Ford NZ announces 1 April on sale date for updated Mondeo

March 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Ford New Zealand has announced a 1 April on sale date for the new 2011 Mondeo.

A host of product enrichments will bolster the Mondeo, a model range already renowned for its blend of styling, comfort, ride and performance. A highly fuel efficient turbo diesel and new, safety features head the list of changes, along with new standard equipment and enhancements to exterior and interior styling.

“We’re very excited about the new Mondeo ,” said Trevor Auger, Ford New Zealand Managing Director.  “It’s been a very popular vehicle in New Zealand and with these enhancements we can only expect that popularity to grow.”

“The Ford Mondeo has been an excellent example of balancing the right mix of equipment and technology with the right price in a car that is beautifully designed and packaged. These generous additions simply build on this winning formula and make it an even more compelling choice for new-car buyers,” he said.

The 2011 Mondeo will continue to offer New Zealand customers the choice of four-cylinder petrol and turbo-diesel power. Continue reading “Ford NZ announces 1 April on sale date for updated Mondeo” »

New 2011 Honda V6 Accord goes on sale in NZ

February 23rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The new 2011 Honda V6 Accord has gone on sale in NZ and comes packing some new features and updated styling.

There’s a new front bumper, grille, headlights and reworked detailing on the boot lid and rear lights, as well as new wheel options. The standard equipment level has also been increased so all vehicles in the range have some luxury kit.

An improved ADR fuel economy figure of 9.9L/100km, parking sensors, USB audio integration for iPod or memory sticks and an easy to use jack-knife key are just some of the new enhancements to the 2011 Honda V6 Accord.

Honda has worked hard on its fuel efficiency  with the V6 Accord’s cutting edge i-VTEC 3.5 litre, 24 valve, high torque V6 engine delivering impressive power and torque figures of 202kW @ 6200rpm and 340Nm @ 5000rpm respectively.

The V6 Accord uses Honda’s VCM (Variable Cylinder Management) technology.  This system actively monitors throttle position, vehicle speed, engine speed, automatic transmission gear selection and other factors to determine whether three, four or six cylinders are needed to meet driver demand.  This provides maximum requested power and efficiency from the powerful V6 engines available. Whether maximum power is required (six cylinders), or moderate acceleration for mild hills (four cylinders), or if the vehicle is just cruising (three cylinders), the V6 Accord makes the change on the driver’s behalf. Continue reading “New 2011 Honda V6 Accord goes on sale in NZ” »

Land Rover NZ puts updated Freelander 2 on sale

February 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

A new diesel powertrain combined with a more upmarket interior and reworked exterior looks characterise the upgraded 2011 Freelander 2.

The Freelander’s re-engineered 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine comes with 140kWs as the SD4 or 110kWs as the TD4. The motor offers an impressive 420Nm of torque (20Nm more than the outgoing model) yet fuel economy or CO2 emissions are reduced. It is available with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Exterior design changes including new front bumper and grille, new alloy wheels and colour options. Inside, a new range of seat style finishes and instrumentation set the 2011 Freelander aside from previous models.

The new diesel has a new variable geometry turbocharger and is re-calibrated from scratch to deliver higher levels of power. The use of an Intelligent Power Management System (IPMS) provides ‘smart charging’ of the battery by recovering kinetic energy when the vehicle is slowing wherever possible, rather than consuming fuel by charging when the vehicle is accelerating.

Developed especially for this engine, the new variable geometry turbocharger is now water-cooled enabling it to run at a higher temperature thus enabling lower levels of emissions, power and torque. The engine has also been fitted with a more powerful ECU to handle the increased emissions requirements. The engine is fitted with a common rail system with fuel delivered by high-speed piezo injectors.

For the first time, the Freelander 2 diesel powertrains are compatible with 10 percent biodiesel rather than five percent. The piston rings have been revised to reduce friction. The main bearings have also been improved in line with the additional power and torque and the engine sump has been fitted with a cover to reduce radiated noise from the bottom of the engine.

Continue reading “Land Rover NZ puts updated Freelander 2 on sale” »

2012 Volkswagen Tiguan facelift model – revealed

February 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Following on from recently leaked photos, Volkswagen has released official details and photos for the 2012 Tiguan facelift.

The Tiguan is the latest in VW’s range to receive updates after the 2011 Passat and Eos convertible, making it one of the few Volkswagen models to be updated rather than replaced by an all-new model.

In terms of styling the 2012 Tiguan is given the newer VW corporate face with a new headlight design, grille and at the rear new sleeker tail-lights.

In the cabin the Tiguan appears largely unchanged except for a new steering wheel. But the production model could sport more major updates.

Mechanical specifications will be revealed when the updated Tiguan debuts at next month’s Geneva Motor Show. Continue reading “2012 Volkswagen Tiguan facelift model – revealed” »

Toyota Highlander 2011 Review

January 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

“There can be only one” is the tagline from the cult classic Highlander movies of the 1980s and 1990s. Unfortunately for Toyota’s SUV which shares the same name, there are many more than just one in the market segment it occupies. In fact, the mid-size car-based SUV battleground is one of the hardest fought in the current automotive climate and it’s only getting fiercer. After a recent mid-life update the Toyota Highlander is going back to war, fresh-faced and with some new moves. But will it be enough to slash away rivals to become NZ’s SUV champion? Car and SUV mounted up with the Toyota Highlander to find out more.

