Monday, September 21, 2020
Friday, September 18, 2020
When it comes to SUV's in the SA market, the two heavyweights which battle for market dominance in-terms of sales figures, are the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Everest. While both are very similar in overall aspects, Toyota did have the upper hand with more engine variant offerings than Ford with them only having the 2.2L and 3.2L liter diesel options, but recently Ford South Africa have introduced their new 2.0L Bi-Turbo Diesel which is set to stir things up for them as the Everest is already a great offering and with this new engine variant it can only do good things for the brand. I had the opportunity to spend a week with the new Ford South Africa Everest 2.0L Bi-Turbo as well as take it on a cross country trip from the coast to Johannesburg to see how it goes, here are my thoughts on the car.
To me the Everest has always been the best looking 7-seater SUV on the market and it still remains that with this new model receiving subtle styling enhancements but the overall looking remaining very much the same. It goes with the saying, don't fix something if it ain't broke and Ford reservedly did so. The car has that American charm to it, even though it features the Ranger front end but sporting a different grille, the way the car is sculptured with added bulk on the wheel arches, flowing lines along the side to give the side profile a very professional look before tying in perfectly at the back with the longitudinal lamps. The car is very classy and even more so in this Frozen White paint work. The model specification I had was the top of the range Limited which has 18" rims, a lot of chrome accents, ventilated brake discs up front and a whole lot of safety features. The inside also remains very similar to the previous model, pretty much the same set-up as the Ranger but more softer materials to give it that family/ luxury feel rather than that of a bakkie.
As mentioned, this is Ford's all-new 2.0L Bi-Turbo Diesel engine, it's teamed up with a new 10-speed automatic gearbox which combined with the performance from the engine make it a dream to drive. The old 6-speed automatic wasn't too bad and performed well with the 3.2L diesel engine but with the 2.2L it had it searched for that perfect medium but now with the 10-speed box it knows the ratios to produce the optimal performance when needed and it helps with the fuel economy. The 2.0L Bi-Turbo diesel engine produces 157kW with 500Nm of torque, with the Limited being all-wheel-drive, this torque is transferred to all four wheels and makes the car quite quick off the start on tar roads. Ford say the claimed fuel consumption to be 7.6L to the 100km, a figure that I didn't get close to on my long distance trip but then again with all the road-works on the N3 it would have been difficult to achieve this but still, keeping that figure to under 10L per 100km in a big vehicle like this, with a full load was pretty pretty impressive.
So with this being the Limited model, it comes kitted out with all the nice stuff, leather seats for ALL 7 seats, my favourite party trick from this model is the automatic folding third row seating which you can control from the luggage compartment. The third row folds flat to give you even more luggage space if required. Upfront you have seat heating for driver and front passenger, the large infotainment screen with Ford's SYNC 3, this model did not have Apple Car Play or Android Auto preloaded as per normal but there is an option for you to do that via Wi-Fi, yes you can make a Wi-Fi hotspot via the car for the entire cabin which is also pretty cool. The second row seats is as luxurious if not more than the front, they get their own zone climate control with controls at the back. Being a big vehicle you're going to need some assistance getting around so it comes with front and rear PDC's as well as a rear view parking camera. The cruise control took me a while to figure out, but once it was activated it was smooth sailing from there as it has active cruise control which slows down if it sensors the car in front of you slowing down. It has blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning as well should you stray across and not notice, which is easy to do in a big car like this.
Being a fully fledged off-roader, I was hoping to take it out off the beaten track but unfortunately didn't get the time to do so but you'll be pleased to know it comes with all the bells and whistles for this application. From Hill Descent Control, Hill Launch Assist, Roll-Over Mitigation, EBD and ESP. The jog shuttle dial system for selection of road conditions make it easy for anyone to use. The front suspension is independent with coil spring and anti roll bar, while the rear being coil spring with Watt Links. The transmission is 4WD with electronic locking rear differential, with final drive 3.31.
