Ford Territory Titanium 2011 Review

October 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Since its release in 2004 the Ford Territory has become one of the success stories of the Australian car manufacturing industry. It’s found a home in the garages of many families here in NZ as well as across the ditch and has even performed duties as an emergency response vehicle. But after seven years cruising the streets how can the Territory stay desirable in a SUV market that’s packed with machinery from Japan and Europe? By offering a diesel engine option for the first time for starters, backed up by a modernising facelift, equipment upgrades and a greater emphasis on refinement. Has Ford’s $230 million dollar investment in the new Territory paid off? Car and SUV was certainly impressed by the 2011 Territory at its launch event earlier this year and got some more seat time to take a closer look.

Looks are a good place to start because in terms of styling the Territory has really shifted up a gear. The familiar proportions remain but there are now some calculated injections of Ford’s current kinetic design language. At the front there’s an all-new face with new upper and lower grilles, the headlights, bonnet and front bumper have also been replaced. These fresh touches give a wider and more muscular frontal appearance. At the rear Ford has deftly wrapped the three quarter glass around to the rear windscreen, hiding the D-pillar and giving it a slick look. New horizontal taillights replace the previous vertical design and also wrap into the rear guards. There are some more subtle general tweaks as well, like vents on the front fenders and indicator repeaters in the wing mirrors. Our tested top-spec Titanium model was dressed up further with chrome trim on the front grille, LED front lights, tinted glass and 18-inch Y-Spoke alloy wheels. In terms of design it’s a very successful facelift, the 2011 Territory looks ‘right now’ modern and dynamic while retaining its same staunch road presence. Continue reading “Ford Territory Titanium 2011 Review” »

2012 Jeep Cherokee arrives with new diesel engine

October 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The new 2012 Jeep Cherokee goes on sale in New Zealand this month with a new diesel engine option and a range of upgrades.

The 2012 Jeep Cherokee is available in NZ in a single specification level – the high grade Limited. It goes on sale with a choice of diesel or petrol engine variants.

As well as the familiar 3.7-litre V6 petrol engine which produces 151 kW @ 5,200 rpm and 314 Nm of torque @ 4,000 rpm, the Cherokee now offers the new 2.8 DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder Common-Rail Diesel (CRD) engine which produces 147kW at 3600 rpm and 460 Nm of torque at 1600 rpm.

The new diesel engine offers improved performance and economy with 13% more power over the previous model yet uses 12% less fuel. Jeep’s quoted combined fuel consumption figures for the Cherokee diesel are 7.9 L/100km and 206g/km CO2.

Jeep continues to push its 4×4 heritage in the Cherokee by offering the Jeep Trail Rated four-wheel-drive system –Selec-Trac II.

Selec-Trac II is a shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system. Select-Trac II operates in 2WD, 4WD Auto, 4WD Low and Neutral. To back it up the Cherokee features independent front suspension with rack-and pinion steering and a five-link rear suspension set-up. Continue reading “2012 Jeep Cherokee arrives with new diesel engine” »

Peugeot reveals Mitsubishi-based 4008 crossover

October 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Peugeot has pulled the covers off its first foray into the compact crossover segment with its new 4008 model. The small SUV is scheduled for a global reveal next March at the Geneva Motor Show before going on sale in select markets from May 2012.

The 4008 will find a place in the Peugeot range below the larger 3008 and 4007 models and is based on the Mitsubishi ASX. It is the latest in a string of collaborations after the PSA Peugeot-Citroën group formed an agreement with Mitsubishi in early 2010.

Initially, the new crossover will be made available with four engines but we may not see all of them here in NZ. There’s an even split of two petrol and two diesel units. The petrol engines include a 1.6-litre unit producing 87kW and 152 Nm of torque, and a larger 2.0-litre with 112kW and 198Nm of torque. Both engines are mated to a five-speed manual gearbox as standard, with a CVT auto optional with the 2.0-litre motor. Continue reading “Peugeot reveals Mitsubishi-based 4008 crossover” »

Kia Rio 2012 Review

September 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The new 2012 Kia Rio was launched to NZ’s motoring media at a special event in the South Island last week and Car and SUV was there to sample this latest compact hatch.

The 2012 Rio will go on sale in NZ from the end of October with pricing starting at $22,990 and comes with fresh-faced design and plenty of equipment for the money. The Rio will be released in NZ in a five-door body shape (as tested) with a four-door sedan and three-door sports hatch following next year.

