Browsing: First Drives

Range Rover has added a fourth model to its stable, the Velar, which joins the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Evoque, and slots in-between the latter two. A fourth Rangie joins the fray Although the Range Rover might have started life as a vehicle with an interior that you could hose down when muddy, it has always been a beltingly good-looking vehicle. (One of the originals was displayed in the Musée du Louvre in Paris as an “exemplary work of industrial design”.) The Velar has taken this trend of attractive family genes and run with it, becoming a Range…

The Mercedes marketing machine drip-feed has now doled out more on its upcoming X-Class one-tonner double-cab, and this time with a proper drive in Chile. This skinniest of all South American countries is bakkieand- SUV mad, and promises to be a vital market for Mercedes’ premium take on the segment. Suffice to say plenty of new Navaras are driving around in that country’s towns and strungout rural villages, and there were many inquisitive glances at the badging on our test vehicles wherever they went. The reason? One of the key questions about the new X-Class is this: to what degree…

For 2018, the back-to-basics Mahindra Pik Up has received a host of changes to bring it, at last, into the 21st century. Apart from some styling tweaks to the blunt front end, the Pik Up has been given a higher level of specification and an improved drivetrain. Inside, drivers will note the new 6-inch touch screen on the S10 double cab models, as well as central locking, cruise control and even a multifunction steering wheel. ABS, EDB and two airbags have also been added, along with a collapsible steering column and crumple zones. An updated 2.2-litre four-cylinder mHawk turbo diesel…

A Fortuner that combined the frugal and cost efficient 2.4 GD-6 engine with a 4×4 drivetrain was a model sorely lacking when the latest range was launched. Thankfully, Toyota South Africa has answered our prayers. The 2.4 GD-6 4×4 6AT will use the same 110kW/400Nm mill as found elsewhere in the range, mated to a 6-speed automatic box and low-range transfer case. More good news? At R506 000, it’s R118 100 cheaper than the 2.8-litre auto 4×4.

Not to be confused with the F150-based Raptor as is sold in the US, the Ranger Raptor due to hit our market next year will be a performance version of Ford’s existing mid-size offering, the Ranger. Though we don’t have confirmation yet, reliable sources suggest that the new Ranger Raptor will be powered by a high output, twin-turbo 2.0-litre diesel engine – which comes as a big disappointment to many Ford fans hoping to see the 2.7-litre Ecoboost V6 petrol introduced, or at least the 2.3-litre four-cylinder currently found under Mustang bonnets. However, Ford insists the twin-turbo 2.-litre diesel mill…

Words and images by Angus Boswell What started in 1968 as a humble Japanese pickup, has now become something of an icon for toughness and reliability. Initially an unlikely combination of “High” and “Luxury”, the Hilux has now reached a new threshold that justifies the name – after 46 years, seven previous generations and a world total of 16 million sales.Japan’s engineers are notoriously conservative, and Toyota’s Vernier-wielders are probably the worst of the bunch. Nothing flies past them; everything is extensively tested – and it shows in a product that often lasts well beyond the warranty date. But the…

Premium Urban Warrior The new Lexus NX is a radically-styled softroader aimed directly at competitors such as the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Merc GLA and the pricier Range Rover Evoque. Concept car styling, upmarket interior and fine driving dynamics make a good first impression, but what’s it like to live with? Subjective as styling is, some shapes are more successful than others, but attention to detail on this Lexus has worked brilliantly. Angular lines and ‘L- shaped’ LED running lights that also act as indicators are striking, as are the tail lights and aggressive stance. The shark-like design is meant…

Spoiler alert. Mitsubishi’s ASX is available only as a front-driver in South Africa. But don’t damn it just yet. Its crossover genes include a raised ride height, command driver’s view, lots of interior space and a generous 442-litre boot with easy access. The hardware is a little dated: a naturally aspirated, fuel-injected 2.0-litre petrol with 110kW and 197Nm, both peaks achieved with little fanfare at high-ish revs, and a five-speed manual, albeit a smoothshifting one. Expect some catching up with the rivals here soon. A 2015 update has focused on pimping the CVT-equipped six-step version to lower fuel consumption to…

With the new Range Rover line-up having consumed all things new at Land Rover, we were hardly expecting different from the Discovery range − but we were mistaken. A raft of updates is set to keep the (now 10-year-old) shape alive, without compromising any of its renowned off-road abilities.ExteriorGone are the tacky individual LED fairy lights of last year’s model, along with the Land Rover badge on the front of the bonnet. A new ‘Discovery’ badge stands proud, helping to separate the brand’s identity from the agricultural offerings of yesteryear. Our HSEmodel tester, the top model in the range, gets…

Words by Andrew Middleton. Pictures by Andrew Middleton & iveco. Some vehicle launches feature hours of PowerPoint presentations, the consumption of too much buffet food, and driving round some tyres a few times − but Iveco’s launch came as a welcome surprise. They shocked us journos with a bone-shaking ride in a replica Dakar truck, a 4×4 experience, and some gymkhana. All to celebrate the Iveco launch of its new ‘Tested by Dakar’ kits, as well as a new medium truck. The event was designed to demonstrate what Iveco’s 4×4 trucks are capable of, and also to knock our organs…

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