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In this section of 4x4News


30 Sep 2004

Nissan has launched a new way for customers to search for their used vehicle through a web-based system called ‘SELECT’. Easily found within the current approved used vehicle locator on www.nissan.co.uk, ‘SELECT’ is different because it searches for vehicles directly from Nissan’s own fleet. That means the finest selection of nearly new Nissans on offer in the UK including many examples of the X-TRAIL, What MPV and 4x4? ’s ‘Used Car of the Year’. And even the odd 350Z.

SELECT taps into Nissan’s own company pool of vehicles which are all highly spec-ed, have travelled less than 10,000 miles and are all less than 12 months old. Being ex-management cars, they’ve also all been carefully looked after (yes, really).

Searching and purchasing could not be easier. Once the customer has logged on and located a vehicle through the dedicated site, they are asked to phone a specialist operator who will arrange delivery of the car to the customer’s nearest Nissan approved used centre. The customer can then meet the dealer to discuss any part exchange.

Should the car not suit the new owner’s requirements and as long as it is within 30 days from the date of purchase, he or she can choose to exchange the vehicle for something closer to their needs – all part of the 30 day exchange policy. But that’s not all, you also get the following benefits:

  • Minimum of 2 years/50,000 miles of the original new vehicle warranty
  • History check and mileage check ensuring product quality
  • Multi-point check by Nissan qualified staff
  • 12 months’ RAC cover
  • MOT insurance for when the vehicle reaches 3 years old
  • Free fitted carpet mats

With all the above you can be sure that any of the vehicles on the website will be in tiptop condition. But if you need any further recommendation of how good a used Nissan is, ask Bob Murray, editor of What MPV and 4x4? who has just voted the X-TRAIL his used car of the year 2004. He describes the X-TRAIL as ‘neither too big nor too small, it scores for its neat looks and roomy and practical cabin. Add in great prices and bulletproof reliability, and it was a straightforward decision to make the X-TRAIL our 2004 ‘Used Car of the Year’.’

So, if you want an award winning used X-TRAIL or any of the other award winning range, the first place to look is on the SELECT website and drive away with complete peace of mind knowing that you have the support of both dealer and manufacturer.

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30 Sep 2004

Many 4x4s are getting softer but not the Nissan Patrol. For the latest version that goes on sale at the end of October, Nissan has stayed true to the principles that created the first Patrol over 50 years ago. There’s a new look outside and in, plus greater power and torque. But the Patrol is still as tough and unstoppable as ever. And at prices starting from £24,500, no other new car offers as much metal for the money.

The Patrol has never been one for pottering up pavements – it’s as common in Chelsea as affordable housing. No, the Patrol is built for storming across sand dunes and marching up mountains. And the new Patrol certainly has the looks to match its abilities. Even a camel would move over when faced with the Patrol’s imposing nose with its extra helping of chrome and raised bonnet centre influenced by Nissan’s enormous Titan pick-up. There’s a more streamlined look for the front bumper which in SVE form now houses deeply recessed foglights. Yet the bumper design maintains the acute approach angle needed for serious off-road driving.

Under the re-profiled wheelarches sit new 17" alloy wheels fitted to the range topping SVE. This version also gets a lockable hard spare wheel cover while all Patrols now have larger rear lights for better visibility and integrated side sills for more graceful access. Important given the Patrol’s 215mm of ground clearance.

Whatever dramas the Patrol is having to contend with, Nissan has tried to make life inside calmer than ever. The new dashboard, for example, will be a surprise to current Patrol drivers. It’s curvy and modern looking with switchgear derived from the X-TRAIL and 350Z. Throughout the interior there are new materials, too. But before you think the Patrol’s gone a bit soft, let’s move onto the engine.

It’s still the lusty ZD diesel engine but now with 160PS instead of 158. Sure that’s no great leap but the headline should be reserved for the torque figure that rises 26Nm to a stomping 380Nm. And most of this is available between 1500 and 2500rpm. Rather handy if you’re making use of the Patrol’s 3.5 tonne towing capability. Yet its combined cycle fuel economy remains at 26.2mpg. The Patrol also sticks with a separate chassis for the ultimate in off-road ability. So although it may be more comfy for passengers, it’ll still climb a 39 degree gradient and wade through 700mm of water.

The Patrol also retains high and low ratio four-wheel drive and its unique disconnectable rear stabiliser bar to give even more axle articulation in really rough terrain. This no nonsense hardware is just one reason why the Patrol won the production class of this year’s Dakar Rally. Another is durability.

If an uncomplaining four-wheel drive workhorse is what you want then the Patrol S is almost your only answer. Black bumpers and wheel-arch extensions prove that this car won’t mind tussling with the undergrowth. And inside, the cloth upholstery has been designed to take many years of battering. The S comes in one bodystyle: a five door, with seating for five. New for this year is a sliding rear seat giving you the option of changing the balance between luggage capacity and rear legroom. And when you’re talking 5145mm of Patrol, the balance won’t be a compromise.

The driver won’t exactly be roughing it either with standard air conditioning, electric windows all round and a CD player. The S also has anti-lock brakes, twin airbags, an alarm and most usefully electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors all in its £24,500 list price. Compare that to an equivalently specified Defender 110 County. Well, not equivalently because some of the Patrol’s kit isn’t even offered on the Land Rover. At any price.

If you prefer your workhorse colour-coded and leather upholstered, a Patrol can still oblige. The SVE adds both along with 17" alloy wheels, side airbags, outside temperature gauge and compass, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, electronic climate control, electric glass sunroof, rear side privacy glass, front fog lamps and headlight washers. Also included is a DVD satellite navigation system with Nissan’s unique Birdview™ system that covers 13 European countries. Not even a Range Rover can boast that. For £29,900, a Patrol SVE is possibly the ultimate vehicle for anyone who spends as much time off as on road. At this price it only really has one rival: the £31,400 Patrol SVE automatic. And be assured, the Patrol is no cross-over.

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30 Sep 2004


Qt have secured 3.8 crown wheel and pinions which offer increased strength and reliability over the original 3.54 ratio with improved gear design and heavier duty pinion.

This ratio is ideal for racing and trialling and is priced at £225 + VAT

Also available - 4.75:1, 4.1:1 and 2.8:1 CWP


These steering boxes give 20% reduction in steering ratio for improved vehicle response. They are available both left hand drive and right hand drive and are an ideal addition to your competition car. Manufactured to OE specification.

Prices start from £420 + VAT.

For more information on any of our products at Qt please call 01503 240770.

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Gaydon, Warwickshire 28 Sep 2004

Discovery 3 goes on sale from 1 November 2004 and will be priced from £26,995 to £46,995 (specification table attached).

Residual Value (RV) data on Guaranteed Minimum Future Values (GMFV), also released today, shows outstanding residual value performance for the Discovery 3. The TDV6 SE was compared to key rivals within the sector, and based on
36 months at 12,000 miles per annum, the Discovery 3 scored an exceptional GMFV of 54.6%.

Whole life cost information derived from the GMFV data also shows a significant 42% reduction in the cost of ownership of the Discovery 3 compared to the out-going model.

Phil Popham, Land Rover UK managing director, said: "We are delighted with the cost of ownership research carried out across the large SUV sector at this early stage in the Discovery 3's retail life. Early signals suggest we are about to enter the market with a winner, and with its smart interior packaging, innovative technology and refinement and performance to rival anything in the sector, our UK dealer network is itching to get the Discovery 3 into showrooms."








TDV6 5 Seat

17" alloy wheels, coil-sprung suspension, ultrasonic alarm system (no Terrain Response), 6-speed manual transmission (automatic transmission optional at £1,495)



TDV6 7 Seat

As above plus 4 corner air suspension and Terrain Response




18" alloy wheels, cruise control, automatic climate control, park distance control, bi-xenon headlights




As above plus touch-screen navigation system, leather pack, automatic headlights, rain sensors




As above plus 19" alloy wheels, premium navigation system, moon roof, harman/kardon LOGIC7® sound system, 6-speed automatic transmission



V8 S

18" alloy wheels, 4 corner air suspension with terrain response, cruise control, automatic climate control, 7 seats, park distance control, bi-xenon headlights,
6-speed automatic transmission




As above plus navigation system, leather pack, automatic headlights, rain sensors




As above plus 19" alloy wheels, premium navigation system, moon roof, harman/kardon LOGIC7® sound system



The all-new Land Rover Discovery 3 will be available at Land Rover dealerships across the UK from 1 November.

Editors' note:

Also published today are the Discovery 3's economy and emissions figures

(table below):

Discovery 3 – European derivatives








CO2 g/km



CO2 g/km



CO2 g/km

4.4-litre petrol










2.7-litre diesel (manual)










2.7-litre diesel (auto)










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Solihull, West Midlands 27 Sep 2004

Land Rover’s manufacturing facility at the Lode Lane plant in Solihull is conducting a conservation project within its famous jungle track at the ‘Home of the Legend’ visitors centre, where customers and visitors from all corners of the world experience the off-road capabilities of the Defender, Discovery, Freelander and Range Rover.

The four acres of jungle track is a 'Site of Interest and Nature Conservation', (SINC), which is classed as ‘a broad leaved semi-natural wet woodland’ accounting for only 2% of Warwickshire’s land cover. Over the past few years the wetland area has suffered from a lack of conservation management.

