Holden reveals Series II Captiva – on sale in March

February 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Holden has unveiled its new Series II Captiva range just over a week before it goes on sale in NZ on March 1st. During a press event in Australia’s Yarra Valley Holden officially revealed the facelifted Series II Captiva and let keen journalists have some time behind the wheel.

Both the Captiva 5 and the larger Captiva 7 has received a interior and exterior styling tweaks and the range gets new powertrains with modern petrol and diesel engines mated to six-speed transmissions. These changes will combine to give the Series II Captiva even wider appeal.

The higher-performing new generation petrol and diesel engines combined with strongly competitive pricing is the big story for the updated Captiva. There’s more power on tap across the range, complemented by fuel efficiency gains on all models.

The seven-seat Captiva 7 range now offers three new powertrain options including a price-leading 2.4 litre four-cylinder petrol variant, a 2.2 litre turbo diesel and the Commodore-proven, Australian-built 3.0 litre Spark Ignition Direct Injection (SIDI) V6.

Captiva 5 buyers get the choice of a turbo diesel powerplant for the first time while refinements to all Series II models mean quieter cabins and improved ride and handling quality. Continue reading “Holden reveals Series II Captiva – on sale in March” »

Land Rover NZ puts updated Freelander 2 on sale

February 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

A new diesel powertrain combined with a more upmarket interior and reworked exterior looks characterise the upgraded 2011 Freelander 2.

The Freelander’s re-engineered 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine comes with 140kWs as the SD4 or 110kWs as the TD4. The motor offers an impressive 420Nm of torque (20Nm more than the outgoing model) yet fuel economy or CO2 emissions are reduced. It is available with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Exterior design changes including new front bumper and grille, new alloy wheels and colour options. Inside, a new range of seat style finishes and instrumentation set the 2011 Freelander aside from previous models.

The new diesel has a new variable geometry turbocharger and is re-calibrated from scratch to deliver higher levels of power. The use of an Intelligent Power Management System (IPMS) provides ‘smart charging’ of the battery by recovering kinetic energy when the vehicle is slowing wherever possible, rather than consuming fuel by charging when the vehicle is accelerating.

Developed especially for this engine, the new variable geometry turbocharger is now water-cooled enabling it to run at a higher temperature thus enabling lower levels of emissions, power and torque. The engine has also been fitted with a more powerful ECU to handle the increased emissions requirements. The engine is fitted with a common rail system with fuel delivered by high-speed piezo injectors.

For the first time, the Freelander 2 diesel powertrains are compatible with 10 percent biodiesel rather than five percent. The piston rings have been revised to reduce friction. The main bearings have also been improved in line with the additional power and torque and the engine sump has been fitted with a cover to reduce radiated noise from the bottom of the engine.

Continue reading “Land Rover NZ puts updated Freelander 2 on sale” »

New Suzuki Swift Sport being added to updated range

February 10th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

With the release of the new generation Swift there has been a lot of speculation on weather Suzuki will indulge fans with a genuine sports version of the popular model. Now according to reports coming out of Suzuki there will be a 2012 Swift Sport and it will have a more powerful engine than the rest of the range.

What is unclear is what the engine will be, it could possibly be a re-tuned version current Swift Sport’s M16A 1.6-litre motor that produces 92kW or even an entirely new engine.

A turbocharged or supercharged powerplant seems unlikely, but with the new Swift having downsizing to a 1.4 litre powerplant, a reworked version of the old Swift’s 1.5 litre M15A inline four is also possible.

The new Swift Sport will ride on a firmer suspension set- up and feature stiffer springs. So expect lively driving dynamics. Suzuki’s engineers are also looking at keeping weight down, but the new next-generation Swift Sport is not expected to save any weight on the outgoing RS Swift Sport. Continue reading “New Suzuki Swift Sport being added to updated range” »

Ford Australia unveils new 2011 Ford Territory

February 9th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

After a lengthy development programme Ford Australia has pulled the covers off its new look Ford Territory.

The Australian-designed-and-developed SUV has undergone extensive visual updates inside and out. The new Territory has been brought into line with the rest of Ford’s vehicles that wear the kinetic design language. There is a fully reworked front end, a restyled tail, new C-pillar shape and side lines.

Presenting the new design was the responsibility of the Ford Australia design team, headed by Chris Svensson, Design Director for Ford Asia Pacific and Africa.

“We worked hard to ensure the new Territory was an evolution of the original model and, through the use of Ford’s distinct design DNA, also gave a hint of the future,” Svensson said. “To achieve this we applied Ford’s unique style philosophy: kinetic design. Kinetic design comprises several specific elements, all of which are present in the new Territory. They are confident stance, dynamic lines, expressive form language, taut surfacing, bold graphics and great detailing. When you combine them they convey movement and athleticism. In other words, the vehicle looks like it is moving when standing still,” Svensson said.

At the front, the vehicle uses an all-new tri-plane front-end architecture. The new trapezoid-shaped main grille is one of the new Territory’s most noticeable updates. This larger, lower grille in a unique three-bar design connects with the slim-line treatment given to the upper grille opening, a feature which sees the famous Ford roundel now surrounded by its own winged structure. Continue reading “Ford Australia unveils new 2011 Ford Territory” »

All-new 2011 Suzuki Swift goes on sale in NZ

February 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Suzuki Swift has been New Zealand’s top selling small car for more than six years now and for 2011 it’s received a comprehensive make-over.

While the new model Suzuki Swift changes from the wheels up, it is a clear evolution of its highly successful predecessor. Changes to the exterior design are subtle making for an instantly recognisable vehicle but the fifth generation Swift may be more different to drive than to look at.

