Posts Tagged ‘cars’

 

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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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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We tested the Holden Cruze sedan last year and whilst it is a very good car I have to be honest I wasn’t totally sold on it. For some strange reason with the hatch I feel a little more attached. I have learnt to get used to the 1.4iTi engines slight lag although this tends to be a tad annoying when negotiating round-a-bouts, half way around you’ll tap the accelerator for a wee bit more oomph and not a lot happens, then the turbo kicks in with a bit more power than you want or expect. With most drivers this won’t be an issue and the lag will be almost unnoticeable, I for one could easily learn to live with it. Other than that it is a very good and enjoyable little power plant and economical to boot with an average of 6.4 litres of fossil fuel consumed per 100kms.

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…but that depends on who you are. The facelift 2012 Kia Soul certainly isn’t my cup of green tea latte, yep, that’s the name of the test cars colour, and will be the same for others but there is no doubt people that like funky, out of the ordinary, stand out cars will buy these in droves. In the same class as the horrid Nissan Cube, Toyota bB, Sicon xB (Toyota) and Daihatsu Materia, it sure would be a no brainer to choose the Kia Soul. Its ‘chic-ness’ should appeal to the townie types, hairdressers, café owners and Ponsonby regulars. While some of my work colleagues seemed to think I looked gay in it (not the old and true meaning of the word), there is no denying it turns heads. I do like the bold 4×4 looks, the rear end I found especially nice.

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