Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bucket Seat: Toyota Etios Cross

With the ever expanding model ranges that manufacturers are dwelling into, we're seeing more and more different types of vehicles hit the road this is a good thing since it gives us the consumer more options when it comes to buying a car. Last week I was invited to the launch of the new Toyota Etios Cross, I read somewhere that it is the angry version of the sedan/ hatch which sort of fits it's profile well. The car being equipped to be a crossover has a menacing look to it, with a wide body kit, bigger wheels and molded bumper which extends over the grill to make it look like a bull bar. The car which forms another variant of Toyota's Sub B Segment model the Etios, will be looking to ride on the success of its brothers the hatch and sedan. The Etios which replaced the trusty Tazz has been on sale for just under 2 years and has already sold in excess of 45,000 units which is the highest in its segment. 

The Cross retains the 1.5 litre, 16 valve DOHC engine that can be found in the sedan and hatch. It has an output of 66kW of power @ 5600 rpm and 132Nm of toque @ 3000 rpm which is adequate for the vehicle  as it is comfortable in all facets of driving, be it running around town or on a highway, as I found out when driving around the outskirts of Johannesburg (getting lost on more than one occasion). This car won't win you any drag races seeing that 0-100km/h takes you 11.3 seconds but prospective buyers won't be looking at that figure when buying this car. as with the ever increasing petrol price, one would be pleased to see that Etios Cross averages out at 6.0L/100km! 

As mentioned before, the car has an overall more rugged look which is courtesy of the blacked out chunky body kit that wraps around the vehicle with embossed logo's on the side and at the front the grey grille hard that extends all the way into the bumpers, mimics the appearance of bumper overriders. The car also comes equipped with fog lamps with integrated turn indicators, the head lights are more full which blends in with the new grille. At the back there's a rear roof spoiler and embossed in silver the logo of the Etios Cross which sits in bold just above the rear bumper. A higher ground clearance along with bigger wheels wrapped around 15" multi spoke diamond cut alloy rims ensures that the Cross can manage any type of road.  The car also comes with two exclusive colours which are Inferno Metallic (metallic orange) and Jet Grey Metallic. 

Not much has changed in terms of design of the interior with it still looking very similar to the sedan and hatch but it gets an all black treatment with high glass piano black plastic used on the dash and chrome detailing around the air vents. The fabric seats feature white stitching and the Etios Cross logo's embroidered into the back rest. The radio has been replaced with a double din audio system which has built in USB and AUX ports but the major feature being bluetooth connectivity for audio streaming and hands free mobile. 

Even though the cabin is basically the same size as the hatch, it does feel more spacious and is more than capable of transporting 4 grown adults in comfort. The boot is decent with a capacity of 251m cubed, so enough space for your shopping or luggage for a weekend away. 

Overall I was pretty impressed with the car, you have to see where the guys at Toyota are coming from with a car like this. They're offering, as far as I'm concerned, a full package, that is a vehicle with their quality, durability and reliability, combining it with the rugged looks of an SUV with outstanding fuel efficiency at a fraction of the cost. Thus opening a new segment to the market and offering the lower paid consumer a chance at purchasing an urban crossover. The main competition for this car would be the Nissan Livina Range and the Renault Stepway, both of which are priced more, as the Toyota Etios Cross enters the market at just R159,800. That's just R16,800 more than the Etios Xs Sedan, fair enough it might not have full off roading capabilities but on gravel surfaces it managed fine, as I found out while getting lost a few times.

  • 1.5 litre, 16 valve DOHC engine
  • 6 speed manual gear box
  • 66kW
  • 132Nm torque
  • Consumption: 6ltr/ 100km (claimed)
  • 0-100kph: 11.3 seconds 
  • Price: R159 800

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Monday Choon: Cosmic Gate & Orjan Nilsen - Fair Game

The last time I saw the duo of Cosmic Gate perform live was on my birthday, just over 2 years ago in the engine room of Origin night club in Durban. There is something special about their sets and the music they make. Besides being one of my favourite artists from a very young age, they continue to make music that is appealing to their fans but still true their style. This time round they teamed up with baby face Norwegian DJ Orjan Nilsen to bring us this banging tune, it's already racking up the views on youtube with it being released in just over a week. It's the perfect way to get a start of your week. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

#MissionSamsung Blogger Challenge: Mission 1

So recently Samsung sent me one of their brand spanking new 40" Samsung LED Smart TV along with a Galaxy S4 Active smart phone. The reason for this was, I along with 19 other bloggers from around the country were selected to take part in their 2nd #MissionSamsung Blogger challenge. I along with the others will get to keep these devices for 3 weeks and during that time, get missions to complete with them. At the end, a winner will be selected and they get to keep the products... FOREVER! 

