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New Generation of On-Off Road Tyres From Michelin XZY 3 Wide Single

19 February 2003
Michelin has launched the new XZY 3 wide single tyre, the first of a new generation of on-off road truck tyres. Designed to offer operators reduced running costs, the new XZY 3 is extremely damage resistant, enabling its extended life potential to be realised.

The increased potential life of the tyre is visible in the tread of the XZY 3 which has 25% more useable rubber than the old XZY. This has been achieved by increasing the tread depth and width by approximately 1mm and 10% respectively.

The massive tread blocks resist tear damage and the effects of lateral scrub, while new steel reinforcement under the tread greatly increases resistance to damage. Protection for the sidewall is increased with a new ribbed profile, which acts as an extra barrier to damage from rocks and other materials encountered in off-road applications and resists sidewall scrub on the road.

The new tyre design includes a remodelled bead area to make this tyre easier to fit and remove.

With many on-off road operators choosing to use wide single tyres for steer axles the new XZY 3 has been produced with this in mind. The finer tolerances and new materials used lead to better handling and more even tread wear, increasing tread life and further reducing operating costs.

The new Michelin XZY 3 is now available in two sizes; 385/65 R 22.5 and 445/65 R 22.5; with a 425/65 R 22.5 due later in 2003

Charlie Dimmock to compete in the Macmillan 4x4 UK Challenge

TV gardener Charlie Dimmock has kindly agreed to Navigate for Russ Brown of the Beds, Herts and Cambs Land Rover Club in the forthcoming Macmillan 4x4 UK challenge, as one of three BHCLRC teams entered in the event, which takes place over the weekend of 8th/9th March 2003. They will be competing in a 1995 Land Rover Defender.

The Mac 4x4 is a long-distance four-wheel drive navigational event in aid of the Macmillan Cancer relief fund starting in Hereford and covering approximately 1000 miles in the two days. Charlie's participation will raise awareness of the event to a much wider audience and subsequently help boost sponsorship, all of which goes directly to Macmillan.

In preparation for the event Charlie has endured a concentrated Navigation and off-road driver-training program, where she was introduced to various day and night navigation techniques. To gain experience of the structure and nature of an off-road motorsport event Charlie also competed as a driver in a very testing Road Taxed Vehicle trial double driving Russ' V8 Land Rover trialer, 'Vinnie.'

Having never driven a 4x4 off-road before other than on level ground Charlie took on each challenge enthusiastically showing a definite aptitude for 4x4 motorsport. Despite very wet weather on the day of the trial Charlie drove extremely well equalling or bettering Russ' scores on several sections and held her own in the banter that always accompanies BHCLRC events.

To find out more about supporting the Macmillan 4x4 UK Challenge there is a web site at www.mac4x4.co.uk or call Peter Rowland on 01981 252954

The website for Mac4x4 is sponsored by and hosted by 4x4web


Mitsubishi can now offer its customers the ideal way to beat the London congestion charges with its new LPG Shogun Sport.

While many commuters are facing the prospect of finding other ways to reach the centre of the capital – or fork out to meet the new fee – from 17 February, Mitsubishi has the ideal solution which won’t mean taking to a bike or purchasing a vehicle that looks more at home in a sci-fi movie.

The latest version of Mitsubishi’s 3 litre V6 Shogun Sport takes advantage of the much cheaper Liquid Petroleum Gas and promises to make travelling to the city a lot less stressful and costly.

London commuters driving LPG vehicles will be exempt from the £5 congestion charge and they may not be the only people to benefit as proposals are under way for 33 cities around the UK to introduce LEZ’s (Low Emission Zones).

The Shogun Sport LPG has a 100% discount from congestion charges because it meets the lowest banded emission level of CO2. Customers will also be able to recover 60% of the LPG equipment and installation costs, which will leave the customer paying in the region of £950 plus VAT. In addition the Shogun Sport has a 90 litre under floor LPG tank that currently can be filled for £35. The same volume amount of petrol costs £69. The 3-year warranty remains unchanged.

A spokesperson for Mitsubishi said: "We are believed to be the first manufacturer to offer an LPG four-wheel drive vehicle and we are convinced that there is a demand for them. This offers commuters to London the ideal way of meeting the regulations, lowering their travel costs without having to sacrifice their preferred mode of transport."

"It is also apparent that the new LPG version of the Shogun Sport will ensure that the driver is all set for the future where air quality is a high priority in around our towns and cities. And while meeting these essential standards they can also be saving money."

That also goes for company car drivers looking to reduce their monthly tax bills following the introduction of CO2 emission-based calculations last year.

And while the case for LPG conversions and LPG vehicles is growing, there is a similar increase in LPG supply points, which is no longer seen to be a drawback in owning and driving an LPG vehicle. The number of forecourts selling LPG in the UK is over 1,200 outlets with another 200 expected this year.

Mitsubishi’s Shogun Sport is designed to meet the demand for a sporty and comfortable SUV with the ability to seat five people, accommodate their luggage and adapt for all lifestyle or business travel purposes. LPG in the city, petrol in the country.

It is designed to suit those who use a car during the week for work but need a sports utility vehicle at weekends – eliminating the need for a second car.

The Shogun Sport range starts at £18,995 on the road for the entry level 2.5 Turbo Diesel Classic and moves up to £21,995 for the 3.0 V6 Equippe with the top of the range 3.0 V6 Animal priced at £24,495.


