Friday, November 16, 2018

Entertainer 2019


Last night we attended the Durban launch of the Entertainer 2019, at a 60's themed party at Buff Parlour in Umhlanga. The event was to launch the 2019 edition of the much loved app which allows the buyer to make use of 1000's of buy one get one free offers. Speaking at the launch, Tyrone Rothwell, the country manager for the Entertainer South Africa said that Durban has shown phenomenal growth for them in the past year, with a percentage of 157%!  Other cities including Johannesburg and Cape Town have also shown a great growth margin but Durban led the pack and its with that, they've decided to bring you more on offer for the new year. With over a 1000 various offers, ranging from food, drinks, beauty and travel if one had to make use of every single deal on the app, it would give you a combined saving or approximately R5.5million!


I've been personally making use of the app since I got it last year, and saved a lot on a night out with them having most of my favourite spots available on there. The great thing about the app now is that you can save not only just for food and drinks but also beauty treatments, sporting activities and travel. The list of partners is ever growing and it is an investment that will pay itself out within two or three times by using the app. It really is a no brainer if you're one that frequents going out, with the number of deals and the variety on offer, it will have something for everyone. 


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Bucket Seat: Suzuki Dzire


Earlier this year I attended the launch of the new Suzuki Swift hatch and Dzire sedan in Durban, after spending a brief few hours with the cars at the launch, it was apparent what Suzuki have done and done so well with their 3rd generation Swift, which is why it has sold over 6 million units world wide. The cars which are assembled at their brand new facility in Gujarat, India have come into the market well priced, similar if not cheaper that it's predecessor! While that short time with the cars did feel good, the real test comes when you're spending an entire week driving one, going through the everyday things you're doing and seeing how it performs then. I had the sedan version of the Swift, now known as the Dzire to cruise around with for seven days and while it maybe budget, this little car worked its charm on me. 


DESIGN

Normally with budget cars, you're not going to expect a runway model to look at, but I got to give it to the Suzuki design team, this car looks great. While the car may look dinky from the side profile, every other element in the design gives the car a bold perspective. Being the sedan version of the Swift, Suzuki opted to make it more elegant with touches of silver in the front and back, this really brings out the design. The front of the car is very pleasing on the eye, nothing too bold and brash, the grille is prominent with Suzuki badge in the center and overall a very pleasing package on the eye. The rear is much of the same, normally when companies turn hatch backs into sedans, the rear normally looks like an after thought but I cannot say that with the Dzire. Its well rounded off and the rear tail lights don't look out of place. On the inside, the design is carbon copy to that of the Swift with a bit more space, everything is laid out well and while the materials might not be the best in terms of aesthetics, you can see it is quite robust and durable. 


PERFORMANCE

You don't expect me to start singing praises when it comes to the engine of a budget hatch, especially one that isn't fitted with a turbo but bly me, this 1.2 litre naturally aspirated motor in the Dzire is a dream! It's the same engine that has been retained from the previous generation and I can see why, it is a perky little bugger with it going from 0-100 in just 11.7 seconds. The engine produces 61kW of power and 113Nm of torque which is not bad stats if you take into consideration some turbo power engines deliver almost similar figures. Here on the coast, the engine is in its prime element, and I honestly had a lot of fun driving it around. The 5 speed manual transmission did help, as I could down shift when extra oomph was needed. The best thing about this engine is how light it is on fuel,  with a claimed average of 4.9L per 100km, it's quite low considering its a bold move by Suzuki for not opting for a turbo powered unit but its one that seems to have paid of for me. 


COMFORT

Ride quality on the Dzire isn't the best, then again you can't expect much from a car that is price below R162,000 but with that said it isn't terrible. Yes there is a lot of cabin noise and its pretty evident when the road surfaces change but my answer to that is just turn up the volume on the radio. Which has bluetooth connectivity and easy to use steering wheel controls. Space in the rear isn't too shabby either with good head room for the passengers as well. The extra boot space is quite significant with the boot height being quite high so you can manage to fit in some rather large items, including my golf clubs, which I need not have to find an awkward angle to get them in or out. 


