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Thursday, 30 January 2014

2014 Citroen DS5 Sport

Ever since the release of the DS3 sport, in 2010, Citroen has been heading in the right direction. There has been an improvement in their overall sales but nothing to rave about. The thing is, Citroen has been building excellent cars in the past few years and it's going to take a while for the South African market to step out of their shell and go on an adventure in one of these brilliant cars. This may sound like you're taking a risk, but trust me, these are solid deals that are worth looking into.

And one of those brilliant vehicles is the 2014 Citroen DS5 Sport. Supplied to us by Justin Singh, New Car Sales Manager of Citroen Umhlanga. Designed to take on BMW's 3-Series and Mercedes' C-Class, it's built like something out of a Star-Trek movie and looks commanding on the road. But on the non-fiction side the car is a looker, it comes with daytime led lights, double exhaust pipes and on this model the wheels were upgraded to 19" from the standard 18". Stance is slightly high but due to its design, you don't notice it at all. The fact is, the cars size is very deceiving, it looks like a hot hatch, but it isn't. This is a big car, and I like the fact that it looks like it's a hot hatch but can hold it's own as a family car as well.

This particular model is the THP 200 Manual, which is a 1.6 litre turbo charged engine with a 6 speed manual gearbox, producing 147kw of power and 275nm of torque. Impressive figures for an engine of that size. You may think that the 1.6l power plant is going to struggle with fuel economy, being a big car, but the manufacturer claims combined fuel economy is just 6.7l/100kms. The biggest drawback with the DS5 is that if you want this kind of power in the petrol version you can only get it in manual, otherwise you will have to go for the 2.0l diesel option, which again, only comes in automatic. The petrol and diesel versions will obviously perform differently, so these options might not appeal to some buyers.

Inside the car, keeping with the space ship theme, it has a cockpit styled layout, with buttons that look like they will launch a rocket if you touch them. But seriously, once you jump into the car you feel excited and thrilled to sit there. The centre console is packed with buttons that at a glance my confuse you. But once you get over the initial rush, you will find that everything is laid out logically and within reach, and you don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out.

Like I said earlier the DS5 is a big car, and it shows inside the cabin. There is ample seating space and leg room all round, and fine leather trim makes the electronically adjustable seating all that more comfortable. Two things that I like about the interior of the DS5 Sport, the first being individual cockpit sunroof, which comes standard by the way. The driver and front passenger both have their own individual sunroof and the rear passengers have their own. Each sunroof can be individually electronically controlled and even comes with an electronic sun visor. The other feature that I like is the colour heads up display. You can view vehicle information on a pop up glass that will show you stats like speed, avg. consumption etc. These two features are standard in the Sport edition.

Now let's get to the road test. We did our usual route to Sibaya and back and got to test all aspects of the car. Firstly for a big car that has a small engine I was amazed that it had that much power. Engine response was instant and whether you were on the freeway or winding around bends the car was pushed forward at your command. And although we didn't have economical driving in mind the car did an impressive 7.1l/100kms and if you drive it right I'm positive that you can achieve the factory claimed 6.7l/100kms combined cycle.

Being a fully loaded car and set to compete with the Germans the Citroen DS5 Sport weighs in at R436 900 (2014). And at that price Citroen has thrown in a 3yr/100000km warranty and a 5yr/100000km service plan. Although pricing is a bit high, consider the extras that you have to put in with other cars as opposed to what comes standard on the DS5.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Preview: 2014 Toyota Corolla

Toyota has announced and that they will be releasing their new version of the Corolla early next year. The latest Corolla design was already put on display at the Johannesburg International Motor Show in October.

The manufacturer has gone for a complete redesign, flushing the old looks and adopting trends like the 'smile' grill to bring the Corolla in line with the rest of the Toyota range. These are images taken from the Johannesburg International Motor Show, as you can see the styling is very appealing and not so conservative as its predecessor. Hopefully the new Corolla will latch onto a younger market as well.

