Skoda: 2014 Octavia RS TDI wagon review

May 30th, 2014 by Robert Barry

DSC_0057Many years ago, I used to give the Skoda management team a bit of grief about all of their press vehicles being black, which is one of the most difficult colours to photograph and challenging to keep clean and shiny .

Now we have a different team (yet still friendly and helpful) of people at the helm of Skoda NZ and the press cars of late have tended to be white ones. Continue reading “Skoda: 2014 Octavia RS TDI wagon review” »

World Premiere of All-New Mazda6 Wagon at 2012 Paris Motor Show

September 11th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Mazda Motor Corporation will hold the world premiere of the all-new Mazda6 wagon at the 2012 Paris Motor Show.

It will be exhibited alongside the new Mazda6 Sedan that is currently generating a real buzz at the Moscow Motor Show. Both models displayed at the Paris Motor Show will feature Mazda’s new SKYACTIV-D 2.2 clean diesel engine.

Andrew Clearwater, Managing Director Mazda New Zealand says the previous generation Mazda6 wagon was a very strong performer in the New Zealand market and expectations are high for the new wagon.

“When the New Zealand motoring public sees the new Mazda6 wagon I believe they will be blown away by its class leading design that will make it stand out from the competition.”

Sales of the 3rd Generation All-New Mazda6 will begin in New Zealand in early 2013.

The 2012 Paris Motor Show begins September 27 and runs through to October 14.

Depending on individual market requirements, engine options for the Mazda6 include a Standard Power or High Power SKYACTIV-D 2.2 diesel engine as well as SKYACTIV-G 2.0 and SKYACTIV-G 2.5 direct injection petrol engines.

The new Mazda6 is the flagship model for a new generation of Mazda products. It incorporates the very best of Mazda’s craftsmanship and technical expertise across all domains, from dynamic performance and design, through to environmental performance and safety. It is the second of Mazda’s new generation of products which incorporate both the full range of SKYACTIV technologies and the new KODO – Soul of Motion design theme. It also features a range of advanced safety technologies and Mazda’s unique brake energy regeneration system, i-ELOOP.

Chrysler 300C wagon faces extinction

October 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Some said it looks like a hearse others said it was the ugliest thing they’ve seen since Paul Holmes went on Dancing with the Stars – it’s the Chrysler 300C wagon. Although it never appealed to all tastes it did gain a substantial following and there will be some that are sad to hear that a wagon variant won’t be offered with the new 300C model.

Chrysler-Lancia CEO Saad Chebab said in a recent interview that the 300C wagon’s sales in the States weren’t enough to justify the development costs of a five-door version of the platform. Apparently the 300C Touring had proved more popular in the U.K and Europe than it did in the States. Continue reading “Chrysler 300C wagon faces extinction” »

Volkswagen Passat TDI Wagon 2011 Review

August 5th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

In the sensible world of mid-size automobiles Volkswagen’s Passat has always been a quiet achiever. A competent journeyman that possesses all round ability but isn’t one to snatch at the limelight. The Passat has maintained this image for 38 years and seven generations. It’s proved a successful tactic too, with more than 15 million Passats being sold globally, making it the 11th biggest selling nameplate in history. Not bad for the quiet kid, but it might not be enough anymore. The Passat is beginning to exhibit some more extroverted tendencies. First there was the go-hard Passat R36 model released in 2008 and then the Passat CC (Compact Coupe) gave the model a sleeker profile. Now for 2011 the Passat wagon/sedan has been reworked for its seventh generation with sharp new sheet metal, tweaked engines and more equipment. So will this latest Passat break the well-formed mold, or play to traditional strengths? Car and SUV took a week long test drive in a Passat TDI Wagon to find out more.

The most obvious visual change to the new Passat is the inclusion of VW’s latest corporate face. The chrome-edged grille is broad and blends into wrapped-back headlights to create a wider, lower look. The chrome work is repeated around the window line and under the front fog lamps and lower air dam. All the panels have been replaced in the new Passat and the result is a more angular and purposeful machine. The short front, creased flanks and higher rear end give the Passat an athletic stance. Detailing like a subtle rear spoiler, integrated roof rails and twin exhaust tips finish the modernised look nicely. The standard wheel fitment on our tested 4Motion Comfortline model are 17-inch alloys with 18-inch designs an available option. Continue reading “Volkswagen Passat TDI Wagon 2011 Review” »

Skoda Superb TDI 4×4 Combi 2011 Review

July 29th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

For most kiwis looking to buy a comfortable and practical family wagon the name Skoda doesn’t immediately spring to mind. But why not? Is it because buyers are still stuck in the eighties when Skoda wore the brunt of naff jokes about quality? Or perhaps because folks know Skoda is European and worry about durability and value for money? Whatever the reason, for many wagon buyers the Skoda Superb isn’t even on their radar. But it damn well should be. Skoda’s med/large size wagon has many of its competitors beat in some key areas and build quality is certainly one of them. With a frugal diesel engine and a four-wheel-drive system the Superb can travel to remote locations and it won’t cost a lot to get there. So does this fringe player deserve a new place as a major force in the wagon market? Car and SUV thinks so, and after spending a week with the newest addition to the Superb range – the 4×4 Combi, we’re ready to tell you why.

