hatch remains a symbol of success and prosperity in South Africa in a hotly contested market. None can portray this individually better than the GTI.

But is the new generation any good? If you are dreading reading an in-depth article with tabulated statistics about the performance and engine upgrades that have been implemented in the new model you will be relieved to know that the new GTI is much the same underneath as the 7th generation. That was launched in 2012 and that was a long time ago, so naturally technology has changed quite a bit. For context, we still had Blackberry as a primary cellular device when the Golf 7 GTI was launched. The trustworthy cast iron EA888 series motor resumes its service while our test car implemented the same 7-speed DSG as transmission from before. 

The 2.0l turbocharged engine now develops 180kW with a torque peak of 370Nm, an 11kW improvement in power over its predecessor. This means it has a claimed sprint to 100km/h from stationery in 6.4 seconds which is the same as its predecessor. So, where has almost a decade of development gone into? Well, Volkswagen are at the forefront of committing to future electrification, especially after the Dieselgate scandal and reprimand. This means that budget is being channelled into optimising the efficiency and longevity of their existing powertrain range as there is little interest in developing future internal combustion engines. 

In other words, the production of the 8th generation GTI has been streamlined and the build complexity has been reduced which in turn should keep true to its identity of affordable performance. A base spec GTI is priced from R669 300 while an endless list of additional features like IQ. Light, Harman Kardon Sound and a Tilting and sliding panoramic sunroof can push the price all the way up to R800k. Our test car was fortunately fitted with all of the niceties which do improve the lavish GTI experience. The price includes a 3 year/120 000km warranty, 5 year/90 000km service plan and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty.

While performance has been slightly improved, more strict conditions over emissions have been implemented too. This means from both within and outside the cabin, the resounding and iconic VRR-PHA has been muted significantly. The entire exhaust system for that matter seems restricted by mandated filters and catalytic converters but that is nothing that entrepreneurial locals can’t resolve with a software update and enlarged downpipes. 

The underwhelming symphony is not where it ends unfortunately. It’s just not a very inspiring car to drive. Don’t get me wrong – it’s quick and has the ability to get you into a lot of trouble very quickly but it feels numb to experience, devoid of character and enthusiasm. What the experience does yield however is a forgiving hot hatch that does not have the exciting boy-racer torque steer of its competitors but a refined and comfortable drive that is more civilized for everyday use. It will also get you a lot of nods and looks from pedestrians and opportunistic souped-up cars yearning for a highway drag race while running your errands.

While this 8th generation is the most digitally advanced generation of GTI ever produced, much of the interior tech is swing and miss. They have done away with physical buttons and replaced almost every interface with touch capacitive functionality. While they instill a futuristic aesthetic to the cabin, they can be frustrating to interact with. There are buttons directly below the infotainment screen which make operation during driving near impossible without accidentally bumping the heat adjustment function and bringing up the climate control screen.

What we found particularly annoying was the heated steering button on the steering wheel, which is inconveniently placed where the palm of the hand meets the protrusion of the thumb. Regardless of how enthusiastically you yank the steering wheel, any movement seems to engage the haptic touch surface and render the steering wheel hotter than a mid-summer Pretoria day. You will be constantly fiddling with the haptic surface to view the drivers display in an attempt to disengage the untouchable steering wheel. 

While this is still in essence still as good as you expect a GTI to be, it will always be judged not only according to its competitors but also against what the nameplate signifies in terms of the previous generations. Look at the 8 GTI as a tech elevated, although slightly gimmicky version of its all-round fantastic predecessor. It does everything really well and makes important strides in refinement and technology over its predecessor, but it doesn’t give you the fizz the way previous generations have. If you are a diehard VW aficionado looking for more thrill, your money may be better spent on a low mileage 7.5 GTI TCR, or for an out of the box, fun, boy-racer inspired hot hatch then the BMW 128ti is also certainly worth a look!

Is the Volkswagen T-Cross a better version of the Polo?

We got to spend a few days with Volkswagen’s popular small SUV – using it to run our errands and see how it stacks up to its smaller sibling – the Polo.

The local automotive market has mostly recovered from the dismal sales caused by Covid-19 disruptions in 2020. New car sales numbers are more or less where they used to be and the popular automakers namely Toyota, Ford and Volkswagen are back to duelling for the top spot in the passenger vehicle segment. While the top two titles are always occupied by South Africa’s preferred vehicle of choice; the bakkie, the third and fourth spot are taken up by Volkswagens Polo Vivo and Polo models which sell in droves. 

These cars are successful for a variety of reasons but chiefly because they are compact, affordable, have an abundance of spare parts and are from a well loved automotive brand locally. Volkswagen have transferred all of this ideology into the T-Cross and while it is not a brand new vehicle to enter their lineup, it is their best-selling SUV according to the June 2021 sales report with 465 units being sold. Which is about a third of the total number for the Polo. 

