Category: Volkswagen

40 Years on – bigger, faster and filled with tech – Golf 7.5 GTI

Golf 7.5 GTI

VW Golf 7.5 GTI Driven

The Volkswagen Golf GTI has become an icon. Since 1975, the Golf GTI has brought practicality, quality, performance and safety, the latter I know well of after my mother spun a Mk5 Golf on the M6 Motorway some years ago.

The original goal with the Golf GTI was to take a practical, family oriented car and drop in a high performance engine, thus making it not only practical but also sporty. The 1975  GTI was the one that started it all, the original hot hatch.

MK 1 Golf GTI

Shoot forward 40+ years and we are the arrival of the Golf GTI 7.5. It’s bigger, faster and filled with tech. Even so, the same principles still apply, it is still family oriented, it’s still practical and flip, its still fast.

What’s Changed

A keen eye will notice the visual changes immediately. The newly designed front bumper, along with the full LED headlights, give the updated GTI a much more aggressive look.One which I much prefer over the Golf 7 GTI and more resembles the GTI Clubsport. The rear also features full LED lighting with the swishing indicator lights adding a nice touch. The Golf 7.5 retains its dual chrome exhaust tips, but on this model they are bigger, also like the Clubsport. They suit the rear nicely and don’t look lost, like they did on the previous model.

I felt that the Golf 7 GTI looked a little plain but the changes to the updated model, in my opinion, make a massive difference – the Golf 7.5 GTI looks like an aggressive performance hot hatch.

There are two big changes on the inside with one of these being the updated Discover Navigation Pro, which features a new 9.2-inch display. Not only is the display bigger, but it also has a higher resolution and can be controlled by hand gestures. It’s also flush with the dashboard and finished in gloss black, giving it a fantastic premium look. The second is the Digital Cockpit, which seems to becoming more of a common technology in premium vehicles of late. Simply, a full digital display replaces the standard dashboard dials which allows for much more information to be shown, such as navigation, music, car settings and even personal visual preferences. Overall, these subtle changes reflect a comfortable, premium feel.

Golf 7.5 GTI Interior

 

Driving

On paper, the performance enhancements to the Golf GTI 7.5 are minimal, with the same 169 kW output from the 2.0 TSI motor. Even so, l kept asking myself why the GTI felt so fast and why the chassis felt so connected. The front end grip and overall performance this car produces is something that will remain edged into in my mind.  

The steering is weighted nicely, if perhaps a notch too heavy, but this allowed for a fantastic driving feel. Drive the GTI fast in a straight line and you will be impressed, drive the GTI fast through a series of corners and you will really feel the car come alive. The front end provides so much grip that one could say it feels like the car is on rails, a very engaging experience indeed.

The beauty of this is that on another day, a quick switch of driving modes to comfort softens the suspension, relaxes the gearbox, tones down the engine noise and provides a much more easy, everyday experience. The Golf GTI has always provided practically with performance but thanks to technology, this is now ever more present.

With a starting price of R545 000 it may sound pricey, but one needs to consider what they are getting for that price. The Golf GTI is a premium product and this is easily seen through the build quality of the car, the improvements in interior and exterior styling, and the powerful 2.0 TSI Engine.

Our test vehicle was specced to over R600k so if you are budget conscious, you may want to pick your optional extras wisely. For me, the discover navigation pro is a must, along with the Digital Cockpit and Dynaudio system. The Adaptive Chassis Control is also a good option if you wish to adapt the driving comfort to your mood.

VW Golf 7.5 GTI Pricing in South Africa

R545 000

The VW Golf 7.5 GTI comes with 3 year/120 000km Warranty and a 5 year/90 000km Service Plan.

VW Golf R & GTD First Drive.

