News of the week:
- Suzuki has launched the all-new SX4 model in South Africa.
- This follows on just a month after the launch of the latest Swift model.
- The original Suzuki SX4 was one of the pioneers of the C-segment crossover market.
- Now, the latest iteration of this trend-setter establishes new standards that propel this versatile SUV to even greater heights.
- The new SX4 has a useful 180 mm of ground clearance, while its overall dimensions have been increased significantly compared to the previous model. It is also longer and wider so there’s increased space for occupants on the inside.
- The new Suzuki SX4 features a refined and economical 1.6L four-cylinder engine, equipped with variable valve timing (VVT) and electronic fuel injection.
- Suzuki claims that the engine produces 86kW and 156Nm of torque.
- The SX4 is available in both and 2WD and 4WD options, and manual or CVT gearboxes as well.
- Pricing starts at R265 900 for the base model through to R341 900 for the flagship. All prices include a 3-yr/ 90 000km service plan.
- To me, it’s a lot of money to pay for a soft roader and most buyers would rather get behind the wheel of a premium segment German vehicle at that price
- Then again, Suzuki is a renowned brand with a heritage of building some of the best lifestyle equipment, motorcycles and cars in the world.
Road Test: Ford Everest 4×4 LTD
The Ford Everest has been considered, by many, to be something of an ugly duckling. Not a good thing when you’re fighting for breadcrumbs in a pond where Toyota’s Fortuner, Chevrolet’s Trailblazer and Mitsubishi’s Pajero dominate.
It was only natural that Ford would eventually hit the refresh button. Unfortunately, it’s still a matter of time before they create an all-new one based on the latest Ranger, but the latest facelift – now available in South Africa – does give it a more modern appearance from the front.
Here we see a new grille set into a bolder and more car-like front bumper that resembles that of the Ecosport, while new headlights, fog lamp bezels, door mirrors and enhanced quarter back windows round off the aesthetic modifications.
Inside they’ve replaced the camel interior trim with a darker tone called Basalt (black) while cruise control has been added to the Limited model as a standard feature. Aux and USB inputs are standard across the range.
But core to the appeal of the Everest is its space-utilisation. Those seats in the third row are not your usual two individual items. This one has a bench seat, so there’s more room to go round. There are no headrests, mind you.
The other great feature is the legroom. Yes, the floor is high due to the ladder frame chassis, but it still is spacious. But wait, there’s even more! This seat is easy to remove if extra luggage space is what you need. The rear door opens sideways and the full-size spare is mounted to it.
The centre-seat row, too, has excellent legroom but the front seats lack height adjustment and I did experience some posterior pain after an hour of driving to Rosslyn. Also great for game or scenery admiration such as our quest for late spring flowers is the large glass area with first-class visibility from all seats.
Still inside, there is dual-zone air-con (front and rear) and a very handy cruise control, but no outside temperature readout or fuel-consumption display. Satellite stalks behind the wheel are used for the cruise control and audio.
As before, buyers can choose between rear-wheel drive and 4×4 variants (the latter including a Borg-Warner transfer case), all powered by Ford’s proven 3.0L turbodiesel with variable-geometry turbocharging.
It’s the same engine that’s powered the Everest since its launch a few years back, and it’s the same engine that powered the previous generation Ranger and BT40 bakkies.
The motor pushes 115kW and maximum torque of 380Nm; it’s mated to a five-speed manual gearbox in the XLT models and a five-speed automatic transmission in the Limited. In comparison to the Fortuner, it has 5kW less power, but a lofty 37Nm more of torque, which makes all the difference, especially when tackling an off-road trail, or towing a caravan during a family holiday.
The suspension is on the firm side at the rear to enable the leaf springs to cope with a full complement of adults on board.
Pricing is key and our test unit was priced at R450 000. It includes a 5-yr/ 90 000km service plan and a De Rust Outdoor off-road driving course is part of the deal if you buy one of the 4×4 models.
The equivalent Fortuner model will cost you R514 00 currently. The Everest remains a sound buy in this market and, at the price, undercuts the equivalent Chevrolet Trailblazer and Toyota Fortuner by quite some margin.
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