Nissan Tiida Sport 2008 Review

December 29th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

When killing time in front of the television I occasionally stumble across a reality TV show named Wife Swap, where two wives/mothers are taken from their homes and well¦ swapped. The effects of this are always suitably dramatic as a household has to adapt to an all-new matriarchal style. With its new Tiida, Nissan has pulled a wife swap of its own by retiring the Pulsar and swapping it for the unfamiliar Tiida. The Pulsar was an evergreen favorite on our streets for over two decades and was the type of reliable car passed around families and always trusted with a heavy workload. Now, the Pulsar is gone and has left behind some large high-heels for the new mistress to fill.

One look from any angle reveals that the Tiida has some styling charm, but falls short of being totally gorgeous. Strong lines and sharp angles give the Tiida an almost manic appearance. But with its split grille and intricate light-clusters front and back the Tiida could never be accused of being plain. The quirky styling has an obvious European flavour courtesy of co-development between Nissan and French partner Renault. The wheelbase has been lengthened by 65mm over the Pulsar and the Tiida sits noticeably taller resulting in a huge interior space for its class. Another benefit of the new form is fantastic aerodynamics that help attain an impressive 7.6L/100km fuel economy.  Overall the exterior is modern with a strong sense of style if not quite the wow factor really needed at the meet and greet stage.

Step inside and the extroverted exterior is quickly forgotten, replaced by an understated and refined cabin. Grey/black matte plastics mingle with touches of metal-look silver to provide a warm relaxed atmosphere. Dash layout is intuitive and user friendly, the instrument dials are large, separately housed and easily read. Fit and finish is strong with a feeling of quality to all touch surfaces and moving parts. The class-leading interior spaciousness manifests itself in generous headroom and a comfortable seating layout. Front seats are wide and supportive and the rear bench is capable of seating three adults without the banging-elbow discomfort that often plagues small cars. The middle rear seat is equipped only with an out-of-favour lap belt, which may put off the safety conscious. The driving position is elevated and up right which adds to the good visibility created by generous windows. The rear hatch has a large, well-shaped loading area, and the rear seat back has a useful 60/40 split to increase luggage capacity. The Tiida’s interior is very comfortable, well positioned and potentially hardwearing making it a match for the Pulsars practicality.

When faced with the daily chores the Tiida gets the job done, its 1.8-litre 16-valve DOHC four-cylinder produces 93kW and 174Nm or torque. The engine is flexible round town but has little true pace. That said, it feels comfortable in the low-rev range and is a capable motorway cruiser. The four-speed automatic transmission has a smooth shift action and remains attentive, but can be guilty of shifting up prematurely and robbing the driver of an edge more performance.

The Tiida is equipped with an electric power steering system that is light and razor sharp if not entirely consistent with the vehicles overall relaxed driver experience. Generally the Tiida’s handling characteristics are sound with ample grip in most conditions and minimal understeer when pushed hard. There is an acceptable level of body roll, which is a negative effect from the Tiida’s tall stance and accented further by the elevated driving position. Pliant suspension keeps the Tiida honest over bumps and uneven road surfaces, but it’s a firm set-up and not ideal on gravel or loose roads. The Tiida is a refined, no fuss, and predictable car to drive and unlike an episode of Wife Swap there are no dramas.

The Tiida brings a good standard equipment level for its $29,450 price tag, ABS brakes with EBD (electronic brake force distribution), seat belt pretensioners, air-con, keyless entry, and a CD stereo. The Sport variant is dolled up with a rear roof spoiler and alloy wheels.

It may take a while to forget the Nissan Pulsar but the Tiida is a worthy replacement with a character all its own. There are strong hints of French styling and European refinement, leaving no doubt that the Tiida is born from Nissan’s marriage to Renault. If you’re after a true sports hatch with power and dynamic handling, you will have to look elsewhere. If you’re in the market for a highly practical, spacious, easy to drive car with a touch of flair and a good price then accept the Tiida into your family for its merits and don’t look back.

