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The Captur, an exciting-looking B-segment crossover from Renault, was launched this week and I was in Johannesburg to drive it. The Renault Captur is the French brand's compact crossover and on the back of massive sales in Europe, much is expected of this vehicle in South Africa. The Captur is no different and is a serious head turner, especially in its bold Bi-Tone colour scheme.
There are two derivatives to choose from: Dynamique and Expression, but interestingly there's not much to separate them.
The other engine is a turbo'd 1.2-litre four-cylinder motor and this is coupled to a six-speed twin-clutch gearbox.
The twin-clutch gearbox had me instinctively feeling around the steering wheel for shift paddles, and there were none to be found. The engine may feel a little underpowered, but this is essentially the only mark against an otherwise good car, and even then it will only be a problem for some customers. Another Renault party trick is offering an amazing amount of specification fitted as standard. On the practicality side of things, the Renault Captur is a lot more versatile than the Clio which it is based upon. Aside from a slightly underpowered engine, the Renault Captur is a promising product and takes the fight to the Ford EcoSport and Nissan Juke, both of which have been a success in our market. Priced at about 20 per cent above Wraith, it's nearly in Phantom territory, which guarantees it will remain one of the most exclusive cars to carry the Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet mascot. The popular Volkswagen Kombi recently saw the addition of a 7-speed DSG gearbox for the short wheelbase derivative and I tested its capabilities in and around Cape Town. The Volkswagen Kombi is a large vehicle with imposing dimensions at just over 4.8 m in length and almost 2 m in height.
The oversize exterior mirrors in body colour help immensely and there are two sliding doors on either side, which greatly improves access to the rear seats.
The Kombi is designed to seat eight people comfortably with a generous cargo bay that offers 1 200-litres of space with all the seats in place. The front seats offer decent lumbar support and arm rests for both the front passenger and driver are standard. Storage space up front includes a lockable glove compartment with a storage net on the underside, stowage pockets in the doors and front cup holders. Powering this Volkswagen Kombi is a 2.0-litre TDI engine that develops 103 kW and 340 Nm of torque. The DSG gearbox works hard to find the ideal gear in congested traffic situations and doesn't always get it right, which results in jerky, indecisive gear changes at slower speeds. Like driving a bus, the driver sits high up in the Kombi, which improves all-round visibility and you can’t help but feel like a bus driver behind the wheel.
The Volkswagen Kombi is hard-coded into South African history so it's hard not to feel a little nostalgic when jumping behind the wheel of the new one.
The Volkswagen Kombi is available in both short and long wheelbase formats with Trendline and Comfortline trim on offer.
Gero Lilleike is a published writer and photographer with most of his work appearing in the fields of travel and motoring.


The new Ford Mustang lives up to the hype, just please give us a bit more V8 grunt.Four-cylinder or V8?From the outside you can barely pick the difference.
The Captur, like the Renault Clio upon which it is based, was designed by Dutch-born Laurens van den Acker. Sunset Orange is the official launch colour and can be ordered with either a black or white roof. This is a similar unit to the one found in the Renault Clio RenaultSport, but not identical. There's a slight hesitation upon take off, but once you're moving the engine pulls reasonably well.
The Captur offers the drive of a normal hatchback, boasts MPV-like practicality and space, while even throwing in good ground clearance of 170mm like an SUV.
There's a decent amount of legroom for the rear passengers, and the rear bench can slide forwards and backwards. With Renault reporting European sales of around 161 000 units sold in 2014 alone, the Renault Captur should do well here.
I wanted to do something out of the ordinary for this test and seeing that the Kombi is first and foremost a people mover, I needed a few people to join me on my escapade. This test unit came in a rather attractive Olympia Blue Metallic colour with optional dark tinted windows all round and rides on 16-inch alloy wheels, which are standard for this Kombi in Comfortline trim. A large rear tailgate provides access to a low loading bay, which makes loading heavier items easier. The seats can be folded in various ways to create more space or they can be taken out completely that turns the Kombi into a van. Air conditioning is standard and flows through to the rear, keeping all passengers cool on those hot summer days. On an open highway however, gear changes even out nicely with consistent acceleration inputs. It's now expensive but infinitely easier to drive thanks to the DSG gearbox, even though it can be a bit sluggish between shifts at slow speeds. Gero has worked in the motoring space for the last four years and enjoys driving and photographing the latest cars. This man is responsible for the big bold Renault logo on the nose of the car and even from a non-car enthusiast's point of view, these designs are simply breathtaking.
I have a particular lust for a Pacific Blue with a Diamond Black roof which looks sensational.
Firstly, there's the familiar 0.9-litre three-cylinder turbo which does duty in the Renault Sandero and Renault Clio. Our launch route took us from the Cradle of Humankind to Sun City, via Hartebeespoort Dam and it was on these roads that I got to sample the Captur's abilities. Renault was keen to show off its offroad credentials to us and the launch route included numerous dirt roads of varying qualities.
Satellite navigation, Bluetooth, cruise control, USB port, touchscreen infotainment, auto headlights, rain-sensing wipers as well as the usual safety acronyms of ABS, EBD and airbags have been thrown in. When these seats are folded flat and the bottom of the boot has been dropped, you're looking at 1 235 litres of space to play with.


