Back in May Ford South Africa was yet another manufacturer to digitally launch a new model. The model in question is the Figo Freestyle, which differs from the one we already know in a couple of ways. I could start transcribing the supplied press release for you, but I reckon nothing will do it as well the launch video hosted by DJ Ankletap from YFM. Spend a few minutes watching this, and both marvel at the car and Ankletap's bilingual brilliance, he's brilliant. Almost as cool as the new car.
“The All-New Figo Freestyle builds on Ford’s reputation as one of the pioneers of the utility vehicle segment,” says Doreen Mashinini, General Manager Marketing at FMCSA. With its SUV-derived design cues, robust stance with increased ground clearance and commanding seating position, it has the credentials of an SUV in a compact package that is ideally suited to city driving during the week and escaping to the countryside on weekends. “It fulfils the growing demand from younger buyers for a vehicle that is more compact and affordable than the compact SUV offerings, but is equally capable and designed for adventurous, active and free-spirited individuals,” Mashinini adds. “With bigger wheels, an increased ride height and integrated skid plates that enhance its capabilities on less-than-perfect roads, the Figo Freestyle is designed to meet the aspirations of these young and dynamic customers. It is a cool, connected and very capable package.”
Figo Freestyle 1.5 Trend Hatch 5MT R 226 700
Figo Freestyle 1.5 Titanium Hatch 5MT R 247 500
All Figo and Figo Freestyle models come standard with Ford Protect which includes a service plan covering 4-years/60 000km, three-year unlimited distance roadside assistance and four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty. This is complemented by a 5-year/unlimited distance corrosion warranty. Service intervals are every 15 000km.
In the hard-fought compact SUV/Crossover market, there's no shortage of offerings. All the major players have a skin in the game and with competition being so good, there's not a single offering that doesn't deserve a closer look for possible buyers in the segment. Take this KIA for example, it's the latest release from the Korean automaker (and my very first KIA press car) and it's sold under the name Seltos. I don't know about you, but I reckon it sure has some great styling, this is one very good-looking compact SUV, and if it looks a little bigger than many of it's segment rivals that's because it is. Not much, but enough to make it stand out just a little more. I'd first seen a Seltos in the launch press release somewhere in April, and not again until there was one in my driveway for review. I gave it the usual walk-around, climbed in and set off on my first drive, which took me out Pretoria way. Now I don't know if it was a Baader-Meinhof phenomenon or not, but I counted seven Seltos models on my route, and two billboards advertising it. That surely bodes well for sales of the Indian-built Korean SUV here in SA.
The model I was in was the EX+ model, the midway offering in the Seltos range, which falls in above the EX and below the GT-Line. Being the middle child often means a good combination of features and spec, but this is a KIA, and so there's even ample features included in the base model to keep you happy. With the EX+ starting at R389 995 it's not cheap, but still sits below the entry VW T-Cross Highline that starts at R397 100, the entry Opel Mokka X at R400 000 and the Suzuki Vitara that has a lineup that starts way down at R293 900 for the entry model to R405 900 for the flagship seven iterations later. While these all have good spec, the KIA Seltos does look to offer the best overall package for your Rand, and that's something many people are taking close note of these days thanks to the current state of the world.
As I mentioned, I think the Seltos is great to look at and while the looks are striking and bold, I think many will agree with me. Up front we find that the styling sees the Seltos fall in line with KIA's current design architecture with the Tiger Nose grille. I'll copy in the actual description from the press release, because everyone deserves to read such eloquent penmanship... "The Seltos strikes an agile pose on any road. From the front, its wide ‘tiger nose’ grille – featuring a new interpretation of KIA’s signature design feature – is flanked by striking headlamps to endow it with a sporty, confident visage. The bold front-end treatment is bolstered by a robust shoulder line and a glasshouse that tapers towards the rear, giving the vehicle an air of understated sportiness. On higher specification models, the chrome detailing along the window line emphasizes this sweeping look towards the rear, ending in a flourish on the C-pillar that creates a ‘floating roof’ impression. Wheel arches feature black cladding to underline the crossover nature of the car. The rear bumper features a three-dimensional surface treatment with an integrated metallic-look skid plate, as well as a dual chrome muffler garnish (model dependent). In combination with the chrome-look tailgate garnish, which connects the taillights horizontally, the width of the Seltos is emphasized for a sporty yet planted stance when viewed from the rear. All models are equipped with LED Daytime Running Lights at the front, as well as front fog lamps across the range. On the higher specification models, both fog lamps, headlights and indicators are full LED, with similar treatments for the rear combination lamps." In normal speak, the KIA Seltos looks cool AF.
My review model was in Intelligency Blue and I liked it a lot, especially with the darker than normal silver 17-inch alloys and black cladding as a contrast. The ones I spotted on my drive were Intense Red, an apt name because it looks just brilliant, and also Glacier Pearl White which also totally suits the compact SUV. Other colours available include Steel Silver, Gravity Grey, Aurora Black Pearl and a special order only - Punchy Orange. As is the norm with SUVs and compact SUVs, two-tone options are a given, and so the white and red models can be had with a black roof, and the special order orange can be had with a white roof.
Under the hood of the Seltos EX+ we find the same configuration as in the entry EX, except unlike the former it's only available in automatic guise. The powerplant is a 1.6 (1591cc) 4-cylinder without extra help from any form of forced induction, and so the power on tap is rated at 90kW with torque claimed at 151kW. The engine falls under the Gamma banner and while it's powerful enough to keep a fully-loaded Seltos happily trundling along, the range-topping GT Line (not to be confused with the Peugeot range) features a more powerful turbocharged 1.4-litre lump and will no doubt feel much punchier. Some of the segment competitors also feature turbocharged engines, but mostly for a fair amount more money, besides the Suzuki Vitara which is pretty close in pricing. The Seltos isn't meant to tear up the tarmac, and so the claimed performance figures of 0- 100km/h in 11.2-seconds, and a top speed of 175km/h are more than adequate. KIA clams fuel consumption figures of 7.2-litres/100km, but the best I saw during my test week was 8.2-litres, which still isn't bad at all.
The spec level of the EX+ is good, and the leather seats are especially comfortable with a really cool pattern in them. The EX features cloth and the GT Line also has leather but with red stitching to give it a sporty feel. Cabin layout is good too, the 8-inch touchscreen does look a little upright, but it's perfectly angled toward the driver. The functionality of the infotainment system is simple and easy to use, and with it being hooked up to six speakers, it plays great. You can bang your tunes via the radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and I mean bang coz it sounds that good. The front doors also have the coolest looking door panels and speaker grilles, especially when you're looking at night and the ambient mood lighting is set. In the cabin you'll also find manual aircon, electronically adjustable folding side mirrors, steering-mounted controls, electric windows, cruise control, front and rear USB charging ports and up front there's been the addition of a centre console armrest with integrated storage box. On the safety front the KIA Seltos again holds its own. We find a body shell is produced with a high percentage of Advanced High-Strength Steel (AHSS) and so the underbody is designed to absorb and disperse impact energy, while hot stamping technology is used to reinforce the core vehicle body sections to increase torsional rigidity, decrease weight and enhance occupant safety. All Seltos models feature dual front airbags, two side airbags for the front occupants and two cabin-length side curtain airbags. There's also ISOFIX child seat anchors, ABS brakes, with EBD (Electronic Brake-Force Distribution), rear PDC and a reverse camera. The EX+ and GT Line models are also equipped with ESC (Electronic Stability Control) and HAC (Hill-start Assist Control).
