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Land Rover has won a prestigious Fleet News Award for the all-new Discovery 3, which was named winner of the 'Best Large SUV category'.
Nominated by an expert panel of judges, which included fleet managers, residual value experts, consultants and suppliers, this is one of the most coveted awards in the fleet sector and follows the recent success of both the Freelander and the Discovery 3 in winning their respective categories in the 2005 Fleet Excellence Awards.
The judges said of the award: "The Discovery 3 just does a better all-round job, providing a luxury driving environment with good on-road manners and incredibly strong off-road performance. Coupled with its very strong residual values, ability to take seven people in comfort and the potential of diesel motoring, it was felt this was the strongest contender in the sector."
Contract Hire packages for the Discovery 3 are available from only £399 a month*. For more details contact your local Land Rover dealer
18 Mar 2005
Specialist 4x4 Magazine has voted the luxury-spec Rodeo Denver its ‘Working Winner’ in the annual ‘Pick-Up of the Year Awards’.
This is the second time the Rodeo has been declared a victor by 4x4 Magazine which says in its April issue: "Something of a standard-setter with its 3.0 litre direct-injection engine and comfortable estate-like interior, the Rodeo has inspired most other pick-up manufacturers to improve their offerings but nothing has yet surfaced to challenge the all-round capabilities of the good-looking Isuzu."
Other accolades include the Rodeo Denver being voted ‘Towcar of the Year – Utility Class’ by The Caravan Club and ‘best-in-class’ by What Van?
Meanwhile, workhorse versions continue to enjoy significant price cuts with, for example, savings of £2,362.02 for the Rodeo 2.5 DT 4x2 Single Cab which is now £8,995 (on-the-road but excluding VAT).
All Rodeos have 12,000 mile service intervals, tax-friendly 1,000 kg-plus payloads and towing limits of 3,000 kg for the 3.0 litre and 2,000 kg for the 2.5 litre.
17 Mar 2005
Accidents and emergencies at events such as these require vehicles that can cope with rough terrain, whilst being able to transport patients and Red Cross operatives in safety and comfort. Nissan Patrol vehicles are designed to be worked hard in unforgiving terrain. While offering exceptional off-road capability, they still maintain excellent on-road performance.
Somerset Red Cross volunteers are trained in advanced first aid and life saving techniques and attend over 500 events each year. When not being used at events, the ambulances are kept busy in a variety of ways, including transporting patients home from hospital, or visiting local playgroups to teach young children about ambulances and how they help people. As a voluntary organisation the Red Cross relies on fund-raising events and donations to continue providing essential public services in the UK and supporting its humanitarian work worldwide. Full information on the British Red Cross can be found on www.redcross.org.uk.
Philip Rowe of the Red Cross in Somerset says: "The Nissan Patrol 4x4 vehicles are ideal for our use for two reasons. Firstly, they can ably cope with the difficult driving conditions that can be experienced at the kind of country events we attend. Secondly, unlike some other 4x4 vehicles, they allow easy access for stretchers, making it safer for our operatives to manoeuvre patients in and out of the vehicles. Whilst our patients are our priority, the health and safety of our operatives is also important."
Angie Newing, Area Operations Director for the Red Cross adds a third reason for choosing Nissan. She says: "Obviously as these are emergency vehicles, they need to be 100% reliable. A vehicle breakdown whilst on field duty could have disastrous results for an injured patient. The maintenance and servicing contract we have with Nissan means that we can be confident these emergency vehicles are always ready for action."
Dave Murfitt of Nissan says: "We are delighted that Nissan Patrol vehicles will be playing an important role in helping the Red Cross provide an emergency service at country events throughout Somerset and Dorset. These vehicles have supreme off-road capability, whilst offering drivers and passengers high levels of comfort as they travel to and from events throughout two counties."
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 16 March, 2005 The Land Rover Discovery Series II has won an Auto Express Used Car Honour for the fourth consecutive year with the ‘Best 4x4 Off-Roader’ accolade for 2005.
Judged as the best vehicle in its category, the Discovery beat off competition from BMW’s X5 and the Kia Sorento, having sold over 200,000 in the UK since its launch in 1989. The Range Rover was also highly commended in the ‘Large Executive Car’ category.
Commenting on the Discovery’s award, Auto Express editor-in-chief, David Johns, said: "Still the best used buy in this sector, the recently replaced Discovery is king off the road, with amazing mud-plugging abilities and a rugged image that few of its rivals can even dream of matching."
He added: "Land Rover’s marketing men have done a brilliant job over the last decade of bringing Land Rover to the forefront of luxury brands, where it now happily mixes with the most prestigious German makers."
The full Land Rover model range is available from over 130 dealerships in the UK, all of which sell used vehicles under the commended Land Rover Approved Used Car Programme.
7 Mar 2005
The Renegade’s unique external look includes a new flatter bonnet and taller grille, an overhead light bar with two spotlights and riveted wheel arches and bumpers.
Simon Elliott, Managing Director of the Chrysler Group in the UK, said: "The latest Jeep Cherokee has been a big sales success since it arrived in January, with a new common-rail diesel engine and a host of interior improvements. The Renegade special edition will build on this success and appeal to a slightly different buyer with its more rugged look, compared to the Sport and Limited models."
250 vehicles will be brought into the UK, featuring the 2.8-litre common-rail diesel engine. The Renegade will come with either a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic gearbox.
The top speed of both the manual and automatic versions is 108 mph. The 0-62 mph time of the manual engine is 12.8 seconds and 12.2 seconds for the automatic. This CRD engine produces 295 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,800 rpm and 161 bhp at 3800 rpm.
The Cherokee Renegade also features front fog lamps mounted on the bumper, five-spoke ‘Renegade’ alloy wheels and silver rock rails. The manual is priced at £21,230 and the automatic at £22,230 and will be available from dealers during March.
4 Mar 2005
Operators needing four-wheel drive, such as farmers and the construction industry, can buy a Rodeo 3.0 DT 4x4 Single Cab for £11,750 – a reduction of £2,307.02.
Meanwhile, Rodeo registrations in 2004 – its first full year on sale – show a healthy 2,061 sales, with the lifestyle-spec Denver manual and automatic models the most popular.
The Rodeo continues to rack-up accolades from industry experts. The Denver, for example, was voted ‘Towcar Of The Year – Utility Class’ by The Caravan Club.
In addition, both ‘4x4’ magazine and ‘What Van?’ have declared the commercial versions ‘best–in-class’ in their respective annual awards.
2 Mar 2005
The ‘little’ R1 has just gone on sale in Japan and is one of their domestic K-class sector cars. Powered by the traditional 660cc petrol engine the R1 in Japan is available with two or four wheel drive. Will it come to the UK? Unlikely said Subaru UK, but never say never. If market forces or customer demands make it viable, then Subaru UK will look at it. Officially it was on the stand to gauge public reaction.