Land Rover has been invited to develop areas of conservation alongside other corporate sites within Ford Motor Company. In association with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and the Wildlife Habitat Council, the future plan is to return the wetland area to its natural habitat. With the assistance from WWT, work has already commenced in the woodland area creating glades. This will result in attracting British indigenous wildlife, such as butterflies and birds. It is anticipated that within two years the area will return to a natural habitat.

The conservation area will allow visitors to see Land Rover’s commitment to its environmental responsibilities and it will also provide a pleasant area for employees to spend their break times.

The area will continue to be used to demonstrate all four Land Rover products, to ensure that customers choosing to drive off-road do so with the greatest possible consideration for the environment. Land Rover is committed to protecting its surroundings and ensures sound environmental practice in all activities, from the design of the vehicles in the manufacturing processes and through its commitment to providing instruction in responsible off-road driving.

Zoe Amarilli, manager, ‘Home of the Legend’ visitors centre said, "This is an extremely exciting project for Land Rover. To be given the opportunity to create a Wildlife Habitat certificated site within a massive manufacturing facility is something quite unique.

"With the proposed biodiversity development on the Land Rover plant, I feel we can improve employee morale as well as establishing stronger community relations."

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23 Sep 2004

  • World premiere for all-new Kia Sportage small SUV at Paris Show
  • Multiple-choice of engines, transmissions, drivetrains and trim levels

The all-new Kia Sportage SUV, which makes its world premiere at the Mondial de L’Automobile in Paris today (Thursday), is designed to offer customers the ultimate in SUV versatility in a package that effortlessly encompasses quality and style.

Although Kia retained the old name, the new Sportage is a very different kind of vehicle from its predecessor. The Sportage builds on the award winning foundations set by the Sorento – stylish exterior, smooth ride, agile handling and overall refinement so it should come as no surprise that Kia is confident that it will clearly outperform its class rivals.

Compared to Kia’s earlier rugged SUV, the all-new Sportage was created to meet a radically different design concept. It is sporty and elegant, spacious and adaptable, with an attractive internal and external appearance, an internally carried spare wheel and an easy-to-open top-hinged tailgate (with flip-up window), plus sleeker aerodynamics.

Unlike Kia’s earlier SUV, the new Sportage is a multi-choice vehicle. It offers customers three engines, two drivetrains, two transmissions, two equipment levels and a wide range of premium options. It also offers the ‘diesel engine plus automatic’ combination that is so popular with European buyers, but rarely available on a small SUV.

Sporty & Elegant with Monotone finish and Premium interior

Customers will be able to enhance the sporty elegance of their Sportage by choosing the ‘Monotone’ exterior finish – with all external components painted in body colour. They will also be able to opt for Kia’s best-ever ‘Premium Package’ interior. Specially developed for New Sportage, this interior features top quality, orange-brown leather upholstery and trim, with brushed aluminium and chrome metal detailing, to contrast strikingly with the black trim panels and deep-pile carpets.

Spacious and Versatile interior, with ‘FlatFold’ seats

As is Kia tradition, the Sportage is longer (4350 mm), wider (1800 mm) and higher (1695 mm) than the average small SUV. The generous dimensions and long wheelbase (2630 mm) boost both passenger and luggage space for ‘best-in-class’ headroom, legroom and cargo space.

The unique rear seat design has a new ‘FlatFold’ system which lowers the cushion into the rear foot well and ensures the backrest folds down to create a spacious, square-sided, flat-floor cargo area. This operation can be carried out without removing the rear head restraints. With the rear seat folded, the length of the load area extends to 1635 mm and longer items can be accommodated by folding the front passenger seat backrest.

Three engine choices for maximum appeal

Kia’s new entry into the small SUV segment offers customers a broad range of engine technology to suit the most varied of lifestyles. The most popular Sportage engine choice is expected to be the modern, 2-litre CRDi turbocharged diesel, which generates 112 ps at 4,000 rpm and torque of
245.2 Nm between 1,800 and 2,500 rpm. For customers who prefer petrol, the 2-litre, 142 ps engine comes with continuously variable valve timing (CVVT) and the compact 2.7-litre, 175 ps V6 powers the fastest model to 100 km/h in just over 10 seconds.

2WD, 4WD drivetrains and running gear

The Sportage can be ordered with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, depending on model. The full-time four-wheel drive system senses when one or both driven front wheels lose grip and automatically diverts up to 50% of engine power to the rear wheels. If necessary, the driver can engage 4WD at low speeds, dividing power evenly, 50%-50% to the front and rear wheels.

Sportage is fitted with fully independent suspension systems, front and rear, designed to deliver responsive on-road handling and a supple, comfortable ride on European roads, while retaining long-wheel-travel and a genuine talent to also perform with real ability off-road. Every Sportage comes with 16 inch alloy wheels, fitted with 215/65 R16 tyres. The all-disc braking system has anti-lock ABS with EBD as standard.

Primary and secondary safety

Kia engineers created a bodyshell with four structural rings – at the A, B, C and D pillars – to protect the occupant safety zone. Kia’s internal testing anticipates a 4-Star rating in crash safety tests. The Sportage is equipped with an ‘intelligent’ airbag system which gauges the severity of an impact and side airbags, curtain airbags, traction control and an electronic stability program are available.

Future sales assured

Created to give Kia a bold new challenger in the small SUV segment, the Sportage will play a major role in the brand’s continued rapid growth in Europe and all around the globe. The New Sportage is sure to be an instant sales success when it goes on sale in Europe next month. In Korea, customer orders in the first 10 days reached 15,000 units and in Europe the SUV market is set to grow to 1 million by 2008, with 35% accounted for by the small SUV segment.

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22 Sep 2004

  • The first V8 from Volvo car with V8 power
  • 4.4-litre with 315bhp
  • 440 Nm of torque at 3,900rpm
  • First launch of a petrol V8 meeting ULEV II
  • Transversely installed for optimum safety protection
  • Exclusive engine design – and extremely compact
  • AWD with Instant Traction for enhanced ability – a world first
  • LHD production only – not available in UK
  • 15,000 sales predicted per annum, with 75 per cent in USA
  • New six-speed automatic transmission

The Volvo XC90 reinforces its position as one of the most successful SUV models in the premium segment with the debut of a V8-engine model at the Paris show on 23 September.

The V8 engine is an entirely new powertrain and the first V8 from Volvo, and features a new 6-speed automatic transmission and the latest-generation AWD system.

"An SUV in the premium segment needs a V8, especially on the North American market where we sell about 60 percent of all the XC90s we make," explains Hans Wikman, Vice President, Vehicle Line Large Cars.

Volvo expects to sell 15,000 XC90 V8 models next year. Production starts in early 2005, but will only be manufactured in Left Hand Drive, so will not be available in the UK.

Power and Torque
The Volvo XC90 V8 produces 315bhp with a massive 440 Nm of torque at 3900rpm. And at the sort of revs at which most driving takes place, around 2000 rpm, no less than 370 Nm of torque is at the driver’s disposal.

To increase the low end torque, the Volvo V8 has a valve in the inlet manifold that is closed below 3200 rpm. In this mode the air flow between the two cylinder banks is cut off, which creates a broader and more even torque curve.

"We chose to give our new V8 a sporty yet sophisticated appeal, with masses of power in reserve even as the revs rise," explains Jörgen Svensson.

Acceleration from 0 to 62mph takes 7.0 seconds and the fuel consumption on the official Combined cycle is 21.7mpg (preliminary figures). Top speed is limited to 131mph (118mph in the USA).

Specific V8 exterior design
"Masculine without being macho, powerful without being aggressive." That was how Volvo Cars’ chief designer at the time, Peter Horbury, characterised the appearance and stance of the Volvo XC90 at its launch.

On the new XC90 V8, a V8 badge appears in the grille and on the tailgate to indicate the power under the hood. But there are also other design details that set the XC90 V8 apart.

  • Unique 18in alloy wheels
  • Twin exhaust pipes
  • Body-coloured side mouldings and door handles
  • Graphite-grey, egg-crate grille

Compact and lightweight

Like all other Volvo engines, the V8 is installed transversely in the engine compartment.

"A transverse engine is helpful in maintaining the frontal crumple zones in the XC90 and thus not compromise on protective safety," says Hans Wikman.

For this reason, extremely compact external dimensions were essential for the new engine – hence just 60 degrees between the two banks of cylinders – as opposed to the more conventional 90 degrees – with a counter-rotating balancer shaft to maintain smooth running.

The result is a V8 that is just 754 mm long and 635 mm wide – the most compact on the market compared to engines of equivalent volume – and with the block and cylinder head cast in aluminium, the weight of Volvo’s new V8 has been kept down to 190 kg to benefit lower fuel consumption.

First petrol V8 to meet ULEV II
The new engine from Volvo is the cleanest petrol V8 on the market today. It meets the American ULEV II (Ultra Low Emission Vehicle, stage II) requirements – which no other petrol V8 has yet managed. 