In real world driving, this KIA Seltos is really cool. There's not much for me to fault on it. I love the exterior looks, the interior layout and spec and the engine and transmission. I think I may prefer the powerplant in the GT Line, purely because it has a turbocharger and because boost is fun. Interior trim materials can feel hard in places, but to me that just means it'll last past the lengthy warrantee and more. Just about every time I stopped at a station or a shopping centre, I had people asking me what I was driving and if it's released yet. Most people just stare and don't engage, especially in this world of face masks and social distancing, so that should tell you something. As mentioned, I saw load of these on the road during my test week, and I think that's something that can be summed up in this quote: “KIA is well known for offering exceptional quality and comprehensive specification across its model ranges. The all-new Seltos delivers all of that, and more,” says Gary Scott, CEO, KIA Motors South Africa. For more info, specs and pics, head on over to the dedicated KIA Seltos website.
As with all KIA models, all KIA Seltos models ship as standard with KIA’s industry-leading Unlimited Kilometre, 5-year warranty (inclusive of roadside assistance), and also include a 5-year/90 000km Service Plan.
KIA Seltos 1.6 EX Manual R 353,995
KIA Seltos 1.6 EX Automatic R 371,995
KIA Seltos 1.6 EX+ Automatic R 389,995
KIA Seltos 1.4 T-GDi GT-Line R444,995
A 1.5-litre CRDI (Common Rail Diesel Injection) engine will join the Seltos line-up in the second quarter of 2020, also available with a choice of 6-speed manual or automatic transmission. Pricing will be announced closer to the local introduction.
Hyundai's entry-level offering has done great for the brand over the years, the A-segment Atos (or Atoz, market-dependent) is one of those models often described as "bread & butter" because more get shifted than most other models and this, of course, helps pay the bills. Well, all sales pay the bills, but you know what I mean. I received the Hyundai Atos 1.1 Motion MT on test as soon as lockdown allowed for car sales and the associated online sales to happen again, and I used it to get around for some short errands and two long trips out of the area - the usual press car vibes. First off, this is my first press car from the Korean automaker, and any notions I had about the brand and their offerings came from articles and reviews from my colleagues. Most of them had mentioned that Hyundai's quality has improved in leaps and bounds over the years, and so even though this Atos Motion is an entry-level car I had high hopes.
This car retails new for R162 900, which makes it affordable for many out there thanks to being able to keep instalments under R2800 (interest rate and finance term-dependent). This price tag gets you a 4-door hatchback powered by a, 1100cc 4-cylinder (1086cc if you want to be technical) with a 5-speed manual transmission attached. Power on tap is rated the same as many in this segment - 50kW - and the torque is also quite similar at 99Nm, and in a small car that tips the scales at just 866kg it makes for a rather nippy yet frugal drive (rated at 5.9-litres/100km). The Koreans seem to trust their products more than most, evident by the healthy warranties that you get with their cars, which in this case is a 7-year/200 000km manufacturer warranty and a 1-year/15 000km service plan.
Initial thoughts (which didn't change later) is that the Atos Motion is a good looking little thing. The front grille follows Hyundai's recognisable design architecture and that's not a bad thing at all. There's some interesting lines in the body that accentuate the shape too, and combined with the variety of colours available I reckon it'll tick some boxes on most people's want list. The Atos can be had in Acid Yellow, Alpha Blue, Fiery Red, Polar White, Titan Grey or Typhoon Silver. The sales brochure mentions a high-mounted stop lamp and 14-inch wheels with styled covers as a selling point. I'll agree that the stop light may be, but the 14-inch wheels not so much. 14-inch wheels shouldn't even exist anymore, but that's just one car guy's opinion.
Approaching the Atos and getting in is a little odd, you're greeting with an odd combination of specs that sort of don't make sense. Three steps away I tried to unlock the door remotely and realised that the key was skinny because there's no remote fob built in and access to the car is old school by using an actual key in an actual lock. But this is a budget car, so of course that makes perfect sense. Once inside I was greeted with a decent interior featuring seats that are not only comfortable but that look good, devoid of LSD-inspired patterns some budget offerings have. Settling in and looking up front put me in reach of a multifunction steering wheel complete with brushed aluminium-look detailing. But I just got into a car with manual locks? Next up was to get the mirrors and controls set up for myself, and reaching up to adjust the mirrors I found a manual adjustment lever like in my 2002 Corsa, a typical feature of a budget car. Cool. Buuuut then when I turned to set up the radio, instead of finding a basic audio unit, this budget Korean has a full 7-inch touchscreen heading up an intuitive and easy to use infotainment system. Not only that, it also includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay - NOT the usual kit for an entry-level car with no remote key fob. These aren't complaints mind you, I just thought it was an odd combination of features, some you expect and some you don't. The sound system is also pretty good, better than expected, and the instrument cluster and layout of controls makes for a comfortable drive. The sound system happily pounded all my YouTube Music lists with no problems, and when I left my USB cable indoors things streamed seamlessly via Bluetooth. That 7-inch screen is also where you'll see behind the car when reversing - not a usual budget feature. Nice.
Once set up and familiar with the controls, it was go time and the Atos Motion proved itself to be a cool runaround. That 50kW sounds low, but the Atos turned out to be a nippy little thing, in fact its good fun to rev it through the gears. I think to date it's the first entry-level model that you can rev through the whole indicated rev range without a soft limiter kicking in making it feel like you tramped on the brake pedal. With some irresponsible driving (on a closed professional circuit) the Atos even manages a wee chirp of the wheels when hoofing it into third. 50kW remember. The small capacity motor runs smooth, and unlike some competitors that produce the same power from a 3-cylinder lump, the Atos features a 4-cylinder which means it's much smoother in operation and has no odd 3-cylinder idle wobble. The underpinnings are decent too, the chassis is far from sloppy and the suspension is hard and tight enough that throwing the little Korean through some twisties makes for some fun. As mentioned though, those 14-inch wheels need to get chucked in favour of at least some 15-inch hoops. Not just for aesthetics, but it'll increase both handling and safety. I'd much prefer the contact patch of a 195/50R15 tyre over anything with a 14 in it. Safety also includes ABS with EBD and dual front airbags, which is par for the budget entry course. Global NCAP wasn't too kind to the car, only awarding two stars, but if anything, SA has proven that in this segment, even zero stars isn't a detractor for buyers.
