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Car Doctor: 'Which hot hatch will make me stand out in SA'?

2018-09-16 00:00

Justus Visagie

Hot wheels: If you want to drive a fast and sexy hatchback, the car doctor recommends the current and fifth-generation Honda Civic Type R. PHOTO: supplied

This week, our resident #Trending car expert provides advice to readers who want to be different, want to know which Ford SUV is safe and who are interested in trading in their faithful 4x4s.

Nazeem: My friends drive Golf GTIs, Audi S3s and Ford Focus STs. I want to get a hot hatch similar to theirs, but I also want something that stands out. I’m thinking of the new Honda Civic Type R, but I’ve been told it doesn’t have a turbo so it will be slower than the German hatches and the Fords.

Justus: The third generation of the Civic Type R (2006 to 2011) was the last without a turbo-charger. The current and fifth-generation car has a fiery 2-litre turbo engine with a lofty output of 228kW and 400Nm. This means it goes like a rocket.

Its styling is flamboyant, so it is not for wallflowers or those who want to blend in. It’s also more fun to drive than the other hot hatches, bar maybe the old Ford Fiesta ST. It is spacious inside and it has a comfortable ride, despite its sports suspension. It’s a masterpiece and I would buy one in a heartbeat.

Sheshane: I’d like to buy a late model diesel Ford Kuga, but with the problems around the car burning I’m in doubt. Which SUVs in that range would you recommend?

The only Kugas that caught fire – as far as reports go – were the 1.6T versions. You should be safe if you buy any of the other models. The Mazda CX-5 is also a favourite.

Neil: I drive a 2017 2.2 Ford Ranger XLT double-cab bakkie. I have not had any problems yet. I’m near retirement and wonder if it is a good idea to buy the 2.2 Ford Everest XLT as my last car. Or should I go for the Toyota Fortuner?

It’s hard to make predictions, especially over such a long period. Diesel engines are often expensive to maintain when not covered by a warranty or maintenance plan. That leaves you with the V6 petrol Fortuner, with the kind of fuel consumption that could bankrupt you. Do you need all that interior space? How about a Suzuki Vitara? It’s cheap, will last forever, has seven airbags, uses little fuel and doesn’t have expensive diesel injectors and particulate filters. Compact cars are also easier to drive as we become older. For something slightly bigger, I recommend the Hyundai Tucson, which has a seven-year warranty, and the new Toyota RAV4 that is due to arrive next year.

Will: I own a 10-year-old Daihatsu Terios 4x4 automatic and I’m starting to think about a possible replacement. I’m still very satisfied with my Terios as it has carried me wherever I’ve wanted to go, including over the untarred Sani Pass and over beach sand in Mozambique. It can cruise, albeit rather noisily and not always very smoothly, at the speed limit. Please suggest a vehicle of similar size and capability to look at.

I would choose the Suzuki Vitara AllGrip (4x4) or Renault Duster 4x4. The only downside is that the 4x4 versions aren’t available in automatic. You could also order the handsome new Suzuki Jimny, which will become available from November and comes with an auto box.

Samu: Which is the best buy between a Toyota RAV4 and a Mitsubishi Outlander? I like the Toyota, but I’m afraid it will be stolen as the RAV4 has the same engine as taxis. Is the Mitsubishi a good buy?

It’s not true that the RAV4 and Toyota taxis share parts. Outlanders are good cars, but they can be quite heavy on petrol. Have a look at the Mitsubishi ASX. It’s smaller than the Outlander, but lighter on fuel. Also consider next year’s Toyota RAV4.

Do you have a car question for Justus? Email it to justus.visagie@media24.com using the words CAR QUESTIONS in the subject line. You can also SMS the keywords CAR QUESTIONS and your query to 35697. Please include your name. SMSes cost R1.50


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