Hulme CanAm New Zealand – nearly the first drive on public roads (+video)

May 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

The Hulme CanAm has been six years and NZ$5m in the making – quite an achievement for such a small amount of money – and now the fund raising begins in earnest. A publicity stunt was organised: a reveal of the revised CanAm test mule (‘Bear 1′) in full road trim, and a quick jaunt around the block with Auckland Mayor (and confirmed petrolhead) John Banks.

The crowd turned up at Independent Prestige to see the CanAm surrounded by Aston Martins, Lamborghinis, Bentleys and Ferraris, but shrouded in a large chequered cloth.

After an extended speech by an emotional Jock Freemantle, iconic New Zealand race car driver Kenny Smith, Banks and several others involved in the team revealed the car.

Still packing the LS7 since we last reported on it back in February in our sister title NZV8, when it ran a demonstration at the A1GP at Taupo, the price has been revised downwards significantly to UKP220,000. This still puts it in Caparo T1 territory – a bold move in this economy.

Just as the very religious Freemantle finished thanking the Lord, the heavens opened in tropical downpour-style. All on-road fun was curtailed for the day.

Check back soon as our sister site NZV8 will feature a full track test as soon as possible. In the meantime, watch the reveal, including a demonstration of the adjustable kerb-beating front suspension, and listen to the engine noise.


Hulme CanAm New Zealand – nearly the first drive on public roads (+video)

May 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

The Hulme CanAm has been six years and NZ$5m in the making – quite an achievement for such a small amount of money – and now the fund raising begins in earnest. A publicity stunt was organised: a reveal of the revised CanAm test mule (‘Bear 1′) in full road trim, and a quick jaunt around the block with Auckland Mayor (and confirmed petrolhead) John Banks.

The crowd turned up at Independent Prestige to see the CanAm surrounded by Aston Martins, Lamborghinis, Bentleys and Ferraris, but shrouded in a large chequered cloth.

After an extended speech by an emotional Jock Freemantle, iconic New Zealand race car driver Kenny Smith, Banks and several others involved in the team revealed the car.

Still packing the LS7 since we last reported on it back in February in our sister title NZV8, when it ran a demonstration at the A1GP at Taupo, the price has been revised downwards significantly to UKP220,000. This still puts it in Caparo T1 territory – a bold move in this economy.

Just as the very religious Freemantle finished thanking the Lord, the heavens opened in tropical downpour-style. All on-road fun was curtailed for the day.

Check back soon as our sister site NZV8 will feature a full track test as soon as possible. In the meantime, watch the reveal, including a demonstration of the adjustable kerb-beating front suspension, and listen to the engine noise.

Toyota Hilux SR5 2009 Review

May 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

toyota-hilux-fq

Having a tough guy reputation isn’t all it’s cracked up to be just ask the Toyota Hilux. When the first Hilux rolled off the production line back in 1968 few would have thought that it would be built for six-generations and become notorious for unfailing durability and reliability. But this hard man rep comes at a cost, competitors want to tear into you, popular TV shows perform cruel experiments like dropping you from a crane, and your advertising campaigns use slogans that were swear words in the 1950s. Because you never break you just can’t catch a break. Bugger that. However the Hilux was built for the tough times and now with a new facelift for 2009 it’s still strong and still looking sharp.

So what’s new for 2009? Well there are subtle changes inside and out but the Hilux is still packing the same wallop under the bonnet. The 3.0-litre common-rail 4-cylinder diesel engine whacks out 126kW of power and a stump-pulling 343Nm of torque. These are strong stats among the Hilux’s competitors and are key factors in the Hilux being the ute to beat. The diesel unit offers pace on the road, shifting off the line with haste and happily humming along at cruising speeds. What’s more impressive is the Hilux’s ability to tow or haul very heavy loads with the full compliment of torque being available from just 1,400 rpm. Combined with a 2.5-tonne braked towing capacity the Hilux can just drag anything it can’t carry.

