Nissan boosts power for 2012 model GT-R

November 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Every year since the GT-R debuted in 2007, Nissan has made tweaks for each model year. In keeping with this tradition the latest Godzilla has just been revealed with more power and a couple of new tricks.

The new 2012 GT-R is set to officially debut later this month at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.

There’s no point looking for any styling differences because there are none with the main changes being mechanical. Power has been increased with the twin-turbocharged engine now producing 404kW and 632Nm of torque. Previous models made 390kW and 612Nm so the difference will be likely be enough to feel, just.

Nissan are also claiming that engine response and torque at mid- and low-speeds, and power at high revolutions, has also been significantly improved. Surprisingly there are also claims that fuel efficiency has been improved from the current models 11.8l/100km rating but new figures haven’t been released yet.

The power increase comes largely from improved intake efficiency. Air flow resistance, for example, has been reduced by adding an intake manifold fitted to the head of each unit and the use of special resin in the enlarged air intake duct for the intercooler. The intercooler and exhaust system have also received treatment. Continue reading “Nissan boosts power for 2012 model GT-R” »

Nissan Murano facelifted for 2012 – on sale now

November 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Love it or hate it the Nissan Murano has become a permanent fixture in the medium-sized SUV market and has just been facelifted for the 2012 model year. Nissan has upgraded the Murano with new front styling, new design alloy wheels, and improvements in specification.

On sale now, the 2012 Murano features a new grille, front bumper and headlamp design. New, multi spoke 18 inch alloy wheels are introduced and new design rear taillights, new silver roof rail design and the addition of rear privacy glass. A large, electrically-operated dual-panel glass sunroof is now added, covering almost two-thirds of the roof panel.

Inside, there’s been revisions to the instrument panel and central display screen improving functionality and ease of use. The leather seats are now heated for driver and front passenger and electric adjustment for the steering column has been added.

The BOSE audio system in Murano is now offered with a 2GB music server and USB and iPod input via the Murano’s central display screen controls.

Carried over is the electrically operated tailgate, which can be opened and closed via dash button or the key. There’s also power flip-up rear seats which are lowered by a handle but they now return to their upright position at the push of a button, located in the luggage area or on the dashboard. Continue reading “Nissan Murano facelifted for 2012 – on sale now” »

Honda Accord Euro L 2012 Review

October 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It would be a difficult task tracking down a kiwi that has never driven or been a passenger in a Honda Accord. There are few models of car as entrenched in our land as the humble Accord, almost 900 are for sale right now on the Trade Me website. So after 35 years and eight generations how can Honda keep the Accord fresh and appealing? Splitting the model line into the Accord V6 and Accord Euro has gone some way to adapting to different tastes. But true success can only be found by continuing the Accord’s traditional strengths of style, affordability and all-rounder ability. Car and SUV spent some time with the facelifted 2012 Honda Accord Euro to see what’s new and what has stayed the same.

The Accord Euro has received fresh styling tweaks that include a new two-bar chrome grille, re-sculptured front bumper, foglight surrounds and reworked headlights. The taillights have also been replaced and there’s a splash of chrome detailing on the boot grab point. Our tested high-spec Euro L model was elegantly finished with twin chrome exhaust outlets, silver door handles and newly designed 17-inch 5-spoke wheels. All up, it’s a fairly tame facelift but the Accord Euro remains one of the more stylish entries in the mid-size sedan segment. Its clean lines and wide, athletic stance continue to have broad appeal. Continue reading “Honda Accord Euro L 2012 Review” »

Honda Jazz 1.3S Sport 2011 Review

October 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Although it still seems like a new model line for Honda, the popular Jazz has been around for 10 years already. To keep things fresh for Jazz fans, Honda has refreshed its sub-compact hatch with styling tweaks, new colours and extra equipment. When the second-generation Jazz reached NZ shores in early 2008 it had mums nationwide swooning and quite a few Grandmas too. The Jazz was affordable, practical and cute – healthy sales followed. But that was 2008, since then the Jazz has come up against some tough competition like updated version of the Ford Fiesta, VW Polo and the rampaging Suzuki Swift.  Will the 2011 facelift be able to maintain the Jazz’s place within the affections of NZ mums? Car and SUV belted into a 2011 Jazz 1.3S Sport to find out the answers.

