Category: Volkswagen

We roadtrip with VW South Africa and visit the Gerhard Volksie Museum!

VW Golf GTD

We visit the Gerhard Volksie Museum while road tripping with VW South Africa.

A few weeks back we embarked on a roadtrip with VW South Africa, encompassing historical landmarks and an interesting quiz. Our journey took place from JHB to Bloemfontein. This activation wasn’t really a launch, but more of a way to kick-back, relax and enjoy some great cars and have fun at the end of a long year.

The “Amazing Race” involved completing various tasks, finding the answers to certain questions and also capturing specific types of images, all while being as creative as possible. These activities needed to be completed on our way to bloemfontein as we were acquainted with VW’s new Golf range, the R, GTI and GTD.

With the first day spent behind the wheel of the GTD, it was good to reflect on what this car is all about. The statement of “ Diesel GTI” is a very bold one to make, and in my opinion, the GTD doesn’t live up to that title from a performance perspective. The performance figures are not bad at all however with 130kW and 350Nm, on top of that, the GTD pulls off nicely with a heap of low-end torque. It simply doesn’t have the exciting demeanor that a GTI possesses. It’s a much calmer experience, whilst the GTI is more of a boy racer.  

This doesn’t make the Golf GTD a bad car at all, in fact from a handling perspective, it’s right up there with a GTI. I feel many expected more from this car in terms of performance and when it didn’t give them what they wanted, they simple wrote it off. This isn’t a fair assumption in my book, if we take the GTD for what it is, it’s a fantastic vehicle. For starters, the aesthetics are on par with that of its more powerful siblings, it features the latest tech of the 7.5 which is a big improvement over the Golf 7. Overall, it’s a wonderful car to drive, especially on a long road. Smooth and comfortable are words that come to mind when it comes to the GTD. If you’ve experienced previous iterations of VW’s fast diesels you realise that the GTD is progression of that, with a GTI chassis fitted to it.  

So far so good, the Amazing race proving to be enjoyable. Things got livelier that evening as we headed to a local shabeen for a reflection on the day, with the rest of the group and much needed Chesa Nyama. As you can see, my pale British self has truly embraced South African culture.  

On our second day, we swapped the GTD for the R and headed towards the direction of Johannesburg. First things first though, we headed to a local Volkswagen museum. It seemed strange for all of us find a VW museum in the middle of nowhere, until we arrived and saw the vehicles on display. My word.

The Gerhard Volksie Museum situated in the Free State was one of amazement. Gerhard’s operation focuses on air-cooled VW’s such as original Beetles, Karmann Ghias and Kombi’s. The vehicles on display were fantastic, from fully restored Kombi’s to amazing Beetles in many colours. There was also some special treasures to be found such as an old-school ambulance with just 40,000kms on the clock and one of the last CITI Golf’s ever produced with a mere 1500 kms under its belt.

I personally took a liking to the many Kombi’s on offer, which were beautifully restored and ready to hit the road. Gerhard even mentioned that many of them would make it to Cape Town without skipping a beat – I’ve been negotiating with my wife ever since. To put the cherry on the cake, we all jumped at the option to sample a vehicle, I opted for the Kombi. I must say, I don’t think any other classic vehicle has put such a smile on my face. It featured on oversized steering wheel, a confusing 4 speed gearbox and no seatbelts, but yet it was such a pleasure to drive.

Our road trip came to an end with the last stretch of around 300kms in the Golf R – the most powerful of all the Golf variants on offer. I must be honest, the R maybe the fastest, but it certainly isn’t my favorite model in the range. Its quick and sounds great, but the four-wheel drive system has an ever so slight numbing effect, I would personally opt for a GTI if I had to pick from the three. it just offers more driving enjoyment and excitement for my hooligan tendencies.

Overall it has been a good year for the VW Brand, with the release of many models which have been a huge success for them. There have been hints of an even better 2018 with more new and exciting cars on the way, so we look forward to seeing what is literally just around the corner.

VW Tiguan 2.0 TDI vs Mazda Akera 2.2

VW Tiguan v Mazda CX-5: Which do you pick?

There are more and more options becoming available for buyers when it comes to the compact SUV. For many, they make perfect sense. Great looks, practicality and are what make these vehicles popular. The demand is growing and so is the market as more manufacturers release their version of a compact SUV.

2017 Mazda CX-5

This year South Africa has seen two vehicles in particular that offer very good packages. The first being Volkswagen’s new Tiguan which took the country by storm with its design and style and is now available in the 2.0-litre diesel variant. Offering a similar package is Mazda’s updated CX-5 Akera 2.2, which since its facelift also offers a very nice overall package indeed.

