Hyundai: 2015 Tucson 2WD Elite Review

November 26th, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

Hyundai has given the Tucson some much-needed visual attention and it’s arguably the best-looking vehicle in the price range of this category.

Gone are the clumsy lines and it’s emerged much more aggressive and coherent, ready to take the fight to the Mazda CX-5, Nissan Qashqai, Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander, Ford Kuga and Subaru Forester. Continue reading “Hyundai: 2015 Tucson 2WD Elite Review” »

Suzuki Vitara Limited 2WD 2015 Review

November 23rd, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

The name has been around 25 years. It was an original compact SUV before there was even a mainstream term for it. Now it sits among a growing army of similar-sized small SUVs like the Nissan Juke, Hyundai ix35 and the Mazda CX-3. Continue reading “Suzuki Vitara Limited 2WD 2015 Review” »

Honda 2015 Civic Euro LN review

September 17th, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

Like a trendy club, the hatchback class is full of the good-looking and sharply dressed, but if you take one home, will you regret it in the morning? You could have a Volkswagen Golf, a Mazda3, or a Ford Focus (amongst others) as alternatives to the Honda Euro Civic. What moves does it have to catch your eye? Continue reading “Honda 2015 Civic Euro LN review” »

Peugeot: 2015 Peugeot 308 SW Allure review

July 2nd, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

Buttons and dials need to be manufactured and assembled. Each button needs its own design and graphic, each dial must be smooth, and then they have to occupy space on the dashboard, so the layout needs to be ergonomic, intuitive and easy to reach for the driver. Continue reading “Peugeot: 2015 Peugeot 308 SW Allure review” »

Good To The Last Drop

October 4th, 2011 by Tim Grimley

When I look at New Zealand functioning on a daily basis, it strikes me as nothing more than a minor miracle in action. There are – give or take – about 4.4 million of us knocking around the various islands that make up the nation and of this merry band about 500,000 are enjoying retirement, a further 900,000 are under working age, 285,000 are currently between jobs and 7,000 are experiencing a temporary loss of liberty at the pleasure of our judicial system.

Employing some very basic man maths, this leaves 2,708,000 people to ensure that everything requires doing in the 268,670 square kilometres of Aotearoa gets done. And the miracle is that – once Auckland’s trains are taken out of the equation – by and large, it works.

The farming community maintains a strong enough breeding programme to see we don’t fall short of milk and beef, enough people learn to wear suits to fill the corridors of Wellington, multiple generations of baristas keep Jafaland in lattés and there are still enough Kiwi grafters are left over to ensure the important stuff – cleaning streets, maintaining utilities, automotive journalism and so forth – gets done.

The countdown for petrol has begun

But there are some areas where it is always good to have a little help from time to time and one of these is Chartered Accountancy. Thanks to more people needing boxes ticked at certain times of year, the current Mrs Grimley’s firm – and I suspect others like it – fly in support staff from the various corners of the globe to pick up our bean counting shortfall.

The latest – a pair of South Africa’s finest which have been trained to answer to the names ‘Albertus’ and ‘Claire’ – arrived seven months ago and slotted rather neatly into our lives. In our short time together we’ve had numerous days out, a romantic weekend on Great Barrier Island and even managed to share the joys of the Rugby World Cup. And now they’re going.

My life has been made so much richer by my new friends that I’d simply convinced myself that they would be around forever. And the sudden, crushing realisation that this is not going to be the case is shaping to leave a hole that, until the old miracle healer Time works his magic, will be a huge scar on my landscape. Continue reading “Good To The Last Drop” »

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado VX Ltd 2011 Review

October 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

For 2011, Toyota’s Land Cruiser is celebrating 60 years of production in various rugged forms. This anniversary year has seen the introduction of the brawny FJ Cruiser, it’s seen special events and even journeys across NZ. But more importantly for Cruiser buyers are the extras you get when purchasing any new Land Cruiser before the end of the year. To mark this landmark occasion Car and SUV got reacquainted with the 2011 Land Cruiser Prado to check out the latest deals and rediscover exactly what makes this model line off roading royalty.

The special anniversary deals on the Land Cruiser range don’t include extra equipment or larger alloy wheels but concentrate on extended warranty and free servicing plans. If you buy a Land Cruiser in 2011, you’ll receive a 60-month warranty, a 60 month/75,000km service plan, 60 months worth of WOF checks and AA Roadservice for, you guessed it 60 months. So what you simply get is 5 years of guaranteed trouble-free motoring, and that’s certainly worth a lot. The offer is available on any model in the Land Cruiser range including our tested petrol-powered Prado VX Limited. Continue reading “Toyota Land Cruiser Prado VX Ltd 2011 Review” »

Kia Optima EX 2011 Review

September 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

First there were the days of Kia vehicles being a no-frills low cost alternative to the major Japanese brands, but that didn’t last. Kia then became a genuinely viable option against Japanese competitors albeit at a lower price point. But Kia isn’t content just to stop there and with models like the new Optima it’s making an ambitious play at moving ahead of the pack. However, getting the formula exactly right in medium sedan segment comes with a high degree of difficulty. Medium sedans aren’t increasing in popularity in this country so Kia is hedging its bets with a single model offering; the well equipped EX. Does this Korean cruiser have the mechanical package to back up its striking looks? After a week piloting the 2011 Optima, Car and SUV thinks so – here are the reasons why.

Exterior Design – Dead Set Stunner
The Optima’s dimensions and wheelbase are larger than its predecessor but its styling is much tighter. There’s plenty of Euro influence, from the chrome trim around the window line to the vents on the front wheel guards. The Optima also showcases the best elements of Kia’s current design language lead out by the now distinctive ‘tiger nose’ grille. Bordered with chrome the grille sits above a wrap-around lower intake, recessed fog lamps and LED running lights. A coupe-like roofline and scalloped lower door panels define the Optima’s flanks. Upswept C-pillars and an advanced stance finish off the dynamic bodywork.  Filling the guards are distinctive 18-inch alloys retained from the concept version of the Optima, they will divide opinion but are unique and certainly add extra bling. Continue reading “Kia Optima EX 2011 Review” »

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” »

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