Ford 2010 Fusion plus Hybrid

December 21st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

The most fuel efficient midsize sedan. 2010 Ford Fusion plus Hybrid


Land Rover Range Rover Sport 2010 Revealed

December 21st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Refreshed exterior and interior, new driving technologhy and world class new engines for 2010

Ford Taurus 2010 SHO Engine

December 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

We speak car, we speak innovation – the all-new Ford Taurus SHO


Aston Martin upgrades V8 Vantage for 2010

December 14th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Aston Martin V8 Vantage 2010 fq

Reports from the UK and a new batch of images from Aston Martin has confirmed some minor revisions for its entry-level V8 Vantage for the 2010 model year.

Among those changes are clear tail lamps (similar to those on the V12 version), side sills borrowed from the N400 edition and silver mesh trim for the bonnet and side vents. There will also be some new optional equipment, including ten-spoke, 19-inch forged alloys, carbon-Kevlar seats that drop 17kg off the curb weight, and a 1000-watt Bang & Olufsen stereo.

Along with the new equipment, Aston has cut the V8 engine’s carbon emissions. Orders for the updated V8 Vantage will be taken from now with deliveries beginning early in the new year.

Check out images of the updated model in the gallery below.

Nissan Qashqai facelift revealed

December 8th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Nissan Qashqai 2010 fq

Nissan has revealed its updated Qashqai crossover hatch, due to go on sale mid next year.

The refreshed Qashqai receives an upgraded aggressive front end, with new headlights, grille and bumper.

Out back styling remains largely unchanged, however the taillights gain new LED lenses, and small tweaks for improved aerodynamics and reduced drag.

The drag coefficient on the Qashqai has dropped from 0.34 to 0.33 with the 2010 update.

Inside, the instrument cluster has been redesigned and a new drive computer lives between the main dials.

Low-level lighting has been fitted around the front footwells, to assist with nighttime visibility when entering or exiting the 2010 Qashqai.

Noise, vibration and harshness has been improved for 2010, with the addition of an ‘acoustic’ windscreen and a new multi-layer insulation material fitted around the front bulkhead.

More information is likely to be revealed as the launch for the 2010 Qashqai draws closer.

VW Polo wins 2010 European Car of the Year

December 1st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

VW Polo 2009 fq1

The new VW Polo has scored a narrow triumph in the 2010 Car of the Year Award, beating six other finalists. The result, announced today, show that the Polo scored 347 points against 337 for Toyota’s new city car, the iQ. The pair were well ahead of the next-best runner, the Opel/Vauxhall Astra with 221 points, while the other finalists were the Skoda Yeti (158), the Mercedes-Benz E-Class (155), the Peugeot 3008 (144) and the Citroen C3 Picasso (113).

Announcing the result, Autocar’s Steve Cropley, who is one of six UK based jurors, and one of 59 car experts from 23 European countries who decide the award, revealed that the Polo was chosen as the winning car by 25 jurors, while the iQ was chosen by 20 jurors. The competition was neck-and-neck throughout the counting, with the Polo’s win confirmed only as the last vote was counted.

“This year’s results show that the body of COTY jurors firmly believes that small, economical cars were the best of this year’s crop,” says Cropley.  ”The Polo is a very complete, very refined car which delivers all the consistent qualities VW has become so well known for. However, given its unusual layout, controversial looks and premium price, the iQ did amazingly well, and it was nice to see good support for the Astra, whose maker, GM Europe, was victorious this year with the Insignia executive car. The E-Class Mercedes, considered by many to be the maker’s best saloon model for years, was also well supported.”

The COTY jury is made up of 59 senior  motoring journalists from 23 countries. Their objective is to choose the most outstanding new car to go on sale in the past 12 months. Jurors vote twice:  first to select a short-list of seven from the new cars launched in Europe, then again to choose the winner.