Both vehicles are similar in price, offer All-Wheel-Drive and also feature diesel power plants, but which is the best option for you?

Performance

The power output in both vehicles is nearly identical with the VW Tiguan producing 130 kW and the CX-5 coming in just 1 kW short at 129 kW. The main difference between these two engines in Torque, If this was a game of Top Trumps, the Mazda would take the card here with a 420 Nm output compared to the Tiguan’s 380 Nm.

What does this mean? In terms of outright pace, there isn’t much between them, the Torque difference, however, is noticeable.  If you’re one for towing or off-road adventures, the extra 40 Nm will probably come in handy.

4Motion v AWD

Things can get confusing when it comes to four-wheel drive technology, as many brands use different names and terms for their systems, in reality though, they all do the same job and this is the case here. 4Motion is simply VW’s name for their all-wheel-drive system and both vehicles use technology which deciphers which wheels have the most traction and thus supplying power to these wheels. In normal driving conditions, the vehicle remains in a 2WD setup which ultimately means less fuel consumption.

While AWD systems are not as capable as full-blown four-wheel drive systems, It definitely provides an advantage in the safety department, andy and if you find yourself on a rather loose surface from time to time.

Design and Styling

I once said that the Tiguan is possibly one of the most beautiful vehicles on the road, and I still stand by this. With all the nice bits and trimmings, I feel it oozes style and class with the right amount of aggression. On the other hand, the CX-5 is a really good looking car, it has a large front grill and narrow sharp headlights which really do my fancy. If I am picking a winner here, it’s Tiguan all the way, I think its a much sexier vehicle and definitely is more of a head turner. 

Interior

This is a close call, the interior found in the Tiguan is great and the optional technology does add that extra spice. Quite frankly though, the Mazda CX-5 takes the cake here. It may not have an Active Info Display to replace the classic dials, but I feel the Mazda uses better materials and more metals. The Tiguan may have slightly more practicality but in terms of luxury and style, it’s the CX-5 all the way.

2017 Mazda CX-5

So what do you pick?

This depends on two factors, Firstly,  what kind of person you are and the second and possibly more important factor, Price. If you like the limelight and love to stand out then the Tiguan is probably the one you would prefer, it has more road presence and will definitely turn more heads but it will also cost you more money. The Tiguan TDI 2.0 Highline 4motion starts at R566,900 and doesn’t include the Active Info Display, 8” Discover Pro infotainment system, DYNAudio system or leather Upholstery.

2017 Mazda CX-5

On the other hand, the CX-5 is definitely the more understated vehicle and while it comes in just shy of the Tiguan at R561,700, it includes a BOSE 10-speaker system, a head-up display, navigation, leather seats and an electronically sliding sunroof (R11,500 option on the Tiguan).   

In overview, the CX-5 is definitely providing the most value for money, whereas the Tiguan offers a different appeal of style and image, whilst also being backed by the VW brand, which as we know is extremely popular in South Africa. Either way, both cars offer great packages and whichever you pick you will be happy ( Unless you’re sitting in a Tiguan at the starting line of a trailer drag race.)

The Golf R32 – The best fast AWD Golf thus far?

Golf R32

The Golf R32 Driven Review

With October kicking itself off with gloomy and stormy weather and muscle tops and sunglasses replaced with coats and boots, it’s safe to say the overall “suns out guns out” atmosphere has changed drastically. The only real way I could do any road testing in what seems to be an endless torrential downpour was in a boat, this was until an unexpected conversation with a rather attractive lady owner of a black 2007 VW Golf R32…

The conversation led to the conclusion that I would take her number – because of course, and we would link up again for a day of rigorous road testing. The “date” had arrived and late on a Saturday, the inquisitive lady saw it fit to tag along during my escapades in her pride and joy. The car was a very clean example, with only 97 thousand kilometres on the clock, fully original with the exclusion of an imported Milltek full exhaust. Sadly I noted the tires were a set that I hate most in the world, Yokohama S-drives, which I dislike for their lack of grip when compared to rival tires, but nevertheless, it would prove to be an interesting day.

