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Selwyn Times: March 21, 2017

2 46 [Edition Tuesday

2 46 [Edition Tuesday datE] March 21 2017 Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi Driven CONTINUING EDUCATION SELWYN TIMES Mazda MX-5 offers thrilling drive • By Ross Kiddie WHEN MAZDA first produced its MX-5 convertible, the concept was loosely based around the high performance Lotus Elan of the 60s. There’s no denying the success Mazda has had with the MX-5, every generation has been true to the original, and I don’t know anyone who isn’t smitten with the affordable sports car. That being the case, I was a little surprised to find that the latest generation model was designed in collaboration with the Fiat/Chrysler group. We are unlikely to see the Fiat equivalent here in New Zealand, it’s rumoured to be a left-hand-drive model only; but we will see Abarth versions here in right-hand-drive, and it will arrive with a 1.4- litre turbocharged engine. Incidentally, Abarth is the performance arm of Fiat in Italy. I’m not here to praise the Abarth, I doubt that I’ll ever get a drive of that vehicle, but what I do know is that Mazda is determined not to lose grip on the popularity of MX-5, nor its market share, and have launched it here in four variations to cater for all driving tastes. In simple terms, there is a 1.5-litre manual model, a 2-litre manual or automatic, and a 2-litre convertible hardtop. I’ve driven all but the hardtop, and have come to appreciate what Mazda have done with the MX-5, it is still the fun, beautifully balanced sports car which has a chassis and suspension that can only be described as delightful. This evaluation focuses on the 2-litre manual, and it sits in the market at $46,995. $40,995 will get you into the 1.5- litre manual, automatic transmission on the 2-litre adds $1500. Effectively, the engine is the same, but for bore and stroke differences which determine cubic capacity. The 2-litre model pumps out 118kW and 200Nm against 96kW and 150Nm, and if you add in its weight of just over 1000kg the power-to-weight balance is definitely biased towards performance. When you fire up the Mazda MX-5 you know you are in for a thrilling ride; the engine is raspy MAZDA MX-5: Designed with the Fiat/Chrysler group. and a little raw, not so that it’s overbearing, but it does have sound which lets you know that there is something just a little bit different about the car. It has always been that way, it’s just part of the ethos that harks back to my introduction, the Lotus Elan was also vibrant from under the bonnet. • Price – Mazda MX-5 Ltd, $46,995 • Dimensions – Length, 3915mm; width, 1735mm; height, 1230mm • Configuration – Fourcylinder, rear-wheeldrive,1998cc, 118kW, 200Nm, six-speed manual. • Performance – 0-100km/h, 6.6sec • Fuel usage – 6.9l/100km Where Mazda has excelled with the MX-5 is in its driving dynamics, you feel so very much a part of the car, everything from the short-shifting gear lever through to the feel from the suspension and the way you as a driver are connected to the rearwheel-drive feel, the MX-5 involves the driver and drags him/her tightly to the elements which make it the sports machine it is. In terms of performance, the MX-5 in 2-litre form will haul to 100km/h from a standstill in 6.6sec, and will make an overtaking manoeuvre in 4.9sec (80- 120km/h). And at the same time it will also sip fuel frugally, Mazda claim a 6.9l/100km (41mpg) combined cycle average. The twin-camshaft, fourcylinder unit is one from the new range of SkyActive engines which have found their way into most of Mazda’s current product, it has character and likes to be heard; at highway speed it settles down, but if you use the power on tap it is there to entertain audibly. The MX-5 is all about character, and it has a chassis that delivers one of the finest handling sensations you are ever likely to experience. The steering is pin-sharp, and by sitting almost over the rear axles you get a lot of feel as to what the suspension is doing in relation to the road surface. Short-wheelbase, rearwheel-drive cars can be twitchy at the rear under power, and the MX-5 is no exception, but grip through the 205/45 x 17in sport specification Bridgestone Potenza rubber is high and you really have to work hard to lose traction. Of course, that is immediately arrested through the traction control electronics, but the point is the MX-5 can be playful and, as a buyer, you wouldn’t want anything less. I took the test car inland from Windwhistle almost all of the way to Lake Coleridge Village, my favourite high country road, and thoroughly enjoyed the way the MX-5 attacked the corners yet drives in a fashion which allows the driver to use its qualities to full potential. The driving environment is one of massive appeal, everything about the MX-5 is beautifully engineered, from the cockpit to lowering the roof down with one hand in one easy movement, there is nothing to criticise, and the newcomer is true to the concept which has made it so successful and appealing. Of course, it is a selfish car, any buyer will only be able to have one passenger at a time as it has two seats only, and that in itself suggests that everything about the MX-5 is a little different. Farm life has plenty to offer young people From city girl to sharemilker to equity farmer, North Canterbury’s Wendy Croft has come a long way in a sector that allows young people to work hard and prosper. “I was working in a bank before I got into farming. I had never milked a cow, but we got into sharemilking to save money, and it was easier for me to manage it than to get someone else to do it.” Three years ago Wendy enrolled in Ara Institute of Canterbury’s NZ Diploma in Agribusiness Management; a practical qualification for working farmers that is delivered online with face to face tutorials in Culverden. The programme is run with the Primary ITO and was rated as “excellent” by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) in a recent report. With two young children and a business to run, Wendy balanced her studies with her family and work commitments. ““I think my husband and I worked together every day for three years! It was hard, and it’s not for everyone. It’s challenging but it’s really rewarding.” Does she miss her city lifestyle? “Yes, sometimes I miss the city, but I love the lifestyle here – I have good neighbours and good staff.”

