Rally to Read

Reading is something all too many of us take for granted yet, for hundreds of children in rural areas of South Africa, not being able to read (or write) is a fact of life.

It is not their fault. How far would your children have got in a school without educational materials: no reading books, exercise books, pens or pencils. No playground or play equipment, beyond paper crushed and taped together to resemble a ball. Perhaps no desks, running water or toilets.

Welcome to the reality of rural schooling for hundreds of thousands of South African children. But it does not have to be like this. A R35 000 sponsorship can make a lifetime of difference to hundreds of children. It can also give you an experience to remember.

Rally To Read (3)

In the 20 years it has been operating, Rally To Read has found that a little goes a very long way in rural schools. That R35 000 will provide a rural primary school with two portable classroom libraries packed with carefully-selected books designed to teach children to read.

It will also fund a year’s additional teacher training for the school’s educators.

Each school is supported for three years — every year the books delivered are a little more advanced — so that by the time the programme finishes, a culture of reading and appropriate teaching is embedded.

Does it work? Independent studies show a rapid improvement in literacy skills at Rally To Read schools. Not convinced? Then come and see for yourself.

At no extra cost (besides fuel and alcoholic drinks), sponsors are invited to join Rally To Read when it delivers books to schools. Each year, hundreds of sponsors and companions join us on weekend rallies into far-flung corners of the country, where we meet the children we are helping, as well as their families and community members.

It is a big event in their lives. Sometimes hundreds of people turn out to greet the strangers offering their children a future. It can be emotional; tears are not uncommon.

There are four rallies in 2018. One, in Kwazulu-Natal, is already full. But there are still spaces in the others.

The Free State rally is on September 8-9 and will support primary schools around Reitz, Petrus Steyn and Tweeling. The Western Cape rally, on October 27-28, will take sponsors into the Winelands region around Robertson. Finally, the Eastern Cape rally will go to schools around Butterworth, in the former Transkei, on November 3-4. This is a new date; the rally was originally scheduled for September.

Rally To Read (1)

Who are you likely to meet on these weekends?

Sponsors come from all kinds of industries, but transport and automotive companies have always been big supporters. Many of SA’s motor companies remain involved. In addition, Shell, Mercedes-Benz SA and the OneLogix/United Bulk group host the KZN, Eastern Cape and Free State rallies respectively, with Jonsson Workwear doing the same in the Western Cape. Hosts cover the costs of sponsors’ weekend food and accommodation.

Weekends start ridiculously early on Saturday morning when sponsors and guests (it may be colleagues or family) meet to load their vehicles with portable libraries and other educational materials. Convoys split later into small groups, each of which visits two schools. Once that’s done, everyone meets up again at nearby accommodation, usually a hotel, for drinks and dinner, where we share feedback and experiences.

On Sunday morning, participants have the opportunity to visit local places of interest, or they may head home after breakfast.

For more information about Rally To Read and details on how to become a sponsor, visit rallytoread.co.za

Advertisements

Road Review – Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL

Once upon a time, a long time ago, a young boy was busy forging a lifelong love of cars by carving out roads on his parents’ dirt driveway where he could play with his Dinky toys. Now, many, many years later, he is again playing with a dinky – but this one is no toy.

This dinky is the new Suzuki Swift. And no, it is not some sort of performance fiend with an oversized engine stuffed into an undersized body. It is not a robot dragster and it is not a racecar disguised by road clothes.

2. 1.2 GL

Rather, it is a bit like the mild-mannered Clark Kent without the need for a phone booth to change into something with a rather special power.

Sitting where it does in the small hatch segment of the market, the Swift is surrounded by a plethora of opposition product with the same, or more, in the way of fixtures and fittings, power or torque – but it does have something they do not.

This is the car people will want to name; to imbue with a human persona, to talk to. . .and about.

12. 1.2 GL

I do not know the reason why (and, sometimes ours is not to) the Suzuki has this persona about it – and the Swift is not the only one as the Ignis prompts the same infusion of feeling it is a living entity as opposed to a bunch of nuts, bolts, sheet metal, plastic and an engine.

Suzuki will tell you the designers modelled the shape on a racing helmet and, with a bit of imagination the similarity can be seen. For this latest version, the overall length was shortened by 10 mm and the wheelbase and width adjusted to give it a better stance on the road.

For the 2018 model, Suzuki’s designers added new styling elements such as rear door handles in the C-pillar.

