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Steven Johnson Cars Blog

At Steven Johnson Cars, we love cars. Period. Here we share details about cars we love and popular cars or cars we currently stock. We also share interesting industry, car and driving tips. Follow us here and on FACEBOOK to not miss a post!

If Cars Could Speak: Romantic Wisdom on Four Wheels

Imagine for a moment that cars could talk. Yes, those trusty steeds of steel and rubber that carry us through our daily lives. But what if, beyond just taking us from point A to point B, they could offer us something more – say, advice on romance? As we celebrate the month of love, let’s indulge in a whimsical journey, imagining the romantic tips our cars would give us if they had a voice.

The Art of Listening: Just as a car listens to your commands through the steering wheel, pedals, and gear shift, it would remind us of the importance of listening in a relationship. Active listening, understanding, and responding to your partner’s needs and concerns can strengthen your bond. Much like diagnosing a strange noise under the hood, paying attention to the small details can prevent bigger issues down the road.

Regular Maintenance is Key: Any car enthusiast knows that regular maintenance is crucial for a car’s longevity. Similarly, a car would advise us to nurture our relationships consistently. Regular check-ins, date nights, or simply asking how your partner’s day went can be the equivalent of routine oil changes for your relationship’s engine.

Navigating Rough Roads Together: Cars endure potholes, slippery roads, and tough conditions, much like the challenges we face in relationships. The advice here? Stay the course and navigate these challenges together. Support and trust in each other during tough times can lead to a stronger, more resilient partnership.

The Joy of the Journey: A car would certainly remind us that it’s not just about the destination, but the joy of the journey. In love, it’s about cherishing each moment, whether it’s a spontaneous road trip or a quiet evening at home. Embrace the adventures, big and small, and find joy in the journey you share.

Customization Reflects Individuality: Just as we customize our cars to reflect our personalities, a car would encourage us to appreciate and celebrate our partner’s unique qualities. Embracing each other’s individuality can add color and excitement to the relationship, much like a custom paint job or a unique set of rims on a car.

While our cars may not be able to whisper sweet nothings into our ears, they certainly do offer lessons in love through their existence. This Valentine’s Day, as we think about the bonds we share with our significant others, let’s take a moment to appreciate the silent wisdom of our four-wheeled friends. After all, in both love and cars, it’s the journey and the care we put in that makes all the difference.

This month, whether you’re embarking on a romantic road trip or simply driving to a cozy dinner date, remember the lessons from our silent companions on wheels. And if you’re looking to start a new journey with a reliable pre-loved car, come visit us at Steven Johnson Cars. Let’s find the perfect ride for your love adventures.

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9 February 2024

Exploring the Integration of AI in Vehicles: Understanding Automotive Chatbots

The realm of artificial intelligence (AI) has expanded beyond creating texts, songs, and images, and is now making its way into the automotive industry. This advancement was highlighted at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, where leading car manufacturers like Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz announced plans to incorporate AI features into their cars.

This move prompts questions about the role of AI in vehicles and its potential advantages for drivers. Let’s delve into the potential implications of AI in cars and its impact on the driving experience.

Volkswagen, a prominent German car manufacturer, has merged ChatGPT technology with its ‘IDA voice assistant’, enabling drivers to access a wide range of information while on the move. The company plans to be the first to standardize ChatGPT in vehicles starting from the second quarter of 2024.

The IDA voice assistant is set to revolutionize voice control capabilities, offering enhanced control over functions like infotainment, navigation, and climate control, surpassing current offerings in many vehicles. Additionally, drivers will be able to pose general knowledge queries to their cars, effectively transforming them into a mobile search engine.

As per Volkswagen’s press release, the IDA voice assistant will support interactive, intuitive language conversations, vehicle-specific information access, and hands-free operation.

Mercedes-Benz is also adopting a similar approach by integrating a chatbot feature, aiming for a more realistic interaction. However, unlike Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz has not specifically mentioned using OpenAI’s ChatGPT in their press materials.

It’s worth noting that OpenAI’s ChatGPT is not the sole large-language model chatbot available. This leaves room for speculation about the different AI technologies Mercedes-Benz might be experimenting with.

There have been concerns about the accuracy of information provided by AI systems like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, as well as issues regarding user data security. Volkswagen, in response, assures that ChatGPT will not access vehicle data and that user queries will be immediately deleted to maximize data protection. The company also plans to utilize Cerence Chat Pro to verify responses for accuracy and relevance.

Cerence, a leading automotive AI company in the US, has also partnered with Skoda to develop an automotive chatbot capable of answering a vast range of questions, thereby enhancing the driving experience.

With these advancements, we can anticipate a future where cars not only answer a wide array of car-related questions but also become an integral part of our information-seeking and decision-making processes. This technology is expected to address queries ranging from locating the nearest EV charger to specific details about the car’s maintenance schedule and driving statistics.

Original source: https://bit.ly/3SKIC3Q

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9 February 2024

Your Comprehensive Guide to Car Battery Replacement

At some stage, every vehicle owner faces the task of battery replacement. Whether it’s due to battery failure or the desire for an upgrade, understanding the process is crucial. This article will guide you through all aspects of car battery replacement, including selection criteria for a new battery, the safe replacement process, and maintaining the new battery’s health.

Choosing the right battery for your car and selecting a new car battery involves several considerations. Ensure the battery matches your car’s specifications, which can be found in the owner’s manual or on the old battery’s label. Key aspects to look for:

  • Size and Specifications: The battery should fit your vehicle’s make and model.
  • Capacity and Cold Cranking Amps (CCA): A higher capacity (Ah) indicates more energy storage, while a higher CCA rating ensures better performance in cold conditions.
  • Warranty: Opt for a battery with a robust warranty for added security.

Understanding car battery lifespan a car battery’s life varies based on the vehicle type, battery quality, and usage. Typically, a battery lasts 3 to 5 years, but factors like climate, electronics use, and driving habits can impact this.

Common Causes of Battery Failure Battery failure can occur due to:

  • Natural end of life
  • Mistreatment, such as overcharging or deep cycling
  • Drain from electrical components when the car is off
  • Insufficient charging due to short or infrequent trips

Identifying a Failing Battery Watch out for these signs:

  • Difficulty starting the engine
  • Dashboard battery warning light
  • Rapid battery drain
  • Dimming lights when the engine is off

Replacing your car battery safely follow these steps for a safe replacement:

  • – Turn off the engine and remove the key from the ignition.
  • – Locate and expose the battery.
  • – Disconnect the negative cable first, then the positive.
  • – Carefully remove the old battery.
  • – Place the new battery, ensuring it’s secure.
  • – Connect the positive cable first, then the negative.
  • – Start the car to test the new battery.

Maximising Battery Life To prolong your battery’s life:

  • Regularly clean terminals to prevent corrosion.
  • Avoid leaving the car unused for long periods.
  • Turn off all accessories before shutting off the engine.
  • Limit use of electronics with the engine off.
  • Ensure the alternator functions correctly.

Dealing with a dead battery if your battery dies:

  • Check and secure connections.
  • Test the battery voltage.
  • Jump-start the car if necessary.
  • Charge the battery with an external charger.

Replacing a car battery is a manageable task that can save you time and money. With the right knowledge and tools, you can confidently choose and install a new battery, ensuring your vehicle remains reliable. Remember to select a battery based on specific criteria and handle it with care to avoid damage. By following these guidelines, you can extend the life of your car battery and prevent unexpected issues.

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9 January 2024

Essential Features for Your Next Family Vehicle

As life progresses, our needs evolve. Starting a family, expanding it with a couple of furry friends, and watching as your world grows, all lead to one realisation: it’s time to upgrade. A bigger living space and a more spacious vehicle become necessities.

When hunting for the perfect family car, size is a vital factor, but it’s not the only one. Safety and functionality are equally important. Every family has unique needs, but here are key features to consider for that crucial family car purchase:

Safety Ratings The well-being of your loved ones is paramount. The Euro NCAP star rating system offers insight into the safety level of cars, providing a 5-star scale and detailed safety assessments in downloadable reports. This helps you make an informed decision for your family’s safety.

Airbags Modern cars usually come equipped with front airbags. However, it’s critical to understand their impact, especially on young children. The force from an airbag can harm small children, so either deactivate it or ensure they’re seated safely in the back.

Storage Space In a country as scenic as South Africa, road trips are a must. Your car should have ample storage for all family necessities, whether it’s a stroller, sports gear, or picnic items.

Comfort and Accessibility A family car is more than just a vehicle; it’s a part of daily life. Look for a car that offers spaciousness, comfort, and conveniences like ample legroom, headroom, and handy features like drink holders and side pockets.

UV Protection Windows Not all car windows offer the same level of UV protection. While windshields generally provide more protection, side windows may lack sufficient UV filtering. Consider cars with high UV protection or add UV-blocking tint to your windows.

Automatic Central Locking all doors will be locked or unlocked simultaneously with a single control, typically a button or key fob. This feature enhances convenience and security, ensuring all doors are securely locked while driving or when the vehicle is parked.

Bluetooth Connectivity Managing young children requires constant attention. Cars with Bluetooth allow hands-free phone usage, helping parents stay focused on the road while remaining connected when necessary.

Cruise Control On long family trips, maintaining a constant speed can relieve some driving stress. Cruise control helps keep a steady pace, allowing you to focus more on steering and less on pedal control.

ISOFIX A standard system for attaching child seats in vehicles, using fixed anchor points for a secure and stable fit. This method reduces installation errors and enhances the safety of children in cars.

If you’re in the market for a pre-owned family vehicle, consider visiting Steven Johnson Cars. We offer a range of cars to suit your growing family’s needs. Come visit us or contact us to explore your options.

Source: AutoPedigree

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9 January 2024

Holiday Traditions on the Road: Celebrating the Festive Season in Your Car in South Africa

As the holiday season approaches in South Africa, there’s a unique charm in the air. With diverse cultures celebrating in myriad ways, the festive spirit takes over, and what better way to immerse yourself in this joyous time than by taking to the roads? In this blog, we’ll explore how you can create unforgettable holiday memories right from the comfort of your car.

1. Christmas Light Tours: South Africa is known for its vibrant displays of Christmas lights in various cities. Plan a route to drive through neighbourhoods adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations. Cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban have famous spots where communities go all out with their displays. It’s a magical experience, perfect for families and couples alike.

