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In this section of 4x4News


29 Sep 2003

You have seen the ‘story’ many times before: a sluggish selling product is given a mid-life makeover that amounts to little more than a new front grille and a bigger badge on the tailgate. Where the RAV4 is concerned, there is no attempt to weave a silk purse from a sow’s ear. For a start, more than 1.4 million have been built since RAV4 first broke cover in 1994 and it is firmly established as Europe’s best-selling SUV. In 2003 in the UK sales have soared by more than 18 per cent on last year’s figures, an increase that has largely been driven by the continuing success of the 2.0-litre D-4D diesel versions, available since August 2000.

Continuous improvement is a principle central to all Toyota’s activities, so rather than resting on its laurels, it has revised the RAV4 to achieve higher levels of comfort, safety and performance. As well as improving specifications across the board, it has re-tuned the suspension and steering and developed the 2.0-litre VVT-i petrol engine to meet Euro IV emissions standards, well ahead of their 2005 implementation. Yes, there is a new front grille and light clusters, but the improvements to the RAV4 go beyond simply making it look more stylish to create a vehicle that has greater market appeal than ever before.


The RAV4 range has been rationalised and made simpler with the introduction of a new grading system, XT2, XT3 and XT4 replacing the previous NV, NRG, GX and VX grades. The XT2 is the new entry-level model, available in three and five-door bodystyles. XT3 is available as a three and five-door, too, while the top-of-the-range XT4 is a five-door only.

All versions of the RAV4 are available with either Toyota’s 147bhp 2.0-litre VVT-i petrol engine – which now complies with Euro IV emissions standards – or the clean and fuel-efficient 2.0-litre D-4D common rail diesel unit. Where pricing is concerned, diesel versions carry a £1,000 premium over the equivalent petrol model.


In terms of safety, RAV4 breaks new ground as the first compact SUV to be equipped with SRS Curtain Shield airbags as standard. These have been introduced along with front side airbags on all versions. Driver and front passenger airbags and WIL (Whiplash Injury Lessening) remain standard equipment.

Active safety provision on the XT4 now includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRC) and Brake Assist (BA). All models are equipped with ABS and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution.


‘Superior Quality’ is the foundation stone of the RAV4’s product DNA, an element that is reflected in the detail changes to both the interior and exterior of the vehicle. At the front the lines have been freshened up with a new bumper section, grille, headlamp units and fog lights. At the rear the tail lamp clusters and rigid spare wheel cover are both new, too, and new-design five-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels have been introduced for XT3 and XT4 grades.

In the cabin a more exclusive ambience has been created by using darker trim and new metallic finishes for the restyled dashboard. Chrome doorhandles and fabric-covered sun visors with courtesy lights have been introduced on all models and on XT3 and XT4 versions audio controls have been added to the steering wheel and the gear shift knob and steering wheel have been trimmed with leather. The cabin has been rendered even quieter thanks to revisions to the RAV4’s soundproofing.

All RAV4s are fitted with air conditioning, the XT4 with automatic climate control. An intermittent/variable wiper system and electric rear windows (five-door versions) have been added to the specification of all models.


RAV4’s steering feel has been sharpened with a new gear ratio and mounting bushes and a more comfortable ride has been achieved with adjustments to the front suspension and shock absorber rates.


The 2004 model year RAV4 goes on sale in the UK on 1 October. Full details of on the road prices are given in the table below.



2.0 VVT-i XT2 three-door


2.0 D-4D XT2 three-door


2.0 VVT-i XT2 five-door


2.0 D-4D XT2 five-door


2.0 VVT-i XT3 three-door (auto)

£16,995 (£17,995)

2.0 D-4D XT3 three-door


2.0 VVT-i XT3 five-door (auto)

£18,495 (£19,495)

2.0 D-4D XT3 five-door


2.0 VVT-i XT4 five-door (auto)

£20,995 (£21,995)

2.0 D-4D XT4 five-door



23 Sep 2003
The Irish Defence Force has taken delivery of twenty Iveco 4x4 Cargos fitted with dual-purpose steel dropside bodies that can be transformed into a covered seating area for up to 18 soldiers.

The Cargo ML140E18W’s, finished in InfraRed Reflective (IRR) matt green, have been built to full NATO specification which includes blackout lighting, cab cupola hatch and towing pintles at the front and rear.

Each of the vehicles are based on the standard Iveco Cargo day cab ML140E18W chassis, which is a 14,000 kg GVW permanent four wheel drive on/off road commercial chassis.

The all steel dropside/flatbed bodies have been manufactured by Charlton Bodies Ltd of Dover, offering unrivalled levels of strength and durability. The body also features a removable canopy with a frame which can be set at two different heights, for use when the vehicle is being used to transport troops.

The vehicles will join 23 Iveco-Astra heavy-duty 8x8 trucks which have recently been supplied to the Irish Army and which are currently involved in the Irish Army’s peace-keeping activities in the Balkans.

Since 1991 the Irish Army has become increasingly involved in UN-led global peacekeeping operations, having deployed its forces to East Timor, Eritrea, Lebanon, Somalia and the former Yugoslavia.

The Cargo 4x4s are very similar in specification to 86 vehicles supplied to the armed forces in Slovenia during 2002 and are powered by a 5.9 litre tector engine which is capable of producing up to 182 hp at 2,700 rev/min, and a maximum of 570 Nm of torque between 1,200 and 2,000 rev/min. They are also fitted with an Iveco 2855.6 six-speed synchromesh gearbox and TC700 two-speed transfer box with centre differential lock.


18 Sep 2003

What Van? Magazine has awarded the Mitsubishi L200 Pick-up range with its prestigious ‘Best Pick-Up of the Year’ Gold Award, making this the 8th Gold award the vehicle has received since 1994. The Mitsubishi Shogun commercial van also picked up Gold for the second year running in the 4x4 van category.

The Mitsubishi L200 is a leading force in the Pick-up market, currently taking 46% of the total segment. Introduced to the UK market in 1987, with the double cab variant following in 1998, the L200 range provides customers with the most comprehensive choice of Pick-ups available on the British market.

‘We are delighted, but not at all surprised, that the L200 Pick-up has taken top honours again. We have an extensive range of models to suit all needs and with the recent introduction of the power upgrade to boost engine output, the L200 remains well ahead of its competitors,’ stated Lance Bradley, Sales and Marketing Director for Mitsubishi UK.

Neil McIntee Editor of What Van? Magazine commented: ‘On the roads the L200 handles surprisingly well – the responsive steering undoubtedly helps – and the new power upgrade gives the 4x4 more than enough punch to meet the needs to most drivers. With its range of commercial vehicles, Mitsubishi has launched a major attack on the more specialised end of the light commercial vehicle market.’

Using Mitsubishi’s Euro III 4-cylinder in-line 2.5 litre turbo-diesel engine, the L200 range has benefited twice over during 2003. First of all, service intervals have been extended to 9,000 miles lowering running costs and secondly, a power upgrade pack has been introduced to boost engine power. Priced at £595 (plus VAT and labour), the power upgrade pack boosts power from the standard 115 bhp at 4,000 rpm to 138 bhp at 4,100 rpm. Maximum torque also rises from 177 lbs. ft. at 2,000 rpm to 202 lbs. ft. at 3,100 rpm. As well as improving engine response, the upgrade results in a smoother drive at lower speeds and, as expected, is proving a very popular option with customers.

The L200 range starts with the two-wheel drive Single Cab priced at £10,299 (ex VAT) through to the four-wheel drive Single Cab at £12,699 and GL Double Cab variants from £14,299. The higher specification models start with the L200 4Life at £15,499 (ex VAT), the Animal at £17,499 and peak with the top of the range L200 Warrior, complete with leather seats at £17,999.

Using Mitsubishi’s Easy Select transmission, all Pick-ups come with engine immobilisers, driver’s and passenger’s airbags, rear cross members, side impact door bars and collapsible steering columns as standard features, with power steering also provided on all models.

In addition, reliability is assured through Mitsubishi’s tradition of after-sales service which provides a comprehensive warranty package including a three-year (100,000 mile) Unlimited Mileage Warranty, a three-year Pan European Recovery service and a six-year Anti-Corrosion Perforation warranty on all vehicles.


15 Sep 2003


After a brief absence from the UK, Rexton – manufactured by Korean car company SsangYong – heralds the return of the brand, and an all new 4x4 for customers looking for a stylish, yet infinitely practical and driveable off-road vehicle.

The Rexton is a five door SUV equally happy cruising urban streets and motorways, or mud-plugging as a work-horse or leisure vehicle. It can seat up to seven people, and has an electronic selectable 4WD system (full-time only on petrol model). The Rexton both looks the part and delivers true off-road performance with its two engine choices: a 2.9 litre turbo diesel or 3.2 litre petrol engine.

Engines and economy

The 2.9 litre turbo diesel engine option produces 118 bhp at 4,000 rpm and 184 lb.ft of torque at 2,400 rpm, and there is a choice of a five-speed manual or four speed automatic gearbox.

With a top speed of 98 mph, CO2 emissions range between 244 and 302 g/km depending on whether it is a manual or automatic gearbox, with the combined fuel consumption for the automatic achieving a creditable 25.0 mpg and 30.4 mpg for the manual.

The 3.2 litre petrol version produces 217 bhp at 6,000 rpm and 231 lb.ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. It has a top speed of 114 mph, CO2 emissions of 351 g/km and a combined fuel consumption of 18.8 mpg.

Both petrol and diesel versions have a towing capacity of 3,500 kg, and petrol models have full-time 4WD, whereas all diesel versions have a part-time system. The part-time 4WD system means you can shift ‘on the fly’ from 2-wheel drive high ratio to 4-wheel drive high ratio, and back at the push of a button. (To select 4-wheel drive low ratio, the vehicle must be stationary.)

Exterior styling

Styled by Ital of Italy, the Rexton succeeds in being definingly different with a strong, yet stylish, purposeful yet understated front end which will stand the test of time. Its flared wheel arches and integrated foglamps add to the look to give it a definite up-market feel so that the Rexton looks equally at home in the supermarket car park, outside a chic city restaurant or at the local point-to-point meeting.