The product
The 40" Smart LED TV is one of Samsung's Series 6 panels which offers the user a smart interface which takes watching TV to the next level. Besides full HD capabilities, the set also has full internet connectivity via means of a LAN port or built in WiFi. Once set up, you can browse the various internet applications that are pre-loaded. Some of them being Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Vimeo.

The Challenge
Now, being a tech nut I am over the moon with this challenge and will give it my up most to win! The first challenge came through on Monday this week, the mission? Host a viewing party with some mates to showcase the brilliant picture quality and definition of the LED Smart TV set and at the same time have some quality fun with your mates. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

The invite

The invite
The way I saw it, the viewing party was an event, MY event and although they were close mates, the invite had to look the part. So I took a picture of the TV with the Smart Hub menu active and edited the blocks to suite the details of the evening and this was the end result. 

The viewing party 
The party started off with some pre-movie dinner of pizza and beers, all of which was captured on the Galaxy S4 Active. There after we made our way to the viewing room, where a giant bowl of popcorn awaited us along with more refreshments. The movie I chose was the Lego Movie, seeing that it was animated, watching it in high colour, full definition would be great. The sound quality on the set is incredible, so much so, that I didn't have to make use of my surround sound system. The guests were blown away by the features of the Smart TV, sound and crisp picture quality, to quote a line from the movie, "Everything is awesome!". The already amazing night was completed with the final part of the challenge, a "welfie", which is a selfie but with many people. 

Looking forward to mission 2! AMG133, over and out!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Durban July, Nokia Experience

A few weeks back I was lucky enough to be treated to a true VIP experience of the Durban July courtesy of Nokia South Africa. The day started off by me being chauffeur driven from my house to the venue, Greyville Racecourse. From there we made our way to Jack Daniels Boomtown marquee, which is where the Nokia hospitality area was located. From a full 3 course buffet to a complimentary bar, the hospitality area had it all! With a deck overlooking the stage to watch some of the best local artist from to the lounge area for one to sit back and relax, it truly was the place to be.

There was also a photo-booth set up in Jack Daniels Boomtown by Nokia which offered people the opportunity to get their picture taken with one of the Lumia devices on hand,one of them being the monster Lumia 1020 which has a 41 megapixel camera! The pictures were then uploaded to Instagram and Facebook. So if you had your picture taken at the booth, be sure to search the hashtag #LumiaJuly on Instagram or visit the Nokia South Africa Facebook page.

Apart from the entertainment on offer, the main reason for attending the event was for the horse racing, and with a viewing deck along side the final straight, it was the perfect view point to watch the favourite gallop to victory. The day was spent socialising, celeb spotting and partying the night away, after which I was again escorted to my awaiting taxi to take me back home safely. To the Nokia SA team, a big thank you from myself for making this all possible. Each and everyone of you made it an event to remember and personally my best July experience yet! Till next year!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Choon: Porter Robinson feat. Urban Cone - Lionhearted (Arty Remix)

American electronic music producer, Porter Robinson broke into the international arena with this hit track "language" back in 2012, from there he's enjoyed a good stay on the top with collaborations with MatZo and many other artists, most notably he co-wrote Zedd's hit song "Clarity". His latest release, Lionhearted featuring the vocals of Swedish Indie pop band, Urban Cone and sticking to the multinational theme to the track, Russia's Arty came in to make this explosive remix of the track which has enjoyed phenomenal success. Here's the track to kick off your week!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Bucket Babe: Kerry-Lee Cousins

South Afrrica is currently in the midst of winter with most of the country experiencing near freezing temperatures, what better way to warm you up than one of SA's hottest young talents? Today's model hails from Cape Town and as you will find out, she's pretty keen on sports and probably the only lady in the world that understands the off side rule in football, since the sport is so dear to her, just a pity about the team she supports. Anyway, here she is to tell you more!

