Toyota Land Cruiser LX Turbo Diesel 4 Dr Double Cab CC Review

January 24th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

At the very toughest end of the Toyota range sits the Land Cruiser 70. It’s a purebred workhorse designed to haul and tow whatever is required over terrain that is rugged and unforgiving.

Propelled by a seemingly unstressed 4.5-litre turbodiesel V8 with 151kW and 430Nm, the Land Cruiser 70 will pull 3500kg (with braked trailer) while Continue reading “Toyota Land Cruiser LX Turbo Diesel 4 Dr Double Cab CC Review” »

Hyundai i30 Elite 2012 Review

December 10th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Hyundai is a brand in transition. Aiming for the Euro market, it has smartened itself up considerably in the past few years and is setting vehicles from VW group as its target. The obvious competitor to the i30 Elite is the 103kW Volkswagen Golf TDI. There’s only a couple of grand in the price difference, and the specifications are comparable.

On the outside, Hyundai’s new ‘Fluidic sculpture’ design language can be seen in a multitude of visual lines that begin at the nose and head towards a strongly creased flank with its prominent wheel arches right around to a very strong boot crease that integrates beautifully with the flow of the rear lights. The designers (housed in a studio in Russelsheim, Germany) packed in a lot of detail, to the point of risking a busy mish-mash, but they’ve pulled it off with only the Continue reading “Hyundai i30 Elite 2012 Review” »

Kia Rio LX ISG Diesel Review

November 16th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

You can hear the silence of this Kia Rio saving fuel every time you pull up to an intersection, put it in neutral and take your foot off the clutch. It’s because the engine quickly shudders to a stop meaning you’re not burning up precious diesel while waiting for all those other idiots who decided to take their journey (inconsiderately) right at the same time you did.

Push the clutch in again and the engine fires into life in a split second – about the same time as it takes to put it into gear – and you’re away. This is Idle, Stop and Go, or ISG in Kia’s vernacular, and it enables the Rio’s to get down to Continue reading “Kia Rio LX ISG Diesel Review” »

BMW 320d 2012 Review

October 27th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

The entry level model to BMW’s 3 series is surprising, mainly because if you’ve driven older base model 3s like the 318s from a few years ago you’d be expecting something kind of lacklustre and limp.

This obviously didn’t sit well with BMW. The base model is likely to be the best-seller, especially in Europe, where diesels are far more accepted, and you want to put your best precisely engineered Germanic foot forward.

BMW has cranked up Continue reading “BMW 320d 2012 Review” »

Suzuki Swift Diesel 2012 Review

July 30th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Suzuki’s best-selling small car, the Swift, has received a 1248cc diesel heart which shuns fuel like beauty queens shun calories. As such, the Swift can claim 4.2l/100km fuel economy which puts it near the top of the pile.

If you’re familiar with the Swift you’ll know it is New Zealand’s best-selling small car, and for good reason. Its compact, attractive design, around-town practicality, go-kart-like handling and low price has won admirers from all ages, genders and socio-economic backgrounds.

Petrol engines are never stupendously economical, though. Now we’re all aware of fuel economy it has become a driving factor in which car to buy. In the petrol vs diesel argument, diesel Continue reading “Suzuki Swift Diesel 2012 Review” »

Hyundai Santa Fe Elite CRDi 2012 Review

July 4th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

This is the big guy of the Hyundai range: a powerful SUV that aims to give seven occupants a swift and comfortable journey. Leather heated seats, heated steering wheel, rear air conditioning, dual climate control air con in the front, and centre console cooler box help keep the vehicle’s interior at the perfect temperature. There’s even a ‘cluster ioniser’, whatever that is.

The inside is appointed tastefully. Faux carbon fibre dashboard inserts would usually be dismissed as a little tacky because this isn’t Formula 1, but in the Santa Fe they seem perfectly natural. Four LCDs display air conditioning, stereo, clock and trip computer. The driving position is Continue reading “Hyundai Santa Fe Elite CRDi 2012 Review” »

Thrifty Diesel Joins Kia Rio Range In New Zealand

June 26th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

The diesel version of the all-new Kia Rio has now gone on sale in New Zealand and is one of the most economical new cars in the country, priced at just $24,990.

Equipped with an advanced 1.4-litre diesel engine and Kia’s EcoDynamics package, which includes intelligent Idle Stop & Go technology to significantly reduce fuel consumption and lower carbon emissions, the Rio CRDi achieves an impressive 4.3L/100km (55mpg) and a low CO2 level of 113g/km.

The new generation, four-cylinder 1.4-litre diesel engine was developed especially for Kia in Europe and features a double overhead camshaft design with the latest common-rail high-pressure fuel injection system. With a swept volume of 1,396cc, it is equipped with a wastegate turbocharger that is reduced in size to deliver a more compressed forced air charge into the engine, for greater efficiency and responsiveness.

