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Kia Sonet

Is the Kia Sonet your best bet?

Well, if I had to put money on a car, it would be the Kia Sonet! I recently attended the launch of the updated model and if I thought I couldn’t love this car more, I was wrong. Is this review pointless? Probably. You already know my thoughts and feelings on this car. However, I am a true professional, and so will continue with this review if only to bring you what the updates entail. You will get all the soppiness from me when I have the car on test and make a video. Remember, the Sonet launched in May of 2021 and the 1.0 turbo models followed in July of 2022. It has become abundantly clear that affordability is now one of the biggest factors when it comes to car buying. Actually, when it comes to anything. Luxury brands are struggling. And although the Sonet may be frugal, it doesn’t lack in anything. This update serves to keep it as fresh as ever. It wasn’t a bad looking car before, and now, it’s even better. The redesigned headlamp incorporates the “star map” signature lighting and the “Tiger nose” (rather call it Tiger face) has also been revised. The rear lighting strip is now more squared off and so we see a new tailgate and bumpers, which create extra width. My goodness, it looks cool. Let me tell you, this car looks way bigger in real life. It was parked next to a Sportage when I arrived and I was convinced they were the same size. They are not, obviously, but it will give you an idea of the size of this entry in to the Kia SUV life. It is no dinky thing. One could call it imposing, actually. It also now sports new styled wheels. There are minor updates to the interior with a 10.25-inch infotainment screen on the higher spec models. Ya, that’s it there. There are no changes to the engines as the 1.0 turbo and 1.5 naturally aspirated units are retained. The “entry-level” LX model remains pretty much the same in terms of spec, as does the EX models (which builds on the LX) and the EX Plus is the same except for that 10.25-inch screen. BUT the big news is the introduction of a new grade, the SX. This builds on the EX Plus by adding spec such as Smart Entry with push-button start, LED headlamps, LED front fog lamps, a wireless charger, Drive Mode Select, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Follow Assist, and Forward Collision Avoidance Assist. Here is a quick reminder of what the “entry level” LX kicks off with, just to showcase how comprehensively specced these cars are. Sonet LX  The EX adds things like rear parking sensors and a bunch of LEDs, while the EX Plus hits you with six airbags, 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, full artificial leather upholstery, and the 10.25 touchscreen and instrument cluster. Here’s the thing people, a lot of the competitors could be considered ‘cars on stilts’ whereas the Sonet looks and feels like an actual SUV. It is hard to really pinpoint rivals because, let’s be frank, the compact SUV segment is not only bursting at the seams, but it is like anything and everything is now considered an SUV and pricing is rather inconsistent. You could look at the Nissan Magnite (but why would you) or Suzuki Fronx, but both are smaller cars with smaller boots. The Chery Tiggo 4 Pro is the one everyone always asks me about when shopping in this segment, and while the price is good, the Sonet remains bigger and, in my professional and not so professional opinion, better. The engine and transmission on the Sonet is superior as is the quality of the drive. The Hyundai Venue has a smaller boot and again, isn’t as good as the Sonet. The only real rival for me is the Volkswagen T-Cross. It is similarly sized with an ever-so slightly smaller boot. It’s as good quality-wise too. The only really issue for the T-cross is pricing and when you consider the options list VW offers, you will end up paying far more for it than you would for a Sonet. The warranty is also better with Kia. I am not saying I am fan of the Sonet, I am a SUPER FAN of it. And I think you should be too. KIA SONET PRICING The Sonet comes with a five-year/unlimited km warranty, inclusive of Roadside Assistance as well as a four-year / 60 000 km service plan. 

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Jaguar i-Pace

What’s wrong with the Jaguar I-Pace?

