Let's drive again: Four cars to get excited about
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According to an AA Insurance Lifestyles survey completed earlier this year, one in four New Zealanders are driving less than they did a year ago.
In fact, the numbers of Kiwis driving regularly has been decreasing since 2016, when around only 19 per cent of Kiwis drove a “few times a week”. That number now sits at 28 per cent. But for many people, driving isn’t just about getting to the destination. It’s also about the journey.
And in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the focus is certainly coming back on to private transport. With all of this in mind, here are a few cars that get us excited about driving again.
Toyota GR Supra
Last year saw the Toyota Supra return after a 17-year hiatus, and it was well received around the globe, even being shortlisted for the coveted 2019 AA DRIVEN NZ Car of the Year award.
One of the disappointments for lovers of the previous Supra, however, was Toyota’s collaboration with BMW. The Supra shares a platform, running gear and gearbox, as well as many shared interior design cues with the BMW Z4.
It also shares an engine, which Toyota has tuned to an impressive 500Nm of torque at 1600-4500rpm. The power is dispatched to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Supra is capable of reaching 100km/h in 4.3 seconds.
Tesla Model 3
The highly anticipated Model 3 is Tesla’s cheapest car, with pricing starting at $75,900 for the Standard Range Plus model. It features a single-motor setup capable of 0-100km/h in just 5.6 seconds, and a claimed range of 460km.
Also on offer is a dual-motor Long Range option offering 620km of range, or the dual-motor Performance model which can reach 100km/h in a mere 3.4 seconds and has a claimed range of 560km.
Tesla has included many gimmicks in its cars, such as a whoopee cushion (with adjustable fart noises), a log-burning fire simulation and even arcade games that you can control with the steering wheel (only accessible when the car is in Park, of course!).
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Since 1923, the Quadrifoglio has been the emblem of Alfa racing models. This badge hasn’t simply been hastily slapped on to the Stelvio SUV body just to boost sales — it’s a real race car in an SUV body.
Getting behind the wheel of an SUV has never felt more exciting, with a Ferrari-derived 2.9-litre V6 engine, boosted by its bi-turbos to cook up 380kW/ 600Nm.
The eight-speed auto is quick through the changes, and the rear differential is an active torque vectoring unit, which is necessary to hit 100km/h in 3.90sec. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio comes with carbon fibre trim and sportier seats, providing comfort and security as you tackle corners with its adjustable lumbar and side bolsters.
If you’re looking for an SUV that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your dial, look no further than the Alfa.
Kia Stinger GT
Since Kia released the Stinger back in 2018, it has been well received by drivers around the globe.
The five-door sportback is the Korean company’s flagship performance vehicle, and has helped evolve the company to more exciting heights.
The Stinger is the first modern era vehicle built with a rear-wheel-drive platform for Kia. It’s also its first to be powered by a twin-turbo charged V6.
The Stinger has five drive mode settings: Smart, Eco, Comfort, Sport and Custom. These settings adjust a raft of elements in the vehicle such as engine responsiveness, transmission changes, steering effort and suspension stiffness — so much so that it’s been adopted by police forces in Australia.
The Stinger packs a 3.3-litre engine and produces 272kW at 6000rpm, which is more than enough juice to jet you up Baldwin St.