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A Dynamic Drive

It is really hard not to be at least a little bit impressed with the new Honda Civic RS Sensing. While the last bit of the name does seem a tad strange at first, it becomes clear the tenth generation of one of Honda’s most cherished models, makes more ‘sense’ than ever before.


The $39,990 RS Sensing is extraordinary value considering what you get. Under the bonnet sits a 1.5 litre Turbo VTEC four-cylinder engine mated to Honda’s seven speed CVT auto with paddle shift.

While not much to look at, you still get 127kW and 220Nm of torque, while returning 6.3L/100km respectively.

Honda has also crammed the RS Sensing into the kit too.

Settle into those leather clad sports seats and you find adaptive cruise control, auto high beam, parking sensors front and rear, reversing camera, lane keep assist, collision mitigation braking, which sends you a visual alert on your instrument cluster if you are approaching the car in front too closely, and a wing-mounted camera which allows you to monitor your blind spot while changing lanes from the infotainment screen.

Thanks to upgrades to the suspension and bushings, the Civic RS Sensing is a much more dynamic drive than before.

Steering is nicely weighted and you can coax the Sensing into the twisty stuff with little effort required.

All in all, the Civic RS Sensing is a solid effort from Honda and represents stunning value for money. This one is definitely worth a look.


The Wheel Magician

You are making that reverse park in a tight space when you hear the nauseating sound of your alloy wheel rims grinding against the curb which was a lot closer than you thought. Your beautiful car now looks a lot less pretty with those all-too-familiar scratches on your precious wheels.



You want them fixed but there’s the hassle of losing your car for the day. Well there is another option – The Wheel Magician is mobile and can come to you to do the job. Part of the Wheel Magician franchise, they can operate anywhere, including your workplace or home.

Removing the wheel and fixing it on the spot in their mobile workshop is not only great convenience for you, but the professional finish brings that wheel as close to factory standard as possible. All the finishing is done on-site.

With fast, friendly and efficient service, you can have those precious alloy wheel rims looking great again in a flash with the Wheel Magician’s expert service.

So call the local Christchurch Wheel Magician on 022 658 2957 or 0800 537 233 or check out their website



Ford at the forefront

Operating from its five acre site at 165 Main South Road since 1965, Avon City Ford has been at the forefront of providing Canterbury motorists the very best when buying a new or used Ford vehicles.




With more than 100 staff on site plus a satellite service centre in Rangiora, Avon City Ford covers all motoring needs with factory trained salespeople, a finance department, commercial technicians, parts advisors, a full paint and panel division and a full grooming department.

All new vehicles, whether it be the latest German designed and built Ford Focus range, rugged all-conquering Ranger Raptor, or the quintessential iconic Mustang, are prepared on site for delivery after arriving from the various assembly plants around the world, with a wide range of factory accessories readily available. After a comprehensive pre-delivery check and road test, any accessories are fitted according to the client’s instructions. The grooming department completes the vehicles with them arriving for delivery via the showroom in pristine condition.

Used vehicles are fully checked mechanically prior to going through the paint and panel department to bring them up to the high standard Avon City Ford prides itself on before resale. The finance department offers competitive rates in both leasing and finance and provides tailored finance packages to suit all needs. Basically, if the idea of a car from the blue oval does it for you, you need to visit the team at Avon City Ford.

For more information, visit




Ford v Ferrari

The epic David and Goliath battle of Ford and Ferrari at Le Mans in 1966 is coming to the big screen next month. Directed by James Mangold, Ford V Ferrari tells the epic story of Henry Ford II’s plan to crush Ferrari at the ‘24 Hours of Le Mans’ with the all-conquering Ford GT40, after Enzo Ferrari thwarted Ford’s plan to buy the Italian company.




Matt Damon and Christian Bale play the legendary father of the Cobra, Carroll Shelby, and his no-nonsense test driver Ken Miles. Also, look out for Jon Berthnal playing Ford’s Lee Iaccoca.

Let’s also hope the film highlights the involvement of Kiwi’s Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme and Chris Amon in the GT40 project, though with Hollywood being Hollywood, we will have to wait and see. Ford V Ferrari is out in cinemas on 14 November.




Team behind the tyres: Tyres 2 Go

One of the best ways to vastly improve the safety and performance of your car is by fitting the best quality tyres. Naturally you need the best when it comes to tyres; you need Tyres 2 Go.



With six centres situated around the greater Christchurch area, the company’s range of tyres has to be seen to be believed. Everything from your daily driver, weekend sports car, family four-wheel-drive, or even a work van or motorhome, Tyres 2 Go’s range of tyres from the likes of Pirelli, Toyo and Hankook to name a few, will give you plenty of grip and go to suit your budget.

