8 months with a Renault Clio

Top Car's Wayne Batty says goodbye to his Renault Clio. It’s not a soppy farewell but the little 'automatique' did its maker proud.

Kia's trendy family pick

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post experiences the upcoming Cerato.

Chev's little Ute goes diesel

2012-06-29 10:33
A 1.3-litre turbodiesel engine has been added to the Chevrolet Ute range in South Africa, taking the total to 10 with a variety of trim options.

The 1.3 common rail-fed and intercooled diesel follows the existing specification of the three options: Base AC, Club and Sport.

The engine follows the latest automotive engine trend of small-capacity engines providing very efficient power and torque delivery through a five-speed gearbox.


This quad-valve double overhead cam engine produces 55kW at 4000rpm and 170Nm of torque from 1750 to 2500rpm and, GMSA says, returns an average of 5.5 litres/100km.

The Chev Ute is also available, and has been since its launch in 2011, with a 1.4 or 1.8-litre petrol engine, the former an eight-valve, single overhead camshaft four-cylinder unit capable of 68kW/120Nm and the latter with the same valve-gear but producing 77kW/161Nm.

Their fuel consumption is listed as 7.2 and 8.1 litres/100km respectively.

With the introduction of the diesel engine come added safety specifications in the form of anti-lock brakes with electronic fluid pressure distribution to the Base AC and Club models; all models except the Base now have ABS and all from the Base specification up now have crash bags for the driver and passenger.

GMSA says this is a class-leading level of protection.


As was the case with its predecessor, GMSA says, the all-new Utility set a number of comfort benchmarks at launch and the previous model enjoyed an unbroken run of 82 months as segment sales leader.

The 1.4 Base model specification includes body-colour bumpers, protective moulding on load box upper edge, tie-down hoops in load box,14” steel rims and 185/65 R14 tyres (full size spare wheel), hydraulic power steering, height-adjustable steering column, height adjustable driver’s seat, follow-me-home lights, tinted glass, vanity mirrors for driver and passenger, driver and passenger air bags, transponder immobiliser..

The Chevrolet Utility1.4 Base AC and the 1.8 Base AC and 1.3 Diesel Base AC includes these items together with aircon and anti-lock brakes.

The Club specification level adds body-colour door releases and external mirror housings, manual aircon, lead-me-to-the-car lighting, auto headlights, passenger overhead assist handles, six-speaker audio with radio/CD, RDS, MP3, aux input, USB port, Bluetooth, remote-controlled locking with safety unlock feature and auto locking at 15km/h and an anti-theft alarm.


The Chevrolet Utility Sport spec is full-house:  polished aluminium roof spoiler, 15” alloy rims and 185/60 R15 tyres (full size spare), heatable and power-operated external mirrors, power windows with one-touch operation and auto closing with remote locker, trip data computer and front fog lights

The Chevrolet Utility is covered by five years or 120 000km of warranty and roadside assistance and five years’ anti-corrosion cover. Service intervals are 15 000km or 12 months and a service plan is available.


The road from Port Elizabeth to Graaff-Reinet is long and basically straight (260km), once you get out of the PE city limits, that is - but the Chevrolet Utility range that now boasts 10 derivatives - the latest three of which are lusty 1.3-litre 55kW/170Nm turbodiesel models - really made short work of the journey - and that while sticking pretty-much to the recommended speed limits.

The onboard computer rarely read above 5.9 litres/100km (even occasionally dropping down to 5.1 on the open road) - it's that economical!

If you thought a 1.3 turbodiesel isn't man enough for the job of moving a full three-quarter ton load over long or short distances, think again. The journey itself made all the easier thanks to the really comfortable cabin that's a great place to be... Hard to believe this is ostensibly a half-ton+ bakkie touted as “simply a workhorse”,  it really is most car-like with its tactile, good-quality feel to the dash, steering-wheel switches, levers and overall ambience.


The complete absence of wind noise can only mean one thing - quality build and strict quality control from this Struandale, Port Elizabeth-assembled product. Even in the base model, that's aptly named Base AC, creature comforts abound - somehow for the list price of R172k, although I did expect a sound system no matter how basic.

The windy-windy window winders and the manual wing mirrors I can always live with. Gladly my driving partner was of the talkative type, so a lengthy journey chatting away was welcomed. Reassuringly there's an airbag for driver and passenger, anti-lock brakes and electronic pressure distribution.

Blind spots were non-existent - even though the particular model driven for the return journey had been fitted with an after-market, full-length canopy. Elbow- and shoulder room in the cab were fine but a grumble worth recording was the fact the pedal box was a bit on the tight side.

By that I mean there was no place to rest your clutch foot and both of us somehow managed to press the clutch and brake pedal simultaneously while driving the Utility.

Perhaps it was just a coincidence.

Chevrolet Utility 1.3 Diesel Club - R172 400
Chevrolet Utility 1.3 Diesel Sport - R189 100

Read more about the big little Chev Ute.

Inside Wheels24

Take a virtual tour of the McLaren 570S in SA

Want to experience what it's like to be behind the wheel of a 419kW sports car? Take a virtual tour of the McLaren 570S in our interactive Snapchat video filmed in SA.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.