2. Beachfront Cruises: Take advantage of South Africa’s beautiful coastlines. A drive along the beach fronts of Cape Town, Durban, or the Eastern Cape, with the windows down and the ocean breeze coming in, is a must-do. The festive season often means lively boardwalks, music in the air, and a general atmosphere of celebration.

3. Safari Drive-Throughs: Why not combine a holiday drive with a safari experience? South Africa’s wildlife parks offer drive-through safaris where you can witness the majestic beauty of African wildlife. Imagine spending your holidays spotting lions, elephants, and giraffes in their natural habitat – an adventure that’s quintessentially South African.

4. Drive-In Movies and Carol Evenings: The resurgence of drive-in cinemas offers a nostalgic and safe way to enjoy holiday classics. Pack some snacks, blankets, and settle in for an evening under the stars. Keep an eye out for local churches or communities hosting carol evenings, where you can enjoy festive songs from the comfort of your car.

5. Food and Craft Markets: The holiday season is ripe with markets showcasing local artisans and cuisines. Take a drive to various holiday markets across the country. You can find unique gifts, sample local delicacies, and soak in the festive ambiance.

6. Road Trip to a Hidden Gem: South Africa is full of hidden gems. Plan a road trip to a lesser-known town or attraction. Discover local traditions, enjoy regional cuisine, and explore South Africa’s rich cultural tapestry.

7. New Year’s Eve Countdowns: As the year draws to a close, be part of the numerous New Year’s Eve countdown events. Whether it’s a fireworks display in a city or a more intimate gathering in a small town, there’s something special about ringing in the New Year in a new place.

Conclusion: Celebrating the festive season in South Africa doesn’t have to be confined to your home. Your car can be the vessel that carries you and your loved ones through an array of festive experiences. From light tours to drive-in movies, beachfront cruises to safari adventures, the holiday spirit is just a drive away. Stay safe, respect the local guidelines, and immerse yourself in the joyous spirit of the season.

Remember, a reliable used car from Steven Johnson Cars can be your perfect companion for these holiday adventures. Visit us to find a vehicle that suits your festive travel needs and let the celebrations begin on the road!

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2 December 2023

Choosing the Perfect Car for Your Loved One This Festive Season in South Africa

The festive season in South Africa is a time of joy, celebration, and thoughtful giving. If you’re considering a truly memorable gift for a loved one this year, why not a used car? It’s practical, generous, and can be a delightful surprise. This guide will help you navigate the process of selecting the perfect used car for your special someone in South Africa in 2023.

1. Understanding Their Needs: Start by considering what your loved one truly needs in a car. Is it for daily commuting in busy cities like Johannesburg or Cape Town? Or, perhaps for leisurely drives along the Garden Route? Think about size, fuel efficiency, and functionality. A compact car might be ideal for city driving, while an SUV could be better suited for adventure seekers.

2. Setting a Budget: Decide on a budget that is comfortable for you. The used car market in South Africa offers a wide range of options, from affordable hatchbacks to luxury sedans. Remember, additional costs such as insurance, registration, and maintenance should also be factored in.

3. Researching the Market: With your budget and their needs in mind, research the models that fit the criteria. Online platforms, local dealerships, and auto magazines are great resources. Pay attention to the car’s age, mileage, service history, and overall condition.

4. Safety and Reliability: Safety should be a top priority. Look for cars with a good safety rating and reliable track record. Features like airbags, ABS brakes, and stability control are important, especially when driving on South Africa’s varied terrain.

5. Considering the Extras: What extra features would your loved one appreciate? Think about Bluetooth connectivity, a sunroof, leather seats, or advanced navigation systems. These features can turn a practical gift into a luxurious surprise.

6. Test Drive and Inspection: Before making the final decision, take the car for a test drive and get it inspected by a professional mechanic. This will ensure that the car is in good condition and a worthy investment.

7. Making it a Surprise: To keep the gift a surprise, you might need to be a bit sneaky. Enlist the help of friends or family members, and perhaps create a diversion to keep your loved one guessing.

8. The Big Reveal: Plan a memorable reveal. Consider tying a big red bow around the car or unveiling it at a festive gathering with family and friends. The look of surprise and joy on their face will be priceless.

Gifting a used car is a gesture that speaks volumes. It shows care, thoughtfulness, and a desire to contribute positively to your loved one’s daily life. With the right approach, this gift could be the highlight of their festive season. At Steven Johnson Cars, we have a range of quality used cars perfect for gifting. Visit us, and let us help you make this festive season unforgettable for your loved one!

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2 December 2023

WRITE-UP: Mini 2014 Countryman

In the South African used car market today, the 2014 Mini Countryman and Paceman stand out as notable choices from the past. Here’s a reflective analysis of their features and performance from back then:

Pros:

  • The allure of a Mini was its unmistakable style, lively character, and exhilarating driving dynamics.
  • Those requiring additional room found the 4-door SUV Countryman and the sporty 2-door Paceman as compelling choices.
  • Both these models gained a loyal base among Mini aficionados.

Cons:

  • If you were prioritising space, comfort, versatility, and cost-effectiveness back then, other vehicles like the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, or Toyota RAV4 might have been more suitable.

2014 Updates:

  • The 2014 Mini Countryman and Paceman saw the centre rail being replaced with double cup holders equipped with 12V outlets.
  • Padded armrests graced the rear doors of the Countryman, and a bench seating arrangement became the exclusive rear-seat layout.
  • The Paceman standardly featured the Comfort Suspension, but the Sport Suspension was available without additional charges.
  • John Cooper Works interior and exterior packages were introduced for both models.

The Larger Minis:

  • Back in 2014, those wanting a more spacious Mini turned to the Cooper Countryman and Paceman.
  • The Countryman, boasting 4 doors, comfortably seated five passengers and presented the adaptability expected of a compact SUV.
  • The Paceman, on the other hand, blended sporty aesthetics with enhanced cabin space.
  • Both were available with all-wheel drive (AWD) and different performance variants.

Driving Dynamics:

  • Minis were renowned for their agile handling, providing a distinctive and pleasurable drive.
  • These models, despite being more spacious, retained their agility and precision.
  • Turbocharged Cooper S and John Cooper Works models added a performance punch, with the latter offering more than 200 horsepower.

Interior Ambiance:

  • The Countryman and Paceman’s interiors clearly showcased Mini’s iconic design elements.
  • Power-window switches were relocated from the central console to the doors in these models.
  • The only rear-seat arrangement in the 2014 Countryman was the bench, and the centre rail was swapped out for cup holders equipped with a 12V socket.

Exterior Design:

  • Adapting to their larger profiles, the Countryman and Paceman maintained Mini’s signature design elements.
  • Mini also provided an extensive accessory catalogue, allowing owners to add personal touches, including options from the John Cooper Works line.

Highlighted Features:

  • Driving Experience: Minis offered an unparalleled driving experience at their price point.
  • MINI CONNECTED INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM: The system integrated a driver’s smartphone for enhanced connectivity, offering web-based audio, social media access, and Google’s Send to Car.

Standard Offerings:

  • Three trims were available: Cooper, Cooper S, and John Cooper Works.
  • Standard equipment covered a 6-speed manual gearbox, Leatherette seating, an AM/FM/CD/HD 6-speaker audio system, climate-controlled glove compartment, remote entry, and a range of convenience and safety features.

Factory Customizations:

  • Mini’s customization possibilities were vast.
  • The Mini Connected package introduced an infotainment system with a color display and smartphone connectivity.
  • Other options included a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, a harman/kardon sound setup, parking sensors, leather seats, and John Cooper Works add-ons.

Engine & Drivetrain:

  • The engine line-up for the 2014 Mini Countryman and Paceman mirrored that of the smaller Mini models.
  • Base configurations featured a 1.6-liter inline 4-cylinder engine pushing out 121 horsepower.
  • Turbocharged Cooper S models churned out 181 horsepower, while the John Cooper Works variants exceeded 200 horsepower.
  • Available transmissions were a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic.
  • For optimal output, these Minis recommended using 91-octane fuel.

To conclude, for those exploring the South African used car scene today, the 2014 Mini Countryman and Paceman served as stellar examples of combining Mini’s distinctive flair and dynamic driving experience with a demand for more space. Although they might not have matched some competitors in terms of cargo space, their unique charisma and driving joy are still evident.

Source: Kelley Blue Book

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1 November 2023

10 Strategies for Enhancing Fuel Efficiency in South Africa

We all know that vehicles rely on fuel to operate. However, this doesn’t imply that you can’t adopt certain practices to optimise your fuel consumption.

Maintain Tire Pressure: When tires aren’t adequately inflated, they create greater friction on the road. Every journey consumes more fuel due to this increased resistance. By maintaining proper tire pressure, possibly preventing up to a 10% decrease in fuel efficiency caused by underinflation of 10 psi.

  • Declutter Your Trunk: If you’re one of those who stow away numerous items in the trunk, it’s time for a rethink. Remember, an additional 50kg of weight can lead to a 2% rise in fuel usage. So, only store essentials!
  • Use Air Conditioning Judiciously: It might seem counterintuitive, but driving at speeds above 80km/h with the windows down can guzzle more fuel due to wind resistance. In such cases, it’s wiser to use the air conditioning.
  • Maintain Optimal Speed: Cruising at high speeds significantly increases wind resistance, leading to more fuel consumption. However, moving too slowly isn’t economical either. For the best fuel economy, keep your speed between 50 and 90 km/h on highways.
  • Smooth Acceleration is Key: Revving the engine unnecessarily consumes more fuel. Aim for gradual and steady acceleration, as a lower RPM typically translates to lesser fuel usage.
  • Avoid Abrupt Braking: Excessive braking, especially when tailgating, can lead to more fuel usage due to the subsequent need for acceleration. Additionally, tailgating isn’t just fuel-inefficient; it’s unsafe.
  • Utilize Top Gear or Cruise Control: Whether you’re driving an automatic or manual vehicle, aiming for a constant speed or higher gears, when suitable, can mean fewer engine revolutions and thus less fuel consumed.
  • Adopt Predictive Driving Habits: Anticipate your next move by observing the road conditions ahead. Gently decelerating before a red light or gradually accelerating before a hill can help in conserving fuel.
  • Strategise Your Commute: Regular halts and starts in bumper-to-bumper traffic can strain your engine and increase fuel usage. Whenever feasible, try to navigate around the peak traffic hours.
  • Limit Idling: If you find yourself in a situation where you’re waiting for more than three minutes, it’s advisable to turn off your engine. An idling engine still consumes fuel.