The ‘large’ was the Subaru B9 Tribeca first shown in January at the Detroit Motor Show. This vehicle will be built first of all at Subaru’s Indiana factory and sales to the US, Canada, Brazil and Chilean markets will begin this summer. Subaru UK officials say it is under evaluation for the European markets but sales of Japanese produced versions are likely to be with us in 2007. The estimated UK price would be in the region of £30,000.
Subaru UK sees it as a natural addition to their current four-wheel drive range extending their family of ‘crossover’ Outback and Forester models. It would compete for sales against models such as the BMW X5 or Porsche Cayenne.
The Tribeca uses the platform and 3.0-litre flat-six ‘boxer’ petrol engine from Subaru’s Legacy models. The suspension is changed to give it extra ground clearance for use as a soft-offroader. The large newcomer can accommodate seven passengers.
24 Feb 2005
On 29 January in Chile, battling against icy winds and a lack of oxygen, the Touareg expedition team fought its way through the lunar landscape of the Ojos del Salado, the world’s highest volcano, to achieve the record.
An altimeter and GPS system displayed the result of 6,080 metres. This is the highest point on the surface of the Earth that a vehicle can reach and safely return from. The Touareg has therefore proven its abilities in extreme conditions and surpassed the performance of all other off-road vehicles.
The route of the team of eight, headed by expedition leader Rainer Zietlow, first took them through the Atacama desert, the world’s driest area. The base camp is located at 4,400 metres above sea level above the salt lake Laguna Santa Rosa, famous for its pink flamingos. From here the trail continues over stones and pebbles with an 80 per cent gradient, snow fields and soft volcanic sand. At the wheel of the Touareg was Ronald Bormann, previous winner of the European Truck Trail competition.
In sections where large rocks blocked the path, a winch, fitted as standard to the Touareg Expedition, a special edition version currently not offered in the UK, helped the team on its way. Spotlights fitted to the roof rack, which also accommodates spare wheels and rescue equipment, lit the way through the night to the rock-strewn summit. As the air became thinner at 5,000 metres above sea level, the crew was given additional oxygen by altitude specialist Dr Rainald Fischer, in order to ward off potentially life-threatening altitude sickness.
The Institute for Cartography at the University of Dresden helped to select the route to the summit following a recent four-week survey of the summit region for the purpose of making new maps. The knowledge gained by the expedition will help the cartographers verify their work.
However, the most important scientific aspect of the expedition to a region endangered by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions was the installation of a seismographic station, managed by the Geological Research Centre in Potsdam.
This station makes it possible to register eruptions directly above potential earthquake sites, thus advancing global research in this area.
Whether in town, on country roads or the motorway; as a service vehicle at the Dakar rally; a globetrotter in the ‘Touareg 360° experience’ circumnavigation of the world; or as an expedition vehicle used for scientific purposes – the Touareg is always more than capable of meeting the challenge.
Land Rover Headquarters, Gaydon, 22 February 2005
The Range Rover Sport is the best-performing and best-handling vehicle that Land Rover has ever built. Designed to complement the renowned Range Rover – which continues as the company’s flagship – the Range Rover Sport is a completely new vehicle, a more compact, more agile and more performance-oriented SUV.
It combines invigorating dynamic ability with outstanding comfort and refinement. Land Rover calls it a ‘sports tourer’. This reflects its ability effortlessly to cover long journeys quickly and comfortably, and yet also to deliver sharp handling and exhilarating performance. Its on-road prowess is complemented by class-leading
The top-line version uses a 287 kW (390 bhp SAE) Jaguar-derived supercharged V8 engine and has a top speed of 225 km/h (140 mph), electronically limited. It is the fastest and best-accelerating vehicle that Land Rover has ever made. A normally aspirated V8 and advanced turbodiesel V6 are also available (diesel not available in North America and some other markets).
"The Range Rover Sport competes in the growing performance SUV market, but is different from all rivals," says managing director Matthew Taylor.
"It is a sports tourer that offers the excitement of a performance car but with the versatility and go-anywhere ability of a Land Rover. Unlike rivals, its high performance doesn’t stop when the road gets rough – or runs out. It is an outstanding four-wheel drive off-roader, as you’d expect from Land Rover. And on road, compared with its rivals, we believe it is less frenetic, more refined and more comfortable. It all adds up to the broadest range of capability in its class. It also perfectly complements the existing Range Rover – the most complete luxury SUV."
Prices start at £34,995 for the entry-level Range Rover Sport 2.7-litre TDV6 S diesel and rise to £58,995 for the top-of-the-range petrol 4.2-litre V8 Supercharged 'First Edition'.
22 Feb 2005
There are some Sports Utilities which may be considered big, bad and ugly. But the Honda CR-V i-CTDi diesel, launched next month, will certainly not be one of them.
Not only does the latest CR-V have a smaller ‘footprint’ than most family cars, but it is also more economical than many – and with the lowest CO2 emissions rating of any vehicle in its class. It is also among the safest cars on the road, one of a handful of cars – and the only SUV – that combines a Euro NCAP four star occupant score with a three star pedestrian safety rating.
Without being immodest, we’d go so far as to claim that the Swindon-built CR-V i-CTDi is the greenest and most socially responsible SUV in the land.
Three versions of the new diesel will go on sale. They will be badged SE, Sport and Executive and will carry a £1400 premium over their 2.0 litre i-VTEC petrol engine equivalents. In addition to the class-leading specifications carried over from the petrol models, all of the diesels will be offered with 6-speed manual transmission. The diesels are visually identifiable by a tailgate spoiler (for improved aerodynamics) and discreet i-CTDi badging on the front wings and tailgate.
High quality, refined toughness’ is the theme used by Honda to promote the 2005 CR-V, and this is reaffirmed by the diesel. Building on the strength of the petrol CR-V, the fastest selling petrol SUV, it enters one of the fastest growing UK market segments – with diesel SUV sales up two thirds in the past two years, easily offsetting a one sixth drop in petrol sales.
"With this in mind, we anticipate an eventual petrol diesel split of 57 / 43, with annual CR-V sales now expected to total 21,500," says Honda (UK)’s Product Planning Manager, Richard Benton. "Such an achievement would place CR-V well ahead of competitors with, for example, Land Rover Freelander and Toyota RAV 4 achieving around 16,000 and 12,000 units respectively for combined petrol / diesel 5dr sales last year," he adds.
Honda’s advertising strategy has been to create awareness both for the Honda brand and for the diesel engine, driving demand for core models like the CR-V. In order to promote the new diesel, Honda has re-introduced its ‘Hate something, change something’ TV advertisement and launched a CR-V diesel print campaign to further boost sales.
