By Juliet McGuire for Gumtree.co.za

Car sales are slowly opening up again and automotive classifieds sites have noted a spike in enquiries. Juliet McGuire of Gumtree.co.za sat down with top executives for the major manufacturers to ask which car they would recommend (and personally drive) from their respective brands.

Thomas Schaefer, Chairman & MD of Volkswagen Group South Africa

Thomas has three cars parked in his garage, one from each of the brands he oversees – a Volkswagen Touareg, Audi S5 Cabriolet and a Volkswagen Amarok.

VW Tourareg

 

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“The Touareg offers the best package – the power, the infotainment, everything. It is the best SUV overall with fantastic driving performance. Everything just works and I absolutely love it on long distances. The S5 Cabriolet is the sleekest four-seater cabriolet, even if I am sad there is no longer an RS5 as it was my absolute favourite, this 3.0-litre V6 does so well.

It is the perfect weekend getaway car. You can fit everything in it without feeling like you are sitting on the engine. And the Amarok, well there is no better bakkie, that is just the way it is.”

Wayne Van Der Merwe; General Manager: Product Renault South Africa

“The Renault Duster was first introduced in 2014 and was designed and engineered to adeptly master tough road conditions, but in a more modest form. The Duster has proved to be extremely popular in the SA market and reinforces Duster’s strengths and renowned DNA at the core; that is being an extremely capable SUV, which is tough, simple and reliable, yet accessible based on its exceptional value proposition. I drive the TechRoad derivative and particularly appreciate the distinct trim and details of it. I love the specific seat design with its touches of red detailing throughout the cabin.

The Duster boasts an exterior styling delivering a distinctly assertive and robust look, highlighting its SUV pedigree. Visually more muscular, the design tone is set by an expressive front and rear, heightening the impression of stability. To top it all, the Duster now has even greater off-road capabilities evident by the class-leading ground clearance of 210mm, with approach and departure angles suited for all terrain driving. Even if you don’t do a lot of off-roading or wish you could do more, just knowing that whenever the urge overtakes you, you have the car that is more than capable of taking you off the beaten track.”

Gary Scott, Kia Motors CEO

“I have two cars in the garage: a Blue Flame Sportage 2.0 CRDI EX+ and a Hi Chroma Red Stinger GT.

The Sportage is my wife’s daily driver and, on weekends and excursions, I tend to drive us as a family. The Sportage has a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine and is surprisingly nippy. This suits my wife having to juggle work and the school, sports and social lives of three demanding kids!

The Stinger has a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 pushing 272 kW and 510 Nm through the rear wheels. With a 0-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds, it’s a wonderful tool to recalibrate the perceptions of the KIA brand among the ‘vrrr paaah’ brigade. As some owners have shown us, the chassis and transmission can easily handle a lot more power.

The Stinger was brought in to celebrate KIA’s 20-year anniversary in South Africa. We offered a limited run of 25 units to the public (all taken up!), and had a handful of marketing units – including the one I am driving. For us it is a showcase of what the brand is capable of, with a lot of the tech finding its way into our more mainstream offerings. It is a super comfortable mobile office and turns heads every day on the road, for that built-in rock star vibe. People think it is Maserati or a Jaguar. I love it!”

Greg Maruszewski, Managing Director: Volvo Car South Africa

Volvo Car South Africa’s Managing Director, Greg Maruszewski, proudly drives a Volvo XC90 T8 Plug-in Hybrid R-Design. “The XC90, which was introduced in 2015 and is arguably the most awarded car ever with over 140 major awards globally (including South African Car of the Year 2016) and which was refreshed last year, competes in the premium SUV segment with the likes of BMW X5, Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GLE.

It is available with six or seven seats and offers luxury in all departments. The model I drive is particularly special because it has two engines (petrol in the front and electric in the rear) and it is the sportier R-Design specification level.

Firstly it’s very good looking on the outside and offers a premium experience on the inside with the well-designed stylish interior. It has a number of cool features like pilot assist (steering assistance to keep within a lane) and adaptive cruise control (adjusts speed to the car in front or the set maximum). This all helps to make the drive more relaxing especially on longer drives. Acceleration is fantastic – for such a big car to go from stand still to 100 in 5,5 seconds is remarkable, and makes it so much fun to drive!”

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