ULEV II has been achieved with the help of:
• Four catalytic converters. Two of these are of Close Coupled Catalyst type and fitted to one exhaust manifold each. The other two are installed under the car floor.
• Higher idling speed, about 1250 rpm, and optimised ignition for faster warming of the engine at cold start and thus also the catalytic converters
• Lean air/fuel mixture for lower emissions at cold start

New 6-speed automatic transmission
The V8 engine's power passes through an entirely new 6-speed automatic transmission dimensioned to handle the high amounts of torque. Sixth gear is a pure overdrive ratio to ensure quiet cruising and low fuel consumption.

"We get simply massive ‘take-off’ force with this auto transmission," says Jörgen Svensson.

The new 6-speed transmission is of Geartronic type, which means that it can also be shifted manually.

AWD with Instant Traction – a world innovation
The third ingredient in the new Volvo Cars V8 powertrain is the electronic AWD four-wheel drive system, which now features Instant Traction. This new technology – which Volvo Cars is the first car manufacturer in the world to introduce – improves the scope for quick getaways and provides enhanced traction on slippery surfaces. It has been developed by the Swedish company, Haldex.
  "The Instant Traction software pre-charges 80 Nm of torque in the AWD system by using a non-return valve to prevent the unit from becoming totally drained of hydraulic fluid.

"This reduces the usual wheelspin of about one-seventh of a turn that the current system permits before the power is delivered to the rear wheels," explains Jörgen Svensson.

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Gaydon, Warwickshire, 22 September 2004

Land Rover has won two major awards for 2004 from What MPV and 4x4? magazine, with the all-new Discovery 3 taking the 4x4 of the Year accolade, and the company as a whole winning the 4x4 Manufacturer of the Year award.

Chosen as the best vehicle in its category, ahead of the BMW X3 and the Mitsubishi Outlander, the Discovery 3 was described as having "superb refinement, comfort, driveability and MPV-style seven-seat practicality." It was also said by the magazine to be "a champion off-roader, whoever is behind the wheel - thanks to the new 4x4 control system, Terrain Response."

What MPV and 4x4? magazine editor, Bob Murray, said: "Let there be no doubt: Land Rover’s expertise along with the most thorough testing programme in the company’s history have resulted in a world-beater, and the deserving first recipient of 4x4 of the year."

Commenting on the inaugural 4x4 manufacturer of the year title, Land Rover UK managing director, Phil Popham, said: "We are very proud of these awards and the recognition they represent of Land Rover’s new breed of products. The Discovery 3 is already proving itself as a very attractive and capable product to critics and customers alike, with 2004 looking like a sell-out for the new vehicle in the UK."

The all-new Discovery 3 goes on sale from 1 November 2004 at Land Rover dealerships throughout the UK, priced from £26,995 to £46,995, and October's 2004 awards issue of What MPV and 4x4? is on sale now.

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4x4 sales continue to rise, but London is not a hot spot

17 Sep 2004

While the market for new 4x4 cars continues to rise across the UK, latest regional figures from SMMT reveal that in London sales are lower than the national average. From January to August 5.9 per cent of new cars sold in London were 4x4 off-road vehicles compared to a national average of 6.8 per cent.

Across the UK, the 4x4 market has risen by 13.4 per cent so far this year, up from 98,630 to 111,846 units. However, in the capital total 4x4 sales have risen less steeply, up 12.7 per cent from 5,616 to 6,331 units. Total London new car registrations from January to August number 106,664 units.

Christopher Macgowan, SMMT chief executive commented, 'The idea that one in two new cars sold in London is a 4x4 is nothing but a myth. The reality is that the proportion is actually slightly lower than the national average.

'This is just one of the unhelpful stereotypes that are being used to berate drivers of this type of vehicle. Now we have revealed the facts about sales, perhaps we could start to have a more constructive dialogue about the kind of benefits that this type of vehicle offers new car buyers. I have invited the Mayor of London to talk to me about this but, to date, he has not been able to find time in his schedule.'

On reports that 4x4s are suffering an image problem Christopher Macgowan added, 'Once again the facts paint a very different picture. The market is robust, and manufacturers are bringing a host of exciting new models to showrooms. In some cases eager buyers are prepared to wait months for the most popular new cars.'

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New Chevrolet S3X

16 Sep 2004

This vehicle will make its public debut at the Paris Motor Show Press Day on 23 September when product details will be made available.

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14 Sep 2004

Relief agencies and charities working in some of the world’s most inhospitable locations are dependent on tough and reliable transport to reach the people they are helping, but problems can arise and vital time can be lost when it comes to delivering vehicles to those who need them.

Toyota’s mighty Hilux Double Cab 4x4 is the ideal machine for extreme conditions, with its exceptional durability, load-carrying capacity and "go-anywhere" performance. More than that, a recent Ministry of Defence trial has shown that it can be carried comfortably in the cabin of the RAF Merlin HC 3 helicopter, an aircraft regularly deployed by British armed forces for airlift and battlefield support.

Recognising the popularity of the Hilux with services working internationally in areas such as disaster relief, medical aid, education and diplomatic monitoring, the MoD determined to see how easily it could move the tough Toyota to the front line.

The trial took place at 28 Squadron RAF Benson using a Hilux Double Cab EX provided by the Inchcape Oxford Toyota centre, located in nearby Kidlington. In keeping with the squadron motto "Whatsoever you can do, do", it took just half an hour to demonstrate that the Hilux could be driven up and down the helicopter’s load ramp in and out of the cabin without the need for any structural changes to the aircraft.

Paul Couchman, Master Air Loadmaster at RAF Benson, said: "The vehicle seemed to be ideally designed to fit perfectly into the cabin space."

Andrew Taylor, Inchcape Oxford Centre Principal, said: "This exercise was a real ‘first’ for us and we were delighted to be able to assist the squadron. The fact the Hilux was focus of the event helps reinforce its reputation as a vehicle of truly world-class ability."

The Hilux’s strengths have made it a popular choice for more conventional transport purposes here in Britain. The current model line-up, recently upgraded for 2004, offers body style and powertrain options to suit a wide range of customers. Single, Extra and Double Cab versions are offered with low and high output versions of Toyota’s advanced 2.5-litre
D-4D common rail diesel engine. Two or four-wheel drive is available, according to body type, with payloads ranging from 900 to 2,250kg and towing capacity from 1.8 to 2.25 tonnes.






Toyota 2.5 D-4D turbodiesel

3 Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca RTM 322 turboshaft units

Maximum power (bhp)



(each engine)

Fuel tank capacity (l)



Unladen weight (kg)



Maximum payload (kg)



Service ceiling (m)

Ground level


Length (m)



Height (m)



Width (m)



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14 Sep 2004

Gaydon, Warwickshire The organisers of the British leg of the World Rally Championships (WRC), which kicks off this weekend (16-19 September), have chosen Land Rover vehicles to fulfil critical roles in ensuring the successful and safe running of the event.

Rally-prepared Freelanders and Land Rover-based Bowler Wildcat off-road race cars will be used as safety cars, running the stages at near race speeds before and after the rally cars to ensure competitor and spectator safety, whilst Range Rovers with the latest on and off-road navigation technology will be used by senior FIA officials.

The Freelanders are equipped with 2.5 litre, 24 valve, V6 petrol engines boasting 177bhp and 240Nm of torque, as on the standard models, with only modified MacPherson suspension struts (front and rear) and safety features such as a welded safety roll-cage to distinguish them from showroom vehicles.

During a trial session at Land Rover’s proving ground in Gaydon, Warwickshire, ex-Scottish rally champion, David Gillanders said: "These are the most capable Freelanders in the world. They can take everything thrown at them, and more, making them ideal zero cars."

FIA officials at Rally GB will also find that they are able to tackle the terrain with ease, as they will be travelling in Range Rovers with significantly enhanced communications technology for 2005, which are due to appear at the Paris Motor Show later on this month. These vehicles come equipped with added off-road technologies such as a 4x4 information screen located on the touch-screen driver interface, which brings useful off-road information to the driver’s fingertips, including compass navigation ‘way marking’, where off-road routes taken are recorded on-screen, enabling easy navigation back to base.

Bowler Wildcat vehicles, which are purpose built race-cars designed to compete in top level off-road racing events such as the Paris to Dakar Rally, and which are based on the Land Rover Defender and Discovery models, will also participate as safety cars in the Welsh Rally GB.

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13 Sep 2004

Jeep® has launched two new special editions of its award-winning Grand Cherokee in the UK, with metallic paint, sat-nav and rear-park assist as standard.

The top-of-the-range Grand Cherokee Platinum is based on the Overland model and the Limited XS on the Limited. The entry-level Grand Cherokee Sport completes the line-up, with prices starting from £24,995.

Grand Cherokee Platinum comes with sat-nav, rear-park assist, metallic paint, 17 inch ‘Rogue Platinum’ alloy wheels, 10-disc autochanger/radio with steering wheel controls, sunroof, air conditioning including climate control and black leather interior, as well as chrome grille, matt black rock rails and black tinted windows. Platinum is available with 2.7 CRD and 4.7 High Output petrol engines.

Grand Cherokee Limited XS, on sale with either 2.7 CRD or 4.7 petrol engines, features metallic paint, sat-nav, rear-park assist, 17 inch ‘Rogue’ alloy wheels, single CD/radio with steering wheel controls, sunroof, air conditioning including climate control, leather interior and chrome rock rails.

