Tuesday, 30 December 2008


Jaguar is not messing around this time. For far too long the leaping cat has been playing fifth fiddle in the race for supremacy as far as styling, power, after-sales service and residual values. Lagging its German counterparts in these areas for the better part of 20 years, Jaguar has suddenly become hot property again thanks to the XF.

The year 2009 will see an additional two models added to XF alongside the existing naturally-aspirated petrol 3.0-litre V6, 4.2-litre V8 and supercharged 4.2-litre V8 SV8. First off the line is the pictured XF Diesel S with a 3.0-litre V6 diesel of not one but two turbos for a maximum power output of 202kW (271bhp) and mammoth torque rated at 600Nm! Its nearest competitor is the twin turbo diesel BMW 535D (not sold in Mzansi) that produces 580Nm, 20Nm short on the snazzy kitty. On take-off Jaguar claims a 0 – 100km/h time of 5.9 seconds for the British diesel saloon.

First driving impressions on the Jaguar XF Diesel S and hopefully the superformance XF-R will come in March 2009 after we put the two through their paces. These are some of the highly anticipated Jaguars expected in 2009, including the all-new, radically-designed super executive sedan, the XJ.

Monday, 29 December 2008


Autistic children who attend Quest School in South End, Port Elizabeth, are travelling safely to and from school every day, thanks to Hi-Q Walmer Park’s donation of new tyres for their bus.

Quest School Principal Joan Jorritsma requested assistance this year when the bus was due for a roadworthy test and desperately needed a new set of tyres if it was to pass the requirements. The bus is also used to transport the children to outings and to run errands. Quest is the only school of its kind in the Eastern Cape province. It receives a limited government grant and many of its 61 learners cannot afford to pay their fees.

“I have recommended the Goodyear G22 as it is an extremely popular design that has been used extensively within the taxi industry over many years. The G22 has a history of delivering good mileage and has a superb safety record,” said Pieter Bienedell, owner of Hi-Q at Walmer Park.

Indeed, after the fitment at Hi-Q, Joan said the school bus was running “like a dream again”.

“The vehicle’s last set of Goodyear tyres covered 54 807 kilometres over a period of three years and seven months.

“We thank Hi-Q for the new tyres. Your caring for our learners and gesture of goodwill is highly appreciated. It is concerned businessmen or individuals like you who make all our efforts and hard work, on behalf of very special children, worthwhile,” said Jorritsma.

The school’s 61 learners are divided into ten classes with six children per class receiving very intense and individualised attention. Not to mention lots of love.


Tata is facing what cannot be described as “nano” challenges. After an extensive land dispute with farmers in Singur, India, over what they described as unfair compensation given for their land, Tata abandoned the US$350 million Nano manufacturing factory.

Then in October 2008 at the Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS) we were told that the US$2 500 Tata Nano would be built and keep its promise as the world’s most affordable motor car.

At JIMS, Tata said production would move to Tata’s existing factory in Pantnagar in the north. But because of the factory delays, the company will fall far short of annual production target of 100 000 units, meaning deliveries will also be late in India, Africa, Asia and South America where the car was meant to start selling before elsewhere. Tata will have to expand its production facility in order to accommodate Nano production.

Hopefully there is no more holding back production.


Our first December car this year was the Honda CR-V 2.2 i-CTDi, a finalist at last year’s South African Guild of Motoring Journalists’ Car of the Year competition. We really enjoy the CR-V and its completeness as an everyday car, a soft-road SUV and an economical cruiser capable of running for 700km/ 435 miles without filling up. That’s right, 700km.

Today we take a look at the space elements of the CR-V, next week we’ll focus on the powertrain.

Looks different from the previous generation

Honda went through a long process in order to change the face of its mid-size SUV, the CR-V. Always a capable vehicle, the CR-V in 2008 became even more so. Design became more important to Honda for the CR-V due to changing market tastes, including attracting younger family buyers. So the front end is sportier, with more pronounced elements like chrome. The rear slopes backwards for a more aerodynamic look as well. That last chrome line just after the C-pillar slopes very quickly for a reason. In the concept car it represented the actual line, but practicality meant that if it really did become the actual line then rear space would be severely compromised. So it had to go.

It does seem very spacious

Quite spacious. The CR-V measures 4.5 metres in overall length, with a wheelbase of over 2.6m. Occupants won’t complain about being uncomfortable inside, especially rear seat passengers who can also adjust their back support to a small degree for even better comfort. Our example was fitted with soft leather seats, making journeys supple and cozy. Normally cars have a tunnel that runs in the middle of the car and houses the driveshaft and other components like exhaust pipes. It would protrude in the interior from about the front middle right to the back and cause mid-seat rear passengers to sit either with their legs open or with one or two legs on the tunnel, creating minor discomfort. The Honda CR-V doesn’t have this tunnel running visibly in the car, therefore creating even more interior space.

Of course other holes that accommodate are the two-part cubby with a lockable bottom, a below-dash space stasher, four cup holders upfront and four at the rear (with the mid-seat open). There is more storage space in the middle at the front, and pockets in all four passenger doors. Armrests for driver and front passenger give cruising relaxation that a higher degree of relevance. The boot also works as a storage device, and can be expanded by laying the rear seats flat.

What are the nice comforts?

Power steering, electric mirrors and driver’s power seat (sorry front passenger), dual-zone air conditioning that allows two different temperature settings for the two sides of the CR-V so no more fighting over who is insensitive to cold or who’s not, and a radio/ CD player that reads MP3s too. Steering wheel is adjustable both for reach (telescopically) and height. An auxiliary jack for portable MP3 players was included as well.


Ssangyong Motor of South Korea has all but declared bankruptcy. The company has not formally cut off ties with future possibilities of profits yet, but indications are that hope is long gone. This December Ssangyong will not pay its workers their salaries, according to a memo sent to 8 000 staff in Korea.

“Due to lack of operating funds for December, it is impossible for the company to pay salaries any longer,” is what the memo is said to have claimed.

Ssangyong is owned by Chinese company Shanghai Automotive Industry and has asked parent to bail it out for salaries, but the Chinese turned down this request for help.

In Mzansi Ssangyong sells vehicles like the Stavic, Rexton, Actyon and Kyron SUV.

SOURCE: Autocar