Lastly, a consistent vehicle servicing routine is crucial for ensuring fuel efficiency. Engines comprise intricately connected components. If these aren’t maintained properly, unwanted build-ups can hamper the engine’s performance. Furthermore, selecting a quality engine oil can drastically reduce internal friction, combat residues, and enhance fuel economy.

If it’s been a while since your last car check-up, perhaps it’s time to schedule a service appointment.

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1 November 2023

Steven Johnson Cars Welcomes Screan On The Block

The dynamic world of automobiles has a fresh face that could redefine the way we approach used car acquisitions. Launched by CEO Mike Schlebach in 2022, Screan is poised to address the typical uncertainties linked with buying second-hand vehicles. 

While some dealerships might see Screan as a little bit of a threat, Steven Johnson Cars believes it to be a valued addition, perfectly matching our dedication to excellence and openness.

What Screan Brings to the Table:

At its core, Screan offers on-location evaluations done by skilled mechanics. These experts scrupulously examine a car’s mechanical, electrical, and aesthetic features, armed with a thorough 150-point checklist. The ensuing digital documentation, enriched with photographs and video recordings, provides pivotal details on the vehicle’s status to both buyers and sellers.

Steven Johnson Cars’ Steadfast Devotion:

At Steven Johnson Cars, we recognize the unease frequently tied to obtaining a used vehicle. Hence, Screan’s role in making this endeavour more discernible and safeguarded excites us. Our conviction remains that every individual has the right to feel secure when investing in a car, and Screan’s offerings are in harmony with this sentiment.

Boosting Assurance Across the Spectrum:

While we hold immense trust in our detailed and transparent Steven Johnson evaluation system, we appreciate the merits of dealerships opting for Screan. Choosing such a scrutiny before advertising their vehicles, sellers exhibit their sincerity, indicating that their cars are top-notch. This philosophy perfectly meshes with Steven Johnson Cars’ principles, given our thorough inspection on all our cars prior to resale.

The Guarantee of Steven Johnson Cars: 

A hallmark of Steven Johnson Cars is our unwavering focus on quality. Our checking scrutiny underscores our intent to make certain every car we put up for sale is of unparalleled standards. This stringent verification addresses mechanical, electrical, and aesthetic areas, granting customers confidence and serenity in their acquisitions.

Aligning Screan’s Proposals with Steven Johnson’s Mastery: 

Not only catering to individual clientele, Screan’s provision also encompasses dealerships. Their exhaustive 120-point rundown for dealership pre-owned car evaluations ensures all facets receive proper attention. This meticulousness strikes a chord with Steven Johnson Cars’ modus operandi, where impeccable quality is a given.

Wrapping up, Steven Johnson Cars is thrilled to have Screan as an esteemed collaborator in the car arena. Their devotion to clarity and exhaustive assessments mirrors our aspiration to bestow clients with the assurance they merit in used car acquisitions. Looking forward to an era where every second-hand car transaction exudes trust and knowledge.

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12 October 2023

Tips for Navigating a South African Road Trip

Exploring South Africa with a road trip is a must, but safety is key. Check out these essential tips:

Choose Affordable Rentals: Opt for a reliable, budget-friendly car rental to save on costs and minimise risks.

Keep the Tank Full: Regularly refuel to avoid running out of petrol, as GPS estimates can be unreliable.

Don’t Stop for Strangers: Avoid assisting strangers due to potential scams and safety concerns.

Secure Your Vehicle: Keep doors locked and windows closed to deter theft or hijacking, especially at red lights.

Daytime Travel: Plan to arrive during daylight hours to reduce risks associated with nighttime driving.

Mind the Potholes: Watch out for potholes on less-maintained roads, driving cautiously when necessary.

Support Car Guards: Show appreciation to car guards for watching your vehicle.

Pack a Cooler Box: Carry food and water for snacks and emergencies, using a cooler box to keep items fresh.

Trust Reliable Maps: Use trusted maps for navigation and conduct additional research for scenic routes.

Beware of Wildlife: Drive carefully in areas where animals may cross the road, following wildlife warning signs.

In conclusion, follow these tips for a smooth South African road trip. Prioritise defensive driving, take breaks, and share the driving responsibilities. Enjoy your adventure!

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12 October 2023

WRITE-UP: 2021 Toyota Fortuner

WRITE-UP: 2021 Toyota Fortuner

The Toyota Fortuner is a robust 4×4 wagon designed to accommodate seven passengers, making it an ideal choice for adventurous families. It shares its platform with the popular Toyota HiLux ute but offers more family-oriented features.

Late in 2020, the Fortuner range received updates to stay competitive in the South African market, facing rivals like the Ford Everest, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, and its sibling, the Toyota Prado.

Were these changes worth it at the time? This review addressed that question and also touched on some frequently asked questions about the Toyota Fortuner.

Toyota Fortuner 2021: GXL

  • Safety Rating
  • Engine Type: 2.8L Turbo Diesel
  • Fuel Type: Diesel
  • Fuel Efficiency: 7.6L/100km
  • Seating: 7 seats
  • Price from: R754,900

What We Love About the Toyota Fortuner

The Fortuner fills a niche for buyers who need more off-road capability than a Toyota Kluger but aren’t ready to splurge on a Prado. It caters to this niche admirably.

What We Dislike

Compared to some rivals like the Everest and Pajero Sport, the Fortuner doesn’t conceal its ute-based origins as effectively. Additionally, its pricing was quite close to that of the Prado, which can make the decision tougher for customers when comparing these used models against each otherThe rear seats could probably have been designed a bit better.

Standard Features in the Toyota Fortuner

The 2021 Fortuner range consists of three grades, all equipped with the same diesel-auto-4WD powertrain. Here’s what the base model includes:

  • An 8.0-inch touchscreen media system with physical buttons, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and DAB digital radio.
  • A 4.2-inch driver information screen with a digital speedometer.
  • An air-conditioned cooler box.
  • Steering wheel audio controls.
  • Front and rear air-conditioning controls and vents.
  • A six-speaker sound system.
  • Seven seats.
  • Reverse camera.
  • Front and rear park assist sensors.
  • Rear differential lock.
  • Adaptive cruise control and a suite of active safety tech.
  • 17-inch alloy wheels with a full-size steel spare wheel.
  • Cloth seat trim.
  • Carpet flooring.
  • LED headlights and daytime running lights.
  • Auto headlights.
  • Three 12-volt outlets (one front, one rear console, and one in the boot).
  • One USB port.

At the time of the vehicle’s launch you can add GPS navigation to the base model GX for an additional fee.

The next trim level is the GXL which sports added features like standard sat-nav, smart keyless entry, push-button start, climate control air-conditioning (single zone only), a wood-look “premium” steering wheel, paddle shifters, roof rails, LED fog lights, rear privacy glass, and chrome exterior door handles. The GXL could also be equipped with an optional pack  that included leather-accented seats and eight-way power-adjustable front seats.

Topping the line-up is the Crusade that came  with standard leather-accented seat trim, electric front seat adjustment, heated front seats, 18-inch alloy wheels with a full-size spare alloy wheel, an 11-speaker JBL sound system, a power tailgate, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and puddle lamps.

While the Fortuner offered various accessories, including bull bars, underbody protection, a snorkel, and different alloy wheel options, there was no panoramic sunroof available.

Safety Technology

The Fortuner offers competitive safety technology in its class, at the time, including auto emergency braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. However, it lacks blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Off-Roading Capability

The Toyota Fortuner is a genuine 4×4, designed for off-road adventures. It featurs high and low-range 4×4 capabilities, a body-on-frame design, and respectable approach (29 degrees), ramp-over (23.5 degrees), and departure angles (25 degrees). Those updates also gave it a more approachable and attractive exterior design.

Ground Clearance and Wading Depth

The Fortuner offers a running clearance of 216mm and a wading depth of 700mm, which is decent for tackling tough terrain.

Towing Capacity

For those needing to tow, the Fortuner can handle a braked trailer load of 3,100kg or an unbraked trailer of 750kg.

Engine Specs

Under the hood, the Fortuner packs a 2.8-liter turbo-diesel engine producing 150kW of power at 3,400rpm and 500 Nm of torque between 1,600 and 2,800rpm. It comes exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission and is available only in 4WD.

Accessories

Toyota offered a range of accessories for the Fortuner, from bull bars and underbody protection to alloy wheels, LED headlight covers, and interior options like cargo organisers and floor mats. Aftermarket accessories from various suppliers were also available.

Infotainment

The 2021 update brought an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to the Fortuner’s interior. All grades came with USB input, AM/FM radio, Bluetooth phone, and audio streaming, but there was no DVD or CD player. The GXL and Crusade models came equipped with an 11-speaker JBL stereo system with a subwoofer.

Seating Configuration

The Fortuner offers seven seats in a 2+3+2 layout. Leather seats were optional on the GXL and standard on the Crusade.

Performance

The Fortuner’s 2.8-liter turbo-diesel engine provided brisk acceleration, with 0-100 times of less than 10 seconds. It came exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Reliability

While no car was entirely free from issues, the Fortuner had a reputation for reliability. Some earlier models had concerns related to the diesel particulate filter (DPF) clogging, but this issue had been resolved.

Resale Value

The Toyota Fortuner retained its value well in the used car market, making it a sought-after option for buyers.

Conclusion

The Toyota Fortuner 2021 remained a strong contender in the used SUV South African market. With its robust off-road capability, comfortable interior, and competitive pricing, it was an appealing choice for those who needed a rugged SUV for both daily driving and adventurous trips. 

Source: Cars Guide

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11 September 2023

Essential Safety Features for Used Car Buyers

In today’s tough economic climate, many of us can’t afford a brand-new car. Whether we call them used, second-hand, or pre-owned cars, the market for these vehicles is steadily growing in South Africa. In this guide, we’ll help you, the used car buyer, find quality and affordable vehicles that are also safe on the road.

