Four Wheel Drive (4WD) / SUV Road Tests

Mercedes smartens up snappy off-roader

Mercedes smartens up snappy off-roader

How's this for a curious twist: to best tailor the only version of its GLA small sport utility that has off-roading potential to New Zealand conditions, Mercedes-Benz adds as standard an ''off-road pack'' equipment enhancement that is optional in most places.

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Nissan steps up with new 2WD X-Trail

Nissan steps up with new 2WD X-Trail

''What's the point then?'' was a friend's direct response upon learning that the Nissan X-Trail I was about to drive home at the end of an evening family visit was a two- rather than four-wheel-drive variant.

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Surprise package - Nissan's new Juke

Surprise package - Nissan's new Juke

David Thomson reports in after a week with the hottest version of Nissan's quirky crossover baby, the Juke.

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Jeep makes changes to Cherokee

Jeep makes changes to Cherokee

Here's an open secret from the media preview of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee: the new Cherokee comes as an all-petrol range for now, but a diesel-engined version is on the way.

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Plenty of zip in Mini's SUV alternative

Plenty of zip in Mini's SUV alternative

An all-new edition of the regular Mini has just hit the streets, but for those who want their Mini to come with a longer than usual wheelbase, more interior room, greater ground clearance and four-wheel drive, the Countryman will continue largely unchanged this year and probably next.

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Good looks, athleticism from Mercedes­-Benz GLA

Good looks, athleticism from Mercedes­-Benz GLA

Sports utilities are not what they used to be, we all know that.

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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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