Lucky times - The National Business Review

Lucky times - The National Business Review
Cameron Officer
We really don’t know how lucky we are to
be motorists these days.
Before you shake a derisive finger
out the window in the direction of that
sea of taillights on the motorway, I’m not
associating the sheer volume of cars on our
roads with luck.
Rather, I’m suggesting that in any given
new vehicle these days the amount of
equipment offered as standard fitment
is deeply impressive. The sort of
equipment that was the stuff of sci-fi
a decade ago is now available in the
hatchback you’ve bought for the
commute to the office.
Scroll back 25 years and it was
still possible to find mass-market
passenger cars for sale in New
Zealand where items like air
conditioning and even a radiocassette player were listed as
grade-specific options.
In 2017 though, even
your entry-level city car
will feature items like
reversing cameras (some
with helpful interactive
guidelines that project
where you’re likely to
end up depending on
AU T U MN 2017
your steering angle), and Bluetoothcompatible audio systems with
steering wheel-mounted buttons
for taking in-car calls safely.
Likewise, an increasing number
of models feature blind spot
monitoring systems, which alert
the driver to vehicles just outside their
peripheral vision whenever a motorway lane-change
manoeuver is about to be undertaken, and rear
cross-traffic alert software, which builds on reversing
sensors with the ability to forewarn the driver to a
car park pedestrian wielding a lethal shopping trolley
approaching out-of-sight from the side.
Increasingly, carmakers bundle a number of
technologies together to take the guesswork out of
optional feature selection.
Some manufacturers, such as Lexus, offer
few options, simply because they like to suggest
their vehicles come ‘fully loaded’ straight off the
showroom floor. And they do.
Other brands, such as Mazda for example, tie
safety technology together, as they have done
in the new CX-5 Limited I review on p11. In this
model, Mazda’s full i-Activsense safety system
(incorporating items like adaptive LED headlights,
adaptive radar cruise control and semi-autonomous
Smart Brake Support functionality) is a standard
package. That’s some truly 21st century technology
right there, available and at your service in a midsize SUV.
Seriously, how lucky are we?
Cameron Officer is NBR's motoring editor.
The Subaru with a six-pack.
What’s hot this autumn?
In a word: safety. No, no,
don’t turn the page. When
it comes to the automotive
sector, the safety story has
proven a rapidly developing and
rather fascinating one.
And here’s the thing about
much of the development work in
passenger and pedestrian safety; its
advances in this field that are driving
the idea of the autonomous car.
Many of the parameters that on-board
safety technology uses rely on a semiautonomous action from the car. If you have
radar cruise control deployed, for example,
the camera at the top of the windscreen or
embedded in the grille is scanning the road
ahead, monitoring obstacles. As soon as the
obstacle in front – namely another vehicle – begins
to slow, so too does your own vehicle’s speed.
The radar cruise control system always keeps a
buffer between you and the vehicle ahead, often right
down to a stop. When the vehicle moves off again, so
too will your own vehicle. Many systems even allow you to
set the distance between you and the vehicle in front at a
comfortable level; further apart at higher motorway speeds,
or closer when in crawling commuter traffic.
Lane-keeping software, which scans the lines at the side of
the road to ensure the vehicle doesn’t stray off-path inadvertently,
is another example of how safety specification is subtly
introducing autonomous elements to everyday passenger cars.
Early versions of this system would simply alert the driver to
wayward travel by beeping or sending a sharp vibration through
the steering wheel. Now it’s routine for these systems to literally
force the wheels back into line. The feeling – as if an invisible
hand is firmly gripping your steering wheel a couple of degrees –
is disconcerting at first but the programming at work here forms
the basis of autonomous driving in anything other than a straight,
pre-set line.
There are even off-road applications for semi-autonomous
safety technology, such as the All-Surface Progress Control
(ASPC) system in the Land Rover Discovery. This is like ‘off-road
cruise control’ where once deployed, the system works with the
four-wheel drivetrain to crawl up or down a steep slope.
