The New 2010 Range Rover Sport Supercharged 0mph to 100mph and back
Porsche makes great sports cars and that’s a fact. It’s why the company has experienced longevity and why the 911 is the world’s most recognisable ride. But Porsche knew it had more to offer the automotive world and developed the Cayenne SUV. The Cayenne has proved a sales success for the German firm but it’s still not enough. Now Porsche is filling out its range with an ambitious entry into the luxury sedan segment with the new Panamera. Rather than making a confined four-door coupe the Panamera is designed to be a true ‘gran turismo’ automobile, uncompromising in its cabin space and road trip practicality while still offering traditional Porsche driving characteristics. It sounds great on paper but has this demanding ideal been achieved? Car and SUV slid into the Panamera’s leather driver’s seat to seek out the answers.
For all the technology and power a modern Porsche has on offer it’s the styling that is always called into question before a key is turned or a spec sheet browsed. From when the first concept sketches were revealed critics have been shouting ‘ugly’ at Porsche’s first four-door sedan but in the flesh it’s not so simple. What’s noticed first is the car’s dominant size and presence; it’s a big machine that’s 1931mm wide, just 1418mm in height but almost 5 meters in length. The Panamera has typically elegant Porsche styling cues at the front and rear particularly around the light clusters and bumpers. However, view the vehicle in profile and elegance turns to awkwardness. While the front end is low the rear is high with a fastback look that is muscular but ultimately unbalances the Panamera. An upswept window-line and thick rear pillars help ease the odd overall shape but it’s the rear styling that will polarize opinion. Exterior quality is excellent with gleaming paintwork, tight shut-lines and 5-spoke 19-inch rims finishing the look. Love it or hate it, the Panamera is a true head-turner that offers the eye both familiarity and novelty the same glance.
The Commodore Omega has long been seen as the budget base model brother to the rest of the range. A true fleet special used by sales reps and the Police to help make sales calls or collar crooks. Being used in this capacity probably won’t change for the Omega but what has changed is the addition of a new engine and gearbox for the 2010 model year. Is this update enough to push the Omega further into the consciousness of the private car buyer? Car and SUV spent a week searching for evidence with the upgraded Holden Omega.
The 2010 updates to the Commodore range are all about the new powertrains and the Omega has benefitted from a new six-cylinder engine. Codenamed LF1 the new motor has a 3.0-litre capacity and a 210kW power output with 290Nm of torque. It’s a modern bent-six and is equipped with Holden’s fancy Spark Ignition Direct Injection (SIDI) system that directly injects fuel into the combustion chamber. The result is more power from less fuel.
Compared to the outgoing engine there is a power increase of 10kW but a 20Nm drop in torque because of the new units smaller capacity. Anyone who thinks this will make evading the Police easier is mistaken because the new engine has some pace and accelerates the Omega smoothly and with strength. It’s also very flexible, remaining well mannered in stop start traffic but still capable of decent mid-range grunt making for confident overtaking at open road speeds.
As a nation China has presented the world with many great gifts. These include the compass, fireworks and Jackie Chan. But when it comes to the automotive realm China’s contributions have been limited, a fact that could be changing. There are currently over one hundred car manufacturers operating in China, a number that should prove too large even for a country of mammoth numbers. As these companies jostle for sales it was inevitable that the keen players would glance toward international markets and ultimately find their way down to NZ. One of the first to travel the waves and attempt to make them here is Great Wall Motors and one of its initial offerings is the X240 SUV. Car and SUV climbed aboard the X240 to see what this new vehicle is all about and just how well it stacks up against Japanese opposition.
The first questions most Kiwis ask about this pioneering Chinese vehicle is: How much does it cost and what do you get? The answers at first seem equally elementary. It costs $28,990, and you get loads of stuff. While that doesn’t tell the whole story, perceived value for money is the key to the Great Wall sales pitch and it’s the X240’s most defining characteristic.
The X240 is a compact 4WD SUV and with sub $30K pricing undercuts smaller 2WD SUV’s and is up to $20,000 cheaper than many rivals offering similar specification levels.
Often being successful means playing to your natural strengths, which is why you never see 7-foot tall jockeys and likewise with 5-foot tall basketball players. For Suzuki, its strength is in small cars, it’s where success has been found in the past, currently with the Swift, and where opportunities exist for the future. Suzuki’s latest weapon in the increasingly city car battleground is the new Alto. Now in its seventh-generation the Alto is an international success story having sold more than 10 million units over a 30-year period. Not all models have made it to NZ but this writer’s mother once owned the first generation and spent many childhood holiday road trips wondering why large trucks were overtaking our car when I was sure it should be the other way round. Now, with any flashbacks well-repressed Car and SUV spent a week with the fresh-faced Alto to find its strengths and uncover any weaknesses.
One of the best things about playing mini golf is that you get much of the pleasure of golf only condensed down into a simpler form. While the concept of mini golf works well as an activity for dating teen couples it hasn’t always worked so well for Volkswagen’s Polo. The Polo model has been around for 35 years making it only slightly younger than its Golf big brother. The Golf has gone on to be one of the most successful cars in history while the Polo has seen solid sales but has still shivered in its shadow as a smaller, less attractive substitute. Now, the Polo has entered its fifth-generation and unlike the Mark VI Golf is an all-new vehicle designed entirely from scratch.
The new Polo was created as a poster boy for VW to show its current focus on technology and simple modern design. It’s working well with the new Polo already winning the European Car of the Year Award for 2010. Car and SUV had some seat time in the latest Polo to see just what makes it so special.
Nissan has just pulled the covers off its all-new, upsized Patrol SUV today in Abu Dhabi, and the rugged old favourite has gone all upmarket. Like its Toyota Land Cruiser competitor the Patrol has lost the utilitarian look and in its place, Nissan has delivered a decidedly more rounded, leather-lined, TV-screened luxury hauler.
Power comes from a direct-injected 5.6-litre V8 that produces 400 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque. That engine is mated to a seven-speed automatic and a new electronic four-wheel-drive system with four driver-selectable modes (pavement, sand, rock, and snow). The truck rides on a new four-wheel independent suspension, and features the latest tech including a hydraulic body roll counter system, hill start assist, and hill descent control.
Inside, there’s a spacious cabin with premium features and better overall material quality. A unique new feature is what Nissan calls a “curtain vent” – openings above each window that direct cool air straight down to form a layer of air-conditioned insulation between each passenger and the glass on hot days.
Check back as we bring you more info on the new Nissan Patrol and its pricing and availability in NZ.