Customers have plenty of choice with the new Rexton available in five metallic colours: Techno Silver, Red Rock, Safari Green, Metro Blue or Space Black.


Luxury is combined with good ergonomic design and practicality. A walnut effect dashboard, alloy wheels, roof rails and radio/CD player are standard on all models, with leather seats and privacy glass standard on SE and SX models.

The dashboard design, functional, with clear dials and few controls, is logically laid out in an entirely gimmick-free zone. There is a multitude of cubby-holes and storage to hold anything from CDs and maps, to spare change and sunglasses.

The driver’s door arm handle incorporates the controls for all of the power windows and door locks, a valuable safety feature if used as a family vehicle.

Climate control comes as standard on all models.


Driver and passenger airbags are standard across the range with side airbags as standard on the SE and SX models. ABS combines with ABD to provide safe braking, while other passive safety features include shock absorbing rear bumpers and seatbelts with front pre-tensioners.

In the event of an accident, the Rexton has been engineered to absorb the impact in any collision. It has a steel safety cell and reinforced cross members, and as an added precaution, the fuel tank is securely placed within the rigid ladder frame, reducing the risk of spillage.


Options include a push button flip-up rear glass window with rear spoiler and high level LED stop light, an electric sunroof and sports pack. The sports pack consists of side mouldings and steps.

Luxurious yet practical, the Rexton has a high level of specification and true ‘work-horseability’ with prices starting from just £18,800 on the road. The first shipment of vehicles has arrived and will be on sale at SYUK’s 30 UK dealerships by the end of September.


All Rexton models come with three years or 60,000 miles warranty, whichever comes first, a three year unlimited mileage paint finish warranty and six year anti-corrosion warranty. Service intervals for petrol models are every 12 months or 10,000 miles, and diesel, every six months or 6,000 miles. Insurance groups have been set at 13a for petrol and 11a for diesel models.


10 Sep 2003

Following the debut of the X3 Sports Activity Vehicle at the Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW today reveals details of engine line-up, specifications and prices for the UK market.

At launch in spring 2004, the X3 will be available with either 3.0 or 2.5-litre petrol engines. Priced at £32,015 on-the-road, the 3.0i SE promises a maximum 231 bhp, taking it from 0-62 mph in 8.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 130 mph, or 137 mph for the 3.0i Sport model* which also debuts at launch. An impressive 300 Nm torque is achieved at 3,500 rpm with drive delivered through a standard 5-speed automatic gearbox. A manual gearbox will not be available on X3 3.0i models.

Joining the 3.0-litre launch models will be the 2.5i SE, priced at £28,615 on-the-road, together with the 2.5i Sport. Powered by BMW’s award-winning192 bhp six cylinder engine, the 2.5i develops 245 Nm of torque at 3,500 rpm. Its 6-speed manual box comes as standard; an optional 5-speed automatic is also available. Additional performance figures for the X3 2.5i SE and Sport will be confirmed closer to launch.

BMW managing director Jim O’Donnell commented: ‘The new X3 represents the latest in a line of segment-defining vehicles from BMW. It is the first premium Sports Activity Vehicle in the compact/mid-size sector, and its appeal is already reflected in advance orders for much of next year’s allocation – a full eight months before the UK launch. I expect the X3 to be another benchmark to which our competitors aspire.’

Sure footed

All models in the X3 range feature BMW’s brand new four-wheel drive system, xDrive. Setting new standards in agility for four-wheel-drive, xDrive distributes drive to the axle which most needs it in an instant, improving stability, driving pleasure and safety. Fully variable, the system uses an electrically activated multiple-plate clutch. This means it can respond more quickly than more conventional systems, which require the build-up of hydraulic pressure to change drive distribution.

In most circumstances xDrive is also able to intervene before any serious loss of traction takes place, because it is constantly processing vehicle data from Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) sensors. These measure individual wheel speed, steering angle, lateral acceleration and yaw rates and give xDrive its ‘intelligence’, allowing it to pre-empt problems rather than merely reacting to situations where traction is lost.

As the multiple-plate clutch allows front and rear axles to be completely disconnected, xDrive can also provide 100 per cent drive to the rear axle.

Helmut Riedl, Chassis Director BMW Group added: ‘xDrive is the perfect system for maximising the driving enjoyment of BMW’s Sports Activity Vehicles. Through its variable distribution of drive, front-to-rear, it offers intelligent power as an antidote to loss of control, rather than braking or power reduction via DSC. xDrive keeps the fun in driving.’


Naturally DSC still functions, but ‘intelligent’ xDrive means it is needed less frequently. While xDrive ensures optimum grip by channelling drive forces axle-to-axle, DSC acts on individual wheels only where one starts to slip, cutting power and, if necessary, applying brakes.

An additional function of DSC is Trailer Stability Control (TSC), which comes as standard with factory fitted tow bars. TSC monitors any pendulum effect, applying brakes if DSC detects undue yaw movement characterised by the vehicle being overly-influenced by its trailer.

On steep downhill gradients Hill Descent Control (HDC) can be activated via a dashboard mounted button, slowing the vehicle automatically to programmed speeds between three and 16 mph, stabilizing it and reducing the risk of wheel locking.

Well equipped

As well as impressive levels of standard equipment, which includes automatic air conditioning and cruise control, the X3 comes with a range of options to accompany the active lifestyles of its owners.

These include a choice of either Business or Professional navigation system, the Professional system featuring map guidance within a dedicated 16:9 colour widescreen monitor. Complementing the X3’s capacious interior – and cavernous 480-litre boot – is an optional Panorama Roof, providing more light and better views for passengers.

Adaptive Headlights can also be specified, making night driving safer and easier. These respond to steering inputs and swivel by up to 15 degrees, illuminating more of the road ahead as well as any potential hazards.

Four new exterior colours complete the picture - Flamenco Red, Highland Green, Mocha Brown and Blue Water. These are complemented by new seat options including Leather Ambiente in Grey, Black, Terracotta, Grey Blue and light Sand Beige. Interior trim options feature slate grey, aluminium buffed finish and fine wood trims in light birch grain and dark maple wood.

Note to editors:

* The high-speed set-up is standard on X3 Sport models. As well as sports seats for driver and front passenger, leather sports steering wheel, individual high-gloss satin chrome and anthracite head lining, its 18" alloy wheels come with VR rated tyres. This means the top speed on the 3.0i, ordinarily electronically limited to 130 mph for standard HR rated X3 tyres, is de-limited to the car’s natural top speed of 137 mph.

Remarks Delivered by Matthew Taylor, Managing Director, Land Rover

9 Sep 2003
Extract from his speach at IAA 60th International Motor Show.

Well at Land Rover we have also been extremely busy. This morning, I’d like to take you through our success with the new Range Rover, explain our new vehicle here at Frankfurt – the new 2004 Freelander – and share with you my vision of where Land Rover is heading.

It’s been a year-and-a-half since a Land Rover managing director addressed the world’s press. The last time was when Bob Dover, now chairman and CEO, spoke to you in Detroit in 2002. That was on the eve of the launch of the new Range Rover. Since then, a great deal has happened. Most notably, the new Range Rover has gone on to be an international success. This year, 2003, will be the best year for Range Rover sales worldwide. Ever. In its 33 year history.

We’ll sell over 31,000 vehicles – despite mounting competition and despite challenging economic conditions in many major markets. In the UK, it is not just the best selling luxury 4x4 – easily – but also comprehensively outsells all rival luxury saloons. In the US, its biggest market, Range Rover is also heading for a record year. The previous best, incidentally, was last year – 2002 – a reflection of the huge progress being made by Land Rover North America.

The new Range Rover has met, or exceeded, sales targets in every market. And, as it’s sold in over 120 countries worldwide, that is some achievement. And it is the Range Rover, even more than the original Land Rover, that is now the inspiration for this company’s future. All the great attributes of the early Land Rover – its strength, its off-road ability, the sense of adventure it conjures, its supremacy – are core Land Rover strengths that will be nurtured and expanded. But the Range Rover is our halo vehicle, which will guide and inspire upcoming new models. That is why the 2003 Discovery, launched a year ago, picked up key design characteristics and features from the Range Rover.

Its effect on its little brother, the new 2004 Freelander, which makes its world debut at today’s Frankfurt Show, is also now obvious. New twin-pocket lamp headlights, a new face, a new tail, and a new interior. Much more premium, much more stylish, much more Range Rover…. Much more Land Rover. It’s worth, briefly, reflecting on Freelander's success. It was the world’s first premium compact SUV and defined a whole new segment. Here is a 4x4 that is superb off-road and tough and capable in extreme conditions – and as someone who has enjoyed crossing rivers with the water at bonnet level, and having waded through mud that was wheel deep - I can personally vouch for its extraordinary dexterity, Yet the Freelander, compact, nimble and great on-road is also ideally suited to an urban lifestyle. It is a true crossover vehicle, and has been since well before that expression became fashionable. For most of its life it has been the best-selling SUV overall in Europe. It is still overall SUV market leader – easily – in the UK. In the US, sales started in late 2001. Last year, 15,000 Freelanders were sold, helping to increase Land Rover’s sales in the world’s biggest vehicle market by 52 percent.

So the revised 2004 Freelander will build on very solid foundations. The new 2004 Freelander also sees the introduction of the Freelander Sport. It has lowered, firmer suspension, and is the sportiest handling Freelander there has ever been. There’s one on display here on the Land Rover stand, and I’d urge you to have a look. So this is where we are today – a really exciting time for Land Rover. But for me, I get even more excited when I look to what's happening over the next few years.

Looking ahead to next year and things really start to get busy. Our investment in Solihull and our investment in an all-new dedicated Land Rover platform will really start to take shape and become reality. This substantial investment is a sure sign of the confidence that we all have in the bright future of our company.