Click through to the next page for a list of Nissan Tiida Sport specifications

Price: $29,450

What we like:

  • Spacious, refined interior
  • Precise steering
  • Easy to drive

What we don’t like:

  • Over styled exterior
  • Body roll
  • Underpowered

Words and Photos Adam Mamo

Nissan Tiida Sport (2008) – Specifications

Engine

DOHC 16 valve with CVTC
Capacity (cc) 1797
Max power kW@rpm 93@5,200
Max torque Nm@rpm 174@4,800
Bore x stroke (mm) 84.0 x 81.1
Compression ratio 9.9
Emission control — 3 way catalytic converter
Induction — sequential multi-point fuel injection
Fuel tank capacity (litres) 52
Recommended fuel — unleaded 91 RON or higher
Fuel Consumption (litres/100km) to ADR 81/01excl. 7.8
CO2 Emission (g/km) LTNZ Standard Manual 174 Automatic 178
Emission Compliance Standard Euro 3

Suspension & Steering

Front — independent McPherson struts with stabiliser bar
Rear — Torsion bar with coil springs
Steering system — power assisted, rack and pinion
Turning circle (m) 10.4

Brakes

Power assisted front discs
Rear drums
Anti-locking brake system (ABS)
Electronic distribution (EBD)
Brake assist (BA

Dimensions/Weights

Wheelbase (mm) 2600
Overall length (mm) 4205
Overall width (mm) 1695
Overall height (mm) 1535
Track Front/Rear (mm) 1480/1485
Ground clearance 115
Tare weight unladen (kg) (manual/automatic) 1120/1136
Towing Capacity (braked/unbraked trailer) (kg) 1000/600
Luggage capacity (l) 289

Toyota Aurion AT-X 2008 Review

December 28th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

toyota-aurion-at-x-fq

What do you get when you put together 4 friends, camping equipment, 1 chilly bin a few dozen beers, fireworks, sleeping bags and a trip up to Pakiri beach planned? You don’t just have all the means for a great weekend away, you also have the basis for a full test of a large car’s ability. On this mission the Toyota Aurion AT-X was to play the roles of transporter, guardian and entertainer for the journey ahead.

Prior to departure I glanced over the Aurion before the dust and road dirt would steal its city-shine. In styling the Aurion makes little attempt to mask its large proportions. Like a tuxedo-wearing bouncer the Aurion is muscular but well dressed. Built on the Camry platform the Aurion was gifted a new head and tail, and this works well achieving a flat, fluent look throughout. Neutral in stance and clean cut at the front, the rear styling shows more flair; a sloping rear windscreen leads down into a high boot line that houses two wrap-around rear lights a chunky bumper and twin oval exhaust pipes that hint at the Aurion’s performance capabilities. A final check over the 16-inch rims and Dunlop Sport tyres, and we were clear to load the Aurion up.

Fitting all the gear into the Aurion was its first challenge. The boot is voluminous and had a good shape that pushed fairly far into the cabin, however, the opening was quite small with larger items requiring some jiggling to fit through and some old-fashioned interior boot hinges intruded on available space. But the Aurion’s boot was big enough to swallow up our gear leaving the cabin free for passengers only.

The Aurion feels like a large car inside but despite good legroom front and rear, feels like it’s unable to match the Commodores or Falcons. The cabin is basic and smart with dark cloth and thick black plastics. The contrasting bright-silver plastic is relentless climbing up the centre stack and infecting elsewhere. Drivers seat is electronically adjustable – it could use more lateral support, but was wide and comfortable for the journey. The instruments are easily read and illuminate well; the air-con and stereo controls are simple and functional. Interior storage options are bountiful and everyone found prime positions for water bottles, sunglasses and paperbacks.

Time to make tracks and find out if the Aurion has some go to match its show. The 3.5-litre 24-valve V6 is a beastly six-cylinder smacking out 200kW of power and 336 Nm of torque, this is good enough to take the Aurion from standing to 100kmh in mid 7-second territory. Maximum torque isn’t available until 4700rpm so low-down performance can seem lazy, but that’s quickly forgotten once the revs start climbing. With class-leading fuel economy figures of 9.9L/100km and a 70-litre fuel tank I knew no petrol stops would be required. Once we’d left the traffic lights of Auckland behind, the Aurion proved itself as a legit open road gladiator with passing lanes its Colosseum. Power was effortless and smoothly delivered with the growling V6 unafraid of exploring the upper limits of its rev range. It could do all this while still being quiet and comfortable enough to accommodate some rear passenger napping mid-journey.