While lashings of torque are useful for farmyard duties it can prove a hindrance on the tarmac. Driving on stock tyres without load and in 2WD mode on city roads the Hilux can prove a handful; this is intensified in wet conditions. Too much throttle and the Hilux’s rear wheels can lose grip easily and although the oversteer is predictable to the point of being entertaining, you can’t help but feel that it’s a little dangerous. That said, if you are up to speed and on twisty roads the Hilux changes direction with little fuss. There is an acceptable amount of body roll and the steering is direct and reasonably weighted. With heavy-duty hauling expectations the Hilux’s suspension is understandably firm, but overall ride quality is generally comfortable. The Hilux’s ground clearance is consistent with other utes but it doesn’t feel as high when cornering as some competitors. Cabin noise is evident but not unreasonably intrusive and the inclusion of cruise control brings some leisure to long trips.

I tested both manual and automatic transmissions and was more impressed by the auto box. The manual was good for helping control the grunt at the rear but it had a long throw and needed to be eased into gear at times. By comparison the auto was relaxed, changed smoothly and providing the accelerator was used lightly it never hunted or changed gear unexpectedly.

So it moves well, but how does it look? Suitably staunch; the exterior styling of utes is confined by their practical shape, but the Hilux achieves some individuality. The 2009 model facelift has brought a new trapezoidal grille and grey plate bar along with a redesigned bumper that helps give an impression of a low centre of gravity. It’s definitely not beautiful but it wouldn’t want to be and with flared wheel arches, new 15-inch alloys and chrome touches it’s a worthy canvas to be painted with mud and dust.

Step inside and the cabin is a mix of charcoal and grey plastics broken up by silver accents. It’s Spartan and symmetrical but thought has been put into the ergonomics and all controls and cup holders are well placed. There are some useful modern touches like stereo controls on the leather-trimmed steering wheel, a ringed instrument cluster, CD player, remote central locking and a digital display for air conditioning settings. The seats are well bolstered for lateral movement and cushioned for any vertical movement that may occur. The double cab has very impressive leg room in the back seat and although it only has a lap seat belt for the middle occupant it is the most practical back pew I’ve seen in a double cab ute. Overall the Hilux’s cabin is pleasant it offers commanding visibility, enough room for five and has an effective air-con unit that filters any dust or pollen from entering.

It doesn’t matter how hardy the Hilux’s reputation may be things can still go wrong, to combat this driver and passenger airbags are standard as are pre-tensioners on the front seatbelts. ABS is now a welcome inclusion on all variants but electronic stability control remains noticeably absent. With disc brakes at the front but only drums at the rear the Hilux doesn’t posses a strong braking bite.

The bottom line is that despite the Hilux’s reputation and popularity it remains an agricultural vehicle. It is underpinned by a serious 4wd set up and although this is profusely practical off-road the Hilux’s unladen on road manners can be raw. In double cab form can the Hilux replace a SUV as an all round family lifestyle vehicle? Off —road, yes. On-road definitely not.

The Nissan Navara ST-X can match the Hilux for looks and the Mazda BT-50 pips it for driving dynamics, but the Hilux’s grunt, build quality and legendary toughness will mean it retains its title as the kingpin of the ute segment.

Click through to the next page for a specifications list.

Price: from $58,190

What we like:

  • Class-leading power-to-weight ratio
  • Interior ergonomics
  • Backseat leg room (double cab)

What we don’t like:

  • No electronic stability program/traction control
  • Rear drum brakes
  • Wet weather oversteer

Words and Photos: Adam Mamo

Other car reviews of interest:

Mitsubishi Triton GLS (2010) — Road Test

Ford Ranger Wildtrak (2009) — Road Test

Mazda BT-50 2WD (2009) — Road Test

Holden Colorado LT (2008) — Road Test

Nissan Navara ST-X (2008) — Road Test

Toyota Hilux SR5 (2009) – Specifications

Engine

Engine Model Code 1KD-FTV
Type In-line, 4 cylinder, 16 valve DOHC with Turbocharger and Intercooler
Alternator 100 amps
Battery Voltage 12 volts
Bore 96 mm
Capacity 2982 cc
Compression 17.9
Configuration In-line; 4 cylinder
Fuel Tank Capacity 76 litres
Fuel Type Diesel
Injection Type Common rail; direct injection
Location Front; longitudinal
Maximum Power 126 Kw 3600 rpm
Maximum Torque 343 Nm 1400-3400 rpm
Starter 2.2 kW
Stroke 103 mm
Vehicle Fuel Economy Information
Fuel Economy Rating 3.5 out of 6
Litres per 100km 9.3
Fuel Cost Per Year2008 cost per year based on price per litre of $1.85 and an average distance of 14,000 km $2,220

