Road tests

VW packs Passat

Volkswagen Passat

VW Passat has just had thousands of dollars of value added to help celebrate a special Volkswagen anniversary in NZ.

Sowing the Kia Cee'd

It might be the hot hatch with the dumbest spelling, but Kia's new Pro-cee'd GT has to rate as one of the best of the fleet.

It might be the hot hatch with the dumbest spelling, but Kia's new Pro-cee'd GT has to rate as one of the best of the fleet.

Hopes rest on wee MG

MG3

MG launches entry-point car for less than $20,000 that shows no a sign of penny-pinching and is not short on fun.

Big cats get the cream

Jaguar XFR-S

The ultimate Jaguar sedans have arrived in NZ. They're powerful and quick, but with two different characters.

Plenty to admire

Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai's Elantra has been facelifted just in time to take advantage of a predicted surge in popularity of sedans.

Home-grown French honey

Peugeot 2008

After collaborating with Mitsubishi, it looks like Peugeot has learned enough to go its own way with a new bijou SUV.

New Lexus offers better value

Lexus GS300h

Lexus expands its fleet of GS sedans with the launch of a second hybrid model.

Is NZ ready for it yet?

The new second-generation Kia Soul

Kia's second-generation Soul has the potential to do better than the company's targeted sales number.

Rare species

Fiat Panda

As hard to find as its animal namesake in this part of the world, Fiat's tiny and terrific Panda is here at last.

Nice quirk if you can get it

Renault Clio IV

Renault's Clio appears to have regained its joie de vivre.

Sedan widens appeal

Toyota Corolla sedan.

Toyota has completed its triumvirate of latest-generation Corolla models with arrival of a new sedan version.

Merc C-change

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Just as other car-makers continue to line up the C-class in their cross-hairs, Mercedes-Benz decides to move the goal posts.

Maximised Mini

Mini Cooper S

DAVE MOORE - © Fairfax NZ News

With its own engines at last and an uncommon level of luxury kit and connectivity, the third generation New Mini is BMW's biggest yet.

Altima the sedan of choice

Nissan Altima Ti strap

Forget the word Maxima. Learn the word Altima. That's Nissan's prime sedan choice from now on – and it deserves to be.

The ultimate Audi

Audi RS7.

The prettiest Audi of all gets a bruiser of a range-topper.

It's whats inside that counts

Peugeot 208 GTi

PAUL OWEN - © Fairfax NZ News

The Peugeot 208 GTi may be a Gallic go-kart but it's the interior that is most worthy of applause.

Phwoar doors

Maserati Quattroporte.

The Italians have a word for it; Quattroporte and the latest four-door Maseratis are something to behold.

Lines of inheritance

The new Citroen DS5. strap

A new Citroen with perhaps the closest connection to its famous DS line of half a century ago deserves more attention in NZ.

The hub of the Mercedes world

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The Mercedes-Benz E-class has been around for 60 years so can the recently-upgraded veteran of the luxury car wars still cut it?

En plein air

Citroen DS3.

Citroen's topless tyro can go like stink, but it's best suited to more relaxed progress so more people can see how good you look.

Rocky road ahead

Toyota Aurion Sedan

Australian-built Toyota Aurion is a good car but it and the smaller-engined Camry sibling face an uncertain future.

X marks the spot

Subaru Impreza X.

Subaru's well-known Impreza has found itself in a bit of a spot - and X marks it.

Bigger is better

Honda Accord V6.

ROB MAETZIG - © Fairfax NZ News

Honda's ninth-generation Accord is available with V6 power and shapes as one of the best bigger-engined sedans on the market.

New Legacy riding high

SUBARU LEGACY 2.5X  strap

Subaru's latest Legacy has been jacked up but it may not survive in today's SUV-loving motoring environment.

Muscular Lexus silences critics

Lexus IS 350F Sport

Sporty Lexus IS 350F backs up its good looks with an impressive athletic drive.

Now, where's the batcave?

Peugeot RCZ

It could double as a Batmobile but the RCZ quickly puts its hand up as the most enjoyable-to-drive Peugeot on the market today?

Luxury and performance

Audi RS6 Avant.

