We cruise the highway and bi-ways this week with Thegandra Naidoo, taking a look at the the new BMW X5 which has just launched, then we take the Mitsubishi Triton out on the road and finally we end with some much needed fuel saving tips
News of the week:
· The third generation BMW X5 has launched in SA
· Not much difference at first glance but it is wider and slightly bigger.
· New touchpad iDrive and a 10” display screen.
· Three new engines – 3.0L straight six turbo-diesel with 190kW and 560Nm of torque, a 4.4L twin turbo with 330kW and 650Nm of torque, and a 3.0L tri-turbo that produces 280kW and 740Nm of torque.
· Priced from R769 900 through to R1 031 000 for the flagship M50d model.
Road test: Mitsubishi’s Triton given a nip/tuck
It’s been a long haul for Mitsubishi. Over the last decade, the marque lost much of it’s following in South Africa due to a limited number of models. Sealing Mitsubishi’s fate was the high cost of ownership and lack of aftermarket support.
Not anymore. Imperial Holdings has revitalised Mitsubishi’s following among performance aficionados and off-road enthusiasts. Mitsubishi face lifted the ASX during the second quarter of 2013, and the arrival of Lancer EVOLUTION X was welcomed across the country.
Our latest test drive, however, isn’t quite the run-of-the-mill bakkie. In the 4×4 market, of course, pricing and capability is everything. The Mitsubishi Triton is a real beauty, packed with features and comes with a 5-year/90 000km service plan and a 3-year/100 000km warranty.
Mitsubishi’s Triton Double Cab benefits from an upgraded range of turbo diesel engines and has already stormed a market largely dominated by the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger and Nissan NP300.
What’s it like to drive?
The Triton is surprisingly enjoyable to drive. When we were asked to test drive this vehicle, particularly with a 4×4 manual, we thought it would be a little agricultural, but soon learned how refined the Triton actually is.
Yes, it is a big, tough double-cab, but it has enough soft touches to make it a reasonable option for families with bicycles and leisure goodies, rather than a bale of hay or bag of cement in the load bin.
There is very little moan about with the Triton. We have only one real complaint: we thought that the suspension was little a tad soft, and coupled with a very high centre of gravity, the bakkie feels top heavy. But, as hard as we looked for things that could be improved, that was really about it.
Uprated turbo diesel engines save on fuel
There are many positives on the Triton: most importantly the wow factor of the 2.5L turbodiesel engine which has been uprated. It has some serious oomph especially once that turbo kicks in. It produces 131kW and 400Nm of torque – just enough power to keep it chirping along whilst sipping on 10-litres/100km around town and 8.6-litres/100km as a combined fuel cycle.
We were impressed by the fit and finish and the overall build quality of the vehicle. There is absolutely no play in any of the controls. More impressively, there is no slack on the clutch pedal and steering wheel on the Triton.
The triton offers a smooth and corseting ride; you sit up nice and the instrumentation falls to hand. The dash is well laid-out and despite feeling a little dated, it looks quite attractive. There’s heaps of room for your odds and ends, the seats are very comfortable at the front and the rear bench is not awkwardly upright either.
Class leading interior and features
Another feature that we found useful was the trip computer which displays a host of data and info including a compass, elevation stats and even a barometer. It equipped with all the bells and whistles – power steering, aircon, electric windows, USB connectivity, two airbags, and leather interior – all of which sets it apart from rival models. Owners of the Triton will also benefit from a multifunction steering and cruise control as standard.
The exterior mirrors are huge and the overall visibility out of the cab is good. On the outside, Triton doesn’t have conventional styling, however, this model receives colour coded body panels, and replaces the matt silver trim found on predecessor model. The latest model also receives fog lamps, 17” alloy wheels and side steps.
The four wheel drive system is operated by Mitsubishi’s Super Select system, which permits the driver to select from four different transfer modes, depending on terrain, and changes can be made with the Triton on the move.
The 4×4 system, which has proved its mettle in the toughest terrain, has also been upgraded. Typically driven through the rear wheels, the Triton Double Cab 4×4 now has a lockable centre differential combined with the shift-on-the-fly system. The driver can change from standard 4×2 mode (for fuel economy) to 4H without a locked differential at speeds up to 100km/h.
Overall, Triton is a greater lifestyle and workhorse bakkie. But what about the price tag? The Triton DC 2.5 DI-D 4×2 starts at R349 900. That’s a lot of money to pay for a bakkie, but there aren’t many bakkies in this segment of the market. Our test unit was the high spec 2.5 DI-D 4×4 model which retails at R419 900.
There’s also a range of Single Cab and Club Cab options for those who are looking for workhorse models.
Overall, however, Triton represents good value for money with its serious off-road ability, plenty of load-carrying capacity, creature comforts, and good fuel economy.
Drop into a Mitsubishi dealer; check out the new Triton for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.
Vehicle Maintenance: Fuel saving tips
Are you driving as if there’s a sleeping kitten under your accelerator? Fuel prices making you obsessively stare at your fuel gauge? From ensuring you have the correct tyre pressure to not “driving angry,” there are many ways you can reduce your fuel consumption.
1. Get your kit off – The kit on the roof that is. Do you only surf on weekends? If that’s the case, removing roof racks during the week will ensure better aerodynamics.
2. Correct tyre pressure – Ensuring you have the correct tyre pressure can have a massive impact on fuel consumption as well as handling. Low tyre pressure can cause blowouts.
3. Trim the ‘fat’ – Weight can be another factor in increased fuel consumption as well as affecting your vehicle’s handling. Unload unnecessary items from your car. Another weight-saving option is to fill your fuel tank to 60 – 70% capacity.
4. Don’t rubberneck – We are all tempted to slow down and have a look at an accident on the side of the road but doing so causes others following to slow down for no reason. All those vehicles then have to accelerate to get going, wasting fuel in the process.
5. Anticipate the road ahead – Always focus behind the wheel and assess what will happen on the road ahead. By anticipating the road ahead, you will minimise reactionary braking or aggressive acceleration.
6. Don’t drive angry – This is easier said than done, especially in traffic but angry driving burns more fuel. Burning out at traffic lights or weaving between lanes results in unnecessary acceleration and fuel use.
7. Take a cruise – Using cruise control on the road will ensure you maintain a constant speed which will save fuel.
8. Are you in tune – A vehicle service is a task few look forward to but while you may be saving money in servicing costs, you’ll end up paying in the long run with poor fuel consumption. If you wait too long to have your vehicle serviced your may end up having to fork over thousands to your mechanic.
9. Plan your journey – A wrong turn could lead to extra kilometres added to your journey resulting in burning more fuel. Rushing out to the shops three or four times over a weekend also impacts your pocket. Draw up a shopping list and ensure you complete all your errands in one trip. A carefully planned journey can save you money.
Despite the fuel price hike in February 2014 South Africa still has it easy compared to the rest of the world. According to stats on global fuel prices, South Africa is actually ranked 40th in the table of fuel prices. You’ll be crying your eyes out if you live in Europe as fuel prices are almost R34/litre.
ROAD: Thegandra Naidoo in conversation with e-biz-radio
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