The Swift has a new grille with large Suzuki badge and a wide and narrow secondary grille. These elements visually lift the height of the nose, while retaining aerodynamic efficiency.

At the rear, the luggage door has an integrated bulge that rounds off the shoulder line, while an additional high-level LED stop lamp is integrated into the discreet roof-spoiler. The rear brake lights also incorporate LED technology.

9. 1.2 GL

From the outside, the high-spec GL-model – my test version – can be distinguished by its wheel cover design, colour-coded side mirrors with integrated turn signals and the addition of front fog lights.

The new dimensions allowed the designers to increase interior space, especially for rear passengers who get 23 mm of additional head room, while front occupants benefit the most from the additional body width with 10 mm extra shoulder room.

All versions of the new Suzuki Swift are equipped with air-conditioning, front and rear power windows, power steering and remote central locking. All models also have a tilt-adjustable steering column, a detailed information display that includes information such as fuel consumption and range, and a security alarm and immobiliser.

On the GL-models, Suzuki adds an audio system with Bluetooth-connectivity and USB socket, steering wheel controls for the audio system and electrically adjustable side view mirrors.

1.2 GL 3

All versions of the new Swift have ample storage spaces inside the cabin, including two front and one rear cup holder, side door pockets, a console tray box, glove box with lid and a passenger seat pocket. The rear doors have additional bottle holders.

The Swift is powered by a K12M four-cylinder petrol engine that delivers 61 kW at 6 000 r/min and 113 Nm at 4 200 r/min and is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox or an Automated Manual Gearbox (AMT) with the same number of gears – ours being the manual option.

Safety kit includes anti-lock brakes with EBD, ISOFIX child seat anchors and two air bags.

All pretty much what one has come to expect from cars in this category these days, so where does the Suzuki differ?

Accepting people are different heights, have a wide spread of taste differences in terms of aesthetics and the like, the Suzuki just cuts across all of those by being suitably adaptable in the seating department to suit nearly all shapes and sizes and – without being bland – broadly acceptable in the sight and sense departments.

In all respects, the Swift is simply a ‘together’ car and this makes the driving experience all the better for it because, despite the limitations on power from the sewing machine engine, perambulation is a pleasant pastime.

It actually never really feels underpowered or that it needs to play second fiddle to the swankier stuff in the traffic. The Swift will hold its own – or certainly try very hard to – against the passing throng and will barrel along with enough velocity to become wallet challenging if you are not careful.

The revised dimensions give it a solid feel on the road, it turns on a 5c piece and has no objections to being force-fed into corners when the urge to play strikes. However, this is a city car and needs to be understood in that role.

Suzuki’s new HEARTECT platform received much attention when the Suzuki Swift was named one of the 2018 Urban World Car of the Year finalists.

The new platform is designed to use high-tensile and ultra-high tensile steel and has fewer joints than a traditional monocoque chassis. This creates a smooth shape and very stiff construction that helps to better dissipate energy in a crash, thus preserving the integrity of the cabin and keeping the occupants safe.

Moreover, the new rigid platform also benefits the new Swift’s driving dynamics, with further improved tracking and steering feel.

Suzuki has redesigned the MacPherson front suspension to best utilise the stiff platform and has added a variable ratio steering rack for more direct and sharper handling. The Swift’s steering set-up gives it a tight 4,8 m turning radius.

IMG_20180607_093753_081

Suzuki’s engineers have also shortened the front stabiliser bars, redesigned the rear trailing arms and added a new cross-member to the rear suspension to make the driving experience even sportier.

The new HEARTECT platform integrates with Suzuki’s Total Effective Control Technology (TECT), which applies the same design philosophy and engineering principles by using very high-tensile steel to lighten the body weight, while improving crash safety.

It is not positioned or set up to be a hot hatch challenger. Accept its limitations and the Swift will surprise and delight, which made it so much harder when I had to give Percival back to its rightful owners.

5. 1.2 GL

Luxury option for Toyota C-HR

In a quiet, but purposeful way, Toyota has been reshaping its product range to be less conservative (boring) looking and, in some cases, stepping quite well out of its usual comfort zone – duo-tone paint schemes, for example.

Toyota C-HR_031

Now, the C-HR, launched in 2017, gets a wave of the wand with the introduction of a new range-topping model called the Luxury – perhaps nomenclature could do with a makeover as well!