The entry level Grand Cherokee Sport, which was launched with 4.0-litre petrol and 2.7-litre CRD engines in the UK in March 2004, features air conditioning, six-way power adjustable cloth seats, front fog lamps, 16 inch alloy wheels and single CD/radio.

Simon Elliott, Managing Director of Chrysler and Jeep in the UK, said: "The Grand Cherokee, which achieved this year’s ‘World’s best off-roader’ award from 4x4 magazine, offers outstanding four-wheel drive capability, which you can use either off-road or in every day driving conditions. These two new special editions make the Grand Cherokee even better value for money, with rear park assist and sat-nav as standard."

The new Platinum and Limited XS editions are available from Chrysler Jeep dealers in the UK from 1 October.


Grand Cherokee Platinum 2.7 CRD


Grand Cherokee Platinum 4.7 V8 HO


Grand Cherokee Limited XS 2.7 CRD


Grand Cherokee Limited XS 4.7 V8


Grand Cherokee Sport 4.0


Grand Cherokee Sport 2.7 CRD


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Roush Diesel Quad Bike will go on general sale

10 Sep 2004

The Roush Diesel Quad Bike, developed originally for the defence and security sectors, is to be introduced for the civilian commercial market. Moreover, the machine will be available in fully homologated ‘road legal’ configurations.

The latest Roush diesel quad is derived from one of the top-end models in Artic Cat’s current range – and boasts a significantly bigger payload and better performance than the previous development machine. The initial model also includes a large 24.6 litre rear mounted fuel tank to give an extended range. Other benefits include larger wheels and tyres – giving improved mobility on soft ground – and the ability to tow a loaded trailer of approaching half a tonne.

The Arctic Cat chassis offers a number of best-in-class features. These include 330mm of ground clearance and 254mm of ‘ground-following’ suspension travel. In addition, spring pre-load adjustment (five positions on both front and rear) allows the rider to select optimum settings to suit the prevailing conditions or load. These features combine to provide excellent rideability – and sure-footed stability, even in difficult conditions. The quad bike can carry 45.3 kg on the front rack – and 90.7 kg on the rear rack.

The twin cylinder in-line 686cc engine develops 18hp – and a massive 39 Nm of torque. The engine is water cooled and naturally aspirated. Transmission is via an automatic gearbox, with both a high and low range, which provides responsive acceleration and effective engine braking. Final drive is through sealed drive shafts, front and rear and constant velocity (cv) joints. The underside of the drive train is protected by a high-density skid plate to prevent damage when manoeuvring over stumps, rocks and other obstructions.

Roush Special Vehicles Business Development Manager, Darren Harvey says, "The latest Roush/Arctic Cat diesel quad bike represents a quantum leap in our development programme. Our close understanding of the military operating environment means that we have been able to design in a significant number of features which will directly meet their requirements.

Of course, a machine which delivers operational solutions for special forces will readily adapt to a whole range of civilian applications. Our experience indicates that there are major benefits to be gained by bringing a quad bike to the civilian commercial market which has a military development pedigree – as opposed to the more challenging task of preparing a leisure market derived product to suit a military or heavy duty commercial environment".

The original concept of engineering a modern generation, twin-cylinder diesel engine into a quad bike was undertaken by Roush two years ago. At the time, the programme was focused specifically on the requirements of military users seeking to achieve a single common fuel for all equipment in the battlefield, whilst providing special forces and infantry with greater flexibility and mobility.

The military prototype units were unveiled earlier this year – since when, pre-production trials and demonstrations have confirmed significant interest in the unit from civilian commercial customers – including the agricultural, equestrian and forestry sectors and some local authority and emergency services.

A further small ‘pre-production’ run of the Roush Diesel Quad is scheduled for completion by the end of 2004. Production units are expected to be available in limited numbers around Easter 2005. Roush has not confirmed an external market price for the unit. However, current expectations are that the diesel variant will carry a premium of around 15% on the normal list price of a specific model.

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1 Sep 2004

Following a series of gruelling off-road tests, the Jeep® Cherokee has been crowned "4x4 of the Year 2005" by 4x4 magazine.

The Cherokee underwent a week of trials by 4x4 experts, notching up high marks for performance, off- and on-road ride quality, and interior and exterior appearance.

Hot on the heels of the Grand Cherokee’s success of being named "World’s Best Off-roader" 2005 by 4x4 magazine, the 3.7-litre V6 Cherokee automatic outshone its competitors in the mid-size category, scoring 39 points out of a possible 50 and outstripped all 45 other vehicles tested to become overall winner.

Describing the victor, 4x4 magazine said: "To beat the 45 other cars and win, one car had to combine mainstream appeal, city style, off-road capability, lively performance and family practicality, as well as good dealer and parts support and be a sound long-term investment.

"The Cherokee is a 4x4 panacea, satisfying the hardcore off-roader with its all-terrain confidence, but with looks to please the most discerning high street poseur, which means it looks good in the mud or the ‘hood.

"Overall, it best reconciles the composites that make up the 4x4 remit and therefore, this year, is an unequalled 4x4."





Jeep Cherokee



Land Rover Range Rover



Toyota Land Cruiser



Simon Elliott, Managing Director of the Chrysler Group in the UK, said: "I am delighted that both the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee have received the recognition they both deserve. Their unrivalled quality and performance are there for all to see, but it is a real honour for Jeep – which is probably the most recognised 4x4 brand in the world – to receive such accolades from the experts."

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31 Aug 2004

The popular Mazda B-Series pick-up range has been realigned to offer a higher specification and even better value for money.

The new Mazda B-Series 4x4 Double Cab Barracuda, designed to meet the increasing demand for pick-up vehicles that are both practical and stylish, will be available from October 2004.

Priced at £16,000 (commercial vehicle on-the-road), the Mazda B-Series 4x4 Double Cab Barracuda replaces the RAP Cab 4-Action and the Double Cab 4-Action and 4-Style models. Barracuda models are given a sophisticated new exterior with tubular side steps, exterior chrome mirror covers and chrome rear bumper all added to the specification.

Barracuda vehicles will be available in a selection of three colours: Pacific Blue mica, Black mica or Titanium grey metallic, which makes its debut in the Mazda B-Series range. When combined with the attractive 15" alloy wheels, these features will ensure that the Mazda B-Series Barracuda will become a much sought after vehicle in the pick-up sector.

Already widely noted for its passenger car comfort, the cabin of the revitalised Mazda B-Series lifestyle range has also gained desirable new characteristics. Buyers are also given the option of an attractive leather interior, which will be available at just £1,000.

All Mazda B-Series Barracuda models will feature a CD-radio stereo system complete with MP3 compatibility, luxury floor mats and a clever new rear console that integrates a triple cup holder.

Commercial Mazda B-Series Vehicles

There are three commercial vehicles in the Mazda B-Series line-up: the entry-level 4x2 Single Cab, the 4x4 Single Cab and the 4x4 Double Cab. These models have also undergone changes to improve practicality and durability. A darker grey cloth seat trim has been added to increase further the model’s reputation for interior luxury.

Other introductions include convenient seat-back pockets, a rear console as on the Mazda B-Series Barracuda and a striking new silver and white instrumentation panel.

Mazda B-Series drivers have also been considered in the changes as a ‘flip-open’ fold away key ring with remote door locking becomes available with the range for the first time (Barracuda only). Along with a new remote fuel cap opener, drivers now have less hassle and more time to appreciate the practicality and ride quality of the Mazda B-Series.

Three Million Sold Worldwide

The Mazda B-Series is a truly versatile pick-up that continues Mazda’s tradition of producing durable, reliable cars that are fun to drive. It is a rugged vehicle that can carry five adults with ease and accommodate a wide variety of cargo on its generous load area, from sandy surfboards to industrial machinery.

The global triumph of the range is evident through over three million units sold worldwide and the multiple international honours that the vehicle has received. It has previously been named as ‘Commercial Vehicle of the Year’ by What Van? magazine in the UK (1999).

Diesel Engine Choices

The Mazda B-Series is powered by a choice of two engines: either the naturally aspirated 2.5-litre diesel which develops 84ps at 4,000rpm with 195Nm of torque at 2,000rpm or the turbo diesel 2.5-litre engine, developing 109ps at 3,500rpm with 266Nm of torque at 2,000rpm.

The engines are combined with a five-speed manual transmission, in either 2WD or 4WD versions (depending on model) with gear ratios set to provide a combination of low gear pulling power, and high gear agility and speed.

Strength and Safety

The robust body structure of the Mazda B-Series is designed to encourage fun driving with excellent safety standards. It features reinforcements at all primary stress points, including members in the floor, the sides of the cabin and the engine compartment.

All Mazda B-Series models come with driver and passenger airbags and all 4x4 models have a rear limited slip differential that distributes torque between the rear wheels for enhanced traction and a safer drive.

An Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is available on the Barracuda model, as is Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD). Further safety features include luminosity headlights and a strong body structure. The Mazda B-Series meets all European crash standards.

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23 Aug 2004

  • New seven seater Pathfinder SUV unveiled for Europe
  • First showing of European-spec Murano cross-over powered by the 350Z’s V6 engine
  • Dramatically revised Patrol 4x4
  • Latest X-TRAIL Fuel Cell Vehicle gets first European showing
  • Special version of the Navara in association with Hobie Cat, the leading manufacturer of catamaran sailing boats

At the 2004 Paris Motor Show, Nissan will be displaying many new and recently revised 4x4s which will underline the company’s aggressive ambitions in Europe, as well as its desire to change consumers’ perception of Nissan.

