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 They were the two ports at either end of the ferry across the English Channel to France, until it was superseded by the Channel Tunnel, which was wholly more efficient (than the ferry, that is, not France…although France has a reputation of being inefficient).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” »

Skoda: 2014 Octavia RS TDI wagon review

May 30th, 2014 by Robert Barry

DSC_0057Many years ago, I used to give the Skoda management team a bit of grief about all of their press vehicles being black, which is one of the most difficult colours to photograph and challenging to keep clean and shiny .

Now we have a different team (yet still friendly and helpful) of people at the helm of Skoda NZ and the press cars of late have tended to be white ones. Continue reading “Skoda: 2014 Octavia RS TDI wagon review” »

Toyota: 2014 Hilux V6 SR5 review

May 22nd, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

toyota-hilux-sr5-2014-frontSome 38 years ago the Hilux was unleashed onto New Zealand’s roads. Today, there are as many variants of the 2014 model as there are the days of Christmas: Double cab or single cab, four-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive, petrol or diesel, wellside or chassis, manual or automatic, special TRD edition or one of the standard range? So, should Santa replace Rudolph and Blitzen with a Hilux to tow his sleigh? Continue reading “Toyota: 2014 Hilux V6 SR5 review” »

Subaru: 2014 WRX Premium review

May 21st, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

DSC_0064As a former WRX STI owner I always look forward to driving the newest incarnation. Mine was a version 4, back in the late 1990s, and I loved it as much as I loved Star Wars when I was kid. Until now I’ve been stuck in that halcyon era of big noise, big exhausts and torquey turbocharged boxer engines. I might just have changed my mind. Continue reading “Subaru: 2014 WRX Premium review” »

Toyota: 2014 Land Cruiser Prado VX V6 review

May 13th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

toyota-land-cruiser-prado-2014-rear-quarterOne of those ads out there says that big is good. This Land Cruiser is so big that each one they build has a bottle of champagne cracked across its bow and is released from the factory down a slipway. Continue reading “Toyota: 2014 Land Cruiser Prado VX V6 review” »