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Sublime wagon, cool ride


Wagons will always be much cooler than SUVs. One manufacturer whose history is littered with wagons is Volvo. Here is their new V60 Estate T8 AWD R Design, and it is something mighty special.

 

Volvo V60 T8 Test Drive in Luleå, Sweden

The T8 part means a 2.0 four-cylinder petrol engine with supercharging and turbocharging, coupled to a plug-in 64kW battery pack, electric motors, and eight-speed Geartronic automatic.

Power figures of 311kW/670Nm are very generous, and 0 to 100km/h time of 4.5 seconds is sports car quick.

Being a plug in, the V60 can run up to 40km on just electric power, ideal for the daily commute.

Outside there are no flashy bits or carbon fibre add-ons here, just subtle details like the “Thor’s Hammer” daytime running lights.

The R Design 19-inch five triple spoke alloys, front grille, gloss black wing mirrors are the only indication of hidden sporting prowess.

Inside, a very clear and concise 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system greets you.

Kit includes Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, 360 Reversing Camera, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Information System with Steer Assist, Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist, Oncoming Lane Mitigation, Park Assist, and Volvo’s City Safe braking system.

My test car, valued at $114,900, also came with the optional $6500 Premium Pack.

This means tinted windows, full panoramic sunroof, and a rather epic Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound System, which is the closest you will get to hearing the works of Hans Zimmer live. Pop the boot and you find another Volvo wagon hallmark, space, 529L of it.

On the move, you barrel along in distinct quiet. Weighing in at 2200kg, it is a hefty fella, but very planted. Select “Polestar Engineered Mode” and the barrelling becomes a rapid waft, while no track day hero, the T8 can cover ground in quick succession.

In the bends, her steering is responsive but somewhat lacking in feedback.

That said, blasting point to point is not what the V60 T8 is about. Will the V60 T8 R-Design be a big seller for Volvo? Probably not.

Is it still a sublime wagon for those who want something totally unique? Absolutely.


 

Waxing Lyrical


Many have been waxing lyrical about the Subaru XV. With a new XV due out later in the year, Subaru have given the current generation a few tweaks, here’s what’s what.

From $36,490, the XV comes with a strong 2.0L four-cylinder boxer engine with 115kW/196Nm. Add this to Subaru’s asymmetrical all-wheel-drive and a seven speed CVT gearbox, and you get 7.0L/100km, with the same good looks and 17-inch alloy wheels unique to the premium spec vehicle.

Inside, everything feels solid, and just very well put together when compared to others in this class.

In terms of space, there is oodles of it. Boot space is commendable at 310L.

The XV comes with Appale CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, along with lane change assist, high beam assist, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot detection, electric sunroof, heated leather seats, and Subaru’s latest generation Eyesight Driver Assist System.

At speed, the four-pot boxer pulls well.

The CVT box is actually more responsive than first expected. With some CVT gearboxes, the feeling of performance gets lost in translation, but Subaru’s unit is actually rather good, providing crisp changes.

Ride comfort is also very good, with the XV managing to soak up the bumps nicely.

Thanks to the all-wheel-drive which Subaru have honed over the years, you can get down and dirty with ease.

The XV Premium still represents great buying for those after a five-seater soft roader, thanks to great tech and refinement and it can tackle the moderate rough stuff like few others.


 

Check out the highs of Hanmer: Hanmer High Country Jeep Tours


Hanmer Springs has always held a special place in the heart of Kiwis; the picturesque alpine village best known for its natural hot pools and stunning landscapes. But if you thought you had seen the best of this serene spot, you can think again!

 

 

Head over Jacks Pass and you hit high country; renowned for its majestically beautiful scenery – the snow-cloaked mountains, braided rivers and tussock grasslands shaped by millions of years of natural events and centuries of exploration and settlement.

Recognising the rugged beauty of the land while renovating a bach in the area for the past five years, Phillip Wayman wanted to show others just how much more there was to see of Hanmer Springs and decided to put his new Jeep to work.

Hanmer High Country Jeep Tours Ltd offers five Jeep tours, to suit even the most adventurous of tourists, each exploring hidden gems of the Hurunui and the back country of Hanmer Springs.