Incidentally, the Nissan press conference will take place at 1315 on 23 September. Nissan’s stand will be located in Hall One where, in addition to the following vehicles, visitors can also get their first look at the European specification 350Z Roadster.


Due to go on sale in March 2005, the Pathfinder sports utility vehicle is a new addition to Nissan’s growing four-wheel drive line up inspired by the Dunehawk concept car which was displayed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2003.

The interior provides three rows of seats, with the second and third rows folding flat to create a huge load area. Thanks to the versatility of the interior, a total of 64 different seating configurations is possible. Even with the third row of seats in place, there is class-leading luggage space. For added convenience, the rear glass hatch opens for easy access to the rear luggage area in tight spaces.

Power comes from Nissan’s new highly efficient 2.5-litre ‘YD’ series four-cylinder turbo diesel engine. It features second-generation common rail technology for lower emissions and a new balancer system for greater refinement. It gives category-leading power and torque outputs which out-perform those of larger engines, while also providing outstanding economy figures.

Although a 4x4, the Pathfinder is equipped with independent double-wishbone suspension all-round which gives a car-like on-road dynamic performance. However, its advanced electronically controlled ALL MODE 4x4 transmission – an enhanced version of that which is fitted to the X-TRAIL – endows it with a high level of capability off-road.

The ALL-MODE transmission allows drivers to choose effortlessly between four different settings with the twist of a selector switch, giving the control of a serious 4x4, but without the need to operate a separate gear lever.

Equipment and technology levels are high. Nissan will offer a rear-view parking camera – as pioneered on Primera – and the Intelligent Key system which allows the doors to be unlocked and the engine started without having to insert the key into a lock.

Additionally xenon headlamps, a premium audio system, satellite navigation with Traffic Message Channel (TMC) and voice recognition, leather upholstery, dual zone climate control in the front and air conditioning in the rear are all available.


The European version of the Murano will be on display in Paris – its European debut. An eye-catching cross-over with the elevation of a 4x4, but the lines of a sports car, the Murano will provide comfort and performance for the discerning car-buyer.

Powered by an adapted version of the award-winning 3.5-litre VQ V6 engine found in the 350Z Coupe and Roadster, the Murano has proved to be a huge hit in North America where it has been on sale for more than a year.

More than 1,600 changes have been made to the US specification Murano to ensure it is ideally suited to the demanding European market.

Coupled to the engine is a unique offering in the Murano’s segment of the market – a Continuously Variable Transmission which features a six speed manual mode. Power is transmitted to the road via Nissan’s electronically controlled ALL MODE switchable 4x4 system.

There will be just one version of Murano on sale in Europe and the level of standard equipment is very high. All Muranos will feature satellite navigation with Traffic Message Channel (TMC) providing real-time traffic updates, a colour rear-view parking camera, a high-end Bose sound system, bi-xenon headlamps and leather interior.

The Murano will go on sale early in 2005 across Europe, while prices and specifications will be announced at the Paris Motor Show, when the order book will open.


The iconic Patrol has just benefited from a wide range of improvements. With an extensive list of exterior modifications, as well as an upgraded interior, the Patrol continues to set the standard in the authentic 4x4 segment.

There’s a bold new ‘face’, a new-look rear end and a new integrated side step, while revisions to the lusty 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine give more power and more torque. Additionally, the ‘GR’ moniker will be dropped from the name.

But perhaps the biggest changes can be found inside the vehicle. Although the Nissan Patrol remains a tough off-road vehicle at heart, Nissan believes there is no reason why users should not enjoy a little extra luxury while they work. As a result, the new Patrol has an all-new interior featuring better quality materials, greater comfort and more equipment.

X-TRAIL Fuel Cell Vehicle

Nissan is showing its 2003 Fuel Cell Vehicle which has significantly improved speed and range compared with the 2002 FCV which was shown at Frankfurt Motor Show in 2003.

Such is the progress that has been made with fuel cell technology, leasing of the 2003 FCV began in Japan earlier this year.


Nissan has entered into a partnership with Hobie Cat, the leading manufacturer of catamaran sailing boats and in recognition a new Special Version of the Pickup model has been developed.

Reflecting the busy and active leisure-orientated lifestyles of sailors everywhere, the Pickup Hobie Cat has some special features which will enable it to support its owners in all of their activities, no matter how challenging.

The newly revised Primera, as well as the X-TRAIL will also be on display in Paris.

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18 Aug 2004

Key points

  • Land Cruiser range revised with improved specifications and powertrains
  • Transmissions upgraded to 6-speed manual and 5-speed automatic
  • Cruise control now standard on all Land Cruiser models
  • 3.0-litre D-4D diesel engine produces 20 per cent more torque for improved acceleration and fuel efficiency
  • Revised Land Cruiser range on sale in the UK from 1 October
  • Power chip option for higher performance in Hilux Invincible

Toyota’s formidable 4x4 line-up is being made even more attractive this autumn with the introduction of the 2005 model year range Land Cruiser from 1 October with enhanced specifications and stronger diesel engine performance.

The mighty Hilux Invincible is not to be ignored, either, with the availability of a power chip option for added power and torque.


The entire Land Cruiser range is being enhanced for the 2005 model year, with revisions to standard specifications and powertrain improvements.

The restructured range introduces a more sophisticated satellite navigation system, equipped with Electronic Traffic Avoidance (ETA) as standard on the flagship LC5 grade. The ETA function constantly monitors real-time traffic information through an FM radio signal, even when the audio and navigation systems are switched off. If it detects delays on a route programmed into the sat-nav, it will automatically offer the driver the option of a new course, neatly avoiding any jams.


All Land Cruisers now benefit from cruise control and a front passenger seatbelt warning indicator on the dashboard, while LC3 models gain leather steering wheel and gear knob finish, plus wood inserts in the cabin trim. Both LC4 and LC5 models are fitted with a smart new wheel cover for the tailgate-mounted spare. As part of the revisions, the LC2 entry-level model is deleted from the range.

The transmissions for all Land Cruisers gain an extra speed: the manual gearbox changes from five to six speeds and the automatic from four to five. At the same time, the robust straight-six 3.0-litre D-4D diesel engine has been revised to improve performance and economy.

Maximum output is marginally increased to 164bhp, but the engine is rendered much more flexible thanks to a targeted 20 per cent increase in maximum torque, rising from 343 to
410Nm, achieved between 2,000 and 2,600rpm. This is expected to cut the 0-62mph acceleration time by more than a second. Provisional fuel consumption figures for combined cycle driving suggest a four per cent improvement for manual models and 15 per cent for automatics.

Detail adjustments to the 4.0-litre VVT-i V6 petrol engine are also expected to yield better consumption figures.

Confirmed performance figures for the revised engines will be announced nearer the time of launch.

3.0 D-4D engine performance (provisional figures)



2005 MODEL


5-sp. M/T

4-sp. A/T

6-sp. M/T

5-sp. A/T

Max. power (bhp)



Max. torque (Nm/rpm)

343 @ 1,600-3,200

410 @ 2000-2600

Max. speed (mph)





Acceleration 0-62mph (sec)





Combined fuel consumption (mpg)





All statistics refer to 5-door model

Land Cruiser pricing

Pricing for the new Land Cruiser range is given in the table below. Automatic transmission is a £1,200 option and metallic paint finishes add £400 to the price.



LC3 3.0 D-4D manual 3dr


LC3 3.0 D-4D manual 5dr


LC3 3.0 D-4D automatic 5dr


LC4 3.0 D-4D manual 5dr


LC4 3.0 D-4D automatic 5dr


LC4 4.0 VVT-i automatic 5dr


LC5 3.0 D-4D manual 5dr


LC5 3.0 D-4D automatic 5dr


LC5 4.0 VVT-i automatic 5dr



The new Toyota Hilux Invincible has proved an instant hit with motorists wanting the convenience of a double-cab pick-up, but with more of the style and comfort of a conventional car.

Thanks to the option of Toyota-approved power upgrade chip, the performance of the
2.5 D-4D engine can be made smarter, too. Output rises from 102 to 128bhp and maximum torque from 260 to 300Nm.

The chip upgrade costs £595, excluding VAT and fitting.

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31 Aug 2004

Although the weather may have put a damper on the Summer Holidays this year one thing sure to brighten up this month and next is the Mitsubishi Summer Sale. Selected Mitsubishi 4x4’s will have up to £2,500 slashed from the on-the-road retail price until September 30th 2004. Perfect 4x4 vehicles for rain or shine!

Top of the range Long Wheel Base, Automatic Shogun Warrior was £32,499 and has a saving of £2,500 reducing the price to £29,999 this includes Air Conditioning, 18’’ Alloy Wheels, Leather Seat Trim, Satellite Navigation and 7 seats.

The Short Wheel Base, Manual Shogun Equippe was £25,199 and has a saving of £2,200 bringing the price to a remarkable £22,999. Specification includes Air Conditioning, Alloy Wheels, Electric Sunroof and Mitsubishi Active Stability & Traction Control.