8 February 2003
  • Diesel with manual and automatic options from launch
  • Unprecedented customer demand
  • Awards won in France, Spain, Austria and USA
  • Top international expertise and components

The Kia Sorento matches the style of a premium "off-roader" with the strength of a rugged workhorse. With a traditional separate chassis, Sorento has an impressive maximum towing weight of 2800 kg allied to the looks that would not disgrace a prestige 4x4 with a £30,000 plus price tag.

Sorento was launched into left-hand drive markets at the end of last year and has already won awards in the media in France, Spain, Austria and the USA. Sorento was voted "Best Overall Value" SUV by the Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAP) in the USA. The car is also winning accolades and group road tests in top European motoring magazines such as auto motor und sport in Germany.

Paul Williams, Managing Director of Kia Motors (UK) Limited, said: "The Sorento is the most keenly anticipated vehicle that Kia has ever produced. The car is a very strong product from every standpoint and illustrates the quality and design that Kia is now capable of."

The Sorento was unveiled to the UK public at the Birmingham International Motor Show and has met with an unprecedented level of customer interest. For example, over 4000 people have registered for Sorento launch information at the Kia Motors UK website alone. Kia sold 94,783 Sorentos in 2002 and expects to sell 175,000 Sorentos worldwide in 2003.

Sorento represents a new level of international integration for Kia with components and expertise sourced from top automotive names around the world. The list includes suspension tuning by Porsche, four-wheel drive system components from Borg Warner (manufactured in South Wales), shock absorbers and self-levelling suspension from Sachs, ABS and fuel injection systems from Bosch, and air-bag technology from Autoliv.

The Sorento was styled with the sophisticated European consumer in mind and marks Kia’s first foray into the prestige 4x4 market in Europe. Consumer clinics conducted, prior to the launch in Europe, indicated that the Sorento would compete successfully in terms of interior and exterior design compared to the best cars in the segment. The fact that in European countries prestige badge 4x4 cars have been traded-in for Sorento confirms these earlier research findings.

Kia believes that customers in the UK for Sorento will be conquested from a wide variety of cars and not just other 4x4s. The car will either be a second car in a household that probably has a premium badged first car, or be the principle car in the household where the premium looks of the car and high specification will be the prime motivators. Sorento is expected to generate broad middle market appeal for a vehicle of its type and only be dismissed by prestige ‘brand sheep’.

The Sorento’s spacious interior will seat five adults comfortably. In the front seats, passengers have 1,496 mm of shoulder space, 1,082 mm of effective leg room, 1,404 mm of hip space and 972 mm of head room. Rear seat passengers enjoy 1,484 mm of shoulder space, 916 mm of effective leg room, 1,472 mm of hip space and 965 mm of head room.

The rear seat comes with a 60:40 split to easily accommodate large cargo items and the entire seat can be folded flat to provide an impressive 1,900 litres of cargo storage. Even with the seats up, the Sorento provides 890 litres of cargo space over and above the storage facilities in the passenger compartment and on the optional roof rack. All cars are fitted with roof rails.

The interior has a refined yet sporty feel, combining ergonomic efficiency with premium comfort and convenience features. The front and rear use high quality materials and are comfortable and spacious for long journeys. Keeping the passenger areas tidy is a whole range of storage areas. The armrests at front and back both contain storage spaces and cup holders prevent spills. More storage trays can be found under the seats and there is further storage room in the large pockets on the back of the front seats. A lockable glove box with a map tray keeps valuable items secure.

Upmarket features include the multimeter in the roof console, which allows selection of ambient temperature, altitude, barometer and compass readings, while the provision of an opening rear window, which can be opened from the key fob, is very useful in tight car parks. Fold flat mirrors (electrically operated on XS) also attest to the practicality and thought that has gone into this off-roader.

The Sorento will initially be available in the UK powered by the 2.5-litre common rail diesel engine with two specification levels: XE & XS. Both are available with manual or automatic transmission.

The XE specification uses a part-time four-wheel drive system with a high level of equipment including driver, passenger and curtain side airbags (covering the front and rear), ABS with EBD, air conditioning, power sunroof, limited slip differential, self levelling suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, roof rails and body side cladding, leather steering wheel and gear knob, remote control locking with key mounted operation for rear tailgate window, in-dashboard CD player with eight speaker audio system and electric aerial, multimeter in roof console providing ambient temperature, altimeter, compass and barometer, electric windows and heated mirrors, rear cargo cover and cargo net.

In addition, the XS is fitted with a full-time four-wheel drive system as well as climate control, leather upholstery, eight way adjustable electrically-operated driver’s seat, heated driver and passenger seat, cruise control, electric folding mirrors, wood grain effect centre console and gear knob, rear spoiler, chrome handles (inside and out) and wiper de-icer.

The new 2.5-litre common rail diesel engine incorporates Bosch technology. The engine delivers a maximum horsepower of 140 PS @ 3,800 rpm and a muscular 314Nm of torque @ 1850-2500 rpm. The engine is mated to either a five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed fuzzy logic controlled automatic transmission.

The diesel engine has been designed for low vibration and exceptionally smooth power delivery, as well as low noise characteristics. The manual diesel produces an extra urban fuel consumption of 40.9 mpg and a combined figure of 33.2 mpg, compared to 38.7 mpg and 31.7 mpg respectively for the automatic. A 3.5-litre V6 engine, producing 193 bhp, with standard automatic gearbox will be available by the summer.

