Skoda: 2014 Yeti City TSI V Yeti Outdoor TDI

September 15th, 2014 by Robert Barry

For 2014 the two model Skoda Yeti range has received a revamped front end and mildly modified tailgate to bring it into line with the new corporate exterior design as worn by the all-new Rapid, all-new Octavia, and revamped Superb car line.

Thankfully the unique spirit of the Yeti has not been lost in its rejuvenation. Continue reading “Skoda: 2014 Yeti City TSI V Yeti Outdoor TDI” »

Volkswagen Golf TSI Comfortline 2013 Review

September 18th, 2013 by Darren Cottingham

When you get a car that’s only got 18km on the clock you know it’s going to be better 2000km later once it’s run in a little. We’re not allowed to do that many kilometres in the cars, though, so by the time I took the VW Golf TSI back it was barely getting warmed up.

volkswagen-golf-comfortline-2013-rqGiven another 1500km and the engine should have started to free up and everything would start to feel smoother. Hopefully, also the seats would soften up because I don’t have a whole lot of padding of my own in that department.

volkswagen-golf-comfortline-2013-front-interior

Volkswagen claims 5 litres per 100km fuel economy (combined) with the 7-speed DSG gearbox. I took an 80km jaunt up the motorway at night with the cruise control set to 105kph and I would say 5l/100km is optimistic at best (probably achieved on a test track, not Auckland’s hilly motorway system), let alone 4.3l/100km which is what VW claims for extra urban (i.e highway driving). At the speed I was doing, you’d get around 870km out of a tank (50 litres). Continue reading “Volkswagen Golf TSI Comfortline 2013 Review” »

Skoda Yeti TSI 2011 Review

May 27th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Skoda’s Yeti was first spotted on New Zealand terrain last year and was offered only in diesel engine/manual transmission form. Some were at first frightened by its unusual looks and segment-bridging body shape, but soon enough we all began to accept it. Quickly, people in the know went from accepting to admiring, and very soon the Yeti was scooping up nominations and awards both domestically and internationally.  Now for 2011, a second Yeti has reached our shores to form a two-strong Yeti pack with its diesel-powered pioneering sibling. This new Yeti is a full $10k cheaper and while it offers slightly less than the diesel model, its practicality and driver-friendly nature are shared.  Car and SUV was very impressed during its first Yeti encounter last year and again after a fresh sighting of the new-to-NZ petrol model. Now we can answer the questions of curious kiwi motorists.

So what the hell is it?
Good question, the Yeti is a small crossover vehicle or you could think of it as a high-riding hatchback. It shares its platform with the Volkswagen Golf and uses a 1.2-litre TSI engine that also has service in the Golf, Polo and the smaller Skoda Fabia. Continue reading “Skoda Yeti TSI 2011 Review” »

VW considering Polo R hot hatch based on WRC car

May 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Polo is seen by many to be the weaker and slightly more girly sibling for the Volkswagen Golf, but now with the smaller hatch’s entry in to the 2013 WRC that perception could change.

The high price of petrol and factors like the popularity of Gymkhana has changed the way the Ford Fiesta is viewed and the same could happen for VW’s Polo. This fact isn’t lost on the German carmaker and its getting busy scheming up a hot R version of the Polo that may be given the ability to embarrass more powerful machines. The Polo R WRC rally car (pictured), has plenty of branding for VW’s R division and some styling cues that could be toned down and included in a production hatchback. So it looks promising.

Ulrich Hackenberg, VW board member said in a recent interview that the WRC entry has made a Polo GTI-topping model “more likely”. “You can see how the World Rally Championship program would increase the probability of an R version of the base model,” said Hackenberg, who said that the launch of the Polo R would coincide with the start rally program in 2013.

If this micro menace does enter into production it will likely use a more powerful version of VW’s 1.4-litre turbocharged and supercharged engine currently seeing service in the Polo GTI. To be a true hot hatch the power figure will need to be over 150kW with the Polo GTI at 132kW. What isn’t known is if the Polo R will be offered with an all-wheel-drive system or, like the Scirocco R, be a front driver.

We’ll bring you more details on this Euro hot hatch as they come become available. Click here to read more and view a clip about the Polo R WRC car.