But what does that future look like? Well, indulge me for a moment while I give you a glimpse of a design rendering that will inspire our future product line-up and also gives a strong hint of one of our future models. Don't look away…. I can't reveal any details at this stage, that's for next year but I can assure you this will be one of the most exciting Land Rover vehicles ever to take a show podium. It will enter a new sector for Land Rover, and will help drive growth and the strength of our business. All our new models will feature an unrivalled span of capability in their classes – best in class off-road but absolutely great on-road – the key definition, we believe, of a Land Rover vehicle. Clearly, we are in for a very busy next couple of years. The brilliant Range Rover, a worldwide success story for Land Rover, was and is truly just the beginning…

4x4news.co.uk storming along


9 Sep 2003

A 4x4 concept that puts the fun into function

At a glance

• Great off-road experience and on-road performance

• Sporting performance and image

• Second generation ALL-Mode 4x4 system

• Electronic analysis of traction modes

• Rear-view cameras

• Effortless interior versatility

• LED lighting


"Dunehawk is the family SUV of the future. It has the roominess and versatility of an MPV mixed with all the authentic 4x4 ability that you would expect from a Nissan. Dunehawk is where the world of MPV and SUV meet."

Takeshi Yamazaki, Product Chief Designer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

Adventure with practicality

The Dunehawk is Nissan's solution to matching full MPV versatility with the dynamic attributes of a genuine SUV. Combining eye-catching lines with thoughtful features and genuine practicality, Dunehawk paves the way for Nissan’s 4x4 future.

Nimble performance

A tough, modern and innovative seven-seater SUV, it’s large enough for the entire family and more than capable off-road, yet remains a strong and nimble performer on-road.

Genuine off-road ability

Dunehawk has genuine off-road ability thanks to its rugged chassis, ground clearance and advanced, electronically controlled ALL-Mode 4x4 system. It also has an exceptionally roomy interior full of useful features, making it perfect for active families who need a versatile car to fit in with their hobbies. Whether it’s a family trip away sailing, mountain biking, horse riding or simply exploring, Dunehawk would make the ideal companion: the perfect sports utility vehicle (SUV).

Ladder frame chassis

The rugged ladder frame chassis, short front and rear overhangs and dramatic 20-inch wheels allow Dunehawk to cross difficult terrain with ease. The ladder frame also provides the additional strength and rigidity which is essential for towing performance – an important requirement for family-oriented activities. But Dunehawk has far greater depth than a typical 4x4.

Taking its lead from the highly acclaimed Nissan X-TRAIL, Dunehawk is just as at home on road as it is off the beaten track. It has been designed to perform and handle as well as a conventional car and has a luxuriously comfortable interior.

Takeshi Yamazaki, creator of Dunehawk, explains: "Active families want more from their cars these days and we see this need developing into a combination of SUV performance and MPV versatility. Dunehawk takes both values one step further. It creates a new concept which adapts perfectly to the demands of families of the future."

Designed for strength

Dunehawk's bold and imposing design features smooth surfaces with iconic, angled accents. The body adopts a cylindrical design theme, with gently curving body sides that are narrower at roof and chassis level and wider at the body belt-line. This design solution helps create a feeling of strength while giving greater interior width where it’s needed most – at elbow level.

The cylindrical theme is repeated at the tailgate, on the extended wheel arch blisters and on interior fittings.

Contrasts can be found in the striking side window graphic, with its heavily angled C-pillar separating the deeper door glass from the shallower rear window, and in the iconic Nissan 4x4 front grille design with its ‘balanced angle strut’ motif which is set off by the confident Nissan logo.

Rear view cameras

There are neither door handles nor door mirrors to disrupt the Dunehawk’s surfaces. The doors are opened electrically by brushing a pad on the flanks of the Dunehawk, while rear facing cameras with pop up screens at either end of the dashboard take care of what’s happening behind.

New generation N-Form

Inside, the cockpit is dominated by an angular theme with a ‘T-bone’ centre console which houses all the vital driving information systems, including a screen showing critical real-time traction information via sensors on all four wheels and within the ALL-Mode 4x4 system. Nissan’s pioneering interactive N-Form dashboard has also been adopted and reveals how it could function in the future.

The cylindrical dashboard incorporates a compass, altimeter and inclinometer – all highly useful instruments for serious off-road work.

Overhead luggage locker

Practical elements include ample storage space with deep bins on the doors and side panels as well as an aircraft-style overhead console which runs centrally for the full length of the roof and incorporates luggage lockers.

Glazed roof

On either side of the console, the roof is glazed to help create an airy interior ambience – a styling feature reminiscent of Nissan’s C-MPV Evalia concept car, shown at the Geneva show earlier this year. The console also houses ventilation outlets and a DVD screen for rear seat entertainment.

Load space for two bikes

Ingress is straightforward thanks to doors that open to a full 90 degrees, while access to the rearmost seats is eased by the middle row which slides forward out of the way. All the passenger seats fold completely flat to create an intrusion-free load bay which is long and tall enough to hold two mountain bikes upright. With the front wheels removed, the bike forks can be securely locked into special fixings found on the back of the middle row of seats, while the rear wheel is strapped into a special shoe neatly integrated into the boot floor.

MPV Versatility

For added convenience and versatility, Dunehawk has a fully flexible seating arrangement. All seven seats can be folded electrically by remote control using a push button pad, to lower, fold flat or raise the seats individually or collectively. All the seats have full three point harnesses for maximum family safety.

Quality Interior

Dunehawk’s interior takes a quality approach. Cream leather panels and contoured seats contrast with covered ‘active pad’ mid brown leather panels to signify human contact areas such as the steering wheel while the dark brown hard wearing carpet is developed to withstand all of the wear of outdoor activities. Discreet waterfall lighting cascades from the roof, from underneath the door fittings and from under the rear storage bins to bathe the interior with a subtle ambient glow.

Integrated spot lights

All the exterior lighting is by LED, including the pair of powerful spotlights incorporated into the leading edge of each integral roof rail: the latter feature was pioneered on the original X-TRAIL show car and has now been adopted by the production version, too.

The roof rails are echoed by the side steps which also integrate LED illumination. As well as adding balance and strength to Dunehawk’s profile, the side steps are above all for practicality: giving both easy ingress to the interior and facilitating the loading of luggage or equipment onto the roof.

Adventurous heart

"Dunehawk is perhaps the ultimate SUV. It’s exciting to drive on-road and more than capable off-road, too. There’s as much room as in an MPV for the complete family and it has an adventurous heart," said Mr Yamazaki.

Dunehawk: Specifications & Equipment


Number of seats


Overall Length



Overall Width









Wheel size



Ramp angle



Departure angle



Approach angle



Ground clearance




ALL-Mode 4x4


Fold flat flexible seating system (motorised)

Hideaway 3rd seat row

Overhead centre console

Dual vertical sunroof

Advanced N-Form system centralising all on board technology

Compass, altimeter, inclinometer

Rear view camera system

Run-flat tyres

Roof rails with integrated lights

LED lighting system



  • Fresh exterior look, adopting the distinctive Range Rover design cues
  • Upgraded interior, including new look facia, more comfortable seats and new trim colours and materials
  • New Sport derivative, optimised for on-road driving performance (European markets only) – the sportiest Land Rover ever
  • Choice of three engines and three- or five-door body styles
  • Full-time 4x4, plus high-tech electronic driving aids such as Hill Descent Control and Electronic Traction Control
  • Premium compact 4x4, nimble and practical on-road with uncompromised off-road ability

Land Rover’s award-winning Freelander has been comprehensively improved and upgraded for 2004. The changes include a new interior and major external revisions, including new face and tail. There is also an additional derivative, for European markets, the Freelander Sport, the sharpest handling and sportiest Land Rover production model ever. "As well as being an international best-seller, the Freelander also invented a new segment – the compact premium 4x4 sector," said Land Rover’s managing director, Matthew Taylor. "The latest changes are designed to improve the premium nature of the Freelander, and make it an even more desirable and successful vehicle."

The most obvious enhancements are to the styling. The front bumper, headlamps and front grille are brand new, and adopt the distinctive family face pioneered by the new Range Rover. The new, twin-pocket clear lens headlamps are similar to those of the Freelander’s big brother, the Range Rover, and provide a higher light intensity – improved by 70 per cent. The front bumpers are restyled and are now body coloured. The rear bumper is also now body coloured, and the tail lamps have been repositioned higher on the bumper, improving their visibility and reducing the likelihood of them being obscured by road grime or off-roading dust.

The cabin of the 2004 Freelander has been comprehensively restyled, to improve comfort and the feeling of luxury. "We’ve paid particular attention to the interior," said Matthew Taylor. "It’s where our customers spend most of their time with the car and the area where we knew there was room for improvement. Premium carbuyers expect premium cabins, and we are confident they will be impressed with the new Freelander’s interior." There is a new facia, new instruments, new switchgear, new door trims and new seats on most models, that offer better body and under-thigh comfort, plus new upholstery fabrics. The cabin doesn’t just look better. The feel of the materials has also been greatly improved.

There continues to be two body styles on offer: a three-door version, featuring a detachable hardback or fold-up softback, and a five-door. As before, there is a choice of three engines. The two engines first unveiled in the 2001 Freelander are carried over: the 2.5-litre petrol V6 and the award-winning 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel. The original 1.8-litre lightweight four-cylinder petrol engine also continues as the entry level option.

For Europe, there is also a new Freelander model, the Sport. It rides on new 18-inch alloy wheels and uses lowered and firmer suspension to reduce roll and improve driver feedback. The result is more responsive driving behaviour on tarmac, and on smooth dirt or gravel roads.

The 2004 Freelander remains the king of off-roading among compact 4x4s. Its full-time four-wheel drive and a host of high-tech electronic systems, such as Hill Descent Control and Electronic Traction Control, allow the Freelander to wade through water, climb and descend slippery slopes, and give superb driver control when the going gets tough.

"The Freelander’s off-road engineering translates into real on-road driving benefits too," said Matthew Taylor. "Its higher, ‘command’ driving position allows driver and passengers to see more, and the full-time 4x4 system plus electronic controls offer more security when conditions turn treacherous – in snow, heavy rain or when hitting slippery patches on tarmac. "The Freelander offers the traditional benefits of a premium 4x4, but with the nimbleness and practicality of a premium car. "Most important, it comes from Land Rover. We only make 4x4s. This engineering pedigree, we believe, gives the Freelander a big advantage over rivals from conventional car makers, whose 4x4s are usually full of compromises."