VERDICT

Overall, the Suzuki Dzire is a brilliant little compact sedan and honestly say its one of the better one son the market. Unfortunately for the brand, its one of the underrated ones when it comes to consumer interest, while they have won many awards over the years for products and service, the consumer mindset to the brand needs to the change and from the looks of what is coming next from the brand, they're slowly starting to turn the tide with some interesting models which are catching the attention of many. 


SPECIFICATIONS

 Engine
1.2L VVT Petrol Engine 
 Gear Box
5 Speed Manual
 Power
61kW
 Torque
113Nm
0-100km
11.7 seconds
 Economy
4.9 L/100km
 Price
R 161 900















Monday, November 12, 2018

Monday Choon: ilan Bluestone & Maor Levi feat. EL Waves - Will We Remain?


Ilan Bluestone is no stranger to those who frequently listen to ABGT or fans of the Anjunabeats label. The British DJ has been igniting the dance scene across the world with his unique tracks consisting of that 'progressive' sound he builds on today. In April this year he dropped a number of new singles from his debut album Scars. Most of which have been featured in many an episode of ABGT and in various DJ sets including his own at ABGT300 in Hong Kong. Today on the blog, I have one track that I particularly enjoyed, probably because of the strong vocal presence but overall a great balanced track, this is Ilan Bluestone with Maor Levi featuring El Waves, Will We Remain?

Friday, November 9, 2018

Bucket Seat: Nissan Micra


The Nissan Micra was first launched in South Africa in the early 2000's, controversial in design but appealing in price and offering. It was Nissan's 3rd generation of the model but it would be the introduction of it to the local market and everything about the car was a bit odd, from the design, to even the advertising catch phrase "do you speak Micra?". Regardless, sales were pretty decent for the odd bubble shaped automobile as many were spotted on the road, the next generation Micra saw changes made that made the car look a bit more normal to the consumer but it still maintained that bubble like shape but by then it didn't seem too odd to see on the road as many other European budget hatch backs had infiltrated their way into the country and the Nissan Micra had some competition but competition is always healthy right? And it's with that the all new 5th generation Micra which was launched this year in SA has not only grown but gained a lot in terms of advancements and offerings, I was behind the wheel of one for a week and here's some of my experiences with the all-new Micra. 


DESIGN

First thing's first, wow, Nissan, wow, you guys knocked it out the park with this one. From a something that used to look like a fishbowl to this, really took some guts and balls but you guys pulled it off and it works 100%.  The design of the new Micra is clean and edgy, I love the way the cars lines are focused in the front where they come together are the nose a move outwards to wrap around the rest of the car. There are elements of various other models in their range, with some hints of GTR here and there, put in playfully of-course. The car has gotten a more sporty nature, with it's flares and stance, the colour offerings in the palette also emphasize this. If Nissan were to make a sporty version of the Micra, they need not have to do much to the overall design as this one really does looks like it has some venom to it. The year of the car features the rear lights almost in a C shape which follows the contours of the car and the rear window transitions to the side with the black pillar. On the inside, it's more of the same good looks, the interior layout just works well, there's a lot of attention to detail when it comes to the materials and textures but overall it gives this hatch a premium feel and look. 


PERFORMANCE

Seems like the high cost of fuel is forcing manufactures to break the molds in engine displacement as the Micra features a 0.9L Turbo. This engine definitely doesn't feel like a 0.9 when you're running around town in it. It's zippy, the engine has a lovely tone to it and most importantly it feels solid.  Efficiency on this engine is superb, with me achieving close to their claimed combined driving average of 5.1L/100km. Driving the Acenta Turbo variant of the Micra, the engine pushes our 66kW with a maximum torque output of 140Nm. Handling on the Micra is precise and smooth, just like the brochure says, its almost like a point and shoot, the car goes well in a straight line but doesn't fluster when a few bends get thrown at it. The body structure is stiff and hugs the ground well, making the ride feel very secure. 