We made the turn at Warkworth from SH 1 to more twisting roads, for the Aurion’s final test before we reached our destination. Well mannered through the turns the Aurion couldn’t quite mask its size in terms of agility. Grip was solid with the Aurion only showing a hint of understeer when pushed. Steering was precise and even offered some feedback on bumpy corners. The Aurion’s front-wheel drive status is a point of difference with its competitors, but it pulled itself well through the bends despite the heavy motor sitting over the driving wheels. As the roads tightened further and sweeping corners changed into hairpins the Aurion’s gearbox occasionally proved too eager to shift up a gear and had to drop itself back down to keep up momentum. That said, in regular driving situations the gearbox is very good at making the most of the engine with closely spaced ratios. There is also a manual override on the automatic transmission that makes holding the vehicle in a specific gear simple. The final few miles of the trip were done on gravel roads the Aurion’s ride was absorbent and had no issues keeping good grip.

Getting to our destination was a success, but if we encountered any bad luck along the way, the Aurion is guarded with an armoury of safety features. Six airbags, traction control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force and brake assist are included as standard. An impressive equipment list for an entry-level variant.

Aurion means tomorrow in Greek, and as the sun set on Pakiri beach I knew that the next day’s return trip would be easily gobbled up by the large Toyota. Around town, motorways, twisty open roads and even gravel, the Aurion proved itself a capable, comfortable no-nonsense worker far more content with cruising along on straight roads than being thrown through tight corners. With solid Toyota build quality the Aurion should seldom need attention and will fight to the bitter end.

Click through to the next page for a full list of specifications

Price: from $43,990

What we like:

  • Safety features
  • Raw power
  • Balanced and comfortable ride
  • Good economy for engine size

What we don’t like:

  • Interior colour scheme
  • Premature gearbox up-shifts

Words Adam Mamo Photos Darren Cottingham

Toyota Aurion AT-X (2008) – Specifications

Engine

Brief Description V6, 24 Valve, DOHC, Chain Drive with Dual VVT-i
Aspiration Normal
Location Front
Capacity 3456 cc
Engine Size 3.5 litre
Bore 94.0 mm
Stroke 83.0 mm
Compression Ratio 10.8 1
Number of Cylinders 6
Number of Valves 24
Max. Power 204 kW
Max. Power Max. 6200 rpm
Max. Torque 346 Nm
Max. Torque Max. 4700 rpm

Fuel System

Induction Type Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI)
Fuel Type Petrol
Tank Capacity 70 Litres
Octane Rating 91 Unleaded
Emission Control Standard Euro IV
Fuel Consumption – ADR 81/01 (Combined) 9.9 L/100km
CO2 Emissions – ADR 81/01 233 g/km

Suspension

Front MacPherson struts and stabiliser bar;  Front suspension tower brace
Rear Dual link strut and hollow stabiliser bar

Steering

Description Engine speed sensitive power-assisted rack and pinion steering
Ratio Max. 16.0
Min. Turning Circle (Tyre) 11 m
Turns Lock to Lock 3.2

Wheels and Tyres

Wheels 6.5JJ x 16″ Alloy Wheels
Tyres 215/60 R16 steel belted radial ply tyres
Spare Wheel 6.5JJ x 16″ Steel Wheel
Tyre Brand Dunlop: SP Sport 300 E Michelin

Dimensions

Overall Length 4825 mm
Overall Width 1820 mm
Overall Height – Max. 1470 mm
Wheelbase 2775 mm
Track – Front 1575 mm
Track – Rear 1565 mm
Overhang – Front 965 mm
Overhang – Rear 1085 mm
Minimum Running Ground Clearance 150 mm
Interior Length 2130 mm
Interior Width 1525 mm
Interior Height 1200 mm
Seating Capacity 5
Luggage Capacity (VDA) 504 L
Gross Vehicle Weight 2110 kg
Kerb Weight 1585-1590 kg
Max. Towing Capacity Braked 1600 kg
Max. Towing Capacity Unbraked 500 kg
Max. Download on Towball 160 kg

New transparent pricing for Ford Territory in New Zealand

December 27th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

ford-territory-turbo-fq

Ford Territory now joins Mondeo, Focus and Falcon in using the Ford Transparent Pricing strategy. Pricing of the award winning SUV is now structured in a way that provides greater transparency so the recommended retail price is a more realistic reflection of what the customer will actually pay for the vehicle.

The new prices for Territory product are:

MODEL PRICE
Territory TX RWD $42,990
Territory TX AWD $48,490
Territory TS AWD $51,990
Territory Ghia AWD $57,990
Territory Ghia Turbo AWD $63,990

This pricing strategy was initially applied to the new Ford Mondeo on its introduction to the New Zealand market in late 2007 and then to the Focus and Falcon following their product launches in June this year. It has been well received by dealers and consumers and the next step of rolling out the structure is to apply it to the Territory, says Richard Matheson, Managing Director of Ford New Zealand.