The popular compact crossover SUV from the German brand can be had in three different levels of trim starting at R352 300 for the basic Comfortline and ranging all the way up to the R-Line priced from R464 900. Our test car was a base Comfortline with the R-Line package. This expectedly costs a little bit more but comes better equipped with features such as a reverse parking camera, roof rails, park distance sensors and an 8” integrated infotainment screen. 

In some respects, you do get a very familiar looking car to the Polo, on both the inside and the outside. This makes sense since both models share the same platform and engines making the T-Cross a pumped up version of the Polo. While it shares some styling similarities to its bigger SUV siblings in Volkswagen’s lineup, the side profile, window-line and shoulder-line are almost identical to the Polo, albeit slightly stretched out on a vertical axis with a bit more rugged plastic.

Overall, its aesthetics consist of a well-proportioned design and restrained styling meaning it’s unlikely to snap pedestrians necks as you drive by, especially in Limestone Grey Metallic. Its purpose is far more focused on function by being a proponent of a more adventure-capable lifestyle.

At 180mm of ground clearance, 12mm more than the Polo, it can easily navigate onto pavements and tackle uneven off-road surfaces. The plush suspension is one of its most notable features as it can traverse speed bumps and loose gravel roads effortlessly. Since it is still only a front-wheel driven powertrain, we can’t advise taking this on a hardcore off-roading course but it wouldn’t look out of place on a dirt road or gravel track. 

Like the Polo, the T-Cross Comfortline is powered by a 70kW 1.0 TSI motor mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The pokey 3 cylinder puts out an impressive 175Nm of torque that can often inspire a momentary spin of the front wheels before the traction control gets them back in line. As impressive as this torque figure is coupled to the 1154 kilogram body, the turbo only comes into boost above 2000rpm making stationery pull aways on inclines or fully laden stop-start journeys stall-inducing. In these scenarios, efforts to mitigate this can result in the front wheels screeching and very bemused looking pedestrians or passengers.

Despite this, after the turbo has come alive the torque delivery is smooth and linear all the way up to its redline – very impressive for a 1.0 litre motor! We achieved around 7.5l/100km during our time with the car which isn’t the most frugal but tranquil driving is stated to reward just below 5.0l/100km. 

The 5-speed manual gearbox on our test car was easy to use and comfortable in sedate urban driving scenarios. Where it fell short was on the highway where an additional 6th gear would have been ideal in lowering engine rpm and subsequently improving efficiency and engine noise. That being said, if you are looking for a nippy Volkswagen SUV runabout that is going to be predominantly doing open road/highway journeys then the full T-Cross range can also be specced with a 7 speed DSG which would be the better bet overall. 

The interior provides great forward visibility with a large expanse of glass around the drivers periphery. The front position seems much higher than a Polo yet the fully adjustable steering column and seat provide a platform to get completely comfortable in. The overall head, elbow and legroom in all seats is commendable while the rear door-wells are not awkwardly shaped to get in and out of either, making it more practical than the Polo. It scores well in the comfort and spaciousness department but does unfortunately fall short with interior fit and finish. 

There are a few cheap materials and crude plastic textures, more so than its hatchback sibling. Fortunately, the steering wheel and the main tactile points are soft and comfortable to use. It also comes with an integrated 8” infotainment screen which at times can be a bit sluggish with a reverse camera that isn’t the highest resolution.

If you prefer screen mirroring to the standard display then the T-Cross has you covered with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay accessible via one of two USB-C slots. Easily accessible Isofix anchorage is found on all passenger seats, including the one up front which should appeal to young parents. 

The T-Cross also trumps the Polo in terms of boot capacity with an impressive 385 litres as opposed to equally impressive, but inferior, 351 litres of the latter. The compact crossover SUV from Volkswagen emerges as the victor in most categories except for pricing where the Polo comes out on top starting from R293 800 for the base spec Trendline.

For comparative sake, other competing models in the segment such as the beautifully finished Peugeot 2008 comes in at R364 000 while more affordable options can be had with the seasoned Ford EcoSport at R303 900 or the new Hyundai Venue at R311 000. Included in the R352 300 base price of the T-Cross is a 3-year/120 000 km warranty and 3-year/45 000 km service plan.

The subcompact crossover SUV market is a hotly contested piece of real estate with new entrants from different automakers entering the market almost monthly. Volkswagen fortunately have a customer base that is steadfast in their loyalty and thus the T-Cross can be expected to remain their best selling vehicle in the lineup behind the two Polo models. Like the ageing Ford EcoSport, we can expect this shape to remain in circulation for many years to come but for the price, the Peugeot 2008 in this segment would be a strong alternative with its more refined and pleasant interior design.