COMFORT

The Micra has grown a lot from the previous generation and that means more space in the cabin. While the older model had the driver position much higher, the new Micra's driving position is lower and very driver-centric with the low center of gravity. The seats are big and comfy, also come in dual tones of colour and some awesome swatches to choose form. The multiple array of textures and material in the cabin really give the car a premium feel, I love the addition of leather to the dash around the infotainment screen and extends over to the front passenger. The side panels around the gear selector are also covered in leather and are reminiscent of the GTR . The car comes with standard air condition dials but are neatly laid out just below the radio. I found the infotainment screen really easy to use and pairing with my smart phone was also very simple. Moving to the rear, while not the biggest, there was sufficient space for people to sit in comfort. 


TECHNOLOGY

The Micra comes with Nissan's Intelligent Mobility system, which has the advanced drive assist display that is designed to keep the driver focused on the road ahead of him with minimal distractions from the phone. The high definition 5" TFT display brings you all the information you require when hooked up to Apple Car Play, this also doubles up with voice control via Siri. Unfortunately I don't think the system was geared up for Android Auto but with it not being officially available for SA use, that shouldn't be a major issue as the bluetooth connectivity worked just as well. 


VERDICT

Overall, this is a superb re-introduction if I could say that, to the market of the Micra. While the previous models were not every bodies cup of tea, this new model will certainly have heads turning for all the right reason and you don't even need to "speak Micra" to understand it. There are various styling packs available for the Micra, like different paint designs with decals and colour options for the rims. In our tough times with the ever inflating petrol price, the Micra is a welcomed addition in the market of hatchbacks. Whether you're navigating your way through traffic or hitting the open road, you definitely won't be disappointed in the new Micra, it delivers a perfect balance no matter what style driver you are, it certainly is one of the better packaged cars on the market and it's improved looks will certainly play a big part in gaining more interest. 


SPECIFICATIONS

 Engine
0.9L 3 cylinder Turbo
 Gear Box
5 Speed Manual
 Power
66kW
 Torque
140Nm
0-100km
12.1 seconds
 Economy
5.1 L/100km
 Price
R 242 900














 Pictures by @mvrc1988

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Ultra South Africa 2019 - Artist Announcement.



The first international headline act for Ultra South Africa 2019 was announced yesterday, for the first time ever, Grammy award winning act, The Chainsmokers will be performing live in the country! American DJ and production duo, consisting of Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart call their style of music EDM-pop and have enjoyed much success since their breakthrough hit #Selfie was released in 2014. The trap was a top 20 single in several countries. They went on to win many awards since, including many Billboard Music awards, American Music Awards and scooped the Best Dance Recording Grammy at last years ceremony. 


You can catch this talented duo next year at Ultra South Africa, performing some of their best music, both in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Ultra SA organizers say that this is the first of many headliners to be announced so stay tuned to the various channels to find out who will be next to grace Ultra SA 2019. Tickets are on sale from www.ultrasouthafrica.com so don't delay or fear missing out! 




Monday, November 5, 2018

Bingo Players - Love Me Right (Bingo Players x Oomloud Club Mix)


Dutch dance and electro musical project Bingo Players have been one that I enjoyed when they were in their prime from 2011-2013. After the passing of one of the members, Paul Baumer of cancer in 2013, the surviving member Maarten Hoogstraten laid low for a while but decided to carry on with the project in honor of his late friend and we're glad he did. It's been a while but Maarten has begun releasing some tracks and today's featured track "Love Me Right" has that unmistakable Bingo Players sound, the original track was released in July this year, but has been given a Club Mix treatment by Bingo Players and Oomloud and is ace, enjoy the track as well as the official music video for this mix.  