“The application of this pricing structure to the Mondeo was really just a test. But it has been embraced by the dealer network and consumers and the introduction of the new Falcon and Focus this year provided the perfect opportunity to extend the structure to other product,” says Matheson.

“We believe the time is right to now apply the pricing structure to the Territory. In doing so, we are creating a less complicated, more positive sales experience that gives customers the best possible value up front.

Range Rover Sport TDV6 2008 Review

December 24th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

land-rover-sport-fq

Daydreams are always free even from behind an office desk, like most people my own dreams usually consist of masses of wealth. But unlike most people my daydreams are less about having the wealth, and more about taking it.

Robbing a bank successfully would take precise organisation mixed with overt aggression, not the stuff of daydreams really. That’s why I prefer the thought of being the getaway driver. The biggest question for any imaginary getaway driver is what vehicle to choose? I reckon you couldn’t go too wrong with the Range Rover Sport TDV6.

Firstly, the Range Rover Sport looks the part, a real gangsters car. The Sports are seldom parked outside office buildings because those who own them don’t work in offices, they don’t seem to work at all, but they do have a lot of money. So seeing one parked right outside a bank would cause little suspicion. The Sport’s stylistic appeal comes largely from an obvious nod to the Range Rover bloodline while playing host to some subtle modern changes.

The evergreen cubist Range Rover profile is well maintained and wrap around windows sit below a sloping, cantilevered roof. Bi-xenon adaptive headlights flank the distinctive three-bar grille, now with perforations to increase airflow to the engine. The Sport has a strong road presence, and is blinged up well with 19-inch rims, side vents in the front guards and a high rear spoiler. Generous flush-fitting glass and slim pillars create 360-degree police-spotting visibility and a light, airy atmosphere to the cabin for a pleasant escape.

Fling open the doors and dive inside and you’re greeted with soft leather seats and plush wool carpets. Simulated metal trim and dark plastics work in tandem enclosing a wide array of buttons and dials. Some cheaper pieces of plastic trim have found their way inside but overall the interior feel is luxurious quality. The raised centre console houses an electronic park brake, offset gear lever, climate, stereo and phone controls, finishing with a high-mounted sat-nav-capable touch screen. This screen also offers visual information on the current 4WD set-up.

Interior space is average for the Sport’s class, but offers decent headroom and a back seat wide enough for three accomplices comfortably. I found the black on green stereo display difficult to read while driving and the instruments could have benefited from a larger font for the numbers. But when getaway driving there is only one speed you’re interested in — flat out.

The TDV6 diesel engine is a 2.7 litre turbocharged V6 producing 140kW of escaping power and 440Nm of torque. The Sport’s acceleration from stationary is disappointing with a lengthy 0-100km sprint of 12 seconds, not ideal for pursuit situations. However, once the Range Rover is up to speed it has solid mid-range torque and with a whopping 2450kg kerb weight only the bravest police car would dare get in its way. Thrifty economy figures of 10.2 L/100km combined mean long distances between stops are possible. The Sport is far more comfortable and capable at motorway cruising speeds than city driving, making it perfect for getting out of town.

With air-suspension as standard the ride quality is top-notch and would prove supple and absorbent on any uneven escape routes. The handling is flick-knife sharp for a vehicle of the Sport’s size and although body roll can be felt its not bad enough to tip over the loot in the back.  The power steering is too lightweight at low speeds for my preference, but is speed proportional and firms up well at higher speeds. A six-speed automatic transmission changes smoothly and is unobtrusive to the driving experience.

With a squad of police cars in tow, it would be time to pull out the ace in the Sport’s sleeve and go where they can’t follow — off road. A dial in the centre console controls the air suspension shifting it to the optimum setting for a range of potential environments including grass, snow, mud, sand and even deep ruts. Off road the Range Rover Sports can’t match that of the Range Rover or Discovery models, but it’s not far off and the compromise between off-road capability and on-road comfort is outstanding.

If it all turns sour and the heist is let down by poor getaway driving then the Land Rover’s safety features will preserve the occupants for some serious jail-time.  Eight airbags in total are loaded and ready to shoot, but with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Active Roll Mitigation (ARM) dodging the bullet could be possible.

Overall, I found the Range Rover Sport TDV6 to be a luxurious, practical and capable vehicle with arresting good looks and sound off road credentials. With the exception of sluggish acceleration it’s an excellent choice regardless of your getaway scenario. The only flaw in my daydream is that with a $129,990 price tag I’ll need to rob the bank before I can buy it.