The visual changes to this weekend warrior are fairly subtle. There’s a more defined nose with frowning headlights and a new chrome grille. At the rear restyled tail lamps flank replaced bumper trim. The rest of the Highlander’s sheetmetal remains unchanged. Our tested Limited model had some high-spec extras like rear privacy glass, front fog lamps, integrated roof rails and striking 19-inch five-spoke alloys. Overall, the upgraded Highlander is a sharp looker, it’s well proportioned with a safe, neutral design that avoids being either too rounded or too boxy.

Step inside the Highlander and you’re greeted by a spacious environment with three rows of seating ready to accommodate seven occupants. Even the third row will fit smaller adults comfortably and there are plenty of small storage areas and cupholders throughout the cabin. The centre row of seating is versatile and can be slid forward and back, it also splits 40:20:40 allowing the middle seat to be removed creating a luxury feel for six people. Luggage room is useful in five-seat mode with 580-litres on offer. There isn’t much cargo space left with all seven seats required but no less than other vehicles with three seating rows. Continue reading “Toyota Highlander 2011 Review” »

Dodge Caliber SXT 2010 Review

October 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

In our highly competitive world sometimes you have to be that little bit different just to get noticed. Carmakers worked this out a while back and have recently given the automotive world some unique and progressive designs. This holds especially true in the hatchback segment where radical styling has almost become the norm. So how exactly does a new car cultivate a unique appeal in these diverse times? To get the answers, Car and SUV spent a week with the updated 2010 Dodge Caliber because it still looks like no other vehicle on NZ roads.

What makes the Caliber aesthetically different is a mixture of traditional Dodge DNA and a body shape that’s a mash-up of hatchback, crossover and sports coupe. Its styling talks loudly and offers a truly American take on the conventional hatchback. The Caliber announces its arrival with its signature Dodge crosshair grille. In profile it shows off pumped up wheel arches, a coupe like roofline and a front foot, pouncing stance. The squared-off rear features jeweled tail lamps a narrow back windscreen and a protruding chunky bumper.  Exterior changes to the updated Caliber are minimal but do include some subtle chrome trim and a new 17-inch alloy wheel design which helps give the 2010 model an even sharper edge.

Step inside the Caliber and the unique styling continues with a fully refreshed interior design. The instrument panel, centre console storage bin and door panel trims have all been redesigned using higher quality materials. The result is a cabin that is more modern and user-friendly. There are some nice touches like chromed surrounds for the instruments and air vents and smart LED lighting which illuminates the cupholders. The hot rod red plastic inserts in the centre control stack may not appeal to all tastes but it provides another unique feature and matches up with the stain-resistant red/black cloth used on the seats. The leather-wrapped steering wheel feels good to grip and has audio controls at your fingertips. Continue reading “Dodge Caliber SXT 2010 Review” »

BMW working on 1-Series convertible facelift

October 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Early details of the updated BMW 1 Series Convertible facelift have shown up on the web as the updated version has been spied in the open. Taking into account the areas on the facelifted vehicle that BMW engineers were keen to cover, there is a lot of speculation which areas have been restyled.

The 1 Series Convertible facelift will most likely have a freshly designed front bumper, with a more aggressive look, new air vents and a replacement lower front grille. The headlights and rear light clusters have also had a re-designed, with the rear lights now upgraded to LEDs. The interior of the car will also receive treatment, not least the addition of the Connected Drive system.

The world debut of the BMW 1 Series Convertible facelift is predicted for the Detroit Motor Show at the beginning of next year.

Facelifted 2011 Nissan GT-R revealed with 390kW of power

October 19th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Those lucky cats over in Japan will be the first consumers to get a chance to check out the more powerful and more luxurious 2011 Nissan GT-R when it reaches Japanese showrooms from next month. The upgraded 2011 GT-R is expected to reach global markets from February next year with a range of tweaks and even two new model variants.

In terms of appearance the exterior will get a light refresh to better improve its aerodynamics and fuel efficiency, while the interior will also get some new appointments. Downforce has been increased by about 10 percent, while the coefficient of drag is further reduced from 0.27 to 0.26. This comes from an enlarged bumper and grille openings, a redesigned rear bumper with a lower center of gravity, an extended rear diffuser and additional air outlets. To finish off the new look is a set of fashionable LED daytime running lights and six different paint options including the new Meteo Flake Black Pearl and Aurora Flare Blue Pearl.

Inside there is a redesigned instrument panel with real carbon fibre trim and there are also new seats.

But it’s the 2011 GT-R’s internals that are the main talking point. The boost has been increased, the valve timing adjusted and the ECU recalibrated to increase output up to 390kW and 610Nm of torque — an increase from the outgoing model’s 361kW and 587Nm. A new strut brace has been installed to link the suspension towers and the suspension set up has also been retuned, and mounted to new 20-inch Rays wheels that sit in front of Nissan-developed 390-mm brake discs. .

Continue reading “Facelifted 2011 Nissan GT-R revealed with 390kW of power” »