Well, there is nothing wrong with the Jaguar I-Pace. But why doesn’t it sell all that well in South Africa? There are many reasons, ag and I don’t need to get into that. I would rather chat about the car and what makes it pretty great. Barring the boot. With that spare tyre in there it is not great! Get yourself a Hippo quote quick. Want something a little less out there? How about the Toyota Corolla Sedan? If you’re up for a chat, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and now Threads – it’s hard to keep up. And don’t forget to be a peach and subscribe to my YouTube channel and obviously follow me on TikTok. DISCLAIMER: Hippo Comparative Services (Pty) Ltd is an authorised financial service provider. Terms and Conditions online. Please note that the information contained in this video does not constitute financial advice.

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Toyota Corolla Sedan

Is my love for the Corolla Sedan giving away my age?

I am at that age when I am unashamedly all about practicality and comfort. The Toyota Corolla Sedan is one of the most practical car-buying decisions you could make. As a long-term test car it has fit seamlessly into my family and I love it. It is also the Hybrid version which means it is so efficient and after almost a month with it, we have only had to fill it up once. Yup, I am sitting at 5l/100km no matter how I hard I push it. I might not give it back! PS. Get a quote from Hippo! If you need a bigger, more beastly car, the Mazda CX-60 might be your car. If you’re up for a chat, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and now Threads – it’s hard to keep up. And don’t forget to be a peach and subscribe to my YouTube channel and obviously follow me on TikTok. DISCLAIMER: Hippo Comparative Services (Pty) Ltd is an authorised financial service provider. Terms and Conditions online. Please note that the information contained in this video does not constitute financial advice.

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Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E PERFORMANCE

The Merc-AMG C63 – dramatic as ever!

Mercedes-AMG fans were all kinds of devastated when it was announced that the new C63 would no longer boast a V8 engine. Imagine what it did to them when it was revealed that a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine would be powering this beast. Alas, they had nothing to worry about. You’ll see what I mean. This week I attended the intimate launch of the brand new Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance and we were lucky enough to sample it along a certain mountain pass that was closed to the rest of public…to a degree. Precautions were taken to keep everyone safe, of course, but it also meant we were able to really unleash the beast! As much as haters want to hate, there is no denying the full force of 500 kW and 1 020 Nm! That’s right. This new model, with the addition of its plug-in-hybrid system, means that the combined performance figures make your eyes water. It is a completely new driving experience and one that I think will quieten the naysayers. It is somewhat of a techfest and it goes a long way to sit with the car for a while before heading out to see exactly what it can do. There are eight driving modes, for example. I tried to change my driving mode on the fly and didn’t realise that for a few kms I was in snow mode…on a hot day…in Franschhoek. In fact, it has so many different selections to make that I find myself just opting for Sport and away I go. There is even Track Pace, which is a track-based boost strategy that has 30 well-known tracks stored (that can be gradually expanded to 70). It works like this: Before driving, the driver selects the track on the central display, for example the German Hockenheimring, and then switches on the boost strategy with a slider. Then they activate the RACE driving mode and are ready to go. The vehicle then displays an upcoming boost sector in the instrument cluster and on the head-up display. When boosting (via kick-down with 150 kW electric power), a countdown and a horizontal bar count down the boost seconds. As soon as the indicator shows the end of the boost sector, the driver should release the kick-down. Two options are available: a strategy for a particularly fast single lap (“Hot Lap”) and another strategy for several consistently fast laps in succession (“Endurance Mode”). Just to note, I did not try any of the above. So you get my point? There is a lot going on in this car. But what I do know, even if it is not ‘technically’ speaking, is that it is a machine that inspires much confidence. It reassures you as a driver that you are capable of more. And when a car this powerful is so easy to drive, it makes for a really fun time! Even if you’re not driving it on a track. My back would disagree with all of the above, mind you. The sport seats are not the most comfortable for those of us who are rapidly deteriorating due to age. Mind you, regenerative braking is no help. I feel like I am constantly using core muscles (if they even still exist in this ageing bod) to keep my composure. But, when it comes to the ride, it does feel more like a C-Class when in Comfort mode and that is a win. It’s a composed drive with the added flair of drama, such as launch control and drift mode, and all the other tech not mentioned, and so I would say to those who might feel it has lost its charm since losing its V8, take it for a spin. You will see that Mercedes-AMG still knows what it’s doing when it comes to cars that are built to put a smile on your face. PRICING OF THE MERCEDES-AMG C63 S E PERFORMANCE C63 S E Performance: R2 476 800 It is available with a standard 2-year/unlimited kilometre warranty and 5-year/100 000 km maintenance plan.