Speaking of a younger market, there are rumors that Toyota is going to release a TRD version of the new Corolla that will be running the same boxer engine found in the iconic GT-86. This is sure to start another cult movement like those created by the Twincam, RSi and RXi in the past. The boys on Twincam Forum will be overjoyed about this one.

Toyota says that they have redesigned the interior as well, making it more spacious than it already is. Also they have thrown in a lot more gadgets to add to comfort features. Toyota is known to reserve their comfort features for higher spec models, so lets see what they give us in the entry level models next year.

As for engines, we are looking at the same range that the current Auris is fitted with i.e. a 73kw 1.3l and a 97kw 1.6l. These are Optimal Drive configurations so it should be exiting to see what they can do in the bigger Corolla body.

Although pricing is expected to be a bit high, Toyota fans will still support their brand, however just as the previous Corolla was priced there where finance deals from Toyota that made the Corollas more affordable. so look out for those. We can also expect that Toyota will give us a 90000km service plan standard across the Corolla range.

Monday, 4 November 2013

2013 VW Golf 7 1.2 TSI

While the 2013 VW Golf 7 1.4 TSI was basking in all its glory as the World Car Of The Year, hidden in its shadows was yet another beauty, equally worthy of such fame and glory. Arriving almost unannounced came the Volkswagen Golf 7 1.2 TSI, standing square in the path of the 1.4 TSI as its competition. Now we find out why and how an entry level car can do this...

The test drive was provided by a colleague of mine, Ranvir Kallideen, who recently purchased the 1.2 TSI. This model is powered by a 1.2 litre turbo charge engine which produces 77kw of power and 175nm of torque and the power is delivered through a 6 speed manual gearbox, which is the only option you get. This engine was not only designed around fuel economy but also performance as well. Believe it or not this little engine is more than capable of pulling the weight of the Golf 7 body.

Exterior is easy on the eyes, on this version you get 15" alloys standard but no colour coded mirrors and door handles. Therefore a darker colour option will suit this model better so as to camouflage this. Like all the models in the Golf 7 range the 1.2 TSI is just as good looking as the rest.

As you get into the car you can feel the quality in the finishes. Although the 1.2 TSI only comes in a cloth finish, it is of very high quality. In this model the media radio is optional and I suggest taking it, due to the fact that it completes the console nicely and gives the car that quality exclusive feel. To add to that feeling, you also get a leather bound steering wheel with satellite controls. In fact, with the media radio, you won't know the difference between the 1.2 TSI and the 1.4 TSI comfortline. Besides the cloth interior the only other give away that it is the base model is the lack of rear electric powered windows.

The 1.2 TSI comes with an electronic park brake, just like the one found in the 1.4 TSI. This also assists with launch control when you are taking off, the brake automatically releases when there is enough power applied to move forward. Bluemotion is also standard i.e. stop/start technology. 

Now getting to the interesting part that will convince most people to buy this car... and that is the 1.2 litre engine. From the word go you would not believe that this car is powered by a mere 1.2 litre engine, to put it into perspective, you used to get a 1.2 litre engine in a Fiat Uno, but the 1.2 TSI gives no hint that it's running a miniature power plant. 

On the road throttle response is excellent. If you wanted to do something, you just do it. There's no need to drop a gear or put you foot all the way down to overtake, just touch the accelerator a little bit more and it goes, effortlessly. We did our usual route to Sibaya and back, and this time I made it a point NOT to drive economically. After the trip I checked the average consumption and we did a ridiculous 6.1 l/100kms, so I'd say that you can achieve  5.0 l/100kms comfortably if driven economically. VW claims a combined cycle of 4.9 l/100kms.

With regard to handling and comfort, VW got it right, again. Although this is the entry level vehicle in the Golf 7 range, the build quality, features and the sheer value for money makes the 1.2 TSI far from entry level.

