Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday Choon: Orjan Nilsen - Drowning


Orjan Nilsen, the baby faced Norwegian trance producer is back with some fresh new music and true to form, it is nothing short of epic. Orjan has had a quiet year or so but has been killing it of late in the festivals he has played at. A stand out being the ASOT Stage at Tomorrowland last month. Orjan had the crowd in rapatures with his new and old music but the energy and hype to his sets are next level as he keeps the crowd going from start to finish. One of his latest offerings features the vocals of IDA and is today's featured track, it's high energy, lots of bass and has a great melody. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Bucket Seat: 2017 Ford Kuga - First Impressions


The past two days I found myself in the picturesque Eastern Cape driving the all new Ford Kuga. Now for those that are on the popular social media platform Twitter, you would have noticed that there was some heat coming from many about the launch, I myself was a recipient and to say my mentions were "lit" is an understatement. Now the thing about social media, it's fluctuates on trends so obviously when launching a new product, the more your product trends, the better, unfortunately due to the bad rep of one of the first gen models of the Eco, in particular one engine type, many just used this as an excuse to jump on the band wagon and make some jokes about it. Which some were pretty funny but the rest were really cringe worthy with zero substance to them. Many actually lacked any knowledge of what really happened first time round but saw the opportunity to part of the conversation but for all the wrong reasons. In any case, the launch went down a treat, their hashtag trended which was their aim and as they say, there's no publicity like bad publicity as many took notice that there was a new Kuga in town. 


While the Ford brand did take a knock from the negativity around the recall, the actual customers with the defected vehicles were well received from Ford. Phase 1 recall achieved a 92% completion and Phase 2 is currently at 62%. To continue to show their clients how much they mean to them, during Phase 2, the customers were given the new Kuga to drive while their cars were in, they were given the first opportunity to sample the brand new model before any motor journalist in South Africa. This was a first from a manufacturer and definitely one to instill confidence in their clientele. 


Getting back to the actual reason I was in the Eastern Cape, the car! The new Kuga has had a full revamp from outside to in, top to bottom and it looks ace! The main new design feature is at the front, as Ford call it, this new trapezoid grille is "the Face of Ford". It already has been prominent on some of the other models, namely the Ecosport and Everest and now it adornes the Kuga. The whole car has a new sleek look to it with cleaner lines, sharp new front head lights, and moving to the back the rear lights are more stockier than before but has the angular look take from the Focus. The car is available in three packages, Ambiente, Trend and Titanium, each adding more to what the other has to offer as you move up. Moving onto the interior, everything is well laid out as per the previous model, the two main things previous owners of the Kuga will notice is the large touch screen display and the hand brake which is now replaced with an electronic brake, thus making way for new storage spaces in the cabin for stuff like keys, mobile phones and it even has a dual USB port with fast charge capabilities. The instrument cluster was a bit of a let down for me as it's almost carbon copy of the older models, I was expecting something similar to the Everest or Ranger. The leather seats have a new grade of leather, giving it a premium feel and the cabin is really spacious with enough room for four adults to sit in comfort. 


While the looks are good, the Kuga also has a bunch of technological advancements added to the car. The one thing that strikes you is the large 8" touch screen display, it's also cleverly placed in the center console of the car so that no light reflection would alter your vision of it. The Kuga comes with Ford's new SYNC 3 which has navigation! Finally! It works really well and is voice activated, so you can speak to SYNC 3, tell it where you want to go, or what you want to listen to and bam! it's done. Ford really needed SYNC to rival the other brands out there, it will do wonders across their model line up and while the maps might not be as detailed as others, its a start. But the other good thing about SYNC 3 is that is Apply Car Play and Android Auto capable, so if the SYNC maps isn't your thing, plug in your phone and let it do the navigating. Other cool tech in the car is part of the driver alert package which includes things line lane assist which notifies you when you drift out of your lane. Collision detection, which also ties into the active cruise control and will break automatically should it detect a car suddenly slowing down in front of you and also has a function to detect when you're sleepy and gives you a warning to pull over for a rest and something to drink. 