Dimensions

Front Track 1540 mm
Rear Track 1540 mm
Gross Vehicle Weight 2780 kg
Kerb Weight 1855-1990 kg
Minimum Ground Clearance 212 mm
Overall Height 1810 mm
Overall Length 5255 mm
Overall Width 1835 mm
Tow Capacity Braked 2500 kg
Tow Capacity Unbraked 750 kg
Wheelbase 3085 mm

Steering

Minimum Turning Circle 12.40
Steering Ratio 19.40 m
Turns lock to lock 3.70

Premium motoring domain names for sale

May 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

internet www

We’ve managed to secure 15 motoring-related web addresses for really good prices. With some names selling in the tens of thousands of dollars, these names might represent a good investment for an astute buyer in the motoring industry.

The 15 are:
acceleration.tv
ballistic.tv
corneringlimit.com
driftingcomponents.com
dropheadcoupe.com
enginecontrolsystem.com
fixedheadcoupe.com
limitedslipdiff.com
macphersonstrut.com
motoringphotos.com
motorracingphotography.com
rideheight.com
sequentialgearshift.com
sequentialshift.com
slammed.tv

Prices start at just $150. If you want more than one, call Darren Cottingham on 09 360 1480 ext 743 for a package deal.

Have a look here if one interests you http://www.carandsuv.co.nz/shopping/domain-names/

550hp Lexus LF-A coming later this year

May 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Lexus LF-A racer fq

There have been recent reports about the demise of the LF-A but apparently Lexus’ long-awaited supercar is due to be revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show this October.

Toyota insiders reported that the LF-A’s delay was due to a series of engineering modifications to boost the supercar’s top speed. Initially, the LF-A topped out at 320 kph, too slow considering the supercar’s competition, so after some tweaking with the engine and bodywork, the upgraded coupe is expected to hit 350 kph or beyond.

In addition to the revised top speed, the R&D team’s exterior mods will be obvious when the wraps come off in Tokyo, with a new fascia, headlight design and revised back end. Underneath the long bonnet lies a revised version of Lexus’ new V10, with a 4.8-liter displacement it will send all 550 hp through a six-speed semi-automatic gearbox.

Production of the LF-A will be restricted to 500 vehicles, and that will supposedly include an even higher performance version equipped with wider body panels, track-spec suspension and aerodynamic components taken from the Nurburgring racer (pictured).

Pricing is still rumored to be somewhere in the $200,000 USD range, and if the LF-A is revealed in Tokyo it may be on sale as early as 2010.

Single offer received for Dodge Viper business

May 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Devon GTX s

Recent court documents filed by Chrysler indicate that there is only one offer on the table for its Dodge Viper business. The lonely offer is well under the $10 million asking price that the bankrupt automaker has been seeking and If a suitable buyer isn’t found, it’s likely that the assembly plant where the Viper is manufactured will be closed down this December.

The sole $5.5 million USD bid came from Devon Motor Works, a small boutique coachbuilder based in Michigan, USA that has plans to launch a new supercar of its own called the Devon GTX (pictured), which will be based on the underpinnings of the Dodge Viper. The GTX is scheduled to make a run at the Nürburgring lap record for a production vehicle (currently held by a Dodge Viper ACR) sometime in July, after which it will be officially debuted at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours in the states.

Chrysler first looked at selling off its Viper line last August, and the troubled automaker still claims that it has other interested parties, but it’s now clear that it’s very short on actual realistic offers. The bottom line is that $5.5 million USD is better than nothing especially when you owe billions of dollars. Chrysler is apparently looking into Devon’s offer to verify that the small company has sufficient resources to close the deal.

Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S arrives in NZ

May 28th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Maserati_Quattroporte fq

The new Quattroporte Sport GT S has arrived in New Zealand, providing Maserati’s luxury performance saloon with a new sporting flagship that offers increased performance, an updated chassis and gearbox and the sound of a racetrack bred engine, matched by subtle changes to the body.