The 2004 Freelander in detail – fresh cabin, new styling and other improvements, plus new Sport model

The main changes to the new 2004 Freelander are a new interior and major design improvements to the nose and tail of the vehicle. There is also a brand new Freelander model, the Sport, the sharpest handling and sportiest Land Rover production model ever. "The goal for the 2004 Freelander was to improve the premium feel of the vehicle, and to introduce the latest Land Rover family look, as seen on the new Range Rover and 2003 Discovery," said Land Rover’s managing director Matthew Taylor.

The Range Rover’s twin-pocket style headlamps appear on the Freelander for the first time. They not only look more modern, but also offer a substantially higher light intensity – improved by 70 per cent. The light is also ‘whiter’ and better spread. There is a new mesh grille and the restyled front bumpers are now body coloured – they were previously black – and incorporate integral fog lamps on certain models. The redesigned front bumper does not affect the Freelander’s class-leading approach angles when off-roading.

As before, key mechanicals are tucked safely out of the way. For example, the Freelander’s steering rack is mounted high on the bulkhead, unlike that on most rivals, keeping it well away from off-road dangers. The front wings are made from dent-resistant thermoplastic, which can shrug off low speed bumps, a good example of Land Rover’s innate understanding of the special needs of the 4x4 market.

The Land Rover badging on the leading edge of the bonnet is also new, reflecting the same style used on the Discovery and new Range Rover. The rear bumpers of the new 2004 Freelander are redesigned. They are now body coloured, rather than the black of the outgoing model. The tail lamps are new too and now positioned higher on the rear bumper, improving visibility for following traffic. Their greater height also means they’re less likely to pick up on-road grime or off-road dust or mud. The badging on the rear door is also updated. As before, the 2004 Freelander has a ‘drop window’ function on the key fob, particularly useful for loading items into the boot without having to open the rear door.

The Freelander has always been an easy vehicle to park, with its deep windows, wheel-at-each-corner stance and upright bearing. Now to improve parking ease even further, Park Distance Control is being offered for the first time.

A new style of 18-inch alloy wheel is now available, standard on the Sport model. Altogether, there is now a choice of nine different alloy wheels.

Three new exterior colours are offered: Giverny Green, which was first shown on the new Range Rover, Helsinki Blue (replacing Icelandic Blue) and Maya Gold (replacing White Gold). Thirteen exterior colours are available, including micatallic, metallic and solid finishes. Inside, the Freelander has been substantially redesigned.

"We’ve aimed to give the Freelander the classiest cabin in the compact 4x4 market," said Land Rover’s director of design, Geoff Upex. "Trim materials are improved, including the use of leather upholstery and metallic finishes. The whole styling approach was to produce a cabin that looked understated but very high class. The distinctive horizontal and vertical planes, as seen in the Range Rover, are carried onto the Freelander. That is now part of Land Rover’s cabin design DNA." The new cabin offers greater comfort, convenience, style, safety and quality. A new style of seat is used across most of the range, offering improved body and under-thigh support.

The facia is new, as is the instrumentation. The switchgear is improved and the door trim is new – although the practical and vast door map pocket with bottle strap has been retained. The electric window lift switches are now positioned in the door trim on the five-door models. A passenger airbag is now standard on all Freelander versions. The centre console is new, as are the larger cup holders mounted in the centre of the facia.

In addition to black, two new interior colours are now available: Alpaca Beige and Light Tundra. There is the choice of cloth, alcantara and perforated leather upholsteries. The new Sport model gets a new technical fabric called Black Mogul, which looks sporty and has a special ‘grippy’ surface, ideal for spirited driving.

The in-car entertainment system has been much improved. A single-slot CD player is standard in most markets, as are six speakers. A six CD autochanger is used on the top-range derivatives, with premium, nine-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system. Satellite navigation is also available.

The new Freelander Sport uses standard 18-inch wheels, and has lowered suspension, complemented by firmer springs and revised dampers.

The Freelander was completely re-engineered for the 2001 model year, when new engines, transmissions and numerous quality improvements were announced. Over 70 per cent of the vehicle was new. Since then, there have been further mechanical improvements, including improved fuel range (in petrol guise) thanks to a bigger tank capacity, and improved heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Revised windscreen wipers and rear seat latching are amongst the detail improvements for 2004.

There are three engines offered: the 2.5-litre quad-cam 24-valve V6, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel and the 1.8-litre all-aluminium twin-cam 16-valve four-cylinder petrol. The V6 and turbodiesel were both new when unveiled for the 2001 model year. Gearboxes comprise a five-speed electronically controlled automatic and a five-speed manual gearbox (depending on engine). The auto box has CommandShift manual control, for extra enjoyment, performance and off-road control. As before, the Freelander comes in two body styles: three-door featuring a removable hardback or fold-up softback – unique in its class – and five-door.

Anti-lock brakes, power steering and a range of electronic traction controls are all standard. These include Land Rover’s patented and award-winning Hill Descent Control (HDC) that automatically moderates speed down the slipperiest slope, ensuring that the driver stays in control. Electronic Traction Control (ETC) works in conjunction with the four-wheel drive. If a wheel should spin, the power is instantly diverted to the wheel that still has grip, helping the driver to move away.

The brakes are moderated by Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), a computer-controlled system which ensures that braking is automatically applied to maximum effect. It helps cut stopping distances, boosting safety. Unlike many rivals, the Freelander’s 4x4 drive operates full-time. So all-wheel drive security is constantly there to help and protect, whenever the driver needs it.

Even the automatic gearbox naturally senses the conditions, modifying its gear change patterns on steep hills (‘mountain mode’) or going down precipitous drops (‘descent mode’). The long-articulation fully independent suspension is also much tougher than most rivals’ and gives superb stability on rough roads or tracks.

The Freelander excells at towing a boat or caravan – or anything else. It has so much dynamic capability that its two-tonne towing capacity is up to three times the level of certain 4x4 rivals. "The toughness and strength of the Freelander is evident in many ways beyond its towing capacity,’ said Land Rover’s managing director, Matthew Taylor. "It is extraordinarily good off-road, and this gives it a number of on-road advantages over rivals, and over conventional two-wheel drive cars. Its full-time 4x4 is a boon when it rains or snows, or when the tarmac roads gets slippery due to mud, muck or oil. The high ‘command’ driving position of Freelander, also confers all sorts of safety advantages, both in town and in the country. A driver can see over parked cars, over hedges, and over spray coming off car tyres on a sodden motorway."


The new 2004 Freelander Sport is the sharpest handling and sportiest looking Land Rover production model ever with extensively retuned suspension. It is easily recognised by its Sport badging and its larger 18-inch alloy wheels. Land Rover’s engineers have further developed the Freelander's already acclaimed on-road ride and handling for the new model. Their brief was to produce the sharpest handling Freelander in the range, one that would hug the ground harder, have a lower centre of gravity and reward spirited driving.

Revised road springs are some 30 per cent firmer at both front and rear, new dampers are also firmer and ride height is reduced by 30 mm. With 18-inch wheels and 235/50 profile tyres, the Freelander Sport has reduced body roll and body ‘float’ when compared to the standard car. "The basic suspension of the Freelander makes a superb platform for the development of a Sport version," said Keith Newman, chief programme engineer for Freelander.

"It’s a natural extension of the Freelander range. With its fully independent suspension, minimal body overhangs and low centre of gravity, it dosen’t roll and lean like competitive 4x4s. Dropping the body by a further 30mm merely improves an already excellent set-up."

A new upholstery style is also offered: Black Mogul. This ‘technical’ finish looks youthful and is extremely hard wearing. It also has a non-slip finish, ideal for spirited driving.

The Sport model is available a choice of two engines – 2.0-litre common rail direct injection four-cylinder turbodiesel, or 2.5-litre 24-valve quad-cam all aluminium V6 petrol. It’s available with five-speed automatic or manual transmissions, and as a three-door or five-door.

Despite the lowered body, the Sport is still an extremely capable vehicle on loose surfaces. "On smooth dirt or gravel surfaces, the Sport generally handles better than a normal Freelander," said the manager of the Land Rover Experience, David Sneath. "It is absolutely superb on ‘rally style’ roads, as it is on winding tarmac roads. So the Freelander range now offers customers a choice; Sport for those who prioritise sporty on-road handling and the standard car for those owners who prefer more all-round ability and whose off-road adventures require maximum ground clearance."

The Sport is available in European markets only. Like all new 2004 Freelanders, it is extremely well equipped. Standard features include single CD player with six speakers, front fog lamps, air-conditioning, leather-covered steering wheel, remote ICE controls, driver and passenger air bags, ABS plus traction control, Hill Descent Control (HDC) and headlamp levelling.

"The Freelander has long attracted youthful, sports-minded buyers," said Land Rover’s managing director Matthew Taylor. "The Sport is an exciting addition to the range. It will attract those who particularly value sharp, sporty on-road handling, and youthful style."


The Land Rover Freelander is the best off-roader in its class. No other premium compact 4x4 can go where a Freelander can. Its off-road ability is the result of Land Rover’s unmatched expertise in 4x4 technology. The company that created the Defender, the Range Rover and the Discovery, is just as proud of the Freelander’s go-anywhere skills.

It has to be able to climb, and descend, slopes that would have most rivals slipping and sliding. It has to be able to drive, without slithering or tipping, on a 30-degree side slope.

It has to have an unusually strong body shell, so that at maximum wheel articulation the doors can open and shut easily. Most rivals’ bodies twist so much that the doors won’t open at all. This body strength translates into great strength and durability, in tough off-road conditions.

"When people drive Freelander off-road for the first time, their reaction is usually the same," says the manager of the Land Rover Experience, David Sneath. "They are amazed. They can’t believe that a small and nimble car-like 4x4 can do what a Freelander can."

