2011 Volvo V60 – First Drive

March 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The all-new Volvo V60 wagon was officially released into the NZ market with a launch event held in Auckland.

Well known for its safety innovations, Volvo is set to continue that trend with the V60 but is throwing other virtues into the mix. Shapely design, sharp on-road dynamics and powerful engines are all features of the new 2011 V60 range which comes with high expectations for the team at Volvo Cars NZ.

According to General Manager, Steve Kenchington, “The all-new V60 provides a great opportunity for us.  Volvo has always been strong with wagons in New Zealand and with the striking styling, the performance and safety package we hope to attract new buyers to our sports wagon as well as retain our existing customers.”

‘This is an extremely important new car for us,’ Kenchington added. ‘With its standout style, exceptional on-road abilities, outstanding passenger comfort and the very latest Volvo safety technology it sets new standards in New Zealand’s premium mid-size segment.”

The three model V60 range goes on sale this month to complement the similar engined S60 sedan which arrived just before Christmas. After a media presentation Car and SUV was given some seat time with each of the three models in the new line up.

The range consists of the entry-spec V60 T5 (four cylinder turbocharged petrol engined) priced at $67,990, with the mid-range V60 D5 AWD (Turbo diesel All Wheel Drive) at $75,990 and the flagship V60 T6 AWD (Turbo petrol All Wheel Drive) at $83,990. Continue reading “2011 Volvo V60 – First Drive” »

BMW launches all-new more powerful X3 into NZ market

March 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW has unveiled its all new X3 at a press event held on Australia’s Gold Coast. The new model will go on sale in New Zealand from the middle of March and comes boasting enhancements in technology, design, performance and driving dynamics.

The second generation X3 looks very sharp with a modernised design that features a contoured bonnet, xenon headlights and an upswept windowline. Dimensionally the new X3 is wider and longer than its predecessor but still sits neatly between the X1 and X5 in terms of size. It is also 25kg lighter than the first-gen X3, an impressive result considering it’s larger and carries more kit.

In terms of power two engine variants will be available in the New Zealand line-up and they’re both diesel.

The new BMW X3 xDrive20d features a four-cylinder in-line diesel engine with output of 135 kW, and 380 Nm of torque. Acceleration to 100 km/h takes 8.5 seconds which is brisk for an SUV and is made more impressive by the X3’s fuel consumption of just 5.6 litres/100km.

The higher-spec BMW X3 xDrive30d boasts a three-litre six-cylinder in-line diesel engine with an output of 190 kW and 560 Nm of torque. The car accelerates from 0–100 km/h in just 6.2 seconds, yet EU fuel consumption is only 6.0 litres/100 km.

The BMW X3 xDrive20d will have a recommended retail price of $87,900 and the more powerful BMW X3 xDrive30d a recommended retail price of $108,500. Continue reading “BMW launches all-new more powerful X3 into NZ market” »

Kia Sportage LTD 2011 Review

March 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

In just a few years Kia has gone from making up the numbers to becoming a true force in global car manufacture. At first it was all about changing brand perception, but that alone was never going to be enough. Now the Korean carmaker is setting about proving itself to be able to make good quality, well-equipped and aesthetically desirable vehicles in almost every market segment. One of the latest models to receive this full force treatment is Kia’s Sportage small SUV. Already a popular model on NZ roads the new look Sportage is ready to build on its predecessor’s reputation for practicality and durability at a bargain price. But take one look at the next-gen Sportage and it’s clear that this is one compact SUV that won’t be content with just being practical and durable, now it wants to be the best. Car and SUV booked some time with the new Sportage LTD to see how it measures up.

Before opening its doors or starting the engine, it’s hard not to take a moment and admire the Sportage for its absolutely striking styling. Its compact proportions are hidden behind a muscular, sporty look and athletic stance. A staunch character is created by expansive amounts of sheetmetal, a minimal glasshouse and raked-back front windscreen. Unique front and rear lights give the Sportage a futuristic concept car charm and a low roof line with forward-sloping C-pillars distance it from traditional boxy SUV shapes. Hints of off-road ability come from a raised ride height and tough black plastic capping the Sportage’s underside. Our top spec Ltd tested model came with visual extras like chrome trim around the window line and grille, silver integrated roof rails, LED daytime running lights and 17-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels. Continue reading “Kia Sportage LTD 2011 Review” »

Nissan upgrades 370Z with new GT Edition

March 9th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Nissan’s latest Z car the 370Z is certainly a looker and has the power to match but it isn’t getting any younger. To stretch out the lifespan of the Japanese sportscar Nissan’s announced an update of the 370Z Coupe, initially for the European market. For the new model year, Nissan is introducing a number of suspension, transmission and equipment improvements for the entire 370Z Coupe range while also adding a new trim level named the GT Edition.

The good news is that some of the upgrades are mechanical with the new 370Z Coupe receiving retuned dampers which promise to provide a better balance between ride comfort and high-speed handling. Nissan has said that with the higher average speeds that are a part of driving in Europe, technicians from Nissan Technical Centre Europe sorted out the changes. For 2011, refinement is also being increased through revisions to underbody insulation reducing road noise.

While many buyers go for a bit of self-shifting in their Z-car, the optionally available seven-speed automatic transmission now gains a snow mode. When used the 370Z sets off in second gear and controls engine revs to prevent wheel spin on ice or snow.