Distinguishing the Luxury model from the standard and Plus derivatives is the bi-tone design. A black roof, roof-pillars and side-mirrors create the two-tone effect. The black upper section can be combined with four exterior colours – White Pearl, Cinnabar Red metallic, Lunar Metallic (a smoked silver hue) or Caribbean Blue.

Toyota C-HR_014

Customers can also opt for a Black exterior paired with a white roof – creating a total of five different colour options.

Smoked rear tail lamps, full-LED head and fog lamps are fitted. Daytime Running Lights (DRL) with a contour-hugging light guide complete the exterior package. Stylish 18-inch alloy wheels are fitted to Plus and Luxury grade models.

Toyota C-HR_073

Convenience items added include electrically-adjustable lumbar support, a keyless-entry system with push-button start (linked to auto-folding side mirrors), Park Distance Control (PDC) and Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA).

The IPA system uses the PDC sensors to accurately check for and measure a potential parking space, where after it resumes control of the Electric Power Steering (EPS) and expertly manoeuvres the vehicle into the parking space.

Seating in the Luxury grade is textured leather, which include seat heaters for driver and passenger and the upper dashboard also incorporates soft-touch leather trim with contrast stitching.

Toyota C-HR_081

The C-HR retains the 8NR-FTS 1,2-litre turbo-charged engine, featuring VVTi-W (Variable Valve Timing – intelligent Wide), direct injection, flexible engine cycle switching (Otto vs Atkinson), 10:1 compression ratio and smart-heat management.

For a displacement of 1 197 cc, the engine delivers 85 kW and a constant torque curve of 185 Nm between 1 500 r/min and 4 000 r/min. It will push the Toyota C-HR from 0 to 100 km/h in 10,9 seconds and the top speed is set at 190 km/h.

The Luxury model is exclusively mated to a CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission), with seven pre-defined gear ratios when moving the brushed aluminium shift-lever from D (Drive) to M (Manual) mode, affording a greater degree of control and driver input.

All C-HR variants are equipped with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Hill Assist Control (HAC), anti-lock braking, Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA) and have driver and passenger air bags, whilst the Luxury model ups the quotient to a total of nine with the addition of driver knee, curtain and side air bags.

Toyota C-HR_022

All C-HR models come with an expanded 6-service/90 000 kilometre service plan and 3-year/100 000 kilometre warranty. Service intervals are 15 000 kilometres.

Model Lineup and Pricing
C-HR 1.2T – R 336,000
C-HR 1.2T Plus – R 365,500
C-HR 1.2T Plus CVT – R 377,000
C-HR 1.2T Luxury CVT – R 422,100

 

Road Review – Toyota Hilux Dakar

As a dedicated car nut during my teenage years at school, one of my favourite activities was the parent lift-club rotation and getting a ride in wide range of different cars – the favourite being the brutal orange and black Holden Monaro driven by Ant’s dad.

So, wondering if the school generation of today did extend past thumb-tapping cell phone ‘conjoinment’, it was a pleasure to take the test Toyota Hilux 2.8 GDI Double Cab Dakar on a road trip to Kokstad to collect my mate’s son from boarding school – and for a stop at the East Griqualand Butchery for some super tasty biltong.

Mission accomplished. Before even the notion of a ‘hello’, the youngster said: “Dad, you gotta get one of these.”

Hilux

Not an entirely unreasonable response considering the looks of the Dakar edition – a more prominent trapezoidal grille and ‘squared-off’ design. The central focal point is the large gloss-black-honeycomb grille, which incorporates two horizontal sections.

A metallic grey surround with three-dimensional appearance, which blends into the LED headlamps, borders the inner grille area. A matching gloss-black accent strip on the bonnet and stylised Dakar insignia attached to the grille, complete the design.

The lower bumper also features a large honeycomb mesh pattern, extending to the sides of the vehicle and, additionally includes intersecting horizontal and vertical fog lamp garnishes decked out in matching gloss black.

The fog lamps utilise LED elements for illumination, while a metallic grey ‘skid plate’ provides the finishing touch to the front facia.

The exterior sports a number of distinctive touches such as gloss-black treatment for the door handles and power-retractable side mirrors. The rear bumper is fashioned in grey, to tie in with the front design.

Hilux_106

The interior features all-black treatment, with a black roof headliner, metallic black trim accent panels and black leather upholstery with light grey contrast stitching.