Click through to the next page for a list of specifications

Price: from $129,990

What we like:

Luxurious interior
Ride Quality
Distinctive Styling

What we don’t like:

Pedestrian acceleration
Difficult-to-read instruments

Words and Photos, Adam Mamo

Range Rover Sport TDV6 – Specifications

Engine

Location: Front North South
Capacity (cc’s): 2720
No. of Cylinders: V6
Cylinder Layout: Longitudinal V6
Bore (mm): 81
Stroke (mm): 88
Compression Ratio: 18 +/- 0.5
Cylinder head material: Aluminium
Cylinder block material: Compacted Graphite Iron
Ignition system: Siemens PDC 2
Valves per cylinder: 4
Maximum power: 140kW/4000rpm
Maximum Torque: 440Nm/1900rpm

Performance and fuel economy

Maximum Speed kph (mph): 193 (120)
Acceleration – secs 0-60 (0-96kph): 11.9 sec
Acceleration — secs 0-100: 12.7 sec
Urban L/100km (Mpg): 12.7 (22.2)
Extra Urban L/100km (Mpg): 8.4 (33.6)
Combined L/100km (Mpg): 10.2 (27.6)
CO2 Combined emissions (g/km): 271

Transmission

Transmission type: Automatic
Transfer box ratio High: 1:1
Transfer box ratio Low: 2.93:1
Shift-on-the-move (kph/mph): 25/40 Low to High
Shift-on-the-move (kph/mph): 38/60

Steering

Type: Speed Proportional Power Assisted Rack and Pinion
Turns lock to lock: 3.1
Turning circle (kerb to kerb): 11.6m
Turning circle (wall to wall): 12.1m

Dimensions

Unladen total (EEC Kerb): 2455
Unladen front axle: 1220
Laden gross vehicle weight: 3070
Max front axle: 1470
Max rear axle: 1710
Ground clearance (off-road height): 700
Wading depth (mm): 700
Towing (towing pack optional), kg
Unbraked trailer: 750
Trailer with over-run brakes: 3500

Jaguar XF V8 2008 Review

December 24th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar is motoring royalty, and like any royalty there are many who believe in some inherent goodness of all those within the family. During a rocky 17-year marriage to Ford, Jaguar lost many of its followers. Now, with an exotic new mistress in Tata motors and freshly styled offspring in the XF, Jaguar is making a bold move back to former glories. So will the XF be Jaguar’s legitimate saviour or merely a tangible connection between past mistakes and an uncertain future?

The XF has a regal but edgy beauty, with a bulging hood, raked-back glass and the shoulders of a prop-forward. It is a noticeable departure from Jaguar styling of old, with only the sparkling chrome front grill, and side vents clearly inherited. The XF has mixed blood, with rear-end styling that is stunning but strongly resembles classy rival Aston Martin. The front end sports an oddly shaped reclined headlight cluster and a toothy spoiler, which does detract from the Jag’s beauty depending on viewing angle. However, the XF’s coupe-like profile, premium paintwork, muscular stance and 19″ Auriga alloys mean it will turn heads rather than chop them off.

Inside, the XF is a mixture of opulence and technology on a grand scale. The understated leather dash is double-stitched, the walnut veneer trim perfectly polished, and the carpet is thickly plush. Once the pulsating start button is pushed air vents rotate into position and the transmission shifter wheel rises from the centre-console providing a memorable piece of theatre.

A low-set dash and moody blue lighting further enhance the interior atmosphere. The XF’s soft leather front seats simultaneously cosset occupants in luxurious comfort while still providing the necessary firmness for spirited driving. The stately interior appointments highlight the XF’s modern gadgetry, with an easy-to-use touch screen controlling all major functions including a rear-parking camera, and air filtered dual-zone climate control. Space is ample in the front, but in the rear the sharply sloping roofline can be confining for taller passengers. The boot is deep and with 500-litres of space its voluminous enough to stuff in a pack of corgis.

If being seated in the XF is like having high tea with the Queen, starting the engine is when she pulls out a bottle of tequila. Jaguar’s naturally aspirated 4.2L V8 offers commanding performance and will herald the XF from 0-100km in 6.5 seconds. The official numbers are 219kW of power and 411Nm of torque which sounds acceptable on paper but doesn’t hint at how much of a driver’s car the XF really is. Even with all the aristocratic trim and grandiose staring back at you in the cabin, when you open up the throttle the XF still becomes a leery lad. The V8 is nearly silent at idle but lets out a wild howl when pushed, it’s a very free-revving engine that can both cruise and challenge. The automatic gearbox serves the motor diligently and it would be hard to find a slicker or quicker shifting 6-speed conventional box. A manual shift option is available with paddles to offer total reign over the available power.

