BMW X1 sDrive20d 2013 Review

January 23rd, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Back in 2009 BMW launched the first ever luxury compact SUV at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Today, that segment is a bit more competitive with the likes of the Range Rover Evoque and Audi Q3. Even second-tier compact SUVs such as Mazda’s top-of-the-line CX-5 AWD Diesel Ltd nip at the heels with comparable specification, if not brand cachet.

And that gives BMW good reason to perform a refresh on the BMW for 2013. They call it a Continue reading “BMW X1 sDrive20d 2013 Review” »

Peugeot 4008 Feline 2013 Review

January 11th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Peugeot was a bit late to the serious SUV market so has got up-to-speed by a co-production and platform sharing deal with Mitsubishi.

Its first offering was the 4007. We tested this around a year ago and it was very evidently based on the Mitsubishi Outlander. As you’ll see from our Continue reading “Peugeot 4008 Feline 2013 Review” »

Mitsubishi Outlander VRX 4WD 7-seat 2013 Review

January 10th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

The seven seat Outlander has been up at the pointy end of the pack for a while now. In fact, a year ago we tested the XLS version and our only gripes were the interior and the dull colour range.

Enter the 2013 Outlander…in a kind of brown, which is a colour that should have been left with Mark II Cortinas in the 80s. OK, it’s kind of coppery, almost burnt orangey brown, but my personal preference is any one of the other colours for this top-of-the-line Outlander.

There’s a significant redesign on the outside which looks good from the three-quarter angles of the front and rear, but a little Continue reading “Mitsubishi Outlander VRX 4WD 7-seat 2013 Review” »

Holden Barina Hatch CDX 1.6 2012 Review

January 10th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

It doesn’t seem that long ago since we sampled the Barina (in CD trim), but it was a whole year. I remember thinking that Holden had dramatically improved the looks over the previous model, and my opinion is still the same. The Barina is a well-crafted supermini with some interesting detailing and a strong forward stance.

In terms of looks, it’s pretty much the same. Imagine yourself an hour older and that’s how much the Barina has changed on the outside. On the inside, it’s a different story, and it’s mostly down to the inclusion of Holden’s MyLink media system.

Showing just how far vehicle manufacturers want to Continue reading “Holden Barina Hatch CDX 1.6 2012 Review” »

Ford Fiesta Zetec 2012 Review

January 3rd, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

Of the huge number of vehicle models whose names have been wrenched from the Spanish dictionary, the Fiesta is arguably the most popular and well known in Europe. New Zealand hasn’t had the Fiesta as a direct import for that long (it was called the Festiva or something similar, if I remember rightly).

However, if it was called a Ford Party (the direct translation), it would have had naming allure of the Toyota Funcargo (even ‘cargo’ indirectly comes from the Spanish ‘cargar’ which means ‘to load’). Given a couple of hours, Continue reading “Ford Fiesta Zetec 2012 Review” »

Peugeot 208 Allure 2012 Review

December 18th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Peugeot’s nomenclature lets you know exactly how far up the model range you’ve bought. The 208 is down at the budget end but in terms of bang for buck, it delivers very well.

In Europe, the 208 will be the bread and butter for Peugeot, so it’s important that it provides an engaging driver experience with some well-formed Euro styling.

Gone is the Continue reading “Peugeot 208 Allure 2012 Review” »

Mazda MX-5 2012 Review

December 17th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Sometimes you have to look for a picture that perfectly describes a car, and in this case, the MX-5 does handle like it’s on rails.

The world’s best selling sports car has returned in slightly more muscular clothing to give you back road thrills on a budget. If the Lotus Elise is a featherweight and the Dodge Viper is a heavyweight, Mazda punches in the lightweight class. Mazda has kept the same formula: keep it light, keep it rear wheel drive and make the handling like it’s your own hands pummeling the tarmac.

So, to that extent, nothing was broken, but there’s only so long you can hold out before Continue reading “Mazda MX-5 2012 Review” »

Hyundai i20 GLS 2012 Review

December 12th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Two months ago I spent an excellent couple of weeks driving around Northern Queensland in Hyundai’s previous incarnation of the i20, the Getz. 2800km of budget motoring ranging from the tropical Napier-like town that is Cairns through to the dusty and rutted outback roads of Chillagoe got me intimately familiar with Hyundai’s smallest car. And it made me realise how far it’s come in six years. Continue reading “Hyundai i20 GLS 2012 Review” »