Sneath cites the Freelander’s full-time 4x4 – the torque to the rear wheels varies, depending on traction needs – and the advanced electronics as being two of the keys to the vehicle’s extraordinary ability to scale obstacles that leave its competitors floundering.

"The Electronic Traction Control and Hill Descent Control play a big part. The ETC works so well with the full time 4x4 – they’re perfect partners, optimising the available traction. The Land Rover-patented Hill Descent Control greatly helps the vehicle’s ability safely to descend slippery slopes. It not only increases the vehicle’s capability, but also boosts the confidence of the driver.

"The vehicle is also light, and that helps its ability to climb steep and slippery slopes. The enormous articulation of the wheels plays its part too. It helps the Freelander clamber over rocks, bumps and holes."

Land Rover’s off-road expertise shows in so many ways. There is a rugged alloy undertray, which protects the underside of the vehicle, including the engine sump. The rack-and-pinion steering is mounted high on the bulkhead – out of the way of rocks and branches that could damage the rack or steering arms on lesser 4x4s. The steering arms come off the centre of the rack, rather than the ends. The arms are therefore longer and can articulate better, helping wheel articulation and off-road ability.

The suspension components are all well shielded from off-road obstacles – reducing the chance of damage on severe terrain. Most rival 4x4s are far more likely to bend suspension parts. What’s more, the Freelander’s suspension is also intrinsically tougher in the first place. A quick glance at a Freelander damper, and that of most rivals, is all that’s needed to demonstrate this. Even certain body parts are resilient to damage. The front wings are made from thermoplastic, for example, allowing them to shrug off minor scrapes and remain unmarked.

Water won’t often stop a Freelander, either. The ECUs are sealed and all major electronic nerve centres and engine air intakes are sited as high as possible. The Freelander can typically wade through 40cm high water – that’s deeper than most streams. "In emergencies, it can usually cope with even more," says Sneath. "But we wouldn’t recommend that every day. In deep water, some real off-roading skill is needed. Drive too fast for instance and the bow wave will sweep over the bonnet, and even the Freelander doesn’t like that. Ultimately, it is still a car not a boat!


The Land Rover Freelander is sold in more than 140 countries worldwide and, for most of its life, has been the best selling SUV in Europe. From 1998 to 2001 it topped the overall SUV sales charts in Europe, and was also number one in most of the big individual European markets – Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Spain. In 2002, it narrowly lost the overall European crown to the new Toyota RAV-4.

The Freelander still sells strongly throughout Europe, and easily remains the SUV leader in the UK. UK sales in 2001 and 2002 were virtually identical (24,811 in 2001, 24,008 in 2002), and 2003 sales also look like being similar. "The Freelander quickly went to number one in Europe, and stayed there comfortably despite the best efforts of rival makers," said Land Rover’s managing director Matthew Taylor. "It invented the compact premium 4x4 market, so its runaway success is perhaps not surprising. Sales have peaked in some markets – but you would expect that from a product first launched in 1997, and one that has faced enormous competitive pressures. The changes we are introducing for 2004 address the key areas for improvement, as defined by our customers. So we’re confident of holding our own in this ever more competitive segment.

"The Freelander also sits in a slightly different market from its rivals. It is more upmarket, a more premium vehicle. Now that the 4x4 market has exploded, and become more mainstream, it is unrealistic to expect a premium maker to head it. Yet we want to lead in our own very strong niche. That is our goal."

Outside Europe, the Freelander’s biggest market is the USA, where sales commenced in late 2001. For 2002, 15,000 Freelanders were sold – helping to increase Land Rover’s sales in the world’s biggest vehicle market by 52 per cent. In Japan, Freelander sales started in 2001, and 1,600 vehicles were sold that year, tripling Land Rover’s sales there.

In the USA and Japan, only the V6 model is available. Worldwide, however, the acclaimed Td4 diesel model accounts for 55 per cent of sales. It dominates European sales. The V6 version accounts for 30 per cent of sales, and the 1.8 four-cylinder petrol 15 per cent. On the eve of the launch of the new and improved 2004 Freelander, more than 370,000 Freelanders have been sold worldwide.


5 September 2003
The Gloucestershire Ambulance Service has just taken the delivery of the Mitsubishi Shogun Ambulance. The 3.2 DI-D long wheel base Shogun model underwent an extensive conversion process which was carried out by the conversion company ATT Papworth. Now that the process is complete, Mitsubishi is equipped to offer other Ambulance Services in the U.K a ready-made and highly effective addition to their rescue fleets.

Toby Marshall the Fleet Manager at Mitsubishi said, ‘ We are very pleased with the Shogun Ambulance, this is the first we have converted, and now one has been created we can easily convert more. We worked alongside the Gloucestershire Ambulance Service to make sure the conversions met their requirements in order for them to use the Shogun Ambulance in their day-to-day service to the public. The off-road capabilities, rear space and performance of the Shogun make it an exceptional Ambulance’.

The Shogun’s off-road performance is enhanced by long suspension travel, while both the front and rear suspension are attached to sub-frames to prevent vibrations from being transmitted through the bodyshell to aid patients comfort over rough and uneven terrains. Large window areas provide excellent driver and passenger visibility helping ambulance drivers as they face call outs 365 days of the year in all weather conditions, across different terrains, and at any time in the night or day.

The rugged 4x4 Ambulance has been converted to give extensive storage space, and medical staff can gain access by the side doors or the large rear door allowing easy accessibility when putting the stretcher and patient into the Ambulance. With the stretcher in place, space has been created for a member of medical staff to be with the patient with plenty of room for medical attention.

The Shogun’s ABS system has a 4-sensor, 4-channel system which means each brake works independently improving stability, especially when cornering which is essential in an emergency.

The Mitsubishi Shogun Ambulance is equipped with emergency blue lights, siren and flashing headlamps as well as full ambulance livery.


The Leicestershire Constabulary has purchased four Mitsubishi Shoguns to replace its existing fleet of 4x4 vehicles. The long-wheel-base 3.2 litre Turbo Diesel engine model was selected above all others in its class to join the force and undertake motorway patrol duties within the county.

Having recently undergone compliance testing by the National Association of Police Fleet Mangers, the Mitsubishi Shogun surpassed the standard required for it to be come an approved 4x4 classification Police vehicle.

Peter Ward, Chairman of the NAPFM and Fleet Manager of the Leicestershire Constabulary, was impressed with the Shogun’s ability in testing for the county’s fleet:

"Our choice of vehicle is very important. It has to comply with strict criteria which includes; performance, handling, economy, reliability, comfort, cost and its all round ability to do the job. The Mitsubishi Shogun ably complies with all of these requirements and having been evaluated against other 4x4s, was chosen as the most suitable vehicle fort he force’s motorway patrol units."

Mr. Ward explained that the Shogun offers good value for money and went on to outline its other advantages:

"The diesel engine will provide low running costs, plus it delivers the mid range torque and power that is required. Mitsubishi has a good reputation for reliability and by offering us a three year unlimited mileage warranty shows it has confidence in its products."

The procuring of the Shoguns also marks the first time police have chosen a motorway patrol 4x4 vehicle with an automatic gearbox, Mitsubishi’s optional manual-shift automatic transmission impressing during the tests.

Three of the four Shoguns will feature full Police livery and be fitted with specialist lighting and emergency equipment, the installation of these items assisted by the LWB model’s load carrying capacity.

In addition to regular motorway patrol duties, the vehicles will be assigned to attend incidents quickly and effectively. When the need arises they will also be required to remove obstructions from the carriageway, a task that will utilise the Shoguns impressive towing ability.


BRENTWOOD, 29 August, 2003 A special edition Ford Ranger, called Thunder, is about to storm into Britain. Priced at £17,150, it comes with moody black and silver paintwork, spot lamps and Thunder decals. It is also the first Ford Ranger to have a full leather interior.

Based on the Ranger XLT, only 750 Ranger Thunder models will go on sale from September 1st. They will have unique black and silver paintwork, not normally available on the Ford pick-up range, complemented by a charcoal grey leather interior. The spot lamps in the imposing front bumper add to the sophisticated look.

"The pick-up market in Britain is changing and customers are looking for style and quality as well as functionality. That's why we've created Thunder. It's a style statement for successful business people with a 'go anywhere, do anything' lifestyle," said Gary Whittam, commercial vehicles director, Ford of Britain.

All Ford Rangers are powered by Ford's acclaimed Duratorq WLT 2.5-litre, 12-valve turbo diesel engine that produces 109 PS at 3500 rpm and a robust 226 Nm at 2000rpm. Load box dimensions for Ranger Thunder are best-in-class. This means that dirty, wet or cumbersome loads can be kept separate from the passenger cabin, preserving the car-like appearance of the cab interior.

The gross payload of Ranger Thunder is highly competitive at 1,180kg. It also has a great towing capacity of 2,800 kg.

Ranger is at home on road, but really comes into its own off-road. Ranger is engineered to tackle a wide variety of difficult terrain. In unladen four-wheel drive form, it can cope with gradients with an angle of approach up to 35o and a departure angle up to 28o, and it has a ‘ramp break-over’ angle of 24o. Maximum river fording depth for Ranger Thunder is 450 mm.

A Lada by any other name. . .

6th Russian International Autosalon
Chris Wright

Interchange News Agency
26 Aug 2003
THE cheap and cheerful Lada Niva off-roader could make a comeback on British roads, but wearing a very different badge. Could it be a Daewoo? Or might it be a Chevy?
The new Niva has been developed and built by a joint venture between Avtovaz, which makes Ladas, and American giant General Motors. It went on sale at the end of last year in Russia with a Chevrolet badge boasting all the latest technology and quality standards far exceeding those of the old model last sold in the UK in the early 1990s. Currently it is only being sold in its home country. But engineers are working on putting Opel's 1.8-litre engine under the bonnet ready to go on the market round the world. That's unlikely to happen for at least another year while the marketing people look at where they want to sell it - Britain included. The Niva is currently equipped with a Russian-built 1.7-litre engine.

