Toyota RAV4 GXL AWD 2013 Review

July 31st, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

It’s not really a soft roader because it has a lockable differential to augment its all-wheel drive, so if you put a decent set of off-road tyres on it, you’ll get to some remote places. There’s also 167mm of ground clearance (22cm more than an Aurion) and a 132kW, 233Nm 2.5-litre petrol engine to help you pull your way through the mud.

toyota-rav4-gxl-2013-rqThe RAV4 GXL’s off-road smarts continue with Downhill Assist Control, and that backs up the other safety electronics: ABS, Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRC), and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC). Seven airbags are fitted as standard.

toyota-rav4-gxl-2013-rear-lightThe engine returns 8.5l/100km (Toyota’s figures, presumably when driving in ECO mode) and emits 198g/km of CO2. You can take control of the 6-speed automatic transmission and move the lever to S mode for sequential changes.

Fitting with the trend of almost every other new automobile, the RAV4 has thick rear pillars and swoopy lines that make it difficult to judge when reversing. Fortunately there is a reversing camera with static guidelines and four sensors on the rear bumper to make sure you don’t run into anything.

The seats are large – almost too large for someone like me who has an aerodynamic body shape. If you’ve been at the pies, though, you will appreciate the RAV4’s seat width. It feels like it’s been engineered for the American market, and this flows through to the soft(ish) suspension that rides very well on NZ’s rough roads, but makes it feel a little like an SUV in the corners. Continue reading “Toyota RAV4 GXL AWD 2013 Review” »

Kia Cerato SX GDi Sedan 2013 – Review

July 20th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Kia’s website instructed me to expect the unexpected regarding the Cerato, and I certainly didn’t expect the driver’s seat to be both heated and cooled in a car that costs a paltry $38,490. The passenger’s is only heated, so you will be able to gloat on a hot summer’s day as your unclad legs will not stick to the leather seat (which is also 10-way adjustable with two seat memories).

kia-cerato-sx-gdi-sedan-2013-rqFor your money you get a two-litre sedan packing a 129kW, 209Nm CVVT petrol engine with a theoretical fuel economy of 7.4l/100km. In reality Continue reading “Kia Cerato SX GDi Sedan 2013 – Review” »

Holden Captiva 5 LTZ 2013 – Review

June 28th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Taking the Captiva 5 immediately after the Holden Cruze I was surprised at the difference in interior trim. The Captiva’s screens and controls look like they’re a few years older than the Cruze’s; does the rest of the car feel dated? Let’s find out.

holden-captiva-5-ltz-2013-rqTaking the Captiva up north to Tutukaka its on-road manners were quietly confident. Cornering and braking were Continue reading “Holden Captiva 5 LTZ 2013 – Review” »

Holden Cruze SRi Hatchback 2013 – Review

June 25th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

The only way to arrive at Fieldays is via jet boat or helicopter. It avoids the 20-minute queue into the car park and the resulting walk from several leagues away. We opted for the jet boat – a seven-minute blast along the Waikato with a wind chill of, well, frosty.

holden-cruze-sri-2013-rqDespite the exhilaration and the paltry price of $20 return, it made me appreciate sitting in the Holden Cruze’s cosseting warmth as the outside temperature registered a number low enough that children of this age measure it in quarters Continue reading “Holden Cruze SRi Hatchback 2013 – Review” »

Suzuki Swift Sport 3-door 2013 Review

June 2nd, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Nothing says “I love driving enthusiastically by myself” like a car that makes it difficult to get passengers in. Of course, just having one door would be the perfect statement, but the impracticality would ensure this Suzuki Swift Sport would quickly be bumped off the best-sellers list.

Suzuki-swift-sport-rqThere are cars I drive where I enjoy company – big, comfortable SUVs and plush sedans – and there are cars where I wish everyone would just sod off and let me cane it through the twisty bits. This car deserves a caning more than a Continue reading “Suzuki Swift Sport 3-door 2013 Review” »

Hyundai i40 CRDi Elite 2013 vs Hyundai i45 Elite Ltd 2013 – Review

May 29th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

As New Zealand is the only country in the world still selling the i45 (which is a rebadged Sonata), let’s have a look at whether you’d get one of those or the i40.

Hyundai-i45-elite-s

i45 side view

We took an (almost) back-to-back test of the two cars. First, you would expect because the i45 has 5 more of Hyundai’s ‘i’ points over the i40, that it would be more expensive, like a Mazda6 is more expensive than a Mazda3, but it’s not. The four-model i45 range starts at Continue reading “Hyundai i40 CRDi Elite 2013 vs Hyundai i45 Elite Ltd 2013 – Review” »

Mazda Mazda6 LTD Sedan 2013 Review

May 28th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

If we’re talking movies, the last one in the trilogy is usually the worst. Most often it’s the first, and sometimes it’s the second (like The Empire Strikes Back and Aliens). This Mazda6 LTD sedan is the third in the trilogy of test cars Mazda NZ bestowed on us, but it’s no Return of the Jedi.

mazda6-ltd-sedan-rqWe started with the base model GLX, had a small intermission for an ice cream before getting the better-endowed GSX (both as station wagons), and now the Continue reading “Mazda Mazda6 LTD Sedan 2013 Review” »

Toyota Aurion Sportivo ZR6 2013 Review

May 23rd, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

The Aurion is the car that almost bridges the gap between Toyota and Lexus. You get the same 200kW, 336Nm, 3.5-litre V6 that you’ll find in an RX350 and, while the interior is not quite Lexus standard, it’s perfectly acceptable (with a few minor foibles I’ll get to later).

toyota-aurion-sportivo-rqIt’s not rear-wheel drive, so in this segment you’ll have to look to a Falcon or Commodore to get your steering-on-the-throttle kicks (and even that’s been reigned in with the current traction control settings in most cars). Anyway, the Aurion is not
Continue reading “Toyota Aurion Sportivo ZR6 2013 Review” »