Four of the best performance buys
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Kiwi drivers’ habits have changed in the last year, according to a recent AA Insurance Lifestyles survey.
It showed many are spending less time in their cars, and in fact the numbers of Kiwis driving regularly has been decreasing since 2016, when around 19 per cent drove only 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. With this in mind, we’ve put together a few cars that are designed to put the fun back into driving.
1. Toyota Supra
Last year saw the Toyota Supra return after a 17-year hiatus and it was well received right around the globe, even being shortlisted for the 2019 AA Driven NZ Car of the Year award.
A disappointment for lovers of the previous Supra, however, was Toyota’s collaboration with BMW. The Supra shares a platform, running gear, gearbox, as well as many shared interior design cues with the BMW Z4. It also shares an engine that Toyota has tuned to an impressive 500Nm 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 sec.
2. 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 5.6 sec 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 3.4 sec 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 controlled with the steering wheel (only in Park, of course).
3. Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Since 1923, the Quadrifoglio has been the emblem of Alfa Romeo racing models. This badge hasn’t simply been slapped on to the Stelvio SUV body just to boost sales — it’s a real race car in an SUV body.
Driving 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 changes, and the rear differential is an active torque vectoring unit necessary to hit 100km/h in 3.9 sec.
The Stelvio Quadrifoglio model comes with carbon-fibre trim and sportier seats, providing comfort and security as you tackle corners with adjustable lumbar and side bolsters.
4. Kia Stinger
Since Kia released the Stinger in 2018, it has been well received around the globe. The five-door sportback is the Korean company’s flagship performance vehicle and its first modern-era vehicle built with a rear-wheel drive platform. It’s also its first vehicle powered by a twin-turbo charged V6 engine.
The Stinger packs a 3.3-litre engine and produces 272kW at 6000rpm
It has five drive-mode settings: Smart, Eco, Comfort, Sport and Custom that adjust a raft of elements — it’s even been adopted by Australian police.