No decision on what badge to put on it has been made, according to GM's Russian chief Heidi McCormack. "This will depend on individual markets," she added. It is known that GM is planning to use the Daewoo badge - it bought the troubled South Korean company last year - in countries where Chevrolet does not have a big name. The plan is to build 100,000 Nivas a year in Russia with half of these going for export. That export price will be interesting. In Russia, the new Niva sells for less than the equivalent of £6,000.

Landrover sales doing well in Russia

6th Russian International Autosalon
Chris Wright

Interchange News Agency
26 Aug 2003
MESSAGE from Moscow.: We want more British cars.

The Russians are russian-out to buy Jaguars, Land Rovers and Minis. And demand is exceeding supply.
Although imported cars are still very much in the minority in the land of Ladas, affluent Muscovites are turning to the Brits instead of the Mercedes, BMWs and Audis they have relied on as symbols of their status. The local press has described the Range Rover as an "English Aristocrat" and is the latest must-have accessory - with special orders coming in for armoured versions!

It's barely a couple of years since Ford, which owns the Jaguar and Land Rover brands, started officially importing models in Russia and their man in Moscow Alexei Shilykovsky wants more of them. Land Rover has doubled sales from 100 vehicles a year to 200 and is targeting 400 for 2004.


Gaydon, Warwickshire, 18 August 2003
Two new ‘G4 Edition’ Land Rovers go on sale from 1 September 2003, in the shape of expedition-ready editions of the Discovery and Defender.

The vehicles are launched in celebration of the success of the inaugural Land Rover G4 Challenge, dubbed the ultimate global adventure and spanning four time zones during four weeks of extreme sports and driving competitions. Sixteen competitors from countries all around the world fought it out, with the victor driving home in a new Range Rover as the winning prize.

G4 Edition Defenders and Discoverys come with a selection of specialist expedition equipment and convenience features. Specification highlights include ‘A-frame’ front protection bars, front and rear lamp guards, new Black Mogul ‘technical’ fabric seats, special colour schemes including Borrego Yellow and Tangiers Orange, air-conditioning and a CD player.

Additional features on the Defender include ‘Boost’ 16" alloy wheels, a windscreen protection bar and, for additional vehicle protection in hazardous environments, black chequer plating on vehicle wing tops and sills. The Discovery comes with ‘Style 3’ 16" alloys, lockable roof-rack cross-bars for additional equipment security, cruise control and self-levelling suspension.

Commenting on the vehicles, Land Rover’s managing director Matthew Taylor said: "The first Land Rover G4 Challenge was the ultimate global adventure which took place in some of the world’s toughest terrains. These new and very well equipped vehicles embody the spirit of this adventure and will enable many budding explorers to re-live the experiences of our G4 Challenge heroes."

G4 Edition Defenders, available in both the 90 and 110 station wagon wheelbase options, start at £24,350, and the Discovery is available from £28,595, on-the-road.


For twenty years the BF Goodrich Trac Edge was Britains best loved off-road tyre, especially amongst the Land Rover fraternity. The Trac-Edge was the working mans 4x4 tyre. It was designed to cope with wet grass, mud and clay. It had to take batterings from pot-holes and sidewall impacts from disregarded rubble on building sites. It also had to perform well on the road and traverse the UK's motorways, wearing as slow as possible to maximise value for commercial users. For the farmer, it had to pull fully laden Ifor Williams trailers off wet fields. The Trac-Edge achieved all of the above and as soon as word got around, it seemed everybody wanted them fitted to their 4x4.

When the inevitable replacement tyre came it had a lot to live up to. How on earth could such a winning design be improved upon? Well it has been improved upon - and significantly so. Don't just take our word for it though. We have recently received this user-testimonial from one of our trade customers who wanted to put the all new Commercial Traction T/A through its paces and see how it performed under typical on and off-road conditions...

Steve Thomas, Manager of Swansea 4x4 and resident tyre expert for Bearmach Plc.

"I thought I would give you some feedback on the new BF Goodrich commercial Traction T/A.
On Sunday 3rd August I was involved in a Bearmach off road event at Taff's Well near Cardiff. The site is a woodland type, and included wet grass and clay slopes leading to water crossings amongst others. The vehicle I was driving was a 1987 Range Rover Auto, running a 1" lift on springs but otherwise standard with no axle diff locks etc.
I purposely stopped at the base of a long wet grass ascent to see if the 225/75 R16 BFG Traction T/A's would spin from a standing start, but they didn't. It was tested with both gentle acceleration and full welly - no problem. It also had no problems coping from grass to mud and then back again. In fact I noted that once the vehicle had travelled probably 30ft on grass that most of the mud had been evacuated from the vast majority of the tread. The next test was into a stream, up a mud bank and re- enter the stream and back out again. Again, no problems were encountered.
The final test was the descent of a clay bank of approx 50-60 degrees, into a stream and climb out over polished clay on the other side. This was managed with ease with only a small scrabble as the vehicle exited the other side over the polished clay. It was also interesting to note that an 88 V8 shod with 235/85 R16 Trac-Edge struggled a bit to exit at the same point.
Lastly, I can comment that the tyres were quiet on the road whilst travelling home.
I would describe the Traction T/A as being a very capable all-rounder, falling in nicely between the AT and MT, offering something for people who foray off-road; greenlaners and caravaners alike."

Available exclusively in the UK at 4-site 4x4 tyre centres

The Traction T/A features the highest standards of construction in 4x4 tyres to date:

1. An aggressive high-traction tread design with full width shoulder lugs and sidewall traction bars.

2. Dual compound tread with increased sipes for optimum wet-tarmac traction and long tread life.

3. Superb snow and ice performance with pre-drilled stud-holes.

4. Q (100mph) speed rating for assured all-round confidence on or off road. 8 or 10 ply tread for extreme durability and strength even in the most arduous off-road terrain.

5. Traction T/A is the perfect choice for users with requirements that fall between All-Terrain and Mud-Terrain applications.

This tyre is priced very competitively against alternative products & offers you fantastic value for money from the best 4x4 tyre brand in the world.

LT 235/85 R16 Land Rover 90/110 and All series LR's with 6.5"wheels.

LT 225/75 R16 205 R16 conversion for Land Rover Discovery, Range Rover Classic, Early 90's and most pickups.

CALL ON 0870 9009 444 for your nearest dealer
or CLICK HERE for a quote (UK only)


Gaydon 11 August 2003 The Land Rover Discovery, which was substantially revised late last year with a new look and a number of technical upgrades, is further enhanced for the 2004 model year.

The 2004 Discovery’s off-road ability is improved with a centre-locking differential as standard equipment on the XS and ES specification models. This feature distributes the engine power equally between the driving axles, reducing the risk of wheel slip and enhancing the Discovery’s already impressive off-road credentials.

For 2004, the Discovery receives additional revisions to enhance its appeal with families. All models now receive the ISOFIX child seat fixing system. This simple, yet universally agreed standard enables any ISOFIX child seat which has been approved for use in a Discovery, to be fitted easily and securely to the vehicle.

E and S specification models now gain heated electric door mirrors, a valuable safety addition for winter driving; whilst the GS models also gain a heated front screen, powerfold mirrors, a single slot CD player and twin electric sunroofs.

XS models gain twin electric sunroofs, adding to the ambience of the Discovery’s interior, a centre-locking differential and an enhanced exterior look with the addition of thicker roof bars. The already comprehensively equipped ES model also receives the centre-locking differential, revised restyled thicker roof bars and interior enhancements in the form of new wood trim for the centre console.

Additionally all Discovery models will be fitted with Automatic Drive-Away Locking. This fully automatic system locks all of the doors as the vehicle moves away. The system will detect when the driver or passengers wish to exit the vehicle and will unlock all of the doors and doors are also unlocked when the engine is switched off.

New colours for 2004 Discovery include Maya Gold and Helsinki Blue. Also available will be Adriatic Blue and Giverny Green, previously only available on the Range Rover. Completing the changes for 2004 are revised badging in Range Rover style with raised lettering in a Brunel finish.

On the road prices for the new 2004 Discovery commence at £22,195 for the five-seat Discovery Td5 in ‘E’ specification, rising to £34,590 for the seven-seat V8 ‘ES’ model with automatic transmission. Also available is a range of Discovery commercial vehicles, which can be adapted for a variety of uses, with prices commencing at £22,995.

Qual é a musica?

11 August 2003

The X-TRAIL is the UK’s most reliable 4x4* so doesn’t cause Nissan’s customer care team much bother. The music on the current TV ad does, though: what is it, where can I buy it… Well, it’s from the sound track of a Brazilian movie that isn’t sold here. But if you call Nissan’s customer caring people on 01923 899334 they’ll send you a copy of the ad track. For free.

* According to the Consumers' Association.


7 August 2003

The new Lexus RX300 has already delivered outstanding results since reaching the UK market in May, helping to drive Lexus’s sales to record levels in July and outperforming its key rival petrol-powered luxury SUVs. Now it is set to develop another dimension in its success in a new role as a police patrol vehicle.

Presented in full chequer livery and equipped with sirens and emergency lights, the RX300 is to be shown for the first time at the National Association of Police Fleet Managers’ Conference and Police Fleet Show in Swindon on 19 and 20 August. Lexus personnel will be attending the event to provide a professional insight into the qualities that make the RX300 perfectly suited for police service.

Several forces have already signalled an early interest in the RX300, a car that combines power, secure handling and exceptional reliability and durability. Elements such as these have been central to the success of RX300 in the consumer market and are considered even more crucial when it comes to satisfying the special demands of police use.

The RX300 is powered by a 201bhp 3.0-litre VVT-i V6 engine that delivers nought to 62mph acceleration in nine seconds and a maximum speed of 124mph. Handling and braking performance are aided by standard-fit permanent four-wheel drive, ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Brake Assist, Traction Control and Vehicle Stability Control.

The development of the RX300 moves forward Lexus GB’s police programme, which is additionally preparing all IS, GS and LS models to meet the standards of the Home Office framework agreement for police vehicles. Since the beginning of the year, Wiltshire Constabulary has been running a GS430 as a motorway patrol car and more recently added an IS300 SportCross to its fleet.

