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” »

Toyota Aurion Sportivo SX6 2012 Review

August 7th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

When I picked up the Aurion after having Toyota’s Camry i-Tech for a week my first thought was why would anyone purchase an Aurion when the Camry is more comfortable and better specified? But a journey from Auckland to Feilding and back gave me the answer: you buy the Aurion because you want the sensible aura of a Toyota but you want a swift sedan with sportier styling and handling that will make short work of overtaking dawdling holidaymakers.

The Aurion makes the Camry feel Continue reading “Toyota Aurion Sportivo SX6 2012 Review” »

Toyota Camry i-Tech Hybrid 2012 Review

August 1st, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

The top-of-the-line Toyota Camry i-Tech is a hybrid with no performance compromise. There’s not a whole lot of price difference between the Camry i-Tech and the Prius i-Tech (only a couple of grand), but while the Prius i-Tech is packed with more features (adaptive cruise control, heated seats, head-up display and a few other comfort items), the Camry focuses more on the driving experience.

A back-country drive through Tahuna, Otway and Te Aroha gave the Camry some serious Continue reading “Toyota Camry i-Tech Hybrid 2012 Review” »

Toyota Prius i-Tech 2012 Review

July 23rd, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

There’s an interesting exercise in brand pricing going on with the Prius i-Tech. You can get into the Prius range with the Prius c for around thirty-one to thirty-five thousand, but then there’s a big jump to the base model Prius at fifty grand, and if you want this tricked-out i-Tech verion, it’s $54,490 (online price).

Coincidentally this is only $10 less than the base model Lexus hybrid (the CT200h), but if you plump for the top-of-the-line CT200h F Sport which has similar features to the Prius i-Tech you’ll pony up $72,000.

So, your decision is whether to Continue reading “Toyota Prius i-Tech 2012 Review” »

Toyota Prius c 2012 Review

July 20th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Today I read a scathing dissertation on global warming in Rolling Stone magazine. The main thrust of the article was that the globe simply can’t tolerate a 2% rise in CO2, but the oil companies are too politically powerful to be legislated against and that any change in our oil consumption habits has to be driven from the population. But in the Herald today it said that half of New Zealanders are ‘sloth-like’. So it’s not going to suddenly happen due to us all deciding to bike to work.

It’s going to happen eventually, though, because Continue reading “Toyota Prius c 2012 Review” »

Toyota Camry Atara SX vs Toyota Camry GL 2012 Review

June 27th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Should you go for the hotter-looking Camry Atara SX over the Camry GL and forget about the roughly seven grand more you’ll have to pony up, or is the base level GL so awesome that you couldn’t want for anything more for an executive or family sedan?

Under the bonnet the two are very similar. You do get a twin exhaust system in the SX which liberates a couple of extra kW (135 vs 133) from the 2.5-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine, and more torque (235Nm vs 231Nm) but you won’t notice it. Toyota’s weight figures say both cars are 1465kg, but I don’t Continue reading “Toyota Camry Atara SX vs Toyota Camry GL 2012 Review” »

Toyota Adds Seven Seat Wagon to Popular Prius Family

June 26th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

With the arrival of the seven seat Prius v, Toyota has expanded the Prius into a family of vehicles.

Prius is now the first full hybrid vehicle available as a standalone model range, with Prius v joining the Prius c and the flagship Prius hatch.

The ‘v’ behind the Prius v name stands for versatility. Newly designed from the ground up, Prius v is longer, wider and taller than the standard Prius, with an extended wheelbase, making it possible to accommodate adults in all three rows.

The adoption of three-row seating has been achieved thanks to a highly compact, space saving lithium-ion battery pack. Placed under the centre console between the front seats, this is the first lithium-ion battery to be fitted to a Toyota sold in New Zealand.

Toyota New Zealand General Manager of Sales, Steve Prangnell says: “The Prius was a niche model when it first went on sale 15 years ago. But now, from a global viewpoint the Prius v adds the additional flexibility needed to take us to the verge of an era where hybrids are the normal choice in cars.”

