Skoda: 2014 Yeti City TSI V Yeti Outdoor TDI

September 15th, 2014 by Robert Barry

For 2014 the two model Skoda Yeti range has received a revamped front end and mildly modified tailgate to bring it into line with the new corporate exterior design as worn by the all-new Rapid, all-new Octavia, and revamped Superb car line.

Thankfully the unique spirit of the Yeti has not been lost in its rejuvenation. Continue reading “Skoda: 2014 Yeti City TSI V Yeti Outdoor TDI” »

Volkswagen Golf GTI 2013 Review

October 15th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Looking slightly more chiselled than its predecessor, the Golf GTI tempts you with a strong engine and handling setup to use those angles to slice through the wind at high speed. The six-speed DSG gearbox eggs you on with gear changes that seem impossibly fast, and acceleration that’s almost as rapid, repeating each rev range as you gain speed like a record skipping the groove. Depending on the quality of passenger the accelerator pedal will make them either swear or giggle. There isn’t any middle ground.

volkswagen-golf-gti-2013-dcc-driving-modeFive modes are available to fine tune the performance of the Golf: comfort, normal, sport, eco or individual (where you can choose from a number of settings and store your favourite combination). They are selected using the touchscreen in the centre of the dash.

volkswagen-golf-gti-2013-rear-quarterSport mode is a huge amount of fun, blipping the throttle automatically on the downshifts and making you sound like you know what you are doing with the heel-toe technique. It’s completely redundant in the city…except that it sounds brilliant.

volkswagen-golf-gti-2013-sideNormal mode is what you will probably use the Golf in that majority of the time, unless you’re trying to be frugal (in which case, why would you buy the GTI)? Even using it in sport mode most of the time I didn’t notice that fuel economy was particularly bad.  The other modes? Well, who cares because you buy a GTI to have fun, not save the planet. Continue reading “Volkswagen Golf GTI 2013 Review” »

Volkswagen heats up Transporter van with Sportline special

May 27th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

For one reason or another, New Zealand is a ute nation. We love our small trucks and what they can do onroad and off. But in the tarmac covered UK, utes aren’t as popular as full-size vans. So in the same way that we get all funny over a dressed up Toyota Hilux, the Brits are right into their sporty limited edition vans.

The Ford Transit Sportvan is the undisputed king of hot vans in Britain but now VW has thrown its hat into the ring with the new Transporter Sportline.

This special edition van comes packing a 135kW 2.0-litre turbodiesel motor, matched to either a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG box. Visual excitement is added by a revised front end with a gloss black and chrome grille. There’s also smoked headlights, recessed fog lamps, polished side step bars and 18-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels. No surprises at the rear where there’s a roof spoiler. Continue reading “Volkswagen heats up Transporter van with Sportline special” »

Skoda Fabia vRS 2011 Review

March 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Why is Skoda’s Fabia vRS hot hatch so angry? Is it because the ‘v’ in its name is lower case, or perhaps because it’s overheard too many Skoda jokes. Who really knows, but one thing’s for sure – it’s a little car with a big temper. At least that’s what Skoda’s ‘Made of meaner stuff’ ad campaign would have us believe. Advertising aside, the vRS has the honour of being the fastest Fabia built so far and it certainly meets expectations. The vRS thrives off a clever twin-charged drivetrain that when combined with the Fabia’s relatively low weight (1313 kg) delivers a seductively cheap thrill. Car and SUV spent a week strapped into a rally green, black roofed vRS to bring you the results.

Exterior Design

The Fabia body shape doesn’t allow itself to be turned into a hot hatch easily; it’s tall and quite narrow. That said, the vRS bas been dropped 15mm and Skoda has worked the front styling nicely with a bespoke front bumper with recessed fog lamps and a large low air dam that creates a gaping mouth. 17-inch black alloys look purposeful and fill up the guards with red painted brake callipers chomping away underneath. With the A-pillars also in black the vRS has a sporty floating roofline that is lengthened at the rear by a high mounted hatch spoiler. Down below, twin exhaust tips poke out from under a tough plastic rear diffuser.

There are also plenty of options to personalise your vRS, the roof and side mirrors can be painted in silver, black or white with the alloy wheels colour matched. Optional equipment includes LED driving lights, electric sunroof and tinted glass to keep low-key.

Overall, the design is very distinctive, very European and while it’s not overdone the vRS will still stand out on NZ roads. Skoda has done well to pick exactly the right areas on the Fabia body to show that the vRS is more than just a small hatch runabout. Continue reading “Skoda Fabia vRS 2011 Review” »

Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI 2011 Review

January 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

There are a few different ways you could describe the Skoda Fabia. Being the lowest price car in the VW Group range here in NZ you could call it ‘cheap’. But with upgraded styling inside and out you’d have to say ‘cheap but not boring’. With a new advanced powertrain there’s been an increase in performance so you might say the Fabia is ‘cheap but not boring and quite peppy’. But that is still too generalised and it’s generalisations that Skoda has worked so hard to fight against while shaking-off its now dated reputation for poor quality. So Car and SUV put all generalisations and pretensions aside to find out the finer details on Skoda’s updated city car.

What’s new for the Fabia is a whole swag of visual and mechanical updates that give the hatch a fresh injection of attitude. The changes also better target the Fabia at stealing budget-conscious buyers away from character competitors like the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500.

