SsangYong SUT-1 revealed at Frankfurt show

September 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Korean carmaker SsangYong continues to make a play at the ute market with its latest budget-focused offering. First a concept version of SsanYong’s SUT-1 was shown at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, now the production version has debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The SUT-1 quad-cab pickup truck will enter the market as a replacement for the Actyon Sports model. SsangYong refers to the SUT-1 as a Sports Utility Truck, hence the SUT name.

There’s a new engine under the bonnet in the form of a Euro 5-compliant 2.0 litre diesel motor producing 114kW and 360Nm of torque. Max torque available between 1500 and 2800rpm. Available in rear or four-wheel-drive, the SUT-1 is being built with both a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel consumption figures haven’t been released yet.

A body-on-frame truck the SUT-1 uses a double-wishbone suspension up front and a five-link set up at the rear. There’s four-wheel disc brakes and either 16- or 18-inch alloy wheels. Kerb weight will come in at between 1873kg and 1995kg. Continue reading “SsangYong SUT-1 revealed at Frankfurt show” »

Ford Kuga Titanium coming to NZ – November arrival

August 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Ford New Zealand has just announced that it will be putting the Ford Kuga small SUV on sale in NZ. The European-built Ford Kuga, will be available in top-spec Titanium trim and is expected to arrive at Ford dealers from November to join the already launched Mondeo, Territory and Focus Titanium models. Pricing for the Kuga Titanium is $53,990.

“This is big news for us and we’re very excited,” said Chris Masterson, Marketing Manager, Ford New Zealand. “The Kuga has done very well in Europe since its introduction in 2008, often topping sales charts. Locally, the small SUV market has seen substantial growth in the last few years and now with a European-proven design we have a highly compelling offer for customers in this market. As an attractive, well-designed and fully-capable crossover vehicle, the Kuga Titanium will be hard to beat. Customers will be impressed, as will our competition.”

The Ford Kuga is based on Ford’s acclaimed C-car architecture which it shares with the Ford Focus. Standard specification includes a full-time AWD system and safety tech like an Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) that combines Anti Rollover Mitigation (ARM) and ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD). Continue reading “Ford Kuga Titanium coming to NZ – November arrival” »

Volkswagen NZ lands 60 Golf GTI 35 Edition models for kiwi market

August 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

For 2011, Volkswagen is celebrating the 35th anniversary of its iconic Golf GTI with a special Edition 35 model. The big news is that Volkswagen New Zealand have managed to secure 60 of the limited-edition 4-door Golf GTI Edition 35 models.

Much like the Edition 30 Golf model that we saw here in 2006 this new anniversary machine benefits from an upgraded powerplant and some discreet styling tweaks.

Punching out 173kW of power and 300Nm torque the upgraded Golf produces 18kW more grunt than the standard model. It will reach a top speed of 247km/h and take just 6.6 seconds to sprint from 0 – 100km/h. The engine in the Edition 35 is a turbocharged petrol direct-injection engine of the EA113 engine series, sharing the same engine base as the Golf R. The 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine comes mated to a 6-speed DSG gearbox. Fuel economy is quoted at 8.0 litres per 100km combined.

Keeping its dynamic credentials in check is a XDS electronic differential lock that compensates for the typical understeering of front-wheel drive vehicles during quick driving through bends. The Edition 35 also sits 15mm lower than on a conventional Golf and uses the familiar MacPherson suspension at the front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear. Continue reading “Volkswagen NZ lands 60 Golf GTI 35 Edition models for kiwi market” »

Hyundai Genesis Coupe to be built in RHD – NZ bound?

June 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Genesis Coupe is Hyundai’s flagship sports car and while it’s proved popular over in the States it’s only ever been built in left-hand-drive. Without needing to consider a RHD layout Hyundai has kept production costs down and passed those savings on to buyers, but that’s also the reason we have never seen the sleek coupe here in New Zealand.

Now that could all change. Pressure from Hyundai’s UK and Australasian dealers has paid off and the Korean carmaker has approved a right-driving version for the next generation of the Genesis.

More recently it’s been revealed that the second-generation Genesis Coupe will make its way to Australia, although the new model may not be out for some time. Does this mean it will come to NZ? Perhaps, it’s too earlier for any official announcements but with a RHD Genesis in the works it may prove a tempting prospect for Hyundai NZ.

The next-gen Genesis is expected to be revealed later this year so even if we do see the Genesis reach our shores, it won’t be until 2013 at the earliest.