Driving Impressions

After being dragged out of my warm house and away from my snuggle buddy – Mr Cuddles a plush toy teddy, with only the flooded roads and full body wetness to look forward to, I set off to the prescribed meeting location.  After the obligatory “Hellos” and pretending to be interested in the happenings and day of others, I began about on a full walk around and examination of this specimen of German engineering. Rather grumpily climbed into the driver’s seat and was almost fondled by the optional buckets fitted to this vehicle. The seats are incredibly aggressive and hold one’s figure tightly and proved to be rather well suited to aggressive cornering. The interior is typical VW, the layout simple and uncomplicated. Everything functional and full of leather and soft-touch surfaces. Handed the keys, a simple twist to the ignition let loose a loud and aggressive six- cylinder burble, unmistakably Volkswagen’s famed 3.2-litre VR6 Motor. The exhaust drone was extravagant and let a touch too much noise into the cabin when driving around in town, and this didn’t help my mood, nor did the passenger and owner who selected to drown this out with the hard-hitting bars and cuss words all too familiar with a classic Snoop Album. Now I like Snoop, maybe even more than most, but I wanted to return to the warmth of my bed and fill my face with coffee and my gran’s baked treats.

Leaving the empty city roads behind, I flicked the references to shootings and marijuana off and flicked the DSG box into “S”. Given the road was very wet and slippery, knowing I had 4Motion All-wheel drive as my safety net; I began the dance of G-forces. The owner began to look more and more concerned as the speed climbed. With the choice of road being rather familiar now, I entered each corner rather rapidly and the steering was bang on, pointing the nose at the apex, relaying exactly where the front wheels were facing and as grip began to wash at the front, my organs began to feel the power moving around to the rear wheels. The grip is endless and very much confidence inspiring. Driving you out the apex is this deep and throaty VR6 delivering 184 kW all the way up at 6 300 rpm. The journey to the rev-limit is immense and this theatrical experience with the revs climbing and reaching impressive eargasmic levels of audio solace. The motor pulls strong on a wave of N.m delivering 320 torques from a lowly 2 500 rpm, and this translates to a linear and constant shove rather than the push to into your seat that a turbo car would deliver. The experience is fantastic as the engine screams to 7000 rpm before its time to bang in the next cog, it’s brilliantly agile and the extra weight of the differentials and electronic Haldex magic machines is not enough to unsettle the properly sorted MK5 chassis. The tricky dynamic stuff now done and the R32 having impressed, the true test was now in the typical let down of the fast Golf AWD.  The endless grip and clever Haldex trickery often leaves you cold when looking for fun rather than precision quickness. I’ve always maintained the MK6 and Mk7 R’s were like a night out with the choice of drink being Beck, non-Alcoholic beer. Look, you’ll have a great time but, you can’t be silly and dance on tables till you vomit everywhere and wake-up to the black eye the bouncer gave you. This did improve with the Mk7.5 with it being more fun, but still being likened to cheap vodka – great fun, horrible hangover. The hangover in its case being the Stupid R657 000 asking price.

The Mk5 R32 does the fun element very well, the VR6 adds so much character and when being manic with the handbrake on entry to wet corners and traffic circles, the 320 N.m do a great job of keeping all fours spinning, enough to pull cute AWD skids, moving the 90% front power bias around to the wheels with grip and this is rather amazing, scary for your passengers but rather epic. Even the humble undercover parking lot provides for some merriment, the V6 and a heavy throttle input almost always manage to scare a few parked cars into alarm blaring cries of fear. After all the fun and jolliness of skids and being kicked out of parking garages,  the return trip saw the pretty lady rather impressed with what I’d like to believe was the modicum of talent and overwhelming stupidity I possessed, and like a magician I announced my final trick was launch control at the sight of the red light.  This was a bit of a letdown given the lowly 3 000 rpm launch limit doesn’t allow for enough slip to make it properly brisk but 6.5 seconds is impressive given the car’s 10 years of existence, so too the top speed of 250km/h.

SUMMARY

The R32 is very impressive as an all-weather machine, its old school in its demeanour with no turbo lag, no invasive electronic nannies, just a great big engine, a loud exhaust and a clever way of delivering the power. Its Haldex based 4Motion AWD system feels less restrictive than the new safety-conscious models and the engine still very strong. The addition of an exhaust to this just makes it truly epic, I would still argue this is the best AWD golf thus far and to prove this point I’m prepared to have an actual fist fight in its defense – I’d lose but it’s the principle that counts.

GOLF MK5 R32 PRICING IN SOUTH AFRICA

The R32 can be had for around R200k, with the cleaner models with low mileage climbing into the R250 000 mark. The engines are strong and last forever and see over 300 000 km. The VW reliability comes standard, and so too does the 10l/100km when driving around town and double that when “On a night out”   

Finally, VW have made an exciting Golf R!

