Ford: Ford: 2014 Focus Sport hatch review

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Yet another five-door hatch you say to yourself as you saunter towards the test car that’s fully fuelled with petroleum.

The bronze metallic effect of the paintwork enhances the shape and form of the Focus Sport much like contestants in the semi finals of a bodybuilding competition.

The colour is officially called Lunar Sky which is available along with Lunar Black, Midnight Sky, Winning Blue, Frozen White and Candy Red covering most bases and tastes.

Short of the excessive rear roof spoiler and a rather out of place letter “S” on the tailgate, you could be looking at one of an endless stream of anonymous tin boxes with colour added. Continue reading “Ford: 2014 Focus Sport hatch review” »

News: Maserati Ghibli takes on the prestige coupes

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Maserati has pitched the new Ghibli sports sedan into a very competitive segment in the premium luxury space occupied by other European brands such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Jaguar.

You might think the most direct competitor for the Ghibli would be the E-Class Mercedes-Benz or the BMW 5-series but you would be wrong. This machine has far loftier ambitions than being a direct competitor to a Stuttgart or Munich taxi.

The coupe-like Ghibli is more of a true competitor for the other four-door coupes appearing in the Executive Class such as the Mercedes-Benz CLS, the Audi A7, the Jaguar XF R and the BMW 6 series Gran Coupe. Continue reading “Maserati Ghibli takes on the prestige coupes” »

Road Tests / Car Reviews: Suzuki: 2014 Swift Sport automatic

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I’m really getting fed up with how excellent the Suzuki Swift Sport is. Every time I get one it’s pretty much exactly the same; just a few minor tweaks, and that’s it. It’s like having the perfect girlfriend and then every six months she learns how to make a different dessert.

But is one new dessert a year enough?

Looking at it from the outside, it looks almost exactly like the Swift has looked since 2007 when I first drove one. It is the Peter Pan of small cars. Yes, the nose has changed a little, the lights have smeared their way backwards up the bonnet line, the wheels are an inch bigger and it’s a little more sculpted down the sides, there’s not much in it. Continue reading “Suzuki: 2014 Swift Sport automatic” »

News: X marks the spot for Ford

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Ford has confirmed that the next generation of Ford Falcon will be known as the FG X.

The “FG” series prefix carries over for the refreshed Falcon range, as a way to promote the heritage of the Fairmont and Ghia nameplates that have featured on previous prestige Falcon models.

The letter “X” is also a significant piece of the Falcon story, having been used for both the original Falcon XK model in 1960 and through four-generations of Falcons from the 1960s through to the 1990s, including some of the more popular Falcon models like the XR, XW, XY, XA, XB, XD and XF. Continue reading “X marks the spot for Ford” »

News: BMW product offensive continues

BMW-4-Series-Gran-CoupeBMW has released pricing for the all-new 4 Series Gran Coupe, which will be available as either a 428i Sport Line or six-cylinder 435i M Sport.

It is part of a continuing offensive of new products as BMW seeks to maintain its leadership in the premium car sector locally.

The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is 4,638 mm in length, 1,825 mm wide and shares the same wheelbase and track of the 4 Series Coupe. The major difference between the Coupe and the Gran Coupe lies in the roofline, which sits 12 mm higher and extends a further 112 mm towards the rear of the car. Continue reading “BMW product offensive continues” »

News: More refined Holden Trax into dealerships

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Holden has launched a much improved model year 2015 Holden Trax compact SUV, with the addition of a top of the range 1.4-litre turbo LTZ model, to build on its 11% market share of the segment in New Zealand.

Year to date Holden’s compact SUV has sold more than 371 units, it lies fourth in the under $40k market behind the Mitsubishi ASX (410), Suzuki SX4 S-Cross (431) and the Hyundai ix35 (897).

The 1.4-litre iTi engine is coupled with a 6-speed automatic transmission and this LTZ model will sit above the 1.8-litre engine in the expanded Trax line-up, offering customers an engine option that provides 103kW of power and 200Nm of torque, with fuel economy of 6.9L/100km. Continue reading “More refined Holden Trax into dealerships” »

Mercedes-Benz: Mercedes-Benz: 2014 CLS 250 CDI Shooting Brake

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What is a shooting brake you ask? Thats a very good question.

According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the term shooting-brake originated in the 19th century, and was used to describe a particular style of motor-vehicle that carried shooting parties, their equipment, and their game.

Wikipedia says the term brake was coined to describe a chassis used to break in horses, and was subsequently used to describe a motor-vehicle.

Early 19th century shooting brakes were often custom built to order for their wealthy clients, normally members of the British aristocracy. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz: 2014 CLS 250 CDI Shooting Brake” »

Green Motoring: Lexus: 2014 CT200h Limited vs F Sport review

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The road from Whatipu to Titirangi is narrow, bumpy and changes direction like a gazelle trying to outrun a cheetah. We were in the CT200h F Sport and my partner said to me that she was feeling sleepy, and the problem was with my ‘smooth driving’, the comfortable seats and the lack of noise from the Lexus. This Lexus makes your driving seem better than it is: the thing it excels at is turning the road into a muffled silk ribbon like I am the world’s best chauffeur. Continue reading “Lexus: 2014 CT200h Limited vs F Sport review” »