Archive for the ‘New Car Reviews’ Category

With modern technology as it is today it is a wonder why some car makers are still sticking with technology that really should have gone the way of the Dodo.

Holden and Ford have seem to have hung on to what was once a great economical option and sure, once Arabs started popping each other off in order to get control of the world’s oil supplies, which resulted in petrol prices reaching record highs, it was definitely the cheaper option, and motorists, and in particular taxi drivers, had fuel conversion specialists rushed off their feet installing LPG systems.

 

 

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Is it just me or does the Holden Barina Hatch look like it’s designed to look like it belongs in an addictive computer game? Just add some feathers and a slingshot and you have an upset bird ready to attack some egg stealing piggies!

In reality you won’t need the slingshot because the Barina has enough power to squash those pigs with one dab on the go pedal. With its 1.6 litre DOHC 16 valve engine producing 85kW and 153Nm there is enough power to get you from point A, sitting next to your fearless feathered friends, to point B, into an unstable structure used in a vain attempt to protect some kleptomaniac popping pigs. (more…)

As I have mentioned before I am not huge fan of small cars but there are few that I do find to be quite fun to zip around in. The 2012 Holden Barina Spark is one of those cars. It’s nippy, comfortable, economical and has some very funky styling on the interior which is a massive change from the bland grey on grey most cars have.

As you would expect for a car in this class it’s not overly big on equipment but there are a couple of surprises in the Spark that I certainly didn’t expect to see. The comfortable and colourful seating were clad in grey and red Sportec trim but even more surprising than that was the heated seats. Usually an option saved for more luxurious cars it was a wee bit of a shock to see this fitted here, not that I’m complaining, I do like to have my butt cheeks toasted whilst heading off to work in the early hours of a chilly winter’s morning.

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I’ve tested a few diesels now and generally not only do most of them sound like they should be towing 30 tonnes of logs across the countryside, the odd one feels like it is doing just that. This isn’t the case here with the 2012 BMW 320d. Sure, from outside the car, the pedestrian you’re about to run down will hear the familiar diesel clatter and get out of the way, while inside you’ll never notice the truck like soundtrack.

The performance of this two litre TwinPower four cylinder Turbo diesel is nothing truck like at all. On the centre console there’s a rocker switch with Eco Pro and Sport written on it, there are four settings here starting with the most economical option which enables BMW’s EfficientDynamics technology. The next setting is the comfort mode, the default setting when you start this euro beauty, this makes everything perfect for day to day driving and commuting, almost like the car is effortlessly picking you up with a soft velvet glove and placing you gently at your destination.

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We have recently tested the Kia Rio 1.4 Automatic and a wee bit later we tested the Kia Picanto 1.2 Manual ISG. Now, it would seem, these two cars have been heading along the highway towards each other, crossed the centre-line and smashed themselves into one machine, the Kia Rio 1.4 Manual ISG. The standard Rio auto is a great car and economical enough although I felt it did lack a little something. That something, it would appear, is the manual gearbox. Kia have imported the ISG technology into the Rio with rather surprisingly pleasant results, whereas the original Rio achieves great fuel economy (6.4 litres per 100k) the fitment of a manual shifter and the Instant Stop & Go wizardry have reduced the economy to a frugal 5.3 litre/100k.

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After a week driving the Hyundai i40 wagon it was easy to see why it has been winning awards around the world knocking other rep-mobile station wagons off the top of their class lists. Cars that were once the best are now second best to this stunning offering from Korea. And what has the i40 knocked off the perch in the UK for the best wagon, or estate as they call it? The Skoda Octavia Estate, Volvo V50 and amazingly one the most popular cars for years for fleet buyers, the Ford Mondeo Wagon.

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My initial thoughts on the Suzuki Splash were ‘yep, this needs to go for big splash off a short pier’. I was unimpressed with the front end styling as it is lacking any form of standout design and seems very dated and uninspiring. The equipment level also gave the same feeling of ho-humness, it’s basic as basic can be as far as modern cars are. Sure it has acronyms like ABS and EBD, but that’s where all the extras end. Other than air-conditioning the interior is just as bland. Suzuki hasn’t even bothered with a tachometer instead opting for a single large speedo with the fuel gauge and trip computer incorporated into the LED display. The stereo is AM (but who uses that anymore), FM and has a CD player but is lacking an Auxiliary input which, in all honesty, should be a standard with all cars in this day and technological age.

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