Overall this new offering from Ford which becomes the range topping model did no wrong while I had it. It's honestly still one of the best 7-seater SUV offerings on the market and while it does have stiff competition, there will be key differences which the Ford has that will win it over from the opposition. It offers a great ride, fantastic build quality and the equipment that comes as standard is great. While being a sizable car, it doesn't take you very long to get used to the size of the car when driving it around. The cabin is spacious and with the panoramic sunroof, it just gives you that illusion of it being much bigger.
2L, Bi-Turbo Diesel
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Many who watched the Apple Event last night anticipating the iPhone 12 were left unsatisfied after the event was over as there was no work or mention of the next generation of Apple smart phones but there was a whole lot of other stuff they introduced at last nights event. Like two new Apple Watches, this forms Series 6 and a cheaper SE version with the the Series 6 being priced at $399, it comes with a pulse oximeter for measuring blood oxygen saturation as well as an always-on screen. The SE priced at $279 is basically a Series 5 in a new slimmer body. Apple has launched a new Family feature which allows parents to setup a cellular watch for kids who don't have an iPhone.
Two new iPads were also launched, with the iPad Air getting a new square bezel free design to match the iPad Pro as well as the A14 bionic chip which are rumoured to be in the upcoming iPhone 12. The iPad does not have FaceID but rather makes use od a new Touch ID sensor which is located in the iPad's power button. The RRP for the new iPad Air is $329.
Apple Fitness+ service was also featured at the Apple event, its a fitness service that is custom made for the Apple Watch. It will feature guided workouts and activities for a monthly subscription of $9,99 a month, it will also be included in the Apple One subscription service which is a cross platform service which includes Apple Arcade, Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News as well as Apple Fitness, it also includes iCloud storage space ranging from 50GB up to 2TB.
Monday, September 14, 2020
American DJ Morgan Page teamed up with Dutch Trance music producer Mark Sixma for the track "Our Song" which was good but then that Viking Orjan Nilsen decided it needed a bit of a rework and you know when Orjan add's his touch to a track it turns into gold and that is just what happened to this track! The remix was released early August and has had decent airplay since then on the various podcasts, it's a pity festivals are still a shutdown since most countries are still struggling to contain the virus but this would have been a banger at them Best we can do for now is turn up the volume and enjoy it at home!
Friday, September 11, 2020
Yesterday saw the kick-off of Huawei's 2020 Developer Conference in Songshan Lake, China, during the keynote speech, Richarch Yu, Executive Director and CEO of Huawei Consumer BG announced six new products by the Chinese manufacturer. Forming part of Huawei's seamless AI lifestyle, these products are designed to further enrich the 1+8+N all-scenario ecosystem. These products include Huawei FreeBuds Pro, FreeLace Pro, Watch GT 2 Pro, Watch Fit, MateBook X and MateBook 14. Huawei also reaffirmed its commitment to the All-Scenario Seamless AI Lifestyle Strategy which basically translates into every one of their devices linking and talking to each other seamlessly, giving consumers with Huawei products effortless communication between their devices.
Taking a look at the in ear Pro devices which were launched, firstly the FreeBuds Pro are the world's first true wireless stereo (TWS) earphones to support intelligent dynamic noise cancellation. Featuring a hardware and software integrated solution, the new TWS earphones intelligently identify the type of ambient noise based on the users immediate surroundings and switch between three profiles - General, Cosy and Ultimate - to offer the optimal noise cancelling performance. The FreeLace Pro offers great audio and a stylish design ll while supporting noise cancellation up to 40dB, the lace is a neckband type earphones that takes advantage of industry-leading algorithms to provide stable noise cancelling performance in any situation. The device features a pair of 14mm aluminium-magnesium alloy dynamic drivers with bass tubes to offer the high fidelity audio for an ideal listening experience.
The Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro is Huawei's latest smart watch device which is practical and has features for everyday use. Innovation at its best, is what can be the best way to describe this product as it not only comes with features that consumers have come to love on the current GT Series but also offers up to two weeks of battery life, has more than 100 workout modes as well as pro-grade fitness data tracking features. Health tracking features are at their most advanced yet with the upgraded Huawei TruSeen 4.0+ providing more accurate heart rate readings. The new flagship smartwatch launches with a rugged design featuring premium materials, including a sapphire watch crystal, titanium case and skin-friendly ceramic case back that combines with another sapphire glass back to enhance monitoring accuracy and wearing comfort. Huawei WatchFIT is the first Huwei smartwatch to support Quick-workout animations by combining 44 standard fitness routines into 12 animations, this feature provides quick and easy way for users to workout at a moments notice. Key to these workouts is the 13 running classes which are specifically tailored for jogging enthusiasts where running pace is analysed scientifically with results provided in real time to help users optimise their workout. The smartwatch has a built-in GPS for more accurate tracking and 5ATM water resistance.
The last two devices launched were the MateBook X which is the first notebook to feature 3K Infinite FullView Display which is realised with a borderless design that offers an immersive viewing experience and stunning image quality. The display is also multitouch-enabled with gesture support such as Fingers Gesture screenshot. It's powered by a 10th Gen Intel Core processor, the new flagship notebook delivers performances needed for daily tasks. The touchpad is 26 percent larger compaired to the previous generation for a better ease-of-use and now features Huawei FreeTouch to offer full haptic feedback. The MateBook X is also the first Huawei notebook to support Wi-Fi 6, which features three times the data transfer speed. The second notebook launched was the MateBook 14, its the benchmark of performance laptops in the era of mobile productivity, featuring a highly portable design and powerful performance delivering superior thermal performance even under intense workloads. It has a 2K HullView Display and supports smart features including Multi-screen collaboration to help consumers stay productive.
Local availability and pricing yet to be confirmed by Huawei SA
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Audi SA have finally launched their eye catching Q3 Sportback in the country. The sleeker coupe style variant of their ever popular compact crossover has gathered lots of interest on the internet since its global launch last year and now that its finally in the country it is sure to ruffle a lot of feathers in the market. Styling on the Q3 Sport back is on point, keeping the basics of the standard Q3 upfront but adopting a lower roofline and muscular body just adds so much more dimension and character to the overall look of the car. Being just the second SUV-Coupe in the Audi line-up, the Q3 is essentially a baby Q8 and it ticks all the right boxes to make it just as attractive as its bigger brother. the Q3 Sportback adopts Audi's new design language both on the outside and the inside, ensuring the consumer gets a fresh new product. The eye catching Matrix LED headlamps are the show stopper in the front as it sits either side of the black octagonal single frame grille.
Being an SUV, the Sportback offers both, on road and off road driving joy, with a suspension that's catered to be sporty on all kinds of terrains. It features progressive steering as standard, whose gear ratio becomes increasingly direct as the steering angle increase, along with the sport suspension coming into play. The drive can vary the cars characteristics via Audia's dynamic handling system as well as choose from six driving profiles.
The Q3 Sportback engine line-up features two petrol engines which are the 1.4 TFSI badged as the 35TFSI and this delivers 110kW and 250Nm of torque ffrom the four-cylinder direct injection unit with turbocharging. It has a six-speed S Tronic transmission and produces a 0-100km time of 9.3 seconds. The second engine available is the 2.0 TFSI badges as the 40 TFSI Quattro S Line. This one delivers 132kW of power and 320Nm of torque from the motor via a seven-speed S Tronic gearbox with a 0-100km sprint of 7.8 seconds. The 40 TFSI has Quattro, Audi's all-wheel drive system which takes on the job of force transmission as standard and thereby makes for a more dynamic and stable drive. The Q3 Sportback comes packed with features as well as a host of optional extras to get your model up to your preferred specification.
