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Driving Impressions

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Driving Impressions

The Nissan 370Z: Bringing the Best of the Past to the Present

The 370Z comes from a long line of distinguished sports cars beginning with the 240Z, a car that was revered for its lively handling and excellent power-to-weight ratio. The 240Z was also very affordable and reliable and thus spelt the beginning of the end for British sports cars of the 70s, which were not. At that time, the brand was known internationally as Datsun until a rebranding was effected in the early 1980s. The 240Z grew in size with larger engines and longer bodies for the 260Z and 280Z models. They eventually became a 2+2, known as the 280ZX with all models powered by an inline 6-cylinder engine. With the first 300ZX, the move was made to three-litre V6 engines in naturally aspirated and turbo configurations. In the following version, the CAD-modelled 300ZX became a rolling showcase for Nissan sports technology with either a 222hp naturally aspirated V6 or a 300hp twin-turbo version with variable valve timing, direct ignition and Super HICAS four-wheel steering. After passing the technology showcase mantle to the Nissan Skyline GT-R, now known simply as the GT-R, a move to simplify and return to the original 240Z’s roots brought about the 350Z, powered by a naturally aspirated 3.5-litre V6 engine. Performance was comparable but slower than the old twin turbo 300ZX. Finally the new generation of this carefully refined sports car icon, the lighter, faster and slightly smaller Nissan 370Z has arrived.

Porsche’s Boxster is Back in the Ring

The Boxster was Porsche’s first road vehicle to be originally designed as a roadster since the 550 Spyder from the 1950s. Making its world debut in 1996, the name Boxster is a combination of the words that conceptually define this car– “boxer” for its horizontally opposed engine and “roadster” for its two-seater, convertible configuration. Thanks to a mid-engine layout, the Boxster and its hardtop sibling, the Cayman are said to deliver near-perfect balanced handling that many consider superior to the iconic Porsche 911. While Porsche’s sport models are capable of delivering some of the purest driving experiences on the planet, at the end of the day it comes down to personal preference.

Nissan Juke 1.6T: A Funky New Remix

Few car companies approach the level of design bravado achieved by the Nissan Juke. Nissan’s engineers and designers have captured the essence of what makes each popular vehicle desirable and recoded them into one vehicle using Nissan DNA. In the Nissan stables, there are worthy building blocks to execute this idea, like the 370Z, the X-TRAIL, the QashQai and the GT-R. And so, the core ideas of a dynamic sports coupé, a memorable hatchback and a useful offroad/utility vehicle are blended into a brand new flavour of crossover that feels something like a MINI Countryman or a miniature BMW X6.

Ford’s new Focus Delivers Next-Level Refinement

We recently featured the new Ford Ranger that demonstrated advanced capabilities and the new Fiesta, which delivered exceptional driving dynamics and great features while being frugal at the pump. We were curious about where the new world-platform Focus would fit in since the Fiesta was now overlapping into its previous market position.

As we walked into the dealership, we realised that the Focus had grown considerably from the last time we saw it. So far, only the sedan version is available, as the hatchback is still in transit. This sleek, new car is one of Ford’s slipperiest bodies yet, with a drag coefficient of just 0.297 for the sedan version. Its shape was penned by Ford’s executive director of design, Moray Callum who also designed the Mazda3, while His brother Ian Callum is now head of design at Jaguar. The new Focus was developed and tuned in Germany and the upcoming hatchback version promises to deliver even sharper handling.

2013 Chevy Captiva Arrives at Lifestyle Motors

The Captiva was born in 2006, heavily inspired by the 2004 Chevrolet S3X concept, which was developed at Daewoo for the GM Theta platform. The facelifted Chevy Captiva, which now incorporates a large new grille based on the Chevy Aveo, along with a few other improvements, broke cover internationally in late 2011 and is finally available in Trinidad and Tobago as a 2013 model from Lifestyle Motors.

The Chevy Captiva is available as a five- or seven-seater SUV and although very roomy inside, retains a compact appearance. It is powered by a 4-cylinder 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine, making 184hp and an impressive 295ft-lb of torque. Power is fed through a 6-speed automatic and the AWD system. We estimate the 0-60mph time to be in the 9s range, which is quick for a vehicle of this size. Hill descent control and hill start assist are also standard on the new model, which are great for on- and off-road gradients, especially where traffic is involved. The suspension uses a McPherson front and independent rear design.

Inside the Captiva has been completely redesigned with a new, modern theme. It also packs an eight-speaker CD/stereo system that is MP3-ready and has an auxiliary and USB port for an external audio player such as an iPod. Audio and air-conditioning controls are conveniently located on the leather wrapped tilting steering wheel and the driver gets an eight-way electrically adjustable seat. There are 12V power outlets in the front, rear and in the cargo area. The rear seats can also be fully folded down to maximise cargo room, along with the third row of seats in the seven-seater version. The rear window of the tailgate can be opened separately from the tailgate itself.

Roof rails, rain-sensitive wipers and side mirror indicators are also standard. Eighteen-inch sport wheels and fog lights complete the new look, along with Captiva-branded doorsills. Safety equipment includes dual front, side and curtain airbags and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, stability and traction control and parking sensors. Reports indicate that the current generations of Chevys are proving to be very reliable, and with this latest Chevy Captiva, the brand continues to improve the quality of its offerings. At TT$375K the Captiva brings a welcome alternative to the existing mid-sized SUV market. Look out for a test drive in an upcoming edition of Zorce.

TT Motorsport Car Clubs

  • Autosport - Drags, Drag & Wind
  • C.A.R.S. - Solodex/Autocross
  • Rally Club TT - Rally
  • Side-B - Off Road
  • Trail Blazers - Off Road
  • Trini Truckin'
  • TTASA - Drags, Circuit, Karting
  • TTDA - Drift
  • TTKA - Karting
  • TTORC - Off Road
  • TTundra - Drag Racing