Other Mitsubishi 4x4’s incorporated in the Summer Sale include the 3 & 5 Door Shogun Pinin Elegance which both have a saving of £1,600 and include Leather Seat Trim, Air Conditioning and Alloy Wheels.

Until August 31st customers can purchase a L200 4Life with a £1,500 price reduction making the on-the-road price just £13,999 (ex VAT).





LWB Shogun Warrior, Automatic




SWB Shogun Warrior, Automatic




SWB Shogun Equippe, Automatic




SWB Shogun Equippe, Manual




5 Door Shogun Pinin Elegance




3 Door Shogun Pinin Elegance

£13, 599



L200 2.5 TD 4WD Double Cab 4Life




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6 Aug 2004

  • World Debut for all-new SUV at Paris Motor Show in September
  • Diesel or gasoline engines with manual or automatic transmissions

Kia Motors Corporation has released the first official photographs and technical details of its eagerly awaited all-new small SUV, which will make its world premiere at the Paris Motor Show in September.

Called the ‘Sportage’ – reviving the name of Kia’s hugely successful earlier 4x4 model which sold strongly all around the world during the 1990s – the new five-door SUV model is thoroughly modern in every aspect of its design. The four-wheel drive system is fully automatic and standard equipment includes traction control, while ESP (Electronic Stability Program) will be available and every model comes with front, side and curtain airbags.

Longer, wider and higher than the average small SUV, the new five-seater Sportage will offer customers much of the technical sophistication and stylish looks of the popular Sorento, but in a smaller package. The Sportage will be available with a choice of three engines (2-litre and 2.7-litre V6 gasoline, or 2-litre diesel), two-wheel or four-wheel drive powertrains, five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions (with full auto or manual selection) and two trim/equipment levels. Automatic transmission will be optional with the diesel.

"Adding to our quickly expanding product line-up, the all-new Sportage will reinforce Kia’s presence in the SUV market where the award-winning Sorento is already so popular," comments Yong-Hwan Kim, Senior Executive Vice-President and COO of Kia Motors. "The new Sportage is the latest embodiment of all the best attributes our brand represents."

The rear seat cushion and backrest has a unique ‘Fold & Dive’ system to create a spacious, square-sided, completely flat cargo area. The passenger seat backrest can fold flat to accommodate extra-long loads and at the rear, the top-hinged tailgate features a flip-up window (like the Sorento) for added loading versatility. The spare wheel is carried internally, beneath the cargo area floor, so the gas-strut supported tailgate is easy to operate.

Sportage customer deliveries in Europe are scheduled to start during October and more than 20,000 models will be available for the European market during 2005 including right hand drive UK specification models.

"The new Kia Sportage is a ‘next generation’ vehicle – sporty and elegant, adaptable and spacious," commented Jean-Charles Lievens, Vice President of Kia Motors Europe. "It will offer Kia consumers three modern vehicles in one – with Passenger car refinement, ride and handling, SUV exterior, ease of access and four-wheel grip, plus Estate-like versatility, people space and cargo space."

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31 Aug 2004

It has a completely revised 2.5 litre V6 engine and a generously uprated specification, so it is appropriate that Suzuki has named the latest addition to its wide and popular SUV range the Grand Vitara 2.5 V6 X-EC.

Slotting neatly between the Grand Vitara 2.0 litre 5-door estate and the larger XL-7 2.7 V6, this new special edition will be available only in limited numbers, so exclusivity will be an important part of its appeal.

And, with a price of £16,999 on-the-road for the manual transmission model and £17,949 for the automatic – in line with Suzuki’s usual policy – it is exceptional value for money.

On top of the already generously-equipped Grand Vitara 5-door specification comes climate control air conditioning, multi-spoke alloy wheels, and front fog lamps.

The interior also takes on an added air of sophistication with a stylish two-tone grey colour scheme and leather upholstery which is complemented by wood-effect trim on the fascia, centre console and chrome interior door handles.

On the outside the stylish X-EC is distinguished by a unique body colour – Azure Grey pearl metallic – while a tailgate spoiler, silver painted roof rails, chrome-plated door handles and grille, and body-coloured spare wheel cover further single out Suzuki’s new model from its extensive range of sister Grand Vitara models which include 3 and 5-door petrol and diesel variants. A special ‘X-EC’ badge naturally rounds off the whole package.

Advanced design, all-aluminium V6

At the heart of the X-EC model is an advanced, all-aluminium V6 engine closely related to the 2.7 litre unit powering Suzuki’s larger Grand Vitara XL-7.

Lightweight and compact, the 2,493 cc DOHC V6 24-valve unit delivers an outstanding power-to-weight ratio, with peak output of 158 PS (116 kW) arriving at 6,200 rpm. The engine is supremely flexible, and 153 lb ft (208 Nm) developed at 3,500 rpm ensures plenty of low speed pulling power.

Those figures are reflected in a competitive Combined fuel consumption of 27.7 mpg, and a top speed of 109 mph (automatic 106 mph), while the X-EC has a maximum braked trailer towing capacity of 1,850 kg in common with other 5-door models.

The engine’s advanced specification features Direct Drive Valvetrain with the cams directly operating the valves, realising more power and quicker response throughout the rev range as well as contributing to lower fuel consumption. Noise and vibration are minimised through measures such as a front hydraulic engine mount, oil-pressure-type timing chain adjuster and new micro-grooved bearings.

Highly capable and a refined manner

The X-EC package comes as standard of course with the Grand Vitara’s rugged good looks and a go-anywhere capability to match. A Drive Select 4x4 system which can be brought into play when driving in a straight line at speeds up to 62 mph, a tough ladder frame chassis and long travel suspension combine with the new high torque engine to provide effortless off-road performance.

The Grand Vitara philosophy however is also about refined travelling, and spacious accommodation and a comfortable, well-equipped cabin deliver a pleasant environment for everyday driving.

A spacious luggage area, numerous storage areas throughout the cabin, power steering, electric windows and mirrors, radio/CD player, separate folding/reclining rear seats, steering-wheel mounted audio controls and remote central locking are all included as part of the Grand Vitara experience.

The 2.5 V6 X-EC qualifies for an insurance group rating of 14D and is on sale now.

Notes to editors:

  • All Suzuki models are covered by Suzuki Shield, a 3 years’/60,000 mile
    new vehicle warranty, by Suzuki Assistance, providing 24 hour UK and European roadside assistance, recovery and associated services for 36 months and by a six or twelve* year perforation warranty.
  • On The Road Prices include VAT, delivery to dealer, number plates,
    6 months’ Vehicle Excise Duty and First Registration Fee.

* Twelve years on Liana, Ignis and Wagon R+

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4 Aug 2004

Isuzu’s increasingly popular Rodeo pickup is now available as three high-value, style-orientated special editions called ‘Max’.

The ‘Max’ pack comprises a soft-type front A-bar with chrome insert, silver ‘Aero’ side steps, rear chrome bumper and light guards and brushed stainless steel door entry guards.

Its added value is worth more than £1,110, excluding VAT, yet the ‘Max’ models are only £200 (ex VAT) more than the standard versions.

The ‘Max’ pack is available on the Rodeo 3.0 DT 4x4 Double Cab at £15,802.02 or lifestyle Rodeo Denver range-topper for £17,502.02 in manual form or £18,606.02 as an automatic. All prices are On-The-Road but exclude VAT.

In addition, the Denver can now also be ordered with a leather interior for an extra £1,102.13 excluding VAT.

Launched as a totally new pickup last November, the Rodeo is available in 2.5 litre Diesel Turbo 4x2 format or as a 4x4 with a powerful new 3.0 litre Diesel Turbo engine with the unique option of automatic transmission. Body choice is between a Single Cab or Double Cab for both 4x2 and 4x4 configurations.

A key Rodeo attraction is its 12,000 mile service intervals coupled to a braked towing limit of up to 3,000 kg and 1,000-plus kg payload for all models.

All Rodeos have an outstanding safety tally which includes anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), twin front airbags, door beams, front and rear crush zones and three-point seat-belts for all occupants including the Double Cab’s fifth passenger.

In addition, the best-selling luxury-spec Denver boasts alloy wheels, air-conditioning, leather-wrapped steering wheel, electric windows, central-locking and a radio/CD player.

With its new Rodeo, West Bromwich-based importer, Isuzu (UK) Limited, aims to capture 15 per cent of the pickup market within two years, overtaking Toyota in 2005.

So far this year, the Denver alone is already fifth best-seller in its segment while the entire Rodeo range shows a 212.7 per cent sales increase over its TF pickup predecessor.

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27 Jly 2004

It’s not too soon for the Tucson! Hyundai’s brand new sports utility four-wheel drive car goes on sale on 14 August; bringing a new dimension of style, value and space to the small SUV market.

The Tucson (pronounced Too-son) marks the new entry level to Hyundai’s 4x4 range and complements the existing larger Santa Fe and Terracan. The Tucson will compete against cars such as the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Mitsubishi Outlander and Kia Sportage.

There are seven Tucson models to choose from with prices starting at £14,995 for the 2.0 16v GSI rising to £18,695 for the powerful 2.7 V6 CDX (full price list at end).