While Honda’s facelifts are sometimes criticized for being too subtle the Jazz receives visual updates in a few key areas. At the front there’s a more modern bumper and a replacement grille that joins new headlights. It’s a similar situation at the rear where restyled taillights sit above a new bumper. The result of the changes is a hatch that not only looks sleeker but also is also more aerodynamic. Our 1.3S Sport model received some striking extra features like a sportier grille, rear hatch spoiler and a full body kit with deeper side skirting. 15-inch alloy wheels are standard and door handles and mirror caps are nicely colour-matched. Continue reading “Honda Jazz 1.3S Sport 2011 Review” »

Renault Koleos Phase 2 arrives in NZ this month

October 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Renault’s new-look Koleos compact crossover arrives in NZ later this month with fresh styling and an updated equipment list.

The Koleos Phase 2 represents the first significant facelift for Renault’s inaugural compact SUV since it was originally launched in late 2008.

The Koleos is an important model in the NZ Renault range since the franchise was reinvigorated early this year. “The mix of models – 2WD and 4WD and both petrol and diesel engines has given the market a value for money choice,” said Stephen Kenchington, General Manager of Renault New Zealand.

The most popular model in NZ has been the 4WD Koleos with CVT transmission and standard leather upholstery and remains available as a free upgrade for $43,990.

Design changes on the Koleos Phase 2 include a revised interior and a new-look front-end that takes styling cues from Renault’s other Korean produced models, the Fluence and Latitude sedans. There’s a more rounded front bumper and all-new bonnet and front quarter panels that wrap around narrower headlights and a more traditional six-sided, three-bar chromed grille.

Inside, the Koleos will feature new seat upholsteries and interior trims, while the dashboard has been revised with a more contemporary instrument panel housing and lighting. Continue reading “Renault Koleos Phase 2 arrives in NZ this month” »

2012 Ford F-150 truck receives updates (+video)

October 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The volume-selling Ford F-150 truck has been updated for 2012 with various mechanical and equipment updates in preparation for its next assault on the U.S market.

As Ford’s most popular truck, the F-150 has been subtly revised with styling updates that include a flashy new FX Appearance Package. This cosmetic upgrade is available on both FX4 and FX2 models and includes tinted headlights, graphics on the body, special badging, smoked lights and flat-black 20-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the FX model receives black leather seating surfaces with red piping, black-painted dash accents, brushed metal surfaces and a satin gear stick.

Mechanically, Ford has replaced its electronic shift-on-the-fly system with an enhanced two-speed automatic 4×4 set up that has an automatic mode for Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum trim levels. A Hill Start Assist feature has also been added across the range to help prevent the heavy truck from rolling backwards.

The SVT F-150 Raptor also gets some treatment with restyled wheels, revised graphics and a new Torsen front differential. There’s also a clever front camera system that allows drivers to view obstacles through the eight-inch cabin mounted screen. It can display at speeds up to 25 km/h and has a dedicated washer system to keep it clean. Continue reading “2012 Ford F-150 truck receives updates (+video)” »

Lotus pulls covers off 2012 Exige S at Frankfurt show

September 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

British carmaker Lotus has dropped the covers on its heavily facelifted 2012 Lotus Exige S and Exige R-GT at this week’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

The reworked 2012 Lotus Exige S is powered by a 3.5 litre supercharged V6 engine that produces 257 kW (345 hp). It’s a huge amount of power for a car that weighs just 1080kg, so it’s power-to-weight ratio is very impressive.

In terms of styling the Exige facelift has a new one piece bumper/bonnet clip along with new headlights. The rear also receives treatment with an integrated boot lid spoiler, large bolt-on wing and lower diffuser.

The 2012 Lotus Exige S will go on sale in Europe with a choice of two options packages – Premium and Premium Sport – and three drive modes: Touring, Sport and DPM off. If you’re hell-bent on taking your Lotus to the track then a fourth drive mode, Race, can be bought as part of the Race Pack option. Continue reading “Lotus pulls covers off 2012 Exige S at Frankfurt show” »

Facelifted 2012 Toyota Hilux on sale in NZ this month

September 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota NZ has revealed initial information of the facelifted 2012 Hilux which will be available in Toyota showrooms later this month.

Toyota NZ General Manager of Sales and Operations, Steve Prangnell said “Hilux has built its reputation around being unbreakable. We’re taking the tough and reliable truck that so many New Zealanders love and making it even better with a fresh line-up, improved safety and bold new looks. These latest changes will substantially improve the value of Hilux for our customers and further strengthen Hilux’s position as New Zealand’s favourite truck.”

A new model has been added to the Hilux range – a standard grade 4WD extra cab ute with a 3.0 litre turbo diesel engine and a five-speed manual transmission.

Cosmetic changes include a completely new Landcruiser-inspired front end, this means new guards, headlights, bumper, bonnet and grille. At the rear, there’s new tailights and a replaced rear bumper. There’s also new mirrors and alloy wheel designs. Continue reading “Facelifted 2012 Toyota Hilux on sale in NZ this month” »

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