In terms of styling the new Rio has received Kia’s bold corporate face with the ‘Tiger Nose’ grille, raked back headlights and a wide lower air dam.  At the rear, there’s a built in hatch spoiler and a sharp rear windscreen angle giving a dynamic Euro appearance. The Rio has a purposeful, forward-leaning stance and a coupe-inspired roofline that adds to the sporty aesthetic. There’s some eye-catching touches like the door-mounted side mirrors and our tested top spec EX model features 16-inch alloys, privacy glass and LED daytime running lamps. The Rio body shape has grown in size over its predecessor, increasing 20mm in length to 4045mm, in width by 25mm to 1720mm and is 70mm longer in the 2570mm wheelbase. However, it sits 15mm lower in overall height to further the sporty look. Continue reading “Kia Rio 2012 Review” »

Ford Mondeo Titanium Hatch 2011 Review

September 9th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Mondeo needs little introduction. Since it took over Ford’s medium size sedan duties from the Telstar in the mid nineties it’s become a popular fixture on NZ roads. With strong four- and six-cylinder engines and broadly appealing styling the Mondeo has clocked up impressive sales through the years. But at times during its four generations, the Mondeo has taken criticism for being dull, vanilla and a bland sales rep’s car. When the current model Mondeo was released in 2007 it neutralized these complaints with fresh dynamic design and new technologies scored during Ford’s ownership of premium brands Volvo and Jaguar. For 2011 Ford has pushed the Mondeo a step further into the fun zone with tweaked ‘kinetic’ styling a twin-clutch transmission and more equipment than the NASA space program. So will the facelifted Mondeo spin sales reps and private owners into a frenzy? Car and SUV saddled up a top dog Mondeo Titanium hatch to find out.

When it comes to exterior styling the fourth-gen Mondeo was already a looker, so Ford has understandably played it safe with the cosmetic updates. Changes on the Titanium include new front and rear bumpers, a new bonnet and grille, revised taillights and modernizing LED daytime running lights at the front. The result? It’s the meanest looking Mondeo yet. The front aesthetic is particularly aggressive with its bulging bonnet line, wide-mouthed air dam and thin, blackened-out grille. At the rear, jeweled two-piece tail lamps and a low air diffuser extend the kinetic design. Continue reading “Ford Mondeo Titanium Hatch 2011 Review” »

Ford Focus 2012 Review

August 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The all-new 2012 Ford Focus has been unveiled at a media event in Melbourne last week and Car and SUV was there to put the third edition of this popular hatch through its paces.

The Mk 3 Focus will arrive in NZ with two body styles, a five-door hatchback and a sleek four-door sedan. Expect a wagon version to arrive in March next year.

There’s a lot to like with the new Focus, the practical cabin and sharp driving dynamics remain, but it now offers a higher level of features and also ultra modern styling. It’s a powerful example of the ‘One Ford’ approach that will see the Focus sold in 122 markets globally. The Focus’ C-Platform will also underpin at least ten vehicles in the future and account for two million units of production by 2012. The numbers getting thrown around are big, but Ford are justified in having confidence in the new 2012 Focus. Continue reading “Ford Focus 2012 Review” »

Audi updates A5 and S5 for 2012

July 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Audi has revealed extensive 2012 updates for its sporty A5 and S5 coupe range.

A more aggressive front end is the most obvious change with redesigned headlight clusters along with a new front bumper and subtle changes to the grille. Updates to the rear a more subtle and include revised tail lights with optional LEDs. The models clean and sharp profile remains unchanged, but 17-inch alloys are now standard on International models (NZ spec may differ).

Inside, there’s a new steering wheel and tweaks to the instrument panel and centre control stack. The gear stick on auto models has been changed and the MMI infotainment system upgraded. There’s also a new ignition key and air-con controls.

Mechanically, the 2012 A5 gets a new rear suspension setup along with a revised electromechanical power steering system.

Engines options include the base model 125 kW 1.8 litre TFSI unit which has  been revised to deliver improved fuel-economy at 5.7 l/100 km. Step up to the 2.0 litre TFSI engine and output remains unchanged at 157kW, while a new 200kW 3.0 litre TFSI V6 has joined the range. Continue reading “Audi updates A5 and S5 for 2012” »

Peugeot reveals AWD diesel-hybrid 508 RXH wagon

July 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Peugeot’s new 508 RXH diesel-electric hybrid has been revealed with photos and details released by the French carmaker ahead the model’s world debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

The RXH heralds in a new nameplate but also comes with all-wheel drive thanks to a Hybrid4 diesel electric drivetrain.

The hybrid setup features a turbocharged 2.0-litre HDi diesel engine which works with a 28kW electric motor to give a combined output of 147kW and 450Nm of torque. The diesel engine drives the front wheels while the electric motor handles business at the rear axle, allowing the 508 RXH a four-wheel drive mode. The hybrid setup also allows the wagon to run on a pure electric mode although Peugeot has not revealed the vehicle’s “zero-emissions” range. Economy is rated at 4.2 litres of diesel per 100km combined, with emissions at 109 g/km of CO2.

The 508 RXH rides on high suspension and comes with unique styling features like a bespoke front bumper with vertical LED lights, 18-inch wheels, under body plastic mouldings and chrome roof rails. Interior features include electric front seats, heads up display, a panoramic glass roof and satellite navigation. Continue reading “Peugeot reveals AWD diesel-hybrid 508 RXH wagon” »