Jeep: 2015 Grand Cherokee Overland CRD review

June 28th, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

I’m sitting in Wellington airport as I write this review, listening to a woman talking loudly on the phone next to me advising her client how not to go bankrupt. What’s more distracting is that her client’s name is Darren, so every time she mentions his name it’s doubly attention-grabbing. The conversation pulls my focus away and proves how difficult it is for me to do two things at once. Continue reading “Jeep: 2015 Grand Cherokee Overland CRD review” »

Jeep: 2014 Jeep Cherokee Diesel Limited review

February 26th, 2015 by Robert Barry

It’s quietly amusing to those of us with long memories, that the marriage of Daimler Chrysler and Mitsubishi ended in a fairly nasty and expensive split while the recent union between Fiat and Chrysler-Jeep seems to have worked rather well thus far. Continue reading “Jeep: 2014 Jeep Cherokee Diesel Limited review” »

Mazda: 2014 Mazda3 SP22 Limited hatch review

January 6th, 2015 by Robert Barry

There have been previous diesel versions of the Mazda3 available in global markets but sensibly the New Zealand distributor held back from local sale until there was an automatic transmission available, as previously only a manual transmission had been available with the oiler engines. Continue reading “Mazda: 2014 Mazda3 SP22 Limited hatch review” »

Isuzu: 2014 MU-X and D-Max 4×4 LS-T review

December 15th, 2014 by Robert Barry

Isuzu Ute first introduced its luxury specification seven-seat MU-X SUV to the New Zealand market just in time for the National Fieldays, and the one-size-fits all variant is available from dealerships for $65,990. Continue reading “Isuzu: 2014 MU-X and D-Max 4×4 LS-T review” »

Volkswagen: 2014 Passat R-Line wagon review

July 28th, 2014 by Ross Mackay

For a while there it looked like the days of that most practical and stoic of motoring beasts, the station wagon, were numbered. Yet to paraphrase a famous Mark Twain quote; ‘reports of (their) death (would appear to) have been greatly exaggerated.’

Take the latest wagon version of Volkswagen’s Passat.

Local importer Volkswagen New Zealand has big plans for Passat, particularly the wagon model/s which – with help both from head office and the exchange rate – offer the sort of bang for your buck hitherto the preserve of more prosaic models. Continue reading “Volkswagen: 2014 Passat R-Line wagon review” »

Toyota Hilux 3.0TD 4×4 Double Cab 2014 review

April 30th, 2014 by Ross Mackay

14ToyotaHilux-1-1From humble beginnings as the robust, reliable, farmer’s friend, the Toyota’s double-cab Hilux is now a bona fide 5-ANCAP star sophisticate, as much at home in the suburbs as it is ‘on the range!’ Continue reading “Toyota Hilux 3.0TD 4×4 Double Cab 2014 review” »

Holden Malibu CDX 2014 second review

April 9th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

holden-malibu-cdx-2014-front-quarter

Our previous Malibu CDX arrived at Car and SUV test headquarters last August. Eight months on we’re revisiting it to see if we’re still as impressed.

holden-malibu-cdx-2014-sideThe Malibu is a large car masquerading as a medium-sized car in that it’s not as big as a Commodore therefore Holden doesn’t call it a large car. But it is roomy and comfortable enough for five adults. Continue reading “Holden Malibu CDX 2014 second review” »

Volvo V60 D4 Luxury 2013 Review

December 11th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Buy a Volvo with City Safety and in some countries you get a discount off your car insurance because insurance companies know that it has reduced crashes in XC60s by 22%. Insurers in New Zealand are lagging behind (probably trying to maintain their profits), but there might come a time soon when systems such as Volvo’s, or Subaru’s EyeSight attract a nice discount as they virtually eliminate at-fault minor fender benders.

volvo-v60-d4-luxury-2013-rear-quarter-lowThis technology will ultimate also improve our traffic flow because there’ll be less opportunity to rubberneck. At the moment, though, not every manufacturer has a system like City Safety which brakes automatically for you at speeds up to 50kph if it detects you’re about to trade paint with another vehicle, or worse, squish a pedestrian.

volvo-v60-d4-luxury-2013-front-interiorSafety features aside (because it’s kind of a given when you talk about Volvos), the V60 is a station wagon that sits between the S series sedans and the XC series SUVs. You can get into one for a shade under $67,000, and the top of the line is the $87,000 R-Design. Our test car is the diesel D4 which is $69,990, plus it has the most popular options package. This bumps the price up to $77,210 with heated front seats, bi-xenon active bending lights, 18-inch alloys, electric passenger seat, alarm, navigation and some trim upgrades.

The driving experience is smooth with a pleasant wave of 400Nm of torque that is good at highway speeds on overtaking duty, but a little sluggish off the line followed by a burst of torque steer. The 120kW engine gets you too 100kph in 9.4 seconds which is a little tardy and would be improved dramatically if it was more spritely from rest. The five-cylinder, two-litre diesel has a grunty tone when pressed. Fuel economy is 6l/100km combined and that’s OK for a car this size.

volvo-v60-d4-luxury-2013-rear-seatsThe V60 excels at touring. Put it on the smooth expanses of motorway (that are still, unfortunately fairly rare in New Zealand), and it will devour the miles while delivering entertainment from a number of sources including Bluetooth streaming from your phone. It’s no slouch on the backroads, either, but it’s definitely exudes more of a plushness than a swift sportiness. Around town it performs well once you learn the correct throttle control – the large amount of available torque can mean it gathers momentum quicker than you’d expect with small throttle movements. Continue reading “Volvo V60 D4 Luxury 2013 Review” »

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