Holden Captiva 7 LX 2012 Review

September 21st, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

The Captiva 7 is Holden’s seven-seat SUV that aims to provide comfortable driving with a smidgen of off-road nous at a competitive price.

While Holden is most widely recognised with its Commodore, the past few years it’s been building up a battalion of Cruze, Barina and Captiva models to flesh out its presence on the roads. The Colorado hasn’t made such an impact around the cities, and the Epica is long gone and best forgotten.

The Captiva is a car that you don’t Continue reading “Holden Captiva 7 LX 2012 Review” »

New Mazda CX-9 World Premiere at Australian International Motor Show

September 18th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Mazda will hold the world premiere of the refreshed Mazda CX-9 crossover SUV at the 2012 Australian International Motor Show.

Held in Sydney, the 2012 Australian International Motor Show begins October 18 and runs through to October 28, 2012. The 2013 CX-9 will be launched in New Zealand later this year.

Mazda CX-9 is an All-Wheel Drive crossover sport-utility SUV featuring a distinctive sporty appearance, a high-quality cabin, the flexibility of three-rows of seating, and Mazda’s exciting “Zoom-Zoom” driving dynamics. The current CX-9 has sold over 210,000 units* in 74 countries, including North America, Australia and New Zealand, as Mazda’s range-topping SUV.

Andrew Clearwater Managing Director Mazda New Zealand believes the new CX-9 will build on the popularity created by the previous model first launched in New Zealand in 2011.

“The CX-9 has proven to be ideal for New Zealand families that require a 7-seater vehicle capable of transporting many people and their associated gear – while still providing a fantastic driving experience. Exciting new features and an extended array of safety features will bring peace of mind for the whole family.

The new Mazda CX-9 carries over the utility and dynamic driving performance of the current model while adopting Mazda’s “KODO – Soul of Motion” design theme at the front and rear for even sportier styling and stronger presence. Enhancements in craftsmanship and interior design further the feeling of quality and refinement. With regard to equipment, the infotainment system features the latest audio, navigation and Bluetooth systems. In addition, advanced active-safety features, such as Forward Obstruction Warning System, Lane Departure Warning System, and High Beam Control System, help drivers recognize and avoid danger.

As with the current model, the new CX-9 features the MZI 3.7-liter V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission for powerful and refined driving pleasure.

The all-new Mazda6 will also make its Australasian premiere in Sydney. It is the second of Mazda’s new generation of products that adopt the full range of SKYACTIV technologies and the KODO – Soul of Motion design theme. It is the first model to be equipped with Mazda’s unique brake energy regeneration system, i-ELOOP.

Cayenne S Diesel revealed. Coming in 2013

September 13th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Porsche is introducing a high performance diesel model to its Cayenne range in the form of the Cayenne S Diesel.

The 4.2-litre eight-cylinder engine with twin turbo chargers produces 281 kW of power and maximum torque of 850 Nm. This thrusts the new Cayenne S Diesel to top marks in both dynamic performance and efficiency.

The new diesel completes the 0-100 km/h sprint in 5.7 seconds on its way to a 252 km/h top speed, while fuel consumption is just 8.3 litres per 100 km (CO2: 218 g/km). One factor contributing to this excellent value is the auto start/stop function – the Cayenne S Diesel the only SUV with a diesel V8 to offer this functionality.

The driving experience of the newest addition to the Cayenne range is typically Porsche, combining an emotional V8 engine sound with punchy, smooth performance.
The Cayenne S Diesel features PTM active all-wheel drive, tuned to give the driving qualities of a rear-wheel drive. The front wheels only intervene to provide drive when extra stability and traction are needed. Optional Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) adds further dynamics to the SUV’s already excellent sporty handling.

The deep reserves of torque of the V8 engine of the Cayenne S Diesel are well suited to towing; the SUV earning a 3.5 tonne towing capacity. It also takes on the role of a long-distance champion: based on its NEDC fuel consumption the Cayenne S Diesel with its 100-litre fuel tank (standard for New Zealand) can be driven a distance of about 1,200 km without having to stop to refuel.

The new top diesel model has the same sporty exterior and hardware as the V8 petrol Cayenne S. The brake system, for example, has been sized to handle the car’s output and is identified by its silver brake calipers. The black fins at the front end emphasise the open air inlets. As on the Cayenne Diesel, the “diesel” badges at the front guards identify the type of V8 power while the model badge at the rear identifies it as a Cayenne S.

New Zealand deliveries will commence around April of 2013 with local specification and pricing to be announced shortly.

Lexus RX450h F Sport 2012 Review

September 3rd, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

If there are any vehicles that are poised to reap the best market acceptance from hybrid technology, it should be SUVs. People like SUVs because of their practicality, but they don’t like stupendous fuel bills and that’s one of the reasons why sales of traditional SUVs have struggled recently and will continue to do so as the price of fuel increases.