With a stiff body and a wide track the XF relishes twisty roads, body roll is minimal and the Jag feels eager when cornering. Sharing the suspension set-up from the XF’s sportier XK sibling really works, providing finely tuned damping and strong grip regardless of conditions. Steering is accurate, but far too light and a bit vague around the middle, and detracts from the overall driver’s experience. Cornering at speed the XF stays compliant, and while its nose can get pushed wide, it remains easily controlled. The Dynamic Stability Control is highly intuitive slowing the car before the driver even knows there is a potential problem. The ride quality on the XF is relaxing even refreshing, managing to isolate occupants from poor road surfaces and any wind noise.

The XF is a bold modern representation of Jaguar’s distinguished heritage, it wisely doesn’t reflect this aesthetically, but does in its refined performance and crown jewel interior. The XF V8 may not be quite enough to return Jaguar to the pinnacle of luxury motoring, but that’s understandable, as the pinnacle is at least another hundred grand more. It has a sense of occasion and enough flair to send many European rivals to the gallows. Extract the XF’s blue-blood and underneath it’s a very good mid-large-sized, which shows Jaguar’s intent to roll up the sleeves and make great cars again, not just for loyal subjects but for the masses.

Click through to the next page to read the specifications of the Jaguar XF

Price: $139,990

What we like:

  • Exquisite interior, with plenty of toys
  • Effortless cruising with a turn of speed
  • Free-revving V8 engine
  • Smooth automatic transmission

What we don’t like:

  • Rear passenger space
  • Steering feel
  • Grille styling is an acquired taste

Words and Photos, Adam Mamo

Jaguar XF V8 (2008) — Specifications

ENGINE 4.2 litre V8 petrol

POWER (kW / bhp @ rpm) 219 / 298 @ 6000

TORQUE (Nm @ rpm)  411 @ 4100

0-100km/h (sec) 6.5

COMB. FUEL CONSUMPTION 11.1 (l/100KM)

ENVIRONMENTAL CLASSIFICATION Euro IV

TRANSMISSION, SUSPENSION & BRAKES

Jaguar Sequential Shift with steering wheel mounted paddles (CATS)

6-speed ZF electronic automatic transmission

Traction control

Trac Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)

JaguarDrive Selector

JaguarDrive Control – winter mode

Variable ratio speed sensitive power steering

Electronic Park Brake (EPB)

Vented disc brakes front and rear

EXTERIOR

Chrome grille surround with bright mesh grille

Bi-Xenon headlights with cornering

Halogen headlights with automatic on/off lights, washers and automatic (TPMS)

Rain sensing windscreen wipers levelling

Heated exterior mirrors with electric adjustment

Power-folding, auto dimming

Side window surrounds with chrome fi nish exterior mirrors with ground (TPMS)

Rear parking aid with touch screen visual indicators illumination

LED rear tail lights

Front parking aid and rear parking camera

WHEELS

19″ Auriga Alloys

INTERIOR

Burr Walnut veneer

Softgrain leather seats (10 x 10 way)

Softgrain stitched and tailored instrument panel and door

Memory function with 2 settings for drivers seat, top rolls exterior mirrors and steering column

Jaguar Smart Key System with keyless entry

Leather 3-spoke steering wheel with remote controls for audio, cruise control, phone and JaguarVoice

Electric sunroof

Auto dimming interior rear view mirror

Electric rear window blind (where fitted)

Steering column with electric adjustment for height and reach with entry and exit tilt-away

Jaguar Smart Key system with keyless entry

Cruise control with Auto Speed Limiter (ASL)

Jaguar Smart Key system with keyless start

Automatic climate control with air filtration and dual zone temperature control

One touch electric windows with anti-trap

Driver information centre with dual function trip computer

Interior mood lighting

JaguarSense

Triple front and twin rear cup holders

Folding 60/40 split rear seats

Carpet mat set

AUDIO/COMMS

Jaguar Premium Sounds System 320W, 6CD, 8-speaker, subwoofer, MP3 compatibility; Bluetooch Telephone connectivity; 7-inch touchscreen, 3.5mm auxiliary input socket