Golf GTD

Golf GTI’s older brother and new sibling driven

The GTI is and will always be the star of the show. The “Vrrrpah” phenomenon was started by this very vehicle. It’s quite peculiar then the actual flagship of the Golf range doesn’t have as much street cred as its younger sibling, to non-car folk. Heritage comes a long way and that’s something the GTI has as an advantage. Those three letters have been engrained in our hearts and minds from a young age. That being said, everyone respects the Golf R and what it represents – a four wheel drive hatchback that can stick with some interesting cars that are more powerful. The Golf R has been a success locally and South Africans will be happy to know that it too has been face-lifted, giving it a more pronounced look and sharper design. Although subtle, the entire refreshed Golf range makes you forget that the 7th generation has been with us for a while. Making us forget even further is the addition of a new variant, the GTD, a sporty diesel version that is loved overseas. Let’s take a look at what’s changed and most importantly answer the question, “Can a diesel Golf really be exciting?”.

Golf R

Golf R:  The looks and drive.

The Golf R has always looked menacing. The updated model now has a different LED light design in the front and rear, as well as a more “smiley” bumper construction. The added black gloss bits are a big differentiator between the old car and the new one. The overall look is pleasing but falls on the slightly softer side compared to the previous car. The wheel design has also been changed, making keen observers look twice as the vehicle drives by. On the inside we have a stunning optional infotainment system to play with, fitted with Navigation and Apple CarPlay. The mind has to get used to not having a volume knob but rather touch sensitive icons to adjust how loud your music is, something you’ll be doing a lot if your car is fitted with the DynAudio sound system. Another new feature is the Active Info Display which gives us a digital dashboard, something all new cars seem to be coming with recently. The most important feature for Golf R lovers is not the trimming but rather the engine. Power is up to 213kW from 206kW giving the car some added oomph and excitement. As much as the GTI is the star child, the R is in a different league in terms of performance. All its power is exploitable, giving the driver confidence that other cars can’t. Since it uses the 4Mototion system, it has no problem getting up to speed, so much so if you’re not careful, you’ll easily break the law without realising. Being a car that uses all four wheels when needed through a haldex system, the car provides massive amounts of grip. If you respect it around corners and don’t come into bends at ridiculous speeds, you can easily power out of corners aggressively without any drama. Overall the car is properly fast, safe and exciting whilst still maintaining a sense of composure about it.

VW GOLF GTD

Diesel hot-hatch, really?

Experiencing the GTD after the Golf R shocks the system at first. You almost need a palate cleanser to remove any expectations from the mind. When that is done, you can begin to appreciate what the GTD is, a diesel Golf with the GTI chassis. It only produces 130kW and 350N.m, but together the pairing is delightful. There is no DCC mode in the car so I can’t change from Comfort to Sport mode, it’s just a matter of sticking the DSG gearbox into Sport and riding the torque. On long stretches the GTD reacts like any old diesel, but it’s when things tighten up that you enjoy the constant boost. In town the power-train is also very useful, always ready to give you the torque when you want it. I can imagine the GTD being the car that is bought by the percentage of Golf buyers who previously owned a 2.0 TDI but wanted more. The appeal is understandable and the decision to bring it to SA soil is justifiable. A VW crazy country like ours will have a place for this car.

VW GOLF GTD

The recipe that works:   

At the end of the day what makes the Golf so popular is the fact that it’s not small. A young family can easily own a Golf and not feel compromised. The GTI has always fused two worlds together and the Golf R takes that fusion to another level. The GTD is a total spanner in the works as it has such a different appeal yet still manages to pull at the heart strings. The biggest issue people are faced with is the cost of new cars in general of late. With a sticker price of R507 700 for the GTD and R647 000 for the Golf R, these are not small amounts at all. Looking at the competition however, you’ll see similar figures. For many looking at a Golf R, the likes of a BMW M140i may be an option as well but it all boils down to preference in the end. Soon we’ll put the M140i and the Golf R head to head and weigh up what comes out on top. One thing is for sure, the Golf is a worthy rival, a car that punches way above its weight.

VW GOLF GTD

 

Golf R & Golf GTD Pricing in South Africa

VW Golf R: R647 000

VW Golf GTD: R507 700

Will the new Volkswagen Polo GTI make Golf GTI buyers think twice?

VW Polo GTI

Will the new Volkswagen Polo GTI make Golf GTI buyers think twice in the future?

