News: Soul wins European design award



The second generation Kia Soul, due to go on sale in New Zealand at the end of March, has won a design award in Europe.

The new generation Soul has picked up the ‘iF Product Design Award’, a prize for excellence in design, presented annually in Munich, Germany.

In securing the ‘iF’ accolade, the new version of Kia’s compact SUV continues the award-winning ways of its predecessor, after the first generation Kia Soul became the first Korean car to receive the distinguished ‘red dot design award’. Continue reading “Soul wins European design award” »

News: Ford celebrates 80 years of utes



Ford is celebrating the 80th anniversary of its Australian invention of the ute.

Not only was it an Australian invention, but the concept has been exported to the world, reinterpreted by other manufacturers and gained a legion of fans everywhere.

Like all good ideas, the first integrated passenger-car based Ute was born out of necessity, such as the first Model T Ford. Continue reading “Ford celebrates 80 years of utes” »

Lexus: Lexus ES300h Limited vs Lexus ES350 2013 Review



Let’s say you want a mid-sized Lexus sedan and you’ve got ninety-five grand burning a hole in your slacks. You could have a Lexus ES300h Limited or the more muscular ES350. Will you go for refinement and features or g-forces and noise?

lexus-es300h-2013-front-interiorThe hybrid ES300h comes with a 2.5-litre petrol engine producing 118kW plus the electric motor for a total output of 151kW, and it drinks fuel at a rate of 5.5l/100km on the combine cycle of highway and city driving. The petrol-only ES350 comes with a 3.5-litre petrol motor producing 204kW and drinks 9.5l/100km. In reality, despite the ES350 having so much more power (53kW), the 0-100kph times are 8.5s and 7.4s, so you don’t gain that much. Continue reading “Lexus ES300h Limited vs Lexus ES350 2013 Review” »

News: Harness failure causes paws for safety


State Insurance has revealed test results that show two out of 25 dog harnesses safely restrain pets in collisions; but only one is currently available to pre-order in New Zealand.

At its Research Centre in Sydney, State says it found 23 out of 25 harnesses from different manufacturers failed to adequately restrain life-sized and correctly-weighted dog dummies in simulated impacts, even at speeds as low as 35km/h.

State research manager Robert McDonald says an effective harness is critical when travelling with a pet as it keeps the animal safe and restrained and avoids the driver being distracted while driving with the animal moving around inside the vehicle. Continue reading “Harness failure causes paws for safety” »

News: Renault concept’s flying companion


Renault has unveiled a unique compact SUV concept car at the New Delhi motor show that comes with an onboard roving drone that can fly ahead of the vehicle to monitor traffic conditions.

The French car manufacturer calls the drone a “flying companion”, and it has it’s own “hangar” built into the roof of the KWID concept car.

Taking off from the rotating rear portion of the KWID concept’s roof, Renault says the flying companion can be operated in one of two modes – the automatic mode using a pre-programmed flying sequence and GPS location as well as the manual mode, which enables the companion to be controlled by using a tablet inside the vehicle. Continue reading “Renault concept’s flying companion” »

Land Rover: Land Rover Discovery 4 Black Limited Edition 2013 Review


At $130,250 I’m as likely to go roving over the land as I am to wear my favourite business shirt while doing judo. However, with the limited off-roading I dare do in the Discovery 4 Black, which consisted of a verified ‘safe’ bit of beach and some fairly non-challenging rocks, I can confirm that it has abilities that normal cars don’t have on terrain that will throw you around and pin you to the mat.

land-rover-discovery-4-black-front-interiorFive Terrain Response modes help the air suspension adapt to the requirements. Leave it in the standard mode and you’ll get through most obstacles, but there are options for low gear ratios, raising the suspension up to 125mm for a total of 310mm for extreme off-road, and lowering it by 50mm to allow easier entry for passengers. Bashing through the rocks? Put it in the rock crawl mode which gives lighter braking. In ruts and mud? Put it in the mud mode for better ground clearance. On the beach? Put it in sand mode to give better launch control to stop you digging yourself a hole. Continue reading “Land Rover Discovery 4 Black Limited Edition 2013 Review” »

News: Peugeot family loses control in bail out deal

74601peu84PSA Peugeot Citroen has announced it will raise 3 billion Euro in a deal with Chinese manufacturer Dongfeng and the French government, which will see the end of the Peugeot family controlling the company.

Dongfeng and the French government will each inject 800 million Euro in return for a 14% stake in Peugeot. There is also a 1.4 billion Euro rights issue for shareholders and the market to take part.

The deal will see the Peugeot family’s 25% stake and 38% of voting rights diluted, leaving it with the same stake as Dongfeng and the French government. No one party will have a big enough stake to veto decisions. Continue reading “Peugeot family loses control in bail out deal” »

News: Indian safety is worrying says Global NCAP


India’s five most popular small cars have scored a zero in a crash-safety test conducted by UK-based Global NCAP.

The Tata Nano, the Maruti Alto 800, the Hyundai i10, the Ford Figo and the Volkswagen Polo, account for almost 20% of sales in the Indian continent, which now has the greatest number of global road fatalities per annum.

However, in response, all of the manufacturers concerned have responded with the same line, that they comply with all Indian safety standards. Continue reading “Indian safety is worrying says Global NCAP” »