The four-wheel drive system incorporates technology from Borg-Warner with components manufactured in South Wales. Either an "Electric Shift Transfer" part-time or a full-time, active torque transfer, system is offered. The part-time EST (Electric Shift Transfer) four-wheel drive system allows the driver to manually select three alternative modes (two-wheel drive High, four-wheel drive High and four-wheel drive Low). The Low range gives a gear ratio of 2.48:1 compared to 1:1 for the High range, making it ideal for very steep descents and ascents.

The full-time ATT (Active Torque Transfer) torque on demand system automatically transfers the optimum power between the front and rear wheels according to road conditions, from a maximum 100% rear-wheel drive up to 50% front and 50% rear wheel drive. This is also fitted with a Low range.

The Sorento features double wishbone suspension on the front wheels for secure ride and handling, while the five-link setup at the back provides stability on rough surfaces. Gas filled shock absorbers developed by Sachs are fitted on all four wheels, absorbing vibration at faster speeds and providing a smooth ride on mixed road surfaces.

The standard self-levelling suspension system also incorporates Sachs technology. The system automatically adjusts the rear suspension when the vehicle is pulling a trailer or carrying a heavy cargo load, maintaining the ground clearance at the rear and keeping the front headlights level. The Sorento’s suspension system was fine tuned by Porsche following road testing in Spain and Germany. The set-up has paid particular emphasis to directional stability and ride quality at motorway driving speeds. The Sorento meets or exceeds all European and North American safety standards and has been internally tested to five star level in both front and side impact tests.

The ventilated disc brakes fitted to the both the front and rear wheels of the Sorento will bring this 2,000 kg vehicle from 60 to 0 mph in only 43.7m. The car is fitted with ABS with EBD, developed by Bosch, providing the most effective stopping power and ensuring the driver can maintain complete control in more challenging conditions. All UK cars are fitted with 16-inch alloy wheels with 245/70R16 tyres.

The airbag safety system in the Sorento incorporates side-impact sensors developed by Siemens and airbags from Autoliv, the US-based industry leader in vehicle safety systems. Driver and passenger airbags are fitted on all cars along with curtain side airbags that provide protection for front and rear seat occupants. Seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters hold passengers secure in the event of a sudden deceleration or collision. The Sorento is fitted with deadlocks and an immobiliser as well as driver operated switch to lock windows and doors.

All Kia cars benefit from a three-year/unlimited mileage warranty, which can be extended to up to five years, and three years’ European roadside assistance for complete peace of mind motoring. The Kia Sorento goes on sale on Friday 14 February. For further information on the Sorento and the rest of the Kia range, go to www.kia.co.uk.




Sorento 2.5 CRDi XE


Sorento 2.5 CRDi XE automatic


Sorento 2.5 CRDi XS


Sorento 2.5 CRDi XS automatic




Engine data


2,497 cc

Max power

138 bhp@3800 rpm

Max torque

314@1850-2500 rpm


Fuel consumption


25.2 mpg (manual), 23.9 mpg (auto)

Extra urban

40.9 mpg (manual), 38.7 mpg (auto)


33.2 mpg(manual), 31.7 mpg (auto)


226 g/km (manual), 238 g/km (auto)



Max speed

106 mph (manual), 104 mph (auto)


Acceleration (0-62 mph) 14.6 secs (manual), 14.5 secs (auto)


Overall length

4,567 mm

Overall width (without mirrors)

1,884 mm

Overall height (without roof rails)

1,804 mm


2,710 mm


Gaydon, Warwickshire, 5 February 2003

The Land Rover Freelander’s outstanding residual value performance has earned it the top spot in the Alliance & Leicester (A&L) value retention table for the second year running.

The Alliance & Leicester 2003 Car Price Depreciation Report showed that the vehicle retained 79.6% of its value after three years of ownership, beating rivals from categories ranging from small cars to MPVs.

Land Rover UK managing director, Mike Wright, said: "To combine excellent sales volumes and residual value performance is quite an achievement, and the Freelander – as the fastest selling model in Land Rover’s history – has achieved just that. It has good looks, class-leading off-road performance and a price that holds nearly 80% of its value after three years – a formidable combination that is helping the Land Rover brand grow, as the sales increase in 2002 shows."

The Freelander range starts at £15,995 with the 1.8S and tops out at £26,595 with the ES Premium V6, with the fast-selling Serengeti and Kalahari special editions – which have helped the Freelander to its record UK sales year in 2002 – coming in at £16,995 and £18,795 respectively. Both special editions come with air-conditioning, CD players and 17" alloy wheels as standard.


Gaydon, Warwickshire, 4 February 2003 – The new Range Rover has been recognised for its ‘outstanding contributions to technological advancement in transport and for its elegance and commercial significance’ with the prestigious Coachmakers Award to Industry.

The award came from The Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers, which was established in 1677 in the reign of James II who charged the organisation with responsibility for quality control in the manufacture of coaches. One of the oldest trade bodies in the world, the organisation today promotes excellence in the manufacture of vehicles for transportation, particularly in the automotive and aerospace industries.

Receiving the award, Land Rover’s managing director Bob Dover said: "This is a very prestigious award, as the names of the previous winners on the trophy suggest – from Sir William Lyons to Rolls-Royce. Owners, dealers and the company’s employees all over the world should be very proud of this excellent achievement."

The award trophy was presented by Victor Gauntlett, former chairman of Aston Martin Lagonda, which itself received the Coachmakers Award to Industry in 1989. Land Rover’s award completes a hat-trick for Ford’s Premier Automotive Group UK stablemates, as Jaguar also received the same accolade in 1988.