The VW Golf 7 1.2 TSI starts at R 246 300.00 (2013) and comes with a 5 year 90 000km service plan and 3 year 120 000km warranty. And I strongly suggest adding on the composition media radio as an extra, this in my opinion completes the deal.



Friday, 2 August 2013

2013 Toyota Corolla 1.3 Professional

Toyota has been a trusted brand in South Africa for as long as I can remember. The Corolla range, from the time it was introduced to SA back in the ‘70s, was a hit, combining economy and reliability into affordable packages. From inception it has held a fair size of the market in its segment. The Corolla, it’s been around for over 30 years... and nothing has changed.

In terms of automobile evolution the first Corolla is just as boring as the latest Corolla, but people still love it. That’s because the Corolla has kept to Toyota’s motto, “Everything Keeps Going Right”.  You won’t get fancy gadget technology and styling but what you do get is an engine that will, in most cases, easily take you up to 500000kms without any issues, and that is why the South African market is so loyal to the brand, even though recent pricing isn't so competitive.

While we’re on the topic of pricing, although your purchase price is slightly above competitors pricing, you will however reap the benefits when you are either trading in or selling your prized possession. If your Corolla has been well taken care of and fully maintained by Toyota you will get an excellent price on your car. The Corolla has one of the lowest depreciation rates in the market.

The model that was tested here is the 2013 Toyota Corolla 1.3 Professional. The 1.3 litre engine is based on Toyota’s Optimal Drive technology and is able to produce 74kw of power and 132nm of torque which is delivered to the wheels via a six speed manual gearbox.  For the size of the Corolla, the 1.3 engine seems to handle the weight very well, even with passengers on board.

Let’s move onto the styling, like I said earlier the car is sort of boring, but when you look at others in the same segment you will find it’s really not that bad, but it’s not going to take your breath away either. But look at it this way, the Corolla is your properly dressed butler who will do your bidding to the ‘T’ without complaining.

Inside you get standard equipment which includes aircon, power steering, front electric windows and on-board computer. Again interior is plain and simple, but practical and comfortable. You wouldn’t mind doing a long distance trip in it, there is ample room all around the cabin for all passengers to sit comfortably. The boot can accommodate a ridiculous 450 litres, which can take virtually anything that you throw at it.

On the road you get the same feeling, that you are really driving a boring car. But then you turn on the radio and listen to your favourite tunes through the USB MP3 player and you realise that your Corolla is effortlessly transporting you in smooth, silent, comfort, just like a good butler should, and then you smile and realise that this is why the Corolla is the number one trusted sedan in South Africa.

The current price of the 1.3 Professional is R196800.00 and this gets you a 3 year 100000km warranty and a 5 year 90000km which is above the market average of just 60000km and 4 years. As you can see the price seems to be a bit high, compared to competitors, but remember, your resale or trade value and Toyota also do in house finance options that make owning a Corolla highly affordable.


Thursday, 23 May 2013

2013 VW Golf 7 1.4 TSI Comfortline DSG


When VW released the Golf 4, I was in awe of its technology and build quality, it was a significant step up from the Jumbo Golf. Then came the Mark 5, and yet again VW produced an impressive product. Then came the Golf 6 and I thought to myself, ‘It can’t get better than this.’ And now the Golf 7 1.4 TSI DSG is here, and in the short time that it’s been around, it has already been named World Car Of The Year 2013.

Vikash from our office is the proud owner of this fine machine and gave us the opportunity to take it out on a road test. Styling has always been a strong forte for Volkswagen and they did not disappoint in the Golf 7. The 1.4 TSI Comfortline has a sophisticated look, somehow you feel that it has a personality that knows what it’s doing and it knows it’s doing it right. With chiseled features replicating the lines of the VW Polo, you will also find similarities in the headlight cluster as well. The rear has been redone as well following the same chiseled design as opposed to the rounded effect in the Golf 6. Fog lights and 16” alloys are standard for the Comfortline edition.