In most instances, this sort of technology relies on a certain
level of human faith. Rather amazingly, cruise control has been
around in one form or another since 1910, although it wasn’t until
the arrival of the 1958 Chrysler Imperial that it became an option
for a mass-produced vehicle. The idea of relying on the vehicle to
slow down autonomously though, is a much newer advent and
one that takes some getting used to.
I, for one, am really excited by the possibilities the
development of this sort of safety technology signals.
Experience the 6-cylinder
At a time when the number of large performance sedans in
New Zealand is shrinking, we’ve bulked ours up. Introducing the
Subaru Legacy. Packing a beefy 3.6L 6-cylinder Boxer engine, it
has the power and muscle you’d expect from a performance car.
Recommended Retail Pricing (RRP) includes GST, however excludes on-road costs and accessories.
for only $49,990*.
And with EyeSight® Driver Assist technology and Symmetrical
All Wheel Drive, you’ll have the control you’d expect from a Subaru.
Book your test drive today by visiting or your local
Subaru Authorised Dealer. Make sure you do a few stretches first.
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel
Power: 190kW
Torque: 600Nm
Fuel Economy: 7.2L/100km
Price: $114,900
New Zealand Company Vehicle
Small Business Car of the Year 2016
Land Rover’s fifth-generation Discovery
is the sort of vehicle that – in a very
short space of time – will have you forgetting the competition even exists.
The new Discovery seems light years ahead both of what has come
before and much of what is on offer elsewhere in the premium 4x4
SUV market.
And while there are plenty of design details that still allude to the
signature Discovery look – a subtly stepped roof, square-backed
boot door (no longer split-opening though), deep glass along
the vehicle’s flanks – the new Discovery is worlds apart when
compared with its predecessor.
There’s no other way of describing it; the Discovery 5 looks
futuristic. But being a Land Rover, there remains plenty of practicality
mixed in with the premium style. It retains impressive all-terrain
capabilities, thanks to some clever off-road technology and a body shell
that remains suited to everyday usability, regardless of whether its smooth
bitumen or a gnarly beach track you’re negotiating.
Ground clearance is 43mm better than the previous Discovery, while the SUV’s
wading depth has also improved by 200mm to 900mm – in other words, much
more than most will be comfortable with. Negotiating waterlogged tracks is
simple with Land Rover’s multi-mode Terrain Response 2 system managing
gear changes and throttle input to maximise the traction. Mud, rocks, snow – if
you’re willing to get your Discovery dirty, you really can. The vehicle’s all-terrain
progress control will even crawl up steep rises and down challenging ascents
while you concentrate on the steering.
Of course, it’s not all about off-road adventuring. The Discovery also
features a sumptuous interior with acres of space; seven comfortable
seats, a massive 10-inch infotainment touchscreen in the centre
console which houses the InControl Touch Pro infotainment system, no
less than nine USB charging points and high-quality surface materials,
leathers and fabrics.
The Discovery can be connected to via an app allowing the
owner to check on vehicle status, lock or unlock it remotely, plan
a navigational route on their smartphone and set the climate
control to suit outside temperatures, before the drive home
even begins. You can even rearrange the seating from your
phone; the Discovery’s intelligent seat fold system will let you
configure over 20 different seating plans, depending on
what you’re transporting.
AA & NZ Motoring Writers’ Guild Car of the Year
Best in Class Compact Car
New Zealand Autocar Car of the Year 2016
Class Winner $30k – $45k
Women’s World Family Car of the Year 2016
Top Small Car of the Year 2016 –
Top Small Car of the Year 2016 –
Compact Car of the Year 2016 – CarTalk
Civic RS Turbo shown
The all new Civic
Stand out.
From $29,900 +ORC Lease from $399 +GST*
Lease rates are available to registered companies only. $399 rate based on Civic 1.8S,
55,000 kms, 45 month term, non-maintained operating lease through Honda Financial Services,
conditions and credit criteria apply.
With the Impreza 2.0 Sport,
Subaru has disguised a driver’s
car as a suburban hatchback. It’s
Engine: 1995cc four-cylinder Boxer
a neat trick, with an equally neat
Power: 115kW
price attached. What this new
Torque: 196Nm
Impreza does in terms of shaking
Fuel Economy: 6.6L/100km
Price: $29,990
up the sub-$30,000 runabout
market can’t be overstated.
