Toyota: 2014 Corolla GX and ZR sedan review

July 22nd, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

Buying a Corolla is a bit like buying Cadbury’s chocolate: it’s not flash, but it’s dependable. And you know that it’s going to make you fat if use it too much. It achieves its purpose with a minimum of fuss and with the knowledge you paid a fair price.

While the GX is milk chocolate (a little plain, but fills the gap nevertheless), the ZR is a dark, minty block with a slightly silkier texture. It’s still not the kind of chilli and kaffir leaf-infused chocolate that you’d buy in an upmarket boutique, but it does come with a fancier wrapper and more cocoa solids.

Buying a car often comes down to taste: it’s a rocky road to try to please everyone. So if you’re going to remove the wrapper on one of these Corollas, which one is it going to be? Continue reading “Toyota: 2014 Corolla GX and ZR sedan review” »

Kia: 2014 Soul SX 1.6 review

July 14th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

kia-soul-sx-1.6-2014-frontMinor acts of altruism are good for your soul, and so it was with great coincidence and pleasure that I was able to follow and help apprehend a drunk driver, maintaining a phone conversation with police traffic HQ using Kia’s Bluetooth connectivity. Continue reading “Kia: 2014 Soul SX 1.6 review” »

Kia: 2014 Pro_c’eed GT review

June 24th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

kia-proceed-gt-2014-frontThe Germans have a fantastic array of compound words. In German you can keep adding descriptive words together to form a word that’s a bit like a train with multiple carriages. One such word is hochkommakrankheit which, according to my research, means a banal obsession with the deployment of apostrophes – literally ‘apostrophitis’. Continue reading “Kia: 2014 Pro_c’eed GT review” »

Holden: 2014 VF Commodore VF Evoke sedan review

June 24th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

holden-commodore-evoke-sedan-2014-frontThe power was out because we had a proper storm. Proper storms are always good for debris-strewn photos, and that’s what you’ve got: the brilliant red of the Evoke against the green and brown of a billion leaves and twiglets strewn over West Auckland’s usually grey tarmac. Continue reading “Holden: 2014 VF Commodore VF Evoke sedan review” »

Holden: 2014 Calais-V Sportwagon review

June 18th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

holden-calais-2014-frontEvery time I read Calais, I immediately think Dover. They were the two ports at either end of the ferry across the English Channel to France, until it was superseded by the Channel Tunnel, which was wholly more efficient (than the ferry, that is, not France…although France has a reputation of being inefficient).

I wonder whether that’s how the Holden Calais-V feels: usurped by changing technology and a move towards smaller, more efficient cars. It would be wrong, though. There’s something noble about being on the waves, using brute force against the elements. Continue reading “Holden: 2014 Calais-V Sportwagon review” »

Audi: 2014 A3 1.8T Sport sedan review

June 11th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

audi-s3-sedan-2014-frontYou’d think that getting out of a 221kW Audi S3 and straight into a 132kW A3 might be a bit of a let-down, but it actually wasn’t bad at all.

In comparison to the S3, the A3 gets much nicer throttle mapping for the downshifts and a whole extra gear ratio with 7 on tap from the S Tronic gearbox. The available power from the 1.8-litre turbo engine means 7.3 seconds to 100kph, which is quite respectable and very usable in day-to-day driving.

Continue reading “Audi: 2014 A3 1.8T Sport sedan review” »

Audi: 2014 S3 Sportback quattro review

June 11th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

audi-s3-2014-frontI was walking with a friend when a yellow Lamborghini Murcielago passed us near Westhaven Marina. She asked me why people buy cars like that in bright colours.

“Advertising,” I replied. It’s all about advertising the fact that you can spend half a mil’ on a car, and you want people to know. Plus, it looks cool. She didn’t understand the ‘looks cool’ bit. Continue reading “Audi: 2014 S3 Sportback quattro review” »

Kia: 2014 Optima Limited review

June 5th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

kia-optima-gdi-2014-frontWith Mazda’s excellent Mazda6 showing everyone the way, Kia’s contender in the medium car segment has been given a refresh with some new styling, new features and refined ride quality. Continue reading “Kia: 2014 Optima Limited review” »

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