Interior has undergone major reconstruction, taking features and characteristics from the CC. There’s an attractive brushed metal finish to the center console, with the gear lever and steering wheel covered in stitched leather. You won’t find a hand brake lever in this car, that’s because it doesn't need one. The Golf 7 1.4 TSI comes with an electronic handbrake and is controlled by a button just behind the gear lever. The seats are magic, and to top it all this particular model came with heated seats.

Sticking with the interior and the center console, you will find a large screen, which will display information on the vehicles stats from the on-board computer and touch screen radio controls. The interesting thing about this screen is that it has a motion sensor that senses your hand approaching and as it gets closer the screen display changes to display buttons that you would press to control the radio and on board computer, and when you move your hand away you get just the stats up on the screen.

I would have expected this model to come with key-less entry and push start, but for some reason VW went the traditional route with a remote and transponder key. But we’re not complaining. The 1.4 TSI produces 90kw and 200nm of torque, which is more than capable of handling the weight of the Golf body. This combined with a 7 speed dual clutch system makes the TSI untouchable in its class.

The electronic handbrake doubles as a launch assist system. When engaged the electronic handbrake will only release when there is sufficient power applied for the car to take off. Another setting will allow the handbrake to engage every time you come to a stop, this can become a bit annoying if you’re in traffic going downhill. Normally you would just play with your brake pedal, releasing it whenever you need to edge forward, but with the assist engaged, you have to touch the accelerator a bit to get the car rolling again.

Performance is off the charts and unexpected, so when test driving this car brace yourself, it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face. VW has put in a lot of technology in the development of their new range of power plants and as a result they have accomplished power and economy. The 1.4 TSI is claimed to have a combined fuel consumption of 5.0l/100kms. In the hilly coastal Durban area we cannot expect the same results, but it will be fairly close to that.

The World Car Of The Year 2013 took all factors into consideration when they were gunning for that title, and one of them is the price of the vehicle. For almost the same price as a Golf 6, you can now take ownership of a Golf 7, don’t ask me how they managed to do that considering all the extras and new technology in the new version. The 1.4 TSI Comfortline DSG will cost you R284000 (2013). You will get 3yr/100000km warranty and a 5yr/90000km service plan.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

2013 Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium

The Fiesta range has really grown up since its launch in South Africa, in 1996. The car went from basic to sophisticated to technology leader, so it's seen it all. Speaking of technology leaders, the biggest yet is their latest instalment of the Fiesta, i.e. the 1.0 litre EcoBoost.

Thanks to Ray from Kempster Auto Umhlanga for setting us up with the 1.0 litre EcoBoost Titanium. The old version of the Fiesta was sporty enough, but this new version looks amazing, even though it is just a face lift. I guess what does it for me is the new front grille, which very closely resembles that of an Aston Martin DB9, and the reconfigured rear light cluster with the large high boot spoiler.

Inside the cabin, it looks like not very much has changed. The console looks the same with buttons for full function cell phone control, but it's finished with better materials and looks funky and classy at the same time. The instrument cluster, as well, has a better more refined look to it, although it has the same general design. The steering feels compact and sporty, makes you not want to take your hands of it! Cabin space is managed properly and there's a lot of storage spaces around, which the previous model lacked.

Before the actual test drive I did some research on the engine in this car. The Fiesta runs a 1.0 litre three cylinder engine, which was voted International Engine of the Year 2012! It's not the first time that a three cylinder engine has featured in a car, we saw it back in the day with the Daewoo Matiz, and recently Toyota fitted one to their Yaris and Aygo. These cars were created as budget cars and gave you great fuel economy but not such a thrilling driving experience. Fords 1.0 litre engine falls into their EcoBoost category. This means that it's turbo charged, and is able to take this 1.0 litre engine to a mind boggling 92kws of power output and 170nm of torque, which is able to achieve a fuel economy of 4.3l/100kms.

