Seems it is the season for new SUVs, which is just as well. Soon thousands of people will be heading on their annual vacation, so why not do it from behind the wheel of a new set of wheels?
Here are all the latest launches you should know about.
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Toyota Land Cruiser Prado
The Prado is more a facelift than anything else, but there wasn’t much wrong with it to begin with. It retains its body-on-frame design, which means it’s as robust as they come and it won’t get scared once the going gets dirty.
A brand-new model has been added to the range – the VX-L. It’s the most luxurious model in the line-up, as it comes as standard you used to get in the previous range-topping VX, but with a sunroof and a comprehensive active safety assistance package thrown into the mix.
New-look frontal elements such as the bonnet, grille, headlamps, bumper and wings draw on structural elements from the model’s design heritage.
In keeping with Land Cruiser Prado heritage, the grille itself features broad vertical bars with slit-shaped cooling openings, finished in chrome. The headlamp clusters comprise high and low beams, front turn indicators and daytime running lights, contained in a distinctive housing. TX models utilise halogen bulbs, whilst VX and VX-L models feature high brightness LED units. All models feature LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and fog lamps, in addition to automatic light control system, as standard.
The top of the new centre console tower has been set lower (by 25mm) for a sleeker appearance and better front-on visibility when driving off-road. It is fitted with a new eight-inch, full-colour multimedia screen, a flush-fitting air conditioning control panel and the drivetrain-related instrument cluster.
The controls for driving and comfort functions are located in separate panels for ease of use, positioned behind a new, leather-trimmed gear lever. They include switches to operate new integrated heating and ventilation for the front seats.
The centre console features a silver textured finish with a metallic effect. Soft pads are provided on either side to cushion the driver and front passenger’s knees.
TX models inherit the much favoured ‘coolbox’ located in the centre console binnacle. In keeping with the cool-theme, all models are now equipped with seat ventilation for driver and passenger -in addition to the seat-heating function (for first and second row occupants).
The top-tier VX and VX-L models are outfitted with Satellite Navigation and an enhanced surround-view Multi Terrain Monitor camera system which also includes Panoramic and overhead view modes. The 14-speaker Premium touchscreen infotainment system incorporates a tablet-like design and easy to operate switchgear.
The standard convenience specification list is of course befitting the stature of the Land Cruiser Prado: automatic dual-zone climate control, 6-speaker touch audio system, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, illuminated entry, cruise control, park distance control, keyless entry, three power outlets, Bluetooth connectivity, USB, 3rd row seating and reverse camera.
High grade models add memory function for the driver’s seat, a 14-speaker Premium audio system with woofer, multi-information display, power tilt-and-telescopic steering adjustment, rain-sensing wipers and power-fold-down 3rd row seats.
The Land Cruiser Prado retains the proven 3.0 D-4D engine, offering 120 kW and 400 Nm available between 1,600-2,800 rpm. This is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission with gear ratios optimized for low-speed tractability and off-road use.
The 4.0-litre petrol engine uses a six-speed automatic transmission. Maximum power is 202 kW at 5,600rpm, with peak torque of 381Nm delivered at 4,400rpm.
All Land Cruiser Prado models include a 5 year/90 000 kilometre service plan and 3 year/100 000 kilometre warranty.
Model Line-up and Pricing
Land Cruiser Prado 3.0D TX – R 821 700
Land Cruiser Prado 4.0 V6 VX – R 930 000
Land Cruiser Prado 3.0D VX – R 932 400
Land Cruiser Prado 4.0 V6 VX-L – R 967 200
Land Cruiser Prado 3.0D VX-L – R 969 600
Land Cruiser 200
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Toyota’s high-end 200 also received a few minor upgrades, the most significant of which is the engine.
The 200 uses the trusted 4.5l V8 diesel as before, but it has been tuned to add an additional 22kW and 35Nm, which brings the total to 195kW and 650Nm of torque.
A 6-speed automatic transmission transmits the power to all four wheels, via a low-range equipped transfer case.
The engine isn’t the only facet of the ‘LC200’ where enhancements have been made; as the convenience specification list is also expanded. As before two grades are available, the utility focused ‘GX’ and sumptuous ‘VX’ – now renamed to VX-R.
GX models receive roof rails, centre console housed coolbox, rear tonneau cover as well as rear park distance control. VX-R versions also inherit roof rails and auto-folding power exterior mirrors, whilst an integrated tow hitch now completes the VX-R package.
Model Line-up and Pricing
Land Cruiser 200 GX – R 999 900
Land Cruiser 200 VX-R – R 1 345 000
Alfa Romeo Stelvio
Alfa’s first SUV is now available in South Africa and doesn’t it look good?
The handling should be fairly good as well, as this particular SUV was named after the famous Stelvio Pass in Italy.
Its interior is claimed to be exclusive, tasteful and elegant, with room for passengers to enjoy. It also ensures a high level of onboard comfort with the dual zone climate control system, the sophisticated Alfa Connect infotainment system and a fine audio system, with 8, 10 or 14 speakers (in this case by Harman Kardon) depending on version. Last but not least, the 525l boot competes with the best in the segment and has a convenient electric tailgate that can be set with three different opening levels, directly from the Alfa Rotary selector.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio is equipped with the ground-breaking Alfa Connect system. It comes with a sophisticated set of features, especially the latest-generation HMI interface, with the system controlled from the Rotary Pad and the 8.8″display incorporated into the dashboard design.
With a class-leading voice recognition system, the device allows full connectivity with all mobile devices (with Apple iOS and Android operating systems).
Stelvio’s latest-generation infotainment system controls the audio system and also provides Bluetooth for hands-free telephony and playing content from USB devices and smartphones.
The entire range is supplied as standard with the UConnect 3D Nav 8.8″, supplying navigation with high-resolution 3D maps and high-speed route calculation, also available without a GPS signal thanks to the Dead Reckoning technology, and functions for TomTom map updating from the USB port, driving style information display and indication of the current Alfa DNA mode selection.
The Stelvio is powered by a 2l turbocharged petrol engine with a power output of 206kW and 400Nm of torque. This engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, which allows it to accelerate to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 230km/h.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is available immediately from dealerships countrywide. Pricing starts at R810 000 for the Super.
All Alfa Romeo Stelvio’s feature a 3 year / 100,000 km Warranty and a 6 year / 100,000km Maintenance plan as standard.