Derived from Kia’s U2 diesel family, it develops 66kW at 4,000rpm and 220Nm of torque across a broad 1,750 to 2,750rpm range, giving the new Rio a flexible and lively performance, combined with great fuel economy.

In addition to the Stop & Go technology, the EcoDynamics package also includes low rolling resistance tyres, a drag-reducing front grille, a gearshift indicator and rear spoiler. A smooth, six-speed manual transmission is fitted as standard.

Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand, says the arrival of the diesel model provides a further boost to the Rio range, which is already one of the brand’s best sellers in this market.

“Rio is going remarkably well for us in New Zealand, thanks to the desirability of the sporty design, high specification level and attractive price point. And with petrol prices set to rise again shortly, the appeal of the diesel model has just got better,” he says.

Like the rest of the Rio range, the CRDi benefits from a re-engineered suspension system that is based on European specifications, with the emphasis on sporty handling and an assured ride. Brakes are all-round discs, providing superior braking performance. And in addition to the safety of ESC stability control, like all Rio models the CRDi features Hill Assist Control to prevent it momentarily rolling backwards when pulling away up steep gradients.

Equipment levels within the roomy cabin are high and the standard features on the Rio CRDi include high-tech daytime running lights for increased safety, reverse warning sensors, heated/powered door mirrors, remote locking with in-built car alarm, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, two-way steering column adjustment, split folding rear seats, rear luggage cover, trip computer, Bluetooth and a MP3-compatible/radio/CD audio system with USB and AUX ports.

In common with all Kia passenger cars, the Rio CRDI is covered by a comprehensive Five Year/100,000km Warranty Programme and a 24/7 Roadside Assistance Programme.

Suzuki Swift Diesel Earmarked for Arrival in New Zealand

March 16th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Suzuki is introducing its first ever small diesel-engined passenger car to the New Zealand market.

A diesel powered Swift five-door hatchback will add a new dimension to the country’s top selling light car.

Suzuki New Zealand is currently evaluating the new Swift supermini diesel and is finalising plans to have the highly economical car on sale by mid-year.

With a fuel consumption figure of 4.2 litres/100 km (67.3 miles per gallon) in the official combined cycle test, the diesel will be the most economical model in the Swift range.

It will also pack more engine torque, underscoring the car’s brisk performance, especially in the critical mid-range. The diesel has 46 per cent more torque than the 1.4-litre petrol Swift.

An additional bonus is the environmentally friendly CO2 emissions level of 109 grams/km, the lowest of any Swift variant.

The 1.3 Swift DDiS uses a high tech four cylinder, 16-valve Fiat-designed diesel which Suzuki builds under license.

This second generation, common rail turbocharged motor is a development of the Multijet power plant which won the International Engine of the Year award in 2005.

More recently the 55 kW (75 bhp) engine was updated with a new fuel injection management system that has up to eight injections per cycle instead of five.

The advanced injection controls high engine pressures up to 1,600 bar without being tied to engine speed or the quantity of fuel injected.

Thanks to a balanced hydraulic servo-valve, the innovative common rail injectors are able to more precisely control the quantity of diesel injected into the combustion chamber, with a faster and more flexible sequence of injections than was previously possible.

By reducing the amount of time between injections, these injectors optimise fuel introduction to the chamber and therefore make the diesel combustion process more gradual. This has a positive effect on fuel consumption, emissions, and noise, vibration and harshness.

The new generation fixed geometry turbocharger, combined with the advanced Multijet injection system, ensure the best possible turbo function at any engine operating level.

“We are excited about the arrival of the Swift diesel which is capable of a driving range of at least 800 kilometres, and will have a specific attraction to fleet and business users,” said Tom Peck, General Manager of Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand.

“Not only does the engine comply with stringent Euro 5 emission levels, but also offers lively performance allied to outstanding economy.

In the open road official Extra Urban fuel cycle, the Swift diesel returns a remarkable 3.6 litres/100 km (78.5 miles per gallon), while the Urban cycle figure is 5.1 litres/100 km (55.4 miles per gallon).

A Swift diesel driven by journalists Dave Randle and Peter Cracknell finished second overall in the 2011 MPG Marathon event in Britain, averaging a remarkable 3.27 litres/100 km (86.4 miles per gallon) 3.27 litres/100 km (84.6 miles per gallon) over a challenging 600 kilometre route that included major roads, motorways and dual carriageways. A second Swift diesel returned 3.34 litres/100 km (84.6 miles per gallon).

Recently launched in Europe, the diesel Swift is gaining a reputation for smoothness and response, with the maximum torque of 190 Nm available from as low as 1,750 rpm. The Swift accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h in 12.7 seconds, and has a top speed of 166 km/h.

Pricing and specification will be announced closer to the launch date.