Kerry-Lee Cousins


Hi ;) My name is Kerry-Lee Cousins, I'm 23 and live in the beautiful city of Cape Town. I'm a PA as well as a model. I love to be happy and busy and always apart of the fun. I'm nomrally quite a joker when it comes to my friends but at first when you meet me, I'm quite shy :) I'm sporty and have grown up with my dad being a football coach so I know quite a bit about football than the norm :) I am a huge Arsenal supporter. I also play action netball in the week and gym as often as possiible

I've always been one to work hard and strive for things even when they seem impossible. My goal  for the future is to do well in my modelling as well as get more involved with an events company as that's someting I've always been interested in.


Twitter: @kerryleecousins
Vote for Kerry-Lee in the SA Lingerie competition here: Vote Kerry-Lee Cousins


1. Hot girls and hot cars go hand in hand, what ride would you like to see yourself in?
  • I would definitely love to see myself in an Audi R8 :)
2. What sandwich are you most likely to make for me? and will it be toasted or plain?
  • I would make a toasted ciabatta sandwich with lettuce, chicken, cucumber, avo and alil bit of mayo :) 
3. What type of music gets your booty shaking?
  • Definitely House and Hip Hop
4. Dream cover shoot?
  • GQ or/and SA Swimsuit
5. If given a choice, full time model or full time executive, what would you choose?
  • Full time model because I'll be living my dream and it would have the same feeling of being an executive of a company, except I'm the executive of my own company modelling.
6. Everyone loves popcorn (well I think they do) what is your topping/ sprinkle of choice?
  • Hands down has to be fully loaded with salt n vinegar and smarties!!!
7. Growing up you must have had someone you aspired to be, so who is your role model?
  • I always aspired to be like Roxy Ingram, she always came across as humble and sweet and always friendly, as beautiful as she is, and I think any girl would aspire to be that way. Also my parents, they've been a rock through so many difficult times in my life and still they keep going and give their everything to their kids.
9. Anyone holding that hand yet? or is it available?
  • My hand is very much being held :) lol
10. Which city is your dream party destination?
  • I used to dream about going to London ans I finally got to go 2 years ago and the next ones on my bucket list are New York and Paris.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bucket Seat: Mini Cooper Hatch

I sit here with mixed emotions trying to put into words what this past week has been like, while there is some drama to this story, this isn't a soppy love story and it is very much a review of a car I've driven, I swear! Then again, when driving a Mini, it is a very emotionally charged experirnce for the driver, being behind the wheel of one excites every aspect of ones sense and it just brings out pure 100% concentrated joy. Yes many might not take the car seriously because of its size and the gimmicks, or as I like to call them, "party tricks" that come along with it but when people talk about an X factor, Mini's definitely come with them.

Dubbed "The New Original", I was sent the 2014 Cooper Hatch to drive around with for a week. I was a bit disappointed to see I was not allocated its bigger brother, the Cooper S but with a 1.5l twin turbo enginer under the hood, this wasn't a slouch. From the get go it makes you fully aware of that as the high revving engine maximises the use of its lower gears, with 2nd gear mnaginging up to 120kph just before read lining. try doing that with your hot hatch!  The tiny chasis along with the short wheel makes the entire driving experience almost go kart like, the deep tone in the exhaust has been retained and make for good driving music if you don't fancy having the radio on. 

The thing I've come to realise with Mini, is that every one of their models is unique, there's always something in there that's different to what one is used to in a car. For example, the Start/ Stop buttong is now a flick switch located in the center consol below the climate control A/C and it glows red when the clutch is pushed in, remnescent of a fighter jet switch to ignite its engine. 

I made mention in my tweets that although the interior is pretty similar to the previous models, the subtle changes they made make a big difference. The speedometer is now located behind the steering wheel and has a neat fuel gauge to the side of it. where one normally found the big round retro style speedometer is now an 8.8" info screen. Wrapped around the info screen is an interactive LED visual aid display where by you can either select your favourite colour or use it interactively with the cars navigation, aircon or even as a rev counter!