“Maserati has a unique record on and off the race track for setting benchmarks for design, styling and performance that the rest of the industry has then followed,” says Edward Butler, General Manager of Maserati in Australia and New Zealand. “The Quattroporte is clearly one of the standard setters. It has captured not just the attention of car buyers, making it the most successful car that Maserati has produced, it has also set a benchmark for an exclusive performance saloon with a blend of abilities, something other car makers are now rushing to emulate. But as the new Sport GT S demonstrates, Maserati is not prepared to stand still, it is simply not in the company’s DNA, and so the Sport GT S lifts the benchmark — again.”

The new Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S is the third variant in the new Maserati Quattroporte range, which starts with the Quattroporte 4.2 litre, followed by the Quattroporte S with the 4.7 litre engine and the range is now topped by the Sport GT S with a more powerful version of the 4.7 litre engine matched to a technical and equipment package producing the fastest, most aggressive Quattroporte to leave Maserati’s Modena factory.r.

Compared to the Quattroporte S, top speed is lifted from 280 kmh to 285 kmh and the 0-100 kmh time is trimmed from 5.2 seconds to 5.1 seconds.

Maserati has revised the mapping of the V8 4.7 litre engine, with power increased to 323 kW at 7000 rpm. In Sport mode valves open in the exhaust system to reduce back-pressure increasing maximum available power. These valves not only release more power — they also enable the Maserati V8 to create a throaty roar at low engine speeds and full symphonic sound of a genuine sports car at higher rpm.

The launch of the Quattroporte Sport GT S debuts MC-Auto Shift, the closest an automatic transmission has come to offering instant response of sequential manual, yet maintaining smooth gearshifts when a neck-snapping response is not required. This has been achieved via a thorough redesign of the transmission operating software and providing the driver with features not available on other Quattroporte variants.

In “MANUAL MODE” the driver controls gear shifts directly, and changes are permitted up to the redline on the rev-counter. An electronic gear shift indicator in the middle of the dashboard tells the driver when it is the ideal timing of the gear change; this system is backed by “Trofeo” style extra-long paddles behind the steering-wheel, ergonomically shaped for easier gear changes on the most demanding roads.

Subtle changes have also been made to the appearance of the Quattroporte for its new performance range-topping position as the Sport GT S.¨¨The deeper set grille is fitted to the front bumper, and is framed by the new fog lights and air intakes that have been enlarged to cope with the more powerful engine.

The Quattroporte Sport GT S comes with two new types of 20″ rims: Multi Trident rims in light aluminium alloy as an option and seven-spoke light alloy rims that have undergone the ‘Dark Chrome’ treatment.

The most sporty model in the Quattroporte range clearly proclaims its character through the style of its interior, using new materials and equipment.

The seats, which are state of the art in terms of ergonomics and comfort, have a stylised M for Maserati on the backs. The central sections of the seats are upholstered in perforated Alcantara, for breathability and firm support during hard cornering; Alcantara is also used on the side panels, the front armrest, the steering-wheel and the gear lever knob.

The Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S has a recommended retail price of $328,900 in New Zealand.

Lotus Esprit successor may use Lexus power

May 28th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Lotus Evora eagle f

Lotus has very interesting times ahead as the company pushes on with its five-year plan to update its entire model range, including successors to the Elise and Esprit. Lotus has already debuted its new Evora, but rather than sitting still with this car, work on the new Elise and Esprit is already progressing at the company’s UK headquarters.

While the future Elise may be seen as early as 2011, of more interest is the flagship Esprit successor, which recent reports state could come with an optional V10 engine sourced from Lexus. While this is unconfirmed at this stage, Lotus CEO Mike Kimberley has revealed that the new car is being developed with “a very well respected prestige carmaker.”

Most people thought that BMW would supply one of its V8 engines for the new Esprit but Lotus’ close ties with Toyota, from which it already sources engines, could see advanced Lexus motors being used. The 500hp (373kW) V10 engine, which is set to debut in the Lexus LF-A supercar next year, would be a fit for the range-topping model. Other potential powerplants could be the IS-F’s 420hp (312kW) V8 and a 300hp (225kW) version of the 3.5L Toyota V6 from the Evora.

To keep costs down and speed up its development, the new Esprit will likely share its chassis with the aluminum unit underpinning the Evora. Rising development costs and changing requirements, have reportedly pushed back the original 2010 release date to 2012. So stay tuned for more updates on the new Esprit.

Page 1 of 1212345678»