Audi's supercar-level RS6 Avant is so good its athleticism is almost - almost - wasted in New Zealand.

Last hurrah is the best yet

Holden Commodore SV6.

There's life in the old Commodore yet, if buyer response to the recently-refreshed VF series is an indication.

Baby-boost enlivens Fiesta

2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0L EcoBoost

Can a turbocharged 1.0 triple do everything a 1.6 four can?

Deceptive looks but what a buy

Mitsubishi Lancer GSR

Mitsubishi's famous sporting GSR badging is back, aboard a car that wins the race for pricing.

Track target for Benz's Black

Mercedes-Benz SLS 63 Black Edition.

Mercedes SLS Black isn't black, but it howls on a desert raceway that is its home.

A quiet achievement

Mazda2 Range Extender Electric Vehicle

If you ignore the blocky graphics, this Mazda2 looks like any other, just as the company's first hybrid is remarkably like an ordinary Mazda3.

Room for more than an ego

FF Ferrari.

Some people hate it, refuse to call it a Ferrari but the the FF is every bit a Ferrari.

Four to the fore

The Holden Malibu strap

It sounds American, but New Zealand's version of the new Holden Malibu is Korean-built with Japanese input.

Dial 'F' for Fast

Supercharged HSV GTS.

HSV GTS provides accessible and mind-warping driving experience in family-sized four-door form.

Comfort-zoned

Lexus ES series.

The front-drive ES returns on a spacious new, extended platform to become the cushy number in the Lexus line-up.

Prado lacks change under hood

Prado

Toyota's updated Prado offers more features and minor price increases but no changes to engines or transmissions.

Falling for the mighty Bentley

Bentley Flying Spur

More used to humbler machines, Fairfax's Glenn Butler drives the fabulous Flying Spur.

Still a pure Porsche

Porsche Panamera.

Purists thought the Panamera sedan would dilute the Porsche brand, instead it appears to have proved naysayers wrong.

Happenin' 3s

Mazda3 hatch.

Mazda's staple C-segment car has matured into something that can be more things to more potential customers.

Audi R8 still rocking

2014 Audi R8 V10 Plus

By definition, new toys cool off after a few years, and none more so than a NZ$325,000 sports car.

'Coupe' leads from the front

Mercedes-Benz CLA

Mercedes-Benz's smallest coupe impresses.

Fiat 500 Pop is fun

Fiat 500 Pop.

Fiat's entry level 500, the Pop, doesn't just deliver you to your destination, it makes the journey an event.

Safe, efficient and beautiful

Mazda6 Limited diesel wagon

This sleek, safe and smooth driving wagon is probably the best ever Mazda.

Rocket with refinement

Nissan Pulsar SSS

With CVT as the only gearbox you can have, you'd expect Nissan's Triple-S Pulsar to be a little different from other hot hatches and you'd be right.

Mini maximum

Mini Paceman

It looks like it has been in the gym and on performance enhancing drugs, but the Paceman is still a Mini - just.

Mini high rider has dose of macho

Peugeot 2008

It may be a baby SUV, but the new Peugeot 2008 packs a lot into a small package.

Small sedan grows up

Kia Cerato sedan.

It's a bit harsh describing Kia's new Cerato sedan as a small car.

Happy Jazz hybrid

Honda Jazz hybrid

Honda's Jazz hybrid is a practical and efficient drive.

Superb Skoda Superb

Skoda Superb

DAVE MOORE - © Fairfax NZ News

The car is huge inside and out, but the engines aren't, and that doesn't seem to worry the facelifted Skoda Superb.

Maserati's brilliant upgrade

Maserati Gran Turismo Sport.

It was once something of a handful, but now Maserati's Gran Turismo is quicker, cleaner, better priced and easier to drive.

Test drives from hell

A 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

While many new vehicles are safer, more comfortable and largely more efficient than ever before, there are still plenty of duds.

Cool Nissan hits where it hurts

Nissan's 370Z Touring sports coupe

There are cars for the young and those for the old. That is not a politically correct assessment of reality. But it is reality nonetheless.

New Vette surpasses glory days

 A 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51.