The update to the Genesis comes with an expected power increase that will see its 3.8 litre V6 petrol engine producing a thumping 248kW up from 234KW as it stands in the current model. Continue reading “Hyundai Genesis Coupe to be built in RHD – NZ bound?” »

Mini slashes pricing on most NZ models

June 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mini has just released details of an aggressive new pricing strategy spanning most of its NZ model range. The entry price for a new Mini will now start at $27,900 and the recommended retail price of most new models will be reduced by between four or five thousand dollars.

This new competitive pricing will make Mini a more accessible option for those looking at purchasing a small, economical hatch in the NZ market.

“This price realignment will mean many more Mini fans can share in the dynamic go-kart like driving experience of this premium small car,” said the Managing Director of BMW Group, Mark Gilbert.

“Mini is renowned for its fun to drive and playful, boundary pushing nature, and is one of only a few brands which has an iconic 50 year plus heritage. Most people have a special memory or experience with Mini and this will give more motorists the opportunity to re-engage with their Mini experience.”

The entry model to the range, Mini Ray, is powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine and weighs just 1135kg. Fuel economy is frugal at 5.4-litres per 100km combined. Continue reading “Mini slashes pricing on most NZ models” »

Kia to sell first global hybrid car – may come to NZ

May 30th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Kia Motors is about to launch its first ever global hybrid car with the introduction of the Optima Hybrid into the U.S market next month.

The Optima Hybrid uses a Kia-developed powertrain with lithium polymer batteries that won’t need replacing for up to ten years or 240,000kms.

The Optima Hybrid will be a full parallel hybrid vehicle with its 2.4-litre GDi direct injection petrol engine mated to a small electric motor driving the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.  A special clutch is fitted between the engine and motor, enabling the petrol engine to be de-coupled from the powertrain so that Optima can be operated in zero-emission, full-electric drive mode from standstill up to 100km/h ( 9.2 seconds) or in a co-operative electric-petrol mode at any speed.

Together, the 2.4-litre petrol engine and 40kW electric motor produce a combined power output of 154kW and 265Nm of torque and when it’s running on electric alone produces no emissions. Overall combined emissions are estimated to be 99 grams of CO2/Kilometre.

Kia says the system’s configuration does not have a requirement for a high-capacity electric motor and generator, saving weight and cost. Fuel economy is rated at 6.2L/100km in the combined cycle. This is aided by lowering the car 5mm and including an ‘active air flap’ in the front grille, smooth under-floor panels, low-drag wheels and low rolling resistance tyres. Continue reading “Kia to sell first global hybrid car – may come to NZ” »

Toyota NZ has two-month buffer of stock

April 5th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota New Zealand is busy managing its vehicle and parts stocks to ensure as little impact as possible to its customers as the downstream effects of last month’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan begin to be felt around the globe.

Steve Prangnell, Toyota New Zealand General Manager of Sales and Operations, says the company has a two-month buffer of vehicles and parts, and in the meantime it is business as usual.

But some effects are likely after that, given Toyota Motor Corporation’s estimated one month’s loss of production – mainly caused by key component suppliers being affected, and power cuts to Toyota’s relatively undamaged plants in Japan.

“The situation with parts is yet to be fully clarified, but we expect our service experts will have to prioritise urgent repairs, especially on some of the more fast-moving parts. Our focus is on ensuring optimum stock management to reduce the impact on customers of any production shortfalls. But later in the year, it may be difficult to avoid some inconvenience for some customers.” Continue reading “Toyota NZ has two-month buffer of stock” »

Toyota FJ Cruiser to launch in Australia next year

August 10th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota Australia announced yesterday that it will be adding the retro-styled FJ Cruiser SUV to its model range in the first quarter of 2011. Australian buyers will first see the domestic market version with a pre-production model on display at the Sydney International Motor Show scheduled for October 15.

The FJ Cruiser shares a platform with the Toyota Prado, and utilizes the same independent front and solid-axle rear suspension as the Prado. Bodywork is entirely different though with the FJ Cruiser designed to mimic the classic FJ40 Landcruiser.

“FJ Cruiser has loads of character that isn’t found in any other SUV, let alone one that is built for off-road terrain,” said Toyota Australia’s senior executive director sales and marketing, David Buttner. “It will be a lot of fun to own and drive, satisfying those who want a modern vehicle with the boulder-crawling spirit of Toyota’s legendary off-roaders,” he added.

While Toyota has not confirmed technical details, the FJ Cruiser is expected to be powered by the same 178kW 4.0 litre 1GR-FE petrol V6 that’s used in the US version of the sporty off-roader (and also in the local Prado). However, being based on the Prado means a diesel option is likely for Australia.

To date the FJ Cruiser was only offered in left-hand drive form, but the addition of a right-hand drive variant will allow Toyota to tap into new markets, possibly including New Zealand.

Stay tuned for updates.

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