Skoda Octavia Combi TSI 2011 Review

March 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Octavia has the tough role of Skoda’s mid-size champion and while it was originally produced by ‘old Skoda’ between 1959 and 1971, the modern machine has been around since 1996. In 2004, again based on a VW Group platform the Octavia entered its second generation, and now after a comprehensive facelift the Octavia has received new powerplants, more equipment and updated styling. The Octavia has proved a consistent seller for Skoda but will this upgrade push its successes closer to that of its award-winning brother – the Superb. Car and SUV got some seat time in the reworked Octavia to find out more.

While it would be a stretch to label the Octavia a sports wagon it does possess some sporting design cues thanks to the recent updates. The facelift has given the Octavia the same chrome-framed grille as the larger Superb and dramatically curved front lights. Fog lamps flank a wide lower air dam in the front bumper and at the rear new light clusters sit above dual exhaust tips. The Octavia’s sides are sensibly styled with integrated roof rails and a window-line that stays low enough to allow good visibility for all occupants. There are some nice design touches if you look closer like body-coloured side rubbing trim, indicator repeaters in the wing mirrors and the Octavia name embossed in the headlights. Our high-spec TSI model came fitted with standard 17-inch ‘Pallas’ alloy wheels that look great but still struggle to fill the cavernous guards. Overall, the Octavia design has been refreshed in key areas rather than completely overhauled. It’s not styling that will set many hearts racing but it ‘s elegant, contemporary and has a practical focus. The Octavia is built for wagon users and that’s exactly who it will appeal to.

Inside the Octavia TSI there is plenty to enjoy, but like much of Skoda’s current product it’s the general sense of quality that really stands out. The dashboard is new and has dark plastics and contrasting silver trim that feels soft and tactile. All joins and shut lines are precise and there’s plenty of spots for small item storage and drink bottles.

The centre control stack is classy, compact and has excellent ergonomics making it easy to operate. Buttons and dials handle heating and air-con controls with a touch screen providing an interface for stereo functions and phone settings. Instrumentation is a large traditional two-dial arrangement with a two-colour LCD screen offering handy trip computer info. The leather steering wheel and gear knob are both taken from the Superb and are a cabin highlight. It’s a satisfyingly thick and smooth wheel with inbuilt audio and phone controls. Continue reading “Skoda Octavia Combi TSI 2011 Review” »

Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI 2011 Review

January 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

There are a few different ways you could describe the Skoda Fabia. Being the lowest price car in the VW Group range here in NZ you could call it ‘cheap’. But with upgraded styling inside and out you’d have to say ‘cheap but not boring’. With a new advanced powertrain there’s been an increase in performance so you might say the Fabia is ‘cheap but not boring and quite peppy’. But that is still too generalised and it’s generalisations that Skoda has worked so hard to fight against while shaking-off its now dated reputation for poor quality. So Car and SUV put all generalisations and pretensions aside to find out the finer details on Skoda’s updated city car.

What’s new for the Fabia is a whole swag of visual and mechanical updates that give the hatch a fresh injection of attitude. The changes also better target the Fabia at stealing budget-conscious buyers away from character competitors like the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500.

The styling, while you wouldn’t call it daring, it’s fresh and is more distinctively ‘Skoda and proud’ than previous models.  Updates include the new corporate grille, a more angular bonnet and reshaped headlights. The changes don’t just align the Fabia with the rest of the Skoda range but also give it a wider and lower look generating a sportier stance. The blacked out A and B pillars creates a ‘floating roof’ that can be customised in a contrasting colour. Our test specimen was finished nicely in Pacific Blue with a white roof. At the rear, there’s a high-mounted hatch spoiler, jeweled taillights and a chunky bumper. It’s elegantly colour-coded with some fine detailing like the roof colour matching the side mirror caps. Standard wheels are 15-inch steel rims with silver covers and 195/55 tyres but our test vehicle looked sharp with the optional ‘Elba’ 16-inch alloys and wider 205/45 rubber. Overall the Fabia design is better than ever before, it remains more conservative than some competitors in the segment, but it has a genuine European appeal and is handsomely finished. Continue reading “Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI 2011 Review” »

2011 VW Polo GTI arrives in NZ next month

January 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Polo GTI is back in New Zealand and it’s no toy either, packing a 132 kW/ 250Nm torque punch.

