Fieldays used to be all about agricultural machinery and equipment, among a whole lot of rural social activities, but over the past few years there has been more and more accent on the automotive sector, perhaps fuelled by the New Zealand market switching over from cars and station wagons to SUVs and utes, and by the absence of a dedicated national motor show.
As a result you’ll have seen lots of special Fieldays offers, many of them lasting six months or more – but I was told at the show that only exhibitors can offer Fieldays specials – you have to be in to win, so to speak!
This has resulted in at least one importer being told to ditch reference to Fieldays in their advertising, which must have led to a bit of hmmphing and huurrring around the ad agency offices!
We went down to Fieldays, held as usual at Mystery Creek near Hamilton, on Wednesday June 13, first of the four day sessions, arriving specifically to witness the unveiling of a new Hyundai Santa Fe, as well as an i30, and more important, the new Kona full EV.
The first two had their covers whipped off with virtually no pomp or ceremony, while the third only arrived later so we didn’t get to see it, although Hyundai kindly sent us a picture of it being unloaded at the airport!
Anyway, we enjoyed our wander around on, as usual, a slightly damp day that turned out quite warm, and glad that we had waterproof boots and a 4x4 to combat the muddy paths and paddocks. Here’s some of what we came across.
The Ubco electric bike, made in Tauranga, won this year’s Fieldays International Innovation Award, supplementary to the Innovation Award it won in 2014. It has a motor on each wheel for extra grip and traction, and no transmission. It weighs only 58kg, has a 45 km/h top speed, takes six hours to charge to 90 percent, and has a 100km range. Pricing starts at $7,990.
The Holden Arcadia is sourced from the US, it’s a full seven-seater, and power comes from the same 3.6-litre V6 found in the Commodore, as is its nine-speed auto transmission. Features include high tech phone charging, 360 deg. cameras, and a self-parking system. Pricing and final specs won’t be available until launch in the fourth quarter, but expect both 2WD and 4WD models.
The Holden Colorado Xtreme has an aggressive-looking front bumper with a built-in winch, 18-inch alloy wheels, an extended sports bar, tubular side steps, a tow bar, and a bulge on the bonnet. However, engine and transmission are unchanged. Image Cathy Parker.
Fieldays was the first public sighting of the upcoming Ford Raptor, with its out-there styling, highly-specialised lifted suspension, wider track, and best of all, a new, morepowerful two-litre twin turbo diesel engine and eight-speed auto gearbox.
Fieldays wouldn’t be complete without a tricked-up Toyota Hilux of two. In addition to this wild customisation there were several others. Major items shown include a constant load suspension upgrade, alternative wheel and tyre packages, side steps, nudge bars, side bars, TRD (Toyota Racing Development) parts and decals in a variety of colour combinations.
6 Isuzu 49 degrees
We hate driving on sidlings, but Isuzu showed just how far you can go in a D-Max – as much as 49 degrees. That’s about 30 degrees too far for most of us, though!
The Hyundai Kona electric vehicle (EV), to be launched here later in the year, comes with a long range 64kWh battery with a “real world” range between charges of more than 400km. The battery can be charged from empty to 80 percent in 75 minutes using a fast charger. It’s got a 150kW/395Nm motor and drives through the front wheels.
The big LDV T60 from China comes with a five-star ANCAP safety rating, and has a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine plus lots of spec, including electronic stability control, blind spot monitor hill descent control, hill start assist, traction control system and electronic differential lock. Pricing is keen.
9 Mercedes X-Class
Mercedes-Benz was at Fieldays for the first time, showing off its new X-Class ute, as well as a G-Wagen ute fitted out as a fire engine. Various trim and spec packages are available for the X-Class, as well as 2WD in addition to 4WD. Currently only 120kW and 140kW fourcylinder turbo-diesel engines are on offer, but a 190kW/550Nm V6 is on the way.
SsangYong showed off its new Musso ute, based on the Rexton chassis and some body parts. It can tow 3.5-tons while simultaneously carrying a ton of weight, and is fitted with a Mercedesderived 2.2-litre 135kW engine. Forget about the old Musso – this one is stylish, modern, and capable. Image Cathy Parker.
New Zealand’s most powerful ute has arrived – the RAM 1500, with a 5.7litre Hemi V8 pushing out 291kW and enough torque to pull 4.5-tones, as well as offering lots of space without the trucklike demeanour of its bigger 2500 and 3500 siblings.
Last year Mitsubishi showed a special Huntaway version of its Triton ute. And it proved so popular that a number of production versions have been built, with great styling kit and features and lots of extra spec, including a 50mm lift kit and much wider track thanks to offset wheels. But it’s a limited edition of just 20.