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Roush unveils latest Diesel Quad Bike developmentDVD 2004, Millbrook - Stand CC12
Roush Technologies, the South Essex based vehicle design and development engineering group, has unveiled a major new stage in its Diesel Quad Bike programme. At this week’s Defence Vehicle Dynamics Exhibition at the Bedfordshire Millbrook Proving Ground, military users and procurements specialists will have the first opportunity to see Roush’s completely new diesel engine installation.
The new project has arisen out of Roush’s recently established collaborative venture with Arctic Cat, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles. The new machine has been designed specifically around military user requirements and is a significant improvement on Roush’s previous, but nevertheless successful installation in another chassis frame.
Roush established its major concept, design and development programme to apply diesel power units to quad bikes nearly two years ago. While its primary focus was then – and remains military and specialist applications, the new design is also expected to rekindle interest throughout civilian sectors including agriculture and forestry.
Recent military operations have highlighted an important role for quad bikes and motorcycles. Specifically, they are an increasingly important part of infantry and special forces equipment, where they can offer improved mobility in demanding terrain – such as mountain and desert environments – and they also provide additional operational flexibility on the ground. They are readily air-portable and, being lightweight, can be deployed, complete with rider and equipment, by heli-lift.
Military strategists have, for some time, sought to standardise on a single battlefield fuel – diesel. Any units operating other than on diesel fuel immediately demand an additional supply and logistics support structure. Currently, most military diesels are designed to run also on AVTUR JP-8 (Kerosene) - and Roush’s new installation will meet the same requirement.
The new diesel quad boasts a significantly bigger payload and better performance than the previous development machine. Roush has also included a large 6.5 gallon rear mounted fuel tank to give an extended range. Other benefits include larger wheels and tyres – giving improved mobility on soft ground – and the ability to tow a loaded trailer of approaching half a ton.
Already, Roush’s prototype on the new Arctic Cat machine has been equipped with full camouflage equipment and a self-contained shelter, gun racks and a man-pack radio – allowing a special forces rider to operate both solo and self-contained. Given the advantageous payload capability of the new design, equipment options could also include ground-to-air missiles.
Roush have also put together a range of options such as winches and communications equipment, combat lighting and auxiliary power supplies. To maintain stability and mobility in the event of tyre damage, the unit can be fitted with a specially developed run-flat system. The engine can also be fitted with a stealth exhaust system, to reduce the heat signature emitted by the unit.
The Arctic Cat chassis offers a number of best-in-class features. These include 330mm of ground clearance and 254mm of suspension travel. In addition, spring pre-load adjustment (five positions on both front and rear) allows the rider to select optimum settings to suit the prevailing conditions or load. The quad bike can carry 45.3 kg on the front rack, including a weapon – and 90.7 kg on the rear rack.
The twin cylinder in-line 686cc engine develops 18hp – and a massive 39 Nm of torque. The engine is water cooled and naturally aspirated. Transmission is via an automatic gearbox, with both a high and low range, which provides responsive acceleration and effective engine braking. Final drive is through sealed drive shafts, front and rear and constant velocity (cv) joints. The underside of the drive train is protected by a high density skid plate to prevent damage when manoeuvring over stumps, rocks and other obstructions.
Roush Special Vehicles Business Development Manager, Darren Harvey says, "The new Roush/Arctic Cat diesel engined quad bike represents a quantum leap in our development programme. Our close understanding of the military operating environment means that we have been able to design in a significant number of features which will directly meet the requirement. Of course, a machine which delivers operational solutions for special forces will readily adapt to a whole range of civilian applications. Our experience is that there are major benefits to be gained by bringing a quad bike to the civilian market which has a military development pedigree – as opposed to the more challenging task of preparing a civilian or leisure market derived product to suit the military environment".
TOYOTA RAV4 ROCKS WITH NEW GRANITE SPECIAL EDITION
24 Jun 2004
Rock-solid quality is at the heart of the new Toyota RAV4 Granite. This special edition version of Europe’s best-selling SUV comes packed with special features that give the car great visual impact both inside and out.
There is no mistaking the RAV4 Granite on the road, with its larger, 17-inch nine-spoke alloy wheels shod with Pirelli tyres, chrome rear light protectors and stylish chrome sidebars. The model’s special status is denoted by a Granite logo mounted on the tailgate.
Inside the cabin the new features include carpet mats, aluminium scuff plates and a six-disc CD autochanger.
The RAV4 Granite is based on the current 2.0-litre VVT-i XT3 model and its extra features are in addition to a specification that provides ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, driver, front passenger and curtain shield airbags, front and rear electric windows, air conditioning, leather steering wheel and gearshift knob trim, front fog lamps, colour keyed bumpers with wide body styling and roof rails. It is available in Cadmium Green (metallic) which is new and exclusive to the RAV4 Granite along with Argenta Silver (metallic) and Astral Black.
The RAV4 has enjoyed sustained popularity since the original model was launched, helping to pioneer the concept of recreational 4x4s that combine off-road ability with a strong element of sporting, GTI-style character on the road. Now well established as Europe’s best-selling 4x4, it has flourished in the UK, too, annual sales growing by 18 per cent in 2003.
The new RAV4 Granite is offered in both three and five-door versions, powered by Toyota’s 147bhp 2.0-litre VVT-i petrol engine with a five-speed manual transmission, or optional four-speed automatic. All models feature full-time four-wheel drive.
On-the-road prices are £18,495 for the three-door model and £19,995 for the five-door. Automatic transmission costs an extra £1,000 and metallic paint finish, including the exclusive new colour, Cadmium Green, is available as a £350 option.
22 Jun 2004
Land Rover’s all-new Discovery 3 is a technology-packed, premium SUV designed to deliver outstanding performance, both on the road and off-road. The bold, versatile design is distinctively Land Rover and offers exceptional space, comfort and flexibility, for up to seven adults.
"The Discovery 3 is a new generation Land Rover, a vehicle of great conviction that points the way forward for the company," says managing director Matthew Taylor. "As you would expect from a Land Rover, it is awesome off-road. What may be more surprising to some is its great performance on-road too. The result is the widest breadth of capability in the class."
It is the first vehicle wholly developed by the new management team that took over Land Rover in July 2000, following the purchase by Ford Motor Company. It replaces the current Discovery, one of the best-selling SUVs in its class.
SPACIOUS & COMFORTABLE
Roomier yet externally not much bigger than the outgoing Discovery, the new Discovery 3 features a spacious cabin packed with clever stowage locations, as well as either five or seven comfortable seats. Even the third-row seats in the seven-seat version are roomy enough for 95th percentile adults. All rear seats fold into the floor when not in use, to create a vast, flat load space. According to design director Geoff Upex, the vehicle was designed ‘from the inside out’.
"Our priorities were cabin space, comfort, the Command driving position and elevated ‘stadium seating’ in the rear," says Upex. "The exterior design is a reflection of those interior priorities. It is very geometric, very minimalist, very modern. Everything is there for a reason. It is pure product design, rather than fancy automotive styling. The best vehicles inevitably are. It is also distinctively Land Rover. You won’t confuse this vehicle with anything else."
IMPRESSIVE ENGINES, TAILORED FOR LAND ROVER NEEDS
For dynamic on-road performance, the top-of-the-range engine option is a 4.4-litre 295bhp (220kW) petrol V8, derived from Jaguar’s acclaimed AJ-V8 4.2-litre. Developments for Land Rover include increased low-end torque (maximum of 425Nm or 315lb.ft), greater weather-proofing – especially against dust and water ingress – and revised breathing for wading in rivers. This is likely to be the most popular engine in the Discovery 3’s biggest market, the USA.
For Europe, the best-selling engine is expected to be the refined and flexible
Selected markets will also take a 4.0-litre 215bhp (160kW) petrol V6 engine that is torquey (360Nm or 265lb.ft), smooth and durable. For Discovery 3, it too has been extensively developed to suit Land Rover’s unique requirements.
The petrol engines are mated to a six-speed ‘intelligent shift’ electronically controlled ZF automatic transmission. It offers a ‘sport’ mode which delivers more performance-oriented throttle response and gear shifts, and also features Land Rover’s Command Shift operation – which gives the driver full manual control of gear changing. The TDV6 is available either with this advanced automatic transmission, or with a six-speed ZF manual gearbox.
Drive goes to all four wheels. Electronic Traction Control and Dynamic Stability Control modulate power supply and braking, ensuring maximum grip in all conditions. Throttle response, gear change patterns and suspension settings are also computer controlled, determined by speed and road (or off-road) conditions. Low range is also available, for tough terrain. This can be easily selected, electronically, on the move. The central differential fully locks if conditions require greater traction.
USER-FRIENDLY NEW TECHNOLOGIES
The Discovery 3 bristles with new technologies. Among them is Land Rover’s patented Terrain Response™ system, previewed on the recent Range Stormer concept car. Terrain Response is a major advance that optimises driveability and comfort, as well as maximising traction. The driver simply chooses one of five terrain settings via a chunky rotary dial on the centre console: a general driving program, plus one for slippery conditions (known as grass/gravel/snow) and three special off-road modes, namely mud and ruts, sand, and rock crawl. Terrain Response then automatically selects the most appropriate settings for the vehicle's advanced electronic controls and traction aids.