Can the BMW 128ti usurp the Golf GTI from its throne?

We compare the facts and figures! 

We recently drove the new 128ti on its debut in Mzanzi towards the end of February, read about its road test here: https://themotorist.co.za/is-the-new-bmw-128ti-the-right-1/. Since BMW recently launched their new 1 series (F40 generation) hatchback in 2019 there has been speculation of a variant that would rival the likes of the local hot-hatch king: the Golf 8 GTI (which was locally delayed to the third quarter of 2021 because of a global shortage of semiconductor chips). The new Front Wheel Drive 128ti is what they brought to the party, but how does it stack up against the formidable GTI? 

The highly anticipated M135i was seemingly a bit of a let down to the automotive press (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Rkco-o600g), leaving much to be desired from its predecessor. However the 2-litre 4 pot 128ti could be the right variation for Bavarian die hards wanting a fun, affordable hatchback. While it rejects the norms of BMW’s typical hatch lineage, none of its forerunners have ever embraced the true recipe for a funky hot hatch, until now. That being said, any brand that spends time and budget developing an FWD hot hatch will stack it up directly against the GTI in the hopes of being a worthy adversary, so how does the BMW do:

BMW 128ti

2.0T 4cyl turbo, 195kW and 400Nm

0-100 6.3 seconds (claimed), 250km/h (limited)

5.7l/100km, 158g/km

1445kg

FWD, 8 speed automatic

R687 418

VW Golf 8 GTI DSG

2.0T 4cyl turbo, 180kW and 370Nm

0-100 6.4 seconds (claimed), 250km/h (limited)

6.2l/100km, 168g/km

1463kg

FWD, 7 speed dual clutch automatic

Pricing is TBC

While the numbers marginally favour the Bavarian hot hatch (on paper at least), the GTI will continue to enjoy its cult status in our local market. While we are yet to test the new Golf 8 which is expected to arrive very soon, our opinion is that the BMW may just be a more engaging and complete package to drive for enthusiasts. It is lighter, slightly more powerful and makes use of an engaging mechanical diff. Both are well specced with standard equipment already included at their base price points and both have top speeds limited at 250km/h. VW’s desirable cult following of this segment are where BMW would have fallen short, but shrewdly instilled a form of heritage by reinvigorating the Turismo Internazionale (TI) nameplate that was so prominent with the brands success in the late 1960’s.

BMW has taken a stride into a new direction with the 128ti, and by doing so they have leapfrogged some of the competition in the front-wheel drive hot hatch market. Until we can make direct comparisons between the two, we believe the GTI may have met its German match.

All You Need To Know About The New Volkswagen Tiguan

Excited about the announcement of the Golf GTI? Well, you should be excited about the new Tiguan too!

Launched back in 2008, the Tiguan nameplate has gone through multiple lifecycles – with some updates more significant than others. It has, however, been a firm favourite in Mzansi and Volkswagen hopes their new Tiguan will continue that success with new tech and a sharper design. 

The exterior includes a redesigned front bumper with wider headlamps which intersect the top grille creating an elongated front appearance. The Tiguan also includes IQ.LIGHT, a matrix of 22 individual LEDs per lamp which are claimed to enhance night-driving visibility. While the overall silhouette remains identical, the rear-end features a larger Tiguan badge placed centrally below the VW emblem. The Tiguan can be specced in a selection of new exterior metallic colours including Ginger Brown, Kings Red, Lapiz Blue, Night Shade Blue and Dolphin Grey.

On the inside, drivers are afforded with a refined cabin which includes a sleek steering wheel with new touch controls. The touch operated clusters have also replaced the previous variants physical climate control knobs with touch operated sliders and buttons. This new look Tiguan will also include an optional Harmon Kardon sound system for the first time, using a 16-channel amplifier, eight speakers and a subwoofer. Driver assistants will include Lane Change Assist, Side Assist and Emergency Braking with Front Assist. 

It will be available in three derivatives, the Tiguan, the Tiguan Life and the Tiguan R-Line. The base model will include 17” alloy wheels, LED headlamps, leather multi-function steering wheel, cruise control and the new eight speaker MIB3 Infotainment system’s Composition radio. The mid range Life model will include 18” alloys, cornering lights, Climatronic air conditioning, Park Distance Control in the front and rear as well as an electric tailgate in addition to the standard features. The highest spec Tiguan R-Line includes an aggressive exterior package, 19” alloy wheels and R-labelled leather seats. Both Life and R-Line derivatives have a small selection of alloy wheel designs to choose from as optional extras. 

Other optional extras include a panoramic sunroof, trailer hitch, exterior Black Style Package, Heads-up display and Trailer Manoeuvring System which includes Park Assist among many others. 

