Holden: 2015 Colorado 7 LTZ review

February 26th, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

Give a guy a black SUV and he has to stand half a mile away so as not to be reflected in the paintwork when taking a photo. It’s one of those things that limits where we can place the cars to shoot them, but there’s no denying that black cars look cool. Continue reading “Holden: 2015 Colorado 7 LTZ review” »

Honda 2015 Odyssey L review

January 21st, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

The Odyssey used to be a car, but now it’s a minivan. It was one of the very few 7-seat cars you could buy back in the mid-2000s. We last tested one in 2009 (read here) when it was a mere 1545mm tall, and was still ostensibly a car. Now the Odyssey has grown up and is 150mm taller. This average growth rate of 30mm per year is 10 times faster than the world’s fastest mountain is growing (Mount St. Elias grows at around 3mm per year). Continue reading “Honda 2015 Odyssey L review” »

Citroen: 2014 C4 Grand Picasso HDi Intensive review

May 30th, 2014 by Richard Edwards

DSC_0020While driving up the ‘fun’ section of State Highway 29 in Citroen’s new C4 Grand Picasso, it was reinforced to me that kiwi buyers should be considering options other than a Sports Utility Vehicle for their family carrying needs. Continue reading “Citroen: 2014 C4 Grand Picasso HDi Intensive review” »

Toyota: 2014 Land Cruiser Prado VX V6 review

May 13th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

toyota-land-cruiser-prado-2014-rear-quarterOne of those ads out there says that big is good. This Land Cruiser is so big that each one they build has a bottle of champagne cracked across its bow and is released from the factory down a slipway. Continue reading “Toyota: 2014 Land Cruiser Prado VX V6 review” »

Land Rover Discovery 4 Black Limited Edition 2013 Review

February 20th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham


At $130,250 I’m as likely to go roving over the land as I am to wear my favourite business shirt while doing judo. However, with the limited off-roading I dare do in the Discovery 4 Black, which consisted of a verified ‘safe’ bit of beach and some fairly non-challenging rocks, I can confirm that it has abilities that normal cars don’t have on terrain that will throw you around and pin you to the mat.

land-rover-discovery-4-black-front-interiorFive Terrain Response modes help the air suspension adapt to the requirements. Leave it in the standard mode and you’ll get through most obstacles, but there are options for low gear ratios, raising the suspension up to 125mm for a total of 310mm for extreme off-road, and lowering it by 50mm to allow easier entry for passengers. Bashing through the rocks? Put it in the rock crawl mode which gives lighter braking. In ruts and mud? Put it in the mud mode for better ground clearance. On the beach? Put it in sand mode to give better launch control to stop you digging yourself a hole. Continue reading “Land Rover Discovery 4 Black Limited Edition 2013 Review” »

Nissan Pathfinder Ti AWD 2014 Review

January 21st, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

Nissan’s seven-seat Pathfinder Ti comes with all-wheel drive to get the 190kW and 325Nm of power from the 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine via the CVT gearbox to the ground. It’s a big beast, and you can tow 2700kg on a braked trailer, which gives plenty of options for the large family to have large adventures.

nissan-pathfinder-ti-2014-sidenissan-pathfinder-ti-2014-rear-quarterAt just over 5m long, just under 2m wide and almost 1.8m tall you should check it will fit in your garage or parking space. But what that means is that inside the Pathfinder it is spacious and comfortable. It feels large to drive, though, with steering inputs seemingly delayed a fraction until the beast responds – something that many SUVs suffer from, and this one is two tonnes, so has some weight that can shift arround.  The driving position itself is commanding. There is excellent forward visibility. Continue reading “Nissan Pathfinder Ti AWD 2014 Review” »

Kia Carens EX 2013 Review

September 30th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Given the hypothetical situation that I had six children I could drive a Mazda Bongo Friendee, or I could give a child away and plump for the Kia Carens with only seven seats. I realise that the Bongo Friendee, which was produced from 1995 to 2005 would be a lot cheaper to buy than a brand new Carens, but the Carens does sit at the bottom of the price range for new seven-seat vehicles and as it’s not a minimum of eight years old like the Mazda, it comes with a raft of safety features like vehicle stability control and better crash protection (5-star EuroNCAP) that will be much more preferable for my remaining five children.

kia-carens-gdi-2013-rqPlus, if I was out at a dinner party and someone asked me what I drove I would have to make my excuses and leave immediately if the phrase I had to mumble was ‘a Bongo Friendee’. How embarrassing!

So, people with prodigious loins, stop producing when you get to five children and you can own the quite astoundingly adorned Kia Carens for the sensible price of a smidge under thirty-eight grand. Sounds great, right? Well, it is and it isn’t.

kia-carens-gdi-2013-sBecause it’s so cheap you will have to accept slightly less engine refinement and fuel economy than you might expect from its 2-litre, 122kW petrol engine. 7.9 litres per 100km on the combined cycle sounds alright, but in reality it’ll be in the 9s. However, when you do the calculations compared to other seven seaters, like the Toyota Prius V, even if they’re a litre or two  per 100km more efficient, you’ll have to do a lot of driving for them to be better in the long run.

The engine can sounds a little strained when you’re trying to wring some overtaking performance out of it when loaded (but then it would, with only 213Nm of torque).

The (only) other problem with the Carens is Continue reading “Kia Carens EX 2013 Review” »

Hyundai Santa Fe 3.3 V6 Elite – Review

June 16th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Comfort in our vehicles is an incrementally improving thing. Every year the bar that measures what equipment should come as standard is raised, and that leads to heavier and heavier vehicles that are more and more complex.

Hyundai Santa Fe Elite V6 2013 rqHyundai’s effort to raise the bar is to put heated rear seats and three rows of air conditioning in its Santa Fe SUV, a vehicle that’s less than seventy grand, but punching above its weight in the plushness stakes. Sure, this is a long way from the vibrating Continue reading “Hyundai Santa Fe 3.3 V6 Elite – Review” »

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