News: Toyota iQ – lots more photos

Toyota iQ fq

It’s shorter than the temper of a Catholic school matron, and it’s Toyota’s opportunity to reign in the Smart fortow’s success. The new iQ is shown here in its European production-ready state. The diminutive car has a couple of extra seats over the fortwo, so it’ll compete with other small cars like the Kia Picanto and Suzuki Swift.

News: Holden NZ offers diesel deal

Holden’s big V8s are the ones that are likely suffering in the current economic climate, but Holden New Zealand has decided that a deal on diesel is the way to go to boost sales.

The offer is similar to one that has recently launched in the Australian market where fuel is capped at AUD .99 cents for two years or 20,000 kilometres, whichever comes first. However, the New Zealand offer goes beyond a capped fuel price providing two years worth of diesel and Road User Charges without any investment in fuel required by customers, as long as you buy before 30 September.

In our opinion, diesel doesn’t really need any help selling itself, but the heavy-hitting petrol cars will. The Holden Diesel range includes the Captiva, Astra Hatch, Astra Wagon, Epica and Colorado ranges.

Road Tests / Car Reviews: Volvo XC90 3.2 2008 Review

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It’s with a deep sense of irony that Volvo, which hails from a country that has a fertility rate of only 1.67 births per woman, should develop a car that panders to a family of seven with such accomplishment. It’s the equivalent of manufacturing world-class surfboards in landlocked Nepal. Perhaps Volvo is trying to encourage procreation by making the results of it easy — after all, their slogan is Volvo. For life.

Five people can take a long journey in comfort and still fit 615 litres of luggage in; with the third row of seats folded up for an extra two passengers, there’s still almost 250 litres available.

There is a removable luggage net as standard that can divide the rear of the car and protect against shifting loads, and the XC90 will pull a respectable 2250kg trailer (braked). Self-levelling suspension and a Haldex electronic four-wheel drive system join a raft of other safety features that give Volvo its deserved ‘safe’ brand reputation.

There is roll-over stability control system (RSC), dynamic stability and traction control (DSTC), electronic brake assistance (EBA), ABS with electronic brake distribution (EBD), side impact protection system (SIPS), whiplash protection system (WHIPS), and enough airbags to cushion a falling meteorite — all you need to know is that when put in a compromising situation, the Volvo will fire up its microprocessors and do its damnedest to get you through.

I didn’t take a long journey with kids, but I would suspect the soft suspension has the potential to cause some challenges for the less gastronomically resilient child because while the Volvo feels like a superb motorway cruiser, it’s not really one for speedy travel down back roads, showing its size and weight noticeably under quick changes of direction.

A 3.2-litre 6-cylinder petrol engine lurks underneath the bonnet. It strains a little against the weight of the vehicle as there’s only 175kW/238hp to propel the 2060kg. 9.5 seconds is the time it takes to accelerate to 100kph; deceleration is courtesy of 17-inch ventilated disc brakes front and rear, and 235/65R17 tyres. The transmission is a six-speed automatic with sequential shift, and a winter mode which starts the car in third to minimise wheelspin in icy conditions.

Volvos usually come with comfortable seats, and the XC90 isn’t an exception, though surprisingly heated seats are only optional in our test model. The second row of three seats individually slide forwards and backwards. The middle seat can be slid right the way forwards, and along with a removable central binnacle, this allows a baby or toddler to be within easy reach of the front of the car. It doesn’t create a bench seat, but it’s the next best thing.

As a former sound engineer, to be able to start with the stereo equaliser perfectly flat and not think that I need to change it is brilliant. If you have lost some frequency response in your ears through listening to loud music (or simply want to boost that bass in memory of the dance parties of your youth), there is a five-band graphic equaliser and high and low shelf EQ. The rear speakers even get their own EQ.

Even better though is that four of the rear seat passengers can plug in headphones and choose to listen to a CD or auxiliary music device if the driver and passenger are listening to the radio in the front of the car, and vice versa.

Loading the Volvo is made simpler with a split folding rear tailgate. This is capable of withstanding a 130kg load, making it easier to get items up on the roof (roof rails come as standard).