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Race to 5


There's no denying I'm a big fan of Scuderia Ferrari, from the early days with Mansell to that unforgettable Schumacher era, and with others like Kimi and Fernando of late, the team brings so much to the sport, many say if Ferrari ever left, Formula One should shut up shop. Now in saying this, I am a proud supporter of the two cars on the grid every race day and for many who have been following the World Drivers Championship battle this season, it's been all too familiar with Sebastian and his car showing great promise in the first of half of the season but failing dismally in the latter. While this year was a bit closer than last, the end result was evident from 5 races left on the calendar, it would have taken a miracle and some extreme bad luck  for Lewis Hamilton not to secure his 5th title. 


While both drivers fought hard this season, there can be only one winner and last weekend in New Mexico, Lewis Hamilton showed the world why he was the best at what he does. The Brit is an incredibly talented driver and even though his car was not the fastest, he made the most of it where it counted, around the bends and in qualifying securing more pole positions than Vettel or higher placings on the grid. He also had the backing of a great team who's strategies for every race weekend was near perfect, all of this helped him achieve his 5th world drivers championship and credit must be paid to him for achieving this accomplishment. 


However, I have a bone to pick with many about his rival Vettel. While he might not be everyone's cup of tea, the sport has painted him with a black brush in the latter half of the season. With Formula One's TV deal, most of the international stream has to put up with the rubbish that Sky Sports has to say. Sky Sports being British have a certain bias towards their own driver, even though they won't admit it. It's with this bias that many tend to dislike Lewis which is really sad because he is really a great driver. There were a number of incidents that contributed to Vettel's title challenge demise this year, some were faults by him, many by the team in terms of strategy etc but for most of it, it was just racing and at the end of the day, that is what Vettel is, a racer. 


Now if you hark back to Vettel's career when he just began, he took chances, made them count and hence he was so successful at Red Bull Racing, granted the car was brilliant but his driving played a big part in him achieving so much at such a young age, fast forward to present day and nothing has changed in his driving style, unfortunate for him he just had a lot of bad luck this season. In the clashes he had with the Red Bulls, both in Japan and Austin, both were recognised as racing incidents, and if you analyse both closely, he had a gap and in the case in Austin he had the better racing line but yet the Sky Sports team chose to label it as "rash", "dangerous", and my favourite "desperate" by Sebastian. It's like none of those former drivers they have on their commentary team ever raced before. There was an opportunity to overtake, he took it, it didn't work out, and most of the time its a 50/50 on what would happen and unfortunately for him, he spun on both cases. Then there was blame put on the car for doing what it did, it's like he could never win with these commentators. 


Karma soon came to bite them in the ass in Austin though, with VSC called in early on in the race, just after 12 laps, Mercedes brought in Lewis for a change in tyres as he was behind Kimi at the time and wanted to get his lead back after it was taken from the start and hopefully wrap up the title that weekend. The Sky Sports team saw this as a genius move and wondered why Ferrari didn't do the same, its as if they had amnesia and forgot all about how heavy on tyres the Austin track is. With a 1 stop strategy this would be disastrous for any driver! As the race went on, Lewis began to suffer, lost many places in the field and had to go back for a tyre change again, the commentary team didn't acknowledge Ferrari's reluctance to take the gamble and pit their cars early but rather focused on how Lewis saved his race but ultimately couldn't seal his 5th drivers title that weekend. 


It gave Ferrari and Vettel a glimmer of hope going into Mexico but even they knew it was all done and dusted even before the weekend began. As per normal in Mexico, the Red Bulls were on fire and secured a top two spot in qualifying, Ricciardo suffered mechanical failure again during the race but left the road open to Max Verstappen to claim his 5th race victory, with Hamilton finishing in 4th place, it was enough for him to claim victory in the drivers title challenge, some nice words were said between him and Vettel, which is always great to see, even though the commentary team want us to believe they hate each other. All is not lost for Ferrari though, they're still in for a shot at the constructors title with them trailing Mercedes Benz by 55 points, with Lewis wrapping up his title, we're not sure if he will be racing as hard as before and with Bottas having a point to prove after playing second fiddle the entire season, these last two races could be quite spectacular to see. 