The light 1,194kg Volkswagen hot hatch will hit 100 km/h in just 6.9 seconds and go on to a top speed of 229 km/h. Under the bonnet lives VW’s award-winning twincharged 1.4-litre TSI engine (turbo plus supercharging). It’s a very strong motor considering its size and has proved a very popular mill in other VW product. The engine puts its power to the front wheels via a globally adopted 7-speed DSG gear box.

The new Polo GTI also has excellent fuel economy thanks to the downsizing of the 1.4-litre TSI engine and the 7-speed dual clutch gearbox. The new Polo GTI is now 25 percent more fuel efficient with a fuel consumption of 5.9 l/100 km.

Comfort features include electro-hydraulic power steering, electric windows in front and rear, central locking, driver seat height adjustment, climatronic air conditioning, cruise control, green tinted insulated glass and privacy glass in rear window and rear side windows with 65% light absorption. And, multimedia is far from overlooked with RCD 510 radio CD system with large high resolution, colour touch screen, 6-disc CD changer, MP3 and MWA file compatible and AUX-IN multimedia socket, iPod adapter cable and Bluetooth phone preparation.

The GTI will be the first Polo to be available with optional bi-xenon headlights with cornering lights, LED daytime running lights and corner marker lights.

VW GTI-specific features are always standard, such as red trim on the radiator grill and honeycomb on air intakes and front fog lights as well as a sport seat system with distinctive “JackyŸ upholstery, leather covered multi-function steering-wheel with GTI design DSG paddles, sports suspension and 17-inch alloy wheels in the telephone dialler design.

The NZ Golf GTI will be in a four-door body shape and will have safety features consisting of a highly effective airbag network, belt tensioners, front head restraints designed to avoid whiplash trauma as well as Isofix points on the rear bench seat. An electronic transverse differential lock (XDS) reduces the tendency to understeer and improves handling especially for quick driving through curves. Like all versions of the model series, the Polo GTI also comes equipped with the standard ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) including hill hold control.

The New Zealand 4-door Polo GTI will be available at an RRP of $37,500 in February 2011. Continue reading “2011 VW Polo GTI arrives in NZ next month” »

Volkswagen Polo TSI 2010 Review

July 2nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Take a quick look at a cars for sale section in any magazine or website and in the description of many small hatchbacks you’ll find the phrase ‘peppy’. But what does it really mean to be peppy? The dictionary would have you believe that peppy means “full of or characterized by energy and high spirits” and that’s probably correct but to save on words it could just have a photo of the new VW Polo TSI. What makes the second Polo variant available in NZ so lively is a new engine that’s low on displacement but very high on pep. Car and SUV took a closer look at the little Polo to solve the riddle of how less can really be more.

When the new Mk V Polo first touched down in NZ it was sold exclusively with a 1.4-litre 63kW engine, now it’s being offered with an all-new 1.2-litre unit. The new engine carries a $3k premium over the larger 1.4 motor but it’s money well spent because it must be the peppiest 4-cylinder in town. Using turbocharging to produce 77kW of power and a healthy 175Nm of torque the new engine is responsive and engaging. It suffers very little turbo lag and offers maximum torque from low in the rev range (1500 to 3500rpm) so it doesn’t need to be pushed hard. The TSI Polo will dash to 100kph in well under 10 seconds and has the mid-range punch to match much larger engines. But Grandmothers shouldn’t be scared off, the engine is well mannered at slower speeds and is never fierce on boost. With the pint-size engine and lightweight body the Polo also returns an impressive fuel economy of just 5.3l/100km combined.

With no manual option available in NZ the Polo TSI is fitted exclusively with a 7-speed DSG gearbox. It’s a modern piece of kit that changes seamlessly and gives a high-tech edge to the overall driving experience. Having seven ratios gives the smart gearbox a flexibility to either work through them rapidly keeping the Polo in its peak power band or focus on economy and get into a higher gear early. There is a sports mode available that keeps the engine in a lower gear and changes up later. There is also a sequential changing option on the gearshift for manual changes but steering wheel paddles are not available, even as optional equipment.

Continue reading “Volkswagen Polo TSI 2010 Review” »

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