Vehicle functions controlled by Terrain Response™ include ride height, engine torque response, Hill Descent Control (which limits downhill speed, and is an award-winning and patented Land Rover technology), Electronic Traction Control, transmission and differential settings. "Terrain Response is a good example of Land Rover’s commitment to offering ‘smart’ technology that aids the driver," says Matthew Taylor. "It is easy to use. It simplifies rather than complicates driving."
The Discovery 3 also offers the option of adaptive headlights that swivel with the direction of travel to illuminate the road ahead.
Another innovation is Land Rover’s Integrated Body-frame™, a new type of vehicle architecture that combines the torsional rigidity, car-like handling and refinement of a monocoque (or unitary) body with the strength and versatility of a traditional ladder-frame, as used on many SUVs. Computer-aided design, high-strength steel and a sophisticated hydroforming production technique combine to deliver this new technology. Hydroforming uses high-pressure fluids rather than a press tool to shape the frame, which results in a lighter weight, cleverer shapes and much tighter tolerances.
Handling is further helped by fully independent suspension. Height adjustable air springs, similar to those used on the award-winning Range Rover, will be fitted to the majority of Discovery 3s. Entry-level models use coil springs. Double wishbones are used front and rear, offering good wheel control and articulation. Rack-and-pinion steering delivers precise and intuitive control.
The Discovery 3 goes on sale later in 2004, depending on market.
FOUR MILLION TEST MILES
The all-new Land Rover Discovery 3 has gone through one of the toughest and most varied testing programmes of any vehicle ever offered for sale.
It has been put through its paces over four million miles on five continents, in conditions as varied as the Nürburgring race circuit in Germany and the sand dunes of Dubai. It has been tested to extreme in the Australian outback, been punished on military off-road tracks in both Southern Africa and England, been driven at minus 40ºC on frozen lakes in northern Canada, and undertaken 12 weeks of almost non-stop testing at maximum speed on the Nardo test track in Italy.
"We believe few, if any, vehicles have ever undergone a more punishing and varied series of tests," says chief programme engineer Steve Haywood. "The Discovery 3 promises the broadest range of capabilities in its sector. This combination of on-road and off-road ability was the reason the vehicle needed such a rigorous testing programme."
Land Rover has a uniquely exacting off-road testing schedule, arguably the most demanding of any vehicle manufacturer. The Discovery 3 had to be able to wade in water 700mm deep, climb and descend 45 degree gradients, remain stable when driving across a 35 degree slope, and operate in temperatures as extreme as minus 40ºC and plus 50ºC. The handbrake must also be capable of holding the vehicle on a 45 degree slope.
An enormously varied testing programme was devised to prove the Discovery 3, with much of the fundamental work naturally undertaken in the UK. Eastnor Castle, in Herefordshire near the Welsh border, was used for testing the car’s ability through water, on slippery grass and in deep mud. Further river wading skills were tested on private estates in Scotland. Durability testing was carried out on army test tracks in southern England, at Bagshot, Surrey, and Bovington in Dorset, home of the Royal Armoured Corps. These facilities are more usually used for destruction-testing tanks, so helped substantiate the toughness of the suspension and the new Integrated Body-frame.
Similar testing was carried out at a former military facility in South Africa, usually used for evaluating the strength and traction of armoured vehicles. Southern Africa was also used for hot weather and dust testing, as was Australia, where vast distances were covered in the outback, including testing on vicious corrugated roads, notorious for dislodging trim and inducing rattles and squeaks in less capable vehicles. Dubai, in the Middle East – another Land Rover test favourite – was used for measuring and tuning the vehicle’s ability to climb sand dunes, and for general off-road ability. Also tested there was the efficacy of the new and advanced air conditioning system to keep occupants cool and comfortable even in temperatures as high as 50ºC.
Off-road testing was also carried out in northern Canada and in Sweden, where the vehicle’s performance in ice and snow was confirmed. So was its ability to operate efficiently and comfortably in temperatures as low as minus 40ºC.
"What’s unusual about the new vehicle’s testing schedule is the amount of time spent at locations more usually associated with sports cars than SUVs," says Steve Haywood.
High-speed testing was done at the famous Nürburgring circuit in the Eifel mountains in Germany, where on-road handling and braking performance were pushed to the limit. The original Nürburgring track is recognised as probably the most punishing and demanding race circuit in the world. High-speed work was also carried out at the Nardo bowl in southern Italy, where the Discovery 3 test vehicles circulated continuously for 20 hours a day at, or near, maximum speed. The Nardo test lasted for 12 weeks, and 31,000 miles of maximum speed driving was undertaken. "We were after superb high-speed stability and quietness, and faultless reliability when running continually at these high speeds," says Haywood.
Further high-speed testing was done at the Millbrook proving ground in Bedfordshire, England. Millbrook’s tough and varied handling circuits were also used to tune on-road composure. The MIRA test track, in Warwickshire, England, was used for similar test programmes, including ride-and-handling evaluation.
Additional dynamic tests were carried out at Ford’s superbly equipped Lommel engineering facility in Belgium – which offers a high-speed bowl, race-circuit style test track, and rough on-road conditions such as notorious Belgian pavé.
City driving will naturally form a large part of the real-world use of the Discovery 3. Tokyo, notorious for traffic, humidity and pollution, was used to test the vehicle’s ability in stop-start traffic and the efficacy of the air conditioning system. Traffic testing was also done in oven-hot Las Vegas, high-altitude Denver and in New York, where radio reception and navigation were also tested among the giant man-made canyons.
"Many miles were racked up in the United States," says Haywood. "We tested in cities, in the desert areas of south-western USA – including Death Valley’s extreme heat – and in mountainous Colorado. The USA offers varied testing conditions, and also helps to satisfy engineers that the vehicle will operate well in what is likely to be the biggest market."
The new Land Rover Discovery 3 will inevitably end up a favourite of those who tow boats, caravans and horseboxes. Therefore much testing was carried out to prove the vehicle’s ability with a hefty trailer. One of the favourite trailer-test locations was Austria, where vehicles dashed up and down mountain passes, towing 3.5 tonne trailers – the maximum weight permitted.
"There has never been a Land Rover more thoroughly tested than this one," says Haywood. "It’s unlikely that any vehicle anywhere has had to prove itself quite so comprehensively, as master of wading rivers, climbing sand dunes and crossing frozen lakes, yet able to charge around race circuits and high-speed test tracks. It has been an amazing programme, designed to test an amazing vehicle."
The Discovery 3 was developed at Land Rover’s renowned research and development centre in Gaydon, Warwickshire, UK, which hosts some of the most advanced automotive testing laboratories in the world. Simulated cold weather testing, noise testing, suspension testing, and all manner of durability tests were performed in the many laboratories. Gaydon’s own punishing off-road test circuit and handling circuit were also extensively used.
17 Jun 2004
In a unique shootout between 10 of the UK’s favourite five-door off-roaders, 4x4 magazine has voted the Jeep® Grand Cherokee its ‘World’s Best Off-Roader’.
In a series of tests – each designed to put every vehicle through real off-road situations – the 2.7 CRD Grand Cherokee was awarded 193 points out of a possible 250.
John Carroll, editor of 4x4 magazine, said: "This test wasn’t about just driving the vehicles through the biggest mud-hole we could find. With a spirit-level, protractor and tape measure, it was about measuring their competence in a true off-road environment.
"Our judges felt that Jeep’s Grand Cherokee stood out as being the most capable, this-will-go-anywhere vehicle. The Jeep’s coil-spring suspension and Quadra-Drive system puts the Grand Cherokee in a different off-road league to the others and makes it a worthy holder of the title of World’s Best Off-Roader."
The 10 tests looked at key off-road criteria such as suspension flexibility and approach and departure angles, as well as ground clearance and axle articulation. The testing also included real world tests with each car completing a hillclimb and obstacle courses.
Simon Elliott, Managing Director of the Chrysler Group in the UK, said: "We are delighted that 4x4 magazine has awarded the Grand Cherokee the coveted title of the World's Best Off-Roader. At home in the city or the country the Grand Cherokee is exceptional in every way. The expert panel of judges from the UK's top off-roading magazine has certainly proved that the Grand Cherokee is king of 4x4s."
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 15 Jun 2004
From the jungles of Southeast Asia to the high plains of South America; the 2005 Land Rover G4 Challenge promises to be even tougher and more spectacular than the inaugural 2003 event.
This time the action starts amongst the intensity of Bangkok city, and ends at high altitude on the plains of Bolivia. In between lie thousands of miles of vehicle-based adventure, strategy and sweat, with a new Range Rover as the ultimate prize.
All Land Rover models will be used during the 2005 Challenge, including the all-new Discovery 3, as well as a fifth vehicle that is yet to be announced. These near-standard vehicles will form the base of operations for the competitors as they bike, climb, kayak and 4x4 drive their way towards victory. Painted in a custom orange body colour, the vehicles will not only carry an array of equipment that will aid the competitors in their global quest for victory, but will also form an integral part of the competition, with daily 4x4 driving challenges.