SAFETY AND SECURITY

Driver and passenger front and side airbags

Side curtain airbags

Pedestrian Contact Sensing & deployable bonnet system

Front seat whiplash reduction system

Front and rear seat belt pre-tensioners

High level rear stop light

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)

Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD)

Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)

Cornering Brake Control (CBC)

Drive away locking and dead locking

Valet function

Engine immobiliser and perimeter alarm

Honda Accord Euro 2008 Review

December 20th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

The Honda Accord has been in NZ for over 30 years now, and in the ‘70s it gained a following for its handling, comfort and fresh design. During the ‘90s the Accord saw its fourth and fifth generations, and we all got a little complacent with its reliable goodness. It needed something more – a few new tricks – so like many twenty-somethings it pursued the kiwi right-of-passage known as the O.E and is now back as the Honda Accord Euro. Currently, in its second outing as the Accord Euro and eighth generation as the Accord it’s ready to demand our attention again and show us all that it has learned on the continent.

When I went to Europe I returned with some fridge magnets, a beer gut and credit card debt. The 2008 Accord Euro is in far better shape but has also gained in size, being dimensionally bigger in every way than its predecessor and only slightly shorter in length than its V6 big brother (the review of which is linked at the bottom of the page). That said, the Accord Euro is a master of disguise and its dominant front end, crisp creased lines and up-swept profile mask its true proportions. A wider track and an aggressive yet elegant stance create a well-rounded look that is thoroughly modern. Italy must have been the Accord’s first European stop and it’s visible in the Euro’s puffed up fenders and coupe-like roofline that smacks of Italian flair in both looks and intent.

Inside, the Accord Euro’s graduated dimensions provide generous leg and shoulder room for occupants, and a genuine feeling of spaciousness. All the interior materials look and feel a higher quality than other vehicles in its price-range. The heated leather memory driver’s seat was soft and nicely deep but over-supportive in the lumbar region for my slouchy tastes. Controls are intuitive and easily reached and there are good storage areas available. The instrumentation is a real feature with crystal effect backlit gauges housing needles that seem to float. This set up looks good during the day and dashing at night. Overall, the interior is a little guilty of trying to do too much with its mix of black and silver plastics and marble-look detailing. Having the graphite-trim sweeping upward from the centre storage bin, into the dash and through to the curves in the door is pleasantly symmetrical, but won’t be to everyone’s taste. This uncharacteristic styling decision is proof enough that the Accord has spent time in France.

Germany always going to be the most important destination on the Accord’s European trip, Honda has fancied itself as the Japanese BMW for a long time. The underpinning engineering on the Euro all checks out well and helps maintain its image as a true driver’s car.  Packed under the bonnet is the reworked 2.4-litre i-VTEC engine that produces 148kW of power and 234Nm of torque. The 16-valve power plant will get the Euro travelling at 100km from standing in the 9-second bracket which isn’t bullet-train quick, but is good for a free-breathing four-cylinder engined mid-size car.  Like any VTEC if you keep the motor working between 4500rpm and 7000rpm it will show you a good time. A five-speed automatic transmission makes a good travel buddy for the engine and delivers smooth well-timed shifts. There is an auto sports option for more enthusiastic performance, and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters for manual changes.

On the road, the Euro is an absolute pleasure it mixes fantastic balance with a German level of refinement. The cabin remains quiet from most wind noise and picks up only minimal road sound.  The chassis is supremely balanced and can’t be picked on for being either too soft or firm. Twisty roads provide no issue for the Accord with its nimble handling and low-set engine that further works to disguise the generous proportions and 1518kg vehicle weight.

The Accord Euro’s build quality is unbeatable at the price and it is very economical for the performance on offer, being capable of returning figures of 8.9l/100km (combined). So if it doesn’t leak oil and doesn’t drink too much the Accord must have skipped the UK on its European holiday.

Final stop on the Accords tour was the home of automotive safety, Sweden.  Electronic Stability Protection is standard on the Euro and is coordinated to steering input, assisting the driver if the vehicle is skidding. Traction control and front, side and curtain airbags are all included to insure safety has been well addressed.

After its long journey the Accord has found its way back to us in NZ with more than just a ‘Euro’ badge. It has a high equipment level as standard, a well-powered engine, poised ride and balance and ultra-modern European styling.  For all its travels, what the Accord Euro does best is what it has always done; offer very good value for money, something that is pure Japanese.

To read specifications of the Honda Accord Euro, click through to the next page.

