Mini: MINI: 2014 Cooper Hatch review

mini cooper 2014 rear quarter

The Mini is 55 years old, being first produced in 1959. 55 years is the same amount of time as the longest serving UK prisoner, serial killer John Straffen, had served when he died in 2007. However, this Mini initially slayed its competition, was killed off in 2000 and then was reborn into a not-quite-so-mini Mini in 2001 under BMW’s ownership where it has continued to be popular, although arguably less iconic. Continue reading “MINI: 2014 Cooper Hatch review” »

News: Maserati celebrates centenary at Monterey car week


Maserati celebrated its 100th anniversary at Monterey car week, at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance where – in 1968 – a Maserati Mistral Coupé took top honours as Best of Show.

As the honoured marque at this year’s 64th annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the lawn was packed with examples illustrating Maserati’s century of history, including – in the Maserati centennial racing class – a 1954 A6GCS Spyder, 1955 Maserati 250F Monoposto, and 1956 Maserati 300S Fantuzzi Spyer. The ’54 A6GCS took the trophy for best Gran Turismo noted for its beauty and highest level of performance in a gran turismo. One of the most fascinating cars designed by Pininfarina in 1954, the A6GCS proved a source of inspiration for the designers of the Alfieri concept of today.

The Alfieri concept 2+2 made its North American debut during a centennial celebration at the Mazda raceway during the Rolex Monterey motor-sport reunion, where Maserati was also the honoured marque. As Lorenzo Ramacioitti, head of Fiat Chrysler automobile global design, presented the stunning concept, he said: “This car has a racing breed,” but added that it has “a kick of poetry.” The Alfieri also made a turn on the Concept Lawn at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Continue reading “Maserati celebrates centenary at Monterey car week” »

News: Top safety ratings for VW and Lexus


The latest round of ANCAP safety ratings have been released with 5 stars awarded to the Volkswagen Polo and two Lexus models – the CT200h and IS.

Each of these models has achieved the top rating of 5 stars as a result of their strong performance in each of the physical crash tests and the inclusion of key safety technologies.

The Volkswagen Polo has held a 5 star ANCAP safety rating since 2010 with Polo models from August 2014 offering additional safety assist technologies such as emergency stop signal and secondary brake collision assist as standard. Continue reading “Top safety ratings for VW and Lexus” »

Kia: Kia: 2014 Sportage Urban Limited review

2014 Kia Sportage, NZ 7

More and more private and fleet buyers are beginning to cotton on to the fact that they don’t need to have an all-wheel-drive SUV.

What they can have now is a front-wheel-drive version with all the bells and whistles, normally found on a top specification 4×4 variant.

Kia Motors New Zealand was among the first to introduce front-wheel-drive SUV models to this market segment with its second generation Sportage Urban in base LX and mid-range EX grades. Continue reading “Kia: 2014 Sportage Urban Limited review” »

News: Thrifty auctions Highlander for Surf Life Saving


Thrifty Car Rental is showing its support for Surf Life Saving New Zealand by auctioning a brand new Toyota Highlander Limited ZR on Trade Me with all proceeds going to the charity.

The Toyota Highlander Limited ZR has a recommended retail price of $80,990.

Its a 5-star ANCAP safety rated all-wheel drive vehicle which seats up to 7 people and features a 9” LCD entertainment screen, reversing monitor, sat navigations, Bluetooth, sunroof, leather interior, and a six-speed automatic transmission. Continue reading “Thrifty auctions Highlander for Surf Life Saving” »

News: Right-hand-drive Mustang testing begins


The addition of a right-hand-drive Mustang to Ford’s lineup of global vehicles will allow the car to be exported to more than 25 right-hand-drive markets around the world, including the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

Mustang engineers recently finished construction of the very first right-hand-drive sixth-generation Mustang. The prototype Mustang will be used to conduct various development tests in preparation for the car’s entry into the global market in the coming months.

While the United States is the largest market for Mustang with more than 9.2 million sales since the car’s debut in 1964, more than 161,000 Mustangs have been sold outside of North America in that time. In 2012 alone, more than 4,000 Mustangs were sold in 35 countries outside of North America, ranging from the United Arab Emirates to Chile to the Philippines. Continue reading “Right-hand-drive Mustang testing begins” »

News: Stretched Volvo S60 takes off in China


Volvo says it’s sales growth in China can be attributed to increased public awareness of the brand, along with an expanding dealership network. However, what’s really moving Chinese Volvo sales could be the addition of 75mm worth of legroom to the S60 sedan.

For Volvo, the S60L marks the company’s entry into the long wheelbase mid-size luxury car market.

Mid-size luxury sedans such as Volvo’s S60, BMW’s 3-Series, and Audi’s A4 are popular amongst Chinese bureaucrats, young business executives, and a burgeoning middle-class, many of whom are being driven around by chauffeurs. Continue reading “Stretched Volvo S60 takes off in China” »

Ford: Ford: 2014 Focus Sport hatch review


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” »