5 Litre V10 TDi 4x4 £50k Must be a VW ???????

4 Feb, 2003

Prices for Volkswagen’s new Touareg off-road vehicle have been revealed, at £29,335 on the road for the 3.2-litre V6, rising to £50,440 for the flagship 5.0-litre V10 TDI. The car will be available to order within the next few weeks through a limited distribution network, ahead of its UK launch on 1 May.

The Touareg was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show last September, and made its UK debut at the Birmingham Show shortly afterwards. The car created an unprecedented amount of interest at the British show – as did its technologically advanced V10 TDI engine, the most powerful passenger car diesel to date. This powerplant produces an exceptional 553 lbs ft of torque at just 2000 rpm, making it especially suitable for off-road driving.

Competing in the luxury SUV vehicle segment, the Touareg is designed to deliver class-leading performance both on and off the road. Features such as permanent four-wheel drive; a low-ratio gearbox; electronic traction control linked to an auto-locking centre differential; optional, selectable mechanical front and rear differential locks; hill start and descent assist; and short front and rear overhangs, all contribute to its impressive ability when venturing off the beaten track. When back on the road, ABS; ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) and BAS (Brake Assist System) are important safety aids, and are fitted as standard to every model.

Initially, the Touareg range will consist of three engines: the 220 PS 3.2-litre V6 and 310 PS 4.2-litre V8 petrol powerplants and the 313 PS 5.0-litre V10 TDI turbodiesel. Later this year, they will be joined by a 174 PS 2.5-litre TDI engine, which is expected to cost around £750 less than the V6. A six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission is fitted across the range, while the V6 and 2.5 TDI will also be available with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Luxury car customers will not be disappointed by the Touareg’s generous list of standard equipment. Every version will include ‘2Zone’ electronic climate control; multifunction computer with steering wheel controls; a ten-speaker CD system; cruise control; electric windows; electrically heated, adjustable and foldable door mirrors; and walnut interior wood trim. Other notable features include driver’s, front passenger’s and front seat side airbags with a curtain airbag system; alarm with interior protection and immobiliser; and, on the V6 model, 17 inch alloy wheels.

Move up to the V8, and the list includes an automatic dimming rear view mirror; dusk-sensing light system; electrically adjustable and heated front seats; engine compartment lights; leather seats; and rain sensing wipers. Externally, a chrome finish on the door sills and grille distinguish this version from the V6.

The range-topping Touareg V10 TDI is highly specified. Joining the list of standard features are Continuous Damping Control (CDC) air suspension (optional on other models); bi-Xenon headlights; central locking with keyless access and engine start; electrical adjustment and memory for seat belt height, steering column, mirrors and front seats; parking distance control; multifunction computer with 5-inch colour screen; and enhanced stereo system with 11 speakers. Outside, the V10 TDI features 18 inch alloy wheels, a chrome air intake and front fog lights.

Despite the high specification of the range, drivers are able to customise further their Touaregs with a range of factory and retailer-fit options. These include satellite navigation; power closing of the tailgate; ski sack with load-through provision; sunblind for rear screen; heated windscreen; and tiptronic operation mounted on the steering column.

In addition, every customer is offered the chance to take part in a complimentary drive day, held at one of six locations across the country. This allows all Touareg owners to experience the impressive capabilities and technology of the vehicle.

The Touareg is Volkswagen’s first step into the luxury class. During the summer, it will be joined by the Phaeton, a large luxury saloon with a range of advanced engines including a 420 PS 6.0-litre W12.

Touareg prices




(lbs ft)


On the road price (£)





6 speed manual






6 speed tiptronic






6 speed tiptronic






6 speed tiptronic


Available soon in the UK

1 Feb, 2003

High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle the US replacement for Jeep was a HMMWV sometimes called a Humvey, now known as a hummer has arrived in the UK. I import the New 2003 GM H2 4x4 & H1. For a brochure & details contact 01425 489 971 Contact Adam Cockburn Email

4x4web.co.uk A fantastic year for growth

1 Feb, 2003

4x4web.co.uk the specialist 4x4 web hosting and web marketing company has roared ahead to its best ever month already passing 2.3 million file hits in the month and also hits from 110 countries so.

The 4x4web principle of attracting trafic and then pushing it on to the many 4x4 companies that host there web site with them results in significant extra targeted traffic for them. No general ISP can easily challenge this position.

If you are a 4x4 company and have a web site then get it hosted by 4x4web. Ring 01488 658157 or email Nigel webmaster@4x4web.co.uk. Staying with any other ISP is like having an advert for locking diffs in Knitting Weekly.


24 Jan 2003

Eastnor, Herefordshire, UK, January 24th, 2003: At the end of a gruelling five-day training and assessment programme, Tim Pickering (39), a businessman from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides has emerged as the competitor who will represent the UK in the 2003 Land Rover G4 Challenge. Despite intense competition from his fellow Briton, Byron Lewis, also 39, Tim won through and will now undertake a training and preparation programme in readiness for the rigours of the Challenge itself. The event kicks off in New York City on 30th March, with 16 competitors enduring four consecutive weeks, four time zones and intense physical and mental competition.

The International Selections event took place at the 5,000 acre Eastnor Castle estate, home to the Land Rover Driving Experience and a world-renowned centre for off-road driving excellence. During the programme, which ran from Sunday January 19th until Friday January 24th, a total of 32 prospective competitors, two from each of 16 participating countries, were put through a series of demanding assessment sessions, including GPS and navigation, off road driving, mountain biking, climbing/abseiling and kayaking.