"Diesel customers are expected to be younger then petrol ones, and do a higher mileage," explains Benton. "They are expected to be predominantly male (74%), and more likely to have children than petrol SUV customers – and the diesel is more likely to be a corporate rather than a retail purchase," he adds.
The introduction of the CR-V diesel isn’t just good news for Honda dealers, it’s also good for UK car manufacturing. As a result of increased demand, the Swindon plant is geared up to produce some 60,000 CR-Vs for the whole of Europe this year – up from 30,000 last year.
PRICES AND SPECIFICATIONS OF THE CR-V DIESEL RANGE
18 Feb 2005
Want a car that can cope with the rough stuff every now and then but which won’t drink fuel for fun and require a double garage to accommodate it? Yes, then you’ll be delighted to know that Renault has revised its fun, yet functional Kangoo Trekka models for 2005.
The unique Kangoo Trekka 4x4 is still the only 4x4 multi-use car of its size in its class, and thanks to its permanent four-wheel drive transmission and 200mm ground clearance it can cope admirably with any off-roading without losing any of its on-road abilities. With five seats, a large boot and numerous storage compartments, the Trekka has proven to be the ideal leisure partner for families and the young at heart.
The main changes changes to the new Trekka concern its exterior styling, with the revised version featuring clear ‘teardrop-style’ headlamps in keeping with the car’s modern personality plus blue-tinted body mouldings. Meanwhile, on the inside the 2005 version receives new grey trim.
The two revised Kangoo Trekka models still offer the same level of comprehensive standard equipment as before, including: 15" alloys, 60W radio/CD player, electric front windows and door mirrors, and remote central locking. In line with the rest of the Renault range, the Kangoo is one of the safest cars in its class with its 4-star EuroNCAP safety rating, and also benefits from standard ABS with EBA (emergency brake assistance), plus driver and passenger airbags.
Customers wishing to add to their Kangoo Trekka’s appeal, particularly when they’re in the great outdoors, can choose from a wide range of upmarket options such as air conditioning, electric panoramic sunroof, part leather upholstery, pre-telephone equipment and roof bars.
Summing up the inimitable Kangoo Trekka’s appeal, following a jaunt to the French Alps just a few weeks ago, the Daily Telegraph wrote, "…Who needs a 140mph Range Rover? Why not save your money and avoid the mounting (SUV) public criticism? If I wanted loads of storage space, a commanding seating position and four-wheel drive, I would certainly go for the Kangoo Trekka..."
The new Trekka is available in a range of 8 colours, including the latest addition, ‘Ink Blue’ and 4 other metallics. Prices remain unchanged at £12,595 for the 1.6 16V and £13,595 for the 1.9 dCi 80, while the order book is open now and deliveries expected to start in March.
Kangoo sales – reaching for the summit
By the end of 2004, retail sales of the funky and versatile Kangoo had increased 51% on the previous year, so to capitalise on this success a new Kangoo Venture special edition was launched. The latest addition is now the best-selling model in the range, and sales are set to rise even further with the news that customer savings of up to £1,500 are now available to potential customers.
16 Feb 2005
In a market sector that continues to see healthy growth – despite the whines of the anti 4x4 brigade – Kia can now provide the growing number of mid-range car buyers with an all-weather, all-terrain alternative to the traditional medium-sized saloon or hatchback.
And with prices starting from just £15,695 the Kia Sportage diesel range will significantly challenge many of the established names in this sector.
Kia’s own research prior to the introduction of the new Sportage range in January 2005 discovered that many car drivers would like to trade up to an SUV but felt that ‘real’ 4x4 motoring was out of their reach. But, initial sales of the new diesel-engined Sportage’s petrol stablemates have shown that those motorists see Sportage as the answer to their aspirations.
Designed to provide safe and economical on-road characteristics with the ability to handle demanding conditions away from the highway, the Sportage is set to take on the established hierarchy as well as offering a real SUV alternative to saloon and hatchback drivers.
Kia Motors (UK) Limited Managing Director Paul Williams said: "Although the Sportage name has a long heritage with Kia, the all-new Sportage really does give demanding motorists a real choice that no-one else in the market is offering.
"At just over 15 and a half grand the new Sportage 2.0 CRDi XE provides a realistic alternative to the family motorist who is currently driving one of the mainstream diesel hatchbacks from Ford, Peugeot, Renault or Vauxhall and would like to graduate to SUV motoring. And with the 2.0 CRDi XS costing just £17,195 there isn’t a traditional compact SUV that comes anywhere close!" he added.
Williams also pointed out that the new Sportage diesel will come with automatic transmission alternatives for just a £1,000 premium – a feature that several direct competitors currently do not feature and where it is offered it is often an even higher priced option.
He said: "Although we do not see the existing 4x4 competitors as our primary targets, the motorists who will choose to buy Sportage have told us it is the cost of these vehicles that keeps them out of SUV ownership.
"Kia’s philosophy is to provide the very best products at the very best price and that is why we believe we will enable a whole new generation of motorists to join the SUV club with Sportage. And I do not believe there is a better all round product in the market than the new diesel Sportage. Its blend of diesel economy and flexibility coupled to an intelligent four-wheel-drive system and high off-road ability makes diesel Sportage the intelligent choice for anyone looking for a vehicle that will enable them to live the lifestyle they choose.
"This is a serious compact SUV – not a look-alike with just two-wheel drive – but its value is outstanding.
"No-one needs to give up luxury or even basic safety by choosing Sportage as even the lead-in XE model comes with six airbags, an MP3-compatible CD-radio, air-conditioning, electric windows and all the other standard features Kia has become renowned for," he added.
The four-model diesel Sportage range comes with an impressive standard specification and starts with the 2.0 CRDi XE manual at £15,695 on the road. In automatic form the XE costs £16,695. The higher-specified XS manual has an on-the-road price of £17,195 and the automatic version is priced at £18,195.
The diesel-engined Sportage is powered by a Euro III compliant, four-cylinder, 16 valve 1,991cc common rail diesel engine that produces 111bhp at 4,000rpm and 245Nm of torque at an impressively low 1,800rpm.
The power unit is coupled to either a five speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic and delivers its power to the road through an electronically controlled four-wheel drive system that in most conditions utilises only front- wheel drive but on sensing loss of grip automatically diverts up to half the drive to the rear wheels as well.
The Sportage has a solid and controlled stance on road and off-road thanks to its monocoque construction and the fully independent suspension. The front is controlled by a MacPherson strut and coil spring arrangement with an anti-roll bar and at the rear the Sportage rides on an independent dual link and coil spring arrangement, also with an anti-roll bar.
Secure braking is provided by front ventilated discs and solid rear discs and a four-wheel, four-sensor, four-channel anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution.
A highly class competitive insurance group of 9D for all four diesel Sportage variants reinforces Kia’s focus on security and every Sportage comes with a large-capacity lockable glove box, remote central door locking, an electronic engine immobiliser and a perimeter alarm.