Moving to the engines, while there are just three engines to chose from, petrol being the all new 1.5 and 2.0 litre EcoBoost engines and the 2.0 litre TDCi turbo diesel engines, the Kuga has 7 derivatives which are listed below. I had the opportunity to drive the 1.5 EcoBoost Petrol and the 2.0 litre TDCi with AWD during the launch. The 1.5 motor sure did pack a punch, while not the quickest of the line, on the open road it picked up power with ease. With the automatic gearbox, you get paddle shifts as a standard on the Kuga so should the need arise, drop down a gear to source that extra power. The diesel engine on the other hand, the torque is crazy, ample power, awesome handling and great fuel economy. Definitely my favorite from the line up. Overall the new Kuga is great all round car and for the pricing, its a damn good deal and it is even cheaper than the out going model. I know this isn't the best pun to say about it but it is quite poetic, as the new Kuga really is the Phoenix that is rising from the ashes of the previous model.  It ticks all the right boxes, I can't wait to get one to drive around for a week so I can tell you more. 

Recommended Retail Prices:
Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Ambiente 6MT FWD                     R368 800
Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Ambiente 6AT FWD                       R381 900
Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Trend 6MT FWD                           R406 400
Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Trend 6AT FWD                             R427 900
Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi Trend 6AT AWD                                    R483 900
Ford Kuga 2.0 EcoBoost Titanium 6AT AWD                        R497 900
Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi Titanium 6AT AWD                               R506 900

All models come standard with Ford Protect, including a four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty, three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty. A five-year/90 000km service plan is included on the TDCi models, with 15 000km service intervals. The petrol Kuga models have 20 000km service intervals, and are sold with a four-year/80 000km service plan.




















Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Holiday Express - Experience



A few weeks back I was invited along with a group of other media personnel to experience the Holiday Express train. As stated in my initial blog post, there is a certain stigma that is associated with using Public Transport in South Africa, there is a general fear of using it and the number one factor is safety. I guess this is one of the reasons we were invited to experience the Holiday Express, to help alleviate this fear from many by telling you about our journey. There were two options available for the weekend, Saturday's trip was a journey to Shongweni where you would visit the farmers market or on the Sunday was a trip to Scottburgh to enjoy the sea side. I opted for the Shongweni Journey as I always wanted to go to the Farmers Market after hearing rave reviews about it. 


I took my mom along with me, as she would love the Farmers Market in Shongweni but also as a child she used to travel by train quite a lot going from Durban back home to her family in the Northern Cape. We both were equally excited for the journey that lay ahead. Upon arrival at Durban Station, we were greeted by our friendly host, the Business Class lounge at the Station serves as a waiting area till you depart on the train. There were beverages and snacks available for purchase as well as tokens that you could use on board the train. Just before 8am we made our way down to the platform to board the KZN Business Express coaches. The coaches are very different from the normal ones, with large cushion seats which can recline, have arm rests and have fold up tray tables in front of you. It was my first trip in Durban on a train so I was looking forward to viewing the city from the rail way tracks. 


The route is slightly different from the main line as it meanders it's way through the city, going through the Jacobs area before turning up towards Queensburgh and Shallcross. Making its way through Marian Hill before reaching Shongweni. During the ride, I took time to explore the other coaches, and I was surprised to find one coach having a bar with light refreshments and snacks, and further back another coach with a full size board room table and kitchen where hot refreshments were served. Along the route there were many tunnels which the train went through, which we all loved going from daylight to darkness and daylight again. The train also makes a stop just before Shongweni to view a waterfall which is only accessible via rail. Even though the total time of the journey took one and half hours, one doesn't really feel it that long with so much to see along the way. 


Once we reached Shongweni Station, it was time to disembark and board the buses that were waiting for us. A short 5 minute drive and we were at our destination, the Shongweni Farmers Market. The market was a buzz of activity, with stalls selling everything and anything, from plants, to fresh produce, crafts and not forgetting, plenty of food! Most of us had built up and appetite by now but were spoilt for choice at the selection on offer. Everything is fresh, tasty and smelt delicious, it's a pity our stomachs could handle only a certain amount of food as I'm sure I speak for all when I say we would have loved to try everything on sale! With the market closing at 12 o clock, we had to be back on the bus by 11.30am, which was ample time for us to enjoy the markets sights and scenes. Once back at the station it was time to make our way back home. 