The styling, while you wouldn’t call it daring, it’s fresh and is more distinctively ‘Skoda and proud’ than previous models.  Updates include the new corporate grille, a more angular bonnet and reshaped headlights. The changes don’t just align the Fabia with the rest of the Skoda range but also give it a wider and lower look generating a sportier stance. The blacked out A and B pillars creates a ‘floating roof’ that can be customised in a contrasting colour. Our test specimen was finished nicely in Pacific Blue with a white roof. At the rear, there’s a high-mounted hatch spoiler, jeweled taillights and a chunky bumper. It’s elegantly colour-coded with some fine detailing like the roof colour matching the side mirror caps. Standard wheels are 15-inch steel rims with silver covers and 195/55 tyres but our test vehicle looked sharp with the optional ‘Elba’ 16-inch alloys and wider 205/45 rubber. Overall the Fabia design is better than ever before, it remains more conservative than some competitors in the segment, but it has a genuine European appeal and is handsomely finished. Continue reading “Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI 2011 Review” »

Volkswagen Scirocco R 2010 Review

July 9th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Since Cain and Abel made the Holy Bible exciting with its first murder, stories of oppositional twin brothers have always proved popular. While that story was one of the first, one of the latest comes from Volkswagen where the iconic Golf now shares its platform with the coupe-bodied Scirocco. When the Golf R was built the Scirocco received similar treatment albeit with marginally less power and handling ability. Now as second in line to the Volkswagen throne the new Scirocco R has been given all the benefits of R-division development with none of the responsibilities of being the number one son. Car and SUV put the pedal to the metal on the Scirocco R to find out just how far it could go to step out from behind the Golf’s shadow.

While there is much going on under the sheet metal it’s the Scirocco’s styling that truly sets it apart. Aesthetically, the Golf has moved forward conservatively into its Mk VI shape, not wanting to disrupt a winning formula. The Scirocco however, has been splashed with movie star good looks and genuine ‘right now’ appeal. It’s a two-door coupe with a ‘shooting brake’ styled roofline and plenty of width at the rear. In R form it sits lower and appears wider than the standard Scirocco, thanks to a muscular body kit that extends the side skirting. A chunky bumper at the front leads the charge and incorporates three gaping air intakes and LED daytime running lights. At the rear a pumped out rear bumper sits above a black aero diffuser and twin chrome exhaust tips that hint at leery intent. Gloss black wing mirrors, subtle ‘R’ badging and standard 18-inch ‘Talladega’ wheels finish the purposeful look nicely. The Scirocco styling may be a touch ostentatious for some tastes, but it’s daring, eye-catching and unlike the Golf R has the visual bark to match its bite.

Continue reading “Volkswagen Scirocco R 2010 Review” »

Golf Variant coming to NZ next month

December 18th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Golf Variant 2009 fq

The new Golf Variant will shortly be available in New Zealand for the first time in a number of years. The latest Golf Variant has been completely redesigned. Its visual appearance follows today’s Volkswagen “Design DNA”. Key engines from the Golf have also been transferred to the Variant. In the interior, materials and instruments of the current Golf set the tone.

From the front, the new Golf Variant can recognised by its modified bumper and radiator grille, new engine bonnet styling and redesigned fenders and headlights; all transferred from the Golf hatch. The front-end design is defined by a black, horizontal layout of the grille and front bumper painted in body colour.

At the rear, the independent design of the previous model has been upgraded with modified taillights and bumpers.

The new Golf Variant will be available in New Zealand with two engine options; both of which meet the emission limits of the new Euro-5 standard. Both the diesel TDI 77kW and petrol TSI 90kW come with the Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) as an automatic transmission.

The TDI 77kW diesel engine is characterised by noticeably quiet noise levels, low emissions (119 g/km CO2) and an extremely low combined fuel consumption of just 4.5L/100km. Equally as impressive is the TSI 90kW petrol engine with combined fuel consumption of just 6.0L/100km and emissions of just 139g/km.

One specification level will be available in New Zealand. The Trendline based vehicle includes a number of crucial safety features as standard — a total of 6 airbags (front driver and passenger, front side and curtain), Electronic Stability Programme (ESP, including ABS and an Electronic Diff Lock) and daytime running lights for maximum visibility.

Other features include electrically adjusted and heated exterior mirrors, a leather steering wheel, Climatic air conditioning system and roof rails.

Security is ensured via the remote controlled central locking and alarm system.

Key for the Golf Variant is of course the luggage compartment. With the rear seat back rest upright, the Golf Variant boasts 505 litres of boot space.

The 1/3 to 2/3 split folding rear bench seat and backrest can create a flat load floor, liberating up to 1,550 litres of cargo capacity.

The Golf Variant TDI with the 7 speed DSG transmission will arrive in New Zealand in January 2010 at a price of $43,990. Expected to arrive about 3 months later, the Golf Variant TSI will have a price of $40,990.

VW Up! Lite innovative economy concept

December 3rd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Volkswagen Up Lite fq

VW has just unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show the Volkswagen Up! Lite concept. The futuristic vehicle includes three sections: TDI + E-Motor + DSG, a body concept and a new interior concept.

The Volkswagen Up! Lite aims to be the most fuel-efficient four-seat passenger car in the world with a 800cc TDI engine. The pint-sized powerplant is based on VW’s 1.6-litre TDI and develops 38 kW at 4,000 rpm and 120 Nm of torque. The Volkswagen Up! Lite also has an Eco mode which at a press of a button reduces the power output to just 26 kW.

The vehicle is also equipped with a pulse start module which is an electric motor positioned in the drivetrain between the engine and the 7-speed DSG gearbox. VW says the car will offer a fuel economy of just 2.4 liters per 100 km/h on the motorway.

In terms of styling the Up! Lite body is built from aluminum and carbon fibre and weighs a measly 695 Kilograms. The aerodynamics of the Volkswagen Up! Lite reduce the drag coefficient to 0.237 Cd. the bonnet is made from carbon fiber and weighs only 3.3kg.

VW claims that despite the low fuel consumption, the Up! Lite offers enough interior room for four passengers with luggage. It’s also equipped with intuitive display screens that replace traditional instruments entirely.

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