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Toyota Hilux GR-S

Large and in charge: the Toyota Hilux GR-S III

Back in May I attended the launch of the new Toyota Hilux GR-S III, but I was unable to really tell you too much about it then because it was embargoed until last week (which is when this post should have gone live, but I have been busy people!). Anyhoo, now we are here and I am going to give you a brief overview of what this halo model for Hilux entails. You will have to wait for more info when I get it on test and bring it to you via a video. Because, as you know, that’s my jam! As if the Hilux couldn’t be anymore popular, Toyota goes and produces a model that is inspired by the multiple Dakar Rally-winning heritage that we have all come to know and love. Let me kick this off with the looks of this new generation. It is pretty awesome in the metal. Imposing even. And that is thanks to its now much wider stance. You see, the lateral distance between the wheels has increased at both the front and the rear when compared to the standard Hilux. Which obviously adds to the overall driving experience, but more on that later. That lateral distance has expanded by 140mm at the front and 150mm at the rear. This means this double cab’s overall width has increased to 2 020 mm. The bold black over-fenders accentuate the GR-S IIIs muscular stance as it rides on 17-inch black alloy wheels as well, with red brake callipers of course. It’s all rather dramatic. Making it stand out from its Hilux siblings, and the crowd at large, is the black mesh front grille which features the Toyota name logo, as well as the black sidestep, mirrors and door handles. GR logos also give it that edge. On- and off-road capabilities are also purposefully enhanced, thanks to that wider tread and significant improvements in handling characteristics, such as increased vehicle stability through reduced roll angle, and a precise steering response. Being that the Hilux GR-S was, first and foremost, built as an off-road-biased double-cab bakkie, this all makes sense. It might be all rugged and rebellious on the outside, but the interior is rather sophisticated. It still gives you the sporty elements you might be after. There is a black and monochrome theme which is rather stylish, and then it’s got red bits and bobs here and there. My favourite being the red seatbelts. My goodness they look good. There are paddle controls and aluminium sport pedals to just accentuate the performance side of things. And for the fancy side of things, you’ve got black suede and leather seats with silver stitching and perforation. The suede isn’t just for looks though, these seats are meant to minimise sliding when you’re experience higher lateral forces. There is a new hydrographic ornament on the door trim and dashboard, which also features GR details on the information display and instrumentation. It also boasts Toyota’s multimedia system on an eight-inch touchscreen display. It also now comes standard with a JBL sound system with nine speakers. Engine-wise, nothing has changed, it sports the uprated 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel which produces 165 kW and 550 Nm of torque (the standard 2.8GD-6 engine does 150 kW and 500 Nm). The GR-S III is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.  We took this new model on an array of different terrain up the Garden Route. Including tar, gravel and even sand dunes. The GR-S did not bat an eyelid. It eats anything up with ease. It is only really driver error that will see you getting stuck. With it being wider, it feels more solid, more planted to the road and off-road. It is clear that it is quite a bit smoother and stable over most terrain you throw at it. The all-terrain tyres are the perfect size, I think 17-inch tyres are the perfect off-roading size. You don’t need bigger. There is no doubt that Toyota knows exactly what it’s doing when it comes to its off roaders. It’s hard to imagine how any of it can really be improved. Are we going to be doing Everest in a Hilux soon? Who knows. But the new GR-S III is as good as it gets. It adds that extra bit of flair and drama to what is already a capable and reliable vehicle. PRICING OF THE NEW HILUX GR-S III The Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 DC 4×4 GR Sport III is competitively priced at R999 000. It also comes standard with 9-services/100 000km service plan (with intervals of 10 000 km) and a 3-year/100 000km warranty.

