Road tests / Car Reviews: Volvo V40 T5 Cross Country 2014

April 12th, 2014 by Robert Barry

IMG_0276It may sit 40mm higher than a standard V40 hatch but the all-wheel-drive V40 T5 Cross Country pictured here is more of a crossover hot hatch than a hardcore off-road SUV.

Don’t let the raised driving height, durable front and rear body kit, side scuff plates and rear skid plate fool you into thinking otherwise. Continue reading “Road tests / Car Reviews: Volvo V40 T5 Cross Country 2014” »

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Overland 2014 review

March 20th, 2014 by Robert Barry

For those people who aren’t familiar with the origins of the Jeep brand, the Overland name dates back to the 1900s.

Overland front 34John Willys bought the brand from another company and created the Willys-Overland motor company in 1912, which then went onto create the first Jeep for the US military, known as the Willys MB in 1941.

Under the stewardship of Daimler-Chrysler, Jeep brought the Overland name back into the market in 2003 when it created a new luxury trim level for the Grand Cherokee, which sat above the Laredo and Limited specification grades. And still does. Continue reading “Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Overland 2014 review” »

Jaguar F-Type convertible 2014 review

March 19th, 2014 by Robert Barry

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It has been a long time coming but the new Jaguar F-Type convertible is absolutely the spiritual successor to the iconic E-Type roadster which was first launched in the 1960’s.

It’s about time.

The Jaguar XJ-S which saw the light of day in the 1970s was to big and too heavy to be a proper sports car, it was more a grand tourer, as was the 2+2 XK coupe and convertible, the second generation of which remains in production today. Continue reading “Jaguar F-Type convertible 2014 review” »

Suzuki: 2014 SX4 S Cross 1.6 LTD 2WD review

March 17th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

There are no pretentions when you get a Suzuki. You know what you’re getting yourself into as you can be pretty sure you’re going to drive a car that provides a large amount of bang for your buck. Of course, this comes with compromises, but as today’s cars are a hundred thousand times better than those of twenty years ago, the kinds of things we might envy are nice-to-haves rather than essential features.

suzuki-sx4-s-cross-2014-sideAs you walk towards the SX4 S Cross it’s more Vitara than Swift in the nose. The styling is a little nose-heavy and it looks better in the flesh than in photos. There’s a strong line that starts at the base of the A pillars, flows down across the top of the lights and into the grille. The grille is bisected by the bumper and continues underneath in grey with strong lateral lines. The two-tone paint finish works well, giving the SX4 S Cross a slightly elevated look. Continue reading “Suzuki: 2014 SX4 S Cross 1.6 LTD 2WD review” »

Range Rover Evoque TD4 Black Design Edition 2014 Review

March 12th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

Hoi polloi: it’s the Ancient Greek word for the commoners, plebeians and the great unwashed. When you drive an Evoque Black Design Edition, you’ve elevated yourself above this, yet you still have credibility because it’s got the Land Rover badge which is a bastion of workhorse utility. But it’s not your typical boxy Land Rover you’d drive with a peak cap and a Swanndri. This is the Duchess of Cambridge: she’s got the cocktail dress, but you know there’s a pair of wellies in the boot.

range-rover-evoque-td4-dynamic-2014-rear-quarterAs you get comfortable with being one of the hoi oligoi – the few – you’ll need the ability to circumnavigate your dominion, and fortunately the Evoque comes with some off-road smarts to get you to all four corners. Continue reading “Range Rover Evoque TD4 Black Design Edition 2014 Review” »

Nissan Altima Ti 2014 review

March 7th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

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Did you love the Nissan Maxima? If so, you’re going to have to get used to a new name in town because the Altima Ti is the replacement.

Yes, Nissan has canned the Maxima as its mid-level executive offering, instead giving the Altima (which, if you remember, used to be a pretty average car) a bunch of bells and whistles and some sleek styling.

nissan-altima-ti-2014-around-view-monitoringWe don’t get the gruntier V6 Ti-S in New Zealand; we have to settle for the four-cylinder 2.5-litre 127kW Ti with its CVT gearbox and fuel economy of 7.5l/100km. I achieved 9l/100km during my week of driving, but I never put it in Eco mode. Continue reading “Nissan Altima Ti 2014 review” »

Nissan Juke Ti-S 2013 Review

February 11th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

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We drove a Juke Ti back in April 2012 and our main complaint was that it was slow, and that’s not surprising seeing as the standard Juke has a piffling 86kW at 6000rpm. The gods of grunt have waved their hands over the Juke Ti-S, though, endowing its 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine with a turbocharger which lifts power to 140kW, and four-wheel drive to make sure it gets it all to the ground.

IMG_2742It’s like the difference between firing an air rifle and a bazooka.  Gone is the need to try to force the pedal through the firewall to get any kind of acceleration because torque is also substantially increased from 158Nm at 400rpm to 250Nm in a nice flat band from 2000-5000rpm. The Juke Ti-S seems like it gets to 100kph in around 8 seconds which is pretty respectable for this type of car; the Ti languishes like a tortoise, taking around 12 seconds to get to 100kph. Continue reading “Nissan Juke Ti-S 2013 Review” »

Mercedes-Benz C200 Dynamic Sedan 2013 Review

January 31st, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

Your entry into the Mercedes-Benz C-class starts with the C200 at just under $70,000, and you can go right up to the C63 AMG which is a beast of a car at just under $167,000. At the fiscally sensible end of the scale the C200 comes in three flavours: C200, C200 CDi (diesel-powered), and C200 Dynamic (our test car).

mercedes-benz-c200-dynamic-sedan-rear-quarterThis Dynamic model gets 18-inch wheels, satellite navigation, a glass sunroof and electric seats with 3 memories per side. Everything about the seats is electrically adjustable. The other big improvement over the standard C200 are the headlights. It has Intelligent Light System with Bi-Xenon headlamps, Active Light System, variable light distribution, headlamp cleaning system and dynamic headlight beam control. Basically, as you turn the wheel, extra lights illuminate to the side of you to help you see as you turn. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz C200 Dynamic Sedan 2013 Review” »

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