Tweaks for Suzuki Vitara

There is a completely new look – but same price – for the Suzuki Vitara for 2019 with new headlamps and a redesigned grille contributing to a fresh a more modernised look for the off-roader that has sold some 1 700 units locally since its introduction in 2015.

In front, new clear headlamp clusters flank a redesigned grille with horizontal slats and a large Suzuki S badge. Lower down, the bumper features a trapezoidal air intake with deep-set fog lamps (on certain models). For the GLX specification level, the main driving lights are LED.

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The vertical LED daytime running lights are enclosed in a new J-shaped chrome insert (black on the GL spec level), which extends from the edges of the black number plate housing to the top of the fog lamps and the optional silver scuff plate and side mouldings now integrate with the new bumper design, both in front and at the rear.

At the rear, the new combination lamp is fitted with LED lights that mimic the daytime running lights in the front and on the GLX, the front and rear bumpers are fitted with flush mounted parking sensors.

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Inside, the upper instrument panel is now made from soft touch materials and on the GLX specification level there is a new seat trim material that is both more luxurious and hardy. On the GL+ model, the designers have replaced the black stitching on all seats with contrasting white stitching and on the GLX specification level, the seats are covered with a combination of luxury suede and synthetic leather.

For the driver, Suzuki has fitted the GL+ and GLX models with a new 4,2-inch full colour LCD information display and a 3,5-inch monochrome LCD on the GL specification level. This screen displays information such as driving range, average speed, outside temperature, a gear shift indicator and, on AllGrip models, the selected Driving Mode.

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Suzuki added a second large screen in its new Smart Linkage Display Audio system, which replaces the more traditional analogue system on the GL+ and GLX models. This new touchscreen system features smartphone integration, built-in Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth connectivity. It will display the reverse camera image in full colour.

Standard features include power windows (front only on the GL model), central locking, air-conditioner with pollen filter, power steering and foldable rear seats.

For the GL+ and GLX spec levels, Suzuki added climate control, cruise control, a multifunction steering, all-round power windows and chrome detailing. The GLX model gets a unique instrument panel trim, keyless access with push-button Start/Stop and an electric tilt and sliding panoramic sunroof flanked by chromed roof rails.

All models come with seven crash bags (including one for the driver’s knees), electronic stability control (ESP) and anti-lock brakes with emergency brake assistance.

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Powering the Suzuki Vitara is the 1.6 VVT petrol engine, which delivers 86 kW at 6 000 r/min and 156 Nm at 4 400 r/min and it is mated to the choice of a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox and offered either as front-wheel drive or with the AllGrip all-wheel drive system.

The refreshed Vitara will be sold with Suzuki’s promotional 200 000 km / 5-year vehicle warranty. It also has a 4-year / 60 000 km service plan and roadside assistance for the duration of the vehicle warranty.

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Suzuki Vitara GL (manual): R281 900
Suzuki Vitara GL+ (man): R318 900
Suzuki Vitara GL+ (auto): R337 900
Suzuki Vitara GLX (auto): R359 900
Suzuki Vitara GLX AllGrip (man): R374 900

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Cape Town show revs up

It is motor show time again with the Cape Town Motor Show (CTMS) ready to open its doors at GrandWest Casino and Entertainment Worl from March 2 to March 3.

Here are just 10 of the awesome reasons to get to the Cape Town Motor Show.

1. Dare a Drift flip or Go With a Pro at Driftkhana
The highly-specialised skill of drifting will be on full-throttle display with all the spectacular action hosted by XS Promotions. For those who want to do more than to simply watch the wheel-spinning and tyre-smoking, there’s the opportunity to take a drift flip, or even go with a pro as passenger at the Driftkhana event, where obstacles are added into the mix. Tickets to both can be purchased separately via Computicket or at the show.

1.Drifting_photo Darren Townsley

2. View and Test the New Models in The Grand Arena
The Grand Arena is the place to see the very best new models and concepts from the top manufacturers in South Africa. Joining us this year are Maserati, BMW, Shelby, Lexus, Mazda, Toyota, Suzuki, amongst others. Best of all, several of the brands will offer test drives on-site. What are you still even thinking about?