The purpose of the event was not only to select the final competitor for each nation based on quantitative scoring systems, but also to train all 32 competitors in each discipline to give them all the skills and knowledge required to complete the Challenge safely. In the event of the selected competitor being unable to take part, the reserve competitor will step in to fly their national flag.

Tim was overwhelmed to learn of his selection: “I am just amazed and very very happy to hear that I’ve been selected. It’s such an honour to be representing the UK. I’ve had an adventure this week at International Selections, an absolutely fantastic adventure. I’ve learnt so many things. I am going to walk away and it is going to take me weeks to process all the information that’s gone through my head. I am absolutely exhausted. I am looking forward to a hot bath and a cold beer.”

Mike Wright, Managing Director, Land Rover UK, commented: “We have been overwhelmed by the level of professionalism and team spirit demonstrated by all the competitors this week. Despite the fact they have been camping out every night and living on ‘boil in the bag’ meals to replicate the conditions they will find on the Challenge, everyone has turned in a great performance and it has been very difficult to make the final selection. We will be right behind Tim as he battles it out in the Challenge itself against the other 15 nations”

For further details of the Land Rover G4 Challenge and to follow the action online from March 30th to April 26th, visit www.landroverG4challenge.com.


24 January, 2003

Gaydon, Warwickshire, 24 January 2003 – The Land Rover Freelander has been named ‘Best small 4x4’ by influential motoring publications Fleet Week and Fleet Management in their annual Fleet Excellence Awards.

In a class that has become increasingly competitive, the voting readerships of Fleet Week and Fleet Management judged the Freelander’s popularity and all-terrain ability to be the best on the market.

Tristan Young, editor of Fleet Week, said: "The Freelander, helped by a wealth of off-road experience from the boffins at Land Rover, has now been the benchmark for the sector for some years. In the total market, including user-choosers and cash-for-car buyers, the Freelander eclipses all."

Fleet Week and Fleet Management magazine aim to provide their readers with news and information, enabling them to make the best decisions when selecting and managing large vehicle fleets.

Commenting on the award win, Mike Wright, managing director of Land Rover UK, said: "This award underlines the Freelander’s enduring appeal within the business sector. With a variety of engines and body styles available, there is a vehicle to suit any application. From tough commercial use, to the commute to work the Freelander is ideal for companies and drivers that require a vehicle with real versatility."

The Freelander, launched in 1997, is the fastest selling Land Rover in the company’s history and achieved its best ever year in 2002 with a 10% increase in world sales.


20 January, 2003

Daihatsu has announced its most stylish limited-edition Terios mini sport-utility yet, boasting more than £3,000 worth of extras and available from the end of January.

The £11,995 on-the-road Tundra is immediately noticeable because of its massive 17 x 7 ins-wide 10-spoke alloy wheels carrying low-profile 225/55 tyres. Other exterior features include a Jade green metallic/silver paint combination, large front fog lamps set into a full-width black bumper panel and roof rails.

Inside, the interior is completely re-trimmed in high-quality soft beige leather, while both air-conditioning and a four-speaker radio/CD system are also standard.

Based on the Terios EL, and limited to only 150 units, the Tundra also has tinted glass, central-locking, four electric windows, power steering and full-time 50/50-split four-wheel drive with an electronic diff-lock. The Terios also benefits from a highly-efficient 1.3 litre 86 PS petrol engine which gives sprightly performance and low emissions combined with an Extra Urban fuel economy figure of 41.5 mpg.


16 January, 2003

What Car? magazine has christened the new Volvo XC90 as ‘Best 4x4’ in its ‘Car of the Year 2003’ awards, announced at a prestigious ceremony at the London Hilton, Park Lane on Wednesday 15 January.

Rob Aherne, Editor of What Car? said: "Volvo has waited a long time before joining the 4x4 fray, but the XC90 justifies the delay. We were extremely impressed by its space, versatility, safety and style. It’s great value, too."

The XC90 took the ‘Best 4x4’ title from the previous winner, the BMW X5, which joined the Range Rover and Honda CR-V as runners up this year.

Volvo Car UK’s Managing Director, Hugh Reid was delighted to accept the award: "This ‘What Car?’ award is very important and prestigious for Volvo and our new generation SUV, the XC90 - and its timing is perfect just as the first cars are launched in our showrooms and being delivered to customers."

The XC90’s great design with an innovative, flexible interior offering up to seven individual forward facing seats has already won it over 15,000 orders worldwide, plus other prestigious awards, including many in America - the homeland of the SUV.


16 January, 2003

The mightiest of off-roaders, Nissan’s Patrol GR, has a new look for 2003, lower prices and a changed range which includes a new seven men and a dog spec priced at £24,000.

There are three models in the revised line-up. All have the same long wheelbase, five-door, seven seating body (with last year’s three door biting the dust). First in the 2003 range is the new £24,000 S which has been stripped to offer more metal and all round ability than anything else at the price. Then Nissan pushes aside last year’s SE pack and goes straight to the top with the leathered up SVE priced at £28,395, or for another £1400 with automatic transmission. The SVE replaces the outgoing SE+ and is just as lavishly equipped. Yet it costs £1360 less.

The 2003 Patrol GR (or Grand Raid, which roughly translates to a big adventure…) has even more imposing front styling incorporating Nissan’s new brand identity i.e. badge. The SVE gets large foglights incorporated into its redesigned front bumper and headlamp washers instead of the previously employed wipers. The tail-lights change, too, as does the range of available colours. Inside, there’s a new steering wheel and instrument dials. The trim on the doors and centre console have been upgraded and the SVE gets an in-dash 6CD autochanger plus the no-cost option of tan leather in combination with certain colours. Nothing earth moving, admits Nissan, because Patrol GR owners are quite happy with their earth mover the way it is.