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Mazda CX-60

The beast that is the Mazda CX-60 3.3L

I love a beast! Especially when it doesn’t fit the mould. In this case, a family SUV in the form of the Mazda CX-60 3.3L De Takumi Auto AWD. Unassuming is what I say this car is. You wouldn’t know what is lurking beneath just by looking at it. But it is beastly. And it is great on the open road. If you want kinder to the environment then the Volvo EX30 is for you. If you’re up for a chat, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and now Threads – it’s hard to keep up. And don’t forget to be a peach and subscribe to my YouTube channel and obviously follow me on TikTok. DISCLAIMER: Hippo Comparative Services (Pty) Ltd is an authorised financial service provider. Terms and Conditions online. Please note that the information contained in this video does not constitute financial advice.

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Juliet McGuire Volvo EX30

This Volvo EX30 is the fastest car for under a mil

Who would have thought that a Volvo, and electric Volvo, would be the fastest car on South Africa’s roads for under R1 million? It is crazy to think, right? But anyhoo, here we are. I am all over this EV, even if I am not hugely sold on them. PS. Can you spot the Hippo in the video? You could win one for yourself. Check out my reels on all my socials to find out how. Not yet ready for full EV? The Defender 110 PHEV might be your vibe. If you’re up for a chat, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and now Threads – it’s hard to keep up. And don’t forget to be a peach and subscribe to my YouTube channel and obviously follow me on TikTok. DISCLAIMER: Hippo Comparative Services (Pty) Ltd is an authorised financial service provider. Terms and Conditions online. Please note that the information contained in this video does not constitute financial advice. Learn more about Hippo.

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Juliet McGuire Defender PHEV

Is the Defender 110 PHEV the best of both worlds?

I have just spoken about EVs in my last video and what I really think about them. So perhaps it was time for a plug in hybrid because I find these to make way more sense. Barring the pricing, obviously. But if we were to be incentivised, I think PHEVs would be the way to go. And the Defender 110 PHEV is a winner! If pricey. The BMW i5 video will really show you how I feel about electric vehicles. If you’re up for a chat, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and now Threads – it’s hard to keep up. And don’t forget to be a peach and subscribe to my YouTube channel and obviously follow me on TikTok. DISCLAIMER: Hippo Comparative Services (Pty) Ltd is an authorised financial service provider. Terms and Conditions online. Please note that the information contained in this video does not constitute financial advice.

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Juliet McGuire BMW i5

The BMW i5 and my true feelings on EVs

As much as I adore this BMW i5, I can’t say I am sold on EVs altogether. But I have my reasons. What are your thoughts? Do you think we will see an-electric future? And now I am too old for the Audi RS4 Avant. If you’re up for a chat, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and now Threads – it’s hard to keep up. And don’t forget to be a peach and subscribe to my YouTube channel and obviously follow me on TikTok.

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I’m too old for heels and an Audi RS4 Avant

It is so hard getting old. Everything starts to hurt! I can’t wear heels because it hurts my feet. Guys, I have just had orthopaedics made for my shoes. WHO EVEN AM I? So getting into one of my favourite cars, the Audi RS4 Avant, and realising that it is just too firm for these old bones of mine is, to put it bluntly, devastating. But never fear, I popped a Myprodol or two and was good to go! Jokes. Sort of. These cars are so good, you should check their resale value. The GWM Tank 300 is still my favourite car to drive this year so far. If you’re up for a chat, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and now Threads – it’s hard to keep up. And don’t forget to be a peach and subscribe to my YouTube channel and obviously follow me on TikTok.

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