VW Golf 7.5 GTI

By now you would’ve heard about the upcoming new Volkswagen Polo. The new range promises to usher in a new benchmark within its segment. Judging by what’s on offer and the unconditional love South Africans have for the Polo, it will be a guaranteed success. Interestingly, South Africa also happens to be one of the largest GTI markets in the world, making the three letters offered by VW, a coveted symbol amongst young and old. The recent launch of the updated Golf 7.5 GTI had many salivating yet others have begun to worry. This is due to the fact that a new Golf GTI now costs just under R550 000. Of course the competition is priced similarly, but what was once a young man’s car has become a young executives car in terms of pricing. Which brings us to our question, will the upcoming Volkswagen Polo GTI make future Golf GTI buyers think twice before purchasing?

VW Polo GTI

As you know the new Volkswagen Polo GTI will feature a 2.0 litre turbocharged engine, producing 147kW and paired with a 7 speed DSG gearbox. This is nothing to scoff at as it is not too far off from the Golf’s 169kW. “It’s still a Polo you may think”, but the new Polo will also have Virtual Cockpit, it will also have the option of LED headlights and it will have most of the technology offered in the current Golf. The biggest drawback for most then might be space, because the Golf’s dimensions have always been near perfect, even for those with families.

VW Polo GTI

The new Polo is smaller, but not small per se. It’s longer, wider and taller than the current Polo. Most notably is the boot space that will be offered, 351 litres compared to 280 litres in the current Polo. With all these things considered, it’s safe to say that the new Polo is going to offer a heap load of goodness. So much goodness that it may detract from a confuse a Golf buyer? Only time will tell. What is certain is that the upcoming Polo GTI will not be the same price as the Golf, it will obviously be noticeably cheaper. In the worlds current situation with most cutting costs, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see some opt for the “baby brother” and save some money, especially if it follows through on its promise to offer great performance and practicality.  

South Africans rejoice! New Volkswagen Polo has been revealed!

New Volkswagen Polo

New Volkswagen Polo revealed!

If there’s a car we as South Africans love besides the Toyota Hilux, is the Volkswagen Polo. For years this model has been part of the top 3 selling cars in the country. This doesn’t seem to be a South African thing though, because over 14 million Polo’s have been sold worldwide. Now the new version has been revealed and it looks more premium and larger than the car it replaces.

What’s new?

Besides the exterior and interior looks, the new Polo makes use of new engines ranging from a 1.0 litre to a 2.0 TSI which will be fitted in the new Polo GTI.  In between the entry level and the flagship, there is also a 1.5 TSI engine which will probably be the pick of the bunch for many people as it develops 110kW. The most interesting development is the inclusion of a 1.0 TGI engine which will run on natural gas. Diesels have not been left out as two 1.6 TDI engines will also make their way into the range. Things aren’t clear yet if we will have the full complement of engines available in South Africa, but we can be sure that the majority of engines offered will make their way to our shores.

Tech fiesta:

Volkswagen aims to make the new Polo more premium, so features like Active Info Display will be available in the model. Other impressive additions like Adaptive Cruise Control, Park Assist and even Wireless Charging for smart-phone users will make the Polo a very impressive offering for buyers looking for a technologically inclined vehicle.  The technology doesn’t stop at entertainment as a host of safety features have been added, such as Pedestrian Monitoring and City Emergency Breaking. Other tech features we’ve fallen in love with such as Apple CarPlay will remain thankfully.

Overall:

The new Volkswagen Polo will be available in Trendline, Comfortline, Highline and of course GTI variant. LED Daytime Running  Lights come standard in each variant, which is good because some of the competition now offers the same feature from a lighting perspective. The aesthetic appeal of the new Polo is quite a change compared to the current model we’re used to. Volkswagen has always been more aggressive in the changes made to each new Polo, unlike the Golf which has remained quite similar for the last three models. We can only imagine dealers will be abuzz when the car lands in South Africa soon. Stay tuned for more information regarding specific details surrounding this new Volkswagen Polo.

The new VW Tiguan is the coolest family car on the road!

VW Tiguan 2.0 TDI

The new Vw Tiguan is the coolest family car on the road.

