Toyota: 2014 Yaris ZR and GX hatches review

November 17th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

This pair of Yaris – maybe that’s Yarii – are set to wage war on the urban landscape, giving potential punters a budget option or a ‘fries-with-that’ option in the small car segment. As far as price goes, there’s $5000 between them: the GX starts at a wallet-caressing $24,990, while the ZR with the optional sat nav and SUNA package adds garnish and spices for $29,990. If you’re happy with a manual then you can get the GX for $22,990. Continue reading “Toyota: 2014 Yaris ZR and GX hatches review” »

Toyota: 2014 Hilux Edge 4×2 TD

September 30th, 2014 by Ian Ferguson

The limited edition Toyota Hilux Edge is without a doubt, the full size toolbox on wheels, or as I’d like to refer to it, a useful 5.26 metre length of 4×2.

Seen here in Velocity Red, several hand and power tool brands would want this as their team colour,  although you can also choose from Glacier White, the usual Charcoal Grey, and Ink, as in Black.

Many would see it as the glossed up Tradie’s vehicle of choice, however in New Zealand it wears the crown of the ultimate Utility and it’s a top seller to boot.

Continue reading “Toyota: 2014 Hilux Edge 4×2 TD” »

Toyota: 2014 Corolla GX and ZR sedan review

July 22nd, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

Buying a Corolla is a bit like buying Cadbury’s chocolate: it’s not flash, but it’s dependable. And you know that it’s going to make you fat if use it too much. It achieves its purpose with a minimum of fuss and with the knowledge you paid a fair price.

While the GX is milk chocolate (a little plain, but fills the gap nevertheless), the ZR is a dark, minty block with a slightly silkier texture. It’s still not the kind of chilli and kaffir leaf-infused chocolate that you’d buy in an upmarket boutique, but it does come with a fancier wrapper and more cocoa solids.

Buying a car often comes down to taste: it’s a rocky road to try to please everyone. So if you’re going to remove the wrapper on one of these Corollas, which one is it going to be? Continue reading “Toyota: 2014 Corolla GX and ZR sedan review” »

Toyota: 2014 Hiace ZX automatic review

July 15th, 2014 by Robert Barry

Earlier this year Toyota announced a series of cosmetic interior and exteriors updates for the 2014 Hiace range as well as a mildly retuned suspension package for better road comfort and handling.

So we decided it was time to review one of the most popular vans on New Zealand roads.

Delivery vans are mobile offices, and more than ever they need to be as well-equipped as a passenger car, if not better, and they also need to be more car-like to drive, given that the working day has gotten longer and more and more hours are spent behind the steering wheel. Continue reading “Toyota: 2014 Hiace ZX automatic review” »

Toyota: 2014 Hilux V6 SR5 review

May 22nd, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

toyota-hilux-sr5-2014-frontSome 38 years ago the Hilux was unleashed onto New Zealand’s roads. Today, there are as many variants of the 2014 model as there are the days of Christmas: Double cab or single cab, four-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive, petrol or diesel, wellside or chassis, manual or automatic, special TRD edition or one of the standard range? So, should Santa replace Rudolph and Blitzen with a Hilux to tow his sleigh? Continue reading “Toyota: 2014 Hilux V6 SR5 review” »

Toyota: 2014 Land Cruiser Prado VX V6 review

May 13th, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

toyota-land-cruiser-prado-2014-rear-quarterOne of those ads out there says that big is good. This Land Cruiser is so big that each one they build has a bottle of champagne cracked across its bow and is released from the factory down a slipway. Continue reading “Toyota: 2014 Land Cruiser Prado VX V6 review” »

Toyota Hilux 3.0TD 4×4 Double Cab 2014 review

April 30th, 2014 by Ross Mackay

14ToyotaHilux-1-1From humble beginnings as the robust, reliable, farmer’s friend, the Toyota’s double-cab Hilux is now a bona fide 5-ANCAP star sophisticate, as much at home in the suburbs as it is ‘on the range!’ Continue reading “Toyota Hilux 3.0TD 4×4 Double Cab 2014 review” »