Pricing for the Q3 Sportback is as follows:
Audi Q3 Sportback 35 TFSI S tronic: R693,000
Audi Q3 Sportback 40 TFSI Quattro S tronic: R737,000
Monday, September 7, 2020
American DJ and producer, Jason Elliot Ross needs no introduction to this feature, he's had a few songs and remixes featured in the past and he is back with another brilliant track. 'The Accord' see's Jason going back to his trance roots as this track was made for Anjunabeats Volume 15 and has been one of the hits from there so far. It really harks back to his old sounds which will ignite the inner flame for any trance lover. The songs build up and melodic vibe is enough to send you into upliftment, just the thing needed when listening to Volume 15 of Anjunabeats. It really is a brilliant track and one that will be played for a while to come.
Thursday, September 3, 2020
If you had to mention the Toyota Corolla, it wouldn't really spring excitement to anyone, it's not that sort of car. For years its been one the brands best selling cars, with it being priced right, the perfect size and most importantly having that great reliability and holding a good resale value. The Corolla also had its roots in SA with it being assembled in the plant in Durban so for many of the locals, it meant a lot to own one. However, with the latest generation of the Corolla, much of what I've just told you has changed. Toyota have chose to cut it from the assembly line in Prospecton and get the model fully imported, the car is no long mundane but rather exciting while still having great reliability as well as giving the consumer bang for every buck they spend on it. Being a Corolla owner myself, I was very much looking forward to spending some time in the new model to see what all the fuss was about, and from the first instant I knew exactly why.
No matter who you are, you can't deny that the new Corolla looks great, I mean we all saw the hatch last year and were blown away by the design. A car that we were so used to being run of the mill, playing it safe design has transformed into this elegant and sporty being. The Sedan is no different as it sports the exact same front but with a boot, and I can it's not an eyesore as compared to many hatch come sedan models. This one actually works and blends in beautifully! Toyota's new design language is really pronounced in this design, with it borrowing some elements from its sister company Lexus. The Corolla has a large front grille which is the main feature of the front end, with lights that swoop from either end to meet in the middle where the badge sits proudly. The daytime running LED lights pronounce the shape of the headlamp which follows the swoop down to the wheel arch where its met with the front bumper in a rather bulky but sporty fashion. The cuts and lines really give the car dimension but doesn't seem overdone. The side profile is very similar to the previous generation model but with new large 18 inch bi-colour rims, it makes it hard to notice. The rear end of the car is tied up nicely with the rear lights following the swoop of the tailgate and have beading along the back linking both together. The rear diffuser has a large blacked out portion which adds to the aggressive look as well as some faux vents on either side. Overall, stunning look car even in white.
The previous generation Corolla saw the highest engine being a naturally aspirated 1.8-litre and many thought that would be the end of the legendary 2.0-litre engine for the Corolla's but somehow the guys in Japan went back on their decision for this latest model offering it both a 1.8 and 2.0, the one I had was the range topping XR model in the 2.0 option. Performance wise, it was quite responsive with the manual gearbox, offering 200Nm of torque and 125kW. On the road it was sublime, I've never experienced a ride like this in a Toyota Sedan, and my dad has a Camry so I should know! The feel was solid, the power was on point, there was no time I found myself fighting for torque, down changing for sudden loss of power or any of that. The engine even at low revs still manages to cope when going up hill and even if there is a need to down change its virtually effortless. I do wonder how the CVT gearbox would cope in situations like this but I'll reserve judgement on that until I get one to drive.
Being a medium sized family car, the Corolla is rather spacious, decked out in half leather, half material trim the seats looked good but felt even better. Remember how I spoke about how good the ride quality is? Well the seats also have a part to play in that as they are super comfortable. I know, that is the last thing you'd be expecting me to say about a Corolla but I will go on the record on saying that that the ride in this new Corolla is even better than some of the luxury German sedans I've reviewed in the past. The Corolla is also packed with standard features that you would pay an arm and two legs for in European models. The drivers seat is fully electric adjustable, it has voice command, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, a large infotainment screen which has Android Auto and Apple Car Play pre-loaded, voice control and all one touch power windows. The Corolla also has smart keyless entry, Bi-LED headlamps which are damn great, would have been nice if they had adaptive lights but that's not a biggy. One small gripe I did have with it, was that it didn't have auto lock on the doors when driving so you had to manually lock the door all the time. I mean my Corolla is 7 years old now and it has that!