2. Grand Arena

3. Rock with Dusty Rebels and The Bombshells and The Miss Bombshell Betty Pageant
After their wildly popular debut at CTMS last year, Dusty Rebels and the Bombshells will be back, offering visitors an experience of the good old days of vintage 40s, 50s and 60s Rock n Roll style. Check out the cars, the fashion and the music of the era, and make a point of attending the Miss Bombshell Betty pageant, hosted by the always-delightful Blue Haired Betty on Sunday 3 March at 2pm.

3. Bombshell Betty

4. Challenge the 4×4 Challenge Tracks
The Wildebeest 4×4 Challenge Club hosts the ever-popular 4×4 track on both Saturday and Sunday, built for all classes of vehicles to challenge technical skills as well as different vehicle capabilities. Saturday’s highlight will be the Extreme 4×4 Challenge, so come and see how these extraordinary 4x4s ramp and jump their way through the highly technical course, or join as a passenger to experience the thrill first-hand.

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5. Kit up in The Sun Exhibits Hall
There are lots of extras that go with being a car owner. And it will pay to visit the Sun Exhibits Hall, where all the dealers and suppliers that make motoring such a personal pleasure will be offering deals and discounts on products like insurance, parts, accessories, apparel, collectors’ items and gear.

5. Sun Exhibits Hall

6. Get the Full VIP Zone Experience
The much-desired VIP ticket gets you some special treatment this year. Besides access to the exclusive VIP area in the Sun Park, you receive a light lunch, drinks vouchers, a drift ride from the folks at XS promotions, a 4×4 drive experience from the Wildebeest Challenge Club, a CTMS cap and shirt, with an entry to win the amazing custom MG build by Cape Kustoms. A great all-round CTMS experience for just R950 via Computicket.

7. Enter the Show & Shine Stancewars
Leading audio experts Soundmatch will deliver a world class Show & Shine event called Stancewars on Sunday 3 March, with a wide range of the finest cars showcasing custom builds. Anyone can enter their pride and joy at any Soundmatch branch around the city. Prizes on offer include Best Wheel, Best Classic Car, Best Interior, Best Race Theme, and others.

8. Join the Sound Off Competition and World Record Attempt
Soundmatch will also host an internationally recognised Sound Off audio competition in association with IASCA (the standard by which mobile electronics performance is measured). The louder the sound, the greater the chance to win, and the aim this year is to beat the world record for collective volume. There are limited entries, though, at R200 per car. Enter at any Soundmatch branch around Cape Town.

9. Time Travel in the Market Hall Nostalgia Zone
The Nostalgia Zone has been so popular with visitors, it has been given the entire Market Hall this year. Join the Crankhandle Club for a trip down automotive memory lane, with its vehicles dating as far back as the early 1900s. Check out some of the most rare and unique motor vehicles in the world, including beautifully restored models and the products that make it possible for these classics to be brought back to their original or showroom conditions.

9. The Nostalgia Zone

10. Enter the Ultimate Classic Car Giveaway
A highlight for true classic fans is the opportunity to drive away with a custom rebuild of a 1970s era MGB GT. This special project boasts a complete rebuild, some unique Cape Kustoms elements and a 3,9-litre Rover V8 motor. Enter to win by purchasing some CTMS merchandise at the MG display, and look out for the additional bike giveaway, details of which are yet to be revealed.

10. MG build by Cape Kustoms

Opel celebrates 120 years

To help celebrate 120 years of Opel production, Unitrans (the Opel distributors in South Africa) is bringing the Opel Corsa Special Edition to market in March.

The Opel Corsa 120Y Special Edition is based on the Corsa Enjoy but boasts many extra styling and specification features including the New Tech Pack III with Front/Rear Park-Assist and Rear-View Camera; Window Side Lower Beltline with Chrome Moulding; ‘Opel’ Door Sill Plate; Up-market ‘Allure’ Jet Black Cloth Trim and Velour Floor Mats (Black with ‘120 Years’ Stitching).

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The Opel brand has a reputation spanning well over a century of pioneering high-tech advancements and quickly bringing them to series production. This approach to vehicle manufacturing makes mobility affordable for many and Opel cars safer, cleaner, more comfortable and more practical.