Volvo’s model down from the XC90, the XC70, would also be an option to consider if you don’t need the extra ground clearance, seven seats and towing capacity. It has a revised interior, better proportioned exterior and offers a much better power-to-weight ratio with less thirst (11.4l/100km as opposed to 12l/100km, and almost a second quicker to 100kph.)

So whether it’s for a family trip, or a surfing expedition with some fellow yak herders, there’s plenty of room, and the all-wheel drive capability to go off the beaten track.

Price: from $89,990

What we like

  • Versatile
  • Great stereo
  • Great safety
  • Good interior storage and layout

What we don’t like

  • Heated seats not standard in this model
  • Suspension is a bit soft
  • If you’re short, getting in and out isn’t easy, and blind spots become a problem

VOLVO XC90 3.2 2008 MODEL YEAR

TECHNICAL

7-seater
Naturally Aspirated Inline Six Petrol Engine
Cubic Capacity 3192
Cylinders/Valves per Cylinder 6/4
Kilowatts/Horsepower 175/238
Torque (Nm/rpm) 320/3200
Acceleration (0-100km/h) 9.5
Top Speed (km/h) 210
Drive Train: Haldex Electronic AWD
6-Speed Adaptive & Geartronic Automatic
Nivomat Self-Levelling Suspension
Front Suspension: MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension: Multilink
17″ Ventilated Disc Brakes Front & Rear
Fuel Consumption Combined (L/100km) 12.0
Fuel Capacity (L) 80
Weight (kg) 2060
Trailer Weight: Braked/Unbraked (kg) 2250/750

DIMENSIONS

Length (cm) 4807
Width (cm) 1898
Height (mm) 1784
Cargo Area Volume to Seat Height (ISO V213): With 7 Seated (L) 249
Cargo Area Volume to Seat Height (ISO V211): With 5 Seated (L) 615
Cargo Area Volume to Seat Height (ISO V212): With 2 Seated (L) 914
Cargo Area Volume to Roof Height (ISO V214): With 2 Seated (L) 1837

SAFETY

Rear Park Assist
RSC: Roll-over Stability Control System
DSTC: Dynamic Stability & Traction Control
EBA: Electronic Brake Assistance
ABS with EBD: Electronic Brake Distribution
Front Airbags with Progressive Activation
SIPS: Side Impact Protection System
IC: Door-Mounted Inflatable Curtains
WHIPS: Whiplash Protection System
Three-point Seat Belts with Pretensioners
Force Limiters on Front Seat Belts
Seat Belt Reminder
Integrated Child Safety Booster Cushion
Child Seat Anchorage
ISOFIX Child Seat Attachment
Luggage Net
Speed Sensitive Steering: Optional
Roadside Warning Triangle

INTERIOR

Select Leather Seats
Electric Driver’s Seat with Memory
Adjustable Lumbar Support, Driver and Passenger
Heated Front Seats: Optional
Moveable Second Row Middle Child Seat
Folding Second Row Seat 40/20/40 Split
Forward Facing Easy Fold-away Third Row Seats
Aluminium Inlays and Leather Steering Wheel
Leather Gear Lever
Electric Windows
Automatically Dimmed Rear View Mirror: Optional
Illuminated Vanity Mirrors
Cruise Control
Information Centre
Textile Floor Mats

EXTERIOR

Alloy Wheels 17″ Neptune
Tyre Size 235/65 R17
Tyre Brand Michelin Diamaris
Spare T155/85 R18
Halogen Headlights with Level Adjustment
High Pressure Headlight Washer: Optional
Fog Lights in Front Spoiler
Colour Co-ordinated Wheel Arches: Optional
Roof Rails
Silver Roof Rails: Optional
Roof Spoiler
Rear Windscreen Wiper
Rain Sensor: Optional
Laminated Glass, Side Doors: Optional
Water Repellant Glass, Side Doors: Optional
Remote Boot Lid Opener
Electric, Heated, Water Repellent, Retractable Door Mirrors with Memory
Protective Plate Under Engine
Rear Mudflaps

