Lexus: 2015 RC350 F Sport review

February 3rd, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

The RC350 is a car you could put anywhere and it would still photograph beautifully. It was by chance that I had booked a trip to Ohakune in order to do the Tongariro Crossing on the same weekend that I had the RC350. I honestly could have spent a whole day finding vistas that included snow-capped Mount Ruapehu, but as it was, Ohakune Mountain Rd and its sinuous rise to the ski fields of Ruapehu set the scene. The brilliant blue sky did the rest, but the Lexus still stole the show. Continue reading “Lexus: 2015 RC350 F Sport review” »

Mazda: 2015 Mazda2 Limited review

January 27th, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

This is the car that caught Suzuki resting on its rather comfortable laurels. The Swift has been the top dog of the small car world for years, but not any more: Mazda took what wasn’t really broken, but fixed it in a way unimaginable to Suzuki, and the majority of us, and the result could shake things up. Continue reading “Mazda: 2015 Mazda2 Limited review” »

Honda 2015 Odyssey L review

January 21st, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

The Odyssey used to be a car, but now it’s a minivan. It was one of the very few 7-seat cars you could buy back in the mid-2000s. We last tested one in 2009 (read here) when it was a mere 1545mm tall, and was still ostensibly a car. Now the Odyssey has grown up and is 150mm taller. This average growth rate of 30mm per year is 10 times faster than the world’s fastest mountain is growing (Mount St. Elias grows at around 3mm per year). Continue reading “Honda 2015 Odyssey L review” »

Citroen: 2014 C4 Picasso review

January 9th, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

Named after a man who took pushed the boundaries of design, the C4 Picasso follows suit with some bold exterior styling and some features drawn in the wrong place on the inside. Let’s deal with the exterior first: the LED-adorned face is as instantly recognisable and striking as any I’ve seen. There’s no doubting you’re in a Citroen. The double-stack of headlights doesn’t quite work for me from some angles – there’s a mismatch in the lines – but it is bold enough to match the deeply contoured body sides, chrome window inserts and angular 17-inch alloys, and the overall effect is one that grows on you. Continue reading “Citroen: 2014 C4 Picasso review” »

Holden: 2014 VF Commodore SS-V Redline review

January 8th, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

The Holden Commodore SS-V is the best reason I can think of to not buy an SUV. I can drive up kerbs (carefully) in the SS-V, just like the requirements of 99% of SUV owners. I can tow 2100kg on a braked trailer (100kg more than a Hyundai Santa Fe). I can fit 486 litres of air in the boot, which is 83 more than a Mazda CX-5, and if I buy the Sportwagon version of the Commodore, there’s a frankly ridiculous 2000 litres of space with the rear seats folded down. That’s bigger than a long wheelbase Mitsubishi Pajero with its seats down, and there’s no way you can chuck a Pajero around in the corners like you can this Commodore. Continue reading “Holden: 2014 VF Commodore SS-V Redline review” »

Jeep: 2014 Cherokee Trailhawk review

January 6th, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

That grille and the menacing eyes simply scare difficult terrain out of the way. Underpinning the seriousness of Jeep’s commitment to dominating the road less paved, you can wade through water up to 508mm deep due to additional electrical and body seals plus a high air intake, there’s 224mm of ground clearance, the approach angle is almost 30 degrees, the departure angle is 32 degrees and the ramp breakover angle is almost 23 degrees. Continue reading “Jeep: 2014 Cherokee Trailhawk review” »

Volkswagen: 2015 CrossPolo TSI review

December 16th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

The CrossPolo sits at the top of the Volkswagen Polo range. With 30mm more ground clearance and a tough-looking black skirt, it tells the world that this is a city car that can get its boots a bit mucky. Not too mucky, though, because it’s still just a front-wheel drive hatchback, and you wouldn’t want to subject those tasty 17-inch alloys to extreme punishment. Continue reading “Volkswagen: 2015 CrossPolo TSI review” »

Honda: 2014 Civic LN review

December 2nd, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

Back in the day I was a composer for TV and games and things, and one of the first things you learn is that it’s not about you. Your music is not there to distract from the visuals, it’s there to support it. Sure, certain themes stand alone, but in the whole mix of elements of a TV show, computer game or film, your music supports the scene. If the audience notices your music, you might just have overdone it. In a metaphorical sense that’s what the Honda Civic LN does for your journey. Continue reading “Honda: 2014 Civic LN review” »