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Hyundai South Africa has added a sportier top-of-the-range model to its i20 lineup, but is it worth the extra outlay? Hyundai South Africa is well aware of this and, until recently, there was a lack of passionate and performance-orientated in the lower end of its line-up. You’ll notice in the pictures that the Hyundai i20 Sport sits low to the ground (at least compared with its standard sibling). The cabin remains the same as the current Hyundai i20 and it comes with a wealth of standard specification, at least of modern conveniences.
It has basic safety covered too thanks to anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution. Its demeanour is certainly a lot more entertaining than that of non-Sport Hyundai i20s and the boisterous exhaust note is certainly indicative of the model's performance intent.
The engine makes an entertaining, rorty noise thanks to that exhaust, but it's not boomy.
The suspension modifications are overkill for a vehicle like this, but they do lower the centre of gravity and curtail body roll. The i20 Sport brings some much-needed excitement and zest at the more affordable end of Hyundai’s product lineup. Rivals are abundant in this segment, and established players are packing modern 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder motors with similar outputs.
The price of the i20 Sport is R235 500, which includes the Hyundai warranty and Roadside Assistance for 5 years or 150 000 km, and a service plan for 3 years or 60 000 km. When you say the words Monte Carlo your first thoughts are likely to be casinos, the rich and famous or Formula 1 racing. Originally introduced on the Fabia to celebrate 100 years of the Monte Carlo rally, the name has become a firm favourite in the Skoda range and has now been extended to its popular city car, as well as the Rapid and Yeti too. We’ve been testing this special Citigo in three-door guise to find out if it brings the luxury and sportiness of the iconic place it’s named after while retaining the Citigo's fun personality. Based on the mid-range SE grade with a few extras, the Monte Carlo takes the city car's cute design and pimps it up.
The most obvious enhancements are new black exterior touches including 15-inch alloy wheels, front and rear spoilers, door mirror housings and grille. Step inside and the sporty theme continues with stylish seats with red stitching, a leather sports steering wheel and polished metal kick plates. You’ll need to fork out a little extra for this Citigo though, the car on test costs ?10,590 to buy.
But for that money you get plenty of kit as standard including all of the black interior and exterior enhancements, Skoda’s portable infotainment system which includes sat-nav and Bluetooth connectivity, manual air-con and daytime running lights. Interior quality is very good throughout and the seats are particularly comfortable, the various media functions are easy to navigate around too, although the touchscreen controls are a little too small and fiddly. There is only once choice of engine for the new Citigo Monte Carlo and it comes in the form of a 1.0-litre petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Ideal for around town, the little petrol engine copes well on the dual carriageway and motorway too and is fairly stable when travelling at high speeds.
The light and direct steering coupled with a small turning cycle makes manoeuvring the little car a breeze and parking is a doddle too. Despite its compact dimensions there is a fair amount of passenger space inside the car with plenty of leg and headroom for the driver and front passenger. Storage space is also pretty good with numerous options available including a reasonable sized glovebox, practical door pockets and various cubbies to store items like your smartphone.
The boot is quite deep with 251 litres of space and you can fold the rear seats down easily to expand cargo space to 951 litres. Bauer Consumer Media Limited are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Firm reference No.
We get to grips with Audi’s hottest hatchback, which offers near supercar-like performance for under a million Rand.
The RS3 is a product that offers the practicalities of a family hatchback matched with near supercar-like performance capability.