Powering the range is a 1.4TSI rated at 110kW mated to a 6-speed DSG gearbox while a 2.0TSI with 162kW and 350Nm includes the 7-speed DSG. For the fuel-conscious, a 7-speed DSG 2.0TDI rated at 130kW can achieve efficiency as low as 5l/100km in economy mode. 

The new German manufactured Volkswagen Tiguan, will be available to our local market from Q3 of this year with pricing to be confirmed closer to its release.

Polo Vivo Sound Edition Arrives in South Africa

Polo Vivo Sound Edition

Polo Vivo Sound Edition

Here’s what is unique on the Polo Vivo Sound Edition

If there is one thing we know about the youth of today, it’s that they love their music.  They also love the Polo Vivo, as it’s an affordable, stylish and reliable vehicle. The issue with the Polo Vivo and other affordable hatchbacks is that they often lack in the sound department. So then, we’re sure many will welcome the introduction of VW’s latest Polo Vivo.

Polo Vivo Sound Edition Side

Volkswagen South Africa have told us that a special edition varient of the Polo Vivo will be available. From September 2019, will see the introduction of the Polo Vivo Sound Edition – a special edition of South Africa’s best selling passenger vehicle. Having sold 17 672 Polo Vivo’s between the beginning of the year and the end of July it’s quite clear that the Vivo is a firm South African favourite.

Another firm favourite here in Mzanzi is some good tunes while driving, and what better addition could there be to the Vivo than a premium 6-speaker audio system, complete with sub-woofer and app connect.

Visually, equaliser decals, 16-inch anthracite Rivazza wheels and mirror-caps finished in Energetic Orange will distinguish the Vivo Sound Edition from other run of the mill Polo Vivo models.

The Polo Vivo Sound Edition is based on the 1.4-litre Comfortline Manual and as an optional extra, the Black Interior Styling Package can be had at R2 500 which features an anthracite headliner and sun-visors, privacy glass and leather steering wheel, gearknob and handbrake lever.

Polo Vivo Sound Edition
It’ll be available exclusively in Pure White, Limestone Grey and Reef Blue and will retail for R220 000 with a 3 year/120 000 km warranty and 6-year anti-corrosion warranty.

A Volkswagen Maintenance Plan as well as Service plan are available as options. Check it out here!

New Volkswagen Touareg: First Drive

Volkswagen Touareg

We Drive the New Volkswagen Touareg

It’s amazing what happens to us when we get older. In my twenties, what was important in a vehicle was its looks, my friend’s opinion and of course, what members of the opposite sex would say when I rocked up in my sweet wheels. Now, in my thirties, with a seven-month-old in tow, what I want out of a vehicle is completely different.

Volkswagen Touareg

 

My daily “run around” is an SUV. I’m that guy who has, besides some dirt roads on a friend’s farm, never taken it off-road. Why? I don’t hunt or do “outdoorsy” stuff, simple. I’m a city dweller who is very happy to be eye level with taxi drivers. I also have the rear seat filled with toys to amuse a very cute human. So,  when the invite for the local launch of the new Volkswagen Touareg came into TheMotorist inbox, I was the first to put my hand up, naturally.

Volkswagen Touareg

In its third generation, the VW Touareg has grown up. Sharing its DNA with some of the biggest names in the field, namely the Bentley Bentayga, Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7. The new Touareg has all the underpinnings of a superstar. Having done my homework before the launch, to say that I was excited and had big expectations would be an understatement. On arrival, what strikes you from your first introduction is the presence the vehicle has. From its imposing grill accompanied with its vast use of chrome, the face of the Touareg is one that would be quite intimidating to see in your rear-view mirror. You take in its profile and you are greeted with a vehicle that clearly shows that good looks run in the family, as you see bits of the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne in its design.Volkswagen Touareg

Open the door and you’ll be very impressed. Its interior is one that is just sublime. From the materials used, to the layout of the infotainment screen, you may just find yourself thinking “what’s the lounge TV doing in the dashboard?” It’s that big. The screen is also angled toward the driver, cocooning you in tech – with minimal buttons to add to the very modern look. As stunning as this all this however,  you do wonder how many times you will have to wipe the screen to maintain this chicness. It’s a sacrifice worth paying however because it does make the cabin extra special.

Volkswagen Touareg

Under the bonnet:

Powering this new generation Touareg is a 3.0 V6 turbocharged diesel, the only engine to be offered by Volkswagen South Africa and for good reason. With 600Nm and 190kW, this power-plant isn’t shy when you call on the power. It arrives in waves, giving you the muscle you need to perform any overtaking manoeuvre, big or small. The reason for one engine to be offered? Demand. For a very long time, I have held the opinion that there isn’t a need for ridiculously powered SUVs. As fun as it may be to have all that power at your disposal, these are cars are meant to do the school and shopping run with entire families in them – so the real chances of exploiting that performance is minimal. As a result, VW have opted to go the practical route with its engine offering.