The Chevrolet Corvette has long been America's almost-great sports car.

A very sporty hatch

Audi A3 TDI

Audi's new A3 is one of the outstanding small-car drives.

All bases covered

Skoda Octavia III

Skoda's new Octavia range appears to leave no C/D segment niche untapped with the best safety set-up in any car under $40,000.

Meaner and more purposeful

Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG

What would a refreshed E-class range be without an equally improved performance range-topper?

A top safe drive

Honda Accord NT

Honda's ninth-generation Accord is remarkable for the level of safety technology it carries.

Automatic for the people

Mitsubishi ASX Diesel.

Diesel versions of Mitsubishi's compact ASX crossover vehicle now have automatic transmissions which ups the potential to increase sales.

So bad it's good

Chrysler 300C SRT Core.

PAUL OWEN - © Fairfax NZ News

Chrysler's stripped-down 300C is feral sounding but does it fit well in pricing between the Holden Commodore SS and its HSV equivalent.

This Rolls is a driver's car

Rolls-Royce Wraith.

When the chauffeur is asked to "bring round the Wraith", he'll know instinctively he has the rest of the day off. Or worse.

Fast, furious and fabulous

BMW M135i.

Take a small hatch and shoehorn in the biggest engine possible. That's the simple recipe behind the BMW M135i.

Bullet not deserved

Holden VF Commodore SS-V Redline ute

PAUL OWEN - © Fairfax NZ News

We'll miss them when they're gone but with sales of the traditional Aussie ute in decline then its days are probably numbered.

Four good reasons to buy

Jaguar XF.

ROB MAETZIG - © Fairfax NZ News

These days the words Jaguar and four cylinder petrol engine can happily go hand-in-hand.

Easy driving in new Pulsar hatch

Nissan Pulsar

The entry version of the five-door Nissan Pulsar hatch is an impressively honest vehicle for its price.

Junior hot hatch shoot-out

Peugeot 208 GTi and Ford Fiesta ST: Astonishingly close in terms of size, weight and power output.

Peugeot and Ford prove performance and entertainment are possible with an achievable price tag.

Skoda's Rapid deployment

Skoda Rapid.

DAVE MOORE - © Fairfax NZ News

The first Skoda to completely embody the company's new design and engineering philosophy has arrived, with a price tag under $30,000.

6 of the best

Mazda6

ROB MAETZIG - © Fairfax NZ News

Ever since it was launched earlier this year, the third-generation Mazda6 has received all sorts of international praise - and for good reason.

Golf is still 'the one'

Volkswagen Golf GTi.

DAVE MOORE - © Fairfax NZ News

Now into its seventh generation, the Volkswagen Golf GTi still sets the overall standard for hot hatchery.

More muscle, more smarts

HSV Clubsport R8.

PAUL OWEN - © Fairfax NZ News

If today's cars are meant to be wilting into compact little econo-boxes on wheels, no-one's told the HSV.

Whoops! Ford caught out

Ford Hybrid

Testing finds new Ford hybrid gets less miles per gallon than claimed.

Rookie rapt with Swift ride

Suzuki Swift

AMELIA RITCHIE - © Fairfax NZ News

The new Suzuki Swift Sport has an almost aggressive allure.

An oldie, but a goodie

Subaru WRX Nemesis

PAUL OWEN - © Fairfax NZ News

Once a road warrior, always a road warrior with the new-look Subaru WRX still an exceptional drive.

Pure pleasure

Subaru BRZ.

ROB MAETZIG - © Fairfax NZ News

Subaru's BRZ sports car is memorable for its simplicity and the package adds up to something special.

Ignore the XV

Subaru Forester.

PAUL OWEN - © Fairfax NZ News

Subaru's XV is the good-looker in the company's crossover wagons, but the larger Forester offers better value.

Accord's four beats six

Honda Accord

DAVE MOORE - © Fairfax NZ News

It can be had with one of the sweetest and most powerful V6s in the business, but here the Accord with just four cylinders is preferred.

Little wonder

Skoda Citigo.

DAVE MOORE - © Fairfax NZ News

Skoda's Citigo gets to NZ later this year, but Dave Moore has already driven it and thinks it's the best small car in the world.

i45 belies 'bland' label

Hyundai i45.

