For the majority of South Africans travel by either passenger car, commercial vehicle or public transport is increasing significantly. Stretches of road that connect towns and cities are gradually reaching normal levels of traffic volume with Covid lockdown now at Level 1.
“Due to movement restrictions, most South Africans had little use for their vehicles during the hard lockdown,” says Michael du Preez, Executive: Product and Marketing at Tracker South Africa.
“This was particularly evident for passenger vehicles. In April, for instance, approximately 15-percent of passenger vehicles weren’t used at all. However, as restrictions were lifted there was an uptick in activity. In May, only 5-percent of passenger vehicles weren’t used, and by June most vehicles were being regularly used again.”
“Under level 2 restrictions, which started mid-August 2020, the average distance travelled nationally recovered to more than 90-percent of what used to be normal. Total mileage for commercial vehicles recovered to pre-lockdown levels while the mileage for passenger vehicles was still slightly lower, possibly because some people were still working from home.
The first day of the recent level 1 restrictions saw the same activity as level 2. However, total mileage could ramp up quite quickly by the end of September, as more people travelled on holiday over the Heritage Day long weekend,” continues du Preez.*
In his latest address to the nation on 16 September, President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “The tourism sector is one of our greatest economic drivers. We are ready to open our doors again to the world, and invite travellers to enjoy our mountains, our beaches, our vibrant cities and our wildlife game parks in safety and confidence.”
With a model range that has been expanded to include a six-speed automatic gearbox as well as a new-generation Single Turbo diesel engine delivering more power and torque, the versatile Ford Tourneo Custom is ready to embrace this ethos and help rebuild the country’s tourism sector.
“Higher road usage under level 1 was to be expected, and while this will undoubtedly lead to increased economic activity in many sectors – which is good news for those businesses who have been forced to make difficult sacrifices in the past few months – the potential for crashes also increases. The Automobile Association (AA) urges all road users – motorists, motorcyclists and pedestrians – to focus on the road at all times, and to obey all road traffic laws. We are also mindful that while the country has moved to level 1 this doesn’t mean we have beaten COVID-19; all measures to curb the spread of the virus must still be taken,” says Layton Beard, spokesperson of the AA.
Whether travelling down the N1 that connects the country from north to south or the N3 which links Johannesburg to Durban, to name but a few, the Tourneo is designed to cover kilometres effortlessly, in comfort and with a sense of style.
“The Ford Tourneo Custom is a popular people-mover that provides outstanding flexibility to suit a wide variety of applications, from busy moms and dads transporting children to school and sports matches, businesses relying on it as an upmarket executive shuttle or simply as a spacious and highly adaptable vehicle for large families,” says Doreen Mashinini, General Manager Marketing at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA). “Now that revised Level 1 rules have permitted additional travel, the Tourneo Custom can deliver on its claims to explore popular destinations once more and reunite friends and family. It remains important, however, to follow the correct health and safety precautions stipulated by government.”
Of the Tourneo Custom’s many highlights is an ability to seamlessly combine passenger car manoeuvrability with multiple seating arrangement for up to eight people. The two rear rows can be configured in conference format for outstanding access and enhanced interaction between passengers, or in two rows of three forward-facing seats. Furthermore, the six seats can each be folded up, tumbled or stowed in multiple positions or removed completely, enabling customers to create limousine-like space, maximise the luggage area or meet their own special business or lifestyle requirements.
Ford’s new Single Turbo engine mated to the automatic gearbox is among the biggest changes to the Tourneo line-up. The Single Turbo engine is available in a choice of two outputs matched to trim specification; the Trend derivative comes with 96kW and 385Nm while the range-topping Limited has a power output of 136kW and 415Nm. Both engines are engineered to return exceptional fuel economy as well as low emission levels. The latter is made possible with Ford’s AdBlue® technology, which uses a non-toxic urea/water-based solution to convert nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in the exhaust gas into eco-friendly nitrogen and water. A particulate filter then reduces more than 99% of emitted solid particulates from the vehicle’s exhaust, thereby contributing to a cleaner and healthier environment.
Available in both mid-level Trend and range-topping Limited series, the two new models also feature a completely new interior. On the Limited model, this incorporates Ford’s SYNC®3 with an integrated eight-inch touchscreen, which provides significantly improved features and ease of use. SYNC®3 provides full smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, including the option of using the phone’s navigation apps.
Safety systems have been developed using the latest technology, including front and rear parking sensors, Lane Keeping Aid and Lane Departure Warning as well as the Blind Spot Detection System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert. In order to reduce those demanding levels of concentration, Ford’s advanced Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), uses a radar system to automatically maintain a set distance to the vehicle ahead.