LOCKING & SECURITY SYSTEMS

Volvo Guard Alarm
Electronic Engine Immobiliser
Rotating Cylinder Locks
Central Locking with Coded Remote
Remote Panic Button
Centrally Operated Child Locks
Retractable Cargo Cover
Homesafe & Approach/Puddle Lights

CLIMATE

ECC: Electronic Climate Control Air Conditioning
AQS: Air Quality System with Pollen, Dust & Exhaust Particle Filter
B-Pillar Air Ventilation
3rd Row Air Conditioning: C-Pillar Vent & Floor Vents
Zone Tinted Windscreen

AUDIO & COMMUNICATIONS

Integrated GSM Digital Telephone: Optional
High Performance Radio: AUX & MP3, 4x40W, 8 Speakers
Single CD In-Dash Stacker
Six Disc CD In-Dash Stacker: Optional
Premium Sound by Dynaudio: Radio, AUX & MP3, Dolby Surround, 5x130W, 12 Speakers: Optional

Rear Headphone Audio Sockets
Auxiliary Input for iPod/MP3 player
Audio Controls on Steering Wheel
Phone Controls on Steering Wheel: Optional

ENVIRONMENTAL

Euro IV Emissions Compliant
Three-way Catalytic Converter Exhaust System
Allergy Free Certified Interior Materials

WARRANTY

Volvo Three Year/Unlimited Kilometres
Volvo Three Year Roadside Assistance
Volvo Seven Year Anti-corrosion

Words Darren Cottingham, photos Dan Wakelin


Blogs: Herne Bay joggers and their death wish

I just moved to Herne Bay. I like it. Most of all I like that it’s less than 3 minutes’ drive to work. But there’s one thing that makes the journey fraught with danger: Herne Bay joggers. I’ve lived all over Auckland and I’ve never known so many people just randomly jog out into the road or an intersection without even looking. That would never happen in West Auckland for fear of becoming the newest hood ornament on a Valiant.

Herne Bay is a relatively wealthy suburb, so I’ve come up with several theories for why this should happen:

1) Herne Bay joggers assume they’ll be hit by Herne Bay residents who mostly are insured and own cars with fairly good pedestrian crash ratings (perhaps except for some of the larger SUVs)

2) Herne Bay joggers are mostly women (my observation) and while it’s well-known that women are smarter than men and better in almost every way, it’s proven that spatial awareness isn’t one of them

3) Herne Bay joggers just don’t care – they have life insurance, they’re financially secure – what does a case of paralysis matter?

3a) The opposite to 3 – Herne Bay joggers are mortgaged to the hilt in hugely expensive houses, have excessive consumer debt from enormous flat-screen TVs and tacky jewellery, and have a secret death wish.

4) Herne Bay joggers think they’re better than everyone else, and motorists should stop to let them past – after all, the road is the same colour as the pavement, so it’s just an ‘extension’ of the ‘pavement territory’, right?

5) Herne Bay is fashionable, and therefore people must keep up with the Joneses, therefore the continuation of jogging is more important than the interruption of stopping, lest they don’t quite burn enough calories.

Perhaps all of these are wrong. Perhaps all of these are right. Really, I just want people to be more careful because I don’t want to be scraping the residue of expensive trainers and shattered iPods out of my grille.

News: Kia ora! Mazda Kiyora concept

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Mazda Kiyora (and we’re assuming it’s said like kia ora), is a lightweight, next generation, urban compact concept car, will be revealed at the 2008 Paris International Motor Show in October.

Mazda Kiyora (meaning “clean and pure” in Japanese) represents the harmony between driving pleasure and environmental and safety features aspired to in Mazda’s long-term technology development vision, “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom.”

The concept of Kiyora (which we’re assuming helped the designers to imagine a city car cutting cleanly through an urban landscape, with water as the design theme. Kiyora’s aerodynamic Nagare design and next-generation four-cylinder direct-injection engine contribute to excellent fuel economy and low CO2 emissions.

