Suzuki: 2014 Swift RS quick drive

December 16th, 2014 by Ian Ferguson

Since it’s launch in 2005, the Swift light hatchback has gone from being a quantum leap in Suzuki product design and quality, to a strong front runner in discerning car markets such as New Zealand. Continue reading “Suzuki: 2014 Swift RS quick drive” »

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” »

Honda: 2014 Jazz RS Sport review

October 8th, 2014 by Ian Ferguson

You know the advertising campaign for a new Honda model works when you wake up in the dead of night having just dreamed about that particular car.

In the case of the new Honda Jazz range it seems to be advertised in every newspaper, magazine and billboard, plus every man and his dog also seems to be reviewing it including us. With the appearance of a stylish shoebox many light car punters would discount the all-new Jazz before taking one out for a test drive, which is a a big mistake from where we sit. Continue reading “Honda: 2014 Jazz RS Sport 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” »

Holden: Barina RS 2014 review

March 5th, 2014 by Robert Barry



You could be forgiven for thinking that the new Barina RS is a track searing hot hatchback thanks to the current television ad that sees Greg Murphy revving the engine and screeching the tyres around the Highlands circuit in Cromwell.

Alas, do not be fooled by the power of the telly ad because the latest addition to the Barina hatch range is only a mild butter chicken rather than a scorching Vindaloo, its a warm hatch rather than a hot one, but nevertheless its still a very good steer that will curry favour with many.

image103272_bBy adding the 1.4-litre turbocharged engine from the Holden Cruze as well as tweaking the suspension package, upgrading the brake package to discs all-round and lowering the ride height, the Holden engineers, in conjunction with their US and Korean colleagues have created a sporty and responsive hatchback that is fun to drive in the city and beyond. Continue reading “Holden: Barina RS 2014 review” »

Mazda releases end of line RX-8 Spirit R final edition

October 10th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Rotary fans worldwide took the news hard that Mazda was killing off its RX-8 without word of a successor – but now there is a small silver lining.

Mazda has just announced that it is releasing a final special edition of its RX-8 which could be the final rotary production cars ever built. Named the RX-8 Spirit R, this very collectable special edition will be limited to just 1,000 units, with sales in the Japanese domestic market only.

The Spirit R nameplate is familiar being also used for the final edition of the RX-7 and the RX-8 version will be sold in two variants – a six-speed manual version based on the RS model and the other with a six-speed auto based on the Type E model.

After it launches the Spirit R and the auto-only Type G will be the only RX-8 models on sale in Japan with production ending fully on June 12th, 2012.

Naturally, the Spirit R receives some special touches like an exclusive Recaro bucket seats and bronze 19-inch alloy wheels. Special equipment includes a sport suspension set-up, larger brakes with red calipers, new front headlights and Spirit R badges. Continue reading “Mazda releases end of line RX-8 Spirit R final edition” »

High-spec Suzuki Swift RS added to NZ range

September 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Suzuki NZ has added a new highly-specified Swift to its model range – the Swift RS. Billed as a limited edition variant the RS receives extra luxury and equipment.

The RS version is based on the Swift five-door hatchback and is the first special edition since the arrival of the new generation series earlier this year. With its higher level of standard equipment, the RS is the most equipped Swift ever sold in New Zealand.

Extra features include a tilt and telescopic adjustable steering column, keyless locking and the push button start/stop function which is inherited from the Suzuki Kizashi sedan. There’s also a full climate control system with a digital readout replacing standard air conditioning on other Swifts, and the RS has Bluetooth hands-free mobile telephone connection. A six-speaker audio system includes a USB input for MP3 or iPod music player functions, and can be controlled by switches on the steering wheel.

Mechanically, the RS benefits from four wheel disc brakes, previously only available on the high performance Swift Sport model. The new 1.4-litre K14B four-cylinder engine introduced for the latest generation Swift is retained for the RS version. This powerplant produces 70 kW of power while averaging 5.5 litres/100 km in the combined fuel cycle, or 6.2 litres/100 km for the automatic. Continue reading “High-spec Suzuki Swift RS added to NZ range” »

Ford Focus RS Black Racing Edition unleashed on Europe

April 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Ford Focus RS is a brutally uncompromising hot hatch that has unfortunately proved rare and illusive here in NZ. Sure there have been a few private imports but with Ford NZ’s decision not to sell the RS into our market we’ve missed out on another fast Ford.

That’s not the case over in Europe where the RS, now in its twilight years in current form, has proved popular for fans and tuners alike.

Horsepower merchants Anderson Germany is the latest tuner to go to work on the Focus RS and has built a machine to tempt those waiting anxiously for the next-generation Focus RS to be released. This reworked model is called the Ford Focus RS Black Racing Edition.

The Düsseldorf-based tuner takes a standard unit from the current generation Focus RS series and makes it look sinister and sexy. It comes in a matte black exterior finish with contrasting red highlights.

Modifications aren’t limited to the cosmetic and Anderson offers performance tuning on the RS, taking output up to a sketchy 309 kW, far higher than the standard 224 kW output on the turbocharged 2.5 liter 5-cylinder unit. That’s a fair whack of power going exclusively to the front treads. Continue reading “Ford Focus RS Black Racing Edition unleashed on Europe” »

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