Mini Connect comes with an updated version of of the software and they'velistened to me and given it a decent controller! It is very, if not exactly like the one you would find in a BMW which makes things very easy to use! The user interface is fairly the same with some added extras like the "Excitement Analyser" which assists the driver in taking bends at the right speed and efficient gear changing. One thing annoyed me was the center arm rest which you want down while driving but came in the way of the controller. 

I had the opportunity to take the car on a long distance trip through the heart of KZN, having quite a stiff suspension very low ground clearnace I was skeptical about the ride quality. Also travelling in the midst of winter to some of the coldest parts of the country without the luxury of heated seats was also a daunting aspect but everything that concerned me was for no reason. The cabin, even with the frameless coupe style doors retain that airlock which keeps it warm even with the temperature reading at 0 degrees on the outside. The ride it self was probably just the same as any other car but probably better because of the amount of fun you have while driving it. Going over speed bumps was tricky but surpsringly on the short stretch of dirty road I had to go through, the car was stable as a 4x4, now I know how they cruised to a Dakar victory earlier this year!

The 1.5l twin turbo engine doesnt spit out astonishing figures, 136bhp and 100kw doesnt flutter ones eyelids but combine that with the overall package with the short wheel base, sharp turning circle and grip for days, it makes the Mini one hell of a beast to drive with on the road. Consumption isn't too bad either, with me managing an average of 7.7ltr per 100km during my time with the car.

If you had to glance at the new Cooper, you probably wouldn't realise its different to its predescessor. Again, subtle but big differences in the design, the car itself is a bit bigger and wider, the tail lights have grown and the front headlight have gone back to a single buld configuration. The bulkiness and chrome detailing make the car stand out for it size and with the dramatic paint work and stripes it ensures that it is a head turner. 

The car came with the sliding panoramic glass sun roof which in my opinion is a must with the car and I for one am not a fan of it. Besides the extra light coming into the cabin, it makes it seem that the top half the car floats. Other extras include a various set of rims to chose from and the of course the multiple colour combinations for your paint. The car also came with the 6 disc DVD shuttle in the cubby which for me is a waste of time and space since the bluetooth audio streaming is the preffered method for everyone to listen to music in their cars now.

Whilst the car is small and the rear passenger seats has barely enough space for midgets, the boot, well you can't really comment on the space because it would take up too much room. No really, it's blody tiny, your gym bag and laptop case will fill it! The extra storage compartment below is nice for storing things that you don't want flying about like the first aid and tyre repair kit that come with the vehicle. 

At the end of the day, you going to have to ask yourself the question before you decide on purchasing a mini, "are you a Mini driver?". Take away the egotistical, questioning ones self about their manhood and really think if this car is what you need. Its pricey but for me, a single guy that travels quite a bit alone whether it be long distances or a short trip to work, it really is an ideal car. It has everything you need in it and it has that solid build quality that many in its size do note have. After doing 960km in it, I grew quite attached to the car and as I said at the beginning, it became quite emotional, mainly because on the last day of having it, the car was a victim of crime with the passenger side window being smashed luckily nothing was taken but it ruined the image of this car that you can just sit and stare at.

  • 1.5 litre, 3 cylinder twin turbo charged engine
  • 6 speed manual gear box
  • 100kW
  • 136bhp 
  • 220Nm torque
  • Consumption: 4.6ltr/ 100km (claimed)
  • Top Speed: 210kph
  • 0-100kph: 7.9 seconds 
  • Price: R296 000 (excluding extras)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Monday Choon: 3LAU feat. Bright Lights – How You Love Me

Justin Blau, or as we might know him from his stage name 3lau hails from the USA and is an upcoming elctro house DJ, he's teamed up with Bright Lights for his latest track "How You Love Me". The track has recieved lots of airplay on the various DJ's radio shows and there is a number of remixes of the track out, though the original is still my favourite. I must admit, the music video is a bit creepy, has theg Carrie vibe to it but great song none the less.