Price: from $40,400

What we like:

  • Sharp exterior styling
  • Solid build quality
  • High handling ability

What we don’t like:

  • Interior design decisions
  • Grown too large
  • Tone down the lumbar support

Words and Photos, Adam Mamo

Honda Accord Euro (2008) – Specifications

Powertrain

Engine: 2.4-litre 16-valve DOHC i-VTEC
Maximum Power: 148kW @ 7,000rpm
Maximum Torque: 234Nm @ 4,400rpm
Transmission: 6 Speed Manual or 5 Speed Automatic with Gear Logic Control
Maximum speed: MT/AT km/h 227 / 227
Acceleration: MT/AT 0-100km/h 7.8 / 9.5

Chassis

Front Suspension: Double Wishbone
Rear Suspension: Multi-link with variable gas pressurised shock absorbers and stabiliser bar
Wheels: 17″ x 7.5″ alloy wheels. Full size spare wheel under floor.
Tyres: 225/50 R17 (for 17″)
Vehicle Stability System: VSA – Vehicle Stability Assist (Electronic Stability Control) incorporating Traction Control
Braking System: ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), EBA (Emergency Brake Assist) and EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) Front-ventilated discs 320mm. Rear solid discs 305mm

Dimensions

Overall Length (mm):4,726
Overall Width (mm): 1,840
Overall Height (mm): 1,440
Wheelbase (mm); 2,705
Track – Front/Rear (mm): 1,590 / 1.590
Ground Clearance (mm); 150
Kerb Weight – Manual (kg): 1,484
Kerb Weight – Auto (kg): 1,518
Boot Capacity (VDA litres): 418
Turning Circle – kerb to kerb (metres): 11
Maximum warrantable towing weight (kg): 1500

Fuel

Tank Capacity (litres) 65
Recommended Fuel 95 Octane Premium
Emissions Control: LEV II (Low Emission Vehicle) and Euro V emissions control
Fuel economy – combined (ADR 81/01) L/100kms: 8.9
Optimal NZ drive test Auckland-Taupo-Auckland L/100kms Man/Auto: 6.96/6.47

Fuel Saver Infomation

Make and Model:  Honda Accord Euro S Auto
Star Rating: 4 stars out of 6
Yearly Cost : $2,310
Mileage: 8.9 Litres per 100 km – Reference: 5614 AUTO

Note: 2008(a) cost per year based on price per litre of petrol $1.85 and an average distance of 14000 km

Government Department of Transport proves that speed doesn’t kill

December 19th, 2008 by darren

We’ve been telling you this a long time, and now it’s official. Speed is by no means the leading cause of accidents. In fact, it’s only a factor in 5% – and when the DoT talks about ‘speed’ it talks about ‘inappropriate speed’ – i.e. too fast for the conditions, and conditions could dictate that the speed limit at the time is way too high (e.g. on an icy road, for example). So, millions of dollars of taxpayer money wasted on TV commercials; millions of dollars taxed by the police in the form of unnecessarily strictly enforced speed limits.

Of the 5471 injury crashes surveyed in the US between July 3, 2005 and December 31, 2007 22% were caused by people simply driving off the edge of the road, and 11% drifted across the centre line!

Driver error was the primary reason for crashing, and of these, distraction (not paying attention) was by far the biggest, at 41%. 10% of errors were attributed to drivers lacking the proper driving skills, 8% fell asleep or had a heart attack or some other incapacitation, 8% driving to fast for the conditions, and 5% driving too fast for a curve.

In fact, the most recent official report states that only 2.9% of all accidents were caused by driving too fast in 2007.

And on that note, drive safely in the holiday period.

Chrysler to shut down all production

December 19th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Chrysler shut down

It’s no secret that Chrysler is having to fight harder than its Detroit brothers for survival, and the American automaker is pulling out all the stops to keep the lights on even if that means closing the doors. Chrysler is shutting down all of its plants for one month, beginning December 19. In a short release to the media, Chrysler blamed the continued credit crunch as the main reason for the shutdown, and is trying to realign its vehicle stock with consumer demand. Dealers have notified Chrysler that they’ve got plenty of perspective buyers, but up to 25% of customers are currently unable to obtain financing. So Chrysler plant workers will have a really long Christmas break at 95% pay, which can’t be too bad.

Chrysler’s move is far from unprecedented, though, as GM announced on Monday that it would be cutting production by 250,000 units in the first quarter of 2009. GM has also delayed production of its Flint engine plant. Toyota has also delayed plans to open its unfinished Mississippi plant, and Mitsubishi is closing its Illinois plant for seven weeks.

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