The journey back, even though using the same route proved to be equally exciting, as you were heading in the opposite direction and gave you saw things that you didn't see on the way there. Once safely back at the station, I asked some of the other travelers what they had though about the experience. Many said that they had booked it mainly for their kids but didn't anticipate themselves having so much of fun as well. It really is a wonderful way to explore and experience this magnificent province and no matter which destination or trip you chose, it's bound to be an out of the ordinary experience for the entire family. The next trips are planned for the 30th of September to the Shogweni Farmers Market and the 1st of the October to Socttburgh. For more information, visit the website www.theholidayexpress.co.za or to book, email info@theholidayexpress.co.za
















Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday Choon: Fedde Le Grand and Dannic vs. Coco Star - Coco’s Miracle


This cult classic of the early 2000's was one of the hottest tracks in clubs world over, Fragma's "Toca Me" later turned "Toca's Miracle" wasn't just a hot track but had a damn hot music video if I might say so myself. 15 year's on since then, the track has been updated and released again. the re-work done by Dutch power house DJ's Fedde Le Grand and Dannic and features the original vocals by Coco Star on the track. While the original track had that electro house vibe, this latest release has taken a more chilled tone with a deep house melody. The official music video is also out and plays around the popular social media dating app, Tinder. Enjoy!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Bucket Tech: iPhone X - First Impressions

The lead up to this week's Apple Event was all about the new iPhone, with the current available model on the market being the 7, in natural Apple progression, the next model to be released would be the 7s but with the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone being this year many in the know said that Apple would skip the S model and unveil the 8. They were bang on the money with that prediction but in true Steve Jobs fashion, Tim Cook and Apple had "One More Thing" up his sleeve for the night... the iPhone X.


Now I know many, when I say many I mean people other than fans of Apple, might be thinking what is this all about? Well, essentially the iPhone X is the iPhone 10, it pays tribute to 10 years of iPhone and it is the baddest one they've made to date. I mean I normally am a bit skeptical of the products they make, sure they're built well, work well but it's more often over hyped and more likely to cost you an arm and both legs. I'm pretty sure the same could be said about the X but the technology being showcased in this phone is great. Fair enough most Android phones have had these features for a while now and when the iPhone 7 was launched I spoke about how we were so used to Apple coming up with these great features but now it's time for them to play catch and that isn't always a bad thing. Sure the technology is out there but with anything, there will be problems, so if someone has invented it, you can borrow and perfect it. I'm pretty sure that is what Tim and his staff did. Lets take a look at some of the key features into this ultimate iPhone.


First thing that strikes you is the display, in previous generations of the iPhone, the displays always have had borders around them and the standard home key which doubled as a finger print reader. Well with the iPhone X, that got tossed out. The entire front of the device is a screen, yip, with a minimalistic frame which houses the 5.8inch super retina display, only a small portion at the top houses some sophisticated tech which includes sensors, a front facing camera and face ID technology. I know what you're thinking, what does it need face ID recognition for? Well remember how I said they phased out the home button, that button also served as a finger print reader for the phone, now with this gone, the iPhone X uses face recognition software to unlock your phone! Now while there have been many memes that's done the rounds making fun of this feature, you got to admit, that is pretty cool. 


Lets talk about the build quality now, I think we can all agree that the iPhones are made pretty well. Can't say the same about the screens but overall when you hold an iPhone is feels like a well made device, not some cheap tacky mobile you bought from a dodgy corner shop. The iPhone X will be manufactured with surgical stainless steel, yes normal steel just wasn't good enough, that they using a high grade class steel to made this device. Here's the kicker though, both the front and the back of the phone will have "durable" glass on the front and the back. Not sure they're going to be using Corningware Gorilla Glass for this or they've developed their own but for the sake of prospective buyers, I hope it's pretty strong stuff. The glass front and back does give the device a super premium look if I could say so oh and the iPhone X will be dust and splash proof, just in case you spill some Apple juice on it. 


Now the most important feature on an iPhone, the camera! The iPhone X like the 7 and 8 will have a dual lens camera configuration but Apple wanted to make it different and rotated the lens, how this helps, I don't really know but long as it takes awesome pictures of food, sunsets and craft beer right? The camera is a larger and faster 12MP sensor. A new colour filter with deeper pixels and new telephoto camera with OIS. It has depth-sensing cameras and precise facial mapping creating striking studio quality lighting effects. Both rear cameras have optical image stabilization and fast lenses for outstanding photos and videos even in low light. With the wide angle and telephoto cameras on the device, this enables optical zoom as well as digital zoom of up to 10 x for photos and 6 x for videos. 