Toyota RAV4 Limited (Diesel) 2013 Review

August 26th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

A few weeks ago we tested the Toyota RAV4 GXL petrol. We commented that it was good, but definitely not class-leading. Now we’re dealing with the top-of-the-line RAV4 Limited diesel. It carries a substantial price tag at $62,790 (over $11,000 more than the GXL petrol), so is it worth it?

toyota-rav4-diesel-limited-rqIf you want to compare, read the GXL review here (opens in a new window). The Limited adds a lot more fruit, as well as the diesel engine, which I’ll get to in a minute.

toyota-rav4-diesel-limited-interiorThe RAV4 is pitched into a crowded marketplace that includes the Mazda CX-5, Holden Captiva, Hyundai Santa Fe, Subaru Forester, Kia Sorento R and more. While the level of gear you get for the money compared to the price of the RAV4 Diesel Limited is variable, they’re all going to provide you fairly spacious and well-equipped motoring.

More features

Satellite navigation is included in the Limited and displays in the 6.1-inch colour touchscreen. Its operation is reasonably intuitive.

A Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) warns you in your wing mirror if a vehicle is travelling in your blind spot by using radar sensors.

toyota-rav4-diesel-limited-bootFor the truly weak (and the very short), the powered rear door is handy. Actually, it’s handy even if you’re a basketball player and strong because you can easily close the tailgate while carrying things to and from the boot. One thing I would improve is how quick it closes because you can’t lock the RAV4 until it is fully closed, and by the time that lethargically happens I can walk almost out of range of the remote central locking.

The driver’s seat gets a few more motors in it to help with the electric adjustment of height, cushion tilt and lumbar support, plus both driver and passenger seats are heated. The seats are also leather, and you can get optional terracotta trims, as shown in our photos.

The cabin’s spaciousness is enhanced by opening the moon roof to let more light in.

On the exterior the headlights are HID (high intensity discharge) to accompany the LED park/daytime running lights and the Limited comes with 18-inch wheels vs. the GXL’s 17-inch alloys.

The engine

toyota-rav4-diesel-limited-rear-seatsTowing capacity is 300kg better than the petrol, at 1800kg on a braked trailer as there’s more torque from the diesel engine (you can get the diesel version in GX, GXL and Limited models, not just the limited). The engine produces 110kW and 340Nm and Toyota reckons that’s good for 6.5l/100km (if you’re using the eco mode).

It’s connected to the same 6-speed automatic gearbox with SIEC (Super Intelligent Electronic Control), AI (Artificial Intelligence) and sequential S mode, as well as Flex Lock Up control.

toyota-rav4-diesel-limited-reversing-camera

The engine is the main problem with the RAV4. It’s noisy; agriculturally noisy and harsh sounding. There’s a nautical saying: to spoil the ship for ha’porth o’ tar. It means that you have a good product then you compromise it by omitting one simple thing (i.e. you’re compromising the ship by not putting a half-penny’s worth of tar on it, which means it’ll leak in that spot). This is what I feel has happened with the RAV4. Now, I’m not saying that it’s class-leading even if it had a better motor, or that a motor is a ‘simple thing’. The RAV4 is an SUV which will undoubtedly perform, but it doesn’t lead the way even with the petrol version, and with the diesel I just couldn’t see myself putting up with the motor.

So, as I mentioned in the review of the GXL, there are some nice features such as the cargo hammock in the boot; it’s extremely comfortable and spacious, and of course you’ve got some four-wheel drive smarts with the lockable differential so it’ll be useful for light off-roading and areas that see snow. In general, I like diesels, and some manufacturers do them very well, but I’m not sure about this engine. Add into the mix the fact it’s still a little wallowy and unwieldy feeling on the road, and I think I’d be looking hard at the competitors like the 2.2-litre diesel Hyundai Santa Fe, and more so the diesel Mazda CX-5. The engines in Holden’s Captiva and Kia’s Sorento R and Sportage aren’t really any better and the Captiva’s seats are well outclassed by the RAV4, so unless you want to save $15,000, I wouldn’t go there. You could even consider a Subaru Forester as a competent all-rounder.

Price: $62,790

Pros

  • Well-appointed
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Noisy engine
  • Needs to up its game

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

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