August 21st, 2012 by Car and SUV
Audi’s Q3 is a compact ‘posh roader’ – a small SUV designed predominantly for a life of parking outside cafes and bars. It’s Audi’s contender against the Range Rover Evoque (read review) and BMW X1 (read review). Luxury brands seem to be shrinking their offerings to make them more available to the recently washed masses, so we tore up the city in this peppy diesel SUV.
If you remember the Q7 (read review) then you’ll know it was a monstrous vehicle that filled entire country roads and is basically just Read the rest of this entry »
August 7th, 2012 by Car and SUV
When I picked up the Aurion after having Toyota’s Camry i-Tech for a week my first thought was why would anyone purchase an Aurion when the Camry is more comfortable and better specified? But a journey from Auckland to Feilding and back gave me the answer: you buy the Aurion because you want the sensible aura of a Toyota but you want a swift sedan with sportier styling and handling that will make short work of overtaking dawdling holidaymakers.
The Aurion makes the Camry feel Read the rest of this entry »
July 23rd, 2012 by Car and SUV
There’s an interesting exercise in brand pricing going on with the Prius i-Tech. You can get into the Prius range with the Prius c for around thirty-one to thirty-five thousand, but then there’s a big jump to the base model Prius at fifty grand, and if you want this tricked-out i-Tech verion, it’s $54,490 (online price).
Coincidentally this is only $10 less than the base model Lexus hybrid (the CT200h), but if you plump for the top-of-the-line CT200h F Sport which has similar features to the Prius i-Tech you’ll pony up $72,000.
So, your decision is whether to Read the rest of this entry »
July 20th, 2012 by Car and SUV
Today I read a scathing dissertation on global warming in Rolling Stone magazine. The main thrust of the article was that the globe simply can’t tolerate a 2% rise in CO2, but the oil companies are too politically powerful to be legislated against and that any change in our oil consumption habits has to be driven from the population. But in the Herald today it said that half of New Zealanders are ‘sloth-like’. So it’s not going to suddenly happen due to us all deciding to bike to work.
It’s going to happen eventually, though, because Read the rest of this entry »
July 10th, 2012 by Car and SUV
Some cars really shine with the addition of some extra bling and the top-of-the-range Civic 2.0S is one of them. The increase from 16-inch wheels to 17-inch wheels, fog lamps and body-coloured bumpers and door handles lifts the profile significantly; throw cream leather seats into the mix and you’ve got a looker that’s also plush on the interior.
While you can spend more on the Civic IMA CVT Auto which we reviewed here - it is $43,500 compared to the 2.0S which is $38,500 – you’re paying for the extra economy given by the IMA’s battery technology, and not the interior fitout. I would rather have the 2.0S because, Read the rest of this entry »
April 26th, 2012 by Car and SUV
Hyundai now boasts an extremely large small car range courtesy of the Veloster. It’s also making forays into sports car territory with the Veloster’s middle-bumper exhaust, low-slung looks and all the tie-ins with the rally versions that Kiwi Reece Millen has been thrashing in viral videos.
While Millen’s car is a far cry from what you and I will be pootling around in, the car itself is certainly competent on the road. I have a certain hairpin bend that I know a competent sports car can take at Read the rest of this entry »
March 15th, 2012 by Car and SUV
Aimed squarely at the urban tradesman, the Hilux was almost immediately pressed into service helping me move a large number of items from one storage place to another, including things like a ladder and garden tools. Our test Hilux had been fitted with a number of useful SR5 options such as a roof rack, security alarm, reversing sensors, nudge bars in stainless steel, rear corner protectors, side running boards, a custom cab, towbar, monsoon windows, alloys, a clear acrylic bonnet protector and more. These added significantly to the visual appearance of the Hilux, and added significantly to the price (see the table below).
If you don’t need four-wheel drive because your working life involves visiting the suburbs, you’ll benefit from the extra efficiency that not having to drive all four wheels gives you (8.1 litres per 100km as opposed to 8.3l/100km) and, if you’re like me, you’ll enjoy the five-speed manual gearbox and sense of connectedness with what’s going on that is often lacking in today’s vehicles.
The gearbox grabs the power from the 3-litre turbodiesel which sucks air into the intercooler via a bonnet scoop. It produces 126kW and 343Nm which gives it adequate acceleration for getting out of junctions in the city. A limited slip rear differential helps keep the power to the ground, but no Read the rest of this entry »
March 8th, 2012 by Car and SUV
It’s about time we got the Kuga, but I didn’t used to think that. To be honest, I was wondering whether we need yet another compact SUV. Now I’m certain we do. The Ford Kuga entered into my world last week, put a smile on my face within 30 seconds and now I want one.
It’s not something I say often about the cars we get to drive. A car is a personal decision and of all the cars I’ve driven (many hundreds) there are probably only 15-20 that I would consider based on performance/value/gut feeling. Notable examples include the Lotus Elise, the Audi S5 and FPV’s F6. They are cars which also made me smile, and the fun derived from the dollars spent comes in great surpluses.
Why is the Kuga favourable to me, then, given that I don’t need all five leather-clad seats (the front two of which have 5-stage heating), I only drive 3km to work on 50kph roads and with my child-free life I rarely need to carry anything more than some light shopping? It’s because Ford has captured some of the visceral essence of the fun of driving in a car that screams practicality.
Take the Read the rest of this entry »