Volkswagen Touareg

My driving partner Sam Ayres and I got acquainted with this new vehicle in the leafy green province of Port Elizabeth with our end destination being Plettenberg Bay. We took off in the top of the range Executive with R-line package which was shod with the 20” wheels and tyres combination. With its air suspension (standard equipment on the Executive), ride was compliant and positive. Steering feedback is electric, but easy to place and the vehicle has a natural way of hiding its mass. After a few kilometres, the vehicle seems to shrink around you dynamically, giving you the impression of driving a rather spacious sedan – something the likes of BMW have done well over the years in their X5. This is a great compliment as a “tall SUV” doesn’t inspire confidence, whereas the new Touareg certainly does. With buttons being a thing of the past, you also find that the optional but very worth it “Innovision Cockpit” very intuitive. Especially after you’ve found the perfect way to personalise your Touareg. When nightfall happens, it looks like you are driving a vehicle from a sci-fi movie. With thirty interior colours to choose from, your young ones will have you planning your family trips at night, so that they can enjoy the show.

The Drive:

The drive to Plettenberg Bay included some forty kilometres on gravel roads with sharp hairpin corners to allow us to test the suspension. A simple switch over to the gravel/dirt setting on the air suspension and you’re good to go. The mighty diesel engine comes into its own and the suspension damping softens enough to not make you feel like you are doing something out of the ordinary.

Volkswagen Touareg

Along with offering just the one engine, you also only get two options of specification level. The Executive with the R Line package, as well as the Luxury. Both these packages come with a good amount of standard features, giving you a brief options list to choose from. My choice would be the Executive with the optional twenty-one-inch wheels to give it the “gangster look” a young dad would like. As mentioned, I don’t go off-road, so don’t worry about me getting a flat tyre in Sandton. This package comes with the host of driver assist features that are as long as the vehicle, namely Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist, Side Assist, Night Vision, Panoramic Sliding Roof, Discover Pro Navigation and and and.

Volkswagen Touareg

The result?

What we have now is a Volkswagen SUV that can take on the mighty BMW X5, Range Rover Sport as well as the Mercedes GLE in all aspects.  From a quality, performance, technology and overall appeal. It is still more understated than its rivals, but in a classy way. Being a Volkswagen, it won’t shock you from a price point of view either, which is good considering what SUVs cost today. Impressed is an understatement, Volkswagen have truly outdone themselves. We’ll take a Black one please!

 

New Volkswagen Touareg Pricing in South Africa

Touareg 3.0 V6 TDI 190kW (Luxury)                    R999 800

Touareg 3.0 V6 TDI 190kW (Executive)                R1 088 200

The new Touareg comes standard with a 5 year/100 000km Maintenance Plan, 3 year/120 000km warranty, 12-year anti-corrosion warranty and space saver spare wheel. Service Interval is 15 000km.

Take Off Your Blinkers – Volkswagen Arteon Driven

Volkswagen Arteon

We Drive the New Volkswagen Arteon

Let’s face it, VW’s Passat was one of its least-loved vehicles. It reminds me of those movies which feature that one workmate which no one gets along with. However, when given the chance, you find out that Gwendoline has a wicked sense of humour and has stories from all her travels around the world. She is awesome and you wish that you had given her a chance all these years.Well, just like in Hollywood movie, Gwendoline has a life makeover, changes her appearance, loses a ton of weight and changes her name to “G Money” and the office is a buzz with the new staff member that they have. All the girls want to be her and the guys want to date her. Well, ladies and gentlemen, we give you the new Volkswagen Arteon.

Volkswagen Arteon

Brand new from the ground up, the “Sport Coupe GTE” wowed the crowds at its premiere in 2015 but normally, when vehicle looks that good, you expect the manufacturer to tone it down with the final production model and give you something that was in-line with the design cues but not the car that caused you to have it as a screen saver on your laptop. No, not this time my fellow car people! If you pull up the pictures from 2015, the vehicle looks 99% identical to the vehicle that is now in front of me.

We got the grips with this brand-new vehicle at Volkswagen’s head office in Sandton and after the media briefing, which I missed as I was in awe as to how stunning this car is, we were thrown into peak hour Sandton traffic on route to our drive event, hosted at Swartkops raceway. Two engines are on offer from launch and my driving partner and I were in the 2.0 TDI DSG, with 350Nm of torque and 130kW. This ensured that we not only kept up with traffic, but also ushered people out of the fast lane as the diesel motor has a wide spread of torque in any gear, and was a peach to drive. I must say that I am one of the petrol heads that has seen the light, for a daily commuter I see the benefit of the diesel motor and with this current crop of diesels around, it’s amazing that people still have a petrol vehicle for the daily commute. But then again, I do understand why this specific petrol motor was included in the fold. With 206kW and with the same torque as the diesel, this is for the corporate racer that wants the Golf R feel in a premium skin.