If you are considering a Lexus LX450h, though, you’re probably unconcerned at the extra one or two thousand dollars a year in fuel bills you’ll save over purchasing a non-hybrid SUV. Chances are your other car is a Euro model with a large engine and the Lexus SUV will be for more practical duties like going snowboarding (it has a snow mode) or taking the kids to school. Therefore the hybrid badge on a Lexus SUV is because Continue reading “Lexus RX450h F Sport 2012 Review” »

Audi Q3 2.0TDI 2012 Review

August 21st, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Audi’s Q3 is a compact ‘posh roader’ – a small SUV designed predominantly for a life of parking outside cafes and bars. It’s Audi’s contender against the Range Rover Evoque (read review) and BMW X1 (read review). Luxury brands seem to be shrinking their offerings to make them more available to the recently washed masses, so we tore up the city in this peppy diesel SUV.

If you remember the Q7 (read review) then you’ll know it was a monstrous vehicle that filled entire country roads and is basically just Continue reading “Audi Q3 2.0TDI 2012 Review” »

The All-New Range Rover Vogue Revealed

August 15th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

The all-new Range Rover is the most capable and most luxurious Land Rover yet. Lighter, stronger and with new levels of refinement, the Range Rover reinforces its position as the world’s finest luxury SUV.

The fourth generation of the unique Range Rover Vogue line, the all-new model has been developed from the ground up, capturing the spirit and iconic design of the original model.

The world’s first SUV with a revolutionary lightweight all-aluminium monocoque body structure is lighter than the steel body in the outgoing model enabling total vehicle weight savings of 250kg.

The lightweight aluminium platform has delivered significant enhancements in performance and agility, along with a transformation in fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

In addition to the strong and rigid lightweight body, an all-new aluminium front and rear chassis architecture has been developed with completely re-engineered four-corner air suspension. While the luxurious ride has been retained, the vehicle’s handling and agility have been significantly improved. The new suspension architecture delivers flatter, more confident cornering, with natural and intuitive steering feel.

With Land Rover strength at its heart, the new model has been engineered from the ground up to be the most capable, most refined Range Rover ever.

Amongst the industry-leading innovations is a ground-breaking next-generation version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response® system, which analyses the current driving conditions and automatically selects the most suitable vehicle settings for the terrain.

To ensure exceptional durability and reliability, the new model has been subjected to Land Rover’s punishing on- and off-road test and development regime, with a fleet of development vehicles covering millions of miles over 18 months of arduous tests in more than 20 countries with extremes of climate and road surfaces.

Within the cabin, the all-new Range Rover provides occupants with a sensation of serene isolation, meeting the highest luxury car standards for refinement.

Measures like the rigorously optimised body structure and acoustic lamination of the windscreen and side door glass have significantly reduced noise levels, while the new suspension architecture has enabled engineers to achieve even more luxurious ride comfort and refinement.

The sumptuous interior incorporates distinctive Range Rover design cues, but executed with a very contemporary treatment, and clean, elegant surfaces which are flawlessly presented using the finest leathers and veneers. With over 118mm more legroom, the rear occupants benefit from vastly increased space and comfort, with the option of a new two-seat Executive Class seating package for the ultimate in rear-seat luxury.

To deliver the model’s characteristic effortless performance, customers can choose from either the V8 Supercharged petrol engine, the TDV6 or the SDV8 diesel engines.

The all-new Range Rover has been engineered with the latest developments in vehicle technologies, from interior luxury features such as exclusive Meridian surround sound music systems and power upper and lower tailgates, to advanced chassis and driver assistance technologies.

Designed and engineered at Land Rover’s development centres in the UK, the new Range Rover will be produced in a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Solihull, UK – employing the latest low-energy aluminium body construction technologies.

The New Zealand price and specification will be released at a later date and the Range Rover Vogue will be on sale in from January 2013.

Nissan X-Trail Wagon 2012 Review

July 13th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

The base model X-Trail was the ride of choice for a jaunt from Auckland to Pirongia Mountain on a beautiful winter’s Saturday. An X-Trail is a good starting point for any kind of road trip because this mid-sized SUV is one of the most versatile in terms of boot storage.

The flat boot floor conceals a drawer and cubby hole into which you can place items that might normally roll around in the boot; it also allows you to conceal items out of view. On the right of the boot there’s another small receptacle with a lid, too.

Its practical interior is enabled by a practical exterior. If you took a Continue reading “Nissan X-Trail Wagon 2012 Review” »

Hyundai Santa Fe Elite CRDi 2012 Review

July 4th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

This is the big guy of the Hyundai range: a powerful SUV that aims to give seven occupants a swift and comfortable journey. Leather heated seats, heated steering wheel, rear air conditioning, dual climate control air con in the front, and centre console cooler box help keep the vehicle’s interior at the perfect temperature. There’s even a ‘cluster ioniser’, whatever that is.

The inside is appointed tastefully. Faux carbon fibre dashboard inserts would usually be dismissed as a little tacky because this isn’t Formula 1, but in the Santa Fe they seem perfectly natural. Four LCDs display air conditioning, stereo, clock and trip computer. The driving position is Continue reading “Hyundai Santa Fe Elite CRDi 2012 Review” »