Benefits of Buying a Quality Used Car

  • Affordability: Used cars are significantly cheaper than new ones. High-end or vintage cars may retain their resale value.
  • Reduced Depreciation: Used cars have already undergone significant depreciation, so they don’t lose value as rapidly as new cars.
  • Lower Insurance Costs: Older cars with lower values come with lower insurance premiums, and you can even buy a warranty for peace of mind.
  • Warranty Options: Certified pre-owned cars often come with extended warranties, which are not guaranteed with new cars.
  • Variety: The used car market offers a vast array of options, unlike the limited choices available for new cars.

Risks of Buying a Used Car

  • Existing Problems: Sellers are legally required to disclose any issues, but this isn’t always guaranteed.
  • Mechanical Issues: While dealerships may fix problems initially, issues can reoccur over time.
  • Compromises: You may need to compromise on specifications like colour and mileage, and you may need to consider other options if the dealership doesn’t have what you want.

Making Informed Decisions When Buying a Used Car

Factors to Consider When Buying a Used Car

Consider more than just the car’s appearance. Use the Trans-Union Auto Dealers’ Guide to determine a fair price for the vehicle before making a purchase.

Research:

  • Investigate the vehicle’s history, mileage, and roadworthiness.
  • Check fuel consumption and running costs using Kinsey reports.
  • Compare prices and features of various models.
  • Pay attention to odometer readings, service history, accident records, and the availability of spare keys.

Where to Buy a Quality Used Car

Consider the source:

  • Buying from a trusted dealership can provide peace of mind, as they often inspect and refurbish vehicles.
  • Check if the dealership is a member of the National Automobile Dealers Association.
  • Seek recommendations on social media platforms.

Vehicle Verification:

  • Ensure the vehicle’s status (e.g., stolen or recovered) using the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number).

Service Plans, Warranties, and Maintenance

  • Some used cars come with service plans and warranties, and you can inquire about extending them.
  • Consider depositing a monthly instalment into your savings account for future servicing costs.

Financing Options When Buying a Used Car

  • Create a budget and determine how much you can afford.
  • Use TransUnion’s Car-Value-Report to assess the vehicle’s value.
  • Negotiate the final price, including on-the-road costs.
  • Don’t forget to check for reputable organisations like the Automobile Association.

Car Insurance for Used Cars

  • Protect your investment by purchasing car insurance.
  • Ensure your vehicle’s valuation aligns with your policy’s basis of settlement.
  • Shop around for quotes and consider different insurance levels.

Roadworthiness and Safety on the Road

  • Have the selected car independently inspected by a reputable garage or organisation like the Automobile Association.
  • Investigate the vehicle’s safety features and safety rating.
  • Consider fuel consumption, maintenance, and service costs.

Checklists When Buying a Used Car

  • Important Documents:
    • Verify registration details and documentation.
    • Confirm VIN consistency and integrity.
  • Mileage Details:
    • Ensure consistency with service records.
  • Evidence of an Accident:
    • Inspect for signs of extensive repairs.
  • Safety Factors:
    • Check the condition of tyres, seatbelts, airbags, and other safety features.
    • Confirm the functionality of locks, lights, and other controls.
  • The Test Drive:
    • Ensure you have the right keys.
    • Evaluate the brakes, ABS, lights, and minor controls.
    • Assess steering, windows, and the engine for any issues.
  • The Engine:
    • Check for abnormal noises, oil warning lights, and exhaust emissions.
    • Inspect the clutch, oil, and cam belt according to the service schedule.

We give attribution to this article from the original source: Arrive Alive

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11 September 2023

Five Important Auto Maintenance Tips

Preserving the condition of your vehicle is essential, and prompt repair work ensures its continued function. Regular car servicing helps avoid unexpected malfunctions and mishaps, especially when you’re kilometers away from a repair shop. A well-maintained car guarantees your safety and reliability during travels, enabling hassle-free commutes and journeys.

A well-functioning car is crucial for daily activities, such as commuting to work, fetching children from school, and maintaining social engagements. We’ve put together a concise list of crucial maintenance tasks to ensure you know exactly what to request when you visit your auto service centre.

Five Crucial Car Servicing Tips 

  1. Get your car examined routinely. Professional inspection teams can detect and suggest solutions for problems with your vehicle that might have escaped your notice. A proficient mechanic can utilise a car diagnosis tool to assess different car parts without having to dismantle your vehicle. 
  1. Schedule regular engine and brake checks. The engine is arguably the most vital part of your vehicle and should be periodically tested for optimum performance. Similarly, brake fluid should be routinely checked for safety, and pedals should be kept clean to avoid malfunctions. 
  1. Prepare your vehicle for different weather conditions. Your tires might need inflation or replacement for safe driving. Have your mechanic inspect your air conditioning system for necessary repairs or cleaning. It’s also crucial to get your transmission and exhaust system checked to avoid overheating throughout the year. 
  1. Change your oil consistently. While some experts suggest doing this every three months, some vehicles can go longer. Monitor your fuel levels, consult your owner’s manual for oil change frequency, and avoid delaying the process. Clean oil is necessary for your car’s smooth operation! Pay attention to minor details. If you observe your windshield wipers leaving streaks, replace them. Request a thorough cleaning of your windshield and windows for clear visibility. Also, it’s important to clean your head and tail lights for adequate visibility during night drives or in rainy conditions. 
  1. Engage an auto mechanic for regular servicing. Attempting to repair your vehicle on your own can prove expensive, challenging, and potentially cause more damage if executed incorrectly. You don’t want to risk your safety or that of others by driving a poorly maintained car. The most sensible approach would be to engage a certified auto mechanic for regular vehicle maintenance. Consult your car’s owner’s manual for a prescribed maintenance timeline, and liaise with your dealer’s service department to keep up with regular servicing.

Your mechanic should be competent to examine and address any existing issues with your vehicle, as well as prevent potential problems. A skilled mechanic can ensure your car is well-tuned and road-ready promptly.

We give attribution to this article from the original source: Windsor Chrysler

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11 August 2023

2014 Jaguar XF Write-up

What’s the essence of the 2014 Jaguar XF?

The 2014 Jaguar XF represents a luxurious sports sedan, accommodating five passengers and available in five variants: I4 T, V6 SC, Supercharged, XFR, and XFR-S. It locks horns with competitors like the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Audi A6.

At the time of launch, what was new on the 2014 Jaguar XF?

The XFR-S version, available in limited numbers, and the recently introduced Vision Pack, boasting intelligent high beams, adaptive front lights, a self-dimming rearview mirror, and blind spot monitoring are noteworthy. Features like keyless entry and voice control for navigation, climate, and audio systems are included in the Premium Pack. The XFR model has an optional Performance Pack, furnishing the Sport exhaust and the chassis and brake improvements found on the XFR-S model.

In 2014 how did the 2014 Jaguar XF stack up against other luxurious sports sedans?

Typical for this category of vehicles, the basic price takes a significant leap as more features are added. The XF’s performance and pricing bear close comparison to the BMW 528i. On the basic level, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class provides a considerably more powerful engine for just a bit extra cash.

What characteristics of the 2014 Jaguar XF stood out?

The 2014 XF is equipped as standard with a 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, but there are a variety of other options. These include a 340-hp, supercharged 3.0-liter V-6; a 470-hp, supercharged 5.0-liter V-8; a 510-hp, supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 and even a 550-hp, supercharged 5.0-liter V-8, depending on your chosen model. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Basic features consist of 18-inch wheels, LED tail lights, a boot lid spoiler, four tailpipes, leather seats, heated front seats, and wood finishes. Options include 19- or 20-inch wheels, automatic high-beam headlights, air-cooled front seats, a navigation system, and a powered rear sunshade.

Safety features included as standard are side-impact airbags and active head restraints for the front seats, anti lock brakes, and an electronic stability control system. Optional safety features are a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, a blind spot alert system, and a collision warning system.

Should I go for a pre-owned 2014 Jaguar XF?

The Jaguar XF sports an elegant and modern cabin design, eye-catching styling, and ample boot space, but the rear seat might feel a bit tight and some might find the road noise slightly disruptive. 

We give attribution to this article from the original source: Cars

Image attribution: New Car Test Drive

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11 August 2023

Ford Ranger Raptor Write-up

The new Ford Ranger Raptor is popularly considered as the most powerful double-cab bakkie in the South African market. To showcase its capabilities, Ford chose the Namib Desert as the location for an off-road experience for the media. The Ranger Raptor stands out with its imposing presence and aggressive styling. It features a wide front end, sculpted bonnet, and Matrix LED lights with distinctive C-Clamp daytime running lights. The bakkie also has a durable steel bash plate and flared wheel arches, complemented by 17-inch BF Goodrich KO2 all-terrain tires.

Under the hood, the Ranger Raptor is equipped with a potent 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 engine that delivers an impressive 292 kW and 583 Nm of torque. Its power is channelled through a specifically calibrated 10-speed automatic transmission to the permanent 4-wheel-drive system. The suspension system includes rear Watts Link coil springs and Fox 2.5-inch Live Valve Internal Bypass shock absorbers, providing stability and optimal performance during high-speed off-roading.

Inside the cabin, the Ranger Raptor offers a sense of occasion with fighter-jet-inspired leather-trimmed seats and a multifunction steering wheel. The 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster and 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system powered by SYNC4 provide essential information and entertainment options. The Raptor also features drive modes, including on-road and off-road settings, controlled through the centre console dial.

During the test drive in the Namib Desert, the Ranger Raptor proved its capabilities with its powerful engine and impressive performance. It offers exhilarating acceleration and agility on sand, making it one of the fastest double-cab bakkies in South Africa. The Raptor’s off-road features, such as Trail Control and front differential lock, enhance its ability to conquer challenging terrains with ease.

The Ranger Raptor’s ground clearance, wading depth, towing capacity, and load capacity make it a versatile and capable vehicle. However, its fuel consumption is high due to its performance-oriented nature.

In conclusion, the Ford Ranger Raptor is a remarkable high-speed off-road machine that surpasses its competitors in terms of 4×4 capability. While additional costs for service or maintenance plans should be considered, the Ranger Raptor remains unmatched in its segment, with no direct rivals currently on the market.

We give attribution to this article from the original source: Cars

Image attribution: Cars

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6 July 2023

IMPORTANT POINTERS ABOUT CAR INSURANCE

Now that you have discovered a car ideally suited to your needs, ensuring that your car is adequately insured becomes the next essential obligation. 

