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” »

Ford: 2014 Mondeo Titanium EcoBoost hatchback review

October 8th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

It was 2008: the start of the global financial crisis, petrol hit US$100 per barrel and General Motors reported a record US$38.7 billion loss but arch rival Ford provided me with my first Mondeo experience. Since then, the Mondeo seems to have changed about as much as the attitude of the major banks: not very much. Continue reading “Ford: 2014 Mondeo Titanium EcoBoost hatchback review” »

Ford: 2014 Ranger Wildtrak Review

September 26th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

The Ranger Wildtrak is the top-of-the-range ute for when you have to look like you need a ute, but you’re not going to be doing hard-core driving that will damage its many accessories and prominent livery.

We first drove the Ranger back in 2012 (read review here). It was the XLT which is the model down from the Wildtrak and we said it set a new benchmark in utes as it was a huge leap forward from what the likes of Mitsubishi and Nissan were offering. Continue reading “Ford: 2014 Ranger Wildtrak Review” »

Holden: 2014 Captiva LTZ diesel review

September 18th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

It feels a bit weird putting 2014 in this article because the Captiva 5 we are testing started life in 2006 and has only had a couple of minor upgrades during the last 8 years. We first drove it in 2007  and you can read that article here. It’s a testament to how progressive the Captiva was when it first came out, and that is backed up by the fact that it’s still the most popular SUV (it was the best-selling in August). Continue reading “Holden: 2014 Captiva LTZ diesel review” »

BMW: 2014 435i Coupe review

September 10th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

The 4 Series is BMW’s answer to Audi’s A5, and I quite like the A5. The A5 slots between the A4 and A6, just as the 4 Series slots between the venerable 3 Series and the quite mighty 5 Series. The 4 Series follows BMW’s even-numbered coupe nomenclature as opposed to the odd-numbered sedans, and therefore it cuts a fine sleek line as it drives slowly towards the car park that is nearer to the front door of the office than that of the minions.

It shares the same basic undergarments as the 3 Series but is 26mm longer, 43mm wider and 16mm lower. This means that the 4 Series looks like a trained boxer, all squat and ready to pounce compared to the more relaxed 3 Series. Continue reading “BMW: 2014 435i Coupe review” »

BMW: 2014 M235i Coupe review

September 1st, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

I stepped out of the BMW M4 (read the review here) and into the M235i expecting a significant downgrade, but I was wrong. The M235i is the swift dagger to the M4’s broadsword; it feels lighter and sharper and less likely to require two hands.

The M4 is capable of wreaking much more havoc, but the M235i is still a weapon wielded in the right hands given that it comes with a three-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine producing 240kW and 450Nm of torque. This means a 4.8-second dash to 100kph and enough overtaking power to give the traction control something to think about at 70kph. Continue reading “BMW: 2014 M235i Coupe review” »

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