Subaru has pitched itself
successfully as a premium Japanese carmaker with a diversified range
of models – more than you might realise – all with the sure-footedness
of Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, low-mounted Boxer petrol
engines and planted low centre of gravity to help give its cars a uniformly dynamic
feel from behind the wheel.
But the other through-line that needs to be highlighted is the increasingly rich feature set
Subaru offers in its cars. This Impreza 2.0 Sport – the absolute entry-point for the entire Subaru
range, don’t forget – is no different.
The Impreza 2.0 Sport really is keenly specified. There’s a heap of convenience and safety
technology on-board, as well as Subaru’s all-wheel drive system for extra confidence on that sinewy
beach access road. Roof rails aren’t standard, but the Impreza looks ready made for a couple of
surfboards to be strapped to it.
Your $30,000 gets you a hatchback packed with technology like an 8” touchscreen audio system
featuring both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mobile phone mirroring capabilities, a reversing
camera, Subaru’s EyeSight system, which uses a forward-facing camera to monitor the road ahead
and alert the driver to any unfolding drama in the traffic, as well as smart-looking 17” alloy wheels and
keyless entry and start.
The interior is spacious and unfussy, with nicely detailed seats and enough metal-look accents to
give it an air of something you’d assume would cost more to buy. It’s roomy too, with a practically-sized
boot and 60:40 split rear folding seats.
Thanks to Subaru’s low-slung Boxer engine and all the benefits to the car’s centre of gravity and weight
distribution it brings, this is an entry-level hatchback that feels light on its toes and, honestly, is a lot of fun to
If you’re looking for a second vehicle or a city runabout that mixes go-anywhere practicality with first-class safety
tech and plenty of mod-cons, the Impreza 2.0 Sport certainly presents a compelling case.
Brave design, thrilling performance
and exceptional luxury, these are the
hallmarks of Lexus F-SPORT. A potent
mix of exhilaration and precision.
Experience the luxury and power of
F-SPORT performance for yourself at
your nearest Lexus dealer today.
Upgrade offer is also available for:
*Purchase any new Lexus IS200t, NX200t, NX300h, RX350 or RX450h and you can be upgraded to the equivalent F SPORT model at no extra cost. All vehicles must be purchased and delivered from an Authorised
Lexus Dealer between 1st April 2017 and 30th June 2017. Subject to stock availability. Full terms and conditions are available from your Lexus Dealer or online at Overseas model shown.
Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol
Power: 127kW
Torque: 220Nm
Fuel Consumption: 6.0L/100km
Price: $39,900
The notion of what a compact car is has certainly changed over the years. Honda
was one of the originators of a usefully small city car long before the Civic came
into being back in 1972. But it was with the Civic that the Japanese manufacturer
captured the proverbial lightning in a bottle.
Forty-five years and 10 generations on, the latest Civic range embodies an
audacious reworking of Honda’s iconic nameplate. And nowhere in the range is the polar shift from what was to
what is more distinct, than with the new Civic RS Turbo.
The sharp-suited Civic RS Turbo sedan features a host of sports-themed exterior details such as LED fog
lights, 17” sports alloy wheels, contrast-colour grille accents, a rear spoiler and plenty of aggressive cuts and
creases through the bodywork. It’s a clever design because its side-profile tricks you into a double-take; is
that a sedan or a coupe?
It’s very much a sedan; one packed with a heap of high-quality comfort and
convenience features.
Within the centre console, a full-colour 7-inch touchscreen multimedia
display takes centre stage, acting as a hub for the 452W premium
audio system and Bluetooth phone controls, along with the threeangle reversing camera display and side-view Lane Watch camera,
which deploys when the left-hand indicator is switched on.
The 10-speaker audio system also supports both Apple
CarPlay and Android Auto phone mirroring functionality, meaning
the music or podcast playlist on your mobile phone can be
synched to appear on-screen in the car.