Hyundai Atos 1.1 Motion MT isn't only a great entry into a well-established Korean brand, it's a good all round car. Occupant space is good front and rear, boot space is meh, storage space is ok and the combination of features and styling means I'd expect to see loads and loads of these on the roads this year, or at least next year when we can travel more freely. Would I daily a Hyundai Atos Motion? For sure. It's a great car for first time buyers, scaling down buyers and buyers wanting to test out the Hyundai brand and service before shelling out the big bucks. For more detailed specs, head on through to the Hyundai website. One thing is certain, I'd love to get more Hyundai models to review if this is what the entry model is like....
The series of videos commissioned by Suzuki SA are done, there’s four in total. One was basically a tester because this was new thing, this video stuff, but it was good fun learning how to do things. We’ll hopefully be doing a lot more video stuff in the future, so it’s onwards and upwards from here on in. You can see all four videos if you click here.
The last one was just a little thing about the Suzuki Jimny’s retro styling, because I think it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen with legit throwbacks to previous versions. The Suzuki PR company used the content from various journos to run alongside a competition to give back to Suzuki fans during the 2020 CoViD-19 Lockdown. Just another reason I love the brand so damn much!
Petrolheads - Car fanatics who believe horsepower in king, that driving dynamics is more important than food and that the smell of burning rubber should be available as a cologne. It's this crowd that is vehemently against the progression of electric vehicles, convinced that fossil fuels, turbochargers and H-pattern shifters is the only way to go fast. The thing is, electric cars are starting to show that they can also compete, and kick some proverbial ass, in most forms of motorsport. We've seen big races with electric cars setting records, and thanks for Ford Performance, it won't be long before the same happens on that 402m stretch of tarmac.
Ford Performance has just introduced a one-off all-electric dubbed the Mustang Cobra Jet 1400, it's the automaker's first fully electric dragster prototype and it's FAST! If we listen to the men in white coats who are cleverer than myself, the electric power on tap equates to a monstrous 1 045kW of power and over 1 490Nm of torque - instant torque. The Cobra Jet 1400 has it's sights set on completing a quarter mile pass in the low 8-second range at speeds of more than 275km/h. Them's some serous numbers.
“Ford has always used motorsport to demonstrate innovation,” said Dave Pericak, Global Director, Ford Icons. “Electric powertrains give us a completely new kind of performance and the all-electric Cobra Jet 1400 is one example of pushing new technology to the absolute limit. We’re excited to showcase what’s possible in an exciting year when we also have the all-electric Mustang Mach-E joining the Mustang family.” The Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 prototype represents an opportunity to advance Mustang heritage and performance while simultaneously incorporating some of the most advanced technology coming to Ford’s future powertrains. "This project was a challenge for all of us at Ford Performance, but a challenge we loved jumping into,” said Mark Rushbrook, Global Director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “We saw the Cobra Jet 1400 project as an opportunity to start developing electric powertrains in a race car package that we already had a lot of experience with, so we had performance benchmarks we wanted to match and beat right now. This has been a fantastic project to work on, and we hope the first of many coming from our team at Ford Performance Motorsports."
Ford Performance continues to test the Cobra Jet 1400 ahead of its world debut later this year at a drag racing event where fans, media and competitors alike will get to meet the race car, as well as see exactly what it’s capable of up on the asphalt. The name of this electric prototype may sound familiar to race fans too - the Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 pays homage to the original Cobra Jet that first dominated drag strips in the late 1960s, and still is a major force in sportsman drag racing now.
To maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the project, Ford Performance has teamed up with several capable and specialized suppliers:
• MLe Racecars – Vehicle builder, designer, integrator and tuner
• Watson Engineering – Chassis support and development, roll cage builder
• AEM EV – Software and motor calibration and controls
• Cascadia – Inverter and Motor supplier
Electric vehicles are here, and they're getting better and better, so expect more amazing cars like this to start breaking ground. It looks like the EV market will soon live up to that old saying: "If you can't beat them..."
A few months back I attended a Peugeot event that wasn't as much a new model launch as it was brand relaunch here in SA. The French automaker kicked off with a bang, cementing their confidence in the South African market and giving us two new models in two different categories. I shared my initial thoughts on the models in November, but I recently got to spend a week with the baby of the range - the diminutive Peugeot 108 - and I must admit that it's a rather cool little runaround. When I say little, I mean it. This thing is just 3475mm long, 1460mm high and 1615mm wide (1884mm if you count the wing mirrors) and that means it tips the scales at a whopping 840kg.
Straight off the bat you'd expect such a small and light budget car to feel flimsy and cheap, but the French chaps who put this thing together have made the little 108 feel quite the opposite. It feels pretty solid all round, and yeah there's some hard plastics in play, and bare metal sections on the doors (in exterior paint colour) that are par for the course on budget cars these days, but it doesn't detract from the quality feel. As far as A-segment cars go, this one is bolted together better than many. I'm also not alone in this thinking, a few passengers noticed too. Yes, I do get feedback from friends when I have press cars, they don't ride for free. On that note, while this 108 is small on the outside, the cabin space is quite deceiving, I managed to fit in three extra bodies and space wasn't an issue, although my passengers were all my size, and I'm not the tallest chap. I probably wouldn't want to be four up on a long trip though coz adding in like 300kg+ to a small car with a 998cc 3-cylinder that produces just 93Nm does mean steep uphills will see you swapping cogs like you're fighting with a one-arm bandit. Of course this car is meant for city drives and most of the time I was either one or two up and then things are pleasant.
The French are great at making things look cool, and the interior of the Peugeot 108 is no different, probably having one of the most eye-pleasing setups in an A-segment car. The dash has a good layout, the steering is of the multifunction variety and the gauge cluster is one big circle with a small digital information screen. It's not all roses though, I have an issue with the design because if you're wearing a light coloured shirt, when the sun is directly overhead it reflects off you and you battle to see anything in the cluster. The infotainment section is also cool, featuring Android Auto and Apple Carplay to keep you connected, safely. The system is super easy to use, you'll be used to things in a few minutes. Although there is one other little issue here too; the surround of the infotainment screen is gloss black, and at the same time of the day that you battle to see the speedo, the sun reflects off the shiny black surround and gets you right in the (left) eye. I suspect that it may not happen to everyone and could be linked to my 1.75m height. The rest of the interior is cool, and the Tombstone-style seats are cooler than you'd expect in this segment.
As I said on the launch drive, the Peugeot 108 makes use of a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder with 53kW of power and 93 Nm of torque and it's mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. I mentioned that were two up in the little car with the aircon off, and slowing down at a yield sign while keeping it in 2nd to pull off again, it almost stalled. It turns out that wasn't because it's lacking power, it comes down to your driving style. By taking note of the revs and the feel of the clutch, you can keep the revs in the right place and the car then feels like any other car. The aircon does sap some power from the car, but that was only noticeable during the day in the hot sun, and night in cooler weather it was a non-issue. In fact, the cool night air makes you wanna ring the little Pug's neck because it's that much more responsive. The fuel consumption claims are 5.2-litres/100km and on launch it was close, so I said that the 108 would produce that figure if you feather it. After learning how the car wants to be driven, I was seeing figures in the low to mid 4s on long roads, and when the week was up the on board figures showed an average of 4.9-litres/100km. That's actually pretty damn cool, because I wasn't feathering it.
