Wednesday, 14 April 2010


The new Lexus GX 460 has been rated as a “do not buy” by the influential Consumer Reports magazine in the US. According to the mag, the car is dangerous as it could roll over and cause a serious accident, even death, when attempting an evasive manoeuver.

Toyota, makers of Lexus cars, says it’s taking a serious view of this new report and has undertaken to do vigorous testing for itself, so as to replicate the conditions under which Consumer Reports was able to come to its startling conclusion.

In the meantime the company has suspended sales of the vehicle until such time that the test results are back and a corrective measure taken to rectify the supposed defect. Should current US owners wish to take a loan vehicle instead of driving their vehicles, these will be provided.

Of course this comes hot on the exhaust pipes of a recent recall involving millions of Toyotas across the globe. This latest incident will not add to Toyota’s previously peerless reputation, but will only serve to tarnish its name even further.


BMW has introduced the X1 sub-compact SUV to the South African market. I’ve seen the X1 in pictures before and was expecting a car that stands about as tall as the current X3 from the ground.  Not so with this baby. It’s only 194mm off the ground, which makes it quite low for a car of its type and quite good for a number of applications.

One of these is handling. Having taken it through at least five mountain passes in the Western Cape, I can say with some authority that very few cars in its price bracket will attack curves as well as the X1. Much of that is because of the Performance Control system (optional with xDrive models) which first made its way into the X6. It basically sends power to the side that needs it the most in order that understeering can be countered and cornering restored to neutrality.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


The highly appealing and emotionally charged Cabriolet is the latest addition to the successful Mercedes-Benz E-Class line-up. The open-top two-door model, features a classic fabric soft top, making for a stylistically pure cabriolet feeling. Viewed from the side, the new model is an intriguing proposition – with its clear proportions and a flawless cabriolet silhouette.

“In keeping with the motto "four seasons, four passengers", all-year-round suitability was right at the top of the developers' list of priorities. With the new E-Class Cabriolet, the cabriolet season lasts the whole year. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet provides pleasurable driving and comfort whether the roof is open or closed,” says Eckart Mayer, Divisional Manager, Mercedes-Benz Cars.


Volkswagen South Africa introduced the refreshed the fabulously successful T5 range using a number of neat tricks. It’s made up of the Caravelle, Kombi and Transporter versions. I had the pleasure of taking a couple of these people-movers on a 300km long jol along the south coast. High expectations I harboured, having driven the pre-facelift model, made it clear in my head that this vehicle would have to be something special. And it is.

Inheriting VW’s new face, the T5 features a new front end with a new front grille, headlights, bonnet, new side mirrors, different rear lights and a choice of between 16 and 18-inch wheels. There are 11 available exterior colours, giving customers a very wide range to choose from. Apparently most T5s sold go to private buyers and these folks would be much more interested in colour than commercial entities like hotels and game lodges.

Monday, 12 April 2010


Cologne, 12 April, 2010 – Ford's World Rally Championship driver, Jari-Matti Latvala, will tackle this year’s 24-hour race at the Nürburgring (15 - 16 May) in Germany.  The BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team driver, who has won two world rallies in his career, will drive a Ford Focus RS prepared by the Team FH Köln Motorsport (students from University of Cologne).

Latvala enjoyed his first taste of the demanding circuit when he competed in Saturday's second round of the VLN (Veranstaltergemeinschaft Langstreckenpokal Nürburgring) Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring, after which the 25-year-old was enthusiastic about the infamous 'Green Hell'.