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 Continue reading “Toyota Prius c 2012 Review” »
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, Continue reading “Honda Civic 2.0S 2012 Review” »
June 5th, 2012 by Car and SUV
Does the sporty version of New Zealand’s best-selling small car does live up to its moniker? Even with a six-speed manual and a slightly peppier engine it’s actually a pretty sedate and boring car around town. But this is a car that gets much better when you are on the open road or driving ‘more enthusiastically’.
The problem with being at the top of the pile is that there are always young upstarts trying to knock you off. To find out whether it’s still worthy of the top spot I took it from Auckland to Continue reading “Suzuki Swift Sport 2012 Review” »
June 2nd, 2012 by Car and SUV
Taking it to the Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50 is a bit of a daunting task so Nissan has upped the power stakes. How’s 23 more kW and 80 more Nm of torque? The ST-X 550 (for the 550Nm of torque) is fast for a ute – it’s no HSV Maloo, but a Maloo isn’t a proper off-roader with 4WD low range. All this power would be fine, but it also rides like a ute on its leaf springs and the traction control light is a frenzy of activity in the wet as it tames the 170kW.
The Nissan tips the scales at over 2177kg and you can feel it in the corners. The steering is heavy and it leans into any change of direction. Chuck another 833kg in the tray and hook up 3000kg (as long as it’s a braked trailer) and you’ve got six tonnes to deal with. And that’s where you’ll need Continue reading “Nissan Navara ST-X 550 2012 Review” »
May 23rd, 2012 by Car and SUV
I never call the Thames Coast road by its proper name. I call it ‘The Road of a Thousand Bends’. Apart from a couple of short straights at Manaia and a few villages dotted along the coast it is a relentless barrage of tight (often blind) corners wedged precariously between the sea and steep bluffs.
If you have a car with great dynamics this road is frustrating during the day but awesome at night. During the day there’s a procession of boaties, campervans and sightseers meaning you can’t stretch the vehicle’s legs; late at night, though, you can Continue reading “Mazda CX-5 GSX 2012 Review” »
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 Continue reading “Hyundai Veloster Elite 2012 Review” »
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 Continue reading “Toyota Hilux 2WD Dual Cab 2012 Review” »
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 Continue reading “Ford Kuga Titanium 2012 Review” »