Hyundai Tucson 1.6T AT
Hitting the road
We recently found ourselves unexpectedly having to rely on our long-term Hyundai Tucson 1.6 Turbo to be our transport for more than 3 000km, which included a 4×4 route and plenty of dirt roads. We headed off to the Gariep Dam via Bloemfontein on the N1, so no problems here. The car is a pleasure to drive. The responsive engine takes highway cruising in its stride, trotting along at low revs and quietly making light work of hills. Overtaking the dozens of 18-wheelers presented no threat as performance is brisk and gear shifts smooth and slick. Our second day on the road took us through Graaff-Reinet where the initial plan was to drive the Driekoppe 4×4 Trail in the Camdeboo National Park. Although we had our doubts, we decided to see how the Tucson would cope – the map did say that only 4×2s with diff lock were admissible so although our clearance was doubtful, at least we had all-wheel drive.
It took us about 45 minutes to complete the 12km route and, apart from the odd scraping sounds from below the belly, the crossover managed adequately. It was on to Willowmore where we took the scenic unpaved road to Klaarstroom. And on the gravel sections the all-wheel-drive Hyundai was surprisingly comfortable, never mind the 19-inch rims, shod with a thin layer of rubber strips. It was composed and comfortable, and thanks to the all-wheel-drive system, the ride was always stable, despite some ruts and corrugations. We departed on this journey a little bit worried about our choice of steed, but the Hyundai Tucson proved up to every task we dished out.
Distance received/now 13km/11 893km
Distance completed 11 880km
Average fuel consumption 9.1 litres/100km
Selling price now R519 900
Hire purchase per month R10 535
Service plan Five-year/90 000km
Driven by Jannie Herbst
Refinement is on par with premium German brands
It can handle some rough gravel tracks, no sweat
A brisk open-road performer, and comfortable, too
Not so good
In a traffic jam, on a hot day, a warning light that the gearbox was overheating illuminated on the dash. The traffic started moving only a minute later, and the warning disappeared soon afterwards.
Suzuki Jimny 1.3 MT
Gotta love it
Over the past few months, the Suzuki Jimny has been completing its daily runner chores with no issues at all – as it had in the months before that.
I love the Jimny. I love it for its off-road ability, its character and its general cute-factor. Admittedly, there are times I think it could do with some more storage space, or just one or two more kilowatts under the bonnet, or even an extra speaker. But as a compact 4×4, it remains unbeaten as far as value-for-money is concerned.
For a little over R250 000, you can buy an economical runabout not afraid to get its hands dirty on the weekend, while using less than eight litres/100km as a daily runner. Remember, it has a transfer case, so it can do a fair amount of off-roading, too. Okay, so the Jimny is certainly not the new kid on the block in the styling department – the basic shape, if you don’t count a few nips and tucks, has been around for nearly two decades. But, despite this, it has evolved into a relatively modern and relevant 4×4.
– Deon van der walt
VW Amarok D/C 2.0BiTDI 4Motion AT
With a bit of sport
In the last issue, we reported that the Amarok had received some special attention from Seikel South Africa. A Seikel Desert suspension and plenty of underbody protection were added, at a total cost (excluding fitment) of around R44 000, but the upgrades, together with the Cooper Discoverer, S/D Maxx all-terrain tyres, have elevated the Amarok to a new level of 4×4.
The package includes springs, dampers and rear leaf springs. The result is a firm, sporty ride on tar. I must admit, I’ve had quite a bit of fun with the uprated suspension; there certainly is a good measure of satisfaction out-cornering a hot hatch in a big double cab bakkie. And the Cooper tyres, despite their aggressive tread pattern, provide surprisingly good grip, too. The rear leaf springs are the Comfort option, so three leafs. For customers who carry heavy loads, there’s a five-leaf option. The leafs are supplemented by new Seikel dampers at the back. In the front, there are new dampers and springs, and with the uprated parts, the Amarok now has 25mm more clearance that it used to (from the suspension lift). The Cooper tyres have also added an extra few millimetres, so the bakkie stands noticeably higher off the ground.
We have not had an opportunity to take the Amarok off-roading yet, but on dirt roads the uprated suspension offers a more composed, more solid ride. And little ditches are hardly noticeable now, the ‘Rok just carries on regardless. First the bigger tyres and now the higher ride have had an impact on fuel consumption though; the Amarok now drinks an average of 9.7 litres/100km, just over half-a-litre up from the stock-standard average.
Distance received/now 1 045km/13 798km
Distance completed 12 753km
Average fuel consumption 9.7 litres/100km
Selling price new R580 200
Hire purchase per month R11 387
Service plan Five-year/90 000km
Driven by Danie Botha
Eight-speed auto gearbox is in a class of its own
Handling! Dicing a hot hatch through some twisties is quite a bit of fun in a big double cab
Not so good
With the bigger tyres and uprated suspension fitted, fuel consumption is up. And cruising at 120km/h in top gear (8th), the gearbox now gears down more readily to maintain the same momentum up hills. But hey, every sport has its injuries.
Mitsubishi Pajero 3.2Di-D GLS
An expensive pleasure
The new year is in full swing. It’s a big year for the fourth-generation Pajero, since it’s officially turning 10. Back in the halcyon days of 2007, the Mitsubishi Pajero was a real contender. For the sticker price of R389 900, you could get a luxurious and very well- equipped 3.2 DI-D GLS SWB. Today, the same vehicle goes for the eye-watering R689 900. That’s a lot of money, especially when you consider how things have evolved over the last decade. As you’ll read elsewhere in this issue, we spent a lot of time with some entry-level bakkie-based SUVs this month, and it has really put the evolution of vehicle technology into perspective.
It must be said that the Pajero is still a great vehicle. It has aged remarkably well, and in addition, has been updated significantly over the years. The latest version is slightly more powerful than the original and also has a better interior. But the Pajero is facing off against some thoroughly modern vehicles that benefit from the advancement of technology. Stepping back into the Pajero after driving the Ford Everest 2.2 TDCi XLT 6MT 4×2 in particular (priced at R478 900), we couldn’t help feel as if price is becoming a big issue. On a different note, Front Runner recently borrowed the Pajero. It took a bunch of vehicles to the Waterberg
where the staff involved camped self-sufficiently and photographed all the vehicles for marketing purposes.
Distance received/now 30 291km/41 227km
Distance completed 10 936km
Average fuel consumption 12 litres/100km
Selling price new R689 900
Service/maintenance plan Five-year/100 000km service plan
Driven by GG van Rooyen
It’s pretty comfortable
Great Tough Dog suspension
SWB is compact and easy to manoeuvre
Not so good
Showing its age
Old-school 3.2-litre diesel is a tad thirsty
Stuff on the roof means no covered parking