Citroen: 2014 C4 Picasso review

January 9th, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

Named after a man who took pushed the boundaries of design, the C4 Picasso follows suit with some bold exterior styling and some features drawn in the wrong place on the inside. Let’s deal with the exterior first: the LED-adorned face is as instantly recognisable and striking as any I’ve seen. There’s no doubting you’re in a Citroen. The double-stack of headlights doesn’t quite work for me from some angles – there’s a mismatch in the lines – but it is bold enough to match the deeply contoured body sides, chrome window inserts and angular 17-inch alloys, and the overall effect is one that grows on you. Continue reading “Citroen: 2014 C4 Picasso review” »

Holden: 2014 VF Commodore SS-V Redline review

January 8th, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

The Holden Commodore SS-V is the best reason I can think of to not buy an SUV. I can drive up kerbs (carefully) in the SS-V, just like the requirements of 99% of SUV owners. I can tow 2100kg on a braked trailer (100kg more than a Hyundai Santa Fe). I can fit 486 litres of air in the boot, which is 83 more than a Mazda CX-5, and if I buy the Sportwagon version of the Commodore, there’s a frankly ridiculous 2000 litres of space with the rear seats folded down. That’s bigger than a long wheelbase Mitsubishi Pajero with its seats down, and there’s no way you can chuck a Pajero around in the corners like you can this Commodore. Continue reading “Holden: 2014 VF Commodore SS-V Redline review” »

Jeep: 2014 Cherokee Trailhawk review

January 6th, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

That grille and the menacing eyes simply scare difficult terrain out of the way. Underpinning the seriousness of Jeep’s commitment to dominating the road less paved, you can wade through water up to 508mm deep due to additional electrical and body seals plus a high air intake, there’s 224mm of ground clearance, the approach angle is almost 30 degrees, the departure angle is 32 degrees and the ramp breakover angle is almost 23 degrees. Continue reading “Jeep: 2014 Cherokee Trailhawk review” »

Toyota: 2014 Yaris ZR and GX hatches review

November 17th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

This pair of Yaris – maybe that’s Yarii – are set to wage war on the urban landscape, giving potential punters a budget option or a ‘fries-with-that’ option in the small car segment. As far as price goes, there’s $5000 between them: the GX starts at a wallet-caressing $24,990, while the ZR with the optional sat nav and SUNA package adds garnish and spices for $29,990. If you’re happy with a manual then you can get the GX for $22,990. Continue reading “Toyota: 2014 Yaris ZR and GX hatches review” »

Holden: 2014 Barina RS review

November 11th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

RS is a hallowed badge that has traditionally meant Rallye Sport, Rally Sport or Rennsport (German for racing sport). Who can deny that cars such as the Ford RS Cosworth, the Renault Megane RS265, the Porsche GT3 RS and the Audi RS4 are amazing cars in their own right? I even owned a Subaru Legacy RS-RA back in the day which was mostly excellent (when the ECU wasn’t playing up). It has been (and should only be) reserved for cars that have some sporting credentials. Continue reading “Holden: 2014 Barina RS review” »

Fiat: 2014 Punto Pop review

October 24th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

At $17,490 here you have one of the cheapest new cars on the New Zealand market, and it’s from Europe which means you can indulge in a bit of Euro brand snobbery. In fact, I’ve even seen them advertised for $16,990, and that’s just ridiculously low. Compared to what they cost in the UK, we get a pretty good deal which is definitely not the case with a lot of our marques. As far as I can tell from Fiat’s UK website the little Punto Pop sells for just over ten thousand pounds on the road which is the equivalent of twenty-one grand here. Continue reading “Fiat: 2014 Punto Pop review” »

Honda: 2014 Jazz S review

October 15th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

The Jazz has always been Tardis-like. You take a look from the outside and think there’s no way you’d easily fit a couple of six-footers in the rear passenger seats, but it can be done quite comfortable. Even the boot capacity is good at 363 litres (better than the Ford EcoSport compact SUV we had last week, and miles more than the perennial small car favourite, the Suzuki Swift). Continue reading “Honda: 2014 Jazz S review” »

Ford: EcoSport Titanium 2014 review

October 10th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

When I was in my teens in the late ‘80s our 80-year old neighbour, Mrs Moss, had kept her 1950s Morris Minor because she didn’t like all these new cars that were too low for her to get in and out of. Her aging hips wanted a seat she could slide across into rather than fall into. It was the second thing that this Ford EcoSport reminded me of; the first thing was Tweetie Pie, the yellow bird, from the cartoons of the 1940s and ‘50s. Continue reading “Ford: EcoSport Titanium 2014 review” »

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