Peugeot 4008 005

 

For a car that is essentially a Mitsubishi, it is amazing how different it really is. The Peugeot 4008 shares almost everything with its Japanese sister with the outer shell being the main obvious difference. And a fantastic difference it is, I for one am totally sold on the 4008’s looks whereas the ASX looks chunky and lumpy the 4008 has a more of Remuera tractor look that should, and in most cases no doubt, never ever go off road any further than a pothole on Ponsonby road.  This is unfortunate with these nice looking 18 inch alloy wheels, as fitted to the Feline model we tested, never being lucky enough to see a muddy farm track for the 4008 is actually a fantastic machine to bump over grassy knolls or splash through fresh cow pats.

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2012 Hyundai Veloster 015

 

I was wondering how it would be testing the 2012 Hyundai Veloster with having to squeeze two children and their car seats, one rear facing, into the back seat. Being a coupe I was expecting the usual useless back seat where for any human to be seated they would have to be legless, and by legless I don’t mean out on a bender in town legless. I needn’t have worried, for the Veloster has ample room in the rear and easily accommodated the little rug rats and their seating requirements as easily as most larger family transportation devises, headroom could be an issue though for taller bipeds. Then there is the boot space. Once I had the seats in and saw how well they fitted I assumed all this space would have to be created at a loss to luggage capacity in the hatch area, incorrect. We managed to fit in our largest pushchair for our youngest ankle biter with room still for a couple of shopping bags and other bits and bobs.

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Often on New Zealand roads one can feel like a pinball in a pin ball machine. For us today was no exception thanks to an ignorant and arrogant Audi A4 Avant driver.

Ticking along nicely through Auckland’s spaghetti junction heading home after a nice family outing with our two young children, daughter 5 and son 1, sitting just under the posted 80kph speed limit through this part of the motorway network due to the not too busy but not too light traffic flow when all of a sudden this silver euro wagon flies past our right hand side and cuts in front of us leaving a very small gap, probably only a couple of inches, between my right front and his left rear. Had I not braked there would have been an almost guaranteed sharing of silver and red paint.

Ok, after flashing of headlights and sounding of our horn, and yes, an angry hand gesture or two from me and my wife the driver of the Audi saw fit to brake heavily, on the motorway, in front of us, with traffic behind us. His vehicle came to an almost complete stop which saw me having to brake even heavier than before and swerve slightly to the left to avoid what could have been a very serious accident. We came to within an inch of hitting the back of this 2006 Audi before he accelerated, can’t help but think if he hadn’t driven off when he did we might not be here now, not to mention our two young children. There were cars behind us, as I mentioned before, and when I looked up after being able to continue I checked the rear-view mirror to see this black VW Passat very close behind, I hate to think how close they came to connecting to our Renault.

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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. Read the rest of this entry »

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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