New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

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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.

Weekend Warriors

2007-03-22 14:41
R400 000 will buy you a nice new SUV. Not necessarily the top-of-the-range model, depending on your choice of badge, but it will ensure you a decent, well-equipped and capable vehicle. If, however, you're interested in more than just a means of transport and are interested in the whole outdoor lifestyle, you'll have to invest in more than just the SUV. If you shop around that same 400K could buy you a 4x4, a quad bike and a jet boat. So before you spend on a badge, intelligent seats and full leather, it may be worth taking a look at the alternatives as they may just include a few toys you never thought you'd be able to afford.

Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up 2.5 TD D/C

Styling Admittedly, the Scorpio's design is a little frumpy and uninspired. But, on the flip side, it's clearly built for heavy lifting. It's big and rugged and certainly doesn't pretend to be anything other that a pick-up. Also, no one will notice if it picks up a couple of dents. The double cab's load area is big enough to carry a quad while the rope ties are sturdy enough to ensure it stays in place.

Accommodation The Mahindra's cabin is large and comfortable, but can't quite be described as luxurious. It offers more room for rear passengers than many of its peers and it's equipped with a plethora of interior storage spaces. Air conditioning, power steering, electric windows and mirrors are standard making the Scorpio fairly comfortable over long distances. The no-fuss interior is functional and it's as easy to drive around town as it is off the beaten track.

Performance The 2,5-litre diesel powerplant produces 74 kW and 245 Nm of torque. Our test unit had no problem carrying the quad bike around for a weekend and even with a full load bay the Scorpio quickly gets up to speed out on the open road. The 4x2 is more than adequate to tackle standard dirt roads while the 210 mm ground clearance comes in handy on slightly tougher terrain.

Summary The Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up won't be winning many beauty competitions, but that?s entirely beside the point. The Scorpio Pik-Up is a comfortable and affordable double cab perfect for daily use but more than capable of it's fair share of heavy lifting. With a price tag of R173 500 it's one of the more affordable double cabs on the market and if you look for one with just a few thousand on the clock you could pay as little as R150 000.

Vital Specifications

Cylinders/capacity - 4/2498 cc
Power - 74 kW @ 3 800 r/min
Torque - 245 Nm @ 1 800 r/min
Transmission - Five-speed manual
Ground clearance - 210 mm
Fuel tank - 80l

Yamaha Raptor R700

Styling Largely due to its design, the Yamaha Raptor is by now one of the better known ATVs on the market. True to its name, the Raptor looks aggressive and nimble and it certainly lives up to this image.

Performance The Raptor is designed for all terrains from wooded areas to sand dunes. The 686cc engine combined with a dry weight of just 180 kg means you shouldn?t allow the kids free reign. The Raptor's handling is excellent and it will provide hours of entertainment on dirt roads. The seating position is comfortable and the balance good while the five-forward manual clutch is intuitive and responsive.

Quality Yamaha has a long history of building quality bikes and ATVs. The Raptor R700 is one of the manufacturer?s flagship models and as such it offers good build quality. The Raptor is tough and built to withstand the usual scrapes and spills, but obviously up to a point.

Summary The Yamaha Raptor R700 is a tried and tested ATV. It offers great styling, superb performance and good quality. It's a solid ATV designed to tackle rough terrain but is loads of fun on your standard dirt road. It's user-friendly and well balanced, but the responsive throttle will catch novices off guard.

Vital Specifications

Displacement - 686cc
Bore x Stroke - 102 x 84 mm
Compression ratio - 9,2:1
Transmission - Five-forward manual with reverse
Fuel tank - 11 litres

Sugar Sand Tango Extreme

Styling Superb. The Tango Extreme looks sleek, sexy and spectacularly fast. The design is an excellent combination of elegant and sporty - it looks good without hiding the fact it means business. It's available with a long list of accessories such as towers, metal flake colours and fantastic sound systems.

Accommodation The Tango Extreme measures 14" in length and it seats six people comfortably. It will, however, become a little cramped when it's six up and packed full of skiing equipment. Boarding is made easy with a non-skid walk-down ramp and it also features an integrated non-skid swim platform. It's also equipped with a ski pylon and moulded ski rope locker as well as a driver's side mirror to keep skiers, boarders and tubers in view. The helm seat is comfortable with a panel featuring a radio/CD and all essential switches and instruments.

Performance The Tango Extreme's steering is precise and it handles well at idle, but it's definitely at its best at high speed. The throttle is responsive and will catch the uninitiated off guard, but once up to speed it handles well and is superbly balanced. Its small size helps it along in the speed stakes, but also makes it extremely agile.

Summary The Tango Extreme is a great all-rounder as it's comfortable to just cruise along, great for skiing and absolutely perfect for when you simply want to play. At R249 000 the Tango Extreme offers good value for money. It's equipped with all the essentials, looks fantastic and will provide you with more than your money's worth of fun.

Vital Specifications

Cylinders - V6
Power - 150 kW
Dry weight - 635 kg
Length - 14 ft
Beam - 205,7 cm (81-inch)
Draft - 30,5 cm (12-inch)
Deadrise - 22°

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