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” »

Range Rover Sport – More Choice for 2013

May 21st, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

New paint finishes and a greater choice of alloy wheels and interior trims, including carbon fibre highlight the 2013 Range Rover Sport.

“The Range Rover Sport was substantially revised in 2011 with major powertrain enhancements and raised equipment levels to reinforce its outstanding breadth of capability,” said Gary Upson, the Land Rover brand manager for New Zealand.

“For 2013 we’re going one step further, offering even more choice with some great new colour combinations and detail improvements to redefine the Range Rover Sport’s class-leading levels of comfort and customer appeal.”

To complement the exterior design changes updated at 2012 model year, a new five-spoke cast alloy wheel design in Sparkle Silver and five new body colours provide customers with greater levels of choice when it comes to enhancing the look of their Range Rover Sport: Barolo, Barossa, Causeway, Havana and Mariana are all introduced for 2013.

Customers opting for the Supercharged model will discover red Continue reading “Range Rover Sport – More Choice for 2013” »

Porsche Cayenne GTS 2012 revealed in Beijing

April 11th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

The SUV with the driving fun of a sports car is entering its second generation. In Beijing, at the Auto China 2012, Porsche will reveal the new Cayenne GTS. Its notion: a concentration of sporty performance. Its recipe: a more powerful engine with more dynamic response, a tauter chassis with lower ride height and more sporty features.

The new Cayenne GTS doesn’t just fill the gap between the Cayenne S and the Cayenne Turbo but also differentiates itself clearly from the other models with its own unique character.

The Cayenne GTS’s bonnet conceals a 309 kW (420 hp) upgraded V8 engine, based on the 4.8-litre Cayenne S power unit. Power is transferred via an eight-speed Tiptronic S transmission with integrated auto start/stop function. The engine and transmission have been specially calibrated to provide instant bursts of speed.

The Cayenne GTS sprints from zero to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds, reaching 160 km/h in 13.3 seconds. Top speed is 261 km/h and the NEDC fuel consumption is 10.7 litres per 100 kilometres.

The specially tuned chassis ensures thrilling driving dynamics. It is more tautly tuned, equipped with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and lowers the body by 24 mm relative to the Cayenne S. As a result, the new Cayenne GTS is even closer to the road and moves with extra composure and agility.

The Cayenne GTS’s bold external design declares its sportier intensions with eye-catching features such as the powerful front styling of the Cayenne Turbo, door frames and trims in high-gloss black, prominent side skirts and wider wheel arches, as well as a distinctive twin deck roof spoiler. The sporting theme carries through to the GTS’s interior with extensive use of leather and Alcantara. Front sports seats with eight-way adjustment are also standard.

Customer deliveries of the Cayenne GTS in New Zealand will commence during August / September with local pricing and specification to be announced shortly.

Range Rover Evoque Dynamic TD4 Review

March 29th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

The thought of driving 420km with two boxes of badly packed crockery didn’t fill me with excitement. I’d planned to take the iPod with 100 Hits of the ‘80s to drown out the constant clattering with some Whitney, Prefab Sprout and Starship.

However, I shouldn’t have feared because despite roading contractors making blacktop as smooth as Dan Carter’s abs, the Range Rover Evoque soaked up the bumps while Michael Jackson asked, “Can you feel it?” I couldn’t feel it or hear it. Not only are you extraordinarily well insulated from road noise and engine noise, the smooth ride meant I didn’t need to crank up the stereo because the crockery wasn’t clattering.

The Evoque is Range Rover’s baby SUV. It gets you into the luxury SUV segment for quite a bit less than a full-fledged Range Rover Sport or Vogue (as little as $80,000, but you’ll probably spend the best part of Continue reading “Range Rover Evoque Dynamic TD4 Review” »

Revealed: First Look At Holden’s New Colorado 7

March 24th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

The first images of Holden’s tough new off-roader – the Colorado 7 4WD SUV – in its Chevrolet guise have been released ahead of the global reveal of the production vehicle at the Bangkok International Motor Show in Thailand.

The all-new seven-seater Holden Colorado 7, based on the Chevrolet Trailblazer, will be the first heavy-duty 4WD SUV to wear a Holden badge in almost a decade.

The Holden Colorado 7 shares its architecture and underpinnings with the new-generation Colorado Light Commercial Vehicle, which arrives in New Zealand mid-year.

Holden New Zealand Managing Director, Jeff Murray said SUV’s are continuing to grow stronger in New Zealand and so there will be huge interest in the Colorado 7 by the time it is launch at the end of 2012.

“Kiwi’s love their SUV’s and this is reflected in the ever increasing popularity of the Series II Captiva range,” Murray said.

“Colorado 7 is yet another Holden SUV that ticks all the boxes for some customers, it provides great rugged off-road performance, flexibility, clever interior storage, seven seats and that all important lifestyle option.

“The Colorado 7 was designed to deliver everything you might expect from a tough 4WD, including an incredibly competitive 3-tonne towing capacity and coil-sprung five-link rear suspension allowing it to compliment Holden’s already impressive SUV line-up.

“Its refined driving characteristics and serious 4WD credentials make the Colorado 7 at home on the farm or in the suburbs around New Zealand.”

The Trailblazer will feature on the Chevrolet stand at the Bangkok International Motor Show from 28 March.

Holden will release official Colorado 7 product information, specification and pricing details closer to launch.