Regardless of your level of expertise or cautiousness as a driver, or even if you have purchased a more economical car outright, driving an uninsured vehicle exposes you to significant financial jeopardy.

What exactly is car insurance?

Car insurance, also known as motor vehicle insurance, entails entering into a contractual agreement with an insurance company. In the event of theft or damage to the insured vehicle or the other vehicle involved, the insurance company assumes financial responsibility.

When you acquire insurance, you are essentially making a purchase based on a promise. You make monthly payments to the insurer, determined by your personal information. However, should the insurance company compensate you with the market value of your car, it is unlikely to be sufficient for you to purchase an identical replacement.

Why is car insurance necessary?

In South Africa, where incidents of theft, hijackings, and road accidents are prevalent, having insurance as a protective measure is of utmost importance. In recent years, the cost of vehicle repairs has risen significantly, along with an increase in average insurance claims. The South African Insurance Association (SAIA) reports that 65% of drivers operate uninsured vehicles. The consequences of lacking insurance extend beyond the individual and impact other road users as well.

Considering these risk factors, insurance companies have been compelled to reassess the cost of insuring vehicles.

If you are involved in an accident without insurance, you bear sole responsibility for covering the expenses of repairing your car. Additionally, if you attempt to claim damages from another uninsured driver, you will also be liable for the legal costs.

What factors determine your premium amount?

Several factors determine the value of your car insurance premium. The insurance provider disburses a specific sum based on various values and information provided by you.

• The make and model of your car. 

• The age and condition of the vehicle. 

• The potential replacement value of the car. 

• The insurer will likely reimburse you with the market value of the car. 

• The market value represents the average of the vehicle’s retail and trade value. 

• The trade value refers to the price offered by a second-hand dealer. 

• The retail value denotes the price you paid for the car when purchasing it new or second-hand.

How to locate the best car insurance.

The prevalent issue among many South African drivers is the absence of motor vehicle insurance. While the premiums may appear steep, which may seem like a justifiable reason for car owners to struggle with payment, it should not be an excuse for lacking car insurance.

Driving without car insurance is an excessively risky endeavour. Fortunately, numerous reputable insurance providers are available to assist you in finding the most suitable insurance coverage that aligns with your lifestyle.

We give attribution to this article from the original source: Inspiring Women

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6 July 2023

Useful tips to consider when buying a used car.

South Africa’s car market is expanding due to increasing reliance on vehicles. This presents opportunities for great deals on used cars. When shopping for a second-hand vehicle, keep these tips in mind to minimise future headaches.

Start by creating a budget to determine the affordability and price range of your new wheels. Depending on specific parameters, you may need to consider a pre-owned vehicle. Remember to account for expenses beyond monthly instalments, such as car insurance, fuel costs, toll fees, maintenance expenses, and potential future interest rate increases. 

It’s rare to purchase a vehicle outright with cash, so obtaining finance from a bank is often the alternative. Financial institutions consider your credit history as a crucial factor when deciding whether to grant a car loan.

New graduates who have recently entered the workforce and started paying their own bills may need to gain experience before being eligible for vehicle finance. Different manufacturers in the South African market may offer special finance deals for first-time buyers, but thorough research is advised before committing. Always read and fully understand the terms and conditions to avoid any future confusion.

Additional tips to keep in mind:

  1. Prioritise purchasing the vehicle you need rather than the one you desire but can’t afford. If you’re financially strained, opt for affordable, fuel-efficient vehicles instead of popular SUVs. This decision will prove beneficial every time you have to refill your tank after a fuel price hike.
  2. Look for used vehicles that come with a warranty. If possible, try to extend the warranty and maintenance plan. If a warranty is unavailable, ensure the vehicle has a full-service history (FSH) to reduce the risk of breakdowns caused by inadequate maintenance.
  3. For vehicles without a warranty or service plan, find a reliable workshop for inspections and maintenance. Access to a mechanic is crucial in case of unforeseen breakdowns.
  4. Avoid purchasing vehicles that have been previously damaged and repaired, unless a reputable panel beater has restored an accident-damaged vehicle to roadworthy condition. Stick to vehicles with clean titles, as anything too good to be true probably is.
  5. Be cautious of scam postings on listings platforms offering enticing prices on new vehicles. Take your time during the purchase process to avoid being deceived and ensure you find the best vehicle.
  6. Arrange a test drive for the used vehicle to identify any faults or issues that need to be addressed. This helps determine if the vehicle suits your needs and provides an opportunity to negotiate the price with the seller. 
  7. Beware of balloon payments, which may initially offer lower monthly repayments but ultimately leave you with a substantial outstanding amount at the end of the loan period. Make sure the value of your vehicle will cover this balance when you trade it in or sell it for a new one.
  8. Car insurance should be included in your car budget, despite it being an unpopular expense. In the event of an accident resulting in a write-off, you will still need to repay the car. Insurance also protects against potential third-party claims.

We give attribution to this article from the original source: Carmag

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8 June 2023

WHAT ARE HYBRID CARS? HOW DO HYBRID CARS WORK? HOW TO HYBRID CARS CHARGE?

What is a hybrid car?

Hybrid vehicles, which have become increasingly common in recent years, often raise the question among users: “What is a hybrid car?” The term “hybrid,” meaning a combination of different elements, is used in the automotive industry to refer to vehicles that combine electric and petrol engines. Contrary to popular belief, hybrid vehicles, which first appeared around the same time as conventional petrol vehicles, have gained widespread popularity today due to rising emissions and environmental pollution concerns.

The creation of the first hybrid car can be credited to Austrian-born German automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche when he was just 27 years old. Collaborating with Ludwig Lohner, Porsche introduced the initial hybrid vehicle named “Mixte-Wagen” in 1902. His groundbreaking project involved adding a battery, generator, and electric motors to a 4-cylinder engine, allowing the vehicle to continue moving even when the petrol engine was turned off. This revolutionary development paved the way for advanced models by reducing automobiles’ dependence on fossil fuels.

How Do Hybrid Cars Work?

Hybrid vehicles aim to provide optimal efficiency to meet the vehicle’s performance requirements by activating the appropriate engine based on different usage conditions. By maintaining engine power at the optimal level, hybrid cars achieve energy savings and reduce emissions. The working principle of hybrid vehicles can be explained in greater detail as follows:

Starting: The vehicle’s electric motor is utilised during initial start-up and in situations where high speeds are not required.

Driving: Electric and petrol engines work together during high-speed driving. This arrangement enhances performance significantly, while simultaneously delivering an economical driving experience through reduced fuel consumption. It also ensures low emissions, promoting a cleaner environment.

Deceleration: The vehicle’s braking system facilitates regenerative charging of the electric motors, enabling the utilisation of power generated by the vehicle without wastage.

Stopping: When the vehicle decelerates to lower speeds, the electric motor autonomously activates, and all engines come to a halt when the vehicle is stationary.

By adjusting engine operation according to the speed requirements during driving, hybrid vehicles achieve optimal efficiency. Today, thanks to advancements in engine technology, hybrid cars have become even more efficient, minimising reliance on fossil fuels. This not only helps in preserving nature by reducing pollution but also provides an economical experience for vehicle owners.

How Do Hybrid Cars Charge?

The question of how hybrid cars charge is often posed by prospective hybrid vehicle owners. Self-charging hybrid cars utilise the power generated by the vehicle’s operation and the energy produced during braking to charge the batteries. This way, all generated power in the vehicle is effectively utilised and recycled. Moreover, there are hybrid vehicle models known as Plug-In hybrids that can be charged from an external electricity source. Plug-In hybrid vehicles, equipped with larger battery sizes, can utilise electric power for longer distances.

We give attribution to this article from the original source: Railly News

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6 June 2023

SAFETY TIPS FOR WINTER DRIVING

Whilst South Africa’s winters are generally mild, it’s still advisable to enhance your driving skills in order to manage any adverse weather conditions. This is especially important in the rainy Western Cape, KZN regions, and the misty lowveld. It’s also recommended to prepare your vehicle for the cold months ahead and take necessary safety precautions before embarking on long journeys, as per the advice of Ary Coetzee, Technical & Product Specialist at Bridgestone SA.

Winter Braking

Before setting off on a winter drive, ensure that your brakes have warmed up sufficiently. Driving with cold brakes could lead to brake failure and accidents.

When driving in wet, snowy, or icy conditions, apply gentle pressure to the brake pedal using the ball of your foot to avoid locking your brakes.

If your car has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), do not pump the brakes; instead, maintain steady pressure. You may feel a pulsating sensation in the brakes, but this is normal. Consider ABS when purchasing a new vehicle for additional safety.

Regularly check your brakes during winter to ensure that they are functioning effectively in cold, wet, or icy conditions. While it’s important to exercise caution when driving in winter, if you notice any unusual noises or smells from your brakes, get them checked immediately to avoid any potential issues.

 When driving in treacherous winter conditions, it’s important to exercise additional caution. Wind can affect your steering control, and rain can infiltrate your brakes, making them less effective. Using brakes in these conditions may cause your vehicle to skid or hydroplane, leading to collisions with other cars, while towing vehicles may jack-knife.

You can reduce the risk of accidents during poor driving conditions by maintaining a safe following distance between yourself and the vehicle in front. Although the standard recommended distance is at least two seconds, it’s advisable to increase this to five or six seconds during harsh winter weather. Doing so will allow you to brake or slow down without causing rear-end crashes, which could result in injury, vehicle damage, and consequently higher motor vehicle insurance premiums for many South Africans.

To ensure your vehicle is in top driving condition during winter, inspect your brakes, windscreen wipers, defrosters, and radiators. Check your tyres for damage and make sure the tread is above the minimum of 1.6mm indicated by the tread wear indicator. Regularly checking your tyres can help you prevent most tyre-related accidents.

In the past, drivers had to be hands-on when preparing their cars for winter. Nowadays, you can take your vehicle for servicing at a service station, where they will check your car for winter readiness, including anti-freeze and windscreen wiper fluid levels. While it’s good practice to double-check oil and water levels, many motorists only do so when issues arise.