There is increasing demand, though, as other 4x4s crossover uptown and upmarket, for a more basic offroader to be used as a no nonsense working vehicle during the week and as family transport at weekends. Which is why Nissan, never one to miss an opportunity, has introduced the £24,000 Patrol GR S.

It’s distinguished from the SVE by its naked black bumpers and wheel arch extensions which won’t mind if they get scarred battling through the undergrowth. Out, too, go the SVE’s alloys and urban two-tone paint job. What it doesn’t lose are the SVE’s off-road tuned anti-lock brakes, rear diff lock, selectable high and low ratio four-wheel drive, automatic free running hubs with manual lock and that unique-to-Patrol tackle-everything feature, the switchable rear stabiliser bar to give even more rear wheel travel when things get really rocky. Which is no problem. If you’re in a Patrol GR.

Its seats are trimmed in a tough grey cloth and the S still has remote central locking, an alarm, all round electric windows, twin airbags, a luggage area cover, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, air conditioning and a single CD player. So it’s basic (compared with the SVE) but not that basic. It even has aluminium side-steps to help mother and/or an ancient collie enter with dignity.

The SVE adds leather upholstery. And there’s an awful lot of it given the Patrol has seats for seven. But that’s not all the SVE gives you over the S. Its front seats incorporate side airbags and are electrically adjustable – they’re heated, too. The air conditioning system gains electronic set-and-forget control with air of a less conditioned kind available through a huge electric glass sunroof. The interior is dressed with more leather on the steering wheel rim and gearshift knobs, lashings of wood effect trim on the centre console and a splash of chrome on the door handles. There’s an in-dash 6CD autochanger to keep everyone amused on the school run, a holder for mother’s Oakley sunglasses and to ensure you’re heading in the right direction for the family’s annual skiing vacation, there’s an electronic compass. And so you know it’s cold enough when you get there, the SVE also adds an outside temperature gauge with ice warning – just to be on the safe side. The SVE’s body is fully colour-coded with standard metallic paint, too, and with its 16" deep-dished alloy wheels ensures this Patrol GR looks as right parked outside a tasteful barn conversion as it does dumped in a farm yard. And all for a lot less than a Land Rover Discovery XS.

Technically the 2003 Patrol GR is as for the 2002 model which received changes to its suspension geometry for a smoother on-road ride and more precise handling. To remind you, the GR’s grrrrrrr comes from a 156 PS 3.0-litre direct injection turbo-diesel motor. And it still delivers a potentially tree uprooting 354 Nm of torque at a near crawling 2000 rpm. Trailer wise, the Patrol GR can cope with 3.5 tonnes of horsebox or caravan. And reassuringly in this age of flood warnings, it will wade through 70 cm of escaped river.

In its 51 year history of being in the 4x4 business, Nissan has become something of a leader in the traditional 4x4 sector. The United Nations is a big Patrol GR customer no doubt due to the vehicle’s reputation for unburstability as much as its willingness to climb a 39 degree gradient. And more Patrols are being seen on patrol – forgive the pun – around the motorways of the home counties with blue lights on their roofs. Some have even been converted into ambulances for when an emergency is too remote for a lesser vehicle to get to. So in a market increasingly crowded with soft-roaders and crossovers, there are still many who want a traditional 4x4 bruiser for which no journey (or adventure) is too big. And the 5010 mm long Patrol GR has both the size and the name for the job.

(An electric 4x4!!!   Ed)

9 January, 2003

Lexus today unveiled plans to offer a revolutionary new hybrid powertrain in future vehicles. This hybrid system will be offered in the new Lexus RX four-wheel drive model and will arrive on the North American market in about two years.

This innovative petrol/electric hybrid technology, called Hybrid Synergy Drive, offers benefits far beyond today's hybrid vehicles. While the strengths of current hybrid systems include low emissions and high fuel economy, this new hybrid technology adds the benefit of outstanding performance.

"The RX with Hybrid Synergy Drive has a V6 engine with the performance, power and torque of a V8 yet delivers the fuel economy of a small car while producing a fraction of the emissions of standard SUVs," explained Lexus GB Director, Karl Schlicht.

The Hybrid Synergy Drive operates with front and rear electric motors and a front internal combustion engine. The system in the RX operates at nearly double the voltage of existing hybrid systems and generates more power with high efficiency, dramatically cutting fuel consumption and emissions.

In addition, the front and rear electric drive provides the benefits of all-wheel drive in a lighter and more compact package. The system is highly modular so it is extremely flexible. Different size motors and engines can be combined to favour either fuel economy or power…or both. This means the Hybrid Synergy Drive can be easily adapted to a broad range of vehicles.

The announcement was made in the US, the biggest market for Lexus, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. There was no announcement on the likely introduction of the new Hybrid Synergy Drive to the European market.


8 January, 2003

The Nissan Terrano is one of only a few no nonsense 4x4s that’s equally at home ploughing across a muddy field as it is filled with family cruising down a motorway. Now Nissan is adding a new Sport to its Terrano game that looks as tough as it is.