"The first Land Rover G4 Challenge proved itself as one of the toughest, most spectacular adventure challenges in the world," says Matthew Taylor, managing director, Land Rover. "Its authenticity and global reach allowed us to prove that Land Rover is synonymous with adventure. And in 2005 we will be doing it again."
Working in bi-national teams, men and women representing 18 nations will pit stamina and skill in an arena stretching across four countries on two continents, over a four-week period in October 2005. From 21 June 2004, would-be competitors can apply online at www.landroverG4challenge.com, or complete an entry form at their local Land Rover dealership.
With many thousands of entries expected, each nation will hold a ‘national selections’ event, in order to identify its top three competitors. These competitors then go through to ‘international selections’, which will be held at Eastnor Castle in the UK. Ultimately only one competitor will be chosen to represent his or her nation in the 2005 Land Rover G4 Challenge.
During the 2003 Challenge, former fighter pilot Rudi Thoelen made history by becoming the first winner of the Land Rover G4 Challenge. The Belgian’s resolve, driving ability, stamina and mental agility were the key elements that put him ahead of the pack.
"I had nothing left at the end," says Thoelen of his victory. "The Challenge pushed me further than I had ever been pushed before. It is a tough test of both body and mind. And I can still hardly believe that I won it!"
14 Jun 2004
ATL launches the new vehicle of choice
Stand V2, EuroSatory 2004, The International Exhibition for Land and Land-Air Defence, Paris-Nord Villepinte, 14th – 18th June 2004
The new generation Pinzgauer is to be branded the ‘XM’. The new model description, which stands for ‘X-treme Mobility’, has been chosen to package the range of technical developments which Automotive Technik has introduced on the vehicle over recent months. These include latest technology ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) and ETC (Electronic Traction Control).
The introduction of ABS, along withEBD and ETC, significantly improve the legendary all-terrain vehicle’s already class leading performance, mobility and drivability to an even higher level and significantly enhance its world class capabilities.
Characterised by a stylised symbol of the Pinzgauer horse - the incredibly strong mountain breed from which the vehicle gets its name - the XM has been developed from the current highly successful Pinzgauer range, already proven in-service for a wide range of military and civilian roles.
Announcing the launch of the XM, ATL Director, David Findlay says, "Since worldwide production of the Pinzgauer was relocated to the UK in 2000, we have consistently sought to develop the vehicle and improve the technical specification. Our objective is to integrate the latest technology and systems, to push the Pinzgauer even further up the list of preferred choices for specialist all-terrain operations. The combination of ABS, EBD and ETC working together, provide the professional off-road vehicle driver with new levels of vehicle controllability and safety. This is vital in today’s operating environment – and particularly for military users".
By definition, all-terrain vehicles are expected to perform well in loose or slippery conditions, particularly under braking. Often, these operating conditions can cause functionality problems with ABS – but Pinzgauer engineers have developed a system which utilises special sensor pole wheels, recessed within the hub assembly in order to protect them from debris. The system requires no driver input and provides exceptional levels of safety, even in severe off-road conditions.
The same sensing system is also used to provide the Pinzgauer XM with all-wheel-drive traction control. This provides the driver with a subtle means of wheel control before the differential locks are engaged, for instance in marginal conditions. Engaging the differential locks immediately cuts out the traction control. The ETC also engages when the vehicle is in rear-wheel-drive mode only and provides additional stability when accelerating hard on wet surfaces.
The Pinzgauer is increasingly the vehicle of choice for specialist operations, applications and deployments, particularly where rapid intervention performance, high payload for size and air-portability are required.
14 Jun 2004
New flagship for the unbreakable Hilux
The Toyota Hilux has already proved its ability to cope with the toughest conditions worldwide and has become one of the world’s best selling pick-ups, with nearly 12 million sold globally since launch. This legendary durability was put to the test for the BBC’s Top Gear programme, where the Hilux survived trial by fire, flood, tumbling tower block and deadly caravan. The ability of the Hilux to survive each ordeal was influential in the choice of the name Invincible for this new flagship model.
With its high levels of style and comfort and its five-seat capacity, the Hilux Invincible has added appeal to owners who want to use their pickup as much more than a work vehicle, or drivers looking for a versatile alternative to a conventional car as their day-to-day transport. And, of course, the vehicle’s rugged qualities as a tough off road 4x4 are beyond question.
The Hilux Invincible made its debut at The Sunday Times Motor Show Live as one of the stars on the Toyota stand. It is a new top-of-the-range model that combines the Hilux’s robust character with plenty of street style and premium features.
The Hilux Invincible is based on the VX grade but has an upgraded specification that includes a full leather interior, with "Invincible" branding, high quality carpet mats, six-disc in dash CD autochanger with radio cassette, leather trimmed steering wheel and gear knobs, brushed metal scuff plates, and dark-tinted privacy glass for the rear windows. On the outside there are 15-inch alloy wheels, eye-catching chrome plated rear tubular bumper, dark-tinted privacy glass for the rear windows, silver grey double coachline and chrome Invincible badging.
In common with the VX, the Invincible also offers ABS, power steering, alarm, electric front and rear windows and door mirrors, air conditioning and sports-style front seats. The Invincible is not compromised in its load-carrying ability; just like its VX counterpart, it has a gross vehicle weight of 2,780kg.
The Hilux Invincible is powered by Toyota’s 16-valve 2.5-litre D-4D direct injection common rail turbodiesel engine, delivering 102bhp. Owners looking for stronger performance will be able to take advantage of an optional Toyota approved power chip installation. This was developed in Germany by Toyota Team Europe (TTE) and will be a dealer fit option priced at £595.00 excluding VAT and fitting. The chip will raise the power output to 128bhp and boost maximum torque from 260 to 300Nm. The vehicle is covered by a comprehensive manufacturer’s three-year/60,000-mile vehicle warranty.
The Toyota Hilux Invincible tops off the range of pick-ups which start at £10,465 (excluding VAT and OTR charges) for the 240 2WD single cab. All Hilux models benefit from common rail turbo diesel engines as well as driver and passenger airbags and ABS across the range.
The Invincible will go on sale on 1 July and is priced at £17,995 excluding VAT, delivery and OTR charges.
LOW PRICE / HIGH SPECIFICATION FREELANDER XEi GOES ON SALE
Gaydon, Warwickshire 7 June 2004
A new Freelander derivative, the 1.8 XEi Special Edition, is out now at Land Rover dealerships throughout the UK, available from £16,995 for the 3 door, and £18,995 for the 5 door.
The XEi includes eye-catching 17" Freedom alloy wheels and front fog lights as well as a CD player and air conditioning as standard, and for a limited period, metallic paint. This comes in addition to the Freelander's pioneering Hill Descent Control and Electronic Traction Control off-road technologies.
The Freelander's full-time 4x4 system also translates into on-road driving benefits, particularly where conditions turn treacherous - in snow, heavy rain, or when hitting slippery patches on tarmac.
Commenting on the Special Edition, Land Rover UK managing director Phil Popham, stated: "Land Rover's best-seller is now an even more attractive buy with the introduction of the XEi. With its off-road prowess and pioneering technology the Freelander has never been so well equipped at such an attractive price."
LAND ROVER INTRODUCES FIVE-YEAR SERVICE AND MAINTENANCE PROGRAMME ON RANGE ROVERGaydon, Warwickshire 7 June 2004
A new five-year service and maintenance 'VIP' package, is to be standardised across Land Rover's Range Rover range of vehicles.
Included on all new Range Rovers purchased from Land Rover dealers, the package represents £3000 worth of servicing and replacement parts, and will cover Range Rover owners for five years or 75,000 miles of driving.
Land Rover UK managing director, Phil Popham, said: "This is an unbeatable value servicing programme, which underlines our confidence in this excellent vehicle. The initiative will benefit customers with a class-leading new Range Rover maintenance package, combined with residual values that reflect the premium attention paid to the vehicle during ownership."
The VIP package will be transferable with the vehicle at re-sale, together with the three-year unlimited mileage warranty, six-year anti-perforation guarantee and comprehensive three-year roadside assistance coverage in both the UK and mainland Europe, already included with the purchase of a Range Rover.
The package is available now from Land Rover's dedicated UK dealer network.
BF Goodrich Reward its loyal customers
3 June 2004
4-Site 4x4 Tyre Centres, the UK distributors for BF Goodrich Tires, are organising a fantastic & unique 4x4 event for 2004. "Traction in Action" is open to any 4x4 owner who has a set of BF Goodrich Tyres on their vehicle. Ticket holders will be entitled to free entry and free off roading at one of the countries best off road venues. The event is being organised in collaboration with Brian Hartley's Club Off Road.
Parkwood off road centre is located just a few miles from Junction 26 on the M62. Just outside a tiny village called Tong, on the edge of some wonderful English woodland countryside there lies some of the most amazing 4x4 terrain ever created.
Thousands of specially cut pieces of bedrock (ranging from 50 kilos to 15 tons each) have been individually placed with care and precision to form the most unbelievable off-road rock course in the UK and possibly Europe. A rabbit warren of mud and dirt routes in the adjoining woodland accompanies this amazing rock-sculpture, completing a full compliment of differing terrain for all levels of competence.