The Civic RS Turbo also features a standard sunroof, alloy
sports pedals, leather trim, heated front seats including a driver’s
seat with eight-way power adjustment, as well as shift paddles
mounted behind the multi-function steering wheel. And speaking of
multi-function, Honda’s designers have engineered the Civic’s boot to
be both deeper and wider too.
Under the bonnet is a new 1.5-litre VTEC, direct-injected four-cylinder
petrol engine augmented by a low inertia, high response turbocharger
for an impressively fleet-footed on-road experience. Peak power
of 127kW is decent for a 1.5-litre engine; proof that Honda’s trick
turbo geometry really works in getting the Civic RS Turbo flying.
Just as Honda has redefined the idea of what a compact car
can be, the Civic Turbo RS will challenge what buyers might
expect from this nameplate.
N E W M A Z D A C X- 5
IS 200T
Yes, the revitalised Lexus IS is as dramatic as the images suggest. The luxury
carmaker has completed a comprehensive update of its medium-sized sedan
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder twinand the results make what was already a consummate performer even better.
scroll turbo petrol
Especially in IS200t F Sport guise, the IS is automotive aggression
Power: 180kW
personified; not something traditionally associated with Lexus as a brand,
Torque: 350Nm
but a design ethos the manufacturer has certainly embraced of late. And
Fuel Economy: 7.5-litres/100km
with thrilling results.
Price: $84,900
Polished dark grey 18-inch alloy wheels and a mesh-wrapped take on
Lexus’ signature spindle grille design signify the F Sport edition of the
IS. New headlights, bumper and air dam designs enhance the exterior dramatics, while there’s plenty of
sports-themed ambience inside the IS cabin too.
Mixing premium-level comfort and convenience equipment with sporty driver-focused ergonomics,
Lexus IS 200t F Sport models feature enveloping sports seats for extra lateral support, machined
sports pedals and ‘dark rose’ leather-accented upholstery. The rich, full-colour multimedia
display screen has increased in size to a full 10.3-inch screen, while a new steering wheel
has been lifted directly from Lexus’ high-performance RC sports coupe and features all the
same multi-function convenience.
With a powerful 180kW twin-scroll turbocharged petrol engine under the bonnet, the IS
200t packs plenty of ‘go’ to match the ‘show’.
A selectable and customisable Drive Mode Select system gives IS 200t F Sport drivers
the ability to change the dynamic set-up of the car based on driving environment and
mood. Normal, ECO, Sport S and Sport S+ modes change throttle response and gear
shift patterns accordingly, meaning the IS 200t F Sport can go from efficient commuter
tool to race-bred track day star with the switch of a button.
To help with the car’s abilities on more challenging backroads, Lexus’ engineers have
also optimised suspension spring rates and the damping characteristics of the shock
absorbers to improve ride comfort.
And because great power is always tempered with great responsibility, the Lexus
Safety System+ package is now standard on all IS models. In addition to the 200t
F Sport’s standard Bi-beam LED headlights, this package features a swathe
of leading safety technology, including a Pre-Crash Safety system, Dynamic
Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Sway Warning
System and headlights with hands-off Automatic High Beam.
Engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder SKYACTIV-G petrol
Power: 140kW
Torque: 251Nm
Fuel Economy: 7.5L/100km
Since its debut, Mazda’s medium-sized
CX-5 SUV has been all-conquering in the
Kiwi market; it finished last year as the fourth
biggest-selling passenger car, with a 3% market share. So, with this year seeing the
arrival of an updated CX-5, the competition has real cause to worry.
The new CX-5 also happens to be the first entry in a new chapter for Mazda,
bringing to market a thorough update of the ‘Kodo’ design language. Proportionally
similar to the outgoing model, the new CX-5 has been sharpened and refined
further, featuring a more premium interior and, outside, various design elements that
showcase the ‘Kodo’ sculpting and toning treatment.
The leading edge of the bonnet now almost appears to float in space above the
grille and restyled headlights. The signature silver grille surround looks so crisp
and sharp, you could imagine slicing soft fruit on it.
And speaking of fruit, as always, the Limited grade offers the most
in terms of top-notch specification. Nineteen-inch machined alloys are
standard here, as is a sunroof, powered boot lid and privacy glass.
