From In­dia, with love

If you mind your own busi­ness and stick to what you’re good at, you can achieve great things. This is a life and busi­ness les­son taught by Ford and Tata, writes Jus­tus Vis­agie

CityPress - - T# -

Jaguar XF 20d Pres­tige R743 600

In the pre­vi­ous two decades, it was fash­ion­able for multi­na­tional car com­pa­nies to gob­ble up smaller ones and some­times “man­age” them to ex­tinc­tion. Gen­eral Mo­tors did that to the won­der­ful Swedish com­pany Saab and nearly to Opel too. Ford, which owned Jaguar Land Rover, steered the Bri­tish com­pany into in­ten­sive care.

Luck­ily, Tata of In­dia came along and, in a beau­ti­ful twist of fate, adopted Jaguar. Tata was clever too. It didn’t med­dle in Jaguar’s busi­ness, but al­lowed it to shake the old tweed cap-and-pipe im­age and flour­ish. Very much like Chi­nese com­pany Geely is do­ing with Volvo.

It was con­ceived be­fore the sale to Tata, but the Jaguar XF 20d Pres­tige truly rep­re­sents the con­tem­po­rary dy­namism of the brand. Though it goes head-to-head with the limou­sine-like BMW 5-Se­ries, the Jaguar is a dif­fer­ent an­i­mal, es­pe­cially in its lat­est in­car­na­tion. Its cabin might not be as stylish as that of the Beemer, but it drives like a true lux­ury sports sedan – more so than the Ger­man. It can shoot from cor­ner to cor­ner like a cat chas­ing a laser beam. This is in no small part thanks to its strong and light­weight alu­minium-in­ten­sive con­struc­tion. The lighter a for­ward­mov­ing ob­ject is, the eas­ier it is to change its di­rec­tion.

Sporty han­dling might be the XF’s party trick, but it also of­fers enough room for four tall adults. How­ever, it doesn’t come cheap. If you can make do with less in­te­rior space, its smaller, even sportier sib­ling could be the so­lu­tion. It starts at a whisker un­der R600 000. Ford Figo 1.5 TDCi Am­bi­ente R194 000

The stand­out fea­ture of the Ford Figo 1.5 TDCi Am­bi­ente is its pow­er­ful en­gine. It moves the Figo along with such zeal, you for­get it’s a gro­cery-store hatch and imag­ine your­self pi­lot­ing a V8 Mus­tang. All that power, com­bined with a light­weight body, makes for a car that will get you into trou­ble with the law with­out even try­ing. For a “bud­get” car, it’s roomy in­side, but that bud­get­ness is also ev­i­dent in the flimsy in­side door levers and man­ual-wind win­dows.

But these are First World prob­lems to be ig­nored, un­like the pur­chase price. At a stiff R194 000, it puts this bud­get car close to a more so­phis­ti­cated, pre­mium ri­val like the Mazda2 1.5 Ac­tive (R198 500) and well above really good, but less pow­er­ful cars like the Tata Bolt hatch 1.2T XT (R157 000), Hyundai Grand i10 1.25 Mo­tion (R175 000) and, within its own fam­ily, the petrol-driven Figo for R163 000.

THE NEW JAGUAR Han­dles like a cat chas­ing a laser beam

THE NEW FIGO Feels more like a V8 Mus­tang

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