Mini slashes pricing on most NZ models

June 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mini has just released details of an aggressive new pricing strategy spanning most of its NZ model range. The entry price for a new Mini will now start at $27,900 and the recommended retail price of most new models will be reduced by between four or five thousand dollars.

This new competitive pricing will make Mini a more accessible option for those looking at purchasing a small, economical hatch in the NZ market.

“This price realignment will mean many more Mini fans can share in the dynamic go-kart like driving experience of this premium small car,” said the Managing Director of BMW Group, Mark Gilbert.

“Mini is renowned for its fun to drive and playful, boundary pushing nature, and is one of only a few brands which has an iconic 50 year plus heritage. Most people have a special memory or experience with Mini and this will give more motorists the opportunity to re-engage with their Mini experience.”

The entry model to the range, Mini Ray, is powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine and weighs just 1135kg. Fuel economy is frugal at 5.4-litres per 100km combined. Continue reading “Mini slashes pricing on most NZ models” »

Volvo V60 D5 2011 Review

May 27th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo station wagons reached a point when they achieved such a high level of safety and practicality than they became a bit of a cliché on wheels. The boxy-back shape had evolved to perfection for packing in gangs of children and wet Labradors. It was also an ultimately dependable machine that would keep moving forward in even the harshest climates. But someone told Volvo that these virtues just weren’t enough, they wanted sharp dynamics and even sharper styling. Could Volvo respond with a new excitement-injected wagon while still keeping its diehard family-focused fans content? The Swedish carmaker decided to find out with its new midsize V60 sport wagon. Car and SUV played Dad for a week to discover more.

The ‘boxy but good’ persona has been vacated with the V60, the good part remains, but the boxy, well that’s history. While Volvo’s curvaceous SUVs have been around for some time now the V60 represents a revolution in design for its station wagon body shape. At the front, it’s a carbon copy of its S60 sedan sibling with a lightly creased bonnet dipping into a corporate grille and purposeful dual headlights. Along the sides, the V60 cuts a mean profile with a flowing full-length shoulder line and a glasshouse that tapers away. With blackened-out pillars and a gradually sloping roof the V60 has a long, low coupe-like look but it’s at the back where the new design language is heard loudest. With hints of the C30 hatch the rear is framed by stretched vertical tail lamps a roof-mounted spoiler and a chunky bumper. A broad rear windscreen helps with visibility and the tailgate opening is as wide as the design allows. Our tested mid-spec V60 D5 model was finished with 17-inch alloys, integrated roof rails and dual exhaust tips. Aesthetically, the V60 has the look of a true sports wagon, it’s progressive and acts as a rolling public service announcement that buying a Volvo wagon can now be a decision based on visual appeal. Continue reading “Volvo V60 D5 2011 Review” »

Toyota Hilux SR5 2011 Review

May 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota’s long-serving Hilux ute is a bit of a legend really. Not just for its ongoing sales success but also for the stories of ridiculous robustness and unlikely war zone application. Crossing the Sahara desert without a drop of oil or having surface-to-air missiles launched off their decks, some Hiluxs certainly have to earn their reputation.  But the Hilux’s battles aren’t just fought by militias in Africa or the Middle East it’s caught up in a war right here in NZ. The dominance of Toyota’s pickup is no longer total, it faces threats from all sides, the torque thumping Nissan Navara, Great Wall’s low rent V240 and the slick VW Amarok.

How can the Hilux best arm itself for the challenges ahead?

With a new safety package on its top spec SR5 model double cab, that’s how. Sure, it’s not as exciting as another 50Nm of torque from its diesel mill or some fierce new exterior styling but safety upgrades extend the Hilux’s appeal as a true work/play proposition. It’s also reason enough for Car and SUV to get back behind the wheel of a Hilux and revisit this ageing superpower of the ute segment. Continue reading “Toyota Hilux SR5 2011 Review” »

Ford NZ confirms 2011 Territory pricing and range

May 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Ford New Zealand has confirmed pricing and model range for its new 2011 Territory. Prices start from $49,990 for the rear-driving petrol TX model and finish at $69,990 for the top-spec Titanium all-wheel-drive diesel model.

A broad seven model range will cater to different requirements and budgets. The big choice for Kiwi buyers is if they want diesel or petrol powering their Territory. The Diesel variants come at a premium and if all-wheel-drive is desired it has to be a diesel model with both petrol offerings being RWD only.