Pricing & Insurance Groups
Unlike the front-wheel drive Golf, 4MOTION models use electronically controlled Haldex transmission, mounted on the rear axle, to split the drive between the front and rear wheels. Using a second generation Haldex system, the new transmission is faster acting, more sensitive, quieter and more compact than before.
In normal driving 90 per cent of the engine’s power is delivered to the front wheels, with 10 per cent going to the rear. This results in characteristics familiar to drivers of front-wheel drive vehicles, plus improved fuel efficiency compared with a permanent four-wheel drive system. As the system senses loss of traction, the Haldex transmission transmits power to the wheels with the most grip; as much as 100 per cent of the engine’s power can transfer to the rear wheels if necessary.
The Golf 4MOTION is available to order now, either as a 2.0-litre GT FSI 150 PS or 2.0-litre GT TDI 140 PS. Trim levels mirror those of the front-wheel drive GT FSI and GT TDI models, with standard equipment including 2Zone climate control; rain sensor and automatic dimming rear view mirror; 16" alloy wheels; CD player; and ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme). Visual differences are subtle, with twin exhaust pipes and discreet ‘4MOTION’ chrome badges the only external cues.
15 Feb 2005
The 1.3 litre Terios Tracker will now cost £8,995 on-the-road – a reduction of £1,950 – while the higher-spec Sport retails at £10,495 – £2,000 less than before. Even the Terios Tracker has ABS, front electric windows, power steering, alloy wheels, central-locking, twin front airbags, a radio/CD player and, of course, permanent four-wheel drive with an electronic differential lock. Its Sport sister model adds larger alloy wheels and low-profile tyres, air-conditioning, front fog-lamps, remote central-locking, a large tailgate spoiler and the choice of Silver monotone or Black, Green or Blue metallic with Silver lower body cladding.
Meanwhile, the highly-praised 1.0 litre Charade range enjoys a £300 reduction, meaning the range now starts at £5,695 OTR for the EL three door with the EL five door costing £6,495 and the five door SL, £6,995. Like the Terios, equipment levels are lavish. For example, the Charade EL boasts ABS, power steering, twin front airbags, a radio/CD player, electric front windows and door mirrors and central locking.
The Charade still leads its segment for performance, fuel economy, and low exhaust emissions, while its ride, space and refinement are from the next-class-up. For example, the manual version will almost reach 100 mph yet gives 68.9 mpg on the Extra Urban cycle. Its 114 g/km CO2 is the lowest of any four-seat petrol-engined car and qualifies the owner for a £75 Road Fund Licence (12 months plus £38 first registration fee).
Commenting on the new price initiatives, Daihatsu Vehicle Distributors Limited’s new Managing Director, Paul Tunnicliffe, said: "This really is offering customers outstanding value for money and complements our reputation for great fuel economy and low running costs. "Furthermore, these price cuts are not being applied as some sort of run-out campaign as the Charade was only launched two years ago and the Terios received an equipment upgrade and Sport derivative at the same time."
4x4 For You
From the mountainside to the school-run, the 4x4 is the vehicle of choice for millions of motorists across the world.
The 4x4 started life as a practical yet austere beast of burden for those working around hard-to-reach locations, Yet since appearing as the Jeep and the Land Rover during the 1940s, The 4x4 has come a long way, and is now popular as a main form of transport, even among those who never drive off-road.
So could a 4x4 be a good investment? Alan Pulham, franchised dealer director for the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) certainly thinks so: ‘4x4 vehicles are good for the winter months, but they are also practical all year-round.’
Pulham continues: ‘The wide range of prices within the 4x4 market means that there will be a vehicle to suit those working on a range of budgets. The sector goes from the height of luxury to the more basic and practical models.’
Four wheel drive vehicles have a number of common features, to which their continuing success has been attributed:
The range of vehicles available is very wide. The only real limit will be how much the prospective buyer wishes to spend.
Popular models currently available include the Toyota RAV-4, the Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin, and the Hyundai Santa Fe.
The Volvo XC90 D5S provides a combination of on-road handling and off-road muscle, and includes an array of safety features.
Porsche, previously known for its on-road sports cars, now offers its own take on the 4x4 in the Cayenne. Other premium manufacturers offering a luxury variations on the segment include BMW with its X5 as well as the new X3, and of course Range Rover and Land Rover, whose latest Freelander and Discovery models have been very well received.
As always, the various smaller costs that make up the total cost of a car are numerous, but dealers will try to make things as easy as possible for buyers. Pulham explains: ‘To make the buying process easier, manufacturers will recommend what they call an on-the-road price, made up of ex-works price, VAT, number plate, delivery charges and road fund licence.’
He continues: ‘Once you have bought the 4x4, you should have peace of mind through a warranty. Newly registered cars usually come with a three year warranty, and some even offer a five year warranty.’
The used four-wheel drive market is very healthy, so if your budget does not stretch to one of the more expensive models, there is still plenty of choice. If you are buying a second hand vehicle which has passed beyond the manufacturer warranty, a warranty will be provided by the dealer, or a third party.
Such a warranty can last for between three and 12 months, depending on the age and condition of the vehicle. Dealers belonging to the RMI are obliged to give a minimum level of warranty as a condition of their membership. However, the length of manufacturer warranties now offered on new vehicles mean that when you buy a used vehicle, it may still be covered by that warranty.’
Getting a Good Service
Of course, this is not the end, as Pulham explains: ‘The vehicle will need both servicing and occasional maintenance, for which you will need a reputable garage. If the supplying garage is too far away for such jobs, a local RMI member would be happy to support you with service. All RMI members pledge to observe the Code of Practice of the Motor Industry. A member will be able to advise you on the type of service you need, and will be able to point out potential problem areas before they arise, or become serious.’
He continues: ‘Whether you want to buy or sell a new or used car or motorcycle, service or repair your existing vehicle, find an auction house, or a cherished number plate dealer, the RMI will be able to help you.
‘If you have a complaint against an RMI member garage, the RMI’s National Conciliation Service should be able to help you get redress, if the problem cannot be solved in direct consultation with that member.’
To find a garage that is a member of the RMI, visit www.rmif.co.uk and use the ‘Find a Service’ function. You will also find details of RMI members that sell new and used cars or motorcycles, provide vehicle servicing and repair, and sell petrol.
Motorists can also use the RMI Consumer Motorline - 08457 58 53 50
This will enable you to find all RMI members mentioned above, and in addition vehicle auctioneers and cherished number plate dealers.
Pulham believes it is the right time to get off-road: ‘4x4s can get almost anywhere. Join the fun by getting down to your nearest dealer and find out what is available, and soon you can have some off-road action of your own.’