2 SELWYN TIMES [Edition datE] Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi Tuesday March 21 2017 47 Your guide to Show Homes & New Sections in the Selwyn District Residential Investment Properties Renting out a home or investment property has become more complex with more legislative and insurer requirements and the potential for issues that were once never a factor. Insurance companies have certain requirements for rental properties so from the outset, inform your insurer that the property will be rented. Take out landlord’s house and chattels cover then read your policy and contact your insurance company if you have a concern, to avoid the potential for a claim not to be paid out. Insurers often want to be informed when a house is vacant for a period of time and require landlords to carry out regular inspections to ensure the property is being looked after. Record inspections showing dates and any problems, along with how these were addressed. Landlords have responsibilities in relation to the law as well. The Residential Tenancy Act requires tenanted properties to have operable smoke alarms and insulation will be compulsory in all rentals from 1 July 2019. Smoke alarms must be in place and operational. If a new house or it has never had smoke alarms, long-life photoelectric alarms with a battery life of at least eight years or hardwired in smoke alarms must be fitted. Batteries must be replaced in existing alarms as per the manufacturer’s A long-life photoelectric alarm. dates, and when the alarm expires or stops working, it must be replaced with a photoelectric or hardwired alarm. There are also stipulations in relation to the number of smoke alarms for a rental and the positioning of these. Tenants also have a responsibility not to remove or disarm a smoke alarm and to replace batteries in older systems when needed or inform their landlord/property manager that a smoke alarm is not working in other cases. Failing to comply with the law, could lead to a fine of up to $4,000 for landlords and up to $3,000 for tenants. Another concern for landlords that has been raised in the media in recent times is drug use and in particular the effects of ‘P’ on a property. Many buyers of properties previously rented, are now requesting that a drug test is undertaken before the sale is confirmed. It is therefore a good idea to include a clause in the Tenancy Agreement to allow for the property to be drug tested from time to time. Not all ma and pa investors who manage their own rentals find it easy. They may not carry out quarterly property checks or find it embarrassing inspecting the house when tenants are living there. They may avoid bringing up issues which could adversely affect the property and its ultimate value, or forget to check that rent payments are made on time. For those who want an investment property but not the hassle a professional property manager would be contracted. They will find tenants, carry out property checks to ensure the property is being looked after, and monitor rent payments, issuing notice to tenants if needed and overseeing repairs and maintenance of the property when required. Insurers require regular property inspections. Insurers often want to be informed when a house is vacant for a period of time. Many buyers of properties previously rented request a drug test is carried out. Brand New Prebbleton Show Home Open This Weekend: 72 Blakes Road, Prebbleton Open on Weekends from 12pm to 4pm Silver medal winner in Registered Master Builders 2016 House of the Year Awards Builders of superior homes. Built to last. Office & Show Home: 5 Broomleigh Drive, Faringdon, Rolleston New Show Home: 72 Blakes Road, Prebbleton Phone: 03 374 9172 or Rob: 021 324 876 E-mail - robin@artisanhomes.co.nz