On sale from January, the Terrano Sport comes in two different powered versions both with five-doors and seats for seven. The more affordable is the 2.7TD at £22,295 but for another £1000, there’s the option of Nissan’s hugely torquey 3.0Di engine which also motors along the mighty Patrol GR and brings with it the ability to tow up to 3 tonnes. In terms of caravan, that’s practically a house.

The Sport pack adds £700 to the price of an equivalent SE. Yet Nissan has thrown in £1500 worth of extra stuff. Starting from the outside in, the Sport gets fully body-coloured bumpers, side mouldings and wheel arch extensions in a choice of metallic Cayman Blue or Starburst Silver. It also gets headlamp washers to ensure a clear view ahead during night-time forages off road.

The biggest Sport addition, literally, are the new six-spoke 17" alloy wheels – up an inch on usual Terrano issue. They’re attached to the road or dirt track by grippy 235/65R17 dual-purpose tyres that are as much about show as they are faster go. There’s one item, though, that’s disappeared from the SE specification: a cover for the tailgate mounted 17" spare wheel. In Nissan’s opinion, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. But you won’t be able to nick it because the wheel is attached with locking nuts.

Unlike the Terrano SE, all the seats in the Sport (including the removable third row that gives the Terrano seven seating capability) are upholstered in Alcantara and silver-stitched leather. For those who don’t know Alcantara from Aladdin, it’s a man made suede that stays warmer in the winter than leather yet can still be wiped clean should a post-walk, excitable dog decide to redecorate the interior with muddy paw prints. And like suede, Alcantara also feels rather good when stroked by human paw. The front seats gain tray tables on their backs for 2nd row passengers to eat their lunch off and the dashboard gets anthracite effect trim. The overall interior look is more modish than the SE’s. And with the reupholstered seats, the Sport is even more practical when rain drenched families want whisking home.

All the other features of the SE are retained by the Sport. So it has, for example, aluminium side steps, leather steering wheel, air conditioning, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, active front seat headrests, side airbags, electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors, load floor and tailgate storage nets, and a CD radio with steering wheel mounted audio controls.

The Sport is also equipped with selectable high and low ratio four-wheel drive giving it almost go anywhere off road ability. And in town, the Terrano’s more compact dimensions compared to its often gargantuan rivals make it less of a neck spin to manoeuvre.

When it comes to direct rivals, the Terrano actually doesn’t have many since traditional, no nonsense 4x4s are a rare breed – think Isuzu Trooper, Mitsubishi Shogun Sport, Toyota Land Cruiser or even the Land Rover Defender 110. Buyers also come from MPVs like the Ford Galaxy when it’s time for something a little more high rise. But a lot of Terrano custom also come from the Terrano as it has one of the highest loyalty rates of any 4x4. Because on every level or unlevel, the no nonsense Nissan makes a lot of sense.


7 January, 2003

Hyundai has introduced a new style of sports utility off-roader – called the Outdoor Lifestyle Vehicle, or OLV.

The Hyundai OLV concept car is the brainchild of Hyundai Motor America’s design studio near Los Angeles, and made its debut at this week’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The high-fun OLV concept vehicle presents Hyundai’s view of how to put the fun back in sport utility vehicles.

Dragan Vukadinovic, Senior Designer at Hyundai’s Design Center, said: "Many sport utility vehicles on the road today are huge, clunky-looking boxes. The OLV is designed to be agile, both in dynamic performance and in its ability to carry cargo. The convertible trunk that can easily be transformed from a conventional trunk to a utility bed demonstrates some of that agility." Dragan worked on the exterior design of the OLV along with his counterparts at the Korean Design Center in Namyang, South Korea.

The OLV is designed to be flexible, allowing people to take their recreational equipment with them to outdoor sites or simply carry household products from the shopping or garden centre. Designed to be economical in both operation and price, the OLV is powered by a four-cylinder DOHC engine equipped with a Borg-Warner supercharger and intercooler system, installed by Area 51.

The modular roof of the OLV is made up of three separate panels that can be removed manually and then stored and secured to the roof rack. This allows the driver and passengers to remove one, two or all three panels for maximum open-air fun.

The OLV’s convertible boot operates as a typical boot in standard layout. However when large cargo needs to be moved, the rear window hinges up, the bootlid is removed and the tailgate drops down to form a utility bed. The bootlid can then be re-attached to the tailgate and the side guards installed to complete the transformation from trunk to utility bed. The convertible boot configuration recognises that consumer needs are not always best served with an SUT-style open bed. For most consumers, a conventional boot is the most useful storage solution most of the time. OLV is designed to meet that need, but still allows the boot to be converted into an open utility bed when necessary.

The OLV marks a return to the fun and durability of SUVs with an interior that uses materials resistant to water, scratches and dents. The unique tailgate on the OLV is made of injection-moulded urethane that is so durable it does not require a paint coating for protection from the elements and cargo.

Safety features include strong unit body construction and prominent bumpers along with front and side impact airbags.

Hyundai OLV Concept Vehicle Specifications

Front-drive sport utility vehicle (all-wheel drive available)
Wheelbase: 103.8 in (2637mm)
Overall length: 164.2 in (4170mm)
Overall width: 71.9 in (1827mm)
Overall height: 68.3 in (1734mm)
Track, front/rear: 59.4 in (1510mm)
Ground clearance: TBC
Kerb weight: 3000 lbs (est.)
Approach angle: 36 degrees
Departure angle: 45 degrees
Overhang: Front: 30.9 in (785mm)
Rear: 29.5 in (748mm)
Engine: Supercharged and intercooled DOHC four-cylinder
Transmission: 4-speed automatic transaxle
Suspension: Front: Independent, MacPherson strut with coil springs, gas-filled hydraulic shock absorbers and anti-roll bar
Rear: Independent, double wishbone with coil springs, gas-filled hydraulic shock absorbers and anti-roll bar
Wheels: 18" x 6.5-in. aluminium alloy
Tyres: 255/55HR-18 Michelin Diamaris


Gaydon, Warwickshire, 7 January, 2003

Land Rover’s global sales enjoyed an increase of more than 6% in 2002. With a presence in 142 markets around the world, the 4x4 manufacturer saw its second biggest sales year ever and celebrated a second year of sustained growth following the acquisition by Ford Motor Company in 2000.