To solve the problem, I rounded up four under privileged kids from a surf outreach program in Muizenberg and in true Kombi spirit, embarked on a surf mission. This model also came fitted with an optional tilt and slide sunroof with a sunblind, which was a nice feature. These numbers are sufficient to power the Kombi around town, but it’s on the highway where that torque ensures decent overtaking power, making the Kombi a great long distance cruiser. With the DSG, you don’t have to worry about shifting gears and can rather focus on keeping the Kombi on the road, which makes it that much easier to live with.
It’s big and long which means the driver needs to be extra alert around every corner and care needs to be taken when choosing a place to park, so the optional Park Distance Control (PDC) will definitely be useful. The Kombi Manual SWB is priced from R459 100 and the Kombi Comfortline LWB is priced from R557 500. It has 66kW, and based on that spec item alone (I did not drive it), I'd be a little apprehensive of the performance. Thanks to Renault's great safety and stability features, I felt confident when driving through gravel and sand. On the safety side of things, the Renault Captur scored a five-star rating at the 2013 round of evaluations.
If you have a big family you want to cart around or you're starting a kids lift club, this is the vehicle for you. Drive the Captur in a gentle manner and let the gearbox shift on its own accord, and things are adequate. If a smile on a child’s face is anything to go by, then the Kombi could very well be the perfect companion on a long-distance family holiday and is well worth consideration if you are looking for loads of space. If you can feel the difference you're better than me".No burnouts hereIn the US, the Mustang has a "burnout" mode which disables the rear brakes while leaving the front brakes active.
I can confirm that it's eerily silent inside even under a sudden cloudburst.Conversation continues despite heavy rain falling on the fabric hood, adding weight to the maker's claim that it's the quietest convertible on the market.
But our homegrown Falcon XR8 and Falcon XR6 Turbo sedans are quicker.The turbo four-cylinder Mustang is the dark horse (pun intended). Although 90 per cent of orders are for the V8, the four-cylinder is in many ways the smarter choice.Mustang fans have just coughed up whatever they're eating at such an outrageous comment, but trust me. It steers more like a big modern grand tourer than a Rolls, allowing a brisk pace behind the wheel, even on wobbly B-roads.The power surge is incredible, like a silent tidal wave. Massive race-bred, six-piston Brembo brakes give the big coupe the reflexes of a startled cat.Many car makers customarily overlook brakes when it comes to performance, but power is nothing without control. I'm just relieved Ford Australia's product planners appreciated them too, because they're optional in the US. The Mustang would be a lesser car without them.The manual gearshift is not going to be mistaken for a Toyota Corolla's, but it's slick and smooth enough given the hardware underneath.So, what's not to like?
Sounds like you've broken it but feels broken to begin with; it doesn't do anything.Would these minor annoyances stop anyone from buying one?



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