Volkswagen Arteon

As is my custom, the first drive was handled by my co-pilot and was thoroughly impressed by the infotainment system and layout of the whole cabin. Its beyond spacious and due to it being front wheel drive, it lacks the transmission tunnel which plagues most of the vehicle in this class-it was refreshing to find so much space in the rear. On arriving at Swartkops, we were given a breakdown of the design features of the Arteon and saw how the designers have stayed so close to the concept. Tip from VW, if your concept receives as much praise theirs did, don’t stray and then you keep your clients base happy. Speaking of clients…

The Arteon is aimed at the mid exec class so it comes into the BMW 3 series, Mercedes C Class and Cousin Audi A4 fold in terms of product placement. Now this is where we as South Africans need to strip our biases aside. Traditionally, in the buying cycle of a client, we go from the first car, into a mid-sized hatch or small sedan. VW has no problem with those clients as that’s where the first introduction happened and Polo Vivo and Golf sales speak for themselves. The issue happens when clients go from say a Golf GTI to something else as normally, circumstances necessitate a sedan and the “German Three” are the default. This is where the Arteon comes in. With the Arteon being such a formidable contender VW need to do all that they can to showcase that as they now have a vehicle that can stand toe to toe with the stalwarts of this segment, but its also up to the consumer to take off their blinkers and look at what other options that they have in this segment.

Volkswagen Arteon

We have the pleasure of finding out the handling capabilities of the Arteon at the track and was pleasantly surprised as to how little body roll there was and yes, being front wheel drive for the diesel and 4Motion for the petrol, there was some understeer which that came to the fore when pushed hard, something that if you are doing on public roads, you deserve to have your tyres humbled by the pavement.

So, VW now have a serious contender for the premium segment and if marketed well and clients get to experience the vehicle, there will a lot more on the road and from the day and a half that we spent with the Arteon, you will be making the right choice. G Money will change your perspective for the good!

Tiguan Allspace – Because we all need more “space”

Tiguan Allspace South Africa

Who needs more space? We live in a world where we need larger “clouds”, more memory on our phones, a bigger Netflix library and for photographers, an endless amount of hard drives. In short, more space is always more welcomed.

We embarked on a drive from Durban to Karkloof Spa in the Natal Midlands in a vehicle which offers more of exactly that, space. Befittingly named, the new Tiguan Allspace won’t help if your 256 GB IPhone X has run out of memory, but if you always find yourself with one bag (or person) too many on a family road trip, it will probably come in handy.

VW Tiguan Allspace

So what is the Tiguan Allspace? Volkswagen used the wonderful base that is the standard Tiguan and simply made it 215mm longer. While there are ever-so-slight design changes, the overall look and feel is pretty much identical to the normal wheelbase Tiguan which most seemed to love.  While 215mm might not sound like much, it equates to an increase in boot space volume of 115-litres which provides much more storage space, or two seats – the Tiguan Allspace gives you the option to choose.

While the Allspace is 7-seater vehicle, anyone that resembles a teenager or adult will really struggle to fit. The rear seats are much more suited for younger children and while you may feel like this really narrows down the uses, there are many scenarios in which they will come in handy. When not in use the third row of seats fold completely flat and I feel this is a setup which many will enjoy – giving you spacious seating for five occupants and plenty of boot space.

As with the normal wheelbase Tiguan, the Allspace is lovely to drive with my favourite model being the Highline variant, as it is paired with a 2.0-litre 162kW petrol engine and VW’s world famous DSG gearbox. The vehicle is practical, but the powertrain offers the element of fun we all enjoy and sometimes crave. The 110kW diesel variant also on offer was really was impressive to drive. Smooth, quiet and “torquey” are all great words to describe this option – whilst also being a cracker on fuel. I however spent much more time with the new 132kW petrol option now available in the Allspace Comfortline, as we had a short but fiery love affair down the South Coast of Durban.  While shy on power when compared with the Highline, the performance on offer is plenty for most situations and is a really cool option for those a little more conscious of price and fuel economy.  There is also fourth option – a 110Kw 1.4 petrol which falls into the Trendline model. LED daytime running lights, the Lights and Visibility Package, Front Underbody Protection, chrome trapezoidal panels around the tailpipes and privacy glass, come as standard on the normal wheelbase Tiguan.

If I can sup up the Tiguan Allspace up in just a few words, it would be “Beautifully Practical”. It offers the vibe, looks and personality that the normal Tiguan offers, but just with more space. Honestly, I can’t see a reason why I would choose a standard Tiguan over the Allspace, as the extra space makes a big difference. While the only compromise would really be a slightly higher price if you opt for the Allspace, in the long term, I think it’s worth it.