I have a vivid memory of driving the new VW Tiguan in its 1 400 cc petrol variant towards the end of 2016 and I loved it. The design, style, chassis and all round coolness were just some of the goods that stood out to me. I did, however, express the thought to many people that with a DSG gearbox and a punchy 2.0-litre engine in either a diesel or petrol variant, the Tiguan would go from being a solid C to an A+.

Unfortunately I’ve never received an A+, that was until I was handed the keys to a metallic Indium Grey Tiguan with an R-Line kit and a 105 kW 2.0 TDI engine, with DSG of course. After driving this variant for a couple of days, my mind was settled. The new Tiguan had to be the coolest everyday car on the road.

VW Tiguan 2.0 TDI

As one would expect, the Tiguan is buttery smooth, easy to drive, fantastic on fuel and additionally holds it own in a corner with the benefits of the optional sports suspension. It doesn’t matter that the 2.0 TDI engine feels slightly underpowered because there is a 130 kW option available, if that’s the type of thing you are looking for.  It also doesn’t matter that there is a little too much interior plastic, especially on the door cards, because no one really spends much of their time looking at them. This car is by no means perfect, the rear trays are also a little flimsy, the boot space isn’t fantastic and I wasn’t a huge fan of more plastic on the wheel arches, albeit subtle.

None of these points would have made the new Tiguan rank any lower or higher on the TopGear cool wall which was sadly scrapped with the old show, hopefully the new show will follow suit, but that’s a story for another day.

So what makes the Tiguan the coolest family car on the road? Its visual appearance and  the feelings it conjures in the driver. There are some fantastic looking vehicles on our roads today but not many of them are under 600k and look as prestigious from every angle as the Tiguan does. The black accents against the metallic grey paint are striking and stunning. Its appearance is frighteningly aggressive and sexy at the same time, walking out to this car everyday certainly does not get old. I can almost guarantee you that a Tiguan in this color with this trim will give you the best looking car in your block, road, neighbourhood or town, provided none of your neighbours own the only Rolls-Royce Sweptail.

New VW Tiguan

Now we can tackle the point on how it makes you feel. It has style and Pizzaz which gives you as the driver an extra boost of confidence in the morning without the need to take a sneaky swig of whiskey. It’s hard to explain, but I felt like the gentleman in the stereotypical German car advert. You know, he wakes up looking fantastic, walks outside of his exquisite ultra modern mansion and jumps into his some or other German car and drives through picturesque scenery. Something like that anyway.

The men in these types of adverts always seem to have their lives in perfect order, now my life is not exactly falling to pieces but if yours is, buy a Tiguan, it will make everything feel great again.

Add this to a great driving experience, tons of gadgets, a starting price of R530k and a young,hip, fun loving personality and quite frankly  you have yourself the coolest family car on the road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 reasons why the Polo R Line is the perfect premium city car.

VW Polo R Line in South Africa

VW Polo R Line: The perfect premium city hatchback?

Volkswagen’s latest Polo, the Polo R line edition could be described as the perfect premium city hatchback. Here are 9 reasons to back this statement up:

 

  • 3 Cylinder Engine

The 1.0-litre 3-cylinder engine featured in the Polo R produces 81 kW and 160 N.m. This small engine provides zippy performance and is very quiet in the lower rev range. Its perfect for the city hussle and bussle.

  • DSG Gearbox

The DSG gearbox in the Polo R line takes the annoyance away of gear changing, something which gets emphasized in city traffic. Its delicately smooth and has a sports option if you’re feeling a little cheeky.

 

  • Fuel Economy

With 4.4 l/100km combined in the fuel economy department, the Polo R Line will cut back your fuel bills and help the environment thanks to only having 3-cylinders. Give this little car some right foot though and you might find that number start to rise – these little engines tend to drink fuel when pushed.

  • Styling

The Polo R line is graced with its very own R line bodykit which gives a much bolder and sportier look over a standard Polo. It also comes standard with 17” Serron alloys. This Polo definitely looks the part for the modern city, especially in our test colour of Flash Red. Most off all, it still looks smart, neat and professional.

