Kia: 2014 Soul SX 1.6 review

July 14th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

kia-soul-sx-1.6-2014-frontMinor acts of altruism are good for your soul, and so it was with great coincidence and pleasure that I was able to follow and help apprehend a drunk driver, maintaining a phone conversation with police traffic HQ using Kia’s Bluetooth connectivity. Continue reading “Kia: 2014 Soul SX 1.6 review” »

Nissan Juke Ti-S 2013 Review

February 11th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

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We drove a Juke Ti back in April 2012 and our main complaint was that it was slow, and that’s not surprising seeing as the standard Juke has a piffling 86kW at 6000rpm. The gods of grunt have waved their hands over the Juke Ti-S, though, endowing its 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine with a turbocharger which lifts power to 140kW, and four-wheel drive to make sure it gets it all to the ground.

IMG_2742It’s like the difference between firing an air rifle and a bazooka.  Gone is the need to try to force the pedal through the firewall to get any kind of acceleration because torque is also substantially increased from 158Nm at 400rpm to 250Nm in a nice flat band from 2000-5000rpm. The Juke Ti-S seems like it gets to 100kph in around 8 seconds which is pretty respectable for this type of car; the Ti languishes like a tortoise, taking around 12 seconds to get to 100kph. Continue reading “Nissan Juke Ti-S 2013 Review” »

Mitsubishi ASX Sport 2.2D diesel 4WD Review

December 5th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

We had an ASX Sport almost two years ago now, albeit a petrol one (read the review here). On the face of it, there’s not a huge amount of difference, except that it doesn’t seem as comfortable (more about that later). The reversing camera image has moved from the rear view mirror to the large screen in the centre of the dashboard. The central console area has been redesigned and utilises the space much better. The steering wheel has a slightly better feel and the buttons that control the cruise control and stereo are arranged to be marginally easier to use without looking at the wheel.

mitsubishi-asx-diesel-2013-rear-quartermitsubishi-asx-diesel-2013-front-interiorYou still get paddle-shifters behind the wheel which control the six-speed automatic gearbox that is hooked up to the 112kW, 366Nm 2.2-litre turbodiesel. That is plenty of torque and it results in competent overtaking performance and reasonably constant cruise control speeds (engines lacking in torque struggle under cruise control in hillier terrain). However, it sometimes feels like it holds a high gear too long as you slow down and you get that low frequency vibration that, if you were in a manual car, would signal that you should change down a gear. You can use the paddles to quickly flick it down or up a gear if you need to.

Fuel economy is quoted at 5.8l/100km combined. Our primary journey was four people and light luggage to Mount Maunganui in which it achieved low a 5l/100km figure.

There are seven airbags (including a driver’s knee airbag) plus four-wheel ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution and active stability control – pretty much the same as the previous model.

Rural owners will appreciate the scratch resistant bumpers. Ironically, someone backed into our test ASX while it was parked and definitely left a scratch on the bumper – perhaps it could have been worse. Continue reading “Mitsubishi ASX Sport 2.2D diesel 4WD Review” »

Holden Trax LS 2013 Review

October 30th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

With people still lapping up SUVs when cars will do the same job often better, Holden has added a baby SUV to its range to pull people away from the Suzuki SX4 and Ford Kuga and get its share of the buying public’s hard-earned sovereigns.

Holden-Trax-LS-2013-rear-quarterThe South Korean-built compact SUV is available in other countries as the Chevrolet Trax or Opel Mokka, and it comes in two two-wheel drive versions, the LS and the LTZ. It’s based on the same platform as the Barina and takes its powertrain from the Cruze. That means you get a car that’s short and highly manoeuvrable that comes with a 103kW, 175Nm, 1.8-litre petrol engine and 6-speed automatic gearbox.

Holden-Trax-LS-2013-side103kW isn’t that much to produce for a 1.8-litre engine but you really have to work it to get decent acceleration and that causes the engine to scream. And, it still doesn’t exactly light up the tyres in a frenzy of acceleration. It’ll cruise happily at highways speeds and drinks 7.6l/100km on the combined cycle – around average for a car this size. You can’t tell this, though, because Holden has omitted a trip computer, which is a suspicious choice. Continue reading “Holden Trax LS 2013 Review” »

Holden Captiva 5 LTZ 2013 – Review

June 28th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Taking the Captiva 5 immediately after the Holden Cruze I was surprised at the difference in interior trim. The Captiva’s screens and controls look like they’re a few years older than the Cruze’s; does the rest of the car feel dated? Let’s find out.

holden-captiva-5-ltz-2013-rqTaking the Captiva up north to Tutukaka its on-road manners were quietly confident. Cornering and braking were Continue reading “Holden Captiva 5 LTZ 2013 – Review” »

Subaru Forester 2.5i Sport 2013 Review

April 15th, 2013 by darren

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Before the words ‘compact SUV’ were ever uttered, Subaru was making all-wheel drive passenger cars and station wagons with better ground clearance. Now the Forester sits in the midst of one of the fastest growing market segments with its Symmetrical All Wheel Drive (which works full-time), SI-Drive, X-Mode for hill climbs and descents and 220mm ride height, but car-like handling.

Subaru-Forester-rqLet’s cut to the chase: the Forester is an extremely competent all-rounder. For light off-roading, towing (up to 1500kg), transporting people, road trips, supermarket runs and the morning commute the Forester isn’t necessarily the best-in-class for each one, but Continue reading “Subaru Forester 2.5i Sport 2013 Review” »

BMW X1 sDrive20d 2013 Review

January 23rd, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Back in 2009 BMW launched the first ever luxury compact SUV at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Today, that segment is a bit more competitive with the likes of the Range Rover Evoque and Audi Q3. Even second-tier compact SUVs such as Mazda’s top-of-the-line CX-5 AWD Diesel Ltd nip at the heels with comparable specification, if not brand cachet.

And that gives BMW good reason to perform a refresh on the BMW for 2013. They call it a Continue reading “BMW X1 sDrive20d 2013 Review” »

Kia Sportage Ltd Diesel 2012 Review

October 1st, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Massimo Frascella’s chunky wheel arches and chopped roof design gives Kia’s Sportage Ltd the right attitude for a go-anywhere compact SUV.

The exterior is lead by Kia’s Tiger nose. LED daytime running lights underline the headlights, which themselves form a strong pointer along the prominent shoulder line extending to the rear lights. The design of the front is one that is very coherent where others can sometimes be messy and disjointed.

The side profile is enhanced by Continue reading “Kia Sportage Ltd Diesel 2012 Review” »

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