Out on the road, I was expecting that the car will perform above average, because of the turbo, but the acceleration that the 1.0 litre pushed out was not what I had anticipated. Ford compares it's power to most normally aspirated 1.6 litre engines, but what I experienced was definitely not a 1.6. You could feel the boost from the word go, acceleration was quick, and gear changes were sharp and smooth. Adding to the excitement was the off beat grunt that the engine made when revving up. The EcoBoost comes with a 5 speed gearbox, in a market were everybody is going six speed I found it strange that Ford didn't feel the need to include a sixth gear, it would have definitely helped with long distance travelling.

Freeway driving was a breeze, the 1.0 litre showed no signs of strain at all, and overtaking was confidently done. Even at high speeds the engine responded well to the slightest push of the accelerator. The bends around Sibaya was not a challenge at all to the compact little hatchback, and I was reluctant to return to the dealership as the test drive came to an end.

The car is not what you'd expect it to be and I strongly suggest test driving this car, so as to not underestimate its capabilities. The Fiesta EcoBoost is guaranteed to be fun at a very minimalistic fuel cost, and Ford will even put you in the Titainium version from as little as R231 500 (April 2013). You'll get a 4yr/60000km service plan and a 4yr/100000km warranty. There's no need to panic once you are out of service plan as the service intervals are every 20000kms, which will assist in allowing you to budget for your next service.


 

Friday, 8 March 2013

2013 Ford Focus 1.6 Trend Hatch

Ford has had much success with the Focus range, especially the hatchbacks, in the past. But market competition and new technology has taken big strides in 2012. Lets see if the new Ford Focus lines up with the rest of the competition.

We went for the Ford Focus 1.6 Trend Hatch, Ray from Kempster Ford Umhlanga provided the vehicle for this test. The Trend is one above the entry level Ambiente. The Trend gets you the extra comfort and cosmetics that is short on the Ambiente.

Exterior follows a similar dimensions to the old Focus but a redesigned skin gives it a fresh new look with more angles and lines in the front and rear. The wheel arches are filled with sporty 17 inch alloy wheels, similar design that is found on the ST model, and the Trend completes this sporty look with a full colour coded body kit, which also includes a high boot spoiler. The boot space itself is huge, which can easily accommodate a pram and a bag or two.

The interior has taken a page out of the old Fiesta, where they have gone with a centre console layout that is dominated by radio and cellphone controls. You can connect your cellphone to the radio via bluetooth connectivity and there is even a full number pad on the console to allow you to dial straight from the console itself. Satellite controls are found on the steering which allow you to control radio, cellphone, onboard computer and cruise control. Seats are comfortable and leather adds to this luxurious feel.

The Trend is powered by  1.6 litre engine that produces 92kw of power and 159nm of torque, over a 5 speed gear box. Good stats for a normally aspirated 1.6l engine, on paper that is. On the road however, I found that these stats meant nothing, the Focus felt sluggish and it seemed that it took forever to reach 120km/h. This put a bit of a damper on the driving experience. But that aside, everything else went well. The ride was comfortable, the ample cabin space allowed for a relaxing drive.The fuel consumption was pretty good, I averaged 5.2l/100kms on the highway, manufacturer claims 6.0l/100kms combined.


Considering the total experience of the car, I believe that this car is meant for a family that is looking for a good styling, comfort and safety. The Ford Focus 1.6 Trend will cost you R239000 (Jan 2013) and you will get 5yr/90000km service plan, 4yr/120000km warranty and service intervals are every 20000kms. Other options to look at are the Toyota Auris, Hyundai i30 and the Kia Rio.

Friday, 18 January 2013

2013 Toyota Yaris 1.3 XR 5dr

Earlier in 2012, when the new Yaris was released, I thought to myself "what's in this Yaris that cost over R200K?" I meant to check it out but never got around to it. A recent need to change my current car brought me to the Toyota Yaris 1.3XR five door. A buddy of mine, Sachin Barath, from CMH Toyota Umhlanga, arranged a thorough tour of this compact hatch that seemed to be ridiculously over priced.