Apparently, there’s more usable interior space, improved ride and handling, benefits in fuel economy and higher levels of safety for the new 1.4-litre Swift five-door hatchback.

“Remarkably, while the new model is larger than before and has higher levels of equipment, it actually weighs less,” said Bill Grice, chief executive officer for Suzuki New Zealand. “Suzuki’s most highly acclaimed world car takes another step forward to secure its continued popularity, especially in New Zealand where the model has been an on-going hit,” he said.

Code named AZH414, the latest Swift is 3,850 mm long – a 90 mm increase on the outgoing RS415 model. The wheelbase is up 40 mm to 2,430 mm, body width increases only slightly to 1,695 mm, and overall height rises 10 mm to 1,510 mm. Continue reading “All-new 2011 Suzuki Swift goes on sale in NZ” »

2011 VW Polo GTI arrives in NZ next month

January 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Polo GTI is back in New Zealand and it’s no toy either, packing a 132 kW/ 250Nm torque punch.

The light 1,194kg Volkswagen hot hatch will hit 100 km/h in just 6.9 seconds and go on to a top speed of 229 km/h. Under the bonnet lives VW’s award-winning twincharged 1.4-litre TSI engine (turbo plus supercharging). It’s a very strong motor considering its size and has proved a very popular mill in other VW product. The engine puts its power to the front wheels via a globally adopted 7-speed DSG gear box.

The new Polo GTI also has excellent fuel economy thanks to the downsizing of the 1.4-litre TSI engine and the 7-speed dual clutch gearbox. The new Polo GTI is now 25 percent more fuel efficient with a fuel consumption of 5.9 l/100 km.

Comfort features include electro-hydraulic power steering, electric windows in front and rear, central locking, driver seat height adjustment, climatronic air conditioning, cruise control, green tinted insulated glass and privacy glass in rear window and rear side windows with 65% light absorption. And, multimedia is far from overlooked with RCD 510 radio CD system with large high resolution, colour touch screen, 6-disc CD changer, MP3 and MWA file compatible and AUX-IN multimedia socket, iPod adapter cable and Bluetooth phone preparation.

The GTI will be the first Polo to be available with optional bi-xenon headlights with cornering lights, LED daytime running lights and corner marker lights.

VW GTI-specific features are always standard, such as red trim on the radiator grill and honeycomb on air intakes and front fog lights as well as a sport seat system with distinctive “JackyŸ upholstery, leather covered multi-function steering-wheel with GTI design DSG paddles, sports suspension and 17-inch alloy wheels in the telephone dialler design.

The NZ Golf GTI will be in a four-door body shape and will have safety features consisting of a highly effective airbag network, belt tensioners, front head restraints designed to avoid whiplash trauma as well as Isofix points on the rear bench seat. An electronic transverse differential lock (XDS) reduces the tendency to understeer and improves handling especially for quick driving through curves. Like all versions of the model series, the Polo GTI also comes equipped with the standard ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) including hill hold control.

The New Zealand 4-door Polo GTI will be available at an RRP of $37,500 in February 2011. Continue reading “2011 VW Polo GTI arrives in NZ next month” »

Next-gen 2011 Ford Ranger shows locomotive force (+video)

January 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The new global Ford Ranger (read news) hasn’t been released but its already powered its way into the consciousness of many ute enthusiasts.

Now, to work up even more hype for Ford’s latest utility machine, the guys and gals at the Blue Oval have put on a little demo of its abilities. The company’s engineers decided to show off exactly how powerful the truck is, so they strapped it to a 160-ton locomotive and pulled the engine out of its brick-covered berth. The new top-spec Ranger will come packing Ford’s TDCi diesel 3.2-litre inline five-cylinder engine with 147kW of power and a whopping 470Nm of torque. Bolted to a six-speed automatic transmission and equipped with a low-range transfer case, the pickup truck appears to have no issues lugging the T-class diesel-electric locomotive out of storage.

Check back for more details on the upcoming Ford Ranger and view the video below. Continue reading “Next-gen 2011 Ford Ranger shows locomotive force (+video)” »

Red Bull Trolley Grand Prix returning to Auckland Domain

December 22nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Although most of us are more into high horsepower than no horsepower we can all appreciate a bit of good, clean fun. Powerless karting is set to return to NZ with the Red Bull Trolley Grand Prix making a comeback for 2011. The event began as the Red Bull Soapbox race in Belgium in 1999, and following its success, expanded to 25 countries worldwide. No strangers to shoddy DIY, Kiwis got into the event which has taken place in NZ twice, the last time being in 2005.

The Derby will take place on April 10th 2011 and will transform the Auckland domain into a winding race track that will test man and machine. After the days racing a new national champion team will be crowned, to achieve this feat they’ll need a healthy dose of courage, a creative trolley and have gravity as their new BFF.

Only the best 100 trolleys will make the grid but everyone is eligible to enter by heading to www.redbull.co.nz. Those keen will need to show their commitment, creativity and some imaginative flair, to get entries in by 31st of January 2011.

The Trolley’s are entirely person powered, without motor or pedal, relying on the innovation of their design and a large dose of gravity to blaze down the tracks at breakneck speeds. While slow and steady certainly doesn’t win this race it takes more than speed to impress on the day. Teams and their trolleys will be judged on three evenly weighted criteria; creativity (originality, innovation and design); performance (showmanship of the team before and during the race — including introduction skits, spins, crashes and costumes) and finish time (race time). Continue reading “Red Bull Trolley Grand Prix returning to Auckland Domain” »