  • Media Interface

Our Polo R line featured the Composition Media Package which provides 6 good quality speakers, a large display, a mobile phone interface and a USB and auxiliary input. It is a fantastic premium system with lots of onboard vehicle related tech such as the blue economy driving system.Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Taking the media interface one step further is the integrated mobile systems. For example, plug in your iPhone and an Apple’s CarPlay interface is displayed on screen which allows access to music, maps, messages and more through an interface you understand and enjoy.

  • Parking

Being a Polo, it’s small and nimble which makes it a breeze to park and fit into small spaces. Aiding the driver further with this is front and rear parking sensors, along with a reverse camera.

  • Premium Features

The Polo R line features other premium options such as LED headlights, the light & vision package which features auto dimming rear view mirror, a rain sensor and automatic headlights. This car also features an electric sunroof with set modes for different levels of opening all controlled by a nifty roof mounted nozzle.

  • Price

Our test Volkswagen Polo R Line is priced at R290 000 which we think is great considering the premium options. For that price, you get a very nice city car with some very cool options for the young person, which adds style and makes your life easier.

After spending a week in the new Volkswagen Polo R line, we think it is a great car for the city, it stands out and gives you some nice premium features. It is definitely a really good option for the young and trendy South African wanting to look professional while making their way up in the world.

Our first drive of the Facelifted VW Golf 7.5 GTI

VW Golf 7.5 GTI

South African Launch: Facelifted VW Golf 7.5 GTI

 

Whenever a new Golf is launched, there is excitement beyond belief. First and foremost, it’s been widely regarded as the benchmark in its class and for good reason. Its brilliant! Whether you are starting a new job, transporting kids to and from school, or want a car so that you can have space for your grandkids, it’s the best all-rounder and has remained that way for the last couple of decades. The latest version, or “facelift” in normal terms may be a slight improvement on the current Golf 7, but those small changes make for strides in comfort, luxury and of cause, sportiness.

Updated VW Golf GTI

We flew out to Port Elizabeth to sample the latest version and more specifically, the GTI and my oh my. It’s like your hot friend that was already a looker but decided to go and get a trainer  for a full year, and has come back looking like a model for GQ magazine.

The changes to the new  VW Golf 7.5 GTI are small, but they certainly make you notice it. The “GTI Line” in red now gets broken up and hugs the new LED headlights. Traces of the honeycomb grille finish off the bottom of the LEDs and give the eyes a more aggressive look. The front and rear bumper have also been tweaked for a sportier appeal with the cherry on top being  the new lights with progressive indicators. Small changes as mentioned, but overall, a more svelte athlete.

Updated VW Golf GTI

In the interior, you are immediately greeted by the new LCD electronic display in the instrument binacle which can be adjusted to suit. The examples that we sampled featured  the Discover Pro Navigation, in which the maps and directions sit right in between the rev counter and tachometer for easy viewing. The Discover Pro Navigation also comes with a 9.2-inch screen for vehicle operation with full touch and gesture control. With my basketball player hands, I couldn’t master the system but my driving partner, being a lady with lady like hands, operated the system with ease and I’m sure that with enough practice, I’d soon get the hang of it. The system is iPhone ready with Apple CarPlay and is as easy as 1,2,3 to use. Android Auto has been enabled but South Africans will have to wait until their phones are ready, as the software on android devices has not been enabled yet.

Updated VW Golf GTI

We drove the cars from the airport and stopped over in Jansenville for some lunch. This was a  relatively short drive, thanks to the uprated 169 kW instead of the current 162 kW from the familiar 2.0-litre TFSI motor. Torque has stayed the same at 350 N.m but the vehicle feels more peppy and angrier than what the figures suggest. The GTI 7.5, as it’s locally known, has no problem with bumpier roads, even at more  illegal speeds and turns in like a GTI should. Seats are just the right mix of sporty and let’s-drive-to-Cape-Town-this-weekend comfortable. Even though I have a back that could have come from a 95-year-old war veteran, not once did I reach for the Myprodol.