Tiguan Allspace

Karkloof really put the Tiguan Allspace into perspective for me. Driving through amazing landscapes with your family or friends is what this car is about. Going further, more comfortably with the people that mean the most. While I would love to own a Tiguan,  the only reason I could justify purchasing one now is if I started a family…I will chat to my wife tonight.

Viva La Vivo – We Drive Volkswagen’s latest Polo Vivo

New Polo Vivo Driven

Go to any city or town in South Africa and get a sense of the people, places and cultures, it will soon become very obvious that the place in which we live is unique. While doing this,  you will most definitely spot a VW Polo Vivo in the background – another one of South Africa’s unique flavours.

Nando’s chicken is a perfect example. Those new to the spicy chicken brand can opt for the lemon and herb flavour, allowing them to get a feel for the food and sit in the restaurant and take in the vibe.  Similarly, Volkswagen have targeted the Vivo for those new on the roads, it may not offer all the spice a Polo or Golf may offer, but it’s a great starting point that gets you from A to B, while being trendy in the process. In a country like ours to the Vivo makes sense, especially for city dwellers who need something small, but comfortable enough for a weekend away. Speaking of weekends away, I headed down the coast to sample the latest flavour – the new Polo Vivo.

 

A swift flight down the coast landed us in the home of VW Port Elizabeth, where we would take a beautiful coastal drive to “Plett” in the Polo Vivo. While this car is based on the previous generation Polo, changes to the front lights and grille, as well as a sprucing to the rear lights are just one of the reasons why the new Polo Vivo is an attractive option.

Volkswagen also offer a new version of the flagship Polo Vivo as well, which goes by the name Polo Vivo GT. If looking cool is your aim and standing out is your game, the Polo Vivo GT will have you covered. Better styling and the latest 1.0 3-cylinder engine, makes it the pick of the bunch. Inside you will find an 8-inch infotainment system which will keep your varsity friends impressed, especially as it features App Connect, or in other words Apple CarPlay. If there is one feature vehicles aimed at the youth must have, it’s this. Thankfully, the GT doesn’t just look the part, it drives it too. The 81kW on offer provides “pokey” performance that will impress bae, while covering your pocket with reasonable fuel bills.

Our road trip only got better as we enjoyed the beautiful scenery provided the Tsitsikamma region – a personal favorite location of mine. It was at this point that we chose to jump into the 1.4 Comfortline, instead of attempting the highest bungee jump in Africa – something the Tsitsikamma region offers. This model is the younger brother to the high-flying GT model, so it offers you less but you also pay less, which is music to any young persons ears. If you are a first-time buyer on a budget, this variant will be well suited for you. The equipment list may be sparse when compared with the GT, but it still very much looks the part – I mean the Vivo is based on the previous generation Polo, how can it not look good?

The 1.4 model features no fancy turbo but rather a bigger displacement which provides adequate performance, especially in the coast. Yes, the Vivo is a little bare compared to a Polo and road noise is more prevalent, but when your hustling city traffic on your way to varsity, while playing your tunes and debating with your S/O about whether to play Big Shaq or Distruction Boyz – you’re not going to notice it.

After our driving was done for the day, we enjoyed an actual game of Polo (The one with Horses) and many of us did stints on Volkswagen Blue Bike to really get the heart going.  There is nothing like a hearty meal after a workout, and our evening dinner was very welcomed with a South African style braai to really fit in with the theme of our trip.

Waking up for a beautiful Plettenberg Bay sunrise the next day, this was followed by breakfast and heading back to PE – another chance to sample a different Vivo. This time we would be eating up the road ahead in the Polo Vivo 1.6 Comfortline. Offering more power than its 1400cc sibling, slightly more features and a cheaper price-tag than the top of the line GT, it is definitely a good middle ground. A bigger engine means more power, 77Kw to be exact compared to the 1.4’s 63kW.

The original Vivo was previously a great option new to the market motorists. Thankfully the new model maintains the same appeal. Yes, it may not be dirt cheap, but you do get what you pay for. The new model looks better and offers better performance in the GT variant. With much more tech offered compared to the previous car, it is still very much suited for the entry-level motorist and offers a cool but reliable option.

 

New Polo Vivo Pricing In South Africa

1.4 55kW Trendline                     R179 900

1.4 63kW Comfortline                  R192 000

1.6 77kW Comfortline Tiptronic     R221 900

1.6 77kW Highline                       R214 900

1.0 TSI 81kW GT                          R245 000

The New Volkswagen Polo – Bigger and Better.

New Volkswagen Polo

The New Volkswagen Polo Driven Review

New Volkswagen Polo. Despite being a small A0 segment hatchback, the Volkswagen Polo is a big car in South Africa. Last year alone VW SA sold over 20,000 units, and the all-new model proves to be even better with a new design and exciting array of tech features. To sample the new vehicle first hand, we headed to the home of VW South Africa – Port Elizabeth, where the new Polo is being manufactured.