Overall this phone looks the business and really outshone the iPhone 8 which was also launched on the same night, was that a stupid move from Apple though? Killing off their own product with another one of theirs? Well yes and no, the iPhone X is a special device, so it will have a special price tag. It also has the fastest chipset and CPU than any other of their devices so it really depends on what the consumer needs and how much they can afford. Pricing has only been made available in dollars which is pretty useless to us because simply converting it won't give us a true indication of how much the phone will cost us. We will just have to wait and see along with when it will reach our shores. 


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bucket Seat: BMW i Vision Dynamics


The Frankfurt Motorshow is always a buzz, with most of the German manufacturers using this platform to stage their greatest models and concepts, while there was smorgasbord of great cars to chose from at IAA 2017, my pick from the bunch was about the future of motoring. Yes while most manufacturers showed of their great tech in cars for present and future, with the world of motoring's immediate future looking to electricity for power, BMW lifted the covers on it's BMW i Vision Dynamics Concept. A year on from displaying their NEXT 100 vision at last years show, the i Vision gives the consumer a more realistic vision of what they can expect from the company in the coming years. 


The car is Future Mobility in a nutshell, it's an all electric, four-door Gran Coupe with a range of 600km, a top speed of over 200km/h and an acceleration of 0-100km in just four seconds. With BMW already one of the leaders in e-mobility with two models on sale worldwide in the i3 and i8 Hybrid, not forgetting the various plug hybrids offered across their range, the technology they have works and perfecting this technology and only do more good, not only for their cars but the future of motoring. Harald Kruger, Chairman of the Board of Management at BMW AG says that by 2015, BMW will be offering 25 models with an electrified drive system, of which 12 will be pure-electric. "With BMW i Vision Dynamics we are showcasing how we envisage future electric mobility between the i3 and i8: a dynamic and progressive, four-door Gran Coupe. We are therefore electrifying the heart of the BMW brand and, at the same time, elevating BMW i into a totally new dimension" - says Kruger. 


The design of the i Vision Dynamics borrows a lot from the Next 100 Vision, with tweaks to make the car more the standard of car that we have today. It's massive fused twin kidney grille design is a prominent feature of the car with even part of the bonnet lid molded to it's shape. The adaptive LED lighting is minimalistic but still offers that great character that is known to BMW design. The side profile of the car is extremely sleek, with it looking very similar to early concepts of the BMW i8. The frame-less windows also take the shape of the kidney grille. The roof of the car is an all glass panoramic roof which ties into the rear window, falling into the back with it's straight line boot lid and angled tail lights. The tiny lights and details in the design add to the progressive and elegance of the car. This car is basically what we can expect from the upcoming BMW i5, a first family sedan coming from the BMWi brand and one that would be welcomed into the market. 














Monday, September 11, 2017

Monday Choon: Bob Sinclar feat. Akon - Til The Sun Rise Up


Remember Bob Sinclar? Remember Akon? Nope this isn't Throwback Monday, the two legendary artist of the past decade have come out of hiding and teamed up for a new track and its great! We all remember Bob from classics like "When the sun goes down" and also remixing some of Bob Marley's greatest hits. His latest offering "Tel The Sun Rise Up" features American-born Senegalese singer Akon who was also another popular figure in the past decade but seemed to have dipped under the radar for the last 5 odd years. The new track has a nice tropical house to it with a reggae style vocals to it. It's one of those feel good summer songs that will cheer you up from whatever mood you're in. 



Friday, September 8, 2017

Bucket Seat: KIA Sorento 2.2CRDi


When I was first told I would be receiving a KIA Sorento to test, I honestly thought it was the previous generation Sorento, the one with the revised rear lights that look a bit odd. I didn't even know KIA had launched a new one! So it was much to my surprise when heading home one day, I came across this rather good looking SUV next to me, it was in a metallic bronze colour. From general design and observation, it was clearly a KIA but not one that I've seen before, so when I glanced at the badge and saw it was the Sorento, I was a bit confused. So when I got a chance to, I visited the KIA website and saw that the new Sorento was available in SA, not sure how they managed to sneak such a large SUV into the country with not many knowing about it, unless it was just me who missed it? Anyway, from then on I was quite excited to get it and see what this range topping SUV from the Korean's had to offer, since I was already blown away from the smaller Sportage.