Andy Simpson, Lexus GB National Corporate and Re-Marketing Manager, said: "The UK’s police forces can provide a hugely testing and very public arena for the RX300 to demonstrate its excellent qualities. Reliability is one of the foundation stones of Lexus’s unparalleled success as a brand and it becomes a vital issue when cars are being run right around the clock, as is the case with many police patrol cars.

"More than that, the RX300 offers ride, handling and performance characteristics together with driver comfort and built-in versatility that meet more of the special demands made by the police. As well as being a formidable all-round package, the RX300 also has its key market rivals soundly beaten on price."

Following its debut at the Police Fleet Show, the RX300 will begin an intensive round of approval tests with interested forces. Following completion of official testing requirements, the car could be seen in full service by early 2004.


7 August 2003

Lexus has recorded its best July sales figures yet as the new RX300 sustains its powerful market performance. Both in July and in the period since its launch in May, RX300 has comprehensively outsold all other petrol-powered luxury SUVs.

Total RX300 sales have now reached 1,090 which is more than those of petrol versions of the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Volvo XC90, Volkswagen Touareg, Land Rover Discovery and Audi allroad combined and more than 380 ahead of the BMW X5 tally.

It isn’t just in the petrol sector that the RX300 is achieving such outstanding success. Taking the luxury SUV segment as a whole, its sales have consistently outstripped those of the XC90 and Touareg, models which are also new to the market this year.

The results demonstrate the power of the RX300’s class leading package of quality, performance, reliability and supreme value for money. No other luxury SUV can match its combination of premium equipment levels and competitive price, or Lexus’s unbeaten reputation for delivering the ultimate in customer care and service.

Overall, Lexus’s July sales soared by almost 31 per cent over the same period last year, giving the brand a 0.43 per cent market share. As well as the excellent performance of the RX300, the IS200 sports saloon continued to impress in both private and business sales, achieving an increase of 5.6 per cent ahead of July 2002.

Karl Schlicht, Director of Lexus GB, said: "The original RX300 created the luxury SUV market and now the new generation model is taking it to even higher levels. Car buyers have been quick to respond to RX300’s unmatched levels of quality and value for money, while overall the Lexus brand remains without peers when it comes to the ownership experience.

"Our network of Lexus Centres has done outstanding work in introducing the new RX300, creating an environment and offering service and facilities that are unmatched in the industry.

"The tremendous success of RX300 is just the beginning of an exciting series of new product developments that we are sure will be met with equal enthusiasm by customers."

Luxury SUV petrol model registrations*


JULY 2003


Lexus RX300






Mercedes-Benz M-Class



Jeep Grand Cherokee



Volvo XC90



Volkswagen Touareg



Land Rover Discovery



Audi allroad



Luxury SUV registrations – petrol and diesel*


JULY 2003


Land Rover Discovery






Mercedes-Benz M-Class



Lexus RX300



Jeep Grand Cherokee



Volvo XC90



Audi allroad



Volkswagen Touareg



*Source for figures SMMT


  • Fresh exterior look, adopting Range Rover design cues
  • Upgraded interior, including new look facia, more comfortable seats and new trim colours and materials
  • New Sport derivative, optimised for on-road driving performance - the sportiest Land Rover ever
  • Choice of three engines and three- or five-door body styles
  • Full-time 4x4, plus high-tech electronic driving aids such as Hill Descent Control and Electronic Traction Control
  • Premium compact 4x4, nimble and practical on-road with uncompromised off-road ability

Gaydon, Warwickshire, 1 August 2003 - Land Rover's award-winning Freelander, the UK's best-selling 4x4 since its 1997 launch, has been comprehensively improved and upgraded for 2004.

The changes include a new interior and major external revisions, including new face and tail. There is also an additional derivative, the Freelander Sport, the sharpest handling and sportiest Land Rover production model ever.

"As well as being an international best-seller, the Freelander also invented a new segment - the compact premium 4x4 sector," said Matthew Taylor, Land Rover's managing director. "The latest changes are designed to improve the premium nature of the Freelander, and make it an even more desirable and successful vehicle."

The most obvious enhancements are to the styling. The front bumper, headlamps and front grille are brand new, and adopt the distinctive family face pioneered by the new Range Rover. The new, twin-pocket clear lens headlamps are similar to those of the Freelander's big brother, the Range Rover, and provide a higher light intensity - improved by 70 per cent. The bumpers are restyled and are now body coloured.

At the rear, the bumpers and lights are new. The bumpers are body coloured, and tail lamps have been repositioned higher on the rear bumper, improving their visibility and reducing the likelihood of them being obscured by road grime or off-roading dust.

The cabin of the 2004 Freelander has been comprehensively restyled, to improve comfort and the feeling of luxury.

"We've paid particular attention to the interior," said Matthew Taylor. "It's where our customers spend most of their time with the car and the area where we knew there was room for improvement. Premium car buyers expect premium cabins, and we are confident they will be impressed with the new Freelander's interior."

There is a new facia, new instruments, new switchgear, new door trims and new seats that offer better body and under-thigh comfort, plus new upholstery fabrics.

The cabin doesn't just look better. The feel of the materials has also been greatly improved.

There continue to be two body styles on offer: a three-door version, featuring a detachable hard-top or retractable soft-top, and a five-door.

As before, there is a choice of three engines. The two engines first unveiled in the 2001 Freelander are carried over: the 2.5-litre petrol V6 and the award-winning

2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel. The original but much-improved 1.8-litre lightweight four-cylinder petrol engine also continues, as the entry level option. The five-speed manual and five-speed automatic gearboxes are both improved for 2004.

For Europe, there is also a new Freelander model, the Sport. It rides on new 18-inch alloy wheels and uses lowered and firmer suspension to reduce roll and improve driver feedback. The result is more responsive driving behaviour on tarmac, and on smooth dirt or gravel roads.

The 2004 Freelander remains the king of off-roading among compact 4x4s. Its full-time four-wheel drive and a host of high-tech electronic systems, such as Hill Descent Control and Electronic Traction Control, allow the Freelander to wade through water, climb and descend slippery slopes, and give superb driver control when the going gets tough.

"The Freelander's off-road engineering translates into real on-road driving benefits too," said Matthew Taylor. "Its higher, 'command' driving position allows driver and passengers to see more, and the full-time 4x4 system plus electronic controls offer more security when conditions turn treacherous - in snow, heavy rain or when hitting slippery patches on tarmac.

"The Freelander offers the traditional benefits of a premium 4x4, but with the handling and practicality of a premium car.

"Most important, it comes from Land Rover. We only make 4x4s. This engineering pedigree, we believe, gives the Freelander a big advantage over rivals from conventional car makers, whose 4x4s are usually full of compromises."


Toyota is sponsoring a 4x4 course once again at The CLA Game Fair - the world's most prestigious countryside event - from Friday 1 to Sunday 3 August at Harewood House, Yorkshire. Visitors to the show will have the exciting opportunity to experience the new Land Cruiser on a specially constructed off-road course within the grounds of Harewood House.

It's a great opportunity to discover why the Land Cruiser boasts a worldwide reputation for performing in the harshest environments. Qualified instructors will ensure that visitors enjoy a dynamic off-road experience in the new Land Cruiser over rough terrain. The Toyota Land Cruiser is available with 3.0-litre D-4D direct injection common rail turbo diesel engine or 4.0-litre petrol VVT-i V6 engine.

In addition, visitors can see the replica Toyota Panasonic Racing F1 car on display on the Toyota stand. The new Toyota Avensis, the What Car? Car of the Year 2001 winning Corolla, along with the new Yaris for 2003 and the Toyota Hilux Pick-Up will also be on show on the Toyota stand.


1 Aug 2003
Jeep® has shown it is still a favourite with the 4x4 experts after picking up yet another top off-roading award.

The rugged Jeep Cherokee, which is winning fans by the day, has been voted top choice in the "Best Mid Size" class of 4x4 magazine’s 4x4 of the Year event. The car was described by the magazine judges as "positive" and "a winner every time".

Describing the Cherokee, John Carroll, Editor of 4x4 said: "Whether you're going to take your car off road or stay on the well beaten track there are few more positive, encouraging mid-size 4x4s out there. It's great at the wheel, and the auto gearbox is one of the best I've driven for the price. A winner every time."

It has been a good year so far for the popular Cherokee. In June a special edition Extreme Sport version was launched in 3.7 litre petrol (£20,880) and 2.8 litre CRD (£21,880) form. Nearly 40,000 Cherokee models have now been sold in the UK since its 1993 introduction.

Simon Elliott, Managing Director of Chrysler and Jeep in the UK said: "Once again it is nice to see the experts from a top off-roading magazine like 4x4 voting the Jeep Cherokee among their favourites. We know it’s a fantastic car on and off-road but it’s great to see that the people who test these cars, year in, year out, agree with us."

The Jeep Cherokee range starts at £17,995 for the 2.4 Sport and rises to £24,000 for the 2.8 CRD Limited. Like all Jeep vehicles, Cherokee comes with a three year, 60,000 mile warranty, roadside assistance and seven year, unlimited mileage anti-corrosion guarantee.


31 July 2003
The head-turning appeal of the rugged Jeep® Wrangler will be enhanced even further with the introduction of a new model, the Sport TR2.

The car, which has been timed to coincide with the release of the film "Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life", will have a limited run of just 75 cars. In the film actress Angelina Jolie drives a modified Jeep Wrangler.

Great looks, the "go-anywhere" Jeep attitude and the addition of extra equipment should make the new Wrangler Sport TR2 a blockbuster success, just like its big screen partner.

Based on the popular Wrangler 4.0 Sport, the limited edition Sport TR2 gains special Ecco wheels and 225 75/R15 tyres, a CD player with seven speakers and metallic paint (Intense Blue or Light Khaki). The car is priced at £16,750 on the road.

The 6-cylinder 3690cc engine delivers 174 bhp (130kW) of power and 218 lb.ft (296 Nm) of torque for a blend of lively performance, rugged power and impressive fuel consumption. The 4x4 accelerates from 0-62 mph in 9.9 seconds and reaches a top speed of 108 mph. It is capable of 21.4 mpg on the combined cycle.