In North America, one of Land Rover’s most significant markets, sales grew by more than 50% to over 44,000 vehicles, marking the successful introduction of the new V6 Freelander in the US at the start of the year.

Land Rover achieved record sales for the third year running in the UK, where a 5% increase saw volumes top 47,000 units. Almost a quarter of those sales arose from the new Land Rover Discovery, given an enhanced new interior and further technical advances during 2002. Fastest selling Land Rover in the company’s history, the Land Rover Freelander, launched in 1997, secured a 10% increase in sales around the world, achieving its best ever year. The new Range Rover, awarded Top Gear’s ‘Car of the Year’ accolade following its launch last year, saw a 67% increase over the previous model.

Land Rover Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of Premier Automotive Group Bob Dover, said: "This is a terrific result for a brand that goes from strength to strength. After two years of sustained investment in Land Rover products and facilities, we are now beginning to see the results."

Mitsubishi Motors Endeavor Crossover SUV Debuts at Detroit Show

6 Jan 2003

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., MMC’s U.S affiliate, today held the world premier of the Endeavor crossover SUV at the North American International Auto Show ("Detroit Show").

Endeavor: Pioneering Project America

Endeavor is the first Mitsubishi model to be designed exclusively for the North American market under Project America. Announced in February 2000, this initiative calls for the company to design, develop and build in the United States products destined for core-model positioning in that market. Endeavor is a new-generation SUV model that marries SUV go-anywhere utility with the dynamic performance and ride of a regular passenger model. Its new lightweight but stiff platform underpins sparkling road performance as well as enabling a spacious interior. The U.S. market launch is slated for spring 2003 with a sales target of 70,000 units for the initial year. Endeavor comes with a very-accessible price tag in the US$25,000 - US$30,000 bracket.

Exterior design

  • Stylish packaging embraces wide-&-low road-hugging proportions within an overall length of 4830mm and width of 1870mm - dimensions that place it in the mid-size SUV class - while keeping overall height to an easily manageable 1710mm.
  • Under-body road clearance, at 210mm, is on a par with mainstream cross-country 4WD vehicles. The generous side sill height of 310mm also satisfies overall ground clearance requirements sought in a serious SUV.
  • Design elements that identify and highlight Endeavor’s novel personality include: a front visage distinguished by a prominent three-diamond logo in the center of the vertical bar grille; heavy-duty front and rear bumpers; and, a forceful character line running the length of the side.


  • Endeavor’s stylish and sporty interior space is designed to a geo-mechanical theme elegantly represented in the dash, door panels and other elements.
  • The distinctive dash and instrument panel lighting makes extensive use of blue LED’s.
  • Endeavor’s roomy interior provides comfortable seating for five adults, as well as a generously sized luggage compartment.

Mechanical features

  • Endeavor is powered by a 3.8-liter V6 ECI-Multi fuel injection engine that generates gutsy torque across the full rev range and is mated to Mitsubishi’s innovative Sportronic ™ Sequential-Shift 4-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive models use Mitsubishi’s full-time AWD drivetrain that features a center differential fitted with a viscous-coupling limited slip differential and that has won high acclaim on the Lancer Evolution and other hi-performance MMC models.
  • Endeavor uses a new lightweight and stiff platform that, supported by MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear independent suspension, delivers outstanding handling stability, go-anywhere off-road capabilities and ride comfort on a par with a similar class sedan model.

Model lineup

  • The Endeavor series comprises three trim versions: LS, which boasts a comprehensive equipment and feature specification; the premium-class XLS, which adds power-adjust seats and an LED instrument panel; and the top-of-the-line XLS with leather seating and an exclusive exterior specification. Each trim level is available with either 2WD or 4WD drivetrains.

Major specifications

Length x width x height (mm)

4830 x 1870 x 1770 *1

Ground clearance (mm)


Wheel base (mm)


Track: F/R (mm)


Vehicle weight (kg)*2

1785 (1885)


3.8-liter V-6 with ECI-MULTI fuel injection

Max. output (hp/rpm)


Max. torque (lbs-ft/rpm)



Sportronic ™ Sequential-Shift 4-speed automatic

Wheels & Tires


*1 Models fitted with roof rails
*2 AWD model


6 Jan 2003

As the January sales begin, Chrysler and Jeep® are taking early action and are offering new car buyers competitive cashback offers this New Year.

All Jeep Cherokee owners get £1,000 cashback which means that they can buy one from as little as £16,995. The Jeep Cherokee has an impressive equipment list as standard including driver and front passenger airbags, central locking, ABS, air conditioning, single CD radio cassette, overhead console with trip computer and tinted glass. All Chrysler and Jeep vehicles come with a full peace-of-mind warranty package and European roadside assistance cover for three years/60,000 miles plus seven years' unlimited mileage anti-corrosion guarantee. Offers run until 31 January and apply to retail customers only.

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