“Prius sales globally have more than doubled as Toyota has extended the Prius nameplate to four models. This year we’ve added the Prius c, or Aqua as it’s known in Japan, and Prius v to the existing Prius hatch and Prius Plug-In models. In the first quarter of 2012, Prius sales were just shy of 250,000 units globally, trailing Corolla with 300,800 and the Ford Focus.”

“Based on the latest sales results, 2012 is likely to go down in history as the year of the hybrid – the first time customers have bought more than one million hybrids in a year. This level of
success makes it clear that hybrid technology has been accepted into the mainstream.”

“Prius v is a welcome addition to our hybrid family. With its size, versatility and fuel efficiency, it’s going to attract customers from across the market. It’s a viable alternative to small or midsized
sedans and wagons as well as compact SUVs and crossover vehicles – with fuel economy few of our competitors can match,” says Steve Prangnell.

“With the added seating, Prius v will challenge the perception of customers who think they need a big SUV to transport the family. Also, the added cargo space means Prius v would make an ideal light delivery vehicle for smaller businesses.”

“Taking into account the Prius hatch, city-sized Prius c and now the Prius v seven seater, it’s an exciting time for us. We now have a Prius family member to suit a broad range of buyers, lifestyles and budgets.”

Prius v showcases the latest generation of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, which incorporates a 1.8 litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine with a powerful 60kW electric motor for a combined system output of 100kW. The Prius v returns class-leading fuel economy of 4.1 litres/100km and CO2 emissions of 99g/km.

The Prius v is available in three grades for New Zealand buyers: Prius v, Prius v s-Tech and the technology flagship Prius v i-Tech.

Prius v will be priced from $50,990 with advanced features including a 6.1 inch display screen audio system, automatic air conditioning, leather-accented steering wheel, energy monitor, keyless entry and start, electric power steering and cruise control. Outside, 16 inch alloy wheels, daytime running lights, a rear spoiler and rear privacy glass give a premium look.

Seven airbags, a reversing camera, hill-start assist, vehicle stability control and traction control, and anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution are also Standard.

The Prius v s-Tech adds a head up display, driver’s seat lumbar support and seat height adjustment, manual rear window sun shades, additional smart key door sensors, and a large panoramic style roof with electronic sun shades. The recommended retail price for the Prius v s-Tech is $55,490.

The top-of-the line Prius v i-Tech offers the best in safety and convenience technology. It has a satellite navigation system with seven inch touch screen display, as well as eight JBL GreenEdge speakers. Synthetic leather seats with front seat heaters give a premium feel inside, and LED headlights with auto on/off control set the Prius v i-Tech apart outside. Toyota’s sophisticated pre-crash safety system with dynamic radar cruise control improves safety, while the Intelligent Park Assist (IPA) system assists with parallel and reverse parking.

Toyota Hilux 2WD Dual Cab 2012 Review

March 15th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

Aimed squarely at the urban tradesman, the Hilux was almost immediately pressed into service helping me move a large number of items from one storage place to another, including things like a ladder and garden tools. Our test Hilux had been fitted with a number of useful SR5 options such as a roof rack, security alarm, reversing sensors, nudge bars in stainless steel, rear corner protectors, side running boards, a custom cab, towbar, monsoon windows, alloys, a clear acrylic bonnet protector and more. These added significantly to the visual appearance of the Hilux, and added significantly to the price (see the table below).

If you don’t need four-wheel drive because your working life involves visiting the suburbs, you’ll benefit from the extra efficiency that not having to drive all four wheels gives you (8.1 litres per 100km as opposed to 8.3l/100km) and, if you’re like me, you’ll enjoy the five-speed manual gearbox and sense of connectedness with what’s going on that is often lacking in today’s vehicles.

The gearbox grabs the power from the 3-litre turbodiesel which sucks air into the intercooler via a bonnet scoop. It produces 126kW and 343Nm which gives it adequate acceleration for getting out of junctions in the city. A limited slip rear differential helps keep the power to the ground, but no Continue reading “Toyota Hilux 2WD Dual Cab 2012 Review” »