Kapiti Observer : November 17th 2011
51 THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2011 5-7 Ihakara St, Paraparaumu Call to make a booking now on 0800 489 932 www.hmckapiti.co.nz 3503066AB Oil water level and tyre pressures checked free while you wait anytime W.O.F., service, repair and maintain all makes and models Holden, Suzuki and Kia authorised agent Vehicle relicensing facilities Free pick up and delivery service Loan vehicles Options for commuters Discount for Grey Power Members Online booking service 3756635AB McMillan Panel and Paint Limited • Auto Robot Straightening • Body Alignment System • Spray Bake Oven • All Major Insurance Companies Telephone 04 902 5599 17 Omahi Street, Waikanae Courtesy Cars Approved Repairer 10% discount for Super Gold Card Holders on WOF's, parts and labour cost and Mitsubishi new or used parts Delaney Mitsubishi We WOF, service and repair ALL makes and models, also your Authorised Mitsubishi Parts and Service Centre on the Kapiti Coast Please phone Brent, Steve or Neil for all your vehicle servicing needs Hours: Monday to Friday 8am - 5pm Saturday 8am - 12 noon 41 Te Roto Drive, Paraparaumu Phone 04 297 0832 3812342AB CENTRAL AUTOMOTIVE SERVICES MAIN ROAD SOUTH, LEVIN K.S. McFadye & I.J. Buckley Ltd FULL DIESEL REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE • All C.O.F. Work • Tra sport & Ge eral E gi eeri g • Heavy Tra sport E gi eeri g • Trailer Ma ufacturi g • Stock Crate Repairs Phone (24hrs) (06) 368 2037 (06) 368 1591 Mobile: Ia 021 432 995 Ke 021 246 8202 A/hrs: Ke (06) 364 8122 Ia (06) 362 6554 KAP20826 DIESEL SPECIALISTS - TRUCKS - TRACTORS TOW BARS - DRAWBARS C.O.F. SERVICE TOWBARS LUBRICATION DECKS 2146413AA Add $ Value To Your Car • Steam Cleaning • Cut and Polish • Full Interior and Exterior Grooming AUTOGROOM CAR VALET SERVICES Ph: 04 902 5709 Mob: 027 323 3156 4186854AA *Terms & Conditions apply ask our friendly team for details 179 Kapiti Road (opposite Repco) Paraparaumu Ph: 04 298 4160 or 027 506 3688 www.airportautos.co.nz We are giving you a break Affordable Quality Cars From $4000* - $8000* Ü All vehicles mechanically checked Ü LMVD NO DEPOSIT FINANCE Once driven, cosmetic quirks soon forgotten By combining its passenger cars' curves with the chunky practicality of a traditional tradesmen's ute, Mazda's going its own way in one of New Zealand's most important market segments, writes DAVE MOORE. Smiling demeanour: BT50's talent runs more than grin-deep, with good load capacity and a great 5-cylinder diesel. Buyers out there in uteland have never had it so good. In a year when Volkswagen is getting in on the act with its Amarok, and Nissan and Toyota are fronting up with heavily revamped models, while Ford has a fleet of new Rangers in the mix, Mazda has barged through all this chunky square-riggery with a swoopy new BT50 whose nose looks like it was borrowed from the latest Mazda sedans. It's big, at 200 millimetres longer than before as well as being bold and polarising but the rear has familiar soft-shaped tail lights that leave nobody in doubt it's a BT-50. Anyway, no serious working ute- buyer ever bases his vehicle choice on looks alone. Otherwise, how did Toyota's Hilux remain at the top of the sales table despite looking the way it has for the last few years? That's why, despite criticism of the new Mazda BT50's looks -- it does resemble a Mazda6 with a wheelbarrow tagged on to its rear, according to some -- I think once driven, any cosmetic misgivings will be forgiven. That's because the new BT50 has the best current mid-sized ute drivetrain you can buy, in the form of the 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbocharged diesel -- and six-speed auto or manual transmission it shares with Ford's just-as-new Ranger. The two Thai-built vehicles mark probably Ford and Mazda's final act of collaboration as the two companies drift apart, and neither company will deny that they have been good for each other over the years. Never more than with these tremendous new utes which offer more grunt and more gears in most forms than any others on the market, with idiot-proof off-road electronic assistance for their all- wheel-drive systems, scads of loads space, tidy, very refined road manners and a cabin you can spend most of the day in. As I did last week. But back to the styling. The big grin on the front of the car may be gawky at first, but after a few hours, you can't help but smile back at it, for this is a disarmingly capable piece of kit, and if it has to look like a bit of a joker, well it'd go down well on my farm anyway. Sharing so much with the new Ford is very much a positive. The amortisation benefits are obvious and when you tot-up the kit that the Ford/Mazda collaboration manages to slot into the package, you soon realise that the BT50 and Ranger are packing more standard safety and home-comforts paraphernalia than that late-model six-cylinder sedan you have in your driveway. No BT50 will do without air conditioning, ABS, traction control or stability mitigation technology, and if you are fortunate enough to opt for the loaded 'Limited' versions, with well-sorted perforated leather on to which you can settle your RM Williams' you can see how far utes have come in quite a short time. The star of the show is the ute's flagship 3.2-litre powerhouse, which grunts out 147kW at just 3000rpm and a useful 470Nm of torque from 1750-2500rpm, which is enough to bash any hill farm into shape thanks very much, and judging by the way I was able to slide into trouble and grope my way out of it on some silly going, it has the legs to match, with long-travel double front wishbones solidly sorted rear leaf springs and rack and pinion steering that gives oodles of information without a skerrick of thumb-thwacking kick- back. A great set-up. The nice thing is, this farmers' friend has remarkable on-road manners too, with terrific lateral grip -- not always a tall ute's strong point -- and wonderfully communicative steering. While we're on the road it's nice to note that the six-speed transmission has the BT50 at well under 2000rpm at 100kmh with automatic or manual versions. Thus fuel use and wear and tear are likely to be pretty low in day to day use. My choice would certainly be the automatic which asks $2000 more than the manual. I found it better even for off-road use, where you can manually override the system where needed, locking the transmission into '1' while 2WD, 4WD and 4WD-low, are merely a console twist knob away. You can even use cruise control to modulate hill-descent speeds when you use the truck's electronic dash- button activated HDC (hill descent control). The diff lock is also a simple dash prod, and useful when the going gets wet and slippery on steep, grassy inclines, for instance. The automatic option is only available on the 2WD and 4WD GSX, and the 4WD Limited Double Cab BT50 models, but all models take the full suite of safety gear, with front, side and curtain airbags where appropriate, hill launch and descent controls, ABS, Traction Control, a device for easing trailer sway, stability control and roll-over mitigation. Altogether, the BT50 offers nine all-wheel-driven models and seven with rear-wheel-drive. Body styles include regular cab and double cab designs, with a clamshell four-doored freestyle cab between the two, which offers better access than similarly placed models from other companies with merely two doors. The full range is a fairly easy one to get your mind around, as there's no petrol option, nor a smaller diesel, so it's very much a price-step against personal preference proposition -- the dog'll like the freestyle, while humans will prefer the double cab. The 2WD offerings range from the Cab-Chassis GLX at $35,295, with a wellside deck adding $2100, to the GSX auto Double cabs at $46,495. In 4WD, the BT50s start with a Cab-Chassis GLX at $46,795, and range to the top of the tree Limited Double Cab Wellside, automatic only, at $61,895, with standard reversing radar and leather trim. Volvo preview After revealing a large- sedan concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show recently, it appears that Chinese-owned Volvo is to use that design for its next-generation S80, its most expensive model.
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