As far as A-segment cars go, the Peugeot 108 is a great little option. It'll work as a first car, a downscale car or just a runaround with lower overheads to keep mileage off your bigger car. Build quality is good, spec and safety is good (check launch post for details) and pricing is very pocket-friendly. You can get yourself a Peugeot 108 for R184 900 incl. VAT. In fact right now Peugeot SA has a special on the 108 (if you're ok with a residual), and so you can have one for as little as R1999.00. How mad is that? This also gets you the included 5-year / 100 000km warranty and service plan. Catch more info over on the Peugeot SA website.
While it's small, it's not as small as in this pic from the press pack 😂
As it turns out, the answer is yes. The Datsun GO has been a controversial little thing since its local launch a few years back. Most motoring press crucified the car, and at the time it was justified if you were concerned about safety. The thing is, even though the car wasn't great during a crash test, the buying public didn't seem to care; the low price tag, insurance and fuel consumption were good enough that any other issues were happily overlooked. No matter what the press or seasoned journos said about the car, the sales figures were steadily climbing. Since inception the Datsun GO has undergone a few changes, the most important was to address the safety issue, and then more recently it received a pretty decent refresher in the looks (and every other) department too.
The latest incarnation of the Datsun GO is the CVT model, and if you're not quite sure what that means, here's a short description pulled from Wikipedia: "CVT - A continuously variable transmission, also known as a shiftless transmission, stepless transmission, pulley transmission, or, in case of motorcycles, a 'twist-and-go', is an automatic transmission that can change seamlessly through a continuous range of effective gear ratios." Now it must be mentioned that out of all the transmissions, the CVT probably has the most haters of all. Fans of fast stuff think it sounds like the clutch is slipping, especially when you want to get anywhere in a hurry. Luckily with the Datsun GO CVT, the car has a low weight and a decently punchy engine and so the feel of the CVT isn't bad. On the launch some had mentioned that the revs felt all over the place and that the drive wasn't as smooth as it should be. I did feel similar, but not really enough to annoy me, and what I found out during a week with the car was that this was corrected rather easily. What I have managed to find out from living with the car is that if you fine-tune your driving style, particularly with the accelerator pedal, then you can eliminate that feeling and actually enjoy your journey a lot more.
With a CVT, when you mash your right foot flat, the revs climb to the highest possible position on the tachometer and the speed slowly climbs up match the revs, and when you're up to the speed you want you back off the accelerator and the revs will drop from a scream back to somewhere in the middle of the rev range. With the Datsun GO CVT it's much the same, buuuuuuuut if you adjust your driving style a little you can have a much more rewarding drive. Instead of mashing your right foot and waiting for the speed to catch the revs, you can sort of feather the throttle and the revs will rise to a decent RPM without it feeling like the engine wants to bite you and then back to a normal range and the car will pull off much faster and smoother. It sort of flattens the curve (not in a spreading virus kind of way) and makes it 100% possible to make a Renault Kwid look like it hit reverse in a TLGP. There's at least one Kwid owner out there who's not gonna race a Datsun GO anytime soon. It took a couple of days to perfect this, but soon it became muscle memory and a no-brainer.
Once I had the driving style down, I found the little Datsun GO CVT to be a great runaround. It's actually a decent-looking car, especially in Vivid Blue as seen here, but to make me properly happy with it (if it were mine), I'd arrange a bit of an introduction to terra firma with some suspension tweaks and I'd add in some aftermarket JDM-style 15-inch wheels. I spent almost two tanks of petrol driving the GO CVT, I drove lots of back roads, short cuts, short drives and even took the car on a bunch of longer runs. The furthest trek was to the Emerald Speed Fest, a decent 100km away. It was highway most of the way, and also rather wet and miff out, but I still had me a pleasant drive. I hooked up my Country by Krutch playlist on YouTube Music and had Dierks Bentley telling me about Becky from South Alabama through the infotainment system via Android Auto, I set my right ankle into cruise position (I have built-in cruise control thanks to a fused ankle joint) and enjoyed the drive at a constant 120-ish. The best part is that the Datsun GO CVT was showing me fuel consumption figures of just 5.2-litres/100km, in fact, it was never above 5.9 at any time. The rumbling 1200cc 3-cylinder creates 57kW and 104Nm of torque, which it clearly uses pretty damn well.
The Datsun GO CVT is a good option if you're needing an automatic car in this segment. It's no longer the GO of old; it looks better, is better equipped and has ABS and dual airbags. It's gonna set you back just R187 900 and that gets you a 6-year / 150 000km warranty too. The competition in this segment is getting rather interesting, the A and B segments are starting to include some really good little cars that make either a great entry into a the world of driving or brilliant downsizing options for those who are changing lifestyles. Shopping around will do you good.
If you visit here often, you'll have seen the post preceding this one that if I quickly sum it up, pretty much says that I MUST have a Suzuki Swift Sport because it's the coolest thing since, well, anything. It's a hot hatch for the masses, half the size and half the price of anything else yet it still delivers enough performance to upset Metro and keep you in a good mood on every drive. I also mentioned that it's probably the only new car on the market that I'd fork over my hard-earned cash for. I lied. It's not my fault though, Suzuki let me review these cars back to back, and while the SSS sets a high bar for me personally, I didn't think the new BooterJet-equipped Vitara would give me the same dirty thoughts. It did. I think the want for one of these matches the want for the Swift Sport. As with the Swift Sport, I covered most of the techy bits and facts and figures in the launch post that you can click through to right about here. So while those initial drive impressions still ring true, things have changed up a bit in my mind about which I'd have. Here's why...
Suzuki has managed to make what would normally have been a mundane people-carrier into something that's an absolute riot to drive. When this shape launched back in 2015, I was already a fan, it was a fresh take on a medium-sized SUV with a decent spec list and a price tag that couldn't be beat. It was great to drive because Suzuki managed to give the Vitara a ride that feels like small hatchback thanks to it's low weight, direct steering and firm-ish ride. Since then the Vitara has had a refresher in the looks department, and it's still available with the normally aspirated 1.6-litre 4-pot that drives the front wheels, or all four if you shell out for the AllGrip model. This 1600cc setup is listed at 86kW and 156Nm and employs either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed auto - model dependant. Performance is better than you'd imagine, especially at altitude for a normally aspirated setup - magic was worked in the ECU tune and the gear ratios. In the latest incarnation, improvements can be seen in the aesthetics, the interior trim and features list, just like the Swift Sport. But what makes the levels of want for this thing rise is the new engine setup, because this new Vitara has the Swift Sport's 1.4 Turbo BoosterJet lump, and it's also mated to a 6-speed manual transmission albeit with slightly altered ratios (there's an auto option for millennials, but it does have cool flappy paddles for manual shifting). This means the Vitara is now just as fun as the Swift Sport, well almost, but it's damn close. 103kW and 230Nm will do that for you, especially at this kerb weight.