They also stock a staggering range from some of the most sought-after aftermarket wheel manufacturers in the world. Whether you think your car would suit a set of alloys from Enkei, Konig Advanti, or even OZ Racing, the team at Tyres 2 Go have the wheel and tyre package for you. Also, Tyres 2 Go have their ‘best price guarantee’. This means if you can find the same tyre or wheel somewhere else for less, they will do their utmost to beat it.

Tyres 2 Go also offers a five day a week mobile service, with vans that are fitted with state-of-the-art fitting and balancing machines to change your tyres wherever and whenever it suits throughout Christchurch. Basically, when the rubber meets the road, you can do no better than Tyres 2 Go.

For more information, visit their website




The SUV is king of the new car market, so is the five-door family hatch a thing of the past? Not so, according to Mazda. After attending the launch of the seventh generation Mazda3 in Hanmer Springs and sampling two variants of the new hatch in day-to-day driving, the new Mazda3 is the best yet.




The new Mazda3’s handsome chops draw design cues from the RX Vision and Vision Coupe Concept cars to create a stunning-looking design. Those wrap around headlights and low nose give a sportier look while at the back, minimal styling cues make for a svelte rear.

The new range consists of three model variants. The entry point GSX for $36,595 comes with Mazda’s silky smooth 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G four-cylinder engine mate to a six-speed auto ox. This means 114kW at 6,000 rpm and 200Nm of torque. It also sips away at 6.2L per 100km.

Moving up to the mid-range $40,795 GTX and the range-topping Limited at $48,795. These will both come with the 2.5-litre Skyactiv four pot. Mated to the same six-speed auto box, power goes up to 139kW at 6,000 rpm and 252Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm and is equipped with both i-stop and cylinder deactivation. Fuel figures come in at 6.6L per 100 km which is pretty darn good.

Inside you are greeted by delightful surroundings. Everything about the new 3 is simplistic and it’s easy to see it as a driver-focused cabin with minimal distractions. The Mazda3 is also very well-equipped. Standard kit includes a crystal-clear Head Up Display, LED Headlights and a 7-inch infotainment system with Apple Car Play and Android Auto Connectivity. Plus, every button or toggle switch is such a joy to use.

Mazda’s i-Activsense system with Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Radar Cruise Control, Smart Braking Support and Driver Attention Alert also makes up the standard package. Move up to the GTX and you get Dual Zone Climate Control and heated seats. Plus, if you go whole hog with the Limited, you can have a sunroof, leather trim and a thumping BOSE stereo system.

On the move in the GSX, that 2.0-litre SKYACTIV engine pulls well, but for me, the one to get is the mid-range GTX. Its 2.5-litre SKYACTIV engine is a real peach and the way it shifts, whether in normal or sport mode, is refined and responsive. You do have to stand on the anchors, but ride comfort is unparalleled for this class.

Another area where the Mazda3 excels is in the bends. You can corner at a great rate, everything hunkers down and bendy bitumen is devoured with ease. In summary, with the new Mazda3, despite the slight decline in the hatch segment, Mazda has given us even more of a reason to buck the trend. It’s just so damn good.



The Power of Dreams

The new dealership for Honda has recently opened on the corner of St Asaph and Montreal Streets, with the ability to showcase the extensive range of cars for anybody’s need in one of Christchurch’s biggest showrooms.



From Formula 1 and Scott Dixon to the trusty Honda Jazz, Honda is an engineering company focusing on the customer needs with ease and mobility a priority; quality interiors and connectivity are at the top of their class in well-known models like the Honda Civic, CRV, HRV and my family favourite, the Jazz.

These are individual cars for individual drivers. In fact, they are the number one choice in the private market in Canterbury! With a new $7 million building to house both the service department and the premium quality vehicles we’ve come to expect from Honda, it’s worth dropping by to chat with the experts in the field, who also make a pretty good coffee while you take a browse. |

More than 80 percent of Honda buyers buy another Honda on their next purchase, so if you are one of the many loyal customers, you’ll know why you keep going back. Quality, reliability and service are always good attributes when purchasing a vehicle.

“Everyone here at Honda is so proud of our new facility,” Warren Horn from Honda says. “Its quality represents and showcases the brand so well. We welcome all Canterbury residents to view and experience our new premises, whether you’re are a Honda owner or otherwise.”

So make sure to drop into the new showroom corner of St Asaph and Montreal and enjoy The Power of Dreams.


Seventh Heaven

Fifty years ago, Christchurch businessman Graham Bernie fell in love with two beauties. One was a woman called Lynn Small. The other was a 1968 Ford Galaxie 500 convertible. He married one and forty years later bought the other.



“It takes pride of place,” he says proudly of the full-sized American-made scarlet classic housed in his five-car Fendalton garage. Originally from the West Coast, Graham first met Lynn in Christchurch when he was 20. “She was living next to a friend of mine,” he smiles.

Desperately wanting to court Lynn, he soon realised he wasn’t the only man vying for her attention. “An older friend of mine had bought a yellow 1968 Ford Galaxie convertible and offered to take her for a ride. “Who could resist?” he laughs. When the friend arrived to pick Lynn up, he got Graham as well. “I made him take me!”

