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Given the severity of the storm that recently hit Auckland, it’s lucky we had an SUV for the weekend. Kia’s Niro drives only its front wheels and resembles a chunky hatchback more than it does a traditional off-roader, but it does deliver 160mm ground clearance, 20mm more than its Cerato hatch stablemate. And that made for greater assurance when driving a test route littered with debris.
Anyone hoping to sell a sports hatch based on a mainstream car, and to sell it in reasonable numbers, has to aim for the impossible: a vehicle that will fit many sizes of sporting driver, which can tackle the daily commute or shopping trip and still deliver a blistering back-road drive, all without inflating the price to unreasonable levels.
Cast one look at the Lexus LC500 and you can tell that the brand’s old rep for terminally boring design has hit the bin. And it needed to, especially for this car, which is pitched against the likes of Jaguar’s F-Type, the Maserati Gran Turismo and Mercedes’ S-class coupe.
The first I heard of Spanish vehicle manufacturer SEAT (pronounced say-at) was in the mid 90’s while watching screaming little Yellow Ibiza’s skidding around in a NZ WRC (World Rally Championship) event. Now SEAT have hit NZ shores and it looks like they’re here to stay, with the VW owned company opening a very impressive showroom here in Auckland.
For a vehicle that has been around since 2002, there’s not a lot been said about the SsangYong large SUV. Well that may be all about to change as Great Lake Motor Distributors boast the all-new 4th generation Rexton which is slated to take SsangYong into a more premium space than any model they’ve previously offered. With levels of equipment, luxury, refinement and practicality on offer that may yet be found in a large SUV priced at a mainstream level.