Not only does it have zooty looks but also it travels well – nary a hint of road, tyre or wind noise at whatever speed managed on the run to, and from, Kokstad.

While I appreciate the fact this is mostly a cosmetic package the notice on the rear roll bar advising it was there for aesthetic purposes only and should not be subjected to any load was a touch disconcerting. It is mounted to the load bed and not the chassis – perhaps, in a vehicle costing upwards of R600 000 a proper roll bar should be included.

Hilux 2

The road, from Port Shepstone, is mainly in good condition but is essentially a single lane with occasional double lane overtaking opportunities almost always in control of ‘Murphy’ who dictates the two trucks backing up 10 or 15 cars will go side by side for the entire length of the overtaking zone.

Which, goes some way to explaining why it is not uncommon to find minibus taxis overtaking on solid white lines along with some other kamikaze drivers bereft of any levels of patience (or driving skills).

The Hilux Dakar was that comfortable, these delays were no more irritating than a Justin Bieber song and, when the road did open up, it was not difficult to find the needle on the speedo quickly approaching the 150 mark.

The test unit, a six-speed manual, sported the 2.8 GD-6 powertrain. The 2,8-litre, four cylinder turbo-diesel engine produces 130 kW and 420 Nm in manual transmission guise, while automatic transmission-equipped variants receive a boost to 450 Nm.

Being the Dakar and named in honour of that event, it would be rather tasty to have Toyota Gazoo Racing wizard, Glyn Hall, ‘breathe’ on the engine to produce a, well, seriously Dakar version. (There is, obviously, still the V6 petrol in the line-up).

While waiting for the road to open up, the infotainment system – upgraded to include Satellite Navigation – offers the standard Bluetooth, USB and CD/DVD playback functionality. The touch-screen system also includes an on-board trip computer and customisable home screen.

Hilux_118.jpg

Dakar models have a different instrument cluster, using white-faced gauges with orange needle pointers and bespoke graphics, emulating a toothed gear (cog). The LCD multi-information display also features a bespoke start-up graphic showing off the Dakar model’s exterior façade.

All Dakar models are based on Raider models and use both rear-wheel and switch-on-the-fly four-wheel drive.

The manual gearbox includes a selectable iMT function (intelligent Manual Transmission), which provides rev-matching downshift and hesitation-free upshift functionality. The iMT feature also helps prevent accidental stalling of the engine – useful when the traffic slows to near standstill.

Road manners are good and the Hilux can be driven with enthusiasm with little ‘chatter’ from an unladen back end – this both on tar and dirt surfaces.

Hilux_008

While it is a big vehicle, turning and parking in shopping lots is not a difficult operation – a rear camera provides accurate placement and the power steering keeps the manual labour to a minimum, all the time reinforcing the reason why so many South Africans have a bakkie as their daily transport.

Toyota has increased the service plan period on 2.8 GD-6 models from 5-year/90 000 kilometres to 9 services/90 000 kilometres and the warranty period is 3-year/100 000 kilometres and applies across the Hilux range.

C-Class tweaked

Much tweaking and styling has gone into the latest generation of the locally manufactured Mercedes-Benz C-Class – both externally and internally – but of more significance are the new generation four cylinder petrol engines.

Die neue C-Klasse  Luxemburg & Moselregion 2018

There is a new 4-cylinder, 1,5-litre turbo-petrol engine in the C200, with 9-speed automatic transmission across the range. The 1,5-litre engine is supplemented with a 48-volt on-board network and the EQ Boost integrated starter-generator that produces an additional 10 kW and 160 Nm while accelerating.

There is also a new-generation 2,0-litre turbo petrol engine in the C300, with outputs of 190 kW and 370 Nm.

The new 1,6-litre variant of the current diesel engine family will celebrate its world premiere in the C-Class. The C 220 d 4MATIC providing a healthy 143 kW and 400 Nm.

At the performance end of the range the range-topping C43 4MATIC boasts a V6 biturbo engine sees output of the 3,0-litre V6 engine increased by 17 kW to 287 kW. The peak torque of 520 Nm is available from 2 500 r/min to 5 000 r/min.

The C-Class is the most successful model series from Mercedes-Benz, and the new edition boasts a wealth of enhancements. In terms of looks, the car features a redesigned front end, with new-look headlamps and tail lamps. The electronics are completely new, with safety and driver assistance systems now at the level of the flagship S Class series.