The 120 years advertising campaign, ‘Opel. Born in Germany. Made for everyone’ is based on this philosophy. Today this philosophy matches the Opel Corsa more than any other model in its category.

More than 13,5-million Corsas have been produced worldwide since 1982. The Opel Corsa thus plays a leading role in Opel’s 120 year anniversary.

The Opel Corsa in general and the Corsa ‘120 Years’ in particular, show it is a core Opel brand characteristic to always offer customers more than they expect in the respective vehicle categories in which Opel competes.

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Opel has been in South Africa for more than 80 years and has the positive reputation of always offering luxury level specifications that stamps a German-engineered punch high above their price category.

Hino Crew Cabs arrive

The Crew Cab variants of the Hino 500 Wide Cab range have arrived with options being a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed Allison automatic.

This ups the Hino 500 Wide Cab range to 14 with the addition of the two 1627 Crew Cab derivatives, that provide seating for seven people, including the driver.

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“The Hino 500 Wide Cab range, which was introduced to South Africa at the end of 2017, has been well accepted in the market and now we can fill requirements in another niche segment with the arrival of the Crew Cab models,” says Ernie Trautmann, the Vice President of Hino SA.

“We see the new additions appealing to municipalities, removal companies, tow truck operators as well as the construction and mining industries.”

The Crew Cabs are well specified, with standard equipment including air-conditioning, power windows, audio system, cruise control and hill start-assist on the manual model.

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The Hino 1627 Crew Cab outperforms its direct competitor with a more powerful engine, fully automatic transmission, higher GVM of 16 000 kg, full air braking system, much bigger fuel tank, tighter turning circle and far better gradeability.

Penta backs SAGMJ

With less than a month to go to the final evaluation of the models nominated for the 2019 AutoTrader South African Car Of The Year competition, the Penta Motor Group has joined as a second-tier sponsor.

The South African Car Of The Year has never had any restrictions other than that no second tier sponsorship must clash with the headline sponsor regarding the sponsorship of the competition. The South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ) welcomes Penta, the first sponsorship by a multi-franchise dealership.

The Penta Motor Group had humble beginnings when Philip Botha and Roelof Janse van Vuuren decided they wanted to strike out on their own in 2011. In 2012 Penta started off with a Suzuki dealership in Rustenburg with Suzuki Klerksdorp being added in 2013.

This was followed by a Suzuki and Mahindra dealership Montana and in 2014 Mahindra Klerksdorp was completed. By 2016 Nissan Standerton joined and the official name was changed from North West Motor Group to Penta Motor Group.

In 2017 Suzuki Menlyn became the newest member and in 2018 Penta has grown into Limpopo with Mahindra Polokwane that encompasses Volvo, Peugeot and Mahindra Mokopane.

Penta motor Group has a number of brands in itrs stable being: Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Suzuki, Nissan, Datsun, Peugeot and Mahindra.

“We look forward to a fruitful relationship between Penta, the SAGMJ and 2019 AutoTrader South African Car Of The Year,” says Guild Chairman, Rubin van Niekerk.

New Koleos makes its mark

The look is decidedly different to its predecessor and the new Renault Koleos reflects the worldwide reshaping of the SUV to being more than merely functional to being the premier brand statement for the company.

“New Koleos completes the styling renaissance of the Renault range that began with Clio in 2012. As a designer, the challenge was to imagine an SUV that was not only elegant, but also dynamic and modern,” says Laurens van den Acker, Senior Vice President, Corporate Design.

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“To achieve this, instead of diluting the traits traditionally associated with SUVs, we accentuated the segment’s familiar cues thanks to taut, powerful, horizontal lines, along with muscular haunches and high ground clearance. New Koleos subsequently exudes an inner strength. It is every inch an SUV and every inch a Renault.”

Visual design features include bright chrome front-end embellishments extending from the headlight across the full length of the wing to visually lengthen the bonnet and ensure that New Koleos stands out, narrower body fitting and sharp creases, tail lights that wrap over the rear wings and the chrome insert set into the lower part of the rear bumper.