Motorists can also use the RMI Consumer Motorline - 08457 58 53 50
This will enable you to find all RMI members mentioned above, and in addition vehicle auctioneers and cherished number plate dealers.
Pulham believes it is the right time to get off-road: ‘4x4s can get almost anywhere. Join the fun by getting down to your nearest dealer and find out what is available, and soon you can have some off-road action of your own.’
10 Feb 2005
The new label will be displayed on new vehicles in car showrooms and was announced at today's Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) conference in Gaydon, by the Secretary of State for Transport, Alistair Darling MP.
SMMT chief executive, Christopher Macgowan, added, 'By introducing this new voluntary label, the motor industry has shown its commitment to giving its customers clearer information on environmental performance. Model by model comparisons will be made easier for new car buyers as a result.'
UK motor manufacturers have agreed to the introduction of the colour-coded label, supplementing a label first introduced by SMMT in 1999. It will be displayed on all new cars in time for the number plate change in September.
In addition to CO2 emissions, estimated annual fuel costs and VED rates, the label includes information on fuel type, average fuel consumption and engine size.
Editors Comment: Buying a new 4x4 is a big decision. When you do, look carefully at the pollution rating of the vehicles for sale. The lower the pollution, and higher the mpg, the better for all our futures. Irrespective of the above start to think green. I work from home, so NO fuel used travelling to work. My children are picked up by the school bus so NO fuel used on the school run. I want to keep my Landrover as my preffered method of transport so I must be aware of other ways to reduce pollution and help the environment where possible. NDL
4 Feb 2005
This Memorandum plans the annual production in Japan of 30,000 units for PSA Peugeot Citroën’s needs, based on a Mitsubishi platform currently under development.
To be launched in 2007, these new SUV’s will have specific designs for Peugeot and Citroën. They will be equipped with the latest generation PSA Peugeot Citroën’s HDi Diesel engines with particulate filter.
For the PSA Peugeot Citroën group, these SUV’s will expand the ranges of the two brands Peugeot and Citroën. The models aim to attract new customers predominantly in European markets.
For Mitsubishi Motors, the additional volume will enable the company to raise capacity utilisation rates and to improve productivity.
To begin with, this project will target European markets but the two groups are also considering the possibility of supplying other markets and expanding their partnership.
With this cooperation, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and PSA Peugeot Citroën pursue a “win-win” strategy between collaborative partners.
4 Feb 2005
Although the vehicle shown in Chicago will be a special long-wheelbase version purely for the North American market, the new Sedona will come to Europe in 2006.
Full details of the Europe-bound version – the UK’s best-selling large MPV in the retail market – are not yet being released, but the new Sedona will provide even better interior space and an improved specification including a fold-flat third row of seats.
It will also benefit from improved powerplants and transmission plus an all-new body and under-pinnings that will provide even better ride and handling than the current model.
Kia Motors (UK) Limited Managing Director Paul Williams said: "Although the new Sedona is not coming to the UK for another year yet, this sketch – and the North American model – shows just how Kia design is continuing to move forward dynamically to provide motorists with ever-more modern vehicles featuring Kia’s dedication to impressive specifications and excellent value for the vast majority of family motorists."
3 Feb 2005
During January, SYUK Cars Ltd took advantage of the bad weather to show sales staff and dealer principals from its expanding SsangYong network, just how good the Rexton 270 is, both on and off-road.
Testing terrain at nine regional sites was chosen to put the Rexton through its paces. Each was designed to use the vehicle’s dual range gears, high articulation suspension and electronic traction control to the full.
Managing Director, Bob Barris attended all of the events and told participants, "Many customers have bought Rexton because of its good looks and high equipment levels, but many prospects also want a vehicle which is a highly capable off-roader. We need to be able to demonstrate Rexton's exceptional performance as a tow car and a serious cross-country vehicle."
As the network continues to expand further off-road driving courses are planned for new dealers, sales staff and indeed customers.
The Rexton range starts at just £16,999. All models offer dual range gears in the 4x4 system and can tow a braked trailer of 3,500 kgs.
1 Feb 2005
The stylish Subaru R1 mini-car has just gone on sale in Japan while the Porsche Cayenne-sized B9 Tribeca had its debut at the recent Detroit Motor Show with first US deliveries due in the summer.
Neither are planned for Europe although market research studies are about to begin to gauge public reaction.
Subaru will hold a press conference on the first press day of the show – Tuesday, 1 March at 8.45 am.
Aimed at the Japanese ‘K-Car’ market, the 660cc R1 offers all-wheel drive and intelligent continuously-variable automatic transmission as technical highlights, clothed in a stylish, streamlined body described as resembling an eggshell. The black and red interior is especially luxurious and of high-quality and the car is primarily designed as a two-seater.
The two-wheel drive version is one of the most fuel-efficient cars in Japan and qualifies as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle, exceeding government demands for a 50 per cent reduction in emissions from 2005 levels.
Subaru B9 Tribeca
Spearheading a new design direction for Subaru, the new B9 Tribeca is a large seven-seat SUV similar in size to a Porsche Cayenne or BMW X5.
The Tribeca features all-wheel drive and a horizontally-opposed six-cylinder 3.0 litre ‘boxer’ engine similar to the range-topping Legacy.
To be built in Subaru’s plant in Indiana, the Tribeca will initially be restricted to the US, Canadian and Chilean markets only.
It was engineered to continue Subaru’s excellent reputation for outstanding handling, road-holding and active safety and further extends the ‘crossover’ family which also includes the Outback and Forester.
The new Škoda Octavia Estate 4x4 will be available in the UK from March 2005, the perfect answer to the ‘4x4 backlash’ as it offers all the advantages of a four-wheel drive system in a normal-sized estate car. ‘Normal’ by Škoda standards is still larger than average, as this new Škoda offers an exceptionally roomy interior and luggage compartment – not losing any capacity because of the 4x4 system. With the seats in place, carrying capacity of 580 litres is top in its class, rising to 1,620 litres with the rear seats folded.
With two engine choices, this is the first time that the Estate 4x4 will be available in a diesel engine. Those preferring more economical performance are likely to choose the flexible and economical 1.9 TDI PD 105bhp, priced at just £16,150, whilst the powerful new 2.0 FSI 150bhp is available at £16,745, yet more proof of Škoda’s great value.
The Octavia Estate 4x4 owes its off-road capability to the permanently available four-wheel drive with automatic torque distribution which is achieved (as with the last generation Škoda 4x4) through Škoda’s Haldex coupling. This results in better handling in bad weather and poor road conditions.
The Haldex coupling system offers several advantages over other typical four-wheel drive concepts as it has front-wheel drive characteristics under the majority of driving conditions. The system works by near-instant evaluation of road conditions, fed from sensors in the car through the CAN-Bus system to the rear differential. Full integration with traction and braking systems such as ABS, EDL & ESP means there is less stress in the drivetrain when parking or manoeuvring.