Firstly these things looks really good, the dimensions, lines and colours make me happy, as does having the option of a two-tone look. The review car was in Prime Solar Yellow with the black roof, but it can also be had with a white roof. The white looks ok, but I reckon the black looks a bit more aggressive and I like that it also gives that floating roof impression. I also prefer the black because it matches the exterior trim better. There's eight colours to choose from, and if I had to choose, I'd take the Bright Red with black roof. That would be for when I bore of the wrap I'd like to give it, I'll explain later. The wheels are 17-inch in size and they really do suit the Vitara, but as with the Swift Sport, I'd relegate these hoops to the garage, or avail them to a Swift Sport driver who wants to ditch the OEM 16s assuming the PCD and offset work of course - again, more on this later. The new headlights and foglight surrounds add to the list of changes, and they look good, but I'd make them a wee bit better (for my taste). In my test week I had a few people asking if it's a baby Land Rover, and one liked the colour of my new Tiguan. Comments like that are great, it shows there's still a need for motoring journos in the wild, and that Suzuki is punching above it weight.
The cabin has seen the same upgrades as the Swift Sport, the infotainment system is headed up by the same intuitive touch screen and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are included for around R9000 less than what you'd pay in a new Audi A1. Or for free if you wanna get technical. The seats have a new look to them, they're a little sturdier, the materials are brilliant and they're properly comfortable on a long journey. Having tilt and rake on the steering and being able to raise and lower the driver's seat means the perfect driving position is easily sorted out. Even little chaps like me can be comfortable in just a few seconds. I'm not sure if it's old age getting to my ears, but I'm almost positive the sound plays louder in here than the SSS. The instrument cluster is pretty close to the SSS too, and the animations seen in the centre screen are almost identical, there's just the boost level screen missing.
Driving this new Suzuki Vitara is just too much fun. Even though the engine and drivetrain is in a bigger people-carrier, the Suzuki techs have once again employed new lightweight materials and so the thing tips the scales at just 1095kg. Oddly, the gear ratios feel a little more urgent to me than in the SSS, but it's probably just the butt dyno doing it's thing. The handling is great, more hatchback-like than SUV-like, there's not even a lot of body roll considering the ride height. Braking feels the same - sharp. If you climb out of a pre-2005 car and get straight into this, you WILL headbutt the steering when you first attempt to stop. During the drive, the Vitara feels so light and nimble that if you put someone in the car and they just looked at the dash and felt the drive, they'd be hard-pressed to tell you if they're in a Vitara or a Swift Sport. It's things like this that really gets one thinking though...
I'd rock one as a daily, heck, it would be my daily for the Monday to Friday errand stuff but on weekends it could even be my track toy, after a few tweaks of course. Purely because have an aftermarket background and it's expected of me to talk about modifying things, that's what I'll do. Earlier I mentioned I'd have a red one, and that would be the base colour because it's my favourite of the options. I'd give the Vitara a vinyl wrap to metallic blue though, and yeah, I know you can buy a Vitara with blue paint, but Atlantis Turquoise is just not as intense as the Speedy Blue Metallic that's available for the Swift Sport. Again, the red base would be for when I'm bored of the blue wrap and want the permanent colour to show, which would probably take at least 18 months from the day of wrapping. So now my boosted Vitara would be the same blue as the Swift Sport. Then, as with the SSS, the black parts on the exterior would be made gloss black, along with the foglight surrounds and the grille, but I'd leave the Suzuki badge in silver.
The next thing would be a bit of a fiddle with the suspension to firm things up a little and bring the chassis closer to terra firma, likely with BC coilovers. Again, as mentioned before, the wheels would be replaced, and I'd go for a classic JDM-style wheel, probably along the lines of a Volk TE37 or similar. These would be finished in gloss black, or maybe even white. The next change I'd make would be ambitious to say the least, it would either cost an arm and a leg or require a new SSS that met it's demise in a side or rear impact. I'd love to retrofit a Swift Sport steering wheel, a Swift Sport shift knob and then lastly the Swift Sport front seats. Yeah yeah, I know, BIG work costing plenty, but when your wants turn to needs, plans will get made. The last things to change would be under the hood, the usual tweaks to further improve responsiveness, power and most importantly, the soundtrack with a custom exhaust from the likes of TMSS. The result would be a Suzuki Vitara Sport of my own creation. You do get an S trim overseas that's fitted with an all-wheel drive system too, but SA ain't on the cards for that one so n Engelsman maak n plan yo!
So yeah, yet another Suzuki that makes me happy and that I can live with daily. It doesn't need the changes I'd do of course, it's a brilliant buy that will keep the masses very, very happy. It's pretty much on par with the Swift Sport for me, and I'd probably fork out for one of these purely based on space, my camera equipment fills the Swift boot but will barely touch sides in the Vitara, and I can hang out the boot hatch to get rolling shots when shooting. Ideally though, I'd have a Vitara (Sport) for the daily grind, a Swift Sport for weekend track stuff and a Jimny for kicking it on overland holidays.
You get a few options to choose from if you're keen on a Suzuki Vitara, and all of them are worth your consideration if you're looking to buy in this segment. The range kicks off with the 1.6GL 5MT 2WD at R293 900, then the 1.6GL+ 5MT 2WD at R332 900, the 1.6GL+ 6AT 2WD at R352 900, the 1.6GLX 6AT at R381 900 and then 1.6GLX 5MT AllGrip at R390 900 to finish off the normally aspirated 1600cc options. The 1.4 Turbo GLX 6MT can be had for R386 900 and the flappy paddle 1.4 Turbo GLX 6AT lists at R405 900. They all have a 5-year/100 000km warranty and a 4-year/60 000km service plan. Of course most of that will fall away if you get one and have the same ambitions that I do. Click on through to the Suzuki SA site to directly compare the various trim options.
I do hope there's a few people out there who think like I do, because a modified Vitara is an awesome thought. If anyone ever sees one, you have to let me know!
I'm willing to bet thousands that you saw a Suzuki-related article that's linked to Chris Wall Media and you expected some ridiculously over the top biased opinions and views. While I do like to keep things impartial, who am I to disappoint? I mean come on, it's not only one of my favourite brands here, it's also the flagship model Suzuki Swift Sport, and that means I've had a smile cramp for a week and I've been trying to figure out how to write about the car properly. The thing is there's just no way to do it without adding in the bias that Suzuki brings out in me.
All the tech specs and ins and outs of the all-new Suzuki Swift Sport were covered after I attended the local launch at RedStar Raceway - you can have a refresher if you click through to the post. The SSS was something I was both looking forward to and dreading at the same time thanks to that BoosterJet engine setup. The previous generation Swift Sport was a little firecracker of a car, it truly was the last of the hot hatches if you ever subscribed to the original point of a hot hatch being lightweight and affordable and fun. It featured a sweet short ratio 6-speed transmission and a revvy normally aspirated 4-cylinder lump making 100kW and 160Nm. While in this day and age of chasing numbers, those are rather small, but when you add this to a superb chassis and a kerb weight of just 1075kg, the result is fun, a heck of a lot of fun. Few normally aspirated cars are as cool to chuck around, even at altitude. It's probably why there's now four Swift Sports competing in the King Price Extreme Track Attack series.
