Nissan: 2014 Qashqai Ti review

August 26th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

‘It’s OK’ and ‘I’m fine’ are the two most common lies spoken in the world, so if I say about this new Nissan Qashqai Ti ‘it’s OK’, am I lying? Let’s find out.

The Qashqai is Nissan’s fairly handsome crossover SUV. It’s not a plastic surgery failure like the smaller Juke, and it cuts a chiselled line that’s more in proportion than the bigger Murano SUV. The Ti is the top-of-the-line Qashqai, with the range starting at the $35,990 ST. Continue reading “Nissan: 2014 Qashqai Ti review” »

BMW: 2014 M4 Coupe review

August 26th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

The M4 is like someone took my shopping list, bought everything on it but on impulse sneaked in an extra packet of bacon. And I like bacon. It’s got the power and the noise, the looks and the toys to keep me happy. I don’t need rear seat practicality and I will put up with the tight squeeze in the boot because this is a coupe and that’s what coupes do: they make compromises in carrying capacity in order to look nicer. Continue reading “BMW: 2014 M4 Coupe review” »

MINI: 2014 Cooper Hatch review

August 19th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

The Mini is 55 years old, being first produced in 1959. 55 years is the same amount of time as the longest serving UK prisoner, serial killer John Straffen, had served when he died in 2007. However, this Mini initially slayed its competition, was killed off in 2000 and then was reborn into a not-quite-so-mini Mini in 2001 under BMW’s ownership where it has continued to be popular, although arguably less iconic. Continue reading “MINI: 2014 Cooper Hatch review” »

Suzuki: 2014 Swift Sport automatic

August 14th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

I’m really getting fed up with how excellent the Suzuki Swift Sport is. Every time I get one it’s pretty much exactly the same; just a few minor tweaks, and that’s it. It’s like having the perfect girlfriend and then every six months she learns how to make a different dessert.

But is one new dessert a year enough?

Looking at it from the outside, it looks almost exactly like the Swift has looked since 2007 when I first drove one. It is the Peter Pan of small cars. Yes, the nose has changed a little, the lights have smeared their way backwards up the bonnet line, the wheels are an inch bigger and it’s a little more sculpted down the sides, there’s not much in it. Continue reading “Suzuki: 2014 Swift Sport automatic” »

Lexus: 2014 CT200h Limited vs F Sport review

August 12th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

The road from Whatipu to Titirangi is narrow, bumpy and changes direction like a gazelle trying to outrun a cheetah. We were in the CT200h F Sport and my partner said to me that she was feeling sleepy, and the problem was with my ‘smooth driving’, the comfortable seats and the lack of noise from the Lexus. This Lexus makes your driving seem better than it is: the thing it excels at is turning the road into a muffled silk ribbon like I am the world’s best chauffeur. Continue reading “Lexus: 2014 CT200h Limited vs F Sport review” »

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” »

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