Updated VW Golf GTI

After reaching the venue and reflecting on the very short drive of 247 kilometers, we settled in and I tried to find fault with the VW Golf 7.5 GTI as there must be at least one black mark and yes, I did find it. It no longer comes with a manual gearbox! The urban warriors having to deal with Sandton traffic have got to VW and convinced them that the manual was redundant and only DSG boxes are on the cards for sunny South Africa. Train smash for a stubborn mule like myself but in the long run, it’s the better decision.

Updated VW Golf GTI

With the whole range being refreshed, it called for some engine changes as well. The 1.2 TSI has been dropped in favour of the new 1.0 TSI in both Trendline and Comfortline packages. This motor should be very nimble at 81 kW and 200 N.m of torque. Next is the 1.4 TSI with the same torque figure but with a bit more juice at 92 kW. This has the option of the DSG gearbox and I’m sure from a comfort, power and pricing perspective, this will be the pick of the bunch. Next would be the GTI and added from July will be the GTD – the 130 kW & 350 N.m diesel 2.0 TDI, as well as the R version. We weren’t given the exact figures for the R but expect more from the flagship Vrrpha!

Once again, the standard has been set and to be honest, many cars will run the Golf close and one or two will be faster, but none can come close to what the Golf and specifically the  VW Golf 7.5 GTI can offer as an everyday package. Expect it to stand head and shoulders above the competition.

The New Volkswagen Up! : A fun city car with a hefty price tag

New Volkswagen Up! Car Review in South Africa

South African Car Review: New Volkswagen Up!

Volkswagen Up! Car Review in South Africa

With all the cars that come through The Motorist’s garage, sometimes it’s a good thing to be reminded of what real cars are and have a palate cleanser. You see, the life of a motor journalist is full of crème de la crème cars and we often forget about entry level vehicles and it’s those cars that you see more than your rear engined sports car.

We spent the week in VW’s new and revised Up! and yes, it reminded me of my post high school days. The car, the “move Up!”, is fun to drive and in the mindset of a girl/guy in the late teens early twenties, it’s the perfect run around. It has all the modern necessities like USB that connects to your mobile that your mate can control on the way to the joll. Its 1.0-liter three cylinder, 55 kW motor takes some little time to get used to but as mentioned, we are 20 years old today, remember? Being a three cylinder, and having seen this on most three-cylinder vehicles, they want you to explore the rev range and once you do so, the 55 kW aided by 95 N.m of torque isn’t too bad too live with and for a car that’s running from home, tertiary and to the next party, it’s got more than enough power.

New Volkswagen Up! Car Review in South Africa

Being a city car makes the Up! really pleasant to live with as well. It’s easy to park, something I made particular note of having just climbed out of a VW Passat which, as lovely as it was, was like driving an 18-wheeler when compared to the Up!.  Standard items on the specific Move up! is ESP, with hill hold control, ABS, ASR, EBD, 123 and even ABC. They have thrown the whole alphabet at this little car. Electric exterior mirrors, daytime running lights and radio with aux, Bluetooth and SD card also make a welcomed appearance. Clearly, I was born in the wrong decade. Our “starter pack” cars weren’t this cool. One thing I thought is that this is a car for a varsity student with parents with a fat credit card or deep pockets as the vehicle that we drove has a starting price of R180 400. The base Up! isn’t much cheaper either at R166 800. Yikes.

New Volkswagen Up! Car Review in South Africa

People have been polarized by the looks of the Up! but I think it’s a good looking small vehicle. Does it look like the BMW i3? Yes, but that is beside the point. For a week, I was 20 again, had my cap on backwards and had house and hip hop tunes blasting out the car like I had no bills and debit orders. It was a good week in the VW Up!

New Volkswagen Up! Car Review in South Africa

 

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Volkswagen strikes back: Volkswagen Amarok V6 launched in South Africa

Volkswagen Amarok V6

Volkswagen Amarok V6 launched in South Africa

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

Bakkie SUV?

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

 

Is all that power necessary?

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


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

Best bakkie out there?

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

 

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

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

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

 

The specs:

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

The looks: 

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

The Drive:  

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

Overall:

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