Exterior Design
It may not be the sexiest wagon to ever pick up the groceries, but the Superb has everyman elegance and a sleek low look despite its generous proportions. It’s nicely balanced for a wagon without too much rear overhang and a tightly tapered hatch that gives few hints to the expansive cargo space within. It has a neutral face with chrome trim surrounding the corporate grille and acting as teardrops under its wrap around headlights. Bright fog lamps flank a wide lower air intake and a scalloped bonnet line leads into the raked back windscreen. Continue reading “Skoda Superb TDI 4×4 Combi 2011 Review” »

Peugeot reveals AWD diesel-hybrid 508 RXH wagon

July 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Peugeot’s new 508 RXH diesel-electric hybrid has been revealed with photos and details released by the French carmaker ahead the model’s world debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

The RXH heralds in a new nameplate but also comes with all-wheel drive thanks to a Hybrid4 diesel electric drivetrain.

The hybrid setup features a turbocharged 2.0-litre HDi diesel engine which works with a 28kW electric motor to give a combined output of 147kW and 450Nm of torque. The diesel engine drives the front wheels while the electric motor handles business at the rear axle, allowing the 508 RXH a four-wheel drive mode. The hybrid setup also allows the wagon to run on a pure electric mode although Peugeot has not revealed the vehicle’s “zero-emissions” range. Economy is rated at 4.2 litres of diesel per 100km combined, with emissions at 109 g/km of CO2.

The 508 RXH rides on high suspension and comes with unique styling features like a bespoke front bumper with vertical LED lights, 18-inch wheels, under body plastic mouldings and chrome roof rails. Interior features include electric front seats, heads up display, a panoramic glass roof and satellite navigation. Continue reading “Peugeot reveals AWD diesel-hybrid 508 RXH wagon” »

Volvo’s iconic 850 celebrates its 20th birthday

June 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo’s ‘boxy but good’ 850 model celebrates its 20th birthday this month and to mark the occasion Volvo has issued a press release reminding us how innovative and important this model really was.

In 1990 the 850 was developed with some genuine world firsts in a production vehicle like having its gearbox fitted alongside the engine and using a new type of multilink axle called the Delta Link. Naturally there was some new safety tech as well; a side impact protection system SIPS was rolled out and height-adjustable safety belts were also included.

The 850 went on to be more than just a popular family hauler and by 1994 was entered into the British Touring Car Championship in station wagon form. When the rules changed in ’95 and ’96 the Swedish company reverted to a sedan model and won 13 races and finished third in the championship both years. But it would be the racing wagon or ‘flying brick’ that has gone on to become a motorsport icon.

Volvo’s 850 is certainly a more interesting family car than most, to read more on its history view Volvo’s press release below. Continue reading “Volvo’s iconic 850 celebrates its 20th birthday” »

BMW 535i Touring 2011 Review

May 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Picking the wagon body style over a sedan is a decision that could be made for a variety of different reasons. A big dog could be the cause; moving large equipment for a hobby could be another need for the extra space. The price of the more practical wagon body shape traditionally was paid in aesthetic appeal. But for anyone who believes that wagons are still the ugly siblings of sedans needs to take a look at the BMW 5-Series Touring. Car and SUV spent a week enchanted by its free flowing design and its executive cruiser meets family workhorse attitude.

While the recent popularity of SUVs and crossover vehicles has pushed low-slung wagons on to the endangered species list the 535i Touring shows real evolution of the body style. While we’ve had plenty of BMW’s current range for review at Car and SUV headquarters, no other model has generated as much interest and admiration as the 535i Touring. Our test machine was glamourised over the standard model by the optional M Sports package ($8,350). This upgrade sees a more aggressive body kit fitted, lower sports suspension and eye-catching 19-inch M-Light alloy wheels. If you want to give your BMW wagon some serious road presence the M Sports package is the way to go. Continue reading “BMW 535i Touring 2011 Review” »

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