Mazda really has shown the way with regards to stylishly uncluttered,
functionally elegant interiors and the new CX-5 Limited is no exception.
Leather seats (with 10-way power adjustment for the driver’s chair and
six-way power adjustment for the front passenger) and a 10-speaker
Bose premium audio system are present and correct in the CX-5 Limited.
Similarly, the level of safety technology is impressive, with Mazda’s full
i-ACTIVSENSE safety system on offer. This incorporates adaptive LED
headlights, adaptive radar cruise control, semi-autonomous Smart Brake
Support functionality, Lane Keep Assist and Driver Attention Alert.
There will be six CX-5 models on offer, including two- and all-wheel drive
versions, powered by either a 2.5-litre SKYACTIV-G petrol or 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D
turbo diesel engine.
You can even opt to have your CX-5 finished in the most luminescent red paint possible. Mazda
is debuting ‘Soul Crystal Red’ with the model; an exterior hue that, says the manufacturer, boasts
20% greater colour saturation and 50% more depth than standard red.
The paint is made up of a three-layer structure comprising clear, translucent and reflective coats.
The reflective coat features both light-absorbing and aluminium flakes that intensify shaded areas and
make it possible to achieve the sort of depth of colour that previously would require two coats.
As we go to press, Mazda hasn't revealed pricing but we do know it is expected to be similar to the
current model. Owners will also still receive scheduled servicing at no extra cost and Mazda's five-year
unlimited kilometre warranty.
Auckland absorbs a city the size of Hamilton every three
years, so organising the infrastructure for New Zealand’s
largest city will require some out-of-the-box thinking.
One answer could be a larger fleet of autonomous
vehicles. Real-world testing of these cars is critical but
the potential for mature metropolitan cities is seen as
Auckland Transport chief executive David Warburton
says autonomous vehicles are still high-risk because
how they operate on a sunny day is different from how
they operate on a wet night.
“There’s also a difference between autonomous
cars in a city and reaching sufficient penetration in a
population for them to have an impact on congestion
and mobility.
“The other problem is people are seeing this trend
toward automation, deciding it will continue and
choosing to stop building new infrastructure. This
means we’re actually going backward.
“Another challenge for New Zealand, which imports
second-hand cars with gay abandon, is the turnover
rate of cars to get that many new autonomous vehicles
into the fleet needs to be taken into account,” he says.
The cars may also alter how people do simple tasks,
such as shopping. Inner-city shopping combined with
public transport isn’t anyone’s idea of a fun day but
with Uber and other services and a fleet of autonomous
cars, wandering down to the supermarket might
become a defunct activity.
Opus International market sector lead Louise
Baker says it’s hard to know what the impact of online
shopping and autonomous cars to city congestion will
be. But that’s where data and scientific inquiry can help.
“We’re organising a report to be called the Impact of
the Internet on Urban Transport Demand, with the NZTA
to quantify if that’s true or not. A lot of people talk about
this but it’s hard to find data. There does seem to be
isolated impact but it’s difficult to quantify. People won’t
go to the shops as much, so that cuts one trip.”
She says a national conversation to help improve city
travel between many partners with different data sets is
occurring. The Ministry of Transport has commissioned
Opus International to find concepts to implement
the recent Intelligent Mobility in New Zealand report
published earlier this year.
“Sometimes there is more emphasis on solving the
housing problem than there is on providing the mobility
we need as a city,” Ms Baker says.
“We tend to wait for the problem to happen, even
though we know it’s coming, so we can justify the
funding to solve it. That’s a crazy situation to be in when
we know that transport shapes cities and nations.”
– Nathan Smith
AUTONOMOUS: The first vehicle to be trialled in this country is at Christchurch Airport
The All-New Discovery. Building on a proud heritage, this versatile SUV features
unrivalled capability and technology like no other. Seven full-sized seats.
Uncompromising safety. Powerful all-terrain performance. And reassuringly well
appointed. It’s everything you could want, for wherever life may take you.
Visit your local retailer for pre-sale enquiries today.
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