Golf R 7.5

Golf 7.5 R Driven Review

It’s all about goals. You find something that you love, aim for it and strive to get there. For any young petrolhead, the VW Golf is a natural aim on the vehicle dartboard and the GTI, being the Crème de la crème of the hot hatch sorbet. Now, I must be honest and say that the GTI has been a firm favourite of mine since it started its crack gym diet back in Golf 5 days. Many hatches could do the same, sometimes even better, faster and sleeker than the GTI but as an overall package, the GTI was just unbeatable. Enter its older brother, the Golf R32, with its fruity sounding exhaust note and so the battle for favourite sibling began, for a price. See, the Golf R’s have always carried a natural premium over their GTI sibling and for good reason. It packed more in its already svelte suit and with the latest ones ditching the VR6 Motor and opting for a similar motor to the one found in the Audi S3, it became the “One” to own and outshone its little sibling, the GTI. Now, I must say that until the Golf 7.5 R, I was a GTI fan through and through and this was due to lack of funds to stretch to the R. I also found that the drive of the R was not nearly as engaging nor was it as exciting as that of the GTI but then again, that may have been my wallet steering me away from poverty…

Enter the Golf 7.5 R and everyone at The Motorist office was buzzing. I had attended the Port Elizabeth launch of the Golf 7.5 and found my love rekindled with the already near perfect hatch, bar the pricing of course. Inflation they say. Francisco attended the launch and came back swearing that he had found the perfect hatch. He explained that the car felt like this and drove like that but being his elder brother, I was skeptical. What do younger siblings know in any case.

On a fresh spring day, I was woken up by the friendly VW personnel, who had deemed it fit to entrust this new Golf 7.5 R to TheMotorist. See the other boys were swamped with other work stuff and being the one with flexible hours, we decided that its best that I keep the car, to really cement that fact that the Golf GTI was the best all-rounder. So, what is this revised R packing? How about 213kW and 380 N.m of torque, being sent to the tarmac via its tried and test 4Motion AWD system and the 7 speed DSG box. I walked around the car and did the expected “I’m just going around the block to get feel” drive. I got in, cleared the speed humps in the neighborhood while saying hi to Steve who walks his dog every day at 13h30 and I was at the first traffic light where I could explore the first two gears of the R. What happened next was something that didn’t feel very GTI-ish at all. This car was angry, very angry. Before I got myself into serious trouble, I decided that this vehicle had something wrong and drove back home to do some research. At R647 300, pricing puts this car square in the fight with the BMW M140i at a starting price of R652 802 and the Ford Focus RS at R699 900 which is a bit of a stretch. Had I disrespected the R as always seeing it as a GTI with more muscle? Yes, yes I had.

Nightfall came and made sure that I was on good terms with the lady of the house and decided that we needed a snack from the Woolies up the road, literally 900 meters from us. I kissed her on the head and said that I shouldn’t be long, code in our home for I’m going for a drive and might be two hours or so. What followed was a night in a Golf like no other. In the crisp air, the R was like a muscular American Bully and was roaming county-ish roads with authority I had never felt from a Golf before. Gone was the numb steering that I didn’t enjoy from the previous generations. This car was nimble, turn-in is sharp and has progressive steering that lets you know what is going on at the front axle. Is this the Golf I had been waiting for? I found a quiet piece of road and decided to see what this launch would feel like without having to worry about the JMPD on Rivonia Road. What followed was a perfect launch that seems to reel in the horizon with absolute disdain. I fell in love. The front end did push eventually through some switchbacks but this can be cured by coming off the throttle and getting the weight to rotate the rear and just like that, you have a four-wheel drift. In my chasing the R around some old farm land around my home, an orange light appeared on the Active Info Display and fearing the worst, thought that I had broken something in my enthusiastic night owl driving. Nope, nothing was broken, just the fuel. I had managed to empty tank in an hour… No, it was three hours! What would my wife say? She was fast asleep, thank goodness, we don’t have dogs! I put my head down but couldn’t sleep. This R had rewired my thinking. The next day I took it out and was surprised how enjoyable it was in traffic. The Golf 7.5 R was adorned with the new full touch screen infotainment with the, now standard customization for throttle response, steering weight and engine mapping. It even does the whole engine note piping through its firewall resonator system in Race mode, But it’s tuned somewhat differently to the GTIs similar system.