When embarking on a long journey during winter, take extra precautions to ensure your safety in case of a breakdown. Keep a bundle of cold-weather gear in your car, including extra food, water, warm clothes, blankets, and medication. Make sure your tyres are properly inflated and avoid using cruise control when driving on slippery surfaces like ice. Never warm up your car in an enclosed area like a garage, as this can result in carbon monoxide poisoning.

Careful drivers who give themselves sufficient time for their journeys, service their cars regularly, and prepare for long trips should be able to drive safely during the cold season. Before embarking on a winter journey, check the weather forecast. If the weather conditions are poor with heavy mist or rain, consider postponing your trip if possible.

Supa Quick, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bridgestone South Africa PTY LTD, is committed to keeping South Africans safe on the road. Visit one of our fitment centres nationwide for a free vehicle safety check.

We give attribution to this article from the original source: Supaquick

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3 May 2023

WRITE-UP: 2016 AUDI Q3 QUATTRO

Today, a greater number of shoppers desire certain crossover benefits, such as AWD, elevated ground clearance, cargo flexibility, and a taller driving position. However, they do not wish to contend with the bulkiness and unwieldy handling of a larger utility vehicle.

Therefore, a new generation of small crossovers, exemplified by the 2016 Audi Q3, have emerged as a profitable business option. These vehicles cater to those seeking to upgrade from a smaller luxury car for more space or to downsize from a larger, more fuel-guzzling SUV for something more manageable and fuel-efficient.

If you are interested in owning a crossover but do not wish to incur excessive fuel costs or struggle with parking difficulties, now is an excellent time to explore this market segment. Whether you are already an Audi owner looking to upsize or downsize to the new Q3 or are new to the brand, you will discover numerous desirable Audi features.

The design incorporates all of the latest Audi hallmarks, including a distinctive grille, a sporty stance, and innovative LED lighting that produces a unique illumination signature at night.

The Q3’s onboard features are perhaps its greatest strength. The familiar Audi MMI interface allows drivers to manipulate numerous functions on the central display using a control pad and knob. The graphics are sleek and neat, similar to the elegantly simple instruments, and the overall appearance of the cabin. The design is graceful and modern, with a restrained and formal aesthetic at first glance. However, upon closer inspection, it reveals several subtle details that add to its premium look and feel, rather than relying on one or two significant style elements. Even the lack of sharp edges and the use of matte black and aluminum finish for trimming contribute to the clean design and little touches that elevate the Q3’s cabin.

At the rear, the hatchback’s rake creates a broad cargo area, although it is not particularly high towards the back. Nevertheless, I had ample space onboard to carry a substantial load of Costco groceries, my canine companion, some camping equipment, and the like. The power tailgate can be opened with one button and closed and locked with another, making it convenient when unloading a handful of shopping without having to dig out the key fob.

The rear seats fold almost flat to expand the cargo area, and when upright, there is sufficient space for two adults to lounge in comfort.

However, the Q3’s strong points lie inside the cabin. The MMI interface is easily operated using a control pad and knob, providing access to numerous functions displayed on the central screen. The graphics are clean, much like the instruments, which are beautifully simple, and the overall look of the cabin is modern, neat and formal, with subtle details that convey a premium feel, rather than relying on major styling elements. The Q3’s clean design and attention to detail are what elevate its cabin above others in its class. Additionally, the backseat has a rake to the hatchback, which means the cargo area is wide but not particularly tall towards the rear. Nevertheless, there is ample space for hauling items such as groceries, camping gear, or a dog, and the power tailgate can be opened or closed at the touch of a button. Rear seats can be folded flat to provide more cargo space, and when flipped up, two adults can sit comfortably.

In terms of size, the Q3 is ideal for a couple who typically travels alone but occasionally requires extra space or as a smaller, secondary luxury utility vehicle for families without big children. It provides plenty of headroom, even with the panoramic roof, and the driving position is elevated yet accessible, making it easier for senior dogs, puppies, or mobility-challenged passengers to enter and exit.

The Q3’s 2.0L TFSI turbo 4-cylinder engine delivers 200 horsepower and a bit more torque, resulting in refined performance that feels effortless. Even when driving gently through traffic or cruising up hills with the cruise set, the Q3 moves smoothly and effortlessly thanks to its low-end torque reserves. When needed, the acceleration is strong, and the engine never seems strained, even at redline. Although there are no other engine options available, most drivers will find the Q3’s power sufficient. Additionally, my test drive resulted in fuel consumption of under 10L/100km on premium gas.

It’s important to test the ride quality of any Q3 with the S-Line package since the tester’s experience revealed that the sporty suspension, coupled with the large 20-inch wheels and low-profile tires, offered minimal cushioning for rough roads. This meant that the ride quality was dependent on the road surface. If responsive handling is not a priority, it might be better to opt for a model with less wheel diameter and more sidewall for a more comfortable ride.

With the S-Line package equipped, the Audi Q3 handled smoothly on the highway, albeit with higher road noise levels than expected for a luxury crossover, and a bumpy ride on rougher surfaces. Nevertheless, among sporty crossovers with large wheels, the Q3 S-Line leans towards the more comfortable side. Driving enthusiasts will appreciate the Dynamic drive mode selector, which provides a pleasing and instant response to input. The steering becomes heavier for a direct road feel, and the throttle and steering responses are more precise. The Q3 handles corners well, steers quickly, and feels lively when cruising around bends at speed.

It is worth noting that the optional LED headlights are excellent, providing clean white light that is gentle on the eyes, peripheral illumination into the tree line beside dark highways, and can reflect off surfaces far up the road.

There are no significant complaints. The controls may feel a bit outdated, and the backup camera has a slight delay before activating in reverse. However, with pricing starting under R805,000 and a top-of-the-line tester starting in the low R920s, the 2016 Audi Q3 is an excellent choice for anyone seeking a new, sporty and luxurious little crossover. The interior is outstanding, the drivetrain is proven, and the vehicle is packed with thoughtful and delightful features and design touches.

We give attribution to this article from the original source: Auto123

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3 May 2023

CAR CLEANING AND VALET TIPS

Discover the Top 20 Car Detailing Secrets that professional valet and detailers use to achieve a shiny, long-lasting finish. These tips will help you get the most out of your washing, waxing and polishing efforts and maintain your car’s value for resale and driving enjoyment. Here are some car detailing secrets that you can try:

  1. Dry the exterior and interior glass surfaces in different directions to quickly identify and fix streaks or blemishes. Consider using an anti-glare glass cleaner to avoid streaks.
  2. Wind down the windows to clean the topmost portion of the glass and prevent streaking, dripping and other marks caused by excess product buildup in the window jamb.
  3. Shampoo your car every fortnight to remove dirt, reduce abrasion and prevent rust. Use a two-in-one shampoo and wax to protect as you wash.
  4. Use a soft microfibre towel or chamois to carefully dry your car after cleaning to avoid water marks on the surface. Start at the top of the car and work down each panel in a figure of eight motion.
  5. Remove swirl marks with car polish, not wax. To remove the super-fine scratches on your car’s surface caused by using dirty or the wrong cloth or sponge, use high-quality car polish instead of wax. Contrary to popular belief, wax won’t eliminate these marks.
  6. Rinse the sponge regularly when cleaning. To prevent future swirl marks, rinse your sponge or cloth often during cleaning in a separate bucket to remove dirt particles. Keep your sponge as clean as possible to avoid damaging the paint.
  7. Treat trim before polishing and waxing. Black plastic trim requires different care and maintenance. Before waxing and polishing, treat it with a black restoring product. Waxes and polishes can leave stains on the bare plastic.
  8. Apply wax with a power buffer. Instead of removing wax and polish with a power buffer that can result in an uneven finish and swirls in the clear coat, apply wax with a power buffer and remove it with a soft, dry cloth. By applying wax to the buffer pad, the machine won’t burn the paint layer and will distribute wax evenly.
  9. Check the surface with a plastic bag. Put your hand in a plastic carrier bag and run it over the car’s surface to feel for areas of dirt and abrasion before waxing to avoid greasy fingerprints on the paintwork.
  10. Use microfiber cloths. Soft, microfiber cloths make washing, rinsing, and drying your car easier, safer and more efficient than sponges. Keep your wash and dry cloth separate, and remove labels or tags from the cloths to prevent scratching.
  11. Invest in a dual action polisher. For professional detailing, a dual-action polisher is worth the investment to achieve the best possible results. It easily irons out areas of abrasion and removes old wax, leaving a smooth and even finish for a long-lasting shine.

12. Use static electricity to clean carpets. Rub your hand gently across the carpet to create static electricity that pulls up bits and dust, making them easier to remove with a hoover.

  1. Brush carpets first. Brushing the carpet with a stiff nylon brush will agitate the fibres, making it easier to remove bits with a vacuum cleaner. Be careful not to rub too hard, as this could damage the upholstery.
  2. Use compressed air to deodorise vents. Eliminate stale odours from your car’s air vents by using a can of compressed air to remove dirt, dust and bacteria that cause the unpleasant smell.
  3. Use quality car cleaning products. Invest in quality car cleaning products and tools for best results, including car shampoo, polish, wax, and detailers which are available at providers such as Start My Car.
  4. It is advisable to wash your car when the bodywork is cool and not exposed to direct sunlight. This is because water dries up quickly on hot cars, resulting in unsightly watermarks.
  5. Always apply tyre dressings last since they often contain silicone, which you do not want on the bodywork when you are waxing it.
  6. While washing your car, make sure to clean the door, boot, and bonnet shuts as they tend to accumulate dirt and water, which can dribble out over the clean exterior bodywork.
  7. When drying your car, it is recommended to use an absorbent microfibre towel. Older chamois leathers may cause marks on the paintwork. Additionally, use a light mist of quick detailer to prevent watermarks.
  8. When washing your car, use two buckets – one with shampoo and one without. This helps to avoid reapplying dirty water onto the car. It is best to use buckets with a capacity of at least fifteen litres and ideally with anti-grit grates at the bottom.

We give attribution to this article from the original source: Start My Car

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24 April 2023

WRITE-UP: 2020 Mercedes Benz GLC

What is the Mercedes Benz GLC 300d? In addition to its presence in a successful niche segment, compared to other family members with ‘AMG’ in their name, the GLC is a more reserved yet attractive option, particularly in the AMG Line trim. Its 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine offers both efficiency and power, making it a strong competitor against the BMW X4, and potentially Audi’s Sportback Coupe. The GLC offers two diesel engine options and one petrol option, with the 180kW senior diesel engine being the focus of this review. Want to know what it feels like?

