Category Archives: First Drives

FIRST DRIVE: Mercedes-Benz GLE

FIRST DRIVE: Mercedes-Benz GLE
For a while now Mercedes-Benz has lagged behind obvious rivals BMW and Audi in one key area — SUVs, particularly those in the fast-growing small and medium segments. But Mercedes are determined to fix that particular weak spot in the most German way possible — to jam as many different variants ...

FIRST DRIVE: Audi RS3

FIRST DRIVE: Audi RS3
When Mercedes-Benz decided to crash the AWD Hot Hatch party with its sensational small AMG offerings, it was always fairly certain that Audi wasn’t going to take things lying down. After all, Audi had been doing the grunt AWD Hot Hatch thing for quite ...

FIRST DRIVE: Hyundai Tucson

FIRST DRIVE: Hyundai Tucson
Someone at Hyundai must like cowboys. Nothing wrong with that, cowboys are cool. But, seriously, someone at Hyundai must really like them. Why else would they have chosen to name their SUVs Santa Fe and Tucson after towns in the cowboy states Arizona and New Mexico? From this naming convention, we can assume that if Hyundai slip another SUV into the market (or, perhaps, a ute?) it will be called the El Paso. Which, aside from being an awesome name for an SUV or ute, completes the triangle ...

FIRST DRIVE: Jaguar XE

FIRST DRIVE: Jaguar XE
Once upon a time Jaguar made a mid-size car. It was called the X-Type and it was crap. It wasn’t crap because it was based on the Ford Mondeo – which it was – and neither was it crap because it was FWD – which it also was, although 4WD models were available ...

FIRST DRIVE: Mini John Cooper Works

Once upon a time, back when the Mini really was mini, having the Cooper name attached to it meant it was the serious go-fast version. But eventually it became essentially a trim level, a rather sad standing that was only reinforced when BMW took things over and made the Mini less mini, but also far, far safer, much faster and WAY ...

FIRST DRIVE: Nissan Navara NP300

FIRST DRIVE: Nissan Navara NP300
The Nissan Navara has long been a mainstay in the local ute segment, generally hanging around the top five sellers, occasionally breaking into the top three and generally being a handsome, rugged option that was always worth consideration. While the old D22 (it was originally launched in 1997) managed to survive its replacement by the D40 in 2004, staying around as a budget-priced entry level ...

FIRST DRIVE: Citroen C4

FIRST DRIVE: Citroen C4
The Citroen C4 range is a slightly odd one these days. Not because the cars are strange – they are, apart from the brilliantly odd C4 Cactus, some of the most “normal” cars Citroen has ever made. No, what is odd about them is the fact that five cars make up the C4 range – the C4, C4 Cactus, C4 Aircross, C4 Picasso and Grand C4 Picasso ...

FIRST DRIVE: Ford Mondeo

FIRST DRIVE: Ford Mondeo
We have had along wait here in New Zealand for the new Ford Mondeo. The USA got it back in 2012 as the Fusion, while a change of manufacturing facilities has seen RHD production delayed by a number of years. But it is here now and it has some pretty big expectations that it needs to live up to if it is going to take its place as Fords “flagship model” on the eve of the Falcon’s demise. We ...