The new Yaris has gone through a 360 degree makeover. The front has been redone to comply with Toyota's new 'Smile Grill', and also totally redesigned and attractive rear end. The XR comes with colour coded bumpers and mirrors, front fog lights, 15" alloy wheels and a rear high boot spoiler, which somehow makes the car much more appealing.

Once inside I realised that I was deceived by the exterior design, there was definitely improvements done to the utilisation of space, the interior cabin space was unbelievable for this compact hatch. It appears much more sophisticated, compared to its predecessor, not only appealing to a younger crowd, but also the young professional as well. Leather trim is used for the multifunction steering, gear knob and handbrake. Chrome finishing highlights certain aspects of the dash, but there is an annoying two tone plastic that is used for the dash and I'm sure Toyota has the budget to improve on this, maybe in the face lift version of this new Yaris.

There are two major selling points in the new 1.3 XR, that is the technology in the interior comfort features and the technology behind the 1.3 litre engine. Let's start with the interior, all leather trim is stitched with red, which makes it look really sporty. The instrument cluster is now situated behind the steering wheel and not in the centre of the dash. There is also a large touch screen radio that dominates the console, it incorporates USB/Ipod/Aux connectivity which is located in the glove box, and you will be able to listen to your music through 8 speakers.Bluetooth connectivity will allow you to connect to you phone to make and receive calls. There is full auto air conditioning with dual climate control. Toyota has also thrown in cruise control for the long distance drivers. These are just the highlights of the comfort features in the new Yaris XR.

Now we get to what's under the hood. The top of the range XR houses a 1.3 litre engine, which outputs 73kw and 125Nm of torque. To put you in the picture, VW's 1.6 Polo produces 77kw, Toyota's 1300 engine is in the league of other manufactures 1600 engines. Toyota achieves this power output by using Dual VVT-i (variable valve timing). And what makes it even more impressive is all this power is delivered to the wheels via a six speed manual gearbox. On the highway the little Yaris breezed to cruising speed without showing any signs of stress. 

I got a real feel of the power on the return trip from Sibaya. While getting back onto the highway I decided to put the pedal to the metal. The acceleration that I achieved was totally unexpected, 100km/h was accomplished in a matter of seconds. If compared to a 1.6 litre in its class, I'm sure the Yaris would perform the same or in some cases even better.

The 2013 Toyota 1.3 XR 5 door clocks in at R206 000.00, considering what is offered and what you pay this is a fair price. You will also get finance deals from Toyota Finance that will make this model lighter on the pocket. You will get a 4yr/60000km service plan and a 3yr/100000km warranty. Not sure why they didn't extend the warranty to 4 years to match the service plan?!? Which means that if you haven't reached 60000kms in your fourth year you are actually out of warranty and may end up paying for certain failures in the car. The package is attractive, with a price tag that's fair but not too convincing, again if your want one look out for finance deals from Toyota Finance itself.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

2012 Volkswagen Polo 1.6 Comfortline

I am currently shopping around for a replacement for my VW Polo 1.4, and decided to see what the 1.6 VW Polo Comfortline was all about. So I booked a test drive with Imraan from our local Zeda Cars.

From a quick observation the only way you can tell the difference between the 1.4 C/L and the 1.6 C/L is the badge at the back of the car and if you are a bit mechanically inclined the only other difference is the use of rear drum brakes on the 1.4 and rear discs on the 1.6. That aside, everything is exactly the same, colour coded bumpers and mirrors, front fog lights and 15" alloy wheels.

Inside the cabin there is no difference at all. You will get cloth seats, multifunction steering wheel, chrome trim on the dash and leather on the steering, gear knob and handbrake. It also features standard comfort features such as airconditioning, power steering, electric power windows and side mirrors and a RDS/MP3 radio. On the safety side you will get ABS and 4 airbags.