Traction in Action will be taking place at Tong, Near Bradford on the 14th & 15th of August 2004. To apply for your free tickets you will need to purchase one of the following magazines and complete the application form: 4x4, Total off road, Jeep World, Land Rover Monthly, Land Rover Owner & Land Rover Enthusiast.
The Traction in action event is sure to be a weekend you 4x4 enthusiasts won't forget, don't miss out, places are limited, so apply now and don't forget tickets are required, but are FREE!!
Remember you can only qualify for entry if you have BF Goodrich Tires on your 4x4.
DEAR NORRIS, IS THIS A RECORD?
BF Goodrich All Terrains hit 120,000 miles
Land Rover Owner, Peter Ledger, recently contacted 4-Site 4x4 tyre centres to report that the 265/75 R16 BF Goodrich All Terrain tyres fitted to his vehicle had achieved an unbelievable 120,000 miles!!! As the UK distributors for BF Goodrich the 4-Site 4x4 tyre network has long been aware that this fantastic product offers durability and longevity that is matched by none, but at 120,000 miles even they were staggered. Alan Baldwin, director of Southam Tyres (who run the 4-Site 4x4 dealer network) commented, "This has to be some kind of record, perhaps the highest mileage ever recorded on a set of road-legal, domestic tyres in the UK" Unfortunately for BF Goodrich, it's impossible to have this kind of achievement recorded in the Guinness book of records because their stringent rules and regulations mean an adjudicator would need to oversee every mile the vehicle travels. However 4-Site 4x4 tyre centres say, it is not uncommon for customers to call us, and report 100,000 miles on a set of BF Goodrich 4x4 tyres.
Mr Ledger commented; "the tyres have been on the vehicle since it was manufactured in 1996, there is no doubt I will be replacing the existing tyres with BF Goodrich All Terrains". Alan Baldwin adds "The Land Rover 90 and its 265/75 R16 BF Goodrich All Terrain tyres have proved to be a fantastic combination, and unbelievably, even after 8 years of use the tyres still meet the minimum legal tread depth requirements. The BF Goodrich brand presents a classic "you get what you pay for" scenario. Superb performance and unbeatable treadwear from a top quality premium product".
The BF Goodrich All Terrain is available in a range of sizes to suit most 4x4 vehicles, to purchase your set call our team of 4x4 tyre experts on 0870 9009 444 who will put you in touch with your local 4-Site 4x4 tyre centre and answer any of your technical questions.
HYUNDAI TUCSON MAKES ITS UK DEBUT AT MOTOR SHOW LIVE
25 May 2004
Hyundai’s Tucson SUV is to make its UK debut at The Sunday Times Motor Show Live from 26 May to 4 June – the first opportunity UK customers will have to see the car before it goes on sale here in the autumn.
The Tucson (pronounced Too-son) marks the entry level to Hyundai’s 4x4 range and complements the existing Santa Fe and Terracan. The Tucson will compete against cars such as the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Mitsubishi Outlander and Kia Sorento.
Tucson comes with Hyundai’s five year unlimited mileage fully transferable warranty – and joins the only 4x4 range with a manufacturer-backed warranty for a full five years.
As well as conquest sales from other four-wheel drive cars, Hyundai expects to attract customers who perhaps have not previously considered a 4x4. The added attraction is that the Tucson is a five door only vehicle, competing against three door opposition.
The Tucson has a monocoque construction, and sits on a highly modified version of the current Coupe platform. There will be three engine options offered (2.0 litre petrol, 2.0 litre common rail turbo diesel, and a powerful 2.7 V6), and two trim levels; GSI and CDX.
Hyundai expects the diesel version of Tucson to be particularly popular in a segment where more drivers are switching to diesel. Customers will be able to choose between a five speed manual transmission or four speed H-matic.
The Tucson uses a ‘torque-on-demand’ 4x4 system. The car runs in front-wheel drive until it detects loss of traction, then the 4x4 cuts in. It will then revert to two-wheel drive when adequate traction is detected. Additionally, at speeds up to 19mph, the driver can select permanent 4x4 for extra control when required at the touch of a button.
Tucson prices will start at around £15,000 when it goes on sale.
Fuel consumption (mpg):
Overall length: 4325
Overall width: 1795 (1830 with side cladding)
Overall height: 1680 (1730 with roof bars)
Standard equipment: All Tucson models will feature the following …
Driver and passenger airbags
Anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution
4x4 locking button (to lock four-wheel drive at low speeds)
Front fog lights
Electric tilt and slide sunroof
Electric door mirrors
Power assisted steering
60/40 split fold rear seats
Twin exhausts (2.0 diesel and 2.7 V6 only)
Seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters
RDS stereo radio/CD player
‘Smartnav’ satellite navigation
SUPERCHIPS CONVERSION GIVES VW’S MIGHTY TOUAREG V10 TDI EVEN MORE POWER
21 May 2004
The most powerful passenger car diesel engine ever built is made even more formidable
The Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI is a highly powerful machine in standard form, but the Superchips electronically enhanced version is another proposition again – a luxury 4x4 with serious attitude!
VW describes the Touareg V10 TDI’s 5.0-litre power plant as "the most powerful passenger car diesel engine ever built", but by reprogramming the engine management system, Superchips has made it even more potent. Maximum power is increased by 26 bhp to 356 bhp at 3,414 rpm and optimum torque by a massive 108 Nm, to 855 Nm at 2,776 rpm. Still greater gains lie at 2,851 rpm, where power is upped by 47 bhp and torque by a staggering 116 Nm.
Such significant performance gains generally come at an equally significant price. Not so the Superchips conversion, which totals a mere £511.13 including VAT – less than 1 per cent of the vehicle’s purchase price.
The conversion can be carried out at any one of Superchips’ 85 dealers nationwide, or at the company’s headquarters in Buckingham. In some parts of the country, it can also be done at a customer’s home or place of work, courtesy of one of the network’s mobile units. In each case the job only takes around 45 minutes to complete. If required, Superchips can even arrange favourable insurance via its specialist broker, Firebond.
For further details of any of Superchips’ 700-plus conversions and to locate your nearest dealer, visit www.superchips.co.uk or call 01280 816781.
Invite to join The Chinese Experience
20 May 2004
The Silver Dragon Company, and the Shandong Province Government in China are sponsoring an off road competition in the last week in October.
3 person teams are invited to apply to design and build an off roader that can cope with the imaginative course they are building in the arena in Dezhou, which will be the biggest of it's type in Asia.
The SVG committee will contribute 2000 US dollars towards building costs, and pay for all shipping, flight, accommodation and food expenses for the teams. The show will be filmed both by internal Chinese Central TV, and a western film crew for worldwide syndication. The show is similar to the 2002 program 'Full Metal Challenge' which was also shown worldwide.
Interested teams are invited to email Richard for more information. Due to shipping time for the vehicles the closing date for team application is mid June.
A Chinese website for the Games is at: website and a western version is due up soon.
NISSAN X-TRAIL WINS TOP FLEET AWARD
12 May 2004
Nissan’s X-TRAIL has won yet another award to put into its already brimming trophy cabinet scooping the top prize in the 4x4 category of this year’s prestigious Fleet World Honours .
The Fleet World editorial team were joined on the judging panel by experts who represented fleet managers, the leasing industry and the residual values guides. Factors including manufacturer service networks, operating costs, reliability, residual values and, of course, road test findings were taken into consideration when deciding the winners.
Fleet industry consultant and former IBM Fleet Manager, George Emmerson said: "When we judged this award we were looking for a combination of style, performance and off-road potential in a car that was available to a reasonable number of car user-choosers. There was really only one possible winner because the X-TRAIL’s strong performance in all the key areas under consideration put it firmly ahead of its key rivals."
Fleet World Editor Ross Durkin commented: "The introduction of the 136PS dCi engine was a major step forward for the X-TRAIL and when we group tested it earlier in the year it stood out as the most accomplished car in its class by far.
Ride and handling are as car-like as you can get in a 4x4 of this size and that makes it extremely comfortable on a long journey.
He added: "Nissan’s traditional values of quality and reliability also count strongly in its favour as a fleet proposition."
Nissan’s Fleet Sales Director, Dave Murfitt said: "I am delighted to be receiving this award on behalf of Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd. X-TRAIL sales show the fastest growth in the compact 4x4 market segment and we are delighted that Fleet World have recognised the strengths that support its undoubted desirability in the market."
The Nissan X-TRAIL comes with a choice of three engines, a 2.0 litre 140PS, a 2.5 litre 165PS and an enhanced 2.2 dCi, 136PS in a choice of four specification levels, SE, SPORT, SVE and T-SPEC.
The Fleet World awards were presented at the Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall on Tuesday 11 May.
MITSUBISHI 4x4s GO INTO ACTION WITH THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY
11 May 2004
Mitsubishi Motors UK is pleased to announce that the Environment Agency has confirmed Mitsubishi as its chosen supplier of 4x4 utility and off road vehicles in its ‘light’ and ‘medium’ categories.
The Government body responsible for the environmental monitoring of land, water and air in England and Wales, has already taken delivery of a specially converted fleet of 71 Mitsubishi vehicles comprising of 31 L200 Pick-ups 14 Shogun Pinin 4Work Commercials and 26 Shogun 4Work Commercials.