Take a quick scenic loop through Jacks and Jollies Passes, have lunch at Lake Tennyson, tour the headwaters of the Wairau River before exploring Sedgemere Lakes, travel through the popular tourist route of Rainbow Station with its mountain ranges, clear rivers and hidden waterfalls or explore Molesworth Recreation Reserve, a land of extremes and New Zealand’s largest farm at 180,787 hectares; any tour will open your eyes to the magnificent beauty the South Island has to offer.

“People think of Hanmer Springs as the destination, but there really is so much more to see here out in the high country,” Phil says.


 

Not just another car club


THE AVID CAR CAFFE IS NOT JUST ANOTHER CAR CLUB. SINCE INCEPTION IN 2018, THANKS TO CHRISTCHURCH AUTO DETAILERS – AVID GROUP – AND A CORE GROUP OF PASSIONATE PETROL HEADS, IT IS NOW 250 OWNERS STRONG.

 

 

The reason why Avid Car Caffe is so popular is simple, the group does not pander to a particular brand or type of car.

So, whether you have the latest supercar, or a lovingly cared for five-door hatch, the passion you have for your car is what Avid Car Caffe is all about.

“The goal is to bring people together and share their love of cars and bikes in a casual non-competitive environment, support other owners and offer ways to enhance ownership through gatherings, car care tips and product advice,” says founding member Bryn Thompson.

Avid Car Caffe meets up every month to experience each other’s cars, over a piping hot cup of complimentary coffee.

“Our gatherings are held on the last Sunday of each month in the early morning, so owners can plan and then have family time in the afternoon.

We have also been supported by some of Christchurch’s leading dealerships and car related companies and many have invited the group to be hosted at their premises,” Bryn says.

Joining in on their most recent car meet, gave us a unique chance to meet fellow members and find out more about why they love Avid Car Caffe.

According to member Alan McKinney, the group is a breath of fresh air for local petrolheads.

“The Avid Car Caffe is all about loving cars and promoting car culture in Canterbury. We are united by our love of all things automotive,” Alan says.

The sheer variety of cars was astonishing, from a Morris Minor Drophead, right up to a one–of–a kind Ferrari 250 Testarossa.

Group member Craig Ryan owns a new Tesla Model X and what impressed him the most is just how open the group is to accepting all cars, even if they produce zero emissions.

“I love coming to the group because of how welcoming everyone is. It’s great to have people recognise why I love the Tesla and I love being able to share it with like-minded people,” Craig says.

“Everyone is so open and gets so excited about so many different types of cars,” says another member, Nick de Lautour.

After a day in the company of some of the most passionate car fanatics in Canterbury and experiencing some truly amazing cars from all makes and eras, needless to say this motoring scribe will be back for seconds really soon.


 

Fun with power


THE MITSUBISHI 20MY OUTLANDER HAS BEEN ONE OF THE MOST SURPRISINGLY ENJOYABLE DRIVES I’VE HAD THIS YEAR.

 

The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) gave a range of 55km and the average person drive 32kn a day in Christchurch, according to Christchurch Mitsubishi Fleet Sales Manager David Boyce. The sunroof was great and the drive was fantastic.

So I was looking forward to moving into the ASX VRX. 2.4L in Sunshine Orange.

No sunroof but a moonroof option – most of the roof is glass! Priced at $34,990 with cool alloy pedals and 18-inch alloy rims, plus 125kW and 226 Nm, it gave me a wee thrill to drive.

It also has some cool little fender side guards, Apple Car Play with six speakers, and elegant leather seating.

Now this is the top model with the lesser versions, the LS and XLS, coming in with a bit less flash and grunt but overall its got a pretty great feel to it…. other than Sunshine Orange. I mean I know it’s a press model, but as someone said, you have to be brave to drive that colour.

There’s also LED lighting and an 8-inch touch screen which, coming in at that price, equates to a lot of bang for your buck.

The piano black and satin grille is nice, and I like the lighting set up. It’s a bit old fashioned with a manual handbrake but then again, I’m a bit old too.

Yes the Outlander 20MY PHEV may have stolen my heart for a fun, well-powered SUV in a hybrid model, but I’m not complaining about the ASX…. just the colour. It’s time to take it for a test drive!