The front and rear lights of the Koleos replicate the full LED lighting signature, that is now instantly distinguishable as part of the new Renault design language. The C-shaped Daytime Running Lights extend beyond the headlight units themselves and, dependent on the version, it is available with Pure Vision Full LED main and dipped beam lights.

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The driving position ensures excellent visibility, an important feature for SUV buyers andt he large, vertical, centrally-positioned dashboard display (up to 8,7-inch) is fully integrated and the leather upholstery and leather-trimmed armrests feature contrasting top stitching.

In addition to having one of the longest wheelbases in its class, its wheelbase (2,710 mm/ overall length: 4,670 mm) frees up record roominess for all occupants. Rear passengers benefit from 289 mm knee room plus extremely generous head room, shoulder room and elbow room,

With a 5-star Euro NCAP Safety rating. Renault Koleos offers six crash bags, satellite sensors to detect lateral impact early, G Sensors – 2 on the side, and 1 on the front.

Passive Safety is provided anti-lock braking with EBD, cornering fog lights, blind spot warning and park assist.

The ALL MODE 4×4-i transmission available for New Koleos features technology that has been proved on millions of Renault’s Alliance vehicles worldwide. This all-wheel drive system permanently monitors grip levels to guarantee optimal traction whatever the conditions.

Unlike many competitor models, New Koleos continues to feature a control switch that allows drivers to choose the transmission mode. Very easy to use, it is situated to the right of the steering wheel and enables the driver to select one of three modes, namely 2WD, 4WD AUTO or the exclusive 4WS LOCK.

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Unlike former CVT transmissions, New Koleos’s X-Tronic transmission performs more like a multi-ratio automatic whenever the driver needs to accelerate quickly. Thanks to its variable ratios, X-Tronic transmission proposes an infinite number of gears to ensure engine revs and load are constantly optimised for efficient fuel consumption and low noise levels.

Koleos is available in two trim levels – Expression and Dynamique – and is powered by a 2,5-litre petrol engine with a power output of 126 kW, 233Nm of Torque, CO2 emissions of 188g/100km and controlled fuel consumption from 8,8 l/100km.

As is the case across Renault’s entire product range, the New Renault Koleos comes standard with a 5-year/150 000 km mechanical warranty; plus a 5-year/ 90 000 km service plan and a 6-year anti-corrosion warranty, with service intervals at 15 000 km.

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RANGE & PRICING:
Koleos Expression 2.5 CVT 4×2 R 399 900
Koleos Dynamique 2.5 CVT 4×2 R 439 900
Koleos Dynamique 2.5 CVT 4×4 R 479 900

Road Review – Kia Sportage 1.6 GDI Auto

The assembled mass of large four-wheel drive vehicles was intimidating to say the least. Behemoth monsters in truck and sedan form with large engines and plenty of power surrounded the little Kia Sportage I was driving.

The occasion – a leisurely trip over one of the tougher 4×4 trails South Africa has to offer. Just a social day out having some off-road fun.

However, the owner of the biggest and most brutal of the vehicles assembled there was the first to growl at me: “That piece of !@#& will never make it and I’m not wasting my day pulling you out. You get stuck, it’s your problem.”

Well into the technical trail, it took the threat of the withdrawal of conjugal rights for life by my wife to force me to go around that vehicle where it was stuck in a deep donga (hole) rather than simply driving over its roof and out the other side.

Such was the ability of the original Kia Sportage, launched in South Africa at a time when Korean vehicles were viewed with much disdain as soft, cheap and generally nasty – until the Sportage changed that.

However, to be fair, the Sportage did have its ups and downs over the years. The first-generation Kia Sportage was developed with a Mazda Bongo engineering base platform and shared many mechanical components with Mazda.

Launched in 1993 and spanning four generations since, Sportage is undoubtedly the most successful model in Kia’s history. From 1995 to 1998, the Sportage was built by Karmann in Germany; thus, European buyers received German-built versions between these years, while the rest of the world received South Korean-built versions.

This first-generation model (1993–2002) sold in low numbers even domestically in South Korea and post-Hyundai takeover models (1997–2002) were recalled twice for rear wheels dismounting while driving. The Kia Sportage scored the lowest possible result in the Australian ANCAP crash tests – one star out of five. As well as a failure of the seat belts, the vehicle structure collapsed.