Having agreed a deal which will span at least three years, it is expected that between 500 - 600 vehicles will be purchased from Mitsubishi between now and 2007.
The fleet of Mitsubishis will be used for a variety of purposes, many of which will take them off road, for activities such as the patrolling of river banks, lakes and beaches, monitoring water quality and flood defences.
Having researched the market for over a year and carried out extensive tests, the Environment Agency concluded that Mitsubishi came out on top against the competition.
Along with the ability to tackle the toughest terrains, the selection process included strict criteria. The most important being the level of impact the vehicles would have on the environment. Therefore both fuel economy and exhaust emissions were measured and compared. Safety was another important feature considered and with ABS and airbags fitted across the required range, Mitsubishi scored highly.
Mitsubishi offers the widest range of 4x4 commercial vehicles in the market place. This combined with Mitsubishi’s special vehicle operation, ensured that all of the Environment Agency’s bespoke requirements could be catered for. Varied range of vehicles that ideally suits the Agency’s needs. For example, the L200 is an accomplished off-roader, which is available in Single, Club and Double-Cab versions.
"We spent a great deal of time testing vehicles to ensure we made the right decision when replacing our existing 4x4 fleet", said Tony Sale, National Contracts and Process Manager for the Environment Agency’s Fleet Operations. "We were very impressed with the range Mitsubishi can offer and I’m sure the vehicles will meet our changing needs."
In addition to the attributes the vehicles have to offer, Mr. Sale was impressed with other aspects of the Environment Agency’s association with Mitsubishi: "We feel confident with our decision to become involved with Mitsubishi as its dealer network is geographically well positioned. As we are a country-wide organisation this is a very significant feature as it will make servicing and maintenance more efficient."
Mr Sale continued: "Mitsubishi are as serious as us about environmental issues, such as researching the benefits of converting vehicles to run on LPG. I therefore hope that our two organisations can look forward to a long term relationship."
LAND ROVER STRENGTHENS DESIGN TEAM, NAMES McGOVERN TO NEW ADVANCED ROLE28 Apr 2004
Gerry McGovern has been named director, Advanced Design for Land Rover, and will be working alongside Geoff Upex, who continues as Design director for Land Rover.
"Gerry is uniquely suited to this role," said J Mays, Ford Motor Company’s group vice president of Design. "He’s already shown the world that he fully understands Land Rover’s DNA, having led the team that designed Freelander. Since then, Gerry’s work at Lincoln-Mercury and Ingeni has demonstrated his ability to clearly define brand and product strategies by understanding diverse international markets."
In this new role, McGovern will report to both Mays and Hans Gustavsson, director of Product Development, Jaguar and Land Rover.
The new and additional emphasis on advanced design for Land Rover mirrors the strategy embraced by Jaguar and is key to further strengthening the world’s premium SUV lineup.
Land Rover’s managing director Matthew Taylor said, "Land Rover’s intense period of product launches is gathering momentum, and we want to further accelerate our ability to introduce fresh new products. The all-new Land Rover Discovery 3 received a tremendous reaction at the New York Auto Show, and our first-ever concept vehicle – the Range Stormer – has had strong reviews since its worldwide debut in January."
He added: "With this appointment, we’re aiming to further strengthen our talented design team to capitalise on the huge potential and growth opportunities for this great brand. Two of the world’s top designers – Gerry and Geoff – will help drive and execute our vision and growth. Gerry’s experience in the U.S. will also prove invaluable as we set our sights on improving our appeal in this key market."
McGovern, who will be based in Gaydon with Upex, has been director of Ingeni, Ford Motor Company’s London-based design and creativity centre.
Ingeni's team of multi-disciplinary designers created vehicles and concepts for the company's eight brands, designed luxury goods for the Premier Automotive Group brands and created products – including cell phones, furniture and airplane interiors – for outside companies. The company redeployed Ingeni designers to support core product programmes in late 2003, given the challenging business and economic conditions.
Before assuming the top post at Ingeni in August 2003, McGovern was Lincoln-Mercury Design director – his first design job upon joining Ford Motor Company in 1999.
No stranger to the Land Rover brand, McGovern was studio director of Land Rover for the Rover Group in Warwickshire, England, where he was responsible for key Land Rover products. Whilst at Rover, he also played a significant role in creating other production vehicles within the Rover Group portfolio – most notably the highly successful MGF.
Early in his career, McGovern also worked with Chrysler Corporation, both in the UK and America. He also worked at Peugeot as a senior product designer working on design proposals for car and truck model ranges.
"With this move, we’re further strengthening the Land Rover design team and investing still more in the future of this powerhouse brand," Mays says. "That’s good news for Land Rover as well as the growing number of people who appreciate our premium SUVs."
LAND ROVER SHOWS MARKED IMPROVEMENT IN LATEST J. D. POWER STUDY28 Apr 2004
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 28 April, 2004 The latest J. D. Power and Associates study, spotlighting initial quality performance for cars in the North American market, shows a marked increase in customer ratings for British brand Land Rover.
Land Rover enjoyed a 22% increase, improving its position by seven places.
Joe Greenwell, Chairman and CEO of Jaguar and Land Rover said: "Both brands have made significant progress in the authoritative and independent J.D. Power survey which very clearly highlights our commitment to continuous improvement.
At Land Rover, the emphasis on improving quality processes within the manufacturing facility in recent years is beginning to be seen on products in the marketplace.
Buyers of premium products expect a high quality product in every respect and the increased focus on quality improvements at Land Rover, supported by substantial levels of investment, is beginning to be evident. By the end of 2004 in excess of £452m will have been invested by Ford Motor Company into new tooling, equipment and training at Land Rover's manufacturing plant at Solihull.
The unveiling of the latest Land Rover, the new Discovery 3, in New York last month underlined the step change in quality that comes as a result of better facilities, committed levels of investment and shared learning between the Premier Automotive Group brands.
Land Rover consider that quality products are of paramount importance and the company will continue to work relentlessly towards achieving total customer atisfaction.
LAND ROVER - LAND ROVER DISCOVERY 3 TDV6 DEBUTS AT SUNDAY TIMES MOTOR SHOW LIVE
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 27 Apr 2004
Further details on the Discovery 3 TDV6 will be available on the Land Rover stand following the 10.25hrs press conference on 25 May 2004.
Also making its debut at Land Rover's home show will be a proposed Freelander rally limited edition, inspired by the reconnaissance vehicles used by Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz during the 2001 World Rally Championship and based on the Freelander Sport. Depending on public reaction and interest in the vehicle, it could go on sale in the UK from September 2004.
Off-roading also forms a key part of Land Rover's activity at this year's show, with the company taking over the NEC's Hall 3 in conjunction with American Express for the construction of an exclusive themed off-road course. American Express cardholders have complimentary access to the hall and vehicles, and there will be a large viewing gallery for all visitors to the show.
Land Rover UK managing director, Phil Popham, said: "The Sunday Times Motor Show Live is Land Rover's home show, and we are therefore delighted to be supporting in such a big way, with two product debuts and a challenging and exciting urban off-road course just yards from our stand."
NISSAN - TERRANO VAN - EVEN MORE SPECS APPEAL FOR 2004
27 Apr 2004
Safety, styling and luxury are the watchwords for the latest improvements to the Nissan Terrano Van – with desirable features such as anti-lock brakes and a CD player making an appearance on the standard equipment list.
And what’s more, the price has only increased marginally, to a very competitive £14,125 for the standard model, or £16, 245 for the 3.0 Di SE.
Safety upgrades play a major part in the 2004 changes to Terrano Van. The entry level Standard model now matches its higher spec’d partner by featuring ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution as standard. And the same goes for a passenger airbag. The SE trim sees further safety developments with the inclusion of side airbags as well as a feature unique to 4x4s in this class, ‘active’ front seat headrests which move forward and upwards in the event of an accident to provide greater support to the occupants’ necks.
The looks of the 2004 Terrano Van have been enhanced. But don’t fret. It still retains that distinctive rugged and practical look.
The Standard grade van looks even cooler now that the bumpers become part body coloured to complement the existing colour coded front grille. The SE, however, has been treated to even more goodies which will suit those who like to get a little car luxury with their van. For starters, the alloys have grown an inch to a butch 17" and robust aluminium side steps have been added. The front grille which used to be body coloured is now chrome. Oh, and metallic paint is now standard on the SE. And on the inside you’ll see that the fabric trim has been subtly upgraded and that the basic black centre console trim has been pushed aside to make way for a modern titanium finish.
With all these improvements we mustn’t forget that the Terrano Van has always been and continues to be a powerful, versatile and highly equipped 4x4 vehicle. Rough tracks and unfinished roads don’t phase the Terrano Van due to its sturdy ladder-frame chassis, high ground clearance and tough bodywork.
And talking of power, although unchanged into 2004, it won’t disappoint. Available with either a 2.7-litre TD or 3.0Di engine pushing out a hefty 154PS at 3600rpm, and 304Nm at 1600rpm, the latter can happily lug a load of up to 700kg and should you need to tow, it can handle up to 3000kg. With all this power feeding through the selectable 4x4 transmission system the 2004 Terrano Van must be one of the best ‘go anywhere, sturdy looking, value for money, extra safe’ vans available today.
