Tue | Sep 19, 2017

VW Saveiro - Sometimes good things come in smaller packages

Published:Sunday | September 3, 2017 | 9:00 AMKareem Latouche
The interior has a minimalistic design with the intentions of offering what is needed to get the job done.
The bed is a bit elevated which takes some getting used to when reversing.
Getting the vehicle in reverse is a bit tricky; it must be done by pushing the gear lever then moving it to the indicated position.
The headlights are controlled by this rotary knob to the left of the steering wheel.
The 1600 cc engine boasts a very impressive mpg rating
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The Saveiro is reminiscent of the mini pickups that were popular in the '70s and '80s. Known for their versatility and nippy engines, they were a hit with many locals - especially the Fiat models. The concept of a mini pickup is also quite popular in European countries where many of the roads are narrow.

Built primarily for the Latin American market, the left-hand-drive Saveiro is in a niche by itself in Jamaica. On the exterior, the familiar VW accents can be easily recognised as the front facia bears striking resemblance to the Polo.

As for design, this is where everything ends, as this vehicle is strictly for utilitarian purposes. Most controls on the interior are manual, such as the side mirrors and a rotary knob to adjust the back of the seat. This is a good thing if you intend to work it to the bones due to the fact that manual parts are usually much cheaper than electronic ones.

The overall layout of the interior is minimalistic as expected, with a rugged finish on the dashboard which is meant to cope with manhandling. At the base of

the centre console, there are two cup holders, which are

on the smaller side and a charging port. Behind this is the five-speed-manual gear lever which sits before the manual hand brake.

Given that this is an extended cabin, there is enough room to put personal items in the back or a petite person who doesn't mind the discomfort.

As for the drive, balancing the clutch is quite easy. The gearshifts are also smooth with very small throws for changes, which the average person will appreciate. The only deviation from the norm is finding reverse, which can only be done by pushing the gear lever then moving it to the indicated position.

All these mechanisms work well together and, combined with a lightweight body, give the 1600 cc a lively feel.

While driving through St Thomas the suspensions were able to absorb potholes while keeping the vehicle balanced. This helped to give the vehicle an overall sturdy feel which took on the challenging roads with ease.

Forward visibility is also very good, however rear visibility is a bit challenging due to the elevated rear bed, which is presumably this way to better accommodate heavy cargo. However, this can make things a bit tricky, especially when reversing without the assistance of a camera.

Another standout fact is that anyone who is accustomed to the size of a sedan won't have problems maneuvreing this vehicle from a spatial perspective. The only challenge is changing the mindset of persons who are wired to think that bigger is always better.

What I like

n Good on gas consumption

n Seats feel comfortable

n Comfortable suspension

What I don't like

n No keyless entry

n Awkward placement of cup holders

Specs

n Year model: 2017

n Engine size: 1600CC

n Hp: 105 hp

n FWD or AWD: FWD

n Type: cross-over pick up

Features on tested model

n No keyless entry!

n Power windows

n Full cargo bed liner with marine cover; can carry load up to 3/4 tonnes,

n Touchscreen radio

n Bluetooth

n CD/DCD/Aux

n Fire Extinguisher

Price

n Single Cab - $1,995,000

(two doors)

n Ext Cab - $2,600,000 (tested model)

n Double Cab - $2,995,000 (4 doors)

Test drive courtesy of ATL Automotive Group,

1-888-285-7378, sales@

atlautomotive.com