Cars made for road trips

2011-12-02 09:22

Road tripping has become a year-end tradition for many South Africans. So whether you’re hoping to feel the wind in your hair as you drive along the Garden Route, or you’ll be bumping along rural trails on a farm visit, this list by Janine-Lee Gordon will help you make better wheel choices.

Bundu bashing – Toyota FJ Cruiser
» Where: Think dusty and muddy trails along the Vaal River around the Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site, which was created by the impact of the biggest and oldest meteorite to strike southern Africa. Here you can enjoy the rough-and-tumble fun of water rafting, fishing and abseiling before retiring at camp.

Best of all, there are trails to put your off-roader to the test.

» Rating:
I like the Cruiser’s “gangsta” looks with outward opening rear doors, white roof, and single front grille and headlights. It handles difficult off-roading with ease, thanks to the rear differential lock and other driving tools. However, opening the back door might be a challenge if you’re towing a trailer or caravan.

» Price: from R439 900

Wine route meander – Peugeot 5008 2.0-litre HDi Active

» Where: Route 62 wanders between Cape Town and Oudtshoorn, the Langkloof and Port Elizabeth; and takes you through places like Calitzdorp, the historic Amalienstein, and the fruit and wine produce towns of Ashton, Bonnievale and Robertson. The longest wine route in the country, it offers magnificent landscapes and some of the best mountain passes.

» Rating: The rather bulky 5008 has high wheel arches, which make travelling on gravel roads to visit wine farms easy. There’s huge boot space to load all the wine you’ll be buying. It’s a seven-seater so you can take some friends along, but the mechanism to fold the seats is frustrating.

And when all seven seats are up, boot space is non-existent.

» Price: R306 131

The seascape – Mercedes-Benz SLK 350
» Where: This 2012 Car of the Year finalist was made for Garden Route driving – for two. A convertible is the best car for this route so you can drop the top and take in the fresh sea breeze. Very sexy.

» Rating: I love the skyroof, which changes from light to dark at the touch of a button. The transparent windshields behind the headrests are seriously lux. Extra options such as the magic sky roof and suspension will see you forking out even more cash.

» Price: from R734 100

The cityscape – Audi A6 3.0 T TDI Quattro S tronic

» Where: Driving from Joburg to Cape Town down the N1 doesn’t offer the most scenic of routes so comfort is an important factor. Or you might be staying at home, and visiting family and friends during the holidays.

You’ll need a car big enough for the family and something to cruise about at leisure.

» Rating: It’s uber comfy, luxurious, sleek, powerful and fuel efficient. While I love the finger touch pad connected to the multimedia infotainment system, the pop-out, fold-away navigation and media monitor takes away the stylishness of the interior.

A car this sophisticated should have had this feature integrated into the centre console.


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