Still, the Audi RS3 is a superb piece of kit and that won’t disappoint owners eager to go supercar baiting. We spent a week with the budget-busting Peugeot 2008 - one of the French brand's most important models for 2014. The Peugeot 2008 is a great-looking little crossover which combines efficiency, practicality with a generous helping of affordability.
I have a suspicion that this motor is mechanically identical to the Citroen DS4 I drove not so long ago. There's also cruise control with speed limiter, dual-zone climate control, auto wipers, auto headlamps with daytime-running lights as well as park distance control. The cabin is spacious and there are some funky touches like the blue neon lights surrounding the speedometer and rev counter, the strip lighting in the roof and the ability to customise the vehicle with neon green and pink stickers.
Upon further research, it seems Grip Control is just variations of traction control and not an all-wheel drive system. The Hyundai Veloster and Veloster Turbo add some spice, but they’re twice the price of an i20. The exterior has been reworked and looks a little racier thanks to a sporty bodykit and 17-inch alloy wheels. There have been alterations to the suspension setup; a stiffer set of springs give the Hyundai i20 Sport a firmer ride and mildly sharper handling. You get a reasonable audio system with Bluetooth connectivity, USB and auxiliary inputs, a rake- and reach-adjustable multifunction steering wheel, single-zone climate control and electric windows. These brakes are of the ventilated disc variety at the front, while the rear wheels have solid discs. There’s a bit more urge (the rev pickup is appreciably better) and the combination of pleasant gearshift action and the responsive engine makes for a sporty driving experience. In fact, the resonance emitted by the 1.4 Sport is tolerable when cruising on highways at the national speed limit.
To give the car extra sporty kudos there are also racing stripes added to the rear and side of the car.
On paper performance may not look too exciting with only 59bhp at your disposal and a 0-62mph time of 14.4 seconds. There is a little noise from the engine when gathering speed but not enough to offend and the car feels particularly sprightly when travelling from 0-30mph.
In the back is a little cramped for six footers but most young adults should be more than comfortable. Because the RS3 is based on the popular A3 Sportback, it offers daily usability and practicality above and beyond headlining performance; it also means the interior is well-designed and excellently made.
It has purposeful start-up and idle notes and, once on the move, it delivers delicious rapid artillery-like exhaust backfires, while upshifts are punctuated by staccato barks accompanied by pops and whistles from the turbocharger.
When ready for launch, slide your foot off the brake and the Audi RS3 will blast off the line like a fighter jet leaving its carrier ship. Audi has a sterling reputation for producing fine-handling cars and the sure-footed RS3 is no exception. The shift programme of the 7-speed DSG transmission is particularly well matched with the performance characteristics of the engine.
A particularly notable feature is Audi’s MMI screen, which stylishly slides up and down out of the dashboard.
Well the ride can be a little harsh on our cratered roads and some of the options that Audi offers should be standard. 2016 is shaping up to be an interesting year as we’ll see a facelifted Mercedes-AMG A45 (boasting more power and quicker acceleration) make landfall in South Africa, while BMW has the forthcoming M2 in the pipeline. Crossovers are all the rage, and Peugeot's aim is to capitalise on the market by ticking all the boxes. I really liked the design and you can see it has been built from the inside out with practicality and interior comfort playing key roles.
I enjoyed that engine as it offered just enough power to make for entertaining drives, but its real forte was economy.


Fortunately, my test unit was plain Jane and didn't have the neon green, which may be a bit garish for some.
A dial near the gearstick allows you to select modes like Normal, Sand, Snow and All-Terrain. At R269 900, there's exceptional levels of specification and in reality, I don't think you'll need more toys and features than that.
The bodykit is comprehensive and includes side skirts, revised bumpers and a spoiler mounted atop the tailgate. Some motorists may be concerned that the large-bore tailpipe could be overly noisy when the i20 Sport's at full throttle and the biggest worry is an annoying drone at highway speeds, but more on that later on. The standard i20 produces 74 kW and 133 Nm, but this Sport derivative offers 85 kW and 160 Nm, which is impressive considering the 1.4-litre capacity. Things get louder when you’re pressing on, when continuous high revs make the car quite noisy. What's more, the best part of these suspension and big wheel upgrades is that the ride quality has not been overly compromised. Bear in mind that these modifications are factory-fitted and, therefore, are covered by Hyundai’s already comprehensive warranty. Out on the road the Monte Carlo Citigo really shines offering nippy handling and an engaging drive. The manufacturer claims it has reworked the newcomer’s quattro setup to deliver up to 100% of power to each axle. Due to the specific configuration of the five-cylinder engine, the battery has had to be moved into the boot.
Switch to Dynamic mode and be prepared for savage acceleration both standstill and in gear.
While there is plenty power for cruising, you're going to land up with strong leg and arm muscles, as you'll be working that gearbox to get the most out of the vehicle. I was quite surprised to see a full LCD touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, aux jack and two USB ports.
I was quite impressed with the amount of cabin space in the Peugeot 2008 and it's worth noting that high quality materials have been used extensively.
It's a very comfortable car and a longer journey in a vehicle with these ride and handling qualities wouldn't result in cramp and sore buttocks. Being a bit of an offroad and 4x4 enthusiast, I headed straight for the nearest dirt section and promptly got stuck.
Speaking of traction control and other safety features, it's worth noting the Peugeot 2008 comes standard with a five-star Euro NCAP rating as well as six airbags.
The wheels are particularly attractive and, to top if off, there are some neat N-Sport badges on the flanks and rear. The handling of a Quattro-equipped vehicle tends to exhibit understeer at the (albeit lofty) grip limit, but the RS3 instils confidence in its driver when they’re pressing on.
The boot loses some depth, but it still offers up 340 litres of space and, when you fold the seats down, 1 180 litres becomes available, which is ample for a family.
Only with some careful digging and switching the traction control completely off was I able to recover the Peugeot 2008. By comparison, a Ferrari 360 Modena from 1999 offers this sort of performance — and that was a pukka supercar. It is a pity, however, that the pleasingly sharp and direct steering system does not offer much in the way of feedback or weight through the driver’s palms.



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