The 4x4 is a stand-alone trim level that offers a number of additional features to Octavia’s Ambiente trim, including Climatronic dual-zone air conditioning, leather steering wheel, gearknob and gaiter, ESP and front fog lamps.
Raised suspension and sump guard are standard too, as are the 15" alloy wheels. Both engine options have six-speed manual transmission.
The new Škoda Octavia Estate offers an extraordinary package – high build quality, excellent handling and performance, and fantastic space and comfort. The new Estate 4x4 delivers all this and more; satisfying off-road capability that doesn’t compromise the excellent value for money one expects from Škoda – yet another "extra bit of car".
31 Jan 2005
According to the latest analysis by Glass’s, the residual values of prestige Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) continue to outperform the wider used car market, despite recent increases in availability. Although many of these vehicles have experienced modest falls in their residual values over the past year, key models (such as the BMW X5, Lexus RX300, Porsche Cayenne and Volvo XC90) all still retain over 80 per cent of their original cost (as a trade value) after a year and 12,000 miles.
"Registrations of prestige SUVs have more than doubled since 2001, and manufacturers continue to produce new models in response to high levels of demand," explains Richard Crosthwaite, Prestige Car Editor at Glass’s. "However, the prestige 4x4 sector is still relatively small – accounting for below 2 per cent of the total new car market in 2004 – and their relative rarity helps underpin strong residual values."
Glass’s predicts that values in this sector will ease back over the next year, but that they will continue to outperform the market in general. "We believe that sales of new prestige SUVs will climb still further, helped by the arrival of new models such as the Audi Q7 and the Range Rover Sport. Nevertheless, so long as the increases in volume are maintained at sensible levels by manufacturers, the impact on values will be relatively modest," says Crosthwaite.
It was once assumed that values of 4x4s were seasonal, peaking in the winter months when 4x4 technology comes into its own. "However, the reality is that the values of most of these cars are no longer influenced by seasonal factors," says Crosthwaite. "Instead, most people buying cars in this sector are attracted by the internal space, the feeling of safety, the rugged looks, and the commanding driving position."
"The simple fact is that these vehicles remain very fashionable, and until this changes most will keep their enviable reputation for slow depreciation," he concludes.
Optimising residual values
Values in this sector remain very sensitive to a number of factors relating to engine choice, specification and colour. For example:
Interestingly, there is currently one key exception to how these specification requirements affect residual values in this sector. With the price of the new BMW X3 considered by some to be too close to the X5 when the usual sector options are ordered, it is much easier to sell an X3 when more sparsely specified as it can be then seen as more of a value-for-money proposition.
28 Jan 2005
The new Fiat Panda 4x4, a four-wheel drive version of Fiat Auto’s multi-award winning European Car of the Year 2004, goes on sale here on Saturday 5 February.
The Fiat brand has been synonymous with Europe’s most affordable 4x4 since a four-wheel drive system, developed in conjunction with Steyr-Puch, was installed in the first, Giugiaro-designed Panda in 1983. This model’s mechanical simplicity, durability and off-road abilities quickly found universal favour, and notably with rural communities, postal services and telephone and electricity utilities across continental Europe.
Today, building on a unique design which combines the road presence and elevated driving position of a small SUV with the space and flexible practicality of an MPV, the new Fiat Panda 4x4 features a variable torque distribution, permanent four-wheel drive transmission system capable of automatically transferring up to 50% of engine torque to the rear wheels.
Employing front and rear differentials and a rear mounted viscous coupling, this robust, low maintenance drivetrain is completely automatic and entirely mechanical, requiring neither driver input nor electronic control, and imbues the Panda 4x4 with outstanding off-road and severe weather abilities.
With modifications to the MacPherson strut front suspension and an all-new, independent rear configuration featuring longitudinal tie rods and a torsion bar, the new Panda 4x4 offers improved wheel articulation in off-road conditions, and an extended ground clearance of 165 mm. This revised and strengthened suspension system affords the Panda 4x4 impressive off-road comfort and performance with minimal compromise to the car’s renowned driving dynamics.
Allied to its increased ground clearance, the new Panda 4x4’s short front and rear overhangs make it ideally suited to the most challenging of off-road conditions, with approach, departure and breakover angles (the maximum angles of incidence that may be undertaken without the body touching the ground) of 24, 42 and 24 degrees respectively. The new Panda 4x4 will also readily climb gradients in excess of 50%.
On the road, new Panda 4x4 augments the levels of traction and stability inherent in its sophisticated, variable torque distribution four-wheel drive system, with ABS anti-lock brakes incorporating electronic brakeforce distribution, and MSR to modulate brake torque whilst changing down.
Within a bodyshell of exceptional torsional stiffness, the new Panda 4x4 offers a fully comprehensive array of both active and passive safety features. It is the first car in its class to offer up to six airbags, whilst front seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters, three-point rear seatbelts, and anti-submarining seats are all fitted as standard.
Priced at £9195 on-the-road, and fitted with Fiat’s proven FIRE 1.2 litre, 8-valve, 60 bhp power plant mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, the new Panda 4x4 will be available in one unique trim designation, offering levels of equipment more usually associated with cars of a higher segment.
Electric front windows, remote central locking, Dualdrive electric power steering, twin front airbags and a Blaupunkt stereo radio/CD are fitted as standard. Moreover, the availability of up to six airbags, automatic climate control, parking sensors, a Sky Dome electric sunroof, steering wheel audio controls and a stereo CD with MP3 player, provides the new Fiat Panda 4x4 with a level of on-board sophistication and refinement unparalleled in this class.
Over one million test kilometres, undertaken through some of the world’s harshest terrain, attest to both the new Panda 4x4’s remarkable off-road abilities and the durability of its drivetrain: in Lapland, the new Fiat performed faultlessly in temperatures of minus 40 degrees, maintaining traction and stability on ultra-low friction surfaces, and overcoming snow covered gradients of more than 40%. In the Kalahari Desert, the most mechanically debilitating of unsurfaced roads combined with dust, sand and 45 degree temperatures subjected the Panda 4x4’s drivetrain and suspension to the harshest examination.
Finally, two Panda 4x4s set out from Kathmandu to drive through the Himalayas to the Mount Everest advance base camp, sited at an altitude of 5200 metres. This was the first time that a small off-road vehicle achieved this goal, a feat made all the more remarkable by the absence of any modification to the standard Panda 4x4, except minor engine control unit adaptations appropriate for the quality of local fuel.
Fiat’s new Panda 4x4 may be readily distinguished from standard front-wheel drive versions by a 50 mm increase in ground clearance. In addition, revised front and rear bumper designs incorporate wide, integral body shields which fold underneath the bodywork to afford additional off-road protection. An engine sump guard is also fitted as standard.