HYUNDAI BRING IN THE SHOWSTOPPERS FOR BIRMINGHAM
22 Apr 2004
Hyundai is all set to storm the Sunday Times Motor Show Live, taking place at the Birmingham NEC from 27 May to 6 June 2004, with three UK debuts.
Not only will the show see the UK debut of the company’s eagerly awaited new small-SUV, the Tucson, but two popular future prototypes will be on show together for the first time.
The Tucson (pronounced Too-son), is set to go on sale in the UK from the autumn, and is Hyundai’s new entry level point into the 4x4 market, competing with the likes of the Toyota RAV-4 and Land Rover Freelander. The Tucson features a ‘torque-on-demand’ four-wheel drive system, where the vehicle engine system detects when traction is lost and switches the car from front-wheel drive into four-wheel drive.
Hyundai will also be taking part in the Motor Show 4x4 Experience, where visitors can be driven around a challenging off-road course in a Santa Fe or Terracan.
The other Hyundai models at the show will include the Santa Fe and Terracan.
The Hyundai range at the show come with the UK’s only five year warranty – which is transferable between owners and has no mileage limit.
Hyundai can be found in Hall 7, at Stand 7-110.
THE LAND ROVER SHOW - 2 & 3 MAY
19 Apr 2004
The first Land Rover show of the year is at the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon and has been extended to two days - Sunday and Monday 2 & 3 May and will be bigger and better than ever. Organised in association with Land Rover Monthly magazine the event starts with the Heritage Run on Sunday morning when a cavalcade of 150 classic Land Rovers from the Association of Rover Clubs make their way from the Solihull plant to the museum at Gaydon. The cavalcade will be led by the oldest Land Rover (1948) and depart from the Lode Lane Gate of Land Rover Solihull at 10 a.m. to arrive at the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, Warwickshire at approximately 11.00
At the Heritage Motor Centre there will be a variety of exhibitions including the first opportunity for the British public to see the new concept vehicle from Land Rover, the Range Stormer, along with many historic Land Rover vehicles from 1948 onwards.
There will be lots of trade stands and side shows including an autojumble and activities for all the family from precision towing driving skills to go-karting. Come along and join in the fun. The Centre is situated close to junction 12 of the M40 near Leamington, open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On-site overnight camping available on the Saturday and Sunday, advance bookings only. Enquiries call 01926 641188 or log on to www.heritage-motor-centre.co.uk
LAND ROVER SELECTED AS THE VEHICLE OF CHOICE FOR A NEW GENERATION OF RALLY DRIVER
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 16 April 2004
- A Land Rover Freelander has been selected by one of the hottest new prospects on the rally driving scene as his vehicle of choice in this weekend’s Granite City Rally.
Matthew Wilson (17), son of motorsport great Malcolm Wilson, will pilot a special rally-prepared M-Sport Land Rover Freelander during the event, which is contested over 44 miles of gruelling terrain and takes in the fearsome forest stages south of Aberdeen.
Fresh from circuit-racing success in the Formula Renault Series and having performed well in his first two rallies, Matthew is looking forward to the challenge: "The Granite City Rally is not a qualifying part of the Scottish Rally Championship without good reason - it demands respect from even the most experienced driver. However, this year there are two new stages which will make the route fresh, exciting and help level the field between younger drivers and those veterans who compete every year."
Completing his third rally will also qualify Matthew for his professional licence but he remains characteristically grounded: "I’m treating each rally as a challenge that must be overcome and an opportunity to gain experience but the Freelander may well give me a useful competitive edge in this weekend’s competition."
The M-Sport Freelander is based upon a standard V6 model - which is powered by a 2.5-litre petrol engine - but also incorporates a full roll-cage for safety and an uprated suspension system and brake pads to deliver improved handling in the heat of competition – making it the most capable Freelander in the world.
Aberdeen’s Granite City Rally, on April 17, has a strong heritage, having grown from a small, local navigational challenge into a fully-fledged, and internationally recognised, forest rally. Now in its 35th year it attracts many leading drivers with its challenging course and welcoming atmosphere.
MITSUBISHI SHOGUN WARRIOR PREPARES TO DO BATTLE IN THE 2004 BRITISH OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP
13 Apr 2004
Mitsubishi Motors UK will be fielding a brand new Shogun Warrior 3.2 D-ID three-door model in this year’s Goodyear British Off Road Championship, the first round taking place next weekend (17th & 18th April), in Radnor Forest, Mid-Wales.
The Off Road Championship project is being funded by Mitsubishi Motors UK who intends to demonstrate that the Shogun is a great all-rounder - whatever the terrain. The car is being driven by experienced 4x4 exponent, Colin Read, who is aiming to be the first ever driver to win the Championship in a car that can be driven straight out of the showroom.
After scoring a record breaking ninth outright victory in the demanding Dakar Rally in January, Mitsubishi’s success in off road motor sport is unquestionable and General Manager of Ralliart at Mitsubishi Motors UK, Paul Brigden, is confident that the success can continue in Britain:
"We have a great vehicle in the Shogun and an excellent driver in Colin. We know its not going to be easy to win the Championship overall, especially with the extreme conditions the teams are going to encounter and the quality of the competition. Therefore, if we do win the title, it is going to represent an impressive all round performance."
The 2004 British Off Road Championship takes place on five separate weekends in various parts of the country. Each event features a special stage were competitors set off at minute intervals to traverse a route against the clock. These tests are usually between 5 - 10 miles long and cover all manner of terrain; from gravel roads to muddy tracks, over rocks and through rivers, sections often punctuated with steep inclines and descents.
Traditionally, leading teams compete in buggies specifically built for off road competition, featuring high-powered, V8 petrol engines, lightweight tubular construction and highly developed suspension units.
This year Mitsubishi Motors UK and its driver, Colin Read, intend to change all this, by proving that in the right hands a standard production Shogun Warrior powered by Mitsubishi’s highly acclaimed 3.2 D-ID turbo diesel engine, can be more than a match for the hybrid machines. The Shogun’s transmission will also provide Read with a distinct advantage, its MASTC (Mitsubishi Active Stability and Traction Control) and Super Select four-wheel-drive systems ensuring maximum grip at all times.
To assist in the quest to become British Off Road Champions, Read’s Shogun has been equipped with uprated competition suspension to enable it to cope with the demanding conditions. The engine also benefits from a modified ECU, providing a 15% increase in power output. In addition and in order to comply with motor sport regulations, the Mitsubishi has been fitted with a roll cage, fire extinguishers, competition seats, full harness belts and a number of other safety features.
Read, together with his co-driver Chris Eade, both from Marlborough in Wiltshire, are no strangers to the British Off Road Championship, having campaigned a Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin for the past two years, during which time they dominated the class for Standard Production Cars.
With the new Shogun Warrior, Read sees an opportunity, not only for continued success in the production classes, but a real chance to challenge for overall honours as well:
"Over the past two years I feel we have proved that a well built standard car can be a match for any of the specialist machines. I think the new Shogun will put us on another level and I’m really looking forward to proving how competitive we can be this year."
The 2004 Goodyear British Off Road Championship splits each of its five events into two rounds, one on Saturday and one on Sunday:
The Mitsubishi Motors UK British Off Road Championship Campaign is supported by: PIAA, Speedline Wheels, Shell Racing Fuels and Helix Autosport.
TOWING WEIGHT INCREASED FOR NEW RODEO PICKUP
8 Apr 2004
Isuzu’s new Rodeo pickup is one of the UK’s best vehicles for towing thanks to an upgrade to its braked towing limit which now stands at 3,000 kg.
The revision affects all Rodeo 3.0 litre 4x4 models in both Single and Double Cab formats including the range-topping lifestyle Denver.
In addition, the action also applies to existing owners who will be contacted and offered revised VIN plates allowing them to benefit from the increase.
Extensive Accessory Range Now On Offer
Meanwhile, Rodeo customers can now choose from a full range of accessories aimed at both the ‘workhorse’ end of the market and those seeking extra luxury.
For example, a towbar for 4x2 models costs £130 and a Classic Hardtop for a Single Cab retails at £1,310.13 (including VAT but excluding fitting). Other practical items include a bed liner kit for a Double Cab for £195 and a tonneau cover for a Double Cab priced at £175.
On the comfort and style side, Isuzu dealers can fit a Smart Nav navigation system for £539.13 and offer a VDO Dayton six CD player at £199.95 (including VAT but excluding fitting).
Also on offer are a chrome side bar and step for a Double Cab at £425 and front bumper style bar for £385 (including VAT but excluding fitting).
Style, Space And Comfort
On sale since November 2003, the totally new Rodeo has won widespread praise for its style, space, comfort and torquey 130 PS 3.0 litre diesel engine which is also available with an automatic transmission option – unique among one-tonne pickups.
Standard equipment is especially generous for a pickup and includes ABS with EBD, twin front airbags, ISOFIX child safety seat mountings and a radio/CD player, while air-conditioning, alloy wheels and leather-wrapped steering wheel are part of the top-spec Denver package.
Priced from £11,357.02 for the 2.5 litre 4x2 Single Cab (on-the-road but excluding VAT), all Rodeos boast 12,000 mile service intervals and 1,000 kg-plus payloads. This allows registered companies to reclaim the VAT.