Then Suzuki announced that the all-new Suzuki Swift Sport would arrive with a turbo attached and I lost all faith, I wanted another N/A screamer. The men in white coats managed to drop 200cc of engine capacity and made up for it by adding in a turbocharger, and this has seen the power figure rise by just 3kW. Yes, THREE, which puts the total at a monstrous 103kW. The major upside to strapping a turbo on is that Newtons increase more than kilowatts, and so this BoosterJet setup takes that figure up to 230Nm from the old 160Nm. Earning their bonuses, the tech chaps somehow managed to keep the chassis as impeccable and responsive as ever, managed to increase the interior dimensions and still also managed LOWER THE WEIGHT. This all-new Suzuki Swift Sport tips the scales at just 970kg, and when you work things out, what you have is a power to weight ratio of 106.18kW/ton, or 142.3hp/ton, and that's not bad at all. That's more than the legendary Mercedes 190 E 2.3 16v (142.2hp/ton), the VW Corrado G60 (141.7hp/ton), my old favourite and previously loved car, the Ford Focus ST170 (141.5hp/ton) and even the old Opel Astra Coupe Turbo only came in at 141.2hp/ton. So yeah, by today's hot hatch standards, the numbers are low but when you check a VW Golf ClubSport is at 189hp/ton, things aren't too shabby at all.
Adding to the new turbocharged setup, the Suzuki engineers made sure other areas saw improvements, the interior looks great with a pretty cool dash layout and design. There's now a decent infotainment system in play that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto - and unlike some of ze Germans who charge an arm and a leg for this stuff, it's free. The flat-bottom sports wheel is great, the controls are laid out great, it's all a very nice place to be. The bucket seats are comfortable, they keep you in place when you decide to throw a SSS around like a red-headed step child, and that's about fifty-twelve times on every drive. I love that they're 'tombstone' style with no movable head rest. If you're of the poofy variety, where you're a few meals ahead and a few toilet visits behind, the seats may be a constant reminder that you need to start gym (or cycling if you're a motoring scribe), but that's the nature of the bucket seat beast. Yeah, the fat hot hatches are fatter because they cram in more tech and gimmicks, but with the spec list in the new Suzuki Swift Sport, I'm left wanting nothing.
As said above, online and pretty much everywhere, this car ticks all my boxes, and if having it for a test week proved nothing else, I have confirmation that this is indeed one of the very few cars on the market that I'd consider buying new. I drove it as often as possible, and for the stupidest reasons too. The other day I was sent to the shop to get some bits and bobs for dinner, we needed some cheese to complete the recipe. Easy enough. After a ten minute drive to the shops that are 1km away, I found that they had the required dairy products in 300g and 500g packs. Now a normal person would call or WhatsApp his wife to confirm what's needed. I'm not quite normal, and so it was another 10 minute drive home to ask which one we needed... When Eskom pulled the usual loadshedding crap I spent three hours in the car, in my driveway, charging my phone and watching Hunter on Amazon Prime.
The drive is what makes me happy, properly happy. The delivery of power is just brilliant. It's not Polo GTi linear, it's all old school Uno-Turbo-with-a-bent-wastegate surging awesomeness. The gear ratios, the short throw when swapping cogs, the direct and tight steering and the responsive throttle all make for the most ridiculous fun possible. Sure, it's 'only' 103kW, but it sure as shit doesn't feel like it if your but dyno is to be believed. I'm a car guy, I know plenty other car guys, and I visited a few and took them for a drive. Not ONE managed to guess the correct power figure. The closest guess was 130kW, and that was from someone who drives a Cooper S. That's one of the really cool things about the Suzuki Swift Sport, the way everything is set up it feels like you're driving something much higher up on the monthly instalment ladder. For me, how the drive feels is rather important and I can only fault the car's drive in one way. I'm just not a fan of the rev limiter because it's a soft one that kicks in at 6k on the tacho, but you have 2k of revs left to fill. I'd much prefer it revs past the power band and bounces off a limiter with a bit of drama and flair and pops and bangs (no, not the aftermarket Fiesta ST type, the real ones that happen normally). Most people wouldn't even think of that being an issue, but some of us are weird like that. I'm betting that with this car being what it is and where it's from, there will soon be easily loaded aftermarket software that will change that. You may have noticed that fuel consumption has been left out of this so far, and that's because when you feel this good driving a car, it doesn't matter how much it drinks. That said, I'm pretty sure that even when hoofing it things stayed well under 10-litres/100km anyway.
So living with the Suzuki Swift Sport daily is something that can be easily, and happily done. When I saw the initial press pics of the new body shape for the Swift, I didn't like it at all, the dimensions looked off to me but after seeing and driving the new Swift 1.2 when it released locally my mind started to change. When the Sport hit, the car was given enough cool features to be able to properly identify it as the flagship model, and it looked so damn good that the only issue it presented was what colour to choose (I now choose Burning Red Metallic). Sure, the OEM 16-inch wheels could be at least 17-inches, but I'm yet to meet an enthusiast that would keep the stock wheels on any car they bought, and I'm no different. The 16s would chill in a garage until the car needs selling, or they'd be sold off to pay for another thing I'd change. While I've given you the impression that the Suzuki Swift Sport is perfect, it's not. Well, I like to think that the Suzuki engineers left certain things the way they are to give enthusiasts like me something to tinker with and personalise.
On the aesthetics side, I've already mentioned the wheels, but I'd also pay attention to the black insert on the rear bumper, the side skirts, the front lip and the fog light surrounds. In OEM form they have a sort of carbon fibre-look and texture to them, so I'd dig to either have proper carbon fibre skins made for them, or I'd have them painted piano black. I'd do the same to the interior trim, where you see red trim in the pics above, that would all be made piano black too. While the audio system is great, I'd replace the stock speakers with some more powerful aftermarket bits, because loud music rocks when you're driving fast. Ooooh, and a boost gauge, I'd add a proper boost gauge. I do love the telemetry you can see in the instrument cluster, the amount of boost, G-forces and the like, but I would like to see an actual readout of the boost pressure. Someone in Jozi needs to give one of these a down pipe and exhaust, not to increase power, I just so badly want to hear this little 1400cc lump without an OEM exhaust muting it. Of course, most of the things I would like to do to one of these little cars WILL void your warranty. But Suzuki is Suzuki, and I have faith in the reliability of these things, tweaked or not.
So that's my take on the new Suzuki Swift Sport. Even if you manage to dismiss my obvious bias for the thing, you can see it's not just fanboi rantings. The turbocharged hatchback performs well, handles great, has all the right curves in all the right places and has an interior that's got the right amount of tech and sportiness without being bloated with features you'll only show your friends in the first week of ownership and never again. It's my new favourite car, if I lined up all 6 numbers in the Lotto, this would be my first purchase. Not that it's expensive, I'm just not looking to buy a car right now. This this is a bargain for what it is and what you get. All this is yours for just R 317 900 (R337 900 for the 6-speed auto) and that includes a 5-year / 100 000km warranty and a 4-year / 60 000km service plan. The best part is that I think these cars are so good that they speak for themselves. You really must get behind the wheel and make up your own mind. For all the specs possible, click through to the Suzuki SA main site.
