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Wheels24's Janine Van der Post has gone from a 'SpeedQueen' to a supermom. Check out her list of top family cars.

4x4s for Africa

2002-10-25 17:15
Topping the list - on price at least - has to be Porsche's stunning Cayenne, with a tag of more than R1.8-million for the top version, and a full order book that sees all the local operation's allocation taken.

The Cayenne is available in two versions - the S, a 4.5-litre normally aspirated V8 pushing out 250 kW and giving a top speed of 242 km/h with 0-100 km/h in 7.2 seconds, and the Turbo, with a staggering 331 kW and 620 Nm of torque to give true Porsche performance - top speed 266 km/h and 0-100 km/h in just 5.6 seconds.

Click here for Cayenne photo gallery

Then we saw Volkswagen's Touareg, built on the same platform as the Porsche, but with different styling and an engine that pushes the opposite side of the spectrum.

Unlike the Porsche the VW product opts for diesel power, with a 5-litre V10 TDI engine. This is the world's most powerful passenger car diesel engine with unit injectors and bi-turbo charging giving it a power output of 230 kW with an impressive 750 Nm of torque at 2 000 r/min.

The Touareg is also available in Europe and North America with a 3.2-litre V6 petrol engine producing 162 kW, with up to 305 Nm of torque.

Two other engines will be added to the line-up at a later date - a new five-cylinder TDI with 2.5-litre displacement and a 4.2-litre V8 petrol engine.

Volkswagen is assessing the local market, and will make the car available here only if demand warrants it.

Click here for Touareg photo gallery

Pricing will be on par with equivalent models from Mercedes (ML-Class) and BMW (X5).

Oriental action

One of the nicest looking new 4x4s comes from Kia - the all-new Sorento.

The wheelbase of the Sorento is an impressive 2 710mm and its 1 580mm wheel tread is wider than the Mercedes-Benz M-class and BMW X5. Kia says the Sorento also has more interior space than the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Nissan X-Trail.

Power unit is an advanced 2.5-litre common rail turbo diesel producing 104 kW.

Naturally it was a different story at the Land Rover stand. Apart from the recently launched Range Rover and upgraded Discovery, the Pretoria-based company showed a new Defender 110 Double Cab, complete with carrying capacity of 1080 kg and space for six passengers.

The interior and dashboard have also been upgraded and modernised. Engine is the popular TD5 turbo diesel.

Click here for Land Rover photo galleries

Toyota had a pair of brand new 4x4s on show, and there's no doubting that the new Prado represents the peak in terms of macho design coupled with awesome off-road ability. It will initially be available only with the latest 3-litre KZ-TE turbo diesel engine, although a new 4-litre V6 petrol engine pushing out more than 180 kW will be available soon.

The company also showed its facelifted Land Cruiser LC100 range, with the top-of-the-range V8 model now sporting a 5-speed automatic gearbox.

Click here for Toyota photo galleries

Lexus luxury

Lexus is the luxury brand big brother: to Toyota, and Toyota SA decided to test the water - with the Lexus RX300, a crossover 4x4 in the same vein as the BMW X5.

Power comes from an all-aluminium 3 litre quad cam engine that offers superb performance and economy together with low emissions. VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing ? intelligent) optimises valve overlap throughout the engine?s range and eliminates the traditional compromise between low-end torque and high-end power.

This Lexus 3- litre engine produces 148 kW at 5 800 r/min and 283 Nm of torque at 4 400 r/min.

Luxury and comfort features abound.

At the other end of the spectrum, the new SsangYong Rexton 4x4 is equipped with a Borg Warner full-time 4WD system. A stylish newcomer, it comes in three models - all with previous generation Mercedes engines.

These are a 2.9 litre turbo diesel, and 2.3 litre and 3.2 litre petrol versions.

And finally to Volvo. The Swedish carmaker showed its new XC90 off-roader, available with a choice of 5-cylinder and 6-cylinder petrol engines, or with Volvo's new 5-cylinder diesel unit. All the engines are turbo charged

Entry-level XC90s are fitted with the smooth 122 kW D5 diesel already used across the company's line-up in Europe, while the 200 kW six-cylinder turbo, currently reserved for the S80, will debut in the top-of-the-range model.

Buyers will also be able to choose between a five-speed manual and automatic gearboxes.

Click here for Volvo XC90 photo gallery


Patrol wins top award

2002-10-04 16:13

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