In profile, the new 4x4 features large, bow shaped windows linked via blacked out door pillars to the rear quarterlight. This affords maximum glazing to the cabin space, whilst creating a graphic motif unique to the Panda range and hinting at the raised driving position and MPV practicality within. Bespoke, full-length, side rubbing strips further distinguish the 4x4 from front-wheel drive versions, and black aluminium roof rails are fitted as standard.
At the rear, a full height, top hinged tailgate, flanked by high visibility rear lamp clusters, is designed to offer full width access to the loadspace throughout the low-silled aperture.
Life on board
The ultra-compact exterior dimensions of the new Fiat Panda 4x4 – 1.60 m wide, 1.63 m high and 3.57 m long, with a wheelbase of just 2.30 m – belie an exceptionally spacious, flexible interior.
The car boasts an overall passenger room coefficient of more than 68%, one of the best in its class. And, thanks to an optional innovative, split/folding, sliding rear seat the copious luggage compartment may be quickly and easily increased.
The combination of a raised driving position, height adjustable seat, rake adjustable steering wheel and generous glazing offer the Fiat Panda 4x4 driver a comfortable, highly adaptable driving position allied to excellent all-round visibility. Unrivalled driver ergonomics have been achieved through painstaking detailing and the careful placement of switchgear.
Complementing a clear, functional driver’s instrument binnacle, the prominent centre console raises the gear lever to within the closest practical proximity of the steering wheel, allowing for quick, accurate changes with minimal physical effort. Careful consideration has gone into the placement of all other console based functions, with the stereo radio placed at the highest level to offer ease of access with minimal driver distraction.
Extensive cabin storage includes a glovebox, generous door pockets, centre console cup holders and a removable rear parcel shelf.
The seats, produced in accordance with principles developed by Professor Dal Monte, head of the Biometrics Department at the CONI Sport Medicine Institute, are exceptionally comfortable, devoting particular attention to passenger posture and lateral containment.
The new Fiat Panda 4x4 offers a choice of three rear seating solutions; one piece with two places, fitted as standard, and the option of either 50:50 split/sliding with two places or one piece with three places. All variants come with a one piece cushion incorporating an anti-submarining function, and a fully folding backrest for greatly enlarged load carrying capacity.
The one piece backrest can include a third, inertia reel seatbelt, whilst the two place, 50:50 split option offers even greater loadspace flexibility. Also being able to slide, this option boasts the added advantage of rake adjustable backrests and the ability to boost loadspace by 30 litres without the need to fold down either seat back. In all cases, the seat folding mechanism may be operated from inside either the passenger or luggage compartments.
A comprehensive range of accessories includes car mats, assorted loadspace nets including a dog containment screen, a demountable load compartment tray, transverse roof bars and a wide selection of child seats, including a bespoke Kiddy Isofix seat for children weighing up to 40 lbs.
Available in 10 body colours complemented by a choice of durable, grey/yellow or grey/red cabin upholstery finishes which are unique to the 4x4, the Panda is the only car in this class to have 99% of its interior surface lined, setting new supermini standards for quality and comfort.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
The new Panda 4x4 goes on sale in the UK powered by Fiat’s spirited FIRE 1.2 litre 8-valve, 60 bhp engine, which is mated, via a 5-speed manual gearbox, to a variable torque distribution four-wheel drive transmission system.
FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE TRANSMISSION
Fiat’s new four-wheel drive transmission, developed in conjunction with GKN Driveline, is a simple, robust, yet highly effective system capable of mastering severe winter roads, challenging off-road conditions and gradients of more than 50%, with minimal compromise to the Panda 4x4’s on-road refinement.
The system features a front differential allied to a power transfer unit (PTU), a two-piece propshaft, a viscous coupling in front of the rear differential, a rear differential module, and front and rear driveshafts.
The key to the system’s efficiency is the viscous coupling.
How it works
In normal driving conditions, the Panda 4x4 is basically front-wheel drive, with the resultant benefits of fuel economy, tyre wear, etc. The automatic operation of the Panda 4x4 means that without any intervention by the driver, the system will automatically transfer power to the rear wheels when necessary. This is done by the viscous coupling, physically a small cylinder just in front of the rear axle into which the propshaft connects.
Basically, the viscous coupling consists of a sealed container within which there are a large number of metal discs, fixed alternately to the outer casing and the inner shaft. In order to increase the viscous drag, the discs fixed to the outer casing are perforated, whilst those on the shaft, which are free to slide along it, are slotted. The container is mostly filled with a silicone based fluid.
When there is little difference between the speed of the two sets of discs (ie when all the wheels are turning at the same speed) the viscous coupling has little effect, but if one of the front wheels begins to spin, then the set of discs attached to the casing will begin to rotate much faster than the other discs. This relative motion causes viscous drag to force the other discs to rotate, thus transmitting some of the torque to the output shaft. This is known as the viscous mode.
If the front wheels should spin considerably faster than the rear, the difference in the relative speeds of the discs will cause the temperature of the fluid inside the coupling to rise. This will cause it to expand, which will increase the area of discs in contact with the fluid, increasing the viscous drag and hence the transmission of torque.
Once the fluid expands to fill the coupling, further increases of temperature cause the pressure to build up inside the casing. The presence of the perforations and slots causes pressure differences to act on the discs, and those which can slide along the shaft will do so until they are in contact with the discs fixed to the casing. At this point the coupling acts as a friction clutch, giving maximum torque to the gripping wheels.
When the relative motion of the discs reduces, the temperature will drop, and the coupling reverts to its viscous mode until the wheels all rotate at the same speeds again.
Hence the viscous coupling provides a locking action proportional to the difference in speed between its input and output shafts; the higher the speed difference, the greater the torque transference, up to a maximum of a 50:50 split between front and rear wheels.
In addition to its simplicity, the new Panda 4x4’s durable, low maintenance drivetrain has several further advantages: the system is entirely automatic, requiring no driver input. It is entirely mechanical, requiring no electronic control. It has a benign impact on day-to-day driving dynamics, and provides excellent compatibility with the car’s ABS systems.
This tried and tested unit comes to the new Panda 4x4 with a number of recent refinements to further improve fuel economy without affecting its performance.
The engine is fitted with a sophisticated, Marelli I.A.W. phased sequential multipoint injection. New, convergent / divergent intake ports and new camshaft profiles optimise power and efficiency, and a new active knock sensor manages advance effectively, under all conditions.
Lighter componentry has also improved fuel consumption. In particular, a glassfibre reinforced polymer intake manifold has been developed with U-shaped branches and a built-in plenum chamber; while an auxiliary drive circuit features built-in mountings in aluminium squeeze castings, and an automatic low torque tensioner has also been developed for improved reliability. The mating clearance between crankshaft and crankcase has also been optimised through computerised selection of main bearings.
