It’s a long time since I’ve driven a Nissan Pulsar. It was a second hand version of the hot GTi-R, and it was a few years ago. In fact, the GTi-R is the only exciting Pulsar ever to have been produced. You’ll usually see them driven by the youth of the day, and sporting a big bore exhaust to get your attention.
Now we have a new one. It’s not really that exciting, but it does have a couple of tricks that will make you sit up and listen. A big bore exhaust isn’t one of them, but a big Read the full story »
April 30th, 2013 by darren
Social influence is one of the phrases du jour of digital marketing. It means that rather than advertising influencing you, you are more moved by what others say: reviews, word of mouth, celebrity endorsements, what your friends say, and so on.
It’s one of the regular features of having this writing gig that people ask me what car they should buy. I usually respond by telling them to buy one they can afford (you’d be surprised at how many don’t), and I try to avoid recommending specific makes and models because I don’t want to be responsible if they happen to buy one that was put together last thing on a Friday afternoon and has been subsequently used as a mobile P lab. Read the full story »
April 19th, 2013 by darren
Has Mazda made the perfect station wagon? I liked the previous Mazda6, but I like this one more. A lot more. It’s got the kind of lines that only premium executive grand tourers used to have. It’s a large car. In fact, it’s quite a lot larger than the previous model at 4870mm long – is Mazda going after the space that the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon are struggling with?
However, because of Mazda’s SkyActiv technology and engineering philosophy, it’s lighter and more economical. The body is around 30% more rigid but because Mazda uses ultra-high strength steel, it can manufacture it more economically to weigh less.
Adding to the fuel economy benefits of it being lighter are the new two-litre, four-cylinder engines and their stop/start technology that turns the engine off when you’re stationary; finally, the Mazda6 has Read the full story »
April 15th, 2013 by darren
Before the words ‘compact SUV’ were ever uttered, Subaru was making all-wheel drive passenger cars and station wagons with better ground clearance. Now the Forester sits in the midst of one of the fastest growing market segments with its Symmetrical All Wheel Drive (which works full-time), SI-Drive, X-Mode for hill climbs and descents and 220mm ride height, but car-like handling.
Let’s cut to the chase: the Forester is an extremely competent all-rounder. For light off-roading, towing (up to 1500kg), transporting people, road trips, supermarket runs and the morning commute the Forester isn’t necessarily the best-in-class for each one, but Read the full story »
April 9th, 2013 by darren
This third generation Beetle replaces the aging second generation which started out as cute and appealing, but simply became less cool and too ubiquitous, never quite capturing the allure of the first generation Beetle.
The Beetle has grown up a bit more. It’s seems to have achieved a good balance between paying homage to its grandfather, yet striking out with a funky hairdo, hipster trousers and some flash shoes.
The flash shoes are the 18-inch alloys wrapped in 235/45R18 tyres. There’s a trend for ever wider wheels because the ever-more chunky cars being produced make narrow tyres look like you’ve Read the full story »
April 8th, 2013 by darren
Happiness, according to Sonja Lyubormirsky’s book The How of Happiness, is fifty percent non-elective – stuff we can’t change easily because of our genetics and upbringing. Ten percent is environmental and forty percent is what you can influence.
The instrument interface that encompasses the speedo and trip computer makes me happy. It’s part of the ten percent. It makes me happy much the same as the sound of a TVR, the taste of blueberries and the curve of an ample Read the full story »