Meanwhile, company car drivers are only liable for taxation on a fixed £500 per year. Chancellor, Gordon Brown recently announced this ‘perk’ will continue until 2007 when the taxable amount increases to £3,000.
However, only around 10 per cent of Rodeo customers will be affected by this change so the effect on sales is expected to be minimal.
In addition, the CO2-based tax on company cars becomes more severe every year, meaning pickup owners should still enjoy tax savings post-2007.
NISSAN PRUNES ITS HARDY PERENNIAL
30 Apr 2004
Nissan has taken a giant pair of shears to its well-established Terrano range to simplify the line-up, improve specs, and in most cases cut prices to ensure another successful crop in 2004. This means Nissan can rightly claim that the Terrano is the best equipped, seven seating, 4x4 that’s able to tow 2.8 tonnes available for under £21k. Because it’s the only one.
In the simpler 2004 range, there are now six different varieties of Terrano with the 2003 S and Sport being thrown on the compost heap. The 2.7TD SE three-door gets a hearty £1000 chop in price bringing it down to £17,995 while the five-door is cropped by a good £500 to £20,995. But despite the lower prices, they both gain 17" instead of 16" alloys, dark-tinted glass for the rear cabin and metallic paint which used to be a £350 option. And there’s a new strain of Terrano: a seven seating, five-door SE with the thundering 154PS 3.0Di engine available at £22,095. The range-topping SVE also gets 17" wheels and in the case of the three-door 3.0Di a £400 price prune.
Unlike some, Nissan has always been quite honest about the number of nose-jobs its Terrano has had. But this time, the car’s been spared the chrome surgeon. Instead it’s bye to those hangovers from the 90s, fake wood and two-tone paint, and no revival tour is planned. The new six-spoke 17" alloy wheels have a high glossfinish and the dashboard gets a titanium coloured centre strip. Monotone metallic paint is now available in five shades, two of which are new for 2004 and if you really must, two-tone is now a no-cost option on the SVE. The interior has a colour make-over, too, with black being the new tan. And that includes the leather fitted as standard to the SVE.
The Terrano has been carefully cultivated over its 10 year history. And to good effect as almost half a million have been sold across Europe. It’s still selling well: 2003 was an even better year in the UK for Terrano than 2002. This could be because it’s more highly equipped than ever and is one of the few remaining choices for anybody needing a no-nonsense, four-wheel drive tow-truck come workhorse come family wagon.
For no nonsense, read a ladder frame chassis for strength and rigidity. Generous ground clearance, high or low ratio four-wheel drive and a limited slip differential make the Terrano near unstoppable off-road. The 3.0-litre manual will tow three tonnes of braked trailer helped along by its 304Nm torque output and as much as 786kg can be loaded inside the 2.7TD three-door. Or there’s up to 1900 litres of available boot space in the five-door. If it’s your family filling some of that, you’ll be happy to hear that all Terranos have ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, side airbags and front-seat active head restraints. Every Terrano has air conditioning, electric windows and door mirrors, an alarm system, side steps for easy access, a CD with steering wheel mounted audio controls, load luggage net, and in the case of the five-door, a removable third row bench seat. The SVE adds an electric glass sunroof, roof-rails, leather upholstery, a CD autochanger, heated front seats and headlamp washers. A towbar is optional though a Terrano looks naked without.
LAND ROVER UK MARKS NEW YORK AUTO SHOW WITH DOUBLE CELEBRATION30 Apr 2004
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 7 April 2004 The all-new Discovery 3 makes its world debut today at the 2004 New York Auto Show, marking the birth of a new generation of vehicle that defined its sector following a 1989 launch.
Since then, the Discovery has gone on to sell over 700,000 in the 142 markets around the world in which it is sold. The UK is one of these 142 markets, and figures released today confirm that the first quarter of 2004 has been the most successful in Land Rover UK's history, with 15,181 vehicles sold, beating the previous year's first quarter record by more than 5%.
In the first three months of the year, 7,446 Freelanders have been sold, which is an increase of over 200 vehicles on the same period in 2003, largely due to the improvements made for the 2004 model year. Sales of the Range Rover hit 2,128, beating last year's figure by 3%, whilst sales of the Defender remained reasonably static at 1,762, some 68 vehicles less than were sold in the first quarter of 2003.
Again however, it is the Discovery which appears to be attracting the most attention, with sales for the quarter increasing by a remarkable 15.9%, with 3,845 units sold.
Speaking from the New York Auto Show, Land Rover UK managing director, Phil Popham said: "This is a great day in the history of the Land Rover Discovery, with the all-new Discovery 3 making a real splash here in New York, and the current range of Discovery 'Definitive Editions' breaking sales records back home in the UK."
The range of Discovery 'Definitive Editions' are on sale now at Land Rover dealerships throughout the UK, starting at £24,995 with the 'Pursuit' model.
SAAB UNVEILS NEW 9-7X SUV AT NEW YORK AUTO SHOW
7 Apr 2004
As part of its aggressive product development programme, Saab is today (Wednesday 7 April 2004) unveiling the new 9-7X SUV at the New York Auto Show. Expanding its model range to four vehicle lines, Saab – the fastest growing European premium car brand in the American market – is now targeting one of the fastest growing market segments. The American mid-luxury SUV segment increased from around 50,000 units in 1997, to 290,000 in 2003. By the end of 2004, US sales in this sector are forecast to exceed 400,000 units.
As part of its product offensive, Saab has launched the new 9-3 Sport Saloon and 9-3 Convertible models in the last 18 months. In December 2003 the company revealed the Saab 9-2X, an early offering in the emerging American small premium car sector, with sales in US and Canada only due to commence on 1 July 2004.
The Saab 9-7X will bring unique Saab characteristics to the growing US SUV segment, including; sophisticated exterior and interior styling by Saab’s Design Director, Michael Mauer, and his Swedish-based team, premium quality and design features, and a chassis tuned to deliver sporty and fun-to-drive performance. The 9-7X will appeal to buyers looking for a driver’s vehicle, with the versatility of a SUV. The 9-7X is developed from GM’s award-winning GMT360 architecture. Production is scheduled to begin in January 2005, at GM’s Moraine, Ohio, plant.
"The Saab 9-7X emphasizes the ‘sport’ aspect of the Sport Utility Vehicle nomenclature," says Peter Augustsson, Saab’s President and CEO. "It is a very dynamic vehicle that you want to drive."
Research conducted by Saab revealed that 39 percent of Saab owners in the USA also have an SUV in the household. Furthermore, almost 30 percent of American Saab customers who leave the Saab brand go on to purchase an SUV.
The 9-7X is designed to satisfy existing Saab owners, and attract new buyers to the marque. The Saab 9-7X will be positioned in the $37,000 to $45,000 (£23,200-£28,200) price bracket. The high-performance 5.3-litre V8, delivering around 300 bhp, is destined to be an attractive offer among mid-luxury SUVs. Product content will be comprehensive, including standard leather upholstery, 18" alloy wheels, all-wheel-drive and a state-of-the-art audio system.
The Design: Saab distinction at a glance
"The exterior and interior design of the 9-7X reflect the vehicle’s dynamic road behaviour, and convey the sporty feel of a Saab, rather than the ruggedness of a traditional SUV," comments Michael Mauer. "For example, the interior features such Saab icons at the air vents with their distinctive sliding plate design, the famed Saab cupholder, and our traditional central ignition in the centre console."
The 9-7X reflects Saab’s sporty and functional brand character throughout its design. Key exterior features, such as Saab’s signature three-port grille, rear quarter windows that visually appear to wrap around the D-pillars, and brand-distinctive wheels, telegraph the 9-7X’s heritage, even from a distance. Overall, the 9-7X presents a very smooth, aerodynamic, sporty appearance, with an excellent body-to-tyre relationship, derived from the car’s low stance, in combination with its standard 18" wheels.
The 9-7X’s profile is clean and uninterrupted, without the usual SUV big bumper offsets or protruding shapes and forms. The tail lamps are vertically stacked with clear acrylic lenses, reflector optics and precision-detailed bezels combining to create a three-dimensional, jewel-like effect.
The new Saab’s cockpit is highly refined and driver-orientated. The instrument panel’s center stack and controls are angled toward the driver. Like the exterior, the 9-7X features Saab-traditional strong, distinctive design cues.
Performance: Sporty and driver focused
Like all Saabs, the 9-7X is designed to be a driver’s car. To help achieve its comfortable, well controlled ride and responsive handling, the Saab 9-7X uses a uniquely-tuned double A-arm front suspension with front coil springs and a five-link, electronically controlled rear air suspension.
The car has been developed to deliver responsive driving characteristics and a low ride height with firm front and rear suspensions, a thick-gauge front stabiliser bar, and stiff upper control arm bushings at the rear. All shock absorbers are valved to help provide firm body control for confident handling. The P255/55R18 high performance all-season tyres have been specially developed by Dunlop for their road-gripping capability. A quick 18.5:1 steering gear ratio, together with stiff mounts, are designed to assist steering responsiveness and precision. The steering itself is tuned for on-centre feel and smooth operation. The front part of the frame is stiffened with braces to help make the steering more responsive and precise.