When Hyundai took over Kia things started to change and the model-year 2005 Sportage returned, sharing its Elantra-based platform with the 2005 Hyundai Tucson. Critics and fans of the original, pre-Hyundai Sportage complained about the size and the fact it was no longer a proper 4×4.

Undoubtedly a better looking vehicle than the original, the 2009 version Kia Sportage ranked second in the ‘20 least expensive 2009 vehicles to insure’ list by Insure.com and earned a top rating of five stars in crash tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Now, just two years after the launch of the Peter Schreyer designed fourth generation, I got to drive the latest ‘refreshed’ example in the form of the base Kia Sportage 1.6 GDI Ignite (6-Speed Auto).

The fourth and current generation Sportage, which debuted globally late in 2015, is considered the most popular Sportage yet, reaching the 1-million-unit sales mark after only two years in production.

The refresh for the 2019 model year sees a slightly revised, more prominent ‘tiger nose’ grille. A new bumper design gives Sportage a more aggressive visage.

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At the rear, Sportage also gains a revised bumper that emphasises the car’s width while giving it a more planted stance. The rear taillights retain their original shape – with a connecting strip between the lights – but feature a new lighting signature that also assists in emphasising the vehicle’s width.

Other enhancements include a new selection of alloy wheel designs in 16-inch, 17-inch or 19-inch sizes (model dependent), as well as a range of new colour options.

As part of the Sportage’s mid-life enhancement, Kia Motors South Africa also revised the model line-up of the local range, discontinuing the SX AWD and GT Line specification grades while increasing the specification and value offering of the existing line-up.

Although the Ignite is the entry point into the Sportage range, new standard specification includes air-conditioning (manual), automatic headlamp control (incorporating ‘Welcome Home’ and ‘Escort’ lighting), electrically operated side mirrors with integrated indicator lamps, a centre console armrest with integrated storage box, Bluetooth connectivity, a radio with six speakers, power windows front and rear, rear park distance control and high performance dampers.

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New to the range is the 1,6-litre GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) engine, utilised exclusively in the Sportage Ignite. This new-generation 1 591 cc ‘Gamma’ engine produces 97 kW of power, with 161 Nm of torque available from 4 850 r/min. It reaches the 100 km/h mark in 12,1 seconds and is capable of a top speed of 170 km/h, with CO2 emissions of 175 g/km.

The Schreyer inspiration that has seen all Kia (and Hyundai) models transform into carefully considered design styles, mean the current Sportage can stand its ground proudly against any of the opposition SUV models of similar size.

Ignite models feature fabric upholstery, as well as a new leather-wrapped steering wheel with remote controls for audio, telephony and cruise control, and a new leather-wrapped gearshift. Newly designed 16-inch alloy wheels with 215/70 R16 rubber complete the picture, along with standard LED Daytime Running Lights.

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In pretty much every respect, it is a comfortable, practical and easy to drive vehicle. The suspension deals efficiently with our rippled roads; it offers excellent all-round visibility, turns on the proverbial tickey and has an overall fuel consumption of 9,2 l/100 km.

If any reader senses a ‘but’ in the offing, they are correct. My ‘but’ is the 6-speed auto gearbox. To me, it felt as if the ratios were all wrong and it hunted frantically trying to find the right gear at all the wrong times, particularly in the period between a slow crawl in traffic to getting up to highway speed.

That 1,6-litre engine should be more fuel-efficient than our figures suggest and I would venture a contributing factor is the gearbox.

It features a full complement of safety and driver assistance systems, including anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), six crash bags and ISOFIX child seat anchors as standard.

Vehicle safety is ensured through the standard inclusion of central locking, as well as an alarm, immobiliser and Data Dot.

Other benefits include benefit from Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Hill-start Assist (HAC), Downhill Brake Control (DBC) and Park Distance Control at the rear.

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Even with my reservations about the gearbox, the Sportage 1.6 GDI remains a high value proposition with plenty of plus points going for it.

Standard is an unlimited kilometre, five-year warranty, as well as a standard 5-year/900 000 km service plan and 5 years of roadside assistance.