Holden Malibu CDX 2013 Review

August 23rd, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Pleasantly surprised is what I was when I finally got in the Malibu. I had just been too busy to refresh myself with what the Malibu is all about and in my mind I was thinking is was (but hoping it wouldn’t be) a direct replacement for the decidedly average Epica. The Epica was quite a dreary car that we tested back in 2008 and the Malibu is anything but.

holden-malibu-cdx-2013-rqTaking a walk around the outside, there are some long lines that make this car look sleek. A rebadged Chevrolet Malibu, Holden bills it as a mid-sized car, but it gives the impression of being a large car. It’s also got that slight nose forward stance that delivers a bit of a sporty aura, and you can add those square afterburner taillights (á la Camaro) in to the design mix and you’ve got a rear end that’s visually distinct. There’s even a hint of BMW at the rear if you look from the side.

holden-malibu-cdx-2013-dashboardOn the inside, the 7-inch MyLink touchscreen dominates the dashboard. The MyLink system comes with Bluetooth connectivity and built-in app technology – think streaming radio, for example – and the screen doubles as the display for the reversing camera and general vehicle controls. The screen itself conceals a convenient cubby hole for a bit of extra dashboard storage.

Storage in the boot is 545l. The boot is long and not that deep, and perhaps slightly compromised by the 73-litre fuel tank (usually you’d get 60-65 litres in a mid-sized car). The long boot eats into the rear legroom. Rear legroom is not cramped, but it’s not as good as, say, a Honda Accord.

Continue reading “Holden Malibu CDX 2013 Review” »

Holden Cruze CD Sportwagon 2013 Review

March 18th, 2013 by darren

holden-cruze-sportwagon-fq

The Cruze Sportwagon has the Holden corporate nose, but it’s nowhere near as aggressive as a Commodore. Its 16-inch steel wheels and hubcaps, and safe styling make it blend in to the crowd; the perfect fleet car. From the front and side it looks quite sleek; from the back it looks a little dull.

holden-cruze-sportwagon-sHowever, I prefer its look over the Toyota Corolla wagon which has a weird confluence of lines between the lights, front bumper and wheel arches that occasionally makes it look like Continue reading “Holden Cruze CD Sportwagon 2013 Review” »

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” »