Dealership Dealings - New Zealand is boss!
In New Zealand there's a Suzuki dealership, West City Suzuki, that offers customers a Track Edition Suzuki Swift Sport with the help of Jtune Automotive. There's no software, just bolt-ons, and the results are awesome. After much discussion, the Track Edition Swift Sport ended up with an HKS Super Power Flow intake system, HKS DV and an HKS Hi-Power Spec-L exhaust system, all good for an 18.6kW power increase. That's without aftermarket software remember. Then, a set of B.C. Racing coilovers with adjustable shocks, meatier Endless MX72 brake pads, and lightweight 17-inch WedsSport TC105X wheels were fitted (with thicker Cusco sway bars as an optional extra). Not only does the change to the underpinnings help improve the handling and trackability, the the chosen wheels also weigh 500g less than the OEM hoops and so with the reduction in rolling resistance 15kg is effectively shaved off the SSS when it’s in motion. Can you imagine how that feels with the extra power on top? Yuuuuuuuuus!
So if someone in SA could do this, ya'll will be my heroes.
Shot for the 9th issue of ShowTime Magazine, Leon Carstens' Isuzu KB tops my list for most mental car shot in 2019. A few things have changed since the shoot, some piping, electronics and the setup is now complete. At the time of the shoot, the KB could start and rev, but wasn't ready to drive. It's undergone almost tuning and the bump in and staging things have also been dialled in, you may have seen some vids of the setup and practice at Midvaal Raceway. Loving dubbed The Turd, this shit is the real deal, and I cannot wait to snap pics of it in action during this 2020 drag season.
In my 20 years of scribbling things about cars, there’s only been a handful of builds that have almost had me at a loss for words, and this faded-patina Isuzu KB has moved to the top of the list. What you’re essentially looking at is an old bakkie that’s got some paint “issues”, fat tyres and things sticking out of the bonnet. Obviously it’s a helluva lot more than that though, in fact this here retro-looking bakkie has the most in-depth engine build out of all the V8s I’ve ever seen for myself, and I’ve seen way too many to be able to even chuck a number at you. Leon has set a new benchmark for spec lists; this Chevy lump has been showered with the best of the best parts from many of the world’s best drag racing outfits. If you know what the prices of top quality race parts is like, and then of course doubling up because it’s a V8 and you need two of everything, you can trust me when I say I’ve never seen more put into a motor – I’m talking not only money, but research and effort too.
I know for a fact you looked at the pics before reading this, so by now you know that this Isuzu is destined for the drag strip thanks to those fat 29.5” MTs, the parachute mounted on the load bin and TWO FAT TURBOS STARING YOU IN THE FACE! Seriously, that shit is properly impressive, and that’s before you notice that the massive centre boost pipe also has a pair of nitrous foggers tapped in, because as the saying goes… Go big or go home. Leon ain’t heading home. So that V8 centerpiece is of the 6-litre variety with a GM Performance O-ringed truck block as the anchor for all the race-spec parts. There’s literally too much to mention here, so I’ll only mention the bigger stuff. Filling the block is a billet DragonSlayer crank from Callies, and this is connected to a set of aluminium rods from R&R and in turn, they’re connected to custom Wiseco pistons. The Clevite bearings in play hail from Mahle and we have the best fastening bits from ARP piece everything together. With solid mounts from Joe’s Racing, the massive V8 is staying in place as intended. The setup will handle just about any punishment Leon can throw at it, and Leon isn’t gonna hold back.
While the bottom end is impressive, it’s the parts bolted on that make this setup a work of art. Up top there’s a pair of worked turbo-spec aluminium cylinder heads with race-spec seats by Camshaft Dynamics, and these heads are home to Inconel-coated stainless valves with double valve springs, custom chromoly pushrods and titanium retainers (all from BTR), while there’s also Moran Racing lifters and Harland Sharp roller tip rockers mixed in. Why these parts? Well because a similar kind of setup with a camshaft from Brian Tooley Racing currently holds the world record in these platforms. For the intake side, there’s a Holley Hi-Ram intake and a 105mm Holley throttle, which is juuuust big enough to accept all the boost and nitrous that Leon plans on pumping in to make power. The fuelling is big league stuff, starting with the flow that comes from dual Magnafuel 750 pumps on the load bin, a 4-port fuel pressure regulator and a set of 2400cc Siemens Deka injectors on Holley fuel rails. Controlling everything in this setup is a complete Haltech Elite 2500T management system, but I mean COM-PLETE! Leon has every single add on and accessory that Haltech makes for this setup because he didn’t want to get to a stage where he’d need to get the extras to improve things. This way no matter what changes he makes to the setup, the management will be able to handle it perfectly. When you have a gap, read up on what this management system is capable of, especially when it has all the extra controllers and sensors added on. There’s a reason it’s regarded as the best system on the market by many drag racers that know way more than I do. As you’d expect, this thing’s gonna have a serious thirst for ethanol, but Leon is super lucky to be sponsored by 24-7 Race Fuels – SCORE!
The main talking point of this Isuzu is the fact that there’s a pair of turbos staring you in the face, very large turbos. These boost makers are custom SRS Turbos; Stage 3-spec Borg Warner S300 tractor turbos with modified billet wheels, complete with the John Deere logo in the casting. These turbos are mounted to the motor with locally produced ceramic gold-coated J7 Fabrication turbo manifolds, and when you take a close look at that weld porn, you can see SA talent can easily equal what we see Stateside. Keeping boost pressures in check mechanically, we find a pair of Turbosmart 60mm Racegate wastegates (with boost sensors) and 50mm race-spec blow-off valves. For cooling, charged air runs through a billet cooler from Shearer Performance, aided by a Craig Davis 120 l/min water/ice pump cooler while the liquid is stored in a 20-litre J7 fuel cooler cell and ice tank. So far it looks like there will be no issues then the Turd is driven in anger, so far low RPM testing sees temps stay nice and low. Not for cooling, even though it does help, is a dual stage ZEX nitrous system that will throw in 500 horses at a time to make sure competitors get to see that awesome parachute when Turd crosses the line. As you’d imagine, this motor is going to be kicking out some 4-figure power readings, which means the drivetrain needed as much attention as the engine bay.
