Four Wheel Drive (4WD) / SUV Road Tests

Toyota's petrol Prado a serious off-roader

Toyota's petrol Prado a serious off-roader

Petrol power is back on the menu for New Zealand's best-­selling and recently facelifted large SUV, the Toyota Landcruiser Prado. David Thomson has been putting it to the test on Otago roads and trails.

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Brasher Highlander keeps US roots

Brasher Highlander keeps US roots

Look at the build plate on this generation-three Highlander line and you'll spot something not seen before on a New Zealand-new Toyota: A ''made in America'' stamp.

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Nissan goes for softer stance in Pathfinder

Nissan goes for softer stance in Pathfinder

Nissan is expecting a strong showing from its latest Pathfinder, which represents a marked change in appoach from the model it replaces. David Thomson has been spending time behind the wheel.

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BMW X5 provides a holiday high five

BMW X5 provides a holiday high five

David Thomson said goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014 with the 30d version of the latest BMW X5 in his care. It seems to have marked an auspicious start to the new motoring year.

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BMW X5: A fresh start from familiar foundations

BMW X5: A fresh start from familiar foundations

Heading out of Napier, there are three recognised driving routes to Taihape - via the Manawatu Gorge (SH3 and SH1), via Taupo (SH5, SH1) and via the Gentle Annie, the most direct choice.

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Old-school Land Cruiser a serious off-roader

Old-school Land Cruiser a serious off-roader

Toyota's Land Cruiser 70 has been upgraded, with new safety equipment and a double cab option. David Thomson climbs into the latest version of this no-compromises workhorse to find out what has changed.

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Turbo-diesel lifts Toyota's RAV4

Turbo-diesel lifts Toyota's RAV4

Does the latest RAV4 have what it takes to remain a sales success in an increasingly crowded and competitive mid-sized sports utility segment? David Thomson takes the wheel of both diesel and petrol 4WD variants to find out.

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Much to like in Jeep's face-lifted Grand Cherokee

Much to like in Jeep's face-lifted Grand Cherokee

Neither of the two big changes that arrive with the face-lifted Jeep Grand Cherokee are truly new, but as both make a world of difference to the vehicle, that hardly matters.

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Santa Fe Elite good-looking, family friendly, and pricey

Santa Fe Elite good-looking, family friendly, and pricey

When going on holiday, it pays to pack a Santa Fe, Catherine Pattison reports.

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Subaru sharpens Forester's act

Subaru sharpens Forester's act

While rivals are offering ever softer midsized SUVs, Subaru is sticking to a more traditional recipe with the latest Forester. David Thomson puts the 2.5 Sport Auto variant to the test.

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Upgrades reduce Sorento's off-road appeal

Upgrades reduce Sorento's off-road appeal

 Upgrades reduce Sorento's off-road appeal A major upgrade has boosted the Kia Sorento's everyday appeal, though at the expense of some of its off-road versatility, as David Thomson discovers.

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Hyundai Santa Fe offers more, for more

Hyundai Santa Fe offers more, for more

Before arrowing straight in on the bottom line, Hyundai hopes potential Santa Fe customers will give the new rig a careful once-over to gain an appreciation of what they are getting, and why some models are so much more expensive than those they replace.

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Subaru Forester blossoms into fully fledged SUV

Subaru Forester blossoms into fully fledged SUV

The Subaru Forester's DNA goes back to 1997 and some 16 years later it has left its boxy awkwardness behind to emerge as a fully fledged all-wheel-drive SUV.

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Great Wall X200 a serious contender

Great Wall X200 a serious contender

If we could fast-forward into the automotive future of five to 10 years hence, what a different world we would find: hybrids left, right and centre; plug-in electrics in reasonable numbers, even on Dunedin city streets; stop-start and collision-avoidance systems on every new car sold; and last but not least, a significant number of those new cars coming from China.

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Solid all-round showing from Nissan's updated X-Trail

Solid all-round showing from Nissan's updated X-Trail

The teenage son of a friend calls it "a toaster on wheels", but I've held the Nissan X-Trail in high regard since it first graced the SUV scene back in 2007.

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Toyota's VX Landcruiser still the king of the road

Toyota's VX Landcruiser still the king of the road

The big boy of Toyota's extensive 4WD line, the VX Landcruiser, has been the subject of a recent mid-life makeover which includes styling, specification and mechanical enhancements.

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Audi's Q3 enters premium SUV segment in style

Audi's Q3 enters premium SUV segment in style

Even by the standards of a new vehicle market defying uncertain economic times, growth in the small and mid-sized premium SUV segments has been spectacular this year.

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Mazda makes an impact with new CX-5

Mazda makes an impact with new CX-5

Back in the 1970s, and well into the 1980s, rotary engines and the RX2, RX3 and RX7 cars they powered, set Mazda apart as one of Japan's quirkier, yet most innovative brands.

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Subaru XV crosses over in style

Subaru XV crosses over in style

Subaru is one of the pioneers of the crossover vehicles that are now all the rage. David Thomson gets behind the wheel of the company's latest  contribution to the genre, the new XV.

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Nissan's crossover Juke boxes on

Nissan's crossover Juke boxes on

Nissan's redefining of the boundary between the traditional SUV and the family hatchback takes a further step with the Juke. David Thomson puts it to the test.

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