DESIGN

When the test unit arrived, I was pretty bleak to see it was white and not that fancy metallic bronze, (which the correct name is "Imperial Bronze"),  I saw but never the less it still had those great looks. As mentioned previously, the older gen Sorento had this rather awkward looking rear, especially the tail-lights. It just looked out of proportion and something that was cut and pasted there. The new Sorento however has been crafted well, a bit of it's styling still comes from the older model but with subtle differences. The big changes are its size and in the front and the back. The front features a new grille with like a 3D effect with the KIA badge almost floating in the center. The front headlights have been re-sculpted and aren't fused with the grille as before. They're more edgy and sleek. The rest of the front is molded well with large openings for the front fog lights. The rear end has a very American look to it, with the rear lights looking to that of a Jeep but not overly similar that you'd think it is one. Overall the design is perfect and on the EX, SX and SXL models look even better with the chrome finishing. 


PERFORMANCE

I had the 2.2 LS CRDi, which was one of the entry level Sorento's available, so while it didn't have all the bells and whistles on the inside, it still had that great 2.2 litre diesel engine, which delivers 147kW and 440Nm of Torque. Plenty of power to pull this big boy along on any surface. Actually the diesel engine was very eager to go as I found sometimes with quick acceleration from a stand still caused the tyres to spin! I thought the 6 speed automatic gearbox won't be adequate for the Sorento, seeing that many other manufacturers are opting for 7 speeds or higher but somehow KIA got this one right. It's got great timing on the changes and responds well when needed, all while keeping revs at a minimum and thus conserving your fuel. Speaking of which, in my 7 days with it, I clocked up over 700km and it still had a few 100 left on the range. 


COMFORT

While you can get the Sorento in a 7 seater configuration, the model I had was a 5 seater, so space was a plenty and it made it for a very very big trunk. So big you could fit two adults in there...not that I tried...okay, maybe I did. If sitting in the trunk isn't your thing, then you will be glad to hear that the seats in the Sorento are extremely comfortable. The 2.2 LS CRDi comes with cloth seats and has the extra option of leather if you prefer it, however I had no real complaints about the cloth, normally I find that the cloth makes it a bit warm in the car but didn't really have that problem, unless it was the winter weather? The ride quality on the Sorento is exceptional, it's soft and smooth, suspension copes well from gravel roads to speed humps. 


TECHNOLOGY

While I did have the entry level Sorento, it came with the bare minimum. Bluetooth Telephone and Audio streaming, multi-function buttons on the steering wheel to control everything from audio, telephone and the trip computer in the dash. Being a rather large vehicle, it was nice that it came with PDC's so that made parking it a bit much easier but a reverse camera would be nice, mind you with the radio being a normal LED type info screen it wouldn't be much of use unless they integrated it into the review mirror like their previous models. In saying that, the EX, SX and SXL models do have a colour screen infotainment display but it's rather tiny. It's a bit annoying that the previous KIA I had on test which was the Rio had this lovely, large touch screen display, capable of such wonderful things but then I got this and well, it didn't. But KIA have noticed this as well and just this week released a revised Sorento which I'm pretty such does have all these goodies as well as some minor design tweaks. 


VERDICT

Overall, the KIA Sorento is a wonderful family SUV. The price tag makes it even more attractive when looking at large SUV's in its class and even though I had a base model, it was more than sufficient for my needs. During my time with it I gave as many people I knew rides in it as well, just to get a wider consensus on what others had to think of the vehicle. One of which was a KIA owner who currently drives an Optima, he was blown away by its size, ride comfort and what it had to offer, which makes me wonder what he'd think of the revised one that is yet to hit the shores. I do feel KIA missed the mark on certain aspects which they fixed up in the upcoming Sorento, not sure how big the gap of the release between this and the Rio was but if they picked up most items from the beginning, this would put some serious competition out there to the German and Japanese manufacturers. 


SPECIFICATIONS

 Engine
 2.2 litre, 4 cylinder, CRDi
 Gear Box
 6 speed automatic
 Power
 147kW
 Torque
440Nm
 Top Speed
 203km/h
 0-100km
 9.3  seconds
 Price
 R 489,995