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Car Buyer's Guide: All tastes covered
By Jack Biddle • 07/11/2015
All have individual appeal that sets them apart, writes Jack Biddle.
This week’s Buyers’ Guide column is based around three different-sized and shaped press vehicles that have been driven over the past month or so. It goes to show the vast variety of vehicles sitting on showroom floors and the steps the new-vehicle industry goes to, to produce a model range that appeals to more than just one mindset, motoring need or lifestyle.
The vehicles reviewed range in size and practicality but all have an individual appeal that sets them apart.
What may get the juices flowing for one potential buyer is bound to have the opposite effect on another.
Toyota Land Cruiser Prado VX Limited ($99,990)
It’s still a winner. For the past four years, I have been part of a cycle and walking group that has covered many back-country tracks in the South Island as well as the central North Island. The slave vehicle has always been a Land Cruiser Prado.
It is expected to tow a trailer full of bikes and associated gear, plus carry a filled-to-capacity roof-mounted storage box as well as an interior packed with passengers, supplies and luggage. It’s a go-anywhere vehicle and, for many people, nothing else goes remotely close to matching it.
The all-new model is full of upgrades including the 2.8 litre diesel engine with improved performance and fuel economy. Not at its best around congested city centres but surprisingly versatile all the same. It continues to deliver on its core strengths but adds additional value in comfort and driveability. Four models are available with retail prices starting at $78,490.
Mazda CX-3 AWD Diesel ($42,595)
It’s no big surprise to see the all-new CX-3 has made the finals of the AA and Motoring Writers Guild top 10 vehicles for 2015. The brand overall is on a huge high, enjoying record sales and a range of models now adapting the Skyactiv technology and Kodo soul of motion design.
The CX-3 fits into the small SUV market and aims to meet all buyer needs with six variants, including 2WD/AWD and petrol/diesel engines. Specification levels, especially for the GSX and Limited models, are equal to many vehicles that demand higher prices.
In-cabin navigation of the various controls is simple via a rotary dial between the front seats, and viewing is by way of a dash-mounted screen. Cargo space is limited as is the rear seating room but overall this vehicle is sure to keep the sales flowing for Mazda NZ. Five years’ warranty plus three years scheduled servicing included in the retail price may be the clincher for many potential buyers.
Hyundai Veloster 1.6 Turbo DCT ($51,490)
Sports cars are never huge sellers but this vehicle makes a bold statement on behalf of the Hyundai Motor Company. It proves it can think outside the square and produce a high-performance (150kW/265Nm) and sporty non-mainstream vehicle that has several unique and practical points of difference.
Although having only one rear passenger door may seem strange, it works. It’s a struggle to pack luggage and extra passengers into a two-door sports car. The Veloster solves that problem by providing an almost hidden left rear door.
The full-length two-piece panoramic glass roof is one of the best around, providing extra light and a feeling of spaciousness to the interior. The split rear screen can hinder rear vision, although parking sensors and a reverse camera will help overcome any perceived parking issues. It’s a head-turner from the outside and combines sporty coupe with practical hatch.