As well as conquest sales from other four-wheel drive cars, Hyundai expects to attract customers who have not previously considered a 4x4. The added attraction is that the Tucson is a five door only vehicle, competing against three door opposition.

The Tucson has a monocoque construction, and sits on a highly modified version of the current Coupe platform. There are three engine options (2.0 litre petrol, 2.0 litre common-rail turbo-diesel, and a powerful 2.7 V6), and two trim levels; GSI and CDX.

The 2.0 litre engine, which is a CVVT unit as seen in the Coupe, develops 140bhp@6000rpm, has 184Nm/136 lbs ft of torque on tap at 4500rpm, reaches a top speed of 108mph and performs the 0-62mph run in 11.3 seconds.

Hyundai expects the diesel version of Tucson to be especially popular in a segment where more drivers are switching to diesel. It produces 111bhp of power at 4000rpm, has a torque figure of 245Nm/181 lbs ft@1800-2500rpm, reaches a top speed of 104mph and does the 0 to 62mph dash in 13.8 seconds.

The top-of-the-range 2.7 V6 CDX has 173bhp on tap at 6000rpm, delivers 241Nm/178 lbs ft of torque at 4000rpm and has a top speed of 112mph. Its 0-62mph figure is a competitive 10.5 seconds.

The Tucson comes with either a five speed manual transmission or four speed semi-automatic ‘H-matic’ gearbox.

The Tucson returns excellent fuel economy; the diesel achieving 30.7mpg urban, 47.9mpg extra urban and 39.8mpg combined. The 2.0-litre petrol variant returns 26.6mpg urban, 41.5mpg extra urban and 34.4mpg combined.

The Tucson employs a ‘torque-on-demand’ four-wheel drive system, developed by industry experts Borg Warner. The car runs in front-wheel drive until it detects loss of traction, then the 4WD cuts in. It will then revert to two-wheel drive when adequate traction is detected. Additionally, at speeds up to 19mph, the driver can select permanent four-wheel drive for extra control when required at the touch of a button.

The Tucson is the ideal family car, with a highly versatile interior. The rear seats have a double folding operation, offering up a totally flat load area.

As is the tradition with Hyundai, the Tucson comes with a very high standard equipment list. All models feature six airbags, anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution, power steering, traction control, air conditioning (climate control on CDX models), electric sunroof, double folding 60/40 split rear seats, CD player, alloy wheels and roof rails.

CDX models have in addition: cruise control, leather seat facings, electric heated door mirrors, heated front seats and metal grain centre console.

The Tucson comes with Hyundai’s five year unlimited mileage fully transferable warranty – and joins the only 4x4 range with a manufacturer-backed warranty for a full five years.

Hyundai expects to sell around 3,500 examples in the UK in 2005, while worldwide sales are expected to reach 200,000 units by 2006.

Full price list:

Tucson 2.0 16v GSI


Tucson 2.0 CRTD GSI


Tucson 2.0 CRTD GSI auto


Tucson 2.0 16v CDX


Tucson 2.0 CRTD CDX


Tucson 2.0 CRTD CDX auto


Tucson 2.7 V6 CDX



Hyundai Tucson – key facts

  • Hyundai’s third four-wheel drive vehicle to be sold in the UK
  • Three engine options: two litre petrol, two litre common-rail turbo-diesel, 2.7 V6
  • High standards of safety equipment; first Hyundai to come with six airbags as standard. Traction control and anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution are also standard
  • Torque on demand four-wheel drive system
  • Prices starting at £14,995 on-the-road; five door version only, for the same price as three door opposition
  • Full five year warranty; manufacturer-backed, transferable and unlimited mileage

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26 Jly 2004
Top sellers are not cheapest to insure says Allen and Allen

The country is going 4x4 crazy with sales up 17% this year so far. But it’s in the cities where the biggest boom has been seen, with nearly one in two people buying a new car in London currently opting for a 4x4.

The people that buy them in cities say it’s because they’re functional and practical. But their choice of 4x4 appears to have more to do with street cred and style than practical considerations like cost, at least when it comes to insurance says Allen and Allen, one of the UK’s leading insurance intermediaries.

Allen and Allen looked at a list of top ten selling 4x4s published in the Evening Standard and compared their costs to insure in Kingston, the London Borough where 4x4s currently account for 43% of all new car sales.

Taking the example of a 30-year old housewife with a good driving record and maximum No Claims Bonus, it found the best value to insure was the Mitsubishi Shogun at £250, which was in fact bottom of the best sellers list.

Another second half table 4x4, the Suzuki Vitara, would cost about the same, whilst the 8th placed BMW X5 is the most expensive to insure at around £550.

Top of the Evening Standard table, the Land Rover Freelander, and just behind it the Land Rover Discovery, would cost around £400 to insure.

But it doesn’t stop there says Allen and Allen: insurance premiums vary between models that are basically the same. It is most often asked to quote on the Mitsubishi Pajero, the popular import version of the Shogun. Yet, the housewife in Kingston will have to pay £350 to insure her Mitsubishi if it sports a Pajero badge instead of £250.

And as a general word of caution, Allen and Allen says that 4x4 owners should realise that their vehicles will attract slightly higher premiums than other cars as a matter of course.

This is because they are specifically designed to go off-road and are thus particularly desirable to thieves who can find ready markets for them in the Middle East and Africa. In response to this, and to keep premiums down, drivers may find that insurers insist approved security systems be fitted to 4x4s. If these are not factory fitted, additional costs may apply.

"The boom in 4x4 sales looks set to continue, even though their critics say they are a scourge on our streets and their drivers irresponsible," comments Tony Allen, Chief Executive of the Allen and Allen Group.

"Environmentalists are calling for a total ban in London like the one Paris is considering and say at the very least they should be subject to heavier taxes and a hike in the congestion charge. This may come in time and the boom turn to bust, but in the meanwhile people preparing to buy a 4x4 should take the hidden costs like insurance into account and not just concentrate on style when making their choice.

"We would be happy to advise motorists with 4x4s where they can get better value for money and how they can reduce their premiums. When insurance costs can add up to 10% to the cost of any new vehicle, it’s worth considering all the angles," he adds.

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4X4 = 17? - The Anti 4x4 debate

22 Jly 2004

Much of the current debate about 4x4 vehicles is unhelpful, inaccurate, hysterical and based on stereotype according to the RAC Foundation today (22).

Following suggestions that the owners of these vehicles should pay double the congestion charge in London, taxed more and banned altogether from some places, the RAC Foundation has called for a calm examination of the facts - asserting that not all SUV’s are gas guzzlers.

Some 4x4’s are, say the Foundation, actually cleaner, greener, smaller, shorter and safer than many standard saloons and even people carriers.

Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation said today:

”These suggestions are ludicrous. It is not the job of politicians to dictate what vehicles people should drive. Of course motorists should choose vehicles that are the most suitable for the types of journeys and the goods or people that they carry. But there is great diversity within the range of 4x4’s”.

The Foundation has contrasted some of the claims made by politicians with the realities in a bid to clarify the argument:

Claim: All 4x4’s are bad for the environment.

Reality: The average CO2 of a dual-purpose 4x4 is more than 12 per cent lower than most luxury saloons and on a par with emissions from executive and sports cars. Most vehicles sold in the 4x4 segment are diesel variants; they have better fuel consumption and emit less CO2 than petrol models. Many manufacturers are also working to bring alternative fuel versions to market.

Claim: All 4x4’s are two tonne monsters that take up more road space, so increasing congestion.

Reality: While often taller than other models, some of the most popular 4x4s are narrower and shorter than the average saloon car. In fact if parents
co-ordinate their school-runs using all available seats in their vehicles, the number of cars making the journey could actually be cut by using a 4x4. Research shows that 71 per cent of owners of a 4 x 4 model with three rows of seats regularly use them.

Claim: All 4x4’s pose a threat to other road users and pedestrians, beyond that associated with normal saloon cars.

Reality: Improvements to front end design of many 4 x 4’s have resulted in them increasingly scoring well on pedestrian protection in EuroNCAP tests. Two models both scored two stars in recent NCAP tests; while the third best selling 4x4 in Britain achieved an impressive three star rating. There are many examples of models in other segments that perform less well than current 4x4 models.

Claim: All 4 x 4’s are an aspirational product driven by rich, urban women to do the shopping.
Reality: They may be chosen because of the capacity and storage they offer, their performance, driving position, style, safety or suitability for the environment in which they travel.

“Drivers should, of course, think carefully before choosing a vehicle that fits their needs, their lifestyle, their family, their pocket and their environment and be responsible for how they use that vehicle in rural and urban conditions but critics of 4x4’s seem to dwell on polarised stereotypes and massage figures to suit their arguments rather than look at the full range of vehicles available, their uses and their capabilities”, added King.

“In a democracy there is no place for politicians or the anti car brigade
telling motorists what vehicle they may or may not drive. Perhaps this is
more about the politics of envy rather than the politics of democracy."

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31 Jly 2004

A full size 4x4 SUV for the price of a compact

? £17,499 on-the-road ? Tows 3.5 tonnes

Priced at only £17,499 on-the-road the five door Rexton is designed specifically to satisfy the demands of SUV owners who need dependable workhorse performance but expect the lines of a true thoroughbred.