Die neue C-Klasse  FV Luxemburg & Moselregion 2018

The current generation sold more than 415 000 cars worldwide in 2017.

“The secret of the C-Class’s success is partly down to the wide model range, also including two sporty two-door versions, the Coupé and the Cabriolet, which have opened up entire new audiences in the local market, says Selvin Govender, Marketing Director of Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa.

“South Africans just love the C-Class. This new model is our sportiest and most dynamic C-Class to date, and with its looks, safety and performance, we’re confident it’s going to appeal to a broader audience than ever before.”

The new-look C-Class boasts a new front and a new design of the headlamps and tail lights. The sedan features the diamond grille as standard in combination with AMG Line, with front bumpers redesigned for all lines and rear bumpers varying according to the selected equipment and engine variant.

The C-Class comes with LED High Performance headlamps and, for the first time in this model series, MULTIBEAM LED headlamps with ULTRA RANGE high beam are additionally available.

Die neue C-Klasse  FV Luxemburg & Moselregion 2018

The new C-Class features a brand new electronic architecture, with the major addition being the latest Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems. This puts the new series on a par with the S-Class, providing a higher level of active safety than ever and the ability to drive semi-autonomously in even more situations.

The interior has also been given a facelift. The centre console is characterised by a flowing trim element, with the option of new materials: open-pore brown walnut or open-pore anthracite oak. The new Multicontour Seat package now literally offers a massage, the side bolsters and lumbar support can be individually adjusted by means of an electrically driven pneumatic pump, with a massage effect in the lumbar area available through air chambers, which are inflated and deflated in a pulsing motion.

Die neue C-Klasse  Luxemburg & Moselregion 2018

The car’s new display concept includes an optional, fully-digital 12,3-inch instrument cluster and the upgraded infotainment system includes standard smartphone integration that can be accessed through touch-sensitive controls in the steering wheel, which respond to swiping motions like the screen of a smartphone. The operation of DISTRONIC and cruise control with controls directly on the steering wheel is another new feature.

Die neue C-Klasse  Luxemburg & Moselregion 2018

Another new feature is the automatic notification if the vehicle suffers an impact caused by another vehicle when parked, is towed away or there is a break-in attempt. The highly sensitive sensors of the standard ‘Anti-theft alarm system (ATA)’ can detect such situations and immediately send a ‘push notification’ message to the Mercedes me App. The optional feature includes the new sensors and the corresponding software.

Range Rover steps up

Once the undisputed leader in the luxury SUV class, the Range Rover has been under pressure from rivals and is seriously upping its game with the new model, due for launch in November.

Executive Class rear seats and long wheel base body ensure this SUV represents the pinnacle of luxury.

Range Rover PHEV Media Drive, March 2018

With the option of a plug-in hybrid electric powertrain that delivers 51 km of emission-free driving without any loss in performance, alongside the heightened luxury of the SVAutobiography, Range Rover is also improved with the addition of Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go. This is available alongside Adaptive Cruise Control with Steering Assist.

This system helps keep the vehicle centred in its lane by applying moderate steering interventions with the driver’s hands on the wheel. The technology uses lane markings and, or where no lane markings can be detected, the path of the vehicle in front. Switching lanes or braking deactivates the system.

The interior of the Range Rover is luxurious, adaptable and beautifully crafted where the seats, which provide generous recline, legroom and foot space feature lines, leathers and layers of deep cushioning that create a cosseting lounge-style environment, with controls located on the door panels for customers to make adjustments.

RR_19MY_250718_15

Heating and memory functions are embedded into the Grained Leather 16-way electronically-adjustable front seats to further improve the passenger experience.

With 24-way adjustment, the top-of-the-range Semi-Aniline Leather front seats are the most advanced option, providing upper shoulder support for total comfort, alongside integrated climate and massage settings, and the option of a stress-relieving Hot Stone massage function.

This high-end functionality extends to the rear, where the seats offer a 60:40 split-fold design. Wider and offering substantial legroom, their power recline controls are also located on the door for greater convenience.

The powered rear seats can be folded using the infotainment touchscreen, providing load-through access and ensuring the Range Rover’s peerless comfort and refinement does not come at the expense of practicality.