The all-singing Titanium model replaces the Ghia range-topper from the previous line-up and comes packing fruit like 18-inch alloys, full leather trim, LED lights, unique front bumper, satellite navigation and a rear DVD player for the kids. Continue reading “Ford NZ confirms 2011 Territory pricing and range” »

Toyota HiAce ZX 2011 Review

May 6th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

While a dog might be a man’s best friend and diamonds a girl’s for any tradesman it’s a good van that plays the role of best buddy. Interior space, comfort, practicality and most importantly reliability are all factors for tradies to consider when choosing a suitable van mate. But for many there is only one trusty stead that appeals, the Toyota HiAce, with no substitutes accepted. But why is the HiAce the default decision for so many tradesmen, courier drivers and shuttle van proprietors? Car and SUV saddled up with the heavyweight of Toyota’s HiAce stable the ZX to find out more.

Exterior design may not be the secret behind the HiAce’s success, while no van is a sexy beast the HiAce aesthetic is boxy, basic and in ZX form – burly too. She’s a big rig with a length of 5.38 metres and an extended height of 2.28 metres, wheelbase is 3.1 meters and it tips the scales at around 3.2-tonnes. The exterior styling has changed little on the fifth generation HiAce since its debut back in 2005 but there is a new black front bumper, reworked halogen headlights and a silver-barred grille that goes some way to giving this workhorse a more modern face. With a low side profile and a thin section of green-tinted glass, there is also plenty of prime real estate on the HiAce for sign writing. Standard wheel fitment is 15-inch steel rims that are hidden behind six-spoke silver wheel covers. Continue reading “Toyota HiAce ZX 2011 Review” »

Porsche Panamera Diesel arriving in NZ this September

May 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Porsche has released specifications and a initial batch of  images for its new Panamera Diesel model with news that it’s coming to NZ.

Under the bonnet of the newest Panamera variant is a specially tuned version of Porsche’s 3.0-litre V6 TDI engine. Power output is rated at 184 kW between 3,800 rpm and 4,400 rpm and there’s 550 Nm of torque on tap from 1,750 rpm to 2,750 rpm. Shifting gears is an eight-speed Tiptronic S transmission that turns the rear wheels. Performance figures are quoted at 6.8 seconds for the 0-100kph sprint and a top speed of 242 km/h. The new engine features various technological innovations, such as common rail direct injection through piezo valves, electrically controlled variable geometry turbochargers (VGTs), controlled exhaust gas recirculation, oxidation catalyst and particle filter.

The diesel variant will join the S Hybrid as the most fuel-efficient models in the Panamera range and with the help of a start/stop system achieves a fuel consumption figures of 6.5 l/100km combined. With an 80-litre fuel tank, the Panamera Diesel offers a theoretical driving range of 1200km from a full tank. An impressive result for performance focused large sedan.  Continue reading “Porsche Panamera Diesel arriving in NZ this September” »

BMW X6 xDrive 40d 2011 Review

April 29th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

There was a time when dance music was just dance music, it was electronic, it had a beat and it made you want to get up and get funky. But then like many things, genres and sub genres began dividing it up as the masses searched for what’s new and cool. Now we have house music, drum and bass, dub step and many others which all sound the same to ageing ears. This 21st century ‘genrefication’ has reached much further than dance music and infected the car world creating niche vehicles like the crossover and the mini van. BMW, never one to miss a trick, decided to create a sub genre all its own, coining the term ‘Sports Activity Coupe’ and populated it with a lone offering – the X6. When the X6 went on sale in 2008 critics claimed it was a niche too far and that there was no demand for such a machine. But the X6 came packing attitude, dynamic ability and didn’t need anyone’s approval to be what it is. For 2011, BMW have added a new six-cylinder diesel engine to top the X6 diesel range and named the model the xDrive 40d. Car and SUV had a chance to tune in and test drive the polarising X6 40d listening closely to the rhythm of its fresh beat. Continue reading “BMW X6 xDrive 40d 2011 Review” »

Nissan X-Trail TL 2011 Review

April 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

‘Strength through simplicity’ isn’t a tag line that Nissan uses for its current X-Trail range, but it’s a line that in many ways reads true. Since it’s inception in 2001 the X-Trail has been a tidy seller for Nissan and its likeable blend of practicality and usability has put a fair few people into SUVs over the years. For 2011, Nissan has given its second-generation X-Trail some mechanical upgrading, an interior refit and a nip and tuck to the boxed-back exterior design. The net result is the further graduation of an already solid package. Car and SUV tagged in on a new diesel X-Trail TL to put it through its paces.

Exterior Lines

It may be a bit sharp-angled for some tastes, but the X-Trail has an on road presence all its own. Distinctive light clusters front and back are distinguishing features and a strong flat roofline highlights the X-Trails profile. A big glasshouse lets in a ton of light but tinted rear windows keep it cool inside. 18-inch standard spec wheels fill up the high guards and a redesigned chrome grille adds bling. Other exterior revisions include a new front bumper and those unmissable rear LED lights. Overall the exterior tweaking has given the X-trail a modernised, more purposeful look and realigned it closer to the rest of Nissans current range. Continue reading “Nissan X-Trail TL 2011 Review” »