Toyota RAV4 GXL AWD 2013 Review

July 31st, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

It’s not really a soft roader because it has a lockable differential to augment its all-wheel drive, so if you put a decent set of off-road tyres on it, you’ll get to some remote places. There’s also 167mm of ground clearance (22cm more than an Aurion) and a 132kW, 233Nm 2.5-litre petrol engine to help you pull your way through the mud.

toyota-rav4-gxl-2013-rqThe RAV4 GXL’s off-road smarts continue with Downhill Assist Control, and that backs up the other safety electronics: ABS, Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRC), and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC). Seven airbags are fitted as standard.

toyota-rav4-gxl-2013-rear-lightThe engine returns 8.5l/100km (Toyota’s figures, presumably when driving in ECO mode) and emits 198g/km of CO2. You can take control of the 6-speed automatic transmission and move the lever to S mode for sequential changes.

Fitting with the trend of almost every other new automobile, the RAV4 has thick rear pillars and swoopy lines that make it difficult to judge when reversing. Fortunately there is a reversing camera with static guidelines and four sensors on the rear bumper to make sure you don’t run into anything.

The seats are large – almost too large for someone like me who has an aerodynamic body shape. If you’ve been at the pies, though, you will appreciate the RAV4’s seat width. It feels like it’s been engineered for the American market, and this flows through to the soft(ish) suspension that rides very well on NZ’s rough roads, but makes it feel a little like an SUV in the corners. Continue reading “Toyota RAV4 GXL AWD 2013 Review” »

Toyota Aurion Sportivo ZR6 2013 Review

May 23rd, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

The Aurion is the car that almost bridges the gap between Toyota and Lexus. You get the same 200kW, 336Nm, 3.5-litre V6 that you’ll find in an RX350 and, while the interior is not quite Lexus standard, it’s perfectly acceptable (with a few minor foibles I’ll get to later).

toyota-aurion-sportivo-rqIt’s not rear-wheel drive, so in this segment you’ll have to look to a Falcon or Commodore to get your steering-on-the-throttle kicks (and even that’s been reigned in with the current traction control settings in most cars). Anyway, the Aurion is not
Continue reading “Toyota Aurion Sportivo ZR6 2013 Review” »

Toyota Corolla Levin ZR vs Corolla GLX (2013) Review

February 18th, 2013 by darren


When it comes to popularity contests the Corolla Levin ZR and GLX are the Wills and Kate of the car world. The Corolla, a 5-door, front-wheel drive hatchback, is the biggest-selling car by quite a long way, eclipsing the Ford F-Series, Volkswagen Golf and Volkswagen Beetle with (probably) more than 40 million units sold by the time you read this, versus around 36, 27 and 24 million for the others, respectively.

Toyota-Corolla-Levin-f-interiorWhile the new Corolla doesn’t have anything as interesting to the masses as a Continue reading “Toyota Corolla Levin ZR vs Corolla GLX (2013) Review” »

Toyota Land Cruiser LX Turbo Diesel 4 Dr Double Cab CC Review

January 24th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

At the very toughest end of the Toyota range sits the Land Cruiser 70. It’s a purebred workhorse designed to haul and tow whatever is required over terrain that is rugged and unforgiving.

Propelled by a seemingly unstressed 4.5-litre turbodiesel V8 with 151kW and 430Nm, the Land Cruiser 70 will pull 3500kg (with braked trailer) while Continue reading “Toyota Land Cruiser LX Turbo Diesel 4 Dr Double Cab CC Review” »

Toyota Corolla Wagon 2012 Review

November 29th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

In human terms, the Corolla’s oldest traceable ancestors would be living in the mid 1700s. In car terms, things move more quickly and 1966 saw the birth of the first Corolla. This new version is the eleventh generation that aims to continue to provide practical, no frills motoring.

It comes with a 1.5-litre petrol engine which needs to be worked hard to get it moving. You can get it in manual (recommended if you want to drive it) or CVT (recommended if you get stuck in rush hour frequently). You will get better economy from the Continue reading “Toyota Corolla Wagon 2012 Review” »

Toyota Prius v S-Tech 2012 Review

November 9th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Whether it’s by happy accident or you’ve planned it, your four or more children put you in a small minority in New Zealand. Strictly speaking, having lots of children isn’t the most environmentally friendly thing you could do. Fortunately Toyota has created a seven-seat Prius v that will help atone your ecological transgressions.

Typically you’d choose an SUV, like a Toyota Land Cruiser or Holden Captiva 7, or a minivan to transport your kids. Universally, though, these will Continue reading “Toyota Prius v S-Tech 2012 Review” »

Toyota Land Cruiser VX Limited 2012 Review

August 31st, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota’s flagship SUV packs a formidable list of features, but is it taking the traditional off-roader just too far? Starting in 1951 (which makes it the longest running Toyota model) out of a military jeep project, the 40 Series arrived in 1960. Square and coarse, yet revered off road, it sold well.

The Land Cruiser didn’t start to get softened edges until the 80 Series in 1989. More and more interior comforts were added, but the drivetrain could still take a beating.

Think about all those times you’ve seen Continue reading “Toyota Land Cruiser VX Limited 2012 Review” »

Toyota Avensis Tourer 2012 Review

August 25th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Quite possibly the wettest two weeks ever on the Coromandel thwarted my attempts to use a nice little beachside spot for photographing the Avensis. Upon taking advice from my friend (and Coromandel native), I proceeded to drive across the grass which revealed itself quickly as a marsh.

Road tyres quickly fill up with mud and become slicks, and so it was that I decided not to bury it up to the axles and do what most men wouldn’t do: Continue reading “Toyota Avensis Tourer 2012 Review” »