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Point and Shoot: The New Golf VI GTi

Published by on Sep 3rd, 2009, 6 Comments

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I recently took the new VW Golf VI for a ride to see how much has really changed since the Mk5. After the success of the Mk5, it was clear that the Mk6 had much to live up to.

The moment I left the driveway I could tell the ride is much softer than it was which made me a bit concerned as to whether it would have any effect on handling. I am happy to report that is not the case. The Mk6 now features VW’s EDL (Electronic Differential Lock) which works by applying pressure to front inner wheel exactly where it is needed on fast cornering to prevent spinning. This maximizes traction, reduces under steer and improves response.

The Mk6 manages to achieve a perfect and subtle blend between performance handling and comfort driving. Under intense driving the GTi has a steering pulse which alerts you that the limit of traction is about to be reached, so you don’t end up sliding into a ditch.

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So handling wise the car hits the nail on the head once again, but performance was the one area where the Mk5 needed attention since it was outperformed by the other hot hatches. VW’s answer was to make the engine 3kg lighter and adding on a supercharger to the turbocharged 2.0l engine increasing the power output to 155kw and 280Nm torque, with the torque kicking in at 1800rpm. This launches the GTi from 0 – 100km/h in 6.9 seconds and takes it to a top speed of 240km/h. In the DSG model, which is the same one I drove, you get a dual clutch semi-auto gearbox, so the one clutch is leading while the other preselects the next gear, making gear changes smoother and quicker.

As both a family and performance car the Golf GTi is an absolute pleasure. With a 275 liter boot, loads of legroom and an impressive 6.1 liters per 100km, it’s a perfect blend of the two. You can really point its nose in the direction you want to go and shoot at it. Safety features include ABS, EBD, ESP, adjustable whiplash optimized head restraints and 7 airbags, making the GTi one of the safest cars ever built and giving it 5-star Euro NCAP rating.

There are a couple of other cars to choose from in the same price class as the Mk6 GTi, but for a balanced combination of speed, luxury, reliability and practicality I’d say the GTi is certainly one of the best.

Article by Dewildt Smith

Citroen Takes on BMW

Published by on Aug 31st, 2009, 3 Comments

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Finally a straight challenge for the Mini has been released; it’s called the Citroen DS3, and its Citroen’s version of the legendary Mini. Unfortunately Citroen SA has not yet approved the car for import, so for now we can only hope it will reach our shores soon.

The new DS line will have three versions to choose from, although the other two will only be released at a later stage. For now the DS3 will be available in one of five CO2-efficient Euro V engines, two of them diesel and three will be petrol, with the latter being co-developed by BMW. The two HDi diesel engines will produce 90bhp and 110bhp and will have Citroen’s DPFS, which stands for diesel particulate filter system. The three petrol engines will produce from the VTi 95bhp and 110bhp, and the THP will produce 150bhp. (more…)

Rather use the 2 Second Rule for Safe Following Distance!

Published by on Aug 24th, 2009, 3 Comments

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You don’t need a stick to show you the correct following distance. Rather use the 2 Second Rule as described on the :

The 2 Second Rule

Most International road safety campaigns refer to the “2 Second Rule” as a guideline for safe following distances. A point on the road is noted, two seconds are counted, and if that point is still visible then there’s probably enough following distance.

The 2 Second Rule is applied as follows:

•Watch the vehicle in front of you pass a landmark – such as a sign, tree, or power pole – at the side of the road.
•As it passes the landmark, start counting “one thousand and one, one thousand and two”.
•If you pass the landmark before you finish saying all eight words, you are following too closely. Slow down, pick another landmark and repeat the words, to make sure you have increased your following distance.

This rule will ensure that you keep the , no matter what speed you are traveling at.

Adjusting Following Distance

The 2 Second Rule is only the advised measure when driving conditions are ideal. This should be seen as a bare minimum and should be adjusted to at least 4 Seconds in the following situations:

•In adverse weather conditions
•Driving on slippery roads
•Driving at night
•When following vehicles with different characteristics, i.e. motorcycles & trucks
•When towing a trailer or other object

How many male and female drivers in South Africa?