The new Mazda Kiyora concept car is based on an all-new platform designed to minimise weight and maximise safety and driving pleasure. According to Mazda it also features an interior design and new functions that support a youthful lifestyle – slouching and listening to an iPod (another assumption on our part).

oining the Mazda Kiyora concept car on Mazda’s stand at the Paris show, the Mazda MX-5 facelift will make its world debut together with the Mazda6 equipped with Mazda’s newly developed MZR-CD 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine, and the Mazda2 powered by a MZ-CD 1.6-litre diesel.

News: Prius fighter: Honda shows its new Insight

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Honda will reveal a concept version of its new small hybrid vehicle, to be named Insight, at the 2008 Paris International Auto Show, October 2. The new Insight Concept shares styling cues with the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle and will provide an early look at the highly-anticipated five-passenger hybrid vehicle.

We don’t have a release date for New Zealand, but it will be on sale in the U.S. next spring most probably significantly below the price of current hybrids like the Toyota Prius.

The Insight Concept defines a new stage in the evolution of hybrid technology by utilising a more cost-efficient version of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assistâ„¢ (IMAâ„¢) hybrid technology. Evoking the innovative styling cues first seen in the FCX Clarity, the Insight Concept is designed with a low centre of gravity and a generous five-passenger cabin. Aerodynamic design assists its fuel efficiency, and by all accounts it should be reasonably roomy and practical with five doors, a hatchback and a folding rear seat.

Numerous technologies, including a function to assist customers in achieving more fuel efficient driving habits, will be applied to achieve a further improvement in real world fuel efficiency. Along with the Civic Hybrid, the new vehicle will be produced at an expanded hybrid vehicle production line at the Suzuka factory in Japan.

The Insight is expected to have annual global sales of 200,000 units per year – approximately 100,000 in North America. Following the launch of the new Insight, Honda also plans to introduce another unique sporty hybrid vehicle based on the CR-Z, first shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. All together, Honda’s global sales of hybrids should increase to approximately 500,000 units a year, or more than 10 percent of its total worldwide annual automobile sales.

The original Honda Insight was introduced in December 1999 as America’s first gas-electric hybrid car. The first vehicle to break the 70-mpg (3.36l/100km) fuel economy barrier, Insight was designed from the ground up to demonstrate the ultimate potential for fuel-economy in a two-seater subcompact automobile.

A leader in the development of cleaner, more fuel-efficient mobility products, Honda introduced the first low-emission gasoline vehicles; America’s first gas-electric hybrid car and the world’s first EPA-certified hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, the FCX. In 2007, Honda was named “greenest automaker” by the Union of Concerned Scientists for the fourth straight time.

News: Citroen Hypnos – quirky!

citroen-hypnos-concept-render

Citroen is well-known for pushing the design envelope, and this Hypnos concept render is a hybrid utility vehicle that would sit in the same marketplace as coupe crossovers such as the BMW X6.

The engine will be a 200hp+ hybrid. The front doors are very long (try opening those in one of the city’s cramped parking spaces), and the rear doors extend into the rear wheel arch. The headlights are smeared backwards to the centre of the front wheel arch.

The real vehicle will make an appearance at the Paris Motor Show in October.

News: Holden gives away free diesel

Holden New Zealand said today that it is offering all customers who buy a new Holden Diesel, before 30 September 2008, two years worth of diesel including Road User Charges.

The offer is similar to one that has recently launched in the Australian market where fuel is capped at AUD .99 cents for two years or 20,000 kilometres, whichever comes first. However, the New Zealand offer goes beyond a capped fuel price providing two years worth of diesel and Road User Charges without any investment in fuel required by customers.

Holden New Zealand Managing Director, Simon Carr said the two years worth of diesel offer will ease the pain consumers are feeling at the pump and reflects the growing demand for diesel vehicles in the New Zealand market.

The Holden Diesel range includes the Captiva, Astra Hatch, Astra Wagon, Epica and Colorado ranges.

In addition to the two years worth of diesel offer, Holden New Zealand is also providing a range of other special deals including a $2,000 buy now bonus on the Commodore Sedan and Ute range. A 2008 Limited Edition Captiva Active with 7″ display screen with front DVD, automatic dimming mirror, specialised exterior styling, rear view camera, black bezel headlamps, unique tail lamps and unique 18″ alloy wheels is also available for just $500 more than the Captiva LX.