There is a power-deployable centre console that is available at the touch of a button and features a break at the centre footwell to enable rear passengers to easily exit from either side of the vehicle. When the centre console is stowed, the rear cabin can still accommodate three passengers in comfort, meaning versatility is uncompromised.

A cabin air ionisation system, Nanoe, uses charged water particles to help remove harmful substances, cleanse the air and eliminate allergens, viruses, bacteria and odours. The advanced purification system can be switched on and off using the climate screen on the infotainment system.

The powered roof sunblind can be opened and closed using an advanced gesture control system capable of sensing hand movements. All it takes to open the sunblind is a rearward swipe motion in front of the rear-view mirror, while a simple forward motion will prompt the blind to close. Comfortable and convenient, the intuitive system also reduces potential distraction to the driver.

In addition, the blinds can be closed automatically when all passengers have disembarked and the vehicle is locked. This keeps the interior cool in warm weather and minimises the need for air-conditioning when passengers return. When the driver unlocks the door, the sunblind will automatically slide open.

The P400e is the most efficient Range Rover and combines an advanced 221 kW four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine with a 85 kw electric motor. This technology is powered by an advanced 13,1 kWh lithium-ion battery giving a total available power output of 297 kW through the permanent all-wheel drive (AWD) system.

RR_19MY_250718_07

Together they drive the Range Rover from 0-100 km/h in 6,8 seconds and to a top speed of 220 km/h. With an impressive 640 Nm of torque, the powertrain mixes dynamic and sustainable performance with traditional Range Rover capability, comfort and refinement.

The P400e delivers CO2 emissions of 72 g/km and fuel economy of up to 3,1 l/100 km on the NEDC combined cycle. The intelligent system can also capture and store the energy generated when braking to aid recharging of the battery.
A full charge can be achieved in approximately 7,5 hours (10 amp; varies by market, location and the type of hardware used), which makes the Range Rover P400e ideal for overnight battery top-ups using a domestic plug socket.

With up to 17 connection points integrated discreetly throughout the cabin, the Range Rover is perfectly equipped as a mobile workspace and entertainment hub. This is thanks to two USB, an HDMI and 12V connection points in the front console cubby box – there is also a 12V socket in the glove box and a USB point in the deep stowage area underneath the cupholders.

For rear passengers, there are two 12V charging points, a domestic plug socket, and two USB and HDMI points. The load space provides a further 12V and a second domestic plug socket to keep laptops and other devices topped up.

In long wheelbase models, an additional USB charge point can be found in the storage box at the rear of the centre console.

There is also provision for up to eight 4G Wi-Fi connections, which ensures continuous connectivity on the move.

Comprising a lightweight front and rear design, the suspension layout perfectly complements the advanced aluminium construction. Its fully independent layout features a wide-spaced double wishbone set-up at the front and an advanced multi-link layout at the rear.

Range Rover PHEV Media Drive, March 2018

In order to achieve the perfect balance of agility, composure and comfort, Land Rover’s engineers focused on optimising chassis stiffness and fine-tuning the steering system to deliver the peerless driving experience demanded of the Range Rover.

The chassis can be managed via a number of advanced technologies. Dynamic Response enables a driver to independently control the front and rear axles with an enhanced active roll control system, which allows for low-speed agility and increased stability at speed.

This is complemented by an Active Rear Locking Differential to further optimise traction and stability in corners, while Adaptive Dynamics provide continuous variable damping for a supple, absorbent and composed ride.

Electric Power Assisted Steering utilises variable-ratio speed-sensitive assistance to deliver a relaxed, natural and intuitive character with a faster steering ratio. The result is a luxury SUV with excellent stability and a relaxed character at high cruising speeds.

The Range Rover benefits from Jaguar Land Rover’s Low Traction Launch System, which helps to exploit all available traction when pulling away on slippery surfaces. Unlike All-Terrain Progress Control, the company’s all-terrain cruise control technology, Low Traction Launch initiates a unique throttle map to provide a more usable torque curve.

The system is specifically designed to help drivers pull-away from a standstill on slippery surfaces such as wet grass, loose gravel and snow.

Hill Descent Control is also fitted as standard, while excellent ground clearance and a smooth underfloor

The Range Rover SVAutobiography – available exclusively in long wheelbase – has range of powertrain options that includes the 297 kW plug-in hybrid electric-petrol, a 250 kW 4,4-litre diesel and a 416 kW V8 supercharged petrol engine.

