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” »

You Can’t Be Sedan The Man

February 12th, 2012 by Tim Grimley

As we have now been in New Zealand for an extended period of time, the current Mrs Grimley has decided that it would be a good idea to keep a record of all the places that we have managed to visit. Given that I have a memory span roughly comparable to the average pet fish, I agreed that some kind of log may be useful and envisaged a quiet weekend pottering about whilst she occupied herself with a scrap-book and glue stick, cataloguing the rainforest of receipts, photographs and miscellaneous tourist bumph that has accumulated in various drawers.

Not so. It turns out that her plans were on a somewhat grander scale which involves a map so large it could be used to keep frosts off Otago rugby pitches in winter. And not content with simply pinning it to the wall, she has deemed it is necessary for me to construct a frame so that it can hang in our study and inform anyone who should be passing – with the aid of a complex array of coloured stickers – the exact extent of our travels.

Not a man drive

So I’ve got to buy a new car then.

While I am deeply in love with my current terrible Mercedes, a jaunt to Mitre 10 earlier today reminded me that there are very good reasons why anyone with even a smidge of aspiration to manliness should not own a sedan. To start with, trying to force the lengths of dado and backing board necessary to build a frame so big that it may require council consent into a sedan is a bit like trying to arm wrestle an orang-utan. It can be done, but the end result is going to be messy.

So it proved to be; what should have been a very simple job involving a bit of paint and glue now necessitates delicate surgery to reassemble a pile of firewood into something approaching useable timber. If a vehicle is completely incapable of assisting with even the most basic of DIY tasks, then its use to a man is somewhat limited.

And it certainly doesn’t stop with DIY – a decent station wagon, ute or van will happily swallow essential items of mancrap such as surfboards, kayaks and snowboards all of which would need a generous tweak from a car crusher before they could comfortably slide into the Merc.

Better. Much better

Yes, I know there have been wonderful inventions such as trailers and roof racks, but they fly in the face of all that is man. Men act on impulses and whims – they throw things in the back of the car and head off to the beach, bach, hardware store or sporting venue of choice. Male nature does not involve hitching up and securing trailers or trying desperately to remember back to their days in the Scouts to ensure the load being lashed to their roof does not become State Highway flotsam.

Sedans impinge on the male spirit by restricting our impulses and causing us to – horror of horrors – think and plan ahead. This clearly will not do and as such the search for a replacement vehicle starts now. Fortunately in the mean time, the Mercedes has just enough room for the glue and nails needed to finish off the picture frame.

Volkswagen heats up Transporter van with Sportline special

May 27th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

For one reason or another, New Zealand is a ute nation. We love our small trucks and what they can do onroad and off. But in the tarmac covered UK, utes aren’t as popular as full-size vans. So in the same way that we get all funny over a dressed up Toyota Hilux, the Brits are right into their sporty limited edition vans.

The Ford Transit Sportvan is the undisputed king of hot vans in Britain but now VW has thrown its hat into the ring with the new Transporter Sportline.

This special edition van comes packing a 135kW 2.0-litre turbodiesel motor, matched to either a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG box. Visual excitement is added by a revised front end with a gloss black and chrome grille. There’s also smoked headlights, recessed fog lamps, polished side step bars and 18-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels. No surprises at the rear where there’s a roof spoiler. Continue reading “Volkswagen heats up Transporter van with Sportline special” »