Arriving late in the afternoon gave us a  chance to relax, take in our surroundings and enjoy the views our hotel had on offer. Still, we were itching to see the vehicle and get behind the wheel of a car which is very important to the motoring industry and South Africa alike. That evening gave us all what we wanted, and more. After the unveiling of the New Volkswagen Polo and a short presentation, we were whisked away from the plush surroundings of our hotel to the Tramways building. Here we were presented with the 2018 Polo Cup race-car. Featuring the same engine as the upcoming Polo GTI, a 2.0-litre turbo mill producing 150kW and 340 N.m. The vehicle had undergone the usual race-car preparation, which means it was completely stripped out and fitted with a roll cage, with a single seat for the driver being left behind. ( read more about the 2018 Polo Cup here) A night of tasty food and good conversation followed before our early rise the next morning and with a 290 km route planned around the more scenic areas of the Eastern Cape. We were excited to see how VW’s 1.0-litre 3-cylinder turbo engine would perform in varying situations,  as well as get up close and personal with the new interior and exterior design. I really like the Polo’s new look, even as base spec it gives off a somewhat sporty appearance. I do feel the front end may be the my least favourite area of the car, from a design point of view. This however is definitely improved with the addition of LED lighting system. In terms of specifications on the car, VW had the Beats edition and Comfortline models on offer for us and we headed out in the former first.

The Beats edition of the new Polo has two stand out features, with the first obviously being a 300-watt Beats Audio sound system. This leads us on to the second area in which the Polo beats differs – styling. Vibrant red trim, Beats styled seats and the odd Beats Logo will greet anyone entering the cabin and yes, the sound system packs a punch!

As with most things, practice makes perfect and VW’s 1.0-litre engine seems to be getting better and better. The 70kW provided gives a nice little punch and is quite a “gutsy” engine – if that is even a word. Highway driving might seem to provide the most worry for these little engines, but overtaking was a breeze and the 5-speed gearbox was just like an R&B/Soul song – smooth and easy. If you are wanting even more kick, there is a Highline 85kW option using the same 1.0-litre engine. Both the 70kW and 80kW engines are available with a DSG automatic gearbox. 

Too grown up for its own good?

The Polo has always been a small, fun city hatchback with renowned build quality. As time goes by and new models are released, these vehicles inherently get bigger in size and the New Volkswagen Polo is not excluded from this. It’s 8 cm longer and 7 cm wider, this extra space benefits the rear passenger area and the place where you put your bags on a road trip with an extra 70l to play with. Even still, the new Polo has not lost that all-important feel of nimbleness. Yes, it’s bigger, but it has not grown in height. If anything, the good road-holding and intimate feel that we all love, has not been lost but rather improved.

Another area where the New Volkswagen Polo impressed us most is technology. A clean dash features an integrated 8” touchscreen with VW’s latest Composition Media system, which is also found in the brand’s more expensive vehicles. Discover Navigation is also available as an option, but with Apple CarPlay integrated into the system, the navigation system is no longer something on the “need” list.

We were very impressed with VW for including their Active Info Display as an option in the new Polo. If you’re of what we’re referring to, the Active Info Display is a fully digital 12” display which replaces the classic dials which provide you which information on speed – such as fuel consumption, range etc. This digital option is customisable, meaning the driver can choose what information they want to be displayed, whether this be music, playlists, speed and even navigation. This system is a premium feature found on the new Golf, Passat and Tiguan range. This really sets the Polo apart in the A0 segment – although you will have to pay for it.

Other great technology and safety systems are on offer, such as the Park Assist Package. If you require, this system will parallel park you into a space which is just 80 cm longer than the vehicle itself. Added to that, it will also assist the driver is getting out of that same space if required. Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Traffic Alert, Driver Alert System, Multi Collision Braking and Tyre Pressure Loss Indicator are also systems available to the Polo – providing yet more reasons to get behind the wheel of Volkswagen’s latest creation.

Overall it was another great event with a fantastic vehicle. The new Polo is refined in every area and provides an even better experience than the former car. It appeals very much to a younger generation of drivers who want the latest technology and want to be connected. That being said, the features available also make this car very appealing to someone who may be buying down from a more premium segment. Personally, my gut feel says the Polo Beats will do very well and it is my prefered choice from the models we sampled. The Beats naturally appeals to the younger generation as we all know who Dr.Dre is. Music lovers in general though and those who appreciate good quality audio will be impressed by the vehicle. The car ticks many boxes for many demographics. The stylish, the safety conscious, the youth and even parents with a healthy budget will enjoy this vehicle for their kids. Well done VW. You haven’t tried to fix something that was never broken to begin with.   

New 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