Now comes the difficult part with this car. The M140i is more exciting package as its sends all its 450 N.m to the rear axle, along with with 240 kW, too. It’s the drifters dream. It also will need you to resign some body parts like a kidney or maybe a lung as the option list will tempt you to do so. Being rear wheel drive though, it wouldn’t offer the all-weather sure footedness of the R or the RS. The RS is the car to drive if you are lazy like me and just contribute to the Virgin Active upkeep from the nearest Nandos, because it’s the healthiest option. Its manual geaebox makes sense to stubborn mules like me but can be your worst enemy in peak hour traffic. Its ride is like the Anaconda at Gold Reef City. Seriously, it’s that hard. My body hurt after a couple of days in that car. It does make up for it with its very torquey motor and the machine gun action on downshifts makes it all worth it.

So, having spent some time in the car, I begrudgingly handed over the keys for the other writers to spend the time in the R and instantly felt lonely and unsettled, a sign of car that makes you be at odds with your spouse and the bank. VW has finally made an R that’s as exciting to drive as the GTI with the security blanket of having the 4Motion system.  As an everyday package, there is little to complain about here bar the pricing.

VW Golf 7.5 R Pricing in South Africa

The vehicle we had to test with all the Christmas decorations was R727 000 and for that money I would drive away in the vehicle from Bavaria from a pricing perspective. I know, most of you just said bad words to me in your heads but VW’s are cars for the people and with that sticker price, I would stick to the GTI and save some money. I want one, but not at that price!

Let us know what you think?

Polo TSI R-Line vs Clio GT-Line, what to buy?

Polo TSI R-Line vs Clio GT-Line

Price:

Volkswagen Polo TSI R-Line: R 292 400

Renault Clio GT Line: R 264 900

Firstly, let’s just start off by saying that it seems unfair to pit the Renault up against one of SA’s best selling cars. These two cars offer nearly identical features and for those looking for something different, the Clio may seem like a good alternative.

VW Polo R Line in South Africa

The specs:

As sporty as these models look, both offer petite engines in the form of a 1.2 litre, 4-cylinder engine for the Renault and a 1.0 litre, 3-cylinder engine for the Polo. An R-Line with 3 Cylinders? You’re joking, right? No. We’re not. The same goes for the Renault. The words GT give the impression of power and “hot-hatch-ness”. This is not the case with both of these vehicles but, that doesn’t mean that these cars aren’t sporty. Take the Clio GT Line for instance, the car’s chassis is sublime. So much so, you end up hunting for twisty roads since you don’t have too much power on tap – 88 kW/205 N.m. The Clio’s secret is its simplicity, only a manual transmission is offered and what a good one it is. The Polo TSI R-Line is the opposite, a sophisticated setup with a dual clutch transmission that works very well. With power figures of 81 kW/200 N.m, it’s engine punches well above what it’s capacity and outputs might suggest. Truth be told however, for spirited drivers, the Clio wins when it comes to fun factor.

Trimmings:

This is where things start to favour the Polo. Volkswagen are serious about this whole premium thing and the TSI R-Line doesn’t disappoint. A touch screen infotainment system equipped with Apple CarPlay makes for an enjoyable infotainment experience. The entire interior layout of the Polo surpasses that of the Renault, with nicer materials being used and seats suited more for comfort. There is nothing really negative about the Renault, it too offers a quality cabin, minus the chicness offered in the Polo. You’re also offered a touchscreen system in the Renault, but no CarPlay…the horror! Again, the Renault’s fun side comes to surface in the interior, with bucket seats so deep, you feel like you’re in an adult baby seat (if there’s such a thing). As good as those seats are for apex chasing, normal town driving can get tiring.

The looks:

Forget what us car journos tell you about steering feel. Looks count too. A lot. In that department, the Clio GT-Line and Polo TSI R-Line do very well. Both cars look like baby variants of their older, more powerful siblings. One thing Volkswagen has done well with, is by fitting the Polo TSI R-Line with 17-inch shiny wheels. This fills the car out nicely, especially since the Polo is fitted with a body kit. The Clio on the other hand has always been a pretty car. The GT Line further elevates that, with slightly more aggressive body styling. Standing toe to toe, it’s hard to pick which looks nicer, so we’ll leave that to you.

And, who’s the winner?

In a perfect world, we would like to award a car with the crown based on just how it drives or its features. In these comparisons, we like to put ourselves in the shoes of the buyer. Where should your hard earned money go? Logically, to the car that will cost you less in the long run. There’s a huge advantage in buying a car that is loved in SA, you can easily get rid of it without being offered nothing when you need to trade it in. This will be the case with the Polo, it’s resale value will surpass that of the Clio. If, however you’re a “YOLO” kind of person and you just want to have fun, the Renault offers more thrills. There’s something about being in a not to fast car that allows YOU to drive and exploit all the power it has. That is something the Renault gives you. So, which is the better car? For long term ownership, the Polo remains the king.

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.