The Benz is a modern car, with most new features added to the cabin, except for the slightly older climate control switches. The 10.25” infotainment screen is available, and the passenger can operate functions through the touchpad. The car also has ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice control, which is quick and intuitive. However, the boot space is smaller compared to the GLC SUV, but still offers 500-litres of loading space. The load space is shallow with the cover in use, but there is spare space under the floorboards for small items, including the spare tire or tire repair kit.

At the time this original source article was written, the Top Gear SA team took the GLC300d on a 2,000km road trip from Johannesburg to Dokodweni’s beaches, then through the Drakensberg hills and back to Johannesburg. The road conditions varied, including freeways with speed cameras, stop-go traffic due to roadworks, gravel roads, and beautiful asphalt ribbons in the mountain passes. They reported that, despite the 20-inch wheels in the AMG-Line package, the ride was not as bad as expected, and the car handled bends and rough tarmac confidently. The GLC300d’s 9G-Tronic transmission behaved excellent for cruising and fuel-efficient, with a 5.8l/100km economy figure on our trip. However, sport mode did not handle as comfortably, with some delay between engine and transmission.

Considering the GLC300d for its attractive Coupé-SUV look? While practicality isn’t a top priority, the GLC still impresses in this segment. With good rear adult occupancy and a surprisingly comfortable and easy loading backseat, it’s worthy of passing the family test. The boot space is also better than many good-sized sedans, and local data company True Price reports high scores for the GLC’s resale value.
Of course, there are other options to consider. The BMW X4 range is different in styling and drivetrain, with either much less or much more power thanks to the M40d. If performance is a priority, the GLC’s AMG-siblings are also worth considering.

The GLC is a typical Merc in terms of performance. The 300d version is powerful and with standard 4MATIC suspension, it can go many places with ease. However, it excels primarily in terms of styling, which is what sets it apart. Although there are equally capable competitors out there, if you are sold on its design, the GLC is probably the better looking option. This will undoubtedly lead to fewer arguments.

We give attribution to this article from the original source: Top Gear South Africa

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20 April 2023

WRITE-UP: 2013 Suzuki Jimny

The Suzuki Jimny is a charming and plucky two-door off-roader that oozes character. The beauty is in the simplicity. Cute, with a modern and aggressive appearance. Powered by a 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine with 63kW and 110Nm, the Jimny may seem small, but it has enough power to tootle around town nicely. However, don’t expect top-notch performance, as this car is not designed for speedsters. In fact, it’s not ideal for highway driving, as it feels a bit disconcerting when doing over 100km/h and can be buffeted by strong winds.

But take the Jimny off the highway and onto off-road terrain, and suddenly, it comes alive. With its soft suspension, low-range gearbox, lockable differential, and exceptional ground clearance, the Jimny is a brilliant off-road vehicle that refuses to get stuck even in the toughest of conditions. It’s no wonder that it is used by some armed forces around the world.

While the interior of the Jimny is basic and simple, it is comfortable and practical, with redesigned seats, air conditioning, a CD player, electric windows, and ISOFIX anchor points for baby seats. And although it may not have fancy gadgets, it more than makes up for it with its superb off-road ability.

Overall, the Suzuki Jimny is a unique and different vehicle that is easy to parallel park and drive through narrow streets in the city, but truly shines when taken off the tarred roads. It’s like a Labrador puppy that’s happiest when unclipped from its leash and charging through streams and up embankments. So, if you’re not in a hurry, the Jimny is definitely worth considering.

If you are looking for a plucky little off-roader for those impromptu weekend bashes, have a look at a quality pre-loved version or let us know and we will see what we can find for you!

Original content sourced from: bit.ly/40gRNuj

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30 March 2023

WRITE-UP: 2014 RENAULT DUSTER 1.5 DYNAMIQUE dCi 4×4

Since its launch in South Africa in 2013 the Renault Duster was geared towards a variety of buyers. From soccer moms and dads carting their kids around, to young city-dwellers in addition to adventurers with active lifestyles. We found that it suits a myriad of roles quite nicely. Let’s have a look at the popular 2014 model.

The seats could be more comfortable – they are the same ones taken from the Duster’s sibling, the Sandero. Long distances would not be very comfortable without a cushion or two. They don’t provide much lumbar support, but the white stitching is a nice aesthetic touch. The interior is spacious in the front, but wouldn’t be fantastic for taller passengers in the rear. The 408-litre boot is wonderfully convenient for large luggage – and for storing motoring scribes as you’ll see in our forthcoming video review.

Technological features

The Duster includes all the necessities from air-conditioning to satellite audio controls on the steering column. It has a nifty colour screen interface with Bluetooth and USB accommodation. A standard navigation system is part of the package too and overall the system is easy to use. The sound system works well enough for the leisurely stuff on Highveld Stereo, but won’t be sufficient for high-bass hip-hop tunes.

Under the hood

We tested the 1.5-litre turbocharged diesel derivative. Ample momentum comes from its 80kW and, 240Nm output.  Top speed is claimed at 171km/h. It accelerates to 100km/h in sedate 12 seconds, and though it won’t win any races, it feels punchy enough on the urban commute. It won’t break the bank either with a claimed fuel consumption of 5.3l/km which can easily be achieved when driving sensibly. There is enough overtaking grunt on the freeway too. But once again, the only thing against its favour on the long-haul are those flat seats.

Driving the change

We enjoyed the Duster both off-road and on it. The first gear is quite short, but Renault did this purposefully to give it some low-range, obstacle-crunching ability.  Once shifted into second gear, the Duster gets into its stride.  It handles well around corners, feeling safe and secure. The sixth gear allows for smooth cruising at a comfortable 120km/h on the highway. It demands a certain respect on the road, and has a few heads turning because it is not seen around every street corner.

Practicality and dependability are two great aspects of the Renault Duster. All in all, we found it to be a companionable gentle giant. It’s honest and doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not.

The Technical Stuff:

Model: 2014 Renault Duster 1.5 Dynamique dCi 4×4

Engine: 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged diesel

Power and Torque: 80kW and 240Nm

Fuel Consumption: 5.3l/100km

If you are a Renault Duster fan and in the market for a pre-loved Renault Duster, see if we have stock at the moment, or let us know and we will keep an eye out for you!

Original content sourced from: http://bit.ly/3yOKnSS

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22 March 2023

WRITE-UP: 2023 BMW 3-Series

The latest BMW 3 Series sedan comes with several new updates, including the updated iDrive system, which is the same one found in the i4. This system features a larger curved display and a new digital instrument cluster that are combined into one panel, with climate control integrated into the display. The display panel includes a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch infotainment screen, with touch and voice control reducing the number of physical buttons and controls. The 8-speed automatic transmission lever has also been redesigned and is now more discreetly positioned.

The front end of the 3 Series has been updated with a revised grille, new double bars, and revised contours, and the standard LED headlights are now slimmer with an inverted L theme for the LED daytime running lights. The rear of the 3 Series has slimmer taillights and larger tailpipe finishers, with the M High-gloss Shadow line and 17-inch light-alloy wheels now standard.

The new 3 Series will be available with one turbo-diesel and up to four turbo-petrol engines, with capacities ranging from four to six cylinders, and featuring 48V mild-hybrid technology. It generates between 110-285kW with fuel consumption ranging from 1.8-8.7l/100km. The mild-hybrid technology provides rapid response and increased efficiency for the diesel and petrol engines. The car comes with an eight-speed Steptronic transmission and gearshift paddles on the steering wheel, while the range-topping model has the xDrive all-wheel-drive system. An eight-speed Sports transmission with sharper shifts, Launch Control, and Sprint functions are also available as options.

Very soon some of these beauties will become available as demo or used models and we will be keeping an eye out to grab them for our clients!

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1 March 2023

WRITE-UP: 2009 Audi TT : Still sexy & elegant as ever

For 2008, Audi redesigned a car that was nothing short of a phenomenon when it came to market for 2000. When I first tested it, I couldn’t get anywhere for days, as I was constantly held up by admirers who wanted to know what this car was. Now it hardly gets noticed, thanks in part to copycats of various prices. Credit (or blame) the TT for some of the more daring exteriors and real or simulated metal interior trim that have followed.

With new drivetrains and technology, the 2008 redesign brings us a slightly larger, still striking and definitely better TT, but the improvements are more incremental than dramatic. Available both in coupe and roadster body styles, the TT’s trim levels are now the 2.0T and the 3.2, reflecting their 2.0-liter turbo and 3.2-liter engines, respectively. This review addresses both coupe trim levels, with driving impressions from a TT 3.2 coupe test car. If you want to compare this model to the earlier generation, look to 2006; the 2008 came early in 2007, so there was no 2007 model.

Exterior & Styling

Despite having grown 5.4 inches longer and 3.1 inches wider, the TT comes across as much the same size, but a lower roof changes the proportions somewhat and the hood appears longer. The main change in front is a face that has gone from cute to sinister, with furrowed brows and a large mouth that evoke Audi’s newest phenomenon, the R8 super coupe.

The most noticeable styling change is the disappearance of the fixed rear spoiler, which was added to cars after a recall soon after the first generation hit dealerships. Aerodynamic lift had caused incidents of snap oversteer and spinouts in European TTs driving at high speeds. The lift issue remains, but now there’s a powered spoiler that raises when the car hits 75 mph then retracts again at 50 mph. (A switch also deploys it if you want to show it off.) Now the originally intended sloping roofline is back — without the hazard.

I also love, love, love the taillights. Traditional translucent red-plastic lenses are two-dimensional and boring, but the recent alternative has been clear plastic over bright chrome bezels — particularly cheap-looking when combined with dark paint colors. I was shocked when Lexus adopted this low-class treatment. Now take a look at the TT’s taillights: a red-tinted lens over compound reflectors. It has the interesting three-dimensionality that the modern era demands — without the cheese factor. Well done, Audi.

Aside from the badges, two things distinguish the 3.2 from the 2.0T: The 3.2 has twin tailpipes and a piano-black-finished grille, and the 2.0T has a single pipe and titanium gray on its grille. Both trim levels get 17-inch alloy wheels. Eighteen- and 19-inch rims are optional.