Ford Territory Ghia Turbo 2009 Review

November 27th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

The Ford Territory has been around since 2004 and has received a recent facelift for its 2009 model year. The Territory was once a popular benchmark vehicle in its segment and this latest measure is set to extend its lifespan. So is it simply a weathered old gunslinger that’s been given a new hat and holster and sent back out to fight? Or does the updated Territory have some new tricks and shining spurs? Car and SUV headed west in the range-topping Territory Turbo to test its mettle.

With extensive changes and the introduction of a turbo-diesel engine scheduled for next year, this is a modest facelift. In terms of exterior aesthetics, changes include a new front bumper, upper and lower grilles, colour coded exterior mirrors and new head and taillights. The Territory Turbo retains the aggressive bonnet scoop and in Ghia trim receives special 18-inch rims. When compared to the latest 2009 batch of SUVs the Territory is showing its age. However, it remains a smart and purposefully styled vehicle with a distinctive shape.

It’s in the cabin where the Territory turbo boasts some serious new gear. Now included as standard specification is a handy third row of seating, reverse parking camera, rear privacy glass, side steps and an Alpine DVD system for back seat passengers.  The seats have also been updated with quality leather and are wide and very comfortable. Gauges and switchgear are sensibly laid out but the multifunction display screen can look cluttered and difficult to read. The silver and black trim works in well together and while some materials feel a touch cheap it’s all screwed together strongly. Cabin space is superb with decent legroom all round. Overall, the Territory interior is a pleasant place to be, but car styling has shifted forward and although the standard equipment list is impressive the dated dash and instruments aren’t.

When it comes to what’s packed in under the bludging bonnet, the updated Territory has no major mechanical changes. Some small tweaks to the powertrain have resulted in a slight fuel economy improvement but engine specs and performance figures remain unchanged. That said, Ford knows you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight and the Territory turbo is still packing some serious firepower. Making use of its turbocharged 4-litre 6-cylinder engine the top-spec Territory puts out a whacking 245kW of power and 480Nm of torque. This brutish unit will take the Territory from standing to 100kmh in around 7 seconds and easily embarrass most other SUV drivers. It’s a motor that has strength through the range but it’s low down torque that gives it real character.

Mated to a smart six-speed auto transmission the Territory works itself competently through the gears and if you want to get hands-on there’s a tiptronic shifting option. Fuel economy is quoted at 14.2L/100km combined, which is fairly high, and if you want to have some fun and wind up the turbo, fuel bills will increase simultaneously.

Like the powertrain there has been no changes to the chassis or suspension set-up for the facelifted Territory but car-like drivability remains a strength for the vehicle. Despite it’s burly 2-tonne weight and high centre of gravity it’s surprisingly agile on twisty roads and easily manoeuvrable around town. But take it off the tarmac and it may struggle, with 235/55 R18 tyres and a clearance of just 179mm the Territory is undoubtedly better suited for sealed roads. In wet conditions the Territory feels sure-footed with ample grip thanks to its full-time 4WD system and wide track.

Ride quality is very good with little in the way of engine or wind noise entering the cabin. The suspension is set on the firm side for an SUV but only the most broken of Kiwi roads will prove uncomfortable for occupants.

Safety credentials check out with a posse of airbags including curtains waiting to shoot. ABS brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, traction control and a dynamic stability control system are also all standard fare on the Territory Turbo.

Overall, the Territory Turbo is still a very good performance orientated SUV with a strong motor, solid safety and keen driving dynamics. The facelift for 2009 is more an exercise in adding value by increasing standard equipment than making any major changes. Some buyers will be tempted by the added gear from the facelift but most will understandably wait for 2010 when the Territory range is fully updated in earnest and styling is properly refreshed. For now, when the cards get shown the Territory Turbo is still holding a full house, it’s just all the other players have moved on to the next saloon.

Click through to the next page for a list of specifications.