Simon Elliott, Managing Director of Chrysler and Jeep in the UK said: "Wrangler perfectly sums up the Jeep brand – rugged, reliable, dependable, and the addition of the extra equipment that makes the Sport TR2 will only add to its appeal.

"It’s fitting that a car like Wrangler should feature in an adventure film and I’m delighted we are able to offer this model which links with "Tomb Raider".

As with all Jeep models, the Wrangler Sport TR2 comes with a full peace-of-mind warranty package and European roadside assistance cover for three years/60,000-miles plus a seven years' unlimited mileage anti-corrosion guarantee.


Nissan at Frankfurt means new models, new concepts and new ideas.

At a glance:
Dunehawk concept lays the foundations of Nissan's SUV future
Nissan 350Z powers into Europe's sports car market
More performance; more economy: more advanced diesels. 60kW Micra diesel completes range
Fuel cell vehicle (FCV) underlines Nissan's leadership in alternative fuel development.

Nissan will underline its leading role in Europe's growing 4x4 market at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Among the star attractions will be a bold concept car, called Dunehawk, which hints at a future SUV direction for Nissan.

Dunehawk is a vision of how a Nissan 4x4 of tomorrow could look. With a bold and intelligent design, advanced technology and innovative combination of SUV and MPV, the Dunehawk is a mid-sized 4x4 aimed at meeting the emerging needs of the active family of tomorrow. Equipped with a second generation of Nissan's ALL MODE 4x4 system - first seen on the X-TRAIL, the Dunehawk combines genuine off-roading ability with no compromise in on-road performance.

The Frankfurt Motor Show will also mark the official start of European sales for the mighty Nissan 350Z, a totally focused two seater sports car which incorporates chassis technology developed on the race track.

The potent 3.5-litre V6 engine develops 206 kW (280 PS) and is mounted behind the front axle to provide the optimum static front to rear weight distribution. Drive is to the rear wheels. It gives the 350Z a top speed electronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph) while the 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint takes less than 6 seconds.

Fundamental to the growth of the Nissan brand in Europe, the return of the Z-car - the 350Z is the fifth generation of the iconic sports car in just over three decades - has already sold well over one thousand units across Europe since its debut at the Geneva motor show this year.

Central to the continued rise in Nissan's European sales is the expansion of the firm's diesel range. Being shown at Frankfurt before sales start in October, is a new 60 kW (82 PS) version of the Micra 1.5 dCi, which follows the introduction of the 48 kW variant of the same engine earlier this year. The launch of the 60 kW 1.5 dCi Micra completes a phase of diesel engine introductions giving Nissan a competitive diesel engine option in every sector of the market - from Micra to the mighty Patrol GR. The diesel range now consists of no fewer than four different displacements: 1.5-, 2.2-, 2.5-, and 3.0-litre, with eight different outputs.

For the first time in Europe Nissan is also showcasing its future technologies. A fuel cell powered X-TRAIL prototype will be displayed, fresh from the completion of its road test programme. Being 100% environmentally friendly with zero emissions, Fuel Cell technology is widely tipped to be key to the future of personal transport. Nissan's pioneering vehicle will form the basis of an FCV which will go into test production this year.

* The Nissan press conference at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show will take place on the Nissan stand (A 01, located in hall 3.1) at 13.00 hrs, 9 September 2003.


23 July 2003
The Volvo XC90 has won the supreme honour of Auto Express ‘Car of the Year 2003’ as well as ‘Best 4x4 Off-Roader’ in the magazine’s annual New Car Honours.

The XC90 wasn’t the only Volvo to be shortlisted for this year’s Auto Express awards, with no less than four other Volvos receiving commendations in the following categories: the S80 for Executive Car; the V70 for Estate Car; and the S60 for Compact Executive Car and the S60 D5 for Executive Diesel Car.

Announcing the XC90 as the Car of the Year 2003, Auto Express Editor, David Johns commented: “This car impressed us with its rugged build quality, driving refinement and innovative interior. Big, beautiful and packed with ideas that make motoring far more enjoyable, cars as special as this are very rare. Well done, Volvo.


Gaydon, Warwickshire, 21 July 2003
The Land Rover, originally built in 1948 and known since 1990 as the Land Rover Defender, has been named 'the greatest car of all time' by BBC TV's Top Gear.

Top Gear viewers were asked to vote by telephone for nine vehicles short-listed by the show's team of experts, and following nine weeks of closely contested competition, the Land Rover beat its rivals to the accolade with 29 percent of the vote. Co-presenter on the show, Richard Hammond, who championed the Land Rover cause, said: "I knew it was a winner from the outset. The Land Rover has all the elements of an invention worthy of the 'greatest of all time' accolade - function, design, durability, engineering supremacy and soul."

Matthew Taylor, Land Rover's managing director, added: "The Land Rover is a motoring icon, noted for its good work around the world. Nearly two million have been sold during its 55 years, two-thirds of which are still in use today. Owners of the vehicles and employees of the company around the world should be very proud of this accolade, bestowed upon us by a very tough group of critics - the viewers of BBC's Top Gear."

The current range of Land Rovers - Range Rover, Discovery, Freelander and Defender - can each trace their roots back to the original Land Rover of 1948 - the vehicle that established the company. Over 3.25 million Land Rover vehicles have been sold since then, 1.8 million of which were the original Land Rover shape and its successor, the Defender - making it the most successful product in the company's history.

UK Rhino Charge

Rhino Ark UK is delighted to announce that this year's UK Rhino Charge will be held at last year's excellent venue, Pippingford Park, Sussex, on Saturday 4th October.

The format will be much the same as previous events, allowing novice off-roaders to compete alongside the more experienced for the Rhino Charge trophy. There will be the usual optional, more testing Tiger Lines for the adventurous entrants who do not mind risking a few scratches or dents on their 4x4s.

Perhaps most interestingly the team that wins the Victor Ludorum prize for a combination of the amount of sponsorship raised and their position in the Rhino Charge will again be offered the unique opportunity of the use of a fully prepared competition vehicle with which to enter the 2004 Kenyan Rhino Charge said by many to be the toughest one day event to be found anywhere and certainly like nothing else in terms of the competition, experience and location. Last year's Victor Ludorum winners, Team Rhinovices (www.rhinovices.co.uk) went to East Africa at the end of May, having raised the necessary minimum sponsorship, and used a locally built Range Rover pick-up called Shortie kindly loaned by Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers (KVM). Other UK entrants included Team Gumtree, who's Land Rover 90 V8 also competed in the 2000 Kenyan event and Caroline sawyer with a team of British journalists.

The site at Pippingford Park is a beautiful 1,500 acre estate, with 300 deer roaming wild, lakes, heath-land and forest. It can be viewed via www.locamotion.co.uk . This year there is the possibility of an extra 500 acres of forest being used if the entry list is large enough.

All profits from this unique event are passed straight to Rhino Ark in Kenya, there being no paid staff in the UK. The aim of this efficient, direct action charity is to build a 320 km poacher and game proof, conservation fence round the Aberdare Mountain National Park to the combined benefit of endangered wildlife, local subsistence farmers and the environment. The half way mark was reached last year.

To find out more look at our web site or contact UK Rhino Charge coordinator John Bowden via Email (Tel: 01444 241455) for entry forms or more information.

WOMAC - Alaska - Arizona

8 July 2003
There are very few places in the world that have not been explored, conquered and tamed but there are still adventures to be had. To travel through the USA and Canada might not sound like much of a challenge but that all depends on the way you do it.

Sarah Turner is shipping her aging but faithful Toyota Land Cruiser back to the USA (it was driven across the Canadian wilderness in 1998) This time the trip will start in Anchorage, Alaska travelling the Alaskan Highway to the Canadian Border and then following the Rockies from Summit Lake, North West Territories, Canada to Arizona before turning East to Galveston Texas. The route will use as many trails and unsurfaced roads as possible.

Starting from Anchorage in November the trip will also encompass three seasons, meeting winter and snow in Alaska, crossing Canada in late fall and still hitting the desert heat of Arizona this will be a true test of the all round abilities of vehicle and driver alike.

As a MIPAA member Sarah is looking for coverage of the drive to boost sponsorship funds for MIPAA supported charity WOMAC (Women On the Move Against Cancer) as well as to offer something back to her loyal sponsors who have helped keep the 130,000 mile vehicle up to the task that lays ahead.

An exclusive, a multipart feature, satellite link up, or just a press release to fill that last minute slot…

Contact Sarah direct:

Email off-road@ic24.net

Tel 07974 818708

New TUM (FFR) Contract goes to Pinzgauer

1 July 2003
The UK Ministry of Defence has awarded the £20 million plus contract for its new TUM (FFR) (Fitted for Radio) fleet to Automotive Technik, for the supply of its Pinzgauer 4x4 variant. The contract, for approaching 400 vehicles, is the largest single order to have been won by the company since it took over worldwide production of the vehicle, now built exclusively in Britain.

The vehicles, which will enter service with the British Army from 2004, are based on the Pinzgauer 716 MK model, a 4x4 general service hard-top variant. The units are also earmarked to carry the Bowman radio communications system.

The contract was formally announced and presented to Automotive Technik by Lord Willy Bach, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Defence Procurement) today, 1st July 2003, at the Defence Vehicle Dynamics Exhibition at Millbrook. The event is held annually under the auspices of the Integrated Project Team for Combat Support Vehicles, Light (CSVL), of the MoD Defence Procurement Agency.

Commenting on the contract award, ATL Director, David Findlay said, "We are extremely pleased to have received this valuable contract from the UK MoD. It confirms the Pinzgauer as the vehicle of choice for the highly mobile, rapid response troops that have seen action in many areas around the world. Our home customer has clearly demonstrated their confidence in the Pinzgauer’s proven ability and outstanding performance and we are now well placed to position the Pinzgauer for a bigger slice of the world market".

Production of the new TUM (FFR) vehicles will start in October at ATL’s facilities in Guildford and Fareham and will result in additional jobs at both locations.

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