Four Wheel Drive (4WD) / SUV Road Tests

Power, performance and frugality in Suzuki's new Vitara

Power, performance and frugality in Suzuki's new Vitara

The new Vitara has been a strong performer on the sales charts this year and Suzuki will be hoping for further success with a new variant that offers improved performance on the road. David Thomson reports in after a week with this latest turbocharged addition to the range.

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Mazda CX-9: Big vehicle big on features

Mazda CX-9: Big vehicle big on features

Sports utility vehicles have become default family transport for the 21st century and large elevated seven-seaters are fast rising as the best choice.

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Fully equipped and safer than ever

Fully equipped and safer than ever

Hands up those readers who have noticed the baffling English-language slogans that adorn the spare-wheel covers of some early used-import Toyota RAV4s.

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Sharp looker cuts a dash

Sharp looker cuts a dash

It's bigger and bolder than ever before and also - according to the official figures - more fuel efficient. David Thomson hits the highway in the latest Lexus RX450 hybrid.

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Jaguar changes its spots

Jaguar changes its spots

THE SS100, the XK120, E-Type, the XJ in original and first-generation alloy form, that initial XF ... past landmark Jaguar road cars are easy to cite.

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BMW brings X1 into the fold

BMW brings X1 into the fold

The second-generation X1 is a fine addition to the junior luxury SUV ranks. David Thomson has been driving the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel version. 

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Kia quietly optimistic over latest Sportage

Kia quietly optimistic over latest Sportage

Being factory-owned rather than in the hands of an independent distributor; buying in New Zealand dollars rather than yen or American greenbacks; a desire to create a stronger brand image.

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Toyota looks to past with new Fortuner

Toyota looks to past with new Fortuner

Even with demand for vehicles with any degree of all-terrain persona at an all-time high, it seems a little weird to find a new SUV that conforms to design principles that once seemed set to become extinct.

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Audi Q7 hits the mark again

Audi Q7 hits the mark again

Audi's second-generation Q7 has been a long time coming. David Thomson checks in after a week behind the wheel of Ingolstadt's new sports utility flagship.

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Toyota Prado at its best when the going gets tough

Toyota Prado at its best when the going gets tough

Toyota's go-anywhere SUV has been updated with a new engine and gearbox. David Thomson heads off the beaten track to put it through its paces.

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Kia takes strides with new Sorento

Kia takes strides with new Sorento

Bigger, bolder and better equipped than its predecessor, the latest Sorento is an important new model for Kia. David Thomson reports in after a week driving the mid-range EX diesel variant.

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BMW sharpens appeal of key market players

BMW sharpens appeal of key market players

Halting territorial loss in one area and making a gain in another is driving BMW's strategy for two key products experiencing different fortunes.

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New Hyundai Tucson up for the challenge

New Hyundai Tucson up for the challenge

Ready for a clash of the Titans? It seems probable with Hyundai's newest sports utility being of a size to square up directly against the category's kingpin.

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Suzuki sharpens Vitara up for the road

Suzuki sharpens Vitara up for the road

Normal? Hardly. But Suzuki New Zealand says it has 200 good reasons for having a buck each way by introducing its new Vitara, while keeping the decade-old Grand edition on sale alongside the car that supposedly replaces it.

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Mazda's popular compact extends its reach

Mazda's popular compact extends its reach

Mazda's new compact SUV has been causing quite a stir since its launch earlier in the year. David Thomson has been trying both entry-level petrol and flagship diesel variants.

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Toyota gives torque tweak to Land Cruiser Prado

Toyota gives torque tweak to Land Cruiser Prado

Facelifts that fail to deliver any visual change whatsoever aren't common, but that's exactly what has happened to the Land Cruiser Prado - unlike the impending upgrade for the big brother 200-Series, there's no new change to the now quite old (last revised in 2013) look.

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Territory and Falcon XR8 - Ford delivers on last hurrahs

Territory and Falcon XR8 - Ford delivers on last hurrahs

Just over 10 years after its launch, the Ford Territory stands proud as a vehicle that was ahead of its time when it first appeared, and remains a remarkably appealing SUV choice 18 months out from its production demise.

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Touch of class in Volvo XC90

Touch of class in Volvo XC90

Fresh-baked cinnamon rolls, a welcoming cold drink poured from a classy decanter from a top Swedish glass-maker, the keys to your new car presented in a personalised, handcrafted box: this isn't how car selling usually goes, even in high-end hangouts, yet it is to be part of the new Volvo experience, brought on by the latest XC90.

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Sport is the winner

Sport is the winner

Halfway through its production life, the fourth-generation Honda CR-V has had a mild facelift and upgrade. David Thomson takes the flagship version on a winter alpine trek to see how it stacks up.

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Land Rover's rugged, smart off-roader takes new direction

Land Rover's rugged, smart off-roader takes new direction

Even in places where climatic and geographic conditions encourage sports utility vehicle sales - take a bow, Otago - an emergent syndrome is being noticed.

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