New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

Readers Test - Mazda2

2009-09-01 13:05


Let’s start by saying I had no intention of purchasing this car. I walked into the dealership with the intention of driving out in a Mazda5 but I made the mistake taking my wife with me (even though we were actually looking for a car for her).

While I was listening intently to what the salesman had to say, my wife’s eyes were wondering over the showroom floor. 

“What car’s under that cover with the big bow on it?” she asked. I knew my goose was cooked before he even took the cover off. I had read all about the Mazda2 and its stunning achievements before it hit our shores. I was well aware that it was also a good looker so I was kind of expecting the reaction that was forthcoming when the metallic green Mazda2 slipped from beneath its cover… “ohh aagh drool” (and that was just the salesman)!

Two weeks later we were driving one. Fortunately some sanity prevailed and I managed to convince her that the slime green would fade due to the harsh SA sun and that ice blue would be a more practical choice. Yes folks, I’m not afraid to say I was willing to lie to my wife to avoid being seen driving a slime green “ladies” car.

How does it drive?

I’m not going to bore you with the specs, you can get those from any motoring web site. To me a vehicle needs to inspire the driver. There has to a spark, that little bit of “something” that makes you find an excuse to drive the car at every opportunity, like a kid with their first bicycle. This little Mazda could light a fire.

Bear in mind we’re talking about a 1.3 here so it’s no rocket ship but with a little bit of encouragement from the right foot the motor is very willing and loves to be revved through the range. The car cruises comfortably at the national speed limit and will get to and stay at 160km/h without hesitation. The only quirk is the extremely quiet motor and the fact that I sometimes try start the car twice, much to its annoyance.

Disappointingly, the fuel consumption on the urban cycle is nowhere close to the manufacturer’s claims. We get between 12 – 14km/l in town but things do improve on the open road. On a recent trip from CPT to P.E. it returned figures of 16km/l, fully loaded with a bicycle on the rack behind. The best figures to date were returned after a lazy trip up the West coast, around 18km/l.

How does it handle?

Ooh, here’s where the fun starts. I absolutely love throwing this little car around. With the wheels situated well front and back it corners like it’s on rails. I took it up Bainskloof a while back and had so much fun through the twisties that once I got to the top, I turned around and did it all over again. 

I’d give a kidney to have this vehicle in the MPS version; it would be “grin maker” of note.

Mind you, if my wife found out how I drove her car I might lose that kidney anyway.


It’s still on a maintenance plan and due for its second service in November. I can honestly say that my dealings with the Barloworld Group have been nothing short of fantastic.

The car is approaching its 2nd birthday with 16 000km on the clock and the only hassle to date is a CD player that sometimes doesn’t eject the CD all the way out. Other than that, this little care hasn’t given a moments hassle and is an absolute pleasure to drive. 

It’s well worth the title of “Car of the Year”.


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