Published by on Aug 23rd, 2009, No Comments

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I was recently asked to share my views on whom the better driver might be – is it women or men? This is always a rather heated debate. I thought it might be worthwhile to include information on the number of licensed drivers in South Africa. The data provides interesting reading – especially with regards to vehicle size and licensed drivers for that specific vehicle grouping.

As could be expected there are a significant male gender presence in our heavier vehicle group! View the Car Insurance Blog if you would like to view the comments on

Who needs a mechanic?

Published by on Aug 13th, 2009, No Comments

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Sometimes we can only stop and be fascinated at the way some road users apply their limited “Do it yourself” skills to vehicles. A friend once said that it always amazes him how engineers study years and then spend hours on vehicle design and testing, only to have one super clever visionary from the other side of town take 30 minutes to decide the suspension is all wrong and then do a complete makeover of a perfectly roadworthy vehicle!

We have recently written a blog post titled The short-term insurance ombudsman has confirmed that used and non-genuine parts can be used to repair insured cars provided that they don’t compromise safety!

There are many small details in vehicle maintenance that the everyday driver can attend to effectively. It is however best to leave the servicing of your vehicle in the hands of trained automotive professionals / mechanics. They have the knowledge and tools to diagnose and correct problems and to put you on the road to safe, fuel-efficient driving.

We would like to encourage all car owners to focus on the importance of proper vehicle maintenance in achieving greater safety on the roads!

The Race-ist Movie

Published by on Aug 5th, 2009, No Comments

The guys are currently filming an exciting local film based on the vehicle modifications and quartermile racing industry.

The movie is called ‘The Race-ist’ and is due for release on the 11 December 2009 at Cinemas nationwide (Distributed by the amazing Nu-Metro).

The film stars DJ Fresh, Kurt Darren, Ian Roberts, Jonnie Pienaar, Nicole Smart, Liezel van der Westhuizen and many other great actors and personalities.

Check out the website and trailer at www.therace-ist.co.za

On Sunday the 9th of August 2009 they will be filming the major race finale scene. They need approximately 5000 extras with cars, Bikes and all things bright and cool to really show off how cool our country and it’s people are. Unfortunately, paying for 5000 extras would cost ridiculous amounts of money… So what they are hosting an expo at the Rock raceway in Benoni on Sunday the 9th of August 2009.

(more…)

Crime is costing the South African car owner

Published by on Aug 3rd, 2009, 1 Comment

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We recently read of the risk of significant increases in car insurance premiums. This can be attributed not only to the high number of vehicle accidents on our roads, but also to criminal activity such as hijackings and vehicle theft!

Motor vehicle insurance has been described as a necessary evil – even if you pay cash for a motor vehicle and you are the most cautious of motorists, you are at great financial risk if you drive an uninsured vehicle.

I recently parked my vehicle in a secured parking spot in Sandton, only to find the next day that someone tried to open the door of my car with a sharp object – fortunately for me the person failed to open the door. I would now have to replace the door handle and lock at some cost to myself and the insurer.

Car insurance is an important part of road safety. This provides peace of mind when hitting the road that your vehicle is protected. On the Arrive Alive website we have developed a section on . We would like to urge vehicle owners not only to protect themselves, but also their cars on the road. We will be addressing these concerns on the and provide advice to ensure that our car owners are protected against some of the insurance pitfalls!

Why did you decide to buy that GPS device?

Published by on Jul 4th, 2009, 3 Comments

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Most of us know exactly why a GPS device is an important part of our safe travel in unknown areas…but why do we buy a specific make or model? We have raised this with one of the top SA accident investigators and received this response:

“ The more important question is – and remains – do you want to use it primarily in the City, cross-country, between cities on National Roads, Off-road, etc.? Before choosing a GPS, establish YOUR needs, then shop after getting the best “pound-for-your-buck.” Also keep in mind that – with all the building going on for 2010, you will invariably get out-of-date routing errors. We have been using GPS for about 6 years now, on a daily basis. Like a computer, the user can also influence the effectiveness of the device.. So, FIRST your needs, THEN your wants (bluetooth, etc), THEN price, THEN “coolness.” My 10c worth…”

This is a concise but rather accurate summary of some of the aspects to consider when buying a GPS device.
The Arrive Alive website will assist our drivers further with a guide titled

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