Range Rover PHEV Media Drive, March 2018

The Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic is the most powerful production Range Rover to date and offers 416 kW and 700 Nm from its V8 supercharged engine and can can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in only 5,4 seconds.

The Range Rover lineup will be available in South Africa from November and will include the following variants:

SWB:
3.0 Diesel 190 kW Vogue
4.4 Diesel 250 kW Vogue SE
4.4 Diesel 250 kW Autobiography
2.0 PHEV 297 kW Vogue
2.0 PHEV 297 kW Vogue SE
2.0 PHEV 297 kW Autobiography
5.0 Petrol 386 kW Vogue SE
5.0 Petrol 386 kW Autobiography
5.0 Petrol 416 kW SVAutobiography Dynamic

LWB:
4.4 Diesel 250 kW Vogue SE
4.4 Diesel 250 kW Autobiography
4.4 Diesel 250 kW SVAutobiography
2.0 PHEV 297 kW Vogue SE
2.0 PHEV 297 kW Autobiography
2.0 PHEV 297 kW SVAutobiography
5.0 Petrol 386 kW Vogue SE
5.0 Petrol 386 kW Autobiography
5.0 Petrol 416 kW SVAutobiography

Range Rover PHEV Media Drive, March 2018

Touareg moves seriously upmarket

There used to be a clearly distinct gap between similar Volkswagen and Audi products but, the new Touareg has closed that dramatically with two models on offer that fall just below the million threshold for the Luxury and a shade over for the Executive – placing it hot on the heels of the Audi Q7.

Volkswagen is unequivocal in stating the new flagship Touareg does take a top position in the premium SUV segment, pointing to it also being the most technologically advanced Volkswagen “of its era”.

new-volkswagen-touareg_-driving-008_880x500

Volkswagen is presenting the fully digitalised Innovision Cockpit for the first time in the new Touareg. Here the digital instruments (Digital Cockpit with 12-inch display) and the top Discover Premium infotainment system (with 15-inch display) merge to form a digital operating, information, communication and entertainment unit that hardly needs any conventional buttons or switches.

Drivers use the Innovision Cockpit to adapt the assistance, handling and comfort systems specifically to their personal tastes; the car becomes ‘their’ Touareg. This opens up a world in which the driver and on-board passengers no longer have to adapt to the car, rather the car adapts to them.

The Touareg is launching with the largest range of assistance, handling and comfort systems ever to be integrated into a Volkswagen. These include technologies such as the optional Night Vision assistance system as part of the Advanced Safety Package, Lane Assist and Side Assist with Night Vision and Head-up display that detects people and animals in the darkness via a thermal imaging camera, active 4-wheel steering and ‘IQ Light Matrix LED headlights’ (interactive, camera-based dipped and main beam headlight control).

new-volkswagen-touareg_-interior-010_880x500

Compared to its predecessor, the third generation Touareg is moderately wider and longer. The added exterior length leads to a significant increase in luggage capacity, from 697 to 810 litres (with the rear bench seat up). Despite its increased length and width, the car body is 106 kg lighter because of its mixed material construction of aluminium (48%) and high-tech steels (52%).

At launch, both models available locally are powered by the common rail turbo-diesel 3,0-litre TDI V6 engine offering 190 kW of power from 3 250 r/min and 600 Nm of torque from 2 250 r/min.

The design of the new Touareg is based on the modular longitudinal matrix (MLM) of the Volkswagen Group that includes models starting from the top mid-class with engines and gearboxes installed longitudinally.

Volkswagen head designer Klaus Bischoff says: “We wanted to create something with this front end that had never been seen before. We combined the chrome elements of the front end and the new LED light system of the Touareg so the transition between design and technology blended into a new entity.

“Innovative, expressive and impossible to imitate, this front end makes the new Touareg one of the most distinctive SUVs on the global market.”

Now more of a Sandton kerb-hopper than the more off-road dynamic of the original Touareg, Volkswagen says it can still master the dirt tracks with ease.

Bischoff says: “The sides of the Touareg body look like a stretched sail blown by a tailwind. Accentuated front wheel housings and well-formed rear shoulder edges highlight the superiority of the Touareg on any terrain. And this was the goal – to design the most superior SUV of its class. The opposing window lines and character lines at the side are stylish. And the roof line is striking. It seamlessly extends on the striking side line and dynamically concludes with the C-pillar that is angled towards the front.”