Price: $67,990

What we like:

  • Strong Torquey engine
  • Car-like driving dynamics
  • Lengthy equipment list

What we don’t like:

  • Minimal updates
  • Fuel consumption
  • Dated styling inside and out

Words and Photos: Adam Mamo

Ford Territory Ghia Turbo (2009) – Specifcations

Engine

DOHC VCT I6 Turbo—S
Cylinders 6
Displacement (cc) 3984
Power – maximum (DIN) 245kW @ 5,250rpm
Torque – maximum (DIN ) 480Nm @ 2,000rpm

Transmission

Adaptive Shift/ Tiptronic 6FA

Towing Capacity

Braked – Standard 1,600
Braked – Heavy duty 2,300
Unbraked 1,000

Suspension

Front – Virtual Pivot Control Link
Rear - Control blade independent

Steering

Power-Assisted Steering
Turning circle (kerb to kerb) 11.4
Turns to lock 3.0

Wheels & Tyres

Wheel size 18″
Wheel type 5 spoke alloy
Tyre size 235/55 R18
Spare wheel 17″ alloy

Luggage Capacity

Volume – Luggage behind second row seats (L) 1,153

Vehicle Masses kg

Axle load rating – front maximum 1,290
Axle load rating – rear maximum 1,530
Gross combination mass (GCM) 4,850
Gross vehicle mass (GVM) 2,690
Kerb mass 2,173
Payload – maximum 517

Toyota NZ releases fourth-generation Prado

November 18th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota New Zealand has just launched the latest generation of its popular Land Cruiser Prado mid-sized  SUV.

The Land Cruiser Prado is now available in three grades — GX, VX and VX Limited — each powered by a 3.0 litre common rail turbo diesel engine.

Toyota New Zealand General Manager of Sales and Operations, Steve Prangnell said, “We are offering customers more choice, with an extended model line up and comprehensive option packages. Prado will now appeal to a broader range of customers looking for an extremely capable vehicle for on and off road use”.

All new Prado models have Toyota’s 1KD common-rail diesel engine with variable vane turbo charger, full-time 4WD, front SRS airbags, front side airbags, driver’s knee airbag, full length three row curtain shield airbags, active front headrests, ABS with EBD and Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Control, Active Traction Control, Hill-start Assist and Downhill Assist Control (automatic transmission vehicles only), smart entry and start system, second row seatbelt anchorage height adjusters, 3.5mm and USB audio input jacks, Bluetooth handsfree phone capability, reversing camera, parking sensors, engine immobiliser and alarm system and a rear spoiler.

Prado GX

The entry level GX model has 17″ alloy wheels, a rear door mounted spare wheel with hard cover, reverse parking sensors, leather steering wheel, dual zone air conditioning, and a single disc MP3/WMA compatible CD player.

Prado VX

Prado VX adds 18″ alloy wheels, under floor mounted spare wheel, Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), electrochromatic inside rear view mirror, front and side view cameras, front parking sensors, HID headlights with Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), headlight cleaners, three zone climate control air conditioning, six disc CD changer with nine speakers, front seat heaters, leather seats, power adjustable front seats, Optitron instruments with steering angle display, power adjustable tilt and telescopic steering column, front fog lights, glass hatch in rear door, roof rails, and rear privacy glass.

Prado VX Limited

The top spec VX Limited has additional features over the VX: adaptive variable suspension system and rear active height control, pre-crash safety system, dynamic radar cruise control, leather and woodgrain style steering wheel, 6 disc CD/DVD changer with 14 speakers, satellite navigation system, coolbox, front seat memory system, woodgrain style console, rear seat entertainment system with 9″ screen, and a tilt and slide sunroof.

An off road package is available for VX and VX Limited grades which includes multi-terrain ABS, CRAWL control, multi-terrain select, multi-terrain monitor with additional cameras and a rear electrical differential lock.

Pricing

The recommended retail price for the GX with manual transmission is $78,490 with $1,500 added for automatic transmission. The VX model is $89,900 with the top-of-the-range VX Limited model priced at $104,990. The off road package is $2,250 for the VX and a no cost option for VX Limited.

Check out some images of the new Toyota Prado in the gallery below.