ROB MAETZIG - © Fairfax NZ News

Hyundai's stylish i45 sedan has been facelifted in an effort to keep it relevant in a pressure-filled market segment.

Estate of the art

Hyundai i30 wagon.

DAVE MOORE - © Fairfax NZ News

It's not quite as pretty as the hatch on which it is based, but the wagon version of the i30 is one of Hyundai's most compelling new cars.

X-factor BMW wagon wows

tdnbmw strap

Although there is a big move towards SUV-style vehicles, there's still room for a lower-slung all-paw wagon.

Commodore fuel claims optimistic

Commodore

Holden is out to prove that big cars don't necessarily equate to big fuel bills with its latest Commodore.

Perfect timing

Mazda6.

DAVE MOORE - © Fairfax NZ News

Apart from a bruised head, Dave Moore found his time with the Mazda6 was a treat.

This Mini not in the hunt

2013 Mini Cooper Paceman S All4

The 2013 Mini Cooper Paceman S All4 is a weird automobile.

Posh hatch plan continues

Mercedes-Benz B200 CGi

DAVE MOORE - © Fairfax NZ News

All the news is about the Benz A-class, but for a bit more, you get a lot more space with the B-class.

Putting the boot in

Nissan Pulsar Sedan

ROB MAETZIG - © Fairfax NZ News

Nissan Pulsar is back, and the sedan version puts the boot into the opposition.

Classiest hatch in the game

Audi A3.

DAVE MOORE - © Fairfax NZ News

Audi's new A3 is a bit bigger, a lot lighter and feels like it's been to finishing school.

Paceman has space, man

Mini Paceman

It loses nothing in fun and cheek, but this coupe come hatch does a better job of looking after passengers.

Complex but well sorted

Porsche 918 Spyder.

Take cover Ferrari and McLaren, the fastest, most powerful Porsche road car ever is a game changer.

Usable day-to-day performance

Audi SQ5 TDI

DAVE MOORE - © Fairfax NZ News

It looks like an SUV but in reality it's one of the world's tallest hot-hatches.

All the right noises

Aston Martin Rapide S

KYLE CASSIDY - © Fairfax NZ News

If ever there was a car worth being cooped up in an aircraft for nearly 60 hours, it is the Aston Martin Rapide S.

Count me in!

Holden Volt.

DAVE MOORE - © Fairfax NZ News

Forget about what drives this car. Treat it like any other vehicle and just remember to plug it in every day at home.

Quite the looker

Holden Cruze CDX Sportswagon

ROB MAETZIG - © Fairfax NZ News

While the new Holden Cruze Sportswagon is a spacious good looker, it lacks oomph under the hood.

Stealth wagon

2014 Audi RS6

DAVE MOORE - © Fairfax NZ News

New Audi wagon fast as a Ferrari and faster than most Porsches.

Porsche leaves love bite

Porsche Cayman.

PAUL OWEN - © Fairfax NZ News

The Porsche Cayman may be too much of a "nice car" for its own good.

A peerless performer

Toyota Corolla GX.

ROB MAETZIG - © Fairfax NZ News

In many respects, the GX is the best Toyota Corolla, despite its entry-version status.

What a 'Rock Star'

Fiat 500 TwinAir 'Rock Star'

DAVE MOORE - © Fairfax NZ News

Fiat's little 500 TwinAir "Rock Star" is the most fun for your dollar you can get with four wheels.

Little Suzuki that could...

Suzuki SX4.

DAVE MOORE - © Fairfax NZ News

Focus-sized SX4 is not that little and once you see what it can do, you'll wonder, as we do, why there aren't more around.

Fantastic Lexus luxury

Lexus LS600hL

ROB MAETZIG - © Fairfax NZ News

The Lexus LS600hL costs as much as your average provincial city house - but it's fantastic.

A no-nonsense hatch

2013 Mitsubishi Mirage.

ROB MAETZIG - © Fairfax NZ News

Mitsubishi's new Mirage is a case of getting what you pay for - which is actually quite a lot for the money.

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