The rear end is dominated by the LED taillight clusters. They not only highlight the large total width of the Touareg but also the LED graphic of the front end with its L-shaped signature light.

new-volkswagen-touareg_-driving-011_880x500

The designers completely redesigned the vehicle interior of the Touareg and consistently customised it for the digital age. The majority of all buttons are integrated in the 15-inch (1,920 x 1,020 pixel) screen of the top infotainment system, ‘Discover Premium’, that is curved towards the driver.

This also includes the control of the 2-zone air conditioning system or the 4-zone air conditioning systemas well as the activation of seat heating and seat ventilation. I

Natural light comes in through the largest panoramic sliding roof Volkswagen has ever realised in the vehicle interior. The transparent roof section is 1 270 mm long and 825 mm wide (inner dimension). The front half of the roof can be continuously opened and electrically moved back by 495 mm and raised.

An electrically activated cloth roller blind reduces the sun rays. Panoramic glass sunroof is offered as a standard feature.

The LED headlights use a matrix made of light spots – individual LEDs that can be activated. The matrix of the dipped beam is made up of a printed circuit with 48 LEDs while the circuit board of the main beam is fitted with 27 LEDs. The LEDs in the dipped and main beam module are arranged similar to a chessboard.

new-volkswagen-touareg_-002_880x500

There are various LEDs in addition to the total of 75 LEDs of the dipped and main beam. Including the surround lighting as well as the so-called signal functions (daytime running light and elevated side light as well as animated turn signal), there are a total of 128 LEDs per headlight. The Touareg therefore uses the power of a total of 256 LEDs in the various segments of the left and right headlights at the front to light the way.

This results in a range increase of more than 100 metres for the IQ Light Matrix LED headlights for the main beam.

As with pretty much all Volkswagen models these days the published price is for only the basic version and there is a long list of optional extras that can be added.

new-volkswagen-touareg_-008_880x500

Price (VAT and emissions tax included)

3.0 V6 TDI 190kW (Luxury) R999 800
3.0 V6 TDI 190kW (Executive) R1 088 200

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

 

STANDARD FEATURES – LUXURY
Exterior

  • Design package (Scuff plates, trapezoidal tailpipes, decorative aluminium trim & boot edge trim)
  • LED taillight clusters
  • Alloy wheels: 19-inch Esperance
  • LED Headlights, with LED Daytime Running Lights
  • Roof rails, silver-anodised

 

Interior

  • Multi-function steering wheel in leather, with shift paddles
  • ergoComfort “Vienna” seats: Leather trim with seat heating,
    4-way adjustable lumbar support and rear centre armrest

 

Features

  • Easy Open/Easy Close (Keyless Access with Easy Open sensor; Power opening and closing tailgate)
  • Electrically Foldable Towbar with Trailer Assist
  • Parking Package: rear view camera with Park Assist and Park Distance Control
  • Lights and Vision Package
  • Electrically folding towbar
  • Memory Package: Power seat adjustment for front seats with memory feature, memory function and power folding mirrors
  • Active climate front seats
  • Climatic air conditioning
  • Adaptive Cruise Control ACC ”Stop & Go” including speed limiter
  • Front Assist (”Pre Sense”)
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • “Discover Pro” navigation system
  • Light Assist High-Beam control
  • App Connect
  • Volkswagen Media Control

 

STANDARD FEATURES – Executive
(in addition to the features of the Luxury)
Exterior
• R-Line Exterior: R-Line design front and rear bumpers with R-Line logo on radiator grille an side fenders, R-Line design on lower door parts, stainless steel load edge protection, chrome exhaust pipes integrated into bumper, chrome decorative trims on side windows, scuff plates in stainless steel with R-Line logo in front
• IQ Light Matrix LED headlights and LED Taillights with dynamic indicators

Interior
• White ambient lighting
• Black headliner
• Pedals in brushed stainless steel
• Centre console in gloss black/ silver
• Decorative inserts in Silver Wave
• R-Line ergoComfort seats in Vienna Leather trim with seat heating, 4-way adjustable lumbar support and rear centre armrest
• Leather wrapped R-Line multi-function sports steering wheel with shifting paddles
• Climatronic in front and multi-zone controls in the rear (4-zone)

Features
• Headlamp washer system
• Dynamic Chassis Control with tyre pressure monitor system