Andre Potgieter, the Dealer Principal at New Vaal South, was kind enough to assign me to be the journalist representing the awesome brands on offer in at this dynamic dealership: covering the likes of Fiat, Alfa and Jeep (as well as Dodge and Chrysler recently), the New Vaal South dealership is perfectly located to provide highest quality vehicles and services to the greater Johannesburg.

With almost 30 years of experience in the motoring industry, Andre has been dedicated to the Alfa, Jeep and Fiat brands for 12 years. As a true petrolhead (and admitted fanatic of memorable cars) Andre loves the excitement of being in the motoring industry. Stating that no two days are ever the same, the Dealership at New Vaal South strives to create similarly unforgettable experiences for their clients.

Citing team dedication and loyalty as the secret weapon to this dealership’s success, Andre believes that with passion and honesty, their care for their clients become evident through service. Urging me to ask questions of his knowledgeable team, I am introduced to the Fiat 500X. Right off the bat I note that despite the compact look of the car, it presents space, comfort and luxury as well. I must be honest, I wasn’t immediately taken with the unique exterior look. Hinting at old-school Italian-styling, the wide-eyed, European look and flowing lines of the 500X are truly distinctive. The touch of Retro-styling makes the vehicle stand out, and gives the impression that not only was the Fiat designed to be noticed, but the underlying athletic touches hinted at its crossover nature.

Inside the Fiat 500X, I was impressed with the driver-centric layout. With an elegant and chic dashboard that seems to fit around your needs, and an adjustable driving position that makes the cabin itself feel like an extension of the driver, the interior has a premium feel. I particularly liked the high-quality finishes that seemed to envelope me in Italian luxury and the feeling of sitting quite high, almost as though siting in a full-on SUV. New Car Sales Executive Shane Hartnick took me through the vehicle’s capabilities, and impressed me with his knowledge (even though he is new to the New Vaal South family).

The drive was pure delight – the Fiat 500X is nippy, yet powerful, and with a 6-speed manual gearbox gave me full control as I headed out onto the highway. Despite feeling like a big SUV, the vehicle itself is sleek and responsive, light under my touch, and performs without hesitation. Lightweight, independent front suspension proves to be the reason for it’s great handling around corners, whilst the MacPherson independent rear suspension delivers a soft ride that is almost velvety. Together with the convenience of the Uconnect infotainment system, I was able to give my full attention to the effortless drive, yet still explore the technology and features available on board.

Classified as a Crossover, the Fiat 500X also boasts a Traction Plus system, that – combined with the 4×2 engine – is an electronic control system designed to provide optimal torque distribution on the front axles, boosting the vehicles ability to take on low-grip surfaces in a more effective way. The Fiat 500X has definite character, and I loved the unique, yet familiar, feel of the vehicle that gave good power, and excellent handling, ultimately exceeding my expectations.

Back at the dealership, I was reminded that the slogan “Making a strong statement” by Fiat was what the brand is all about: and indeed, the Fiat 500X Cross did just that. I was not expecting to be this impressed but have to admit that the vehicle changed my mind about its initially off-centre look. Andre brings our visits to a close, proudly noting that each vehicle sold at this Dealership is underscored by fantastic service plans and warranties that seek to ensure customer satisfaction at every level. As winners of the Aftersales Dealer of the Year for 2017, New Vaal South is sure to live up to this promise.

 

By Desh Bechan