Equipment upgrades include a rear view-parking camera as part of the new Nissan Premium Connect satellite navigation option. Continue reading “Nissan upgrades 370Z with new GT Edition” »

2011 Honda Jazz goes on sale in NZ

March 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Honda NZ has just landed its updated 2011 Jazz sub-compact hatchbacks. The latest version of the popular model comes with fresh styling to the exterior and interior, new features, new colours, Electronic Stability Control and a 5 Star Euro NCAP Safety rating.

There are now seven colours for Jazz buyers to choose from, with the addition of Fresh Lime Green, Sunset Orange and Storm Silver. The styling updates affect the Jazz’s front and rear bumpers, grille, headlights and tail-lights.

New standard features on the 2011 Jazz range include Electronic Stability Control (Honda’s VSA), improved look and feel to the interior upholstery, trip computer integration with the steering wheel controls and passenger seat-belt reminders. The interior and dash layout upgrade includes amber interior and instrument panel lighting to enhance the driving experience.

The Jazz 1.3S model now comes standard with 15” alloy wheels, rear spoiler and cruise control, while all 1.3 and 1.5 litre models receive new dynamic styling to the front and rear bumpers, grille and lower skirts.

The i-VTEC engine, combined with either the 5-speed automatic transmission or 5-speed manual (1.3S models only), remains unchanged. The 1.5 litre Jazz achieves power of 88kW and torque of 145Nm, and the 1.3 litre, power of 73kW and torque of 127Nm.  Racing inspired paddle shifters on the steering wheel allow gear shifts in automatic mode or full manual operation in ‘Sport’ mode for driver control.

Winning the Small Car Class in the recent AA Energywise Rally demonstrates the fuel economy potential of the Honda Jazz.  Its fuel economy figures are 5.8, 6.6 and 6.7 litres per 100km respectively for the Jazz 1.3S manual, Jazz 1.3S automatic and Jazz 1.5 Sport. Continue reading “2011 Honda Jazz goes on sale in NZ” »

Holden Barina Spark 2011 Review

March 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

There’s no doubt that a small spark can be a powerful thing. Spark is a vital element of the internal combustion engine and it’s often a small spark that can start the largest fires. But can Holden’s new Barina Spark blaze its way into the affections of small hatch buyers on a budget in NZ, or will it fizzle out? With unique micro-car styling, quirky features and an emphasis on safety the Spark has a good chance of scoring some serious sales. Car and SUV spent a week fanning the flames to see if the Barina Spark will become hot property.

Designed and built in Korea, the Barina Spark is a truly global product for General Motors that will be sold in over 150 countries. Here in NZ, the Spark is the latest in a line of sub-compact hatches Holden has given the Barina badge and sold over the years. How does it stack up? Well, it’s certainly the most striking model to wear the nameplate.

Aimed largely at female buyers the Spark has definite cute appeal but also mixes in many modern, sporty design cues. Like a dog that’s carried in a handbag the Spark’s petite proportions and wide-eyed face will get the ladies swooning. Huge wrap-over Continue reading “Holden Barina Spark 2011 Review” »

Ford NZ announces 1 April on sale date for updated Mondeo

March 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Ford New Zealand has announced a 1 April on sale date for the new 2011 Mondeo.

A host of product enrichments will bolster the Mondeo, a model range already renowned for its blend of styling, comfort, ride and performance. A highly fuel efficient turbo diesel and new, safety features head the list of changes, along with new standard equipment and enhancements to exterior and interior styling.

“We’re very excited about the new Mondeo ,” said Trevor Auger, Ford New Zealand Managing Director.  “It’s been a very popular vehicle in New Zealand and with these enhancements we can only expect that popularity to grow.”

“The Ford Mondeo has been an excellent example of balancing the right mix of equipment and technology with the right price in a car that is beautifully designed and packaged. These generous additions simply build on this winning formula and make it an even more compelling choice for new-car buyers,” he said.

The 2011 Mondeo will continue to offer New Zealand customers the choice of four-cylinder petrol and turbo-diesel power. Continue reading “Ford NZ announces 1 April on sale date for updated Mondeo” »

Queenstown Auto Extravagaza going ahead this weekend

February 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Some of the most extravagant vehicles in NZ have headed south for this weekend’s 2011 Queenstown Auto Extravaganza (Friday 25 – Sunday 27 February).

There will be a mind-blowing collection of 400 racing, street, classic, supercars and ‘cars of style’ which have been driven or specially transported into the region for the three-day biennial event, which aims to raise funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.  Among thousands of auto-enthusiasts expected to take part is racing pro Jonny Reid.

Queenstown Auto Extravaganza Chairman Miles Wilson said excitement was building as more stunning cars arrived daily and supporters and sponsors rallied around in preparation for the weekend.

“Cars have been coming in thick and fast and each seems to come with an incredible story*,” he said.  “The indoor Vincent Holdings ‘Salon of Style’ (Saturday 26) and NZ Motor Racing exhibition alone lists an 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB, 2009 James Bond Aston Martin DBS Volante, 1957 Mercedes 300SL, 2007 8c Competizione Alfa Romeo Super Car and a brand new 2011 Mercedes Benz SLS Gull wing.

“Famous historical race cars include the McLaren Elva M1B, PDL Mustang 1 and a 2003 Dodge Charger Kasey Kahne Nascar among some 30 motorsport cars for its event.

“The Rilean ‘What’s in you Garage?’ public car show (Saturday 26) has drawn in beauties from around the country such as a 1973 Jaguar E-Type, 1923 Ford T-Bucket and a 1960 Corvette fuel-injected Convertible. Continue reading “Queenstown Auto Extravagaza going ahead this weekend” »