Have Toyota done the Corolla justice with this new model? Hell yes, in fact I think they knocked it out the park! To me, this model ushers in a new era for the model, saying that its no longer just the middle class sedan as its coming to knock on the doors of some of the heavy weights. With Toyota's pricing point, keeping this model well under R500,000 and the features it has as standard, it really will get keener interest from people who are looking to get a new car but not sure if its worth spending that extra 80 to 100 thousand on a German or European model. With the Toyota Corolla Quest on offer, that will still attract the lower income earners that just want a decent family size sedan that is comfortable and has the necessary equipment to keep everyone happy. This XR model is brilliant in my books and even has me considering a trade in on my Sprinter, but don't tell it that as it might get jealous!
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Yesterday Samsung Mobile SA officially launched its much anticipated Galaxy Z Fold 2 mobile device in the country. During their live stream launch, Samsung gave us insight into what makes this 3rd foldable device from their range so special and why it's been generating so much hype world over. Folding mobile devices is a whole new category to the portable technology range and while so far only two manufacturers have come to the party, Samsung is leading the way in terms of design and development of such. It's a phone, its a tablet, its a world of innovation in the palm of your hand and its beautiful! The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 has come a long way since the first gen with Samsung through much research and development ironing out most if not all of the bugs from the first one. Biggest one being the "crease" which users found to appear after much opening and closing of the device, Samsung have seemed to remedy this by making an all new state-of-the-art hinge using cam technology which operates smoothly and doesn't put that much pressure on the screen, as well as sourced new materials to make the folding glass helping to prevent this from happening on the Galaxy Z Fold 2.
I know many will be looking at this device and wondering "why", well its innovation at its finest and in time to come could be the way mobile devices of the future will be made. As the generations of devices were made, it went form big to small due to evolution of components, with the introduction of smartphones and touch screens, devices had to get bigger to give the end user a bigger and clearer picture or working space, with folding tech this can still be achieved and keeping the device at a decent size. We saw this with the Samsung Z Flip which folds into a compact wallet size pouch but unfolds into a standard sized smartphone. With the evolution in tech, devices like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 could replace the smaller variant of tablets on the market. It gives you and experience like nothing you've had before, with you being able to use the device in various openings to suit your need. With the UI and large screen it is possible for your to work on multiple apps at the same time, having them as windows on your screen all while chatting to someone on a messaging service, the possibilities are endless with the Galaxy Z Fold 2.
In closed mode, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is a normal smartphone with a 6.2" touch screen which you use just as a normal smart device. Perfect for one handed operation, whether its texting, talking, gaming or taking pictures. Unfolded, the main screen measures a massive 7.6", the display delivers rich colours of dynamic AMOLED 2X4. The screen is designed to emit less blue light so you can unfold to a table-sized viewing experience for hours on end with minimal strain on your eyes. All the apps for the Galaxy Z Fold 2 are optimized for the devices which feature app continuation, so if you're working on the device while its folded, soon as you unfold it, the app you're working on will transfer to the bigger screen so you can continue with what you were doing and not lose any vital information. You can also drag and drop files from various apps which makes things much easier and quicker.
Speaking of quick, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 omes with a 5G chipset so it's ready for the fastest network. With the device boasting a dual battery with a combined power output of 4500mAh, along with improved AI which actively saves the phones energy, you can be rest assured that the Galaxy Z Fold 2 will give you more than a days worth of use. The Z Fold 2 comes with a triple camera set-up, all three of them being 12MP with a wide, telephoto and ultrawide lens. The Selfie camera is a 10MP wide lens which there is two off, one on the front folded screen and one in the large display. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 will be available for pre-order from the 7th of September 2020 at a RRP of R49,999 with units due to arrive towards the end of the month. It will be available in two colours, Mystic Black and the ever popular Mystic Bronze.