Sitting in the back beside the woman who was to become his wife and mother of his two sons, Graham said he was in “seventh heaven”. “We rode out to New Brighton when there was shopping on a Saturday… I thought it was the nicest car I had seen in my life.” A leather goods salesman, Graham says he thought he would never own a car like it. “It was the size of a small house. To own one was an impossible dream – a pure fantasy.”



At age 25, Graham became a car dealer and the rest is history. He enthusiastically started up a small car company in Moorhouse Avenue and went on to achieve success importing cars out of Japan. Cars have always been a passion. “I think it was every boy’s dream.”

Chatting from his luxury home in Heathfield Avenue, the developer and international car broker explains he bought his Ford Galaxie 500 from Turners in Christchurch 10 years ago. “I had been looking for years and finally saw the exact same model advertised for auction at Turners. I knew I had to buy it, so I did,” he says.

Lynn didn’t feel the same way. “She initially thought I was a nutcase. I think she’s been in it three times over the past 10 years. The memories are probably better than the reality,” he laughs. However, there were no regrets, Graham smiles. “And I’ll never sell it.” With a 590 cubic inch engine, the Ford Galaxie has only ever been driven by his two sons, with only 2000 miles being added (now with 38,000 on the clock).

This November is a milestone for the couple, who will celebrate 50 years of marriage. “If the house burnt down it would be the first thing taken out,” he says of the car. “After my wife,” he adds.


Eyes on Stalks

There is no denying a huge chunk of Kiwi gearheads love a Chevy, though those wanting a late model Chevrolet had to import one privately, until now. Yes, to fill a gap left by the recently departed Aussie-built Commodore, HSV is selling the Chevrolet Camaro in New Zealand, in right-hand drive. I was given the chance to spend 24 hours with the latest right-hook Camaro in Auckland.



Brought to our shores to take on the might of the right-hand drive Ford Mustang, the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS is available through New Zealand’s six authorised HSV dealerships. The right-hand drive conversion process is professionally done by HSV in Australia before the cars arrive in New Zealand; it’s a proper conversion job too. This work, plus the car, puts the price at $104,990 NZD. The only customisable option available is $1,000 for metallic paint, although the Bumblebee yellow of my test car certainly had eyes on stalks.

The Camaro 2SS’s beating heart is the LT1 6.2 litre V8 with a fairly substantial 339kW of grunt and 617Nm of torque. This, coupled with an eight-speed automatic box, will allow you to reach the national limit in a blistering 4.6 seconds, which this writer can verify. Inside you get a very driver-focused cabin, containing nods to Camaros of the past while still feeling bang up to date. The driving position is nigh on perfect and the small steering wheel feels good clasped in your mitts. Standard kit includes 20-inch alloys, Brembo brakes, LED running lights, Apple Car Play/Android Auto, and dual zone climate control.

A press of the starter button and those quad tailpipes emit the sort of V8 bellow that would wake the dead. Blip the throttle and it crackles and booms like distant gunfire. There are three drive modes to choose from; Touring, Sport and Track. Touring mode allows you cruise along in comfort with the V8 burble slightly subdued in the background. The LT1 V8 also shuts down four cylinders if they aren’t needed, returning combined fuel consumption of 11.5L/100km. Change up to Sport and things get racier and louder, put it in Track mode and the steering and throttle response sharpens up, plus the shifts on the eight-speed box become quicker.

Now, old Camaros have always been lacking when it comes to undertaking the twisty stuff. This is no longer the case as the bendy B-roads out of Waiuku were devoured with such ease. The Camaro also feels incredibly planted and despite the slight girth, you always have the confidence to push hard. That said, you do have to be awake.

So how does the new right-hook Camaro stack up when compared to the Mustang? Well, the Mustang is $25,000 less expensive, but the Camaro rides better, is just as exciting and will be much more exclusive. Each to their own of course, but the Chevy just wins it for me.


X Marks the Spot

Tesla is just Elon Musk’s side project to SpaceX yet it’s become the benchmark in the automotive industry when it comes to electric vehicles.



I once said it’s the iPhone of cars, the game-changer. It has made a dynamic impact on how the rest of the industry now performs. I was fortunate enough to drive the X and S models and they really do stand out as something quite special – 0-100 in 3.7 seconds in Ludicrous mode is a great example, not only of a good vehicle but good marketing.

Meanwhile 250 kmh on top speed is also another feature, hopelessly lost on New Zealand roads but pure power on an SUV. I’ve driven a lot of SUV vehicles, but the X really is in a field of its own. And that’s what you’re buying – something unique. There’s a number of the S models around town which suggests Tesla is making inroads in New Zealand.

Its quality and performance are right up there with the best in the luxury ranges. It’s good to see the prices have finally come down to allow the competition to really begin. It will be an interesting race.