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Bucket Seat: Renault Sandero Stepway Plus


First and foremost before I get this blog going, I'd like to thank Renault South Africa for giving me the opportunity to drive and review their vehicles. Renault have been my favourite French motoring brand, mostly due to their Formula One affiliation and of course their outrageous designs. As always, when you're new you got to start from the bottom and work your way up and quite appropriately I'm doing that with Renault with the first car from them on test being the Sandero, not just any Sandero though, the Stepway Plus. The Sandero was introduced to the market as a budget hatch back and it did rather well in sales locally, later on Renault released a cross-over version of the Sandero, the Stepway and with the market shifting trends to cross-over lifestyle vehicles, the consumer also took quite fondly to this. Now in it's second generation, the Renault Stepway has a lot to offer even if it's still regarded as a budget cross-over. 


DESIGN

The design of the Sandero Stepway is based on the Sandero hatch, Renault have given it a higher ground clearance, some rugged cosmetic features like roof rails, durable plastic wheel arches in black and front and rear skid panels with chrome accents to add character and presence to the car. Overall it's a very visually appealing package and it comes in a great array of colours, the one I had was in Azurite Blue. The car also came fitted with 16" 2 tone Flex wheels which also feature on the bigger Renault Duster. Part of Renault's new design language is the prominent daytime running LED lights up front and the Stepway plus has them as well, giving you that border illumination on the sides of the front headlamps, the rest of the lights tie up into the central grille with the prominent Renault badge in the center. Moving inside the car, everything is well laid out and while this is meant to be budget priced, the interior doesn't really look like it. 


PERFORMANCE

I got into this car not knowing much about it, and thought it was a decent ride the engine felt small but sufficient, I knew it was turbo powered but I didn't realise until I checked that it was a 0.9L engine. Yup, that did surprise me! The motor delivers 135Nm of torque and 66kW which is great performance for a vehicle of this size. Let's face it, people who are going to buy the Sandero Stepway aren't too bothered with performance what will want great economy and that is exactly what this car delivers with a claimed consumption of 5.4L/100km, I managed just over 6L/100km with my time with it, but that was with a mixture of driving styles and trips. At first I thought the 5 speed gearbox may have been limiting but it was quite sufficient for it, with smooth changes and power delivery per gear. The turbo has minimal lag so there isn't that wait for boost like most other turbo powered cars. 


COMFORT

Comfort wise in the Sandero Stepway Plus is not bad, you essentially get what you're paying for. Lots of plastic, the material while durable isn't particular the great but overall comfort is pretty good. I did find the seats to be a tad bit small, something which I've never experienced before but it was manageable. The steering while on the other hand was extremely comfortable, it even felt like a different material was used, something from a higher range of Renaults, perhaps the Clio. It was the perfect size, easy to manoeuvre which also added to the enjoyment of driving the car around town. The car has a aircon system, which is manually adjustable. The cars entertainment system which is a large 7" touch screen system is located on the top part of the dash with its closure finished off in high gloss black. The touch screen is fairly easy to use and features a USB input at the top. 


VERDICT

The main factors you got to look at when purchasing a car like the Renault Sandero Stepway is price and how much it's going to cost your pocket when visiting the fuel station and Renault have hit the sweet spot with this one as the price for the Stepway Plus, even though being the range topping model is rather attractive and with it's low fuel economy is a winner in these times. The car is the perfect city roaming car with the added advantage of the raised ground clearance should you want to venture on some gravel terrain. It's an enjoyable ride, has a good interior space and easy configuration to drop the seats should you want to load extra stuff into the boot. Compared to some of it's rivals out there, this may be priced a bit more but also offers a bit more in terms of standard features and I reckon probably looks the best too. 


SPECIFICATIONS


 Engine
0.9L 3 cylinder Turbo
 Gear Box
5 Speed Manual
 Power
66kW
 Torque
135Nm
0-100km
11.1 seconds
 Economy
5.4 L/100km
 Price
R 213 900