So cosmetics aside the difference comes in the power plants. The 1.4 has a 63kw/132nm power output and the 1.6 has a 77kw/155nm power output. Although not a very technical engine it gives you decent torque and surprisingly good fuel economy at a combined cycle consumption of 6.4l/100kms. The 1.6 also produces a distinct grunt when accelerating, not a very quite engine, yet it does give you a bit of a thrill.

Out on the highway is where you will really appreciate the power of the 1.6 litre engine as its fifth gear is able to take you up inclines without dropping your speed and it even has enough power to allow to you  to overtake as well. Normally in my 1.4 I have to drop to fourth gear before overtaking.

At the Sibaya off ramp I tested the braking power of the all round discs and this is where I really appreciated the 1.6., it had a quicker and more confident braking time. Handling was great as well. This is what I like about the Polos, although you get excellent road handling you also get a comfortable ride.

The Polo 1.6 Comfortline comes in at R199600, almost R20000 more than the 1.4. A tad bit expensive considering the fact that you don't get a service or maintenance plan with it. You will get a 3 year/100000km warranty. Not a very attractive price considering other manufactures offer at least a 60000km service plan. An extra R15k will get you a 120000km service plan.

Overall it's a good car, but the markets styling and extra value adds are starting to drown the demand for Polos. Other options would be the Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio and Hyundai i20, all of whom come with a standard service plan.

Friday, 9 November 2012

2012 Ford Figo 1.4 Ambiente

There has been a lot of competition in the budget car segment recently due to finances being low and the introduction of cheap Chinese imports. Major manufacturers needed to do some serious catching up to do to keep on to of things in this segment. Toyota has the Etios, VW has the Vivo and Nissan has the Micra. The one we are looking at today is the Figo from Ford.

Jay from our office got the 1.4 Ambiente as a courtesy car. Derived from the old model Fiesta, which has been given a face lift and is now called the Figo. The car looks neat and compact, but not too small, it's a good looking car as well. The Figo comes with colour coded bumpers but not mirrors and door handles. 14" steel wheels are standard and covered with wheel caps.

Inside you will get cloth covered seats and plastic moulding everywhere. But it doesn't look cheap, the interior is put together nicely, and it looks solid. The only let down that I found was that the driver and passenger door pads have gaping gaps in them when you look at it from the side when the door is opened. I compared it to another Figo and found the exact same problem, looks like Ford didn't want to spend any money to correct the problem and just ran with it. Never the less, once the door is closed you won't notice it at all.

Airconditioning and power steering are standard comfort features and you also get an MP3 CD/Radio, the aircon proved to be quite powerful. All windows and mirrors are manual. There is also a dash display that will show you your distance to empty. The cabin was also very spacious, providing sufficient leg room all round. On the safety side there is ABS and passenger and driver airbags.

We took a drive around the Umhlanga area and put the Figo through its paces. The 1.4 litre engine proved to be a good match to the size of the Figo. Generating 63kw and 127nm of torque. While running through the gears I realised that I was actually having fun driving this car. It's nippy response and handling was addictive and just made me want to drive some more. I can guarantee it that you will have fun with this one. Fuel consumption is listed at a low 6.6l/100km, but the Figo actually achieved 6.3l/100kms at the Total Economy Run 2012.

Being a major brand car I was surprised that you can get one for under R110000. You will also benifit from a low insurance premium due to price and risk. There is no service plan, but you can get one for +-R6000. Don't be put off by this, as you may only need to service your Figo once a year due to the 20000km service interval, so it's not really necessary to have one. There is a current Blue Sky Offer where you will get a 3 year 60000km service plan for the price of R113000 (November 2012). You will get a 4yr/120000km warranty. Bottom line, it is a brilliant car that is comfortable and fun to drive.