The OEM Isuzu bakkie suspension is no longer, as expected. There’s a custom setup on the leaf suspension with CalTrac leaf sliders and traction bars added in to the mix. Up front there’s double-adjustable drag shocks, which are also found in the rear setup. Added in to help with data logging is a Racepak shock travel system in the front/rear that can relay vital information to use in getting that holeshot dialed in perfectly. The Turd rolls on 15-inch lightweight Compomotive wheels featuring 29.5-inch Mickey Thompson ET Drag slicks, and even on this rubber it’s perfectly capable of kicking to the shops on a bread run if needed, which is something I would totally expect Leon to do, he’s that kind of awesome. To stop the Turd there’s BMW discs and calipers up front replacing the OEM clamps, while the slicks hide Toyota Quantum brakes, chosen because if they can stop a taxi with 200 people on board, then they’ll reign in a dragster with no problem. It does of course help that there’s a Meziere electrical vacuum pump fitted for some serious brake assist. To screw with physics a little more, there’s a Simpson parachute on a custom billet mount that’s activated via a lever on the ceiling of the cabin. This is the least you need to stop something as fast as the Turd is aiming to be.
You see what I mean yet? There’s nothing but awesomeness packed into this retro-looking Isuzu bakkie. If you take a closer look at the bodywork, you’ll notice that there’s been some brilliant work done on the sides of the load bin to make sure it still sits wider than those fat MT slicks. It’s one of my favourite parts of the Turd, well that and that old patina that’s going to stay as is thanks to a special clear coat mix. Climbing into the pilot’s seat is awesome, almost claustrophobic because it’s so busy, but in a good way. Safety is a non-compromise, so your butt slides into a Sparco Evo race seat with an ATS 4-point harness, both MSA-approved bits. There’s a comprehensive roll cage in play too for the same reason and it’s been left unpainted to go with the Turd’s theme. It’s hard to pinpoint the best feature inside the cabin, for me it’s a close one between the MandM shift lever, all the Haltech controller boxes with the crisscrossing wires or that brilliant Joe’s Racing clip-off aluminium steering wheel. To monitor everything the Turd is doing, there’s that Haltech Racepak Logger Screen with Racepak module replacing the OEM instrument cluster. Sure, the cabin could be neatened here and there but I seriously hope Leon never decides to do that; this look works so well with the overall theme of the old-school Isuzu. It’s not built to be pretty, it’s built to be fast.
As said, the Turd wasn’t quite battle ready on the day of the shoot, the chromoly propshaft was still being manufactured at the time, but it’s in now. Mechanically everything is sorted. I’m sure you’ve figured out that this isn’t just some weekend toy, it’s a 100% kick-ass dragster built with 400m records in mind. Even Leon isn’t sure what the end power figure will be, but the short-term goal is to put the Turd into the mid to low 8-second bracket, and long term to crack 7s. This build doesn’t only have the right recipe; it’s been put together by the right people and has an absolute fanatic at the wheel. There’s no reason we can think of that the Turd won’t achieve all it’s set out to do. Of course you can count on ShowTime keeping a keen eye on the team when they hit the track for some shakedown runs and their first event. Can. Not. Wait.
Lemme know your thoughts.
A full gallery will be uploaded to the CWM Facebook page soon, keep an eye out. You can also catch it in Issue 9 of ShowTime Magazine.
Spec List *At time of shoot
GM Performance truck block, O-ringed
6.0 classified bore & stroke combo
DragonSlayer billet crank by Callies
Race-spec big end and main bearings by Clevite
Billet LS electric water pump by Meziere
High volume, high-pressure race-spec oil pump by Melling
Aluminium billet rods by R&R with ARP 625 upgrade
ARP L19 head bolts, ½” upgrade with ARP L19 mains bolts
Dual Turbosmart 60mm Racegate wastegates with boost sensors
Dual Turbosmart 50mm race-spec blow-off valves
Custom Wiseco pistons with upgraded tool steel gudgeon pin
SRS Turbos Stage 3 turbos (Borg Warner S300 Tractor turbos with modified billet wheels)
Worked turbo-spec aluminium cylinder heads by Camshaft Dynamics
Uprated Inconel-coated stainless inlet valves with exhaust valves
Bran Tooley Racing Twin Turbo stage 3 camshaft
Brian Tooley Racing double valve springs
Brian Tooley Racing custom chromoly pushrods
Brian Tooley Racing titanium retainers
Moran Racing lifters with bigger bosses
Harland Sharp roller tip rockers
LS9 head gaskets
Siemens Deka 2400cc injectors
Dual J7 turbo manifolds with ceramic gold coating
Dual J7 100mm short exhaust
Holley Hi-Ram intake
Holley fuel rails
Holley 105mm throttle
Meziere Brake assist vacuum pump
Billet charge cooler by Shearer Performance
Craig Davis 120 l/min water/ice pump cooler
Dual stage nitrous via ZEX kit (two 500hp stages)
MSD wires + NGK race plugs
Dedenbear RPM module
Daytona / Racepak sensors
Dedenbear 5kg C02 tank with C02 control
Haltech terminated harness for LS
Haltech WBC 2 (x2)
Haltech 12 i/o
Haltech hub (x2)
Haltech Racepak Logger Screen with Racepak module
Haltech C02 boost control
Haltech drag traction control
FTF fittings with Teflon-braided pipes
Dual Magnafuel 750 pumps (2500 per pump)
Magnafuel 4-port fuel pressure regulator
Davis technology module
J7 fuel cooler cell and ice tank (20-litres)
Joe’s Racing solid mounts
MandMtransmission Air-shifted drag gearbox
MandM Transmission billet shifter and transbrake with Bump In / Crawl function - billet mount
JW Performance Billet flex plate with ARP L19 bolts
JW billet spacers for LS
JW Performance billet torque converter with pressure switch
JW Performance transfer case
Dedenbear 2kg C02 tank airshifter
Strange solid spool
Strange Pro casing
Fullrace chromoly bolt-in shafts
Fullrace chromoly propshaft
Rhodes Pro Drag anti-roll bar
Rhodes-fabricated drag chromoly diff housing
Derail gearbox oil cooler
Redline Diff Heavy Shock Oil
Redline Racing ATF
Jegs Ballistic gearbox blanket
CalTrac bars traction
CalTrac leaf sliders
Special leaf setup
Double-adjustable drag shocks all around
29.5 Mickey Thompson slicks
Compomotive lightweight wheels
Racepak shock travel systems in front/rear
Simpson parachute with billet parachute bracket
Competition Engineering add ons
Isuzu patina with custom clear coat
Widened rear bin
Joe’s Racing clip-off aluminium steering wheel
Sparco race seat
To God first. My wife and best friend Bianca, my Popsie Chiara, my Little Squish Caden – family is everything. Then everyone that helped with the build; PW Pretorius, my mad friend who’s more a car fanatic than me. Ian’s Welding and Automotive for the awesome engine build, Riaan Stander at SRS turbos, JP Annandale from J7 Fabrication (watch this oke’s work in the future), Arno Dictator for the Haltech system, Tyron and Kyle from Fullrace and Dirk at Camshaft Dynamics and Ultrawater. Also Ludi Schnelle, my Crew Chief, Willie Britz, Daantjies Towing (Michiel) for always transporting the Turd, Oom Daan, Corrie and the very important Sosten Botha for all the hours of welding and helping out, Petrolheads Services for all the support and Barend, Gerrie and Buks at ShowTime Magazine. Not forgetting Brian’s Motor Spares for the use of the yard for the shoot, much appreciated. You ain’t seen nothing yet…..be prepared