The Saab 9-7X features standard, on-demand, all-wheel-drive. Traction and handling performance are further enhanced by a standard preload-clutch limited-slip differential at the rear. Brakes are large, four-wheel vented discs, with front aluminium dual piston calipers and four-wheel ABS.
There is a choice of two all-aluminium engines, coupled to an electronically-controlled four-speed automatic transmission. The 4.2-litre in-line 6 delivers 275 bhp (205 kW) and 275 lb.ft. (372 Nm) of torque, The 5.3-litre V8 is rated at an estimated 300 bhp (224 kW) and 330 lb.ft. (447 Nm) of torque. This V8 is derived from GM’s new Gen IV Vortec engine, but is distinguished from other Vortec units by its cast-aluminium engine block. It has pressed-in iron cylinder liners, similar to the LS6 alloy Corvette V8 unit, and fully dressed, weights 100 pounds less than a comparable iron-block V8. The 9-7X V8 is also equipped with high-flow, cast alloy cylinder heads common with the famous LS6 Corvette engine.
"The 9-7X is an excellent example of Saab’s expertise applied to achieve sporty, driver focused performance," says Kjell-Ake Eriksson, Saab Executive Director for Future Products. "Although it offers excellent versatility, it is still a delight to drive, with minimal body roll and a firm but subtle, quiet ride."
On top of its well-mannered dynamics, the Saab 9-7X features a comprehensive standard safety package, including;
Versatility: Plenty of room for people and their luggage
Saab 9-7X buyers are likely to pursue an outgoing and active lifestyle. With a wheelbase of 113 inches (2,870 mm) and an overall length of 193.4 inches (4,912 mm), the 9-7X offers ample space. It holds up to 41.0 cubic feet (1,161 litres) of cargo room with the rear seatback up, and 80.1 cubic feet (2,268 litres) with the seat folded. A 60/40 split rear seat is standard, as is a towbar receiver and cover. Maximum towing capacity is an estimated 6,500 lb (2,948 kg).
Peter Augustsson concludes that "the 9-7X is a crucial addition to Saab’s North American product offering, providing buyers with Saab’s driver-focused interpretation of an SUV, and filling an important need in our growth strategy."
PINZGAUER - New Zealand selects Pinzgauer for LOV role
6 April 2004
The New Zealand Ministry of Defence has signed a major contract with Guildford-based Automotive Technik Limited for the supply of the British-built Pinzgauer to fulfil the first stage of its Light Operational Vehicle (LOV) requirement. The initial contract, for approaching 200 soft-skin vehicles, represents another significant volume order for the company. ATL has already ramped up production at both its Guildford and Fareham plants to meet the UK MoD’s 400-vehicle 4x4 TUM (FFR) contract, awarded in 2003.
All the New Zealand vehicles will be based on the latest 6x6 version of the Pinzgauer, with automatic transmission. The requirement includes general service (canvas-top), command (hard-top), workshop, ambulance and weapons platform variants. Delivery of the new vehicles is expected to start in October this year.
Directors of ATL, Alan Mawer and Alan Stanley, who were in Wellington last week for the signing by NZ Defence Minister, Mark Burton, welcomed the news. "Winning this contract represents another important milestone for our company. Also, it further recognises the growing importance of the Pinzgauer within the international defence market", they said.
ATL will now establish a group subsidiary company in New Zealand, which will support the contract. A General Manager for the new operation, Graham Auker, has already been appointed. Also, ATL will work closely with SERCO Project Engineering Limited (SPEL) and other local suppliers to provide logistics support and a range of applications engineering and equipment installation requirements.
Second Phase of LOV includes Armoured Requirement
The New Zealand LOV programme also includes an armoured vehicle requirement. Having now secured the soft-skin contract, Automotive Technik believes that it is in a very strong position to meet the additional requirement and that its latest light armoured 6x6 variant must be a strong contender to fulfil the role. The armoured vehicle development project, a joint venture between Automotive Technik and specialist armoured vehicle builder, S. MacNeillie of Walsall, fills an important gap in the current Pinzgauer range. Reaction to the new Armoured Pinzgauer has been extremely positive and a number of military procurement organisations have already indicated strong interest in the vehicle. ATL and MacNeillie’s also expect the version to be attractive for specialist civilian and emergency services applications.
The basic rolling chassis is common with the latest soft-skin Pinzgauer 6x6 variants, already in service with users including all three British Armed Forces. The new armoured variant has been designed to meet NATO and international standards of protection, whilst retaining the Pinzgauer’s legendary agility, speed and performance, particularly off-road.
The MacNeillie monocoque bodyshell has been built to the European CEN standard, Class B6 for ballistic protection. This includes resistance to 7.62 x 51mm NATO ball round at 10 metres. This puts the unit’s armour well within the protection required for the AK47 and AKM Kalashnikov Assault Rifles.
The underside is protected by floor armour, with a material extensively used for protection against bomb blast and fragmentation. This level of protection is designed to withstand two NATO L2A2 hand grenades detonating simultaneously only 150mm below the floor pan. These grenades would normally carry a lethality radius of 5 metres.
Automotive Technik Director, David Findlay says, "The new Pinzgauer variant will be a strong contender to fulfil the increasing demand worldwide for light armoured, high performance, rapid intervention vehicles and personnel carriers. The vehicle has performed exceptionally well both in engineering and ballistics tests and trials".
THE ALL-NEW LAND ROVER DISCOVERY 3
2 Apr 2004
The Land Rover Discovery 3 is an all-new, premium SUV that offers class-leading breadth of capability, innovative user-friendly technology, distinctive design and a spacious interior that can comfortably accommodate up to seven adults.
"A true Land Rover, the Discovery 3 benefits from a clarity of purpose and conviction that is evident from its clean design, versatility and outstanding driving experience. Like all new Land Rovers, it's great to drive on-road, as well as being best-in-class off-road," said Matthew Taylor, managing director, Land Rover.
The Discovery 3 also introduces sophisticated new technologies, among them Land Rover’s patented Terrain Response™ system, previewed on the recent Range Stormer concept car. This optimises driveability and comfort, as well as maximising traction. The driver simply chooses one of five terrain settings via a rotary switch on the centre console: a general driving programme, plus one for slippery conditions (known as ‘grass/gravel/snow’) and three special off-road modes (mud/ruts, sand, rock crawl). Terrain Response then automatically selects the most appropriate settings for the vehicle’s advanced electronic controls and traction aids – including ride height, engine torque response, hill descent control, electronic traction control and transmission settings.
"With Terrain Response, it’s like having an expert alongside you, to help you get the best out of the vehicle whatever the conditions, on-road or off," added Matthew Taylor.
Another innovation is the Integrated Body-frame™ structure, which has allowed Land Rover to deliver all the comfort, refinement and on-road attributes of a monocoque, while continuing to set new standards in off-road performance. The Discovery 3 also features adaptive headlights that swivel with the direction of travel to illuminate the road ahead.
Dynamic on-road performance
Dynamic on-road performance is a top priority for the Discovery 3. The top-of-the-range engine is a specially developed 4.4-litre version of Jaguar’s acclaimed V8 petrol engine. Changes for Land Rover use include increased capacity (from
The top-selling engine in Europe is likely to be Land Rover’s new, smooth and flexible 2.7-litre V6 turbodiesel (not available in North America), a common rail unit that uses variable geometry turbocharging
The third engine in the line-up (for selected markets only) is a petrol 4.0-litre V6, a version of one of the world’s best-selling SUV powerplants now further developed for Land Rover use.
All three engines offer strong on-road performance, with full-time four-wheel drive. Both petrol derivatives are matched to a six-speed automatic ‘intelligent shift’ transmission, also available with the diesel though this is offered with a six-speed manual as standard.
On-road driving and refinement are enhanced by fully independent suspension all round, using air springs on most models. This is height adjustable, to assist with entry and exit, and to boost ground clearance to help off-road performance.
"The design of the Discovery 3 is derived from its capability. Everything you see has been done for a reason," said design director Geoff Upex. "The priority was to give the passengers and driver a superb cabin environment, with more headroom and greater comfort. It has big, deep glazing, because that provides greater airiness and a better view."
It is also unambiguously a Land Rover. "An absolute priority was that nobody could mistake this vehicle for anything else," said Upex. "It had to look thoroughly modern, bold and distinctive."
Unique Land Rover design cues include its bold, geometric vertical and horizontal elements; its stepped roof (to boost headroom); its asymmetric rear tailgate (to reduce load height when the lower part of the tailgate is closed, and reduce ‘reach in’ distance when opened); the use of an air intake on only one side of the body (it’s all that was needed); and its large glazed areas.
The driver enjoys Land Rover’s traditional ‘command' seating position, while all the rear passengers get stadium seating – progressively higher than the seats in front, offering a clearer view. The optional third row of seats serve up great comfort, and are big enough to accommodate 95th percentile adults.
Large doors provide easy access, with both second and third rows entered from the centre doors. Cleverly designed seating further improves the outstanding versatility, including fold-flat rear seats in both second and third rows, to give huge load-carrying possibilities.
The all-new Discovery 3 replaces Land Rover’s segment-defining Discovery, the best-selling large SUV in many European countries since its launch in 1989. The new vehicle goes on sale later this year, depending on market.