Based on designs by Ital, the Rexton certainly looks the part but it also delivers real off-road performance and serious pulling power with the ability to tow 3.5 tonnes.

Engines and economy

The 2.9 litre turbocharged diesel engine option produces 120 ps at 4,000 rpm and 25.5 kgm of torque at 2,400 rpm. Top speed is 98 mph, CO2 emissions are 244 g/km and combined fuel consumption is a creditable 30.4 mpg.

The part-time 4WD system allows shifting ‘on the fly’ from two-wheel drive high ratio to four-wheel drive high ratio and back at the push of a button – without having to stop the vehicle. To select four-wheel drive low ratio, the vehicle must be stationary.


Comfort is combined with good ergonomic design and practicality. The dashboard; functional, with clear dials and few controls, is logically laid out in an entirely gimmick-free zone. Electric Sun-Roof and radio/CD player are standard along with fog lamps, roof rails, electric windows, heated front/rear screens and external mirrors. There is also a leather steering wheel and a multitude of storage places to hold everything from drinks, through CDs or maps to spare change and sunglasses.

The 60/40 split rear seats fold to provide a flat floor and cavernous carrying space.


Driver and passenger airbags are standard while other passive safety features include shock absorbing rear bumpers and seatbelts with front pre-tensioners. The driver’s door arm handle incorporates the controls for all of the power windows and door locks – a good safety feature when used as a family vehicle.

ABS combines with ABD to provide safe braking. In the event of an accident, the Rexton has been engineered to absorb the impact. It has a steel safety cell with 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 – Factory fitted side steps – Retractable load cover – Load Liner and Tow Bar.

Colour Availability

The 290E is supplied with a metallic finish in either Rex Beige or Prism Blue.


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 the 290 diesel range are every six months or
6,000 miles. Insurance groups for these have been set at 11a.

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Gaydon, Warwickshire, 13 July, 2004
Land Rover is pleased to announce the creation of the Land Rover Classic Parts (LRCP) business initiative. Due to the high levels of vehicle retention and customer loyalty found within the Land Rover brand, it is acknowledged that older vehicles within the range require focused support. This initiative is to ensure customer satisfaction and consistent availability of parts to allow owners to keep their vehicles on the road with the confidence and reliability from using Genuine Land Rover Parts.

Tom Pallister, Director of Customer Service for Land Rover, described this new business initiative as: "An excellent opportunity for us to provide an improved after-market service to a clearly defined and loyal sector of Land Rover consumers."

The Land Rover Classic Parts business unit will manage the purchase, warehousing, distribution and promotion of genuine Land Rover parts for specific older models. From launch in October, the programme will cover:-

  • Range Rover Classic (1970 - 1994)
  • Discovery Series I (1989 to 1994 MY)

To further enhance the programme an all-new Land Rover Classic identity has been developed, which will enable customers to relate to the brand and feel assured in the knowledge, that all products offered within this programme are 100% Genuine Land Rover Parts. As with all Genuine Land Rover Parts the Classic Range will be available via the Land Rover approved franchised dealer network.

This programme will be administered separately from the Land Rover mainstream parts business. All of the commercial and logistical functions will be co-ordinated by Unipart Logistics through the Automotive Business Unit in Cowley, Oxfordshire.

The main aims of this new venture are to:

  • Bring the Land Rover Classic Parts business closer to the consumer
  • Support and enhance the Land Rover brand globally
  • Bring specialist focus to this unique area of the Land Rover business
  • Establish the Land Rover Classic brand identity and product range

With the public launch of the programme scheduled for the International Classic Motor show at the NEC, Birmingham on 22-24 October, exciting plans are already in place to ensure Land Rover owners see the benefits of this new business focus before the end of 2004.

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Diesel power for BMW’s mid-size Sports Activity Vehicle

5 July 2004

BMW Great Britain is building on the early success of the new X3 model by announcing details of the forthcoming two-litre diesel engined model. Available in standard and SE models, the X3 2.0d will be available in October 2004 priced from £26,175 OTR.

Adding a further dimension to X3 ownership, BMW’s highly praised diesel engine produces 150bhp at 4,000rpm and 330Nm (243lb.ft) of torque at a calm 2,000rpm, power being delivered through a standard six-speed manual gearbox. Accelerating from standstill, 62mph is reached in 10.2 seconds while top speed is 123mph. Yet the X3 2.0d delivers a frugal 39.2mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 191g/km.


Differentiating the X3 from all competitors is xDrive – BMW’s new and patented four-wheel drive system. Introduced on the new X5 in late 2003, all new BMW X3 models use the centrally mounted, electronically-controlled clutch to distribute power to the axle with most traction in less than 100 milliseconds. In conjunction with this clutch, BMW’s standard DSC system can reduce power and even brake individual wheels to ensure the car benefits from all available grip. Setting new standards for traction from a 4x4 system, xDrive ensures that any loss of footing, on- or off-road, is dealt with instantly rather than waiting until the car becomes physically unstable.

The DSC system also assists Trailer Stability Control (TSC), which comes as standard with a factory fitted tow bar. TSC monitors any pendulum effect, applying brakes of individual, diagonally opposed wheels of the car if DSC detects undue yaw movement characterised by the vehicle being overly-influenced by its trailer.

DSC also contributes to the Hill Descent Control system (HDC). On steep gradients and with HDC activated, the vehicle’s progress is automatically slowed to walking speed. Alternatively a target speed of between three and 16mph can be selected using the cruise control buttons on the multi-function steering wheel or the brake / accelerator pedals. DSC does this by applying the brakes to individual wheels, stabilising the car on descent and eliminating any risk of the car sliding to the bottom of the slope.

Standard and Optional Equipment

All BMW X3 2.0d models are equipped with 17" alloy wheels, automatic air conditioning, CD player, roof rails, an alarm and Brake Force Display, BMW’s new two-stage brake lights. SE models additionally feature a front centre armrest, front fog lamps, multifunction steering wheel with cruise control, on-board computer and Park Distance Control. All X3 models come with a range of options to accompany the active lifestyles of their owners.

Options include either Business or Professional navigation system, the Professional system featuring map guidance within a dedicated 16:9 pop-up colour monitor. Complementing the X3’s capacious interior and cavernous
480-litre boot is a storage rail system that provides a method of safely transporting two bicycles upright in the boot. Also available is a Panorama Roof, offering a large 0.65 metre square sunroof that benefits both front and rear passengers, with a speed-dependent wind deflector to minimise interior buffeting.

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 up to 90 per cent more of the road ahead as well as any previously unseen, potential hazards.

Further models announced

From autumn 2005, a six-cylinder 3.0 diesel derivative will also be available in SE or Sport form, details of which will be announced closer to its introduction.

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2 Jly 2004

A military version of the Jeep® Wrangler has had its UK debut at the Defence Vehicle Dynamic show, together with a hybrid-powered version of the Dodge Ram, which showcases the very latest DaimlerChrysler hybrid power-train technology.

The military version of the Wrangler – the Jeep Wrangler TJL – continues the Jeep legend that began in 1941 when the American Army needed a tough and versatile cross-country vehicle. The result was the world’s first purpose built four-wheel drive vehicle – the Willys MB, nicknamed the ‘Jeep’.

For the modern military, the Jeep Wrangler TJL has been modified to handle additional payloads with a heavy-duty axle, cargo bay and upgraded suspension. It features seating for eight people and a wheelbase 22 inches longer than the standard civilian vehicle. Power comes from a 4.0-litre PowerTech six-cylinder petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission, or, for the first time in a Wrangler, the TJL will be available, from 2005, with a four-cylinder 2.8-litre diesel engine.

The Dodge Ram COMBATT 2 Hybrid demonstrator vehicle* is a military version of a Dodge Ram 2500 (¾-Ton) full-sized pickup truck. The prototype is powered by a 5.9-litre Cummins TurboDiesel engine together with a PowerGen hybrid system, capable of providing up to 10 kW of exportable 120/240-volt AC 60 Hz power.

One of the key features of the PowerGen system is portable AC power which is available either when the vehicle is stationary with the engine idling, while the vehicle is being driven, or with a Silent Mode where approximately 1.5 kW-hrs of power is supplied by the HEV batteries when the diesel engine is switched off.

Up to 10 kW of 60 Hz AC power is available to power equipment when mains power is unavailable due to site location, natural or man-made disasters, or in combat conditions. The AC power is grid quality and will power industrial equipment, sensitive electronic equipment including computers and TVs, or recreational equipment.

The prototype is also equipped with a purpose-built state-of-the-art hydro-pneumatic suspension system that provides a unique combination of on-road ride and handling comfort with extreme off-road mobility. The suspension enables any single wheel to scale an obstacle up to three feet in height and means that the Dodge Ram COMBATT is capable of negotiating the severest off-road terrain.

Simon Elliott, Managing Director for Chrysler Group in the UK, said: "These two new prototypes demonstrate some of the technology which we may be seeing in our civilian vehicles in the future. Although they have been developed to address the specific needs of the military, they could also have a future role with aid agencies, utility companies and the emergency services in the UK.

"The Wrangler TJL brings the classic military Jeep right into the 21st century, while the prototype hybrid technology in the Dodge Ram, together with its payload and off-road ability, has obvious applications for disaster relief as well as military operations, where communications in remote areas are vitally important."

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