Lexus launches CT200h luxury hatch into NZ market

February 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Lexus New Zealand has just launched the all-new CT200h, the world’s first full hybrid luxury compact car.

Lexus National Manager, Debbie Pattullo said CT200h is the car for tomorrow’s forward thinking driver, and is the gateway to bring a new generation of customers to the Lexus brand.

“CT200h is an exciting addition to the Lexus line-up. The inclusion of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system in a compact luxury model makes this a unique vehicle which we’re sure the luxury vehicle buyer in New Zealand will appreciate.”

“There’s a definite trend toward small vehicles that do not compromise on features. CT200h gives Lexus a presence in this growing luxury compact segment. At the same time, CT200h is an example of the Lexus commitment to developing cars that are innovative, and different from what’s already out there in the marketplace.”

The modern styling on the CT200h combines with low CO2 emissions and high fuel economy to create a tempting prospect for NZ buyers.

Fuel consumption is just 4.1 litres per 100 kilometres with 94 grams of CO2 emitted per kilometre.

In full EV (Electric Vehicle) mode, the new CT200h can be driven at low speeds  in almost complete silence, using no fuel and emitting zero emissions when certain conditions have been met. Continue reading “Lexus launches CT200h luxury hatch into NZ market” »

De Tomaso on comeback trail with SLS luxury sedan

February 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It’s only hours until the 2011 Geneva Motor Show kicks into gear but De Tomaso has jumped the gun and unleashed a series of images along with a few more details of its new SLS concept car.

SLS is the latest catch phrase for this vehicle segment and apparently stands for ‘Sport Luxury Sedan’. SLS refers to the vehicle type but De Tomaso is planning on giving it’s future production model a more exciting new name that will be announced in Geneva.

DeTomaso’s SLS concept is an interesting proposition, its a high riding luxury sedan much like the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo. At launch there is plans for two engines to be offered a 300-horsepower V6 and a 550-horsepower V8. Power is channeled through to all four wheels, and a diesel engine option is planned for the future.

De Tomaso plans to build two more vehicles on the same platform with the ambitious goal of selling a total of 8,000 units per year. The SLS represents a good start for De Tomaso’s comeback it is sensibly styled and well powered. More will be revealed this week in Geneva. Continue reading “De Tomaso on comeback trail with SLS luxury sedan” »

Morgan Threewheeler officially returns! (+video)

February 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Morgan three-wheeler is officially back and it looks like a whole sack full of fun. Set for its official unveil at this week’s Geneva Motor Show, preview photos and a video clip have been released.

The new Morgan Threewheeler is fully road legal in both the States and Europe and represents a modern interpretation of the classic model that was built between 1909 and 1953.

It looks like nothing else and rides on a tubular chassis featuring an aluminum body, gloss black wheels, and a matte black dual exhaust system. If that isn’t special enough for you, optional extras  include a polished engine, stainless steel tailpipes, and additional brightwork.

Inside, the cabin is suitably spartan but there’s leather upholstery, aircraft-inspired instrumentation, and a trick ‘Bomb release’ starter button.

Power for the Morgan 3 Wheeler will come by an 86kW S&S V Twin engine. It’s mated to a Mazda five-speed manual transmission that puts power to the rear wheel via a V-belt. Morgan claims the Threewheeler is a fun drive and there is nothing to suggest otherwise. It weighs just 500kg and will accelerate from 0-100kph in 4.5 seconds with a top speed of 185kph.

Following it’s debut at the Geneva Auto Show the Morgan Threewheeler will be launched later this year and pricing in the UK is starting at £25,000 ($53,700 NZ).

Check out images in the gallery below and a short promotional clip. Continue reading “Morgan Threewheeler officially returns! (+video)” »

Had an accident? It might be bad korma…

February 27th, 2011 by Tim Grimley

An innocuous drive into Takapuna last night opened my eyes to the benefits of what might possibly be the single most important safety device ever installed on a vehicle. Things could have turned out very differently had my elderly Nissan Primera been blessed with such a feature.

I was only doing the 50kph speed limit, but when an old lady stepped out in front of me I rushed to hit the brakes and disaster ensued – the sudden transfer of weight caused an imbalance in the vehicle, resulting in the catastrophic sloshing of beef vindaloo all over my floor mats.

I had previously assumed, mainly due to the number of times I’ve come close to stuffing a car into a lamp-post, that the single biggest distraction to drivers is women joggers wearing minimal amounts of lycra but trust me, I was wrong. When an errant gupter is doing its best to make your footwell look like the aftermath of a Rambo battle scene, an entire herd of joggers could despatch their lycra, sit on your windscreen and you wouldn’t notice a thing. And even when control of your dinner is regained, it means having to drive the rest of the way home leaning into the footwell to stop the carrier bag – which by now resembles a cumin-based colostomy – wreaking more havoc on your upholstery.

All of which results in a car going through a brief period where the prevailing wind has as much say on the direction of travel as the person behind the wheel. And the situation only marginally improves when enough command is regained to conclude the journey in a posture that suggests recent suffrage of a fairly major stroke.

Even a complete dimwit can understand that this is potentially very dangerous to not only the driver, but also fellow motorists and pedestrians alike. So I find it completely baffling that every single car produced since the inception of the take-away hasn’t been fitted with a curry hook. First launched in 1989 in the Land Rover Discovery, this small clip in the passenger footwell is designed to keep takeaways upright at all times and would have averted not only my own culinary disaster, but also the countless other occasions where lives are put at risk by drivers preoccupied with a butter chicken breakout.

Airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners and crumple zones are just some of the devices that have been lauded up as great bastions of motoring safety, but for my money they are all beaten into a cocked hat by the humble cuzza hook. Prevention, as we all know, is better than the cure and this simple piece of plastic plays its trump card by stopping the distraction that causes accidents in the first place.

And in case you were wondering, the old lady was absolutely fine. My naan on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky.

Holden Calais V-Series Redline Edition 2011 Review

February 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Holden’s Calais has always been an interesting prospect particularly in V8 form. Like a nightclub bouncer wearing a three-piece suit, there are two distinct sides to the picture. The Calais represents Holden’s luxury Commodore offering but also has the brawny V8 powerplant shared with the more sports focused SS. High-spec trim, loads of equipment and eight-cylinder performance haven’t always stitched together tidily for Holden, but this Calais could be different. With the recent Series II upgrades and in its highest spec V-Series Redline Edition form this Calais is certainly ready to impress. Car and SUV gained entry to Holden’s opulent saloon to find out more.

Externally, the Calais has always been lower key than some of its Commodore stablemates, that hasn’t changed with the Series II model. It has a nicely rounded, less-is-more look that skips the bulky body kit and boot spoiler. Instead, a premier feel is largely created by subtle chrome trim around the window line and in the door handles and other areas. The Series II updates focus mostly on the Calais front end where new headlights, lower air intake and a blinging grille look modern and classy. Being a Redline Edition our test vehicle had 19-inch polished alloy wheels that packed the pumped guards nicely and combined with the Redline badging let all know that this is one chic Commodore. Continue reading “Holden Calais V-Series Redline Edition 2011 Review” »

Subaru Impreza WRX 2011 Review

February 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Possessing genuine rally sport pedigree is something a few car companies have attempted to trade on over the years, but it’s never been more believable than in Subaru’s WRX. While Subaru is taking a recession induced break from the WRC scene it’s go-hard Impreza continues the rally-breed evolution that began back in 1992 with its first generation. While the rally bloodlines run stronger in the uncompromising Impreza STI the WRX remains far from a standard run about. The STI will always be the choice for those who aspire to performing dirt road power slides but the WRX is now closer aligned to its more coveted sibling than ever before. But does this mean the updated 2011 WRX is a balls-to-the-wall excitement machine? Car and SUV got belted into a WRX hatch to take a voyage of discovery… rapidly.

Over the years the WRX has seen more drastic costume changes than a Madonna concert and not all the different looks have been sexy, but the third-gen model has a definite raw charm. The big changes for the facelift are the inclusion of a wide body kit distilled from the STI, this has been like a course of steroids for the WRX and has resulted in a stockier more muscular look. While there are still thoughtfully placed clues on the STI like a more pronounced rear wing, only hardcore fans could now tell the difference between the two variants with a single glance. Continue reading “Subaru Impreza WRX 2011 Review” »

Can-Am Spyder Experience returns to New Zealand

February 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Spyder Experience travelling road show offers motoring enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy a lengthy test ride on the unique, three-wheeled Can-Am Spyder, and it returns to New Zealand in March and April.

The Spyder roadster looks like a three-wheeled, Y-configuration motorcycle with two wheels in the front and one in the rear.

“A Spyder is a fantastic machine for those who have always liked the idea of open road touring on a motorbike but, for whatever reason, don’t like the way bikes need to be leaned into corners,” says Richard Shaw, New Zealand manager for Can-Am Spyder manufacturers Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP).

“The Spyder delivers a totally different riding sensation. It has a more stable ride with its ATV-like chassis with the single rear driving wheel and two wheels in front for steering. With its 990cc V-Twin Rotax engine, ABS and power-steering, the Spyder is powerful and sophisticated to ride.”

Shaw notes: “The Spyder Experience is a great way for people to try out a Spyder in a friendly, helpful environment. Even if you have no motorbike riding experience, don’t worry. With a short period of tuition anyone can safely ride a Spyder – they are different, but not difficult to master – and we’ll cover some of the technical details that make the Spyder so special. After our group ride around a mix of urban and open roads, we’ll return to base to enjoy a coffee and share your thoughts about your Spyder ride.” Continue reading “Can-Am Spyder Experience returns to New Zealand” »

Jaguar previews most potent model ever – the XKR-S

February 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It was one year ago that Jaguar dropped the covers on its updated XKR and now it’s ready to go again with the launch of its most potent series production car ever, the all-new XKR-S, at the Geneva Motor Show.

With an uprated supercharged V8 engine, overhauled suspension and a new aerodynamically-driven design, the XKR-S is set to be the ultimate expression of Jaguar’s dual purpose objectives – GT luxury with high performance.

The XKR-S is fitted with modified version of Jaguar’s 5.0-litre supercharged V8 and produces 405kWs and 680Nm of torque, enough power to offer a top speed of 300km/h. It will do the 0-100kph sprint in just 4.4 seconds.

Alongside the engine upgrades, the British firm’s engineers have also upgraded the suspension and reprogrammed the Adaptive Dynamics system, while the XKR-S rides on a new set of lightweight alloy wheels cloaked in performance tyres.

In terms of styling, the XKR-S is distinguished by a new aerodynamics package with a more aggressive looking front bumper, re-profiled side skirts, additional bonnet vents, a large rear wing and a redesigned rear bumper housing a diffuser and quad tail pipes.

“The XKR-S is a bold and exciting new model for Jaguar,” said Paul Ricketts, Jaguar’s Brand Manager. “We hope to secure allocation of the model in New Zealand for customers who want comfort, opulence and class only a Jaguar can offer, combined with inspirational performance.” Continue reading “Jaguar previews most potent model ever – the XKR-S” »

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