of The Year -
Part 2 - the cars
dates : 30th January 2005
3rd February 2005
Fiesta 1.4i 5-door
Ford has been building a reputation for excellent
chassis behavior, and the latest Fiesta lives up to that
Thereís an admirable poise to the carís progress
over all sorts of roads. And on the race track, despite
modest tyre sizings befitting a car costing R99 850, the
balance between under-steer and over-steer is
The 1388 cc engine is profiled as a lugger rather than a
high-revving unit. But nevertheless itís happy to spin
way past 6 000 rpm.
The Fiesta impressed as a no-nonsense entry-level car
with attractive styling to set it apart from the budget
There are a few glitches, like the window winders that
intrude into the knee space.
Overall, a worthy finalist, but not a winner in our
Volvo S40 2.4i
The Volvo is a classic case of the intrinsic value of
the Car of the year competition.
The Volvo is so good, but so understated. It needs the
bright lights of competitive scrutiny to showcase its
many strengths and few weaknesses.
For the money, this is the car that takes a lot of
beating. Its five-cylinder engine has wonderful
charisma, its handling is impeccable over all surfaces.
It has a Feng Shui approach to the cockpit. Simplicity,
form follows function. The same applies to the rest of
the car and yet in the latest version, the S40 has shed
the typical Swedish door approach.
This is a car with flair to go with its mechanical
integrity. Oh yes, the Volvo is looking good for the
Peugeot 407 2.2 ST Sport
The Peugeot 407 impresses in the way it turns into a
corner. Lots of bite from those front wheels. In the
fashion appeal category, the Peugeot 407 blew everyone
But do those good looks translate to real ability on the
road? The answer is yes and no. It has good handling,
lots of feedback through the attractive steering wheel,
but itís a let-down in two major areas.
The engine is fine for pottering around town, but it
becomes harsh as the redline approaches. The rev range
is quite narrow too and this means you are often caught
And when a snappy gear change is called for, the Peugeot
gearbox is not precise enough.
Mazda 3 1.6 Dynamic
The Mazda 3ís strong suit is, well just that. Its
exterior styling is a masterpiece of class and
The interior is a bit too zooty for some tastes, but
thereís an overall feeling of quality that impresses.
As for the mechanicals, it has predictable handling,
well-weighted steering, and a solid chassis that should
remain creak-and-groan-free for many years.
But itís the engine that lets it down. Too harsh, from
idle all the way through to the redline.
1 - How it works
Part 2 - the cars
Part 3 - more cars
Part 4 - and finally
Car Torque is