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.

 

Whitney Houston Death – The Full Story…oh, and something about cars, too

February 18th, 2012 by Tim Grimley

Congratulations, you’ve just become the latest unwitting volunteer in a study to add weight to a discussion between myself and Editor Cottingham. Although there is a core following of die-hard ‘Car & SUV-ers’ who return week in, week out for their fix of this column, the Editor in his infinite wisdom has hypothesised that we could quite easily boost readership levels – or at least page views, which is what matters to the advertisers – by adding a dash of celebrity spice to things. The death of poor old Whitney for example.

I have to admit, there was more than a touch of scepticism on my part. No matter how promising a headline may appear, the prospect of anyone actually believing they could find a factually accurate, blow-by-blow account of the super diva’s last moments on what is very obviously a motoring publication hailing from a small island in the Pacific seemed an unlikely prospect. But it does have to be acknowledged that people in general are quite predisposed to being suckered in by a juicy sounding promise and nowhere is this truer than when cars are involved.

Take the now ubiquitous Sports Utility Vehicle which essentially uses the first two parts of the name to lie about its capabilities. I appreciate that ‘Sports’ now covers a pretty broad spectrum of activity, but the athletic prowess of most of these vehicles is somewhere in the region of darts players. Certainly anyone changing between an ostensibly sporting car and the motoring equivalent of a fat lad in a tracksuit would struggle to make a link between the two.

Then there are the claims of utility, which are also a little on the far fetched side. If cream carpets, leather upholstery and hundreds of miscellaneous storage bins in which children can hide sticky objects that in the fullness of time evolve into furry objects are that utilitarian, can someone please explain why no-one has yet thought to bedeck the rear of a Toyota Hiace with them?

Even more disingenuous are the Multi Purpose Vehicles, or MPV’s, which are nothing more than vans with removable seats. And whether you pile them with boxes or employ them for shifting what the airline industry refers to as ‘self loading freight’, the purpose is essentially the same – getting something from A to B. In fact I’ve yet to come across a mainstream car – MPV or otherwise – which has been designed with much more in mind than the purpose of conveying itself and contents. Sure, there are people with a bit of imagination who have gone on to find auxiliary purposes for vehicles – mine usually looks like it’s supplementing its income as a skip – but in general they are all cut from very much the same cloth, with variations in space, pace and opulence the only differentiating factors.

As a rule of thumb, if the motoring industry deems it necessary to employ an acronym when selling a vehicle, you would be safe to assume that it is being done to prevent the potential buyer from detecting the overpowering whiff of bovine excrement. But it still seems that as a sales tactic it works and people are happily seduced by a glamorous sounding title, no matter how fatuous it may actually be.

And if it turns out that this rule applies to motoring articles as well as the vehicles themselves, brace yourself for next week when I’ll be revealing exactly who Madonna plans to adopt next.

Name for new Porsche SUV is Macan

February 17th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Stuttgart’s new sports car in the SUV segment has been given the name Macan. The name Macan is derived from the Indonesian word for tiger and combines suppleness, power, fascination and dynamics – core characteristics of the new off-road car.

“The Macan combines all sports car characteristics with the benefits of a SUV and is a genuine Porsche”, said Bernhard Maier, Member of the Executive Board Sales and Marketing of Porsche AG.
“The name of a new Porsche has to fit with the brand, sound good in very many languages and dialects and evoke positive associations.”

As the fifth Porsche model line, the Macan is a central plank of Strategy 2018, by which the sports car manufacturer wishes to expand its model portfolio. Porsche intends the Macan to emulate the success
of the Cayenne. The SUV will start coming off the production lines in Leipzig in 2013. To that end, the site in this city in Saxony is being expanded into a fully-fledged production plant including body assembly line and paint shop – with 500 million euro of investment one of the biggest building projects in Porsche’s corporate history. In the medium-term, the sports car manufacturer will be creating more
than 1,000 new jobs there.

Word names at Porsche have a concrete connection with the corresponding model and its characteristics: the name Boxster describes the combination of boxer engine and roadster, Cayenne stands for sharpness, the Cayman is snappy and agile and a Panamera is more than a Gran Turismo, capable also of winning the Carrera Panamericana long-distance race.

Peugeot 4007 Allure SE 2012 Review

January 27th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Funnily enough, when I walked up to Peugeot to pick this 4007 up, I casually glanced in its direction and thought, why has someone parked an Outlander there? You see, I’d only seen the 4007 in front three-quarter and rear-three quarter view, and both of those slightly obscure its Outlander origins.

If you’ve read any of the Mitsubishi Outlander reviews we’ve written then you’ll know that it’s a solid SUV contender, and the 7-seat option adds practicality. However, what Peugeot does to make the 4007 is take it and make it better. It’s like a ‘finishing school’ .

Gone (praise the deities) is the slightly annoying CVT gearbox (the main thing I don’t like about the Outlander). In its place is a conventional 6-speed, dual-clutch automatic with a sport mode and a leather-bound gear shifter. The sport mode, as you would expect, changes down earlier and up later, but in typical French fashion it’s fairly ambivalent, and this actually works well. Some manufacturers overdo it on the sports mode; Peugeot has given it just enough extra verve to make it useful.

Second, possibly because of the revised weight distribution it definitely feels slightly less wallowy, but doesn’t compromise on comfort. The suspension setup on the two vehicles is the same – a Macpherson strut up front and multi link with stabilizer at the rear.

Third, there’s an aftermarket satellite navigation system by Pantera which forms part of the rear view mirror. In theory (and when it’s working), this is a really good system. It’s easy to see – you’re used to glancing at your rear view mirror – and it’s touch screen, with a fairly intuitive interface. It didn’t work all the time though; the signal dropped out occasionally and I couldn’t find the reason why as it was a clear, sunny day. The system also includes phone integration and will play music.
Fourth, Peugeot has some customleather seats made here in NZ, and they’re wide and comfortable. Continue reading “Peugeot 4007 Allure SE 2012 Review” »

Maserati details ambitious plans for new model range

July 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Maserati has detailed its ambitious plans to shift up a gear and increase annual sales to 50,000 units. There are new products that will push the growth with concepts scheduled to debut at the upcoming Frankfurt motor show.

What Maserati expect to become its volume seller is an all-new entry-level sedan (code-named the M157) it may be launched as early as next year and will compete directly with the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class. Expect luxury appointment on the inside but a Chrysler-sourced engine under the bonnet. The rumoured power source is a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 – based on the current Chrysler 3.6-litre V6 and alternatively, a 224 kW 3.0-litre V6 diesel currently shared with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The new sedan is expected to cost between €55,000 to €70,000. Continue reading “Maserati details ambitious plans for new model range” »