Going & Stopping

The good news is that the 2.0T has the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that we love in everything from the Audi A3 and A4 to the Volkswagen GTI, GLI and Passat. The bad news is that the 2.0T comes only with front-wheel drive and an automatic transmission. This is a shame. First off, choices are good, and you get fewer here. Second, a manual 2.0T with Quattro all-wheel drive could conceivably have delivered better gas mileage and/or a lower sticker price than the 3.2.

My 3.2 coupe had a standard six-speed manual that did the job, neither impressing nor depressing with its medium-tall shifter and relatively precise (if there could be such a thing) feel. I still prefer the short, sharp, connected-feeling shifter of the Infiniti G35.

The six-speed automatic, which is optional in the 3.2, is Audi’s excellent S tronic (formerly called Direct Shift Gearbox). If you insist on an automatic, at least this one brings something you can’t get from the manual: faster 0-to-60 mph times (no matter how good you are on the stick). S-tronic uses two separate clutches: one for the odd gears and one for the even. It hands off from one gear to the next in no time — literally, practically no time. S-tronic is technically an automated manual — closer to what you might imagine an automatic transmission to be. (A conventional automatic is a different animal altogether with lots of fluid flowing around and typically more clutches than there are gears in a heavy, heat-generating, inefficient mess.) The point here is that S tronic has all the efficiency benefits of a manual plus blindingly fast shifts. In fact, it gets you better mileage than the manual.

There’s also a clutchless-manual mode — which is to say you don’t operate the clutch — that lets you shift up and down sequentially using the gear selector. It also has shift paddles on the steering wheel. Whatever.

The S-tronic I’ve driven in other cars is impressive indeed, but I have to point out that its downshifts are as slow as its upshifts are quick. Give it a try; while downshifting through the gears, you’ll feel the engine release the driveline momentarily and you lose all engine braking until it hooks up again.

The TT’s V-6 engine is what I consider a staggered inline-six, with odd- and even-numbered cylinders offset by 15 degrees in a single head. I appreciated the 3.2-liter’s low-rev torque, but the 2.0-liter turbo is so good, and its own torque delivery so broad, that the advantage of a larger engine isn’t as dramatic as it once was. 

Ride & Handling

My car had the optimal grip of 18-inch summer performance tires, which also come in all-season versions. The standard 17-inch tires are also summer types, but all-season versions are a no-cost alternative. If you want to drive in winter, you need them. Don’t think Quattro is going to save you; summer tires are hazardous when cold and wet, and the TT doesn’t have enough ground clearance to keep you moving.

The original TT’s ride quality was livable, but it was definitely sports-car firm. The 2008 is also firm, but my test car had the newly optional Audi Magnetic Ride adaptive suspension. In place of the usual oil, Magnetic Ride’s shock absorbers contain fluid with suspended magnetic particles that adjust firmness when supplied with electric current. (The advantages include roughly five-times-faster response time than conventional adaptive shocks, using fewer parts.)

The Mag Ride’s default ride quality is definitely more comfortable than the previous, “dumb,” shock absorbers, but there’s no making up for the car’s wheelbase, which, though almost 2 inches longer, is still relatively short. Shorter wheelbases mean bouncier rides. Activating Sport mode by pushing a button adjacent to the shifter firmed up the ride and decreased body roll in turns.

Audi replaced the old semi-independent torsion-beam rear suspension with a fully independent multilink design. This is another theoretical improvement, which is why I’m surprised by how much acceleration squat this car exhibits — especially taking into account its adaptive suspension, which is typically calibrated to firm up the rear or front shocks to combat acceleration squat and braking dive, respectively. It does its butt-scooting routine in moderate to heavy acceleration from a standing start, and even when shifting hard from 1st to 2nd gear. If the TT were a dog, it wouldn’t be allowed on the carpet.

Audi improved the TT’s dynamics, but probably not enough to satisfy detractors who labeled the first generation as not enough of a sports car. Based on a front-drive platform with a transversely mounted engine, the original TT with Quattro had a 60/40 (front/rear) weight distribution, which ensured understeer. In practice, it was impossible to get the rear end to drift around when cornering — at least in any controlled way.

This time, Audi used a lot of aluminum, including the hood and the front end, and kept the steel mostly in the rear for weight distribution purposes. So the new TT Quattro’s weight distribution is … 59/41. Uh, you gotta crawl before you can walk? In effect, the changes don’t improve balance much; they keep it from being worse.

When driven aggressively on the track, the TT feels like the same car in good ways — solid, grounded, darty — and like a new car, also in good ways. The steering feedback is improved, but there’s still something missing compared to its rear-drive competitors. The car’s weight shifts more naturally, and you can get it to rotate on its axis (with the stability system switched off). It’s not going to win over any rear-drive devotees. The previous generation’s Quattro system split torque evenly between the front and rear axles as a default, which was only so much help. According to Audi materials, the new car’s Quattro is calibrated differently: “In normal conditions, the clutch directs 85 percent of the torque to the front wheels, but in extreme circumstances it is able to transmit as much as 100 percent of the forces to one of the two axles.”

Applying the throttle definitely combats the understeer more effectively in this car than in the previous model, but doing so is … an event, a purposeful action on the driver’s part. Compare this to all-wheel-drive cars from BMW, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, all of which send a majority of their torque to the rear wheels — as a default, not under “extreme circumstances.” In these, you generally don’t think about what torque is going where — you just drive them and they feel like reasonably balanced, surefooted cars. If it seems unfair to compare these rear-drive-based cars to the TT, know that Audi’s A4 and A6 both support front-wheel drive, yet the RS4 and S6 based on them apportion 60 percent of their torque to the rear axle, and the result is compelling. Changing to this calibration would make the TT a much better car.

The Inside

Once you’ve collected your wits after braining yourself getting into the TT, you’ll find more headroom than you’d expect (swelling notwithstanding). Sightlines, or pure claustrophobia, may be the real issue for some; the roofline is low and the doors rise high. The rear view isn’t bad, partly because the car is low enough that you can see other vehicles. Still, the Parktronic sonar rear parking assist option might be worthwhile. Apart from being low, the roof slopes down on the sides, and this can block taller people’s view — at least of things like traffic signals. Fortunately, a height adjustment is standard for both front seats, which are manual in the 2.0T and multiway powered in the 3.2. The steering wheel also tilts and telescopes.

The standard seats in both trim levels have leather side bolsters and Alcantara center panels and door trim. I was relieved to learn that Alcantara is a synthetic suede, and not the hide of a dwarf llama. The full Nappa leather seats and trim in my test car come in the Enhanced Interior Package option along with seatback pockets and storage beneath the seats.

Though the car itself is larger, the only increased dimension inside is shoulder room. There’s still plenty of real aluminum trim, but the dimpled-ring motif that touched everything from the door handles to the heated-seat knobs has been replaced by knurled rings — but only in the most obvious places, like the air vents, shift knob and stereo and climate controls. The rotary knobs are better than the previous-generation ventilation system’s peculiar fan-control dial, but I found them too slippery.

Aluminum braces that flanked the shifter in the previous generation encroached on occupant legroom, but they were also a distinctive element that is now gone. The same goes for the flip-up aluminum door over the stereo. The buttons and display are all larger now, leaving a more conservative center control panel. The side mirrors are larger and less cool, but the bigger size was badly needed. It seems like someone went through the TT and put function ahead of form, which is probably best, and nowhere more so than the disastrous — though cool-looking — cupholders, which are now simple wells.

The two rear seats — often mistaken for cup holders — aren’t really about function, unless their function is to fold flat and increase the cargo area, which they do aptly. Headroom is the limitation there — unless the front occupants slide their seats fully back, in which case the legroom is the limitation, because there is none.

Storage provisions are much improved and include a larger (but not large) glove compartment and real door pockets where there used to be nets. There’s no center storage console, though.

Safety

A new model, the TT hasn’t been crash tested by our preferred source, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Being a low-volume seller, it’s been subject to almost no testing in the past, either, and that may remain true for the 2008 model.

Airbags include the required front pair, front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags for chest protection, and knee airbags for both front occupants. The rear “seats” get no coverage. More importantly, Audi mentions no side head airbags, and this is a concern. Head airbags dramatically improve survivability in most crash tests, and the TT is a low-riding car that puts the bumper of full-size pickups and SUVs near eye-level. Having clocked myself a couple of times on the roof’s prominent side rail while taking aggressive right-hand turns, I hate to imagine what would happen if it came at me.

Along with the traction provisions already mentioned, the optional adaptive headlights are an arguable safety feature; they aim in the direction that the steering wheel is turned to illuminate curves.

Cargo

The TT’s cargo capacity is better than you’d expect from the outside. The hatch represents 13.1 cubic feet under a large opening, which isn’t bad. Fold the 50/50-split rear seats down and it increases to almost 25 cubic feet of pretty versatile cargo volume. You get the most space if you remove the rigid cover that hides the cargo area when the liftgate is closed. It’s a bit cumbersome, but it’s mounted to the liftgate so it’s less of a hassle than the retractable type in day-to-day use. Audi says the 66.9-inch cargo floor length accommodates two golf bags.

TT in the Market

The price of entry for an Audi TT is $35,575 for a 2.0T coupe. A TT 3.2 coupe packed with options hits $52,625 (destination charge included). In a familiar tale, many of the seeming stand-alone options — such as the Parktronic, Magnetic Ride, iPod interface and adaptive headlights — are priced individually and sometimes affordably, but they’re available on the 2.0T only with the Premium Package as a prerequisite. It’s $2,150. On the 3.2 trim level, many of these options are a la carte, but the car itself is $6,700 more than the 2.0T — $8,100 more for the automatic.

At these prices, coupe competitors include the Mercedes-Benz SLK and CLK, Porsche Cayman, and even the Chevy Corvette and Ford Shelby GT500. If performance is your top priority, I’d have to go for the ‘Vette or Cayman. For versatility, the SLK’s retractable hardtop gives you coupe and convertible in one; you have to choose one or the other with the alternatives mentioned. Looking for a bargain? Try the Chrysler Crossfire or Infiniti G37.

As before, the TT could get by on its looks alone, yet it’s fun to drive and a more capable sports car than you might have been led to believe. There’s more competition than ever, especially among roadsters, but the reworked TT should hold its own … even if it’s no longer a phenomenon.

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1 March 2023

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