Quality of life on board has been improved through a special engine installation system which minimises the transfer of engine vibration to the body – a barycentric power unit mounting system consisting of two blocks plus a reaction rod that acts as a link. The new mounts are aligned along an axis that passes through the engine’s centre of gravity to obtain reaction forces with zero offset.
Additionally, the catalytic converter is welded to the side of the exhaust manifold within the engine bay, allowing it to reach high temperatures more rapidly, thus reducing emissions before the engine is at optimum running temperature.
The new Panda 4x4’s 5-speed manual gearbox can transmit torque of up to
The gear casings, developed using finite element structural computing methods, are light yet display high noise absorption efficiency. Fifth speed and final drive gear sets are machined to a superfinish after heat treatment, to further reduce noise levels. The clutch is hydraulic to promote ease of use, efficiency and low running noise. The new Panda 4x4 5-speed manual gearbox is also equipped with a syringe mechanism to prevent involuntary reverse engagement.
SUSPENSION AND TYRES
Fiat Auto’s new 4x4 employs a modified version of the independent MacPherson strut front suspension found on front-wheel drive versions of the Panda. At the rear, the front-wheel drive model’s torsion beam axle has been replaced with an independent configuration featuring longitudinal tie rods and an anti-roll bar.
Allied to a bodyshell of exceptional torsional stiffness – 70,500 nm/radiant – and an increase in ground clearance of 50 mm over front-wheel drive models to 165 mm, this suspension system affords the new Panda 4x4 outstanding off-road comfort and performance combined with a level of driving precision, roadholding and ride comfort more usually associated with cars of a higher segment.
As with the front-wheel drive Panda, the 4x4’s front suspension layout features an anti-roll bar connected by rod to the shock absorbers (a first in the supermini category), and a coil spring design that maximises the absorption of minor surface roughness. However, the dimensions of the shock absorber pistons have here been enlarged from 20 to 22 mm to promote off-road durability, whilst new, bespoke coil springs increase both ground clearance and off-road ride comfort.
The rear suspension’s new, independent configuration accommodates the rear differential and driveshafts whilst affording the rear wheels the extensive vertical travel essential to off-road prowess. A rear subframe, fastened rigidly to the body at four points, acts as a load-bearing element for the mechanical components, whilst the longitudinal tie rods are fastened to the frame via two composite rubber and metal bushes per arm.
An anti-roll bar is connected to the tie rods via ball joints designed to offer improved suspension rigidity and improved body stability during cornering.
As with front-wheel drive models, the Panda 4x4’s rear shock absorbers are located beneath the floor to improve comfort without compromising load space.
The new Fiat Panda 4x4 runs on bespoke 185/65 R 14 tyres. Through optimised tread pattern geometry featuring fewer strips, this tyre design offers outstanding handling and traction over snow covered terrain, complemented by first class steering response and driving satisfaction on both dry and wet road surfaces.
Benefiting from 15,000 hours of computer aided design, 80 crash tests, 70 HyGe slide simulations and 140 tests on components and subsystems, the new Fiat Panda 4x4 is one of the safest cars in its class.
Via 240 mm ventilated disc brakes at the front, and equal diameter, solid discs at the rear, the new Fiat Panda 4x4 augments the levels of traction and stability inherent in a sophisticated, variable torque distribution four-wheel drive system with ABS anti-lock brakes, complete with electronic brakeforce distribution, and MSR to modulate brake torque whilst changing down.
An advanced BOSCH 8 ABS system, featuring four active sensors, four channels, an electronic control unit and eight solenoids, is fitted as standard to the Fiat Panda 4x4.
The system is complemented by an Electronic Brakeforce Distributor (EBD) that governs the braking action on the rear axle to prevent the wheels locking and ensure full control of the car in all situations. The system also adapts its operation to wheel grip conditions and brake pad efficiency to reduce pad overheating.
Emergency brake assistance takes the form of Emergency Valve Assistance (EVA); a mechanical system located inside the brake servo.
The MSR (Motor Schleppmoment Regelung) cuts in when a gear is shifted down abruptly under conditions of low grip. The system restores torque to the engine to prevent skidding as a result of wheel lock-up.
A high level of passive safety is provided by Fiat Auto’s new chassis/platform, which was designed to provide maximum torsional stiffness yet absorb impact with maximum efficiency. Moreover, the new Panda 4x4 offers up to six airbags, whilst front seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters, three-point rear seatbelts, anti-submarining seats, and an FPS Fire Prevention System are all fitted as standard.
The new Panda 4x4 may be fitted with up to six airbags; driver and passenger front and side airbags, as well as two side curtain airbags providing head protection in the case of side impacts. Their operation is controlled by an electronic control unit that evaluates crash severity via a number of sensors located throughout the car.
The standard equipment front passenger airbag may be deactivated manually via an ignition key switch on the fascia; a dashboard warning light indicates this condition. Though the seatbelt pretensioner remains active, a rear facing baby seat can therefore still be safely fitted.
Fire Prevention System
The FPS includes a cut-off valve and an inertia switch which immediately shuts down the electric petrol pump. This prevents fuel loss in the case of impact, roll-over or damage to the fuel lines. The fuel tank, located in a protected position in front of the rear axle, is formed in a plastic resistant to mechanical stress and fire. The new Panda 4x4’s interior trim is also flame resistant.
PRICING AND EQUIPMENT
Priced at £9195 on-the-road, the Fiat Panda 4x4 will become available in one unique trim designation, offering unprecedented levels of standard equipment in this segment.
This bespoke specification includes the following:
Dualdrive electric power steering
This innovative, speed-sensitive power steering system comes with two operating modes and uses an electric motor, rather than a hydraulic pump driven by the engine, resulting in a considerable reduction in fuel consumption.
The system offers a choice of two settings: the first ensures maximum feedback and driver involvement, the second lightens the steering to minimise effort, and is therefore ideal for urban driving and low speed manoeuvring.
Pressing the ‘City’ button on the fascia activates the latter mode. But, to ensure maximum safety under all driving conditions, both settings offer identical power assistance over 44 mph, thus ensuring a steering wheel response suited to high speed driving.
The new Panda 4x4’s comprehensive standard equipment package is further enhanced by a range of innovative, safety and comfort enhancing options more usually reserved for vehicles in a higher segment, such as a Sky Dome glass sunroof, parking sensors, side and window airbags, smart windscreen wipers, Follow Me Home headlights and a CD sound system that can play MP3 music files.
Sky Dome sunroof
The Sky Dome, a large, crystal-glass sunroof, occupies nearly 70% of the new Panda 4x4 roof. It consists of two glazed panels – one fixed and one mobile – and two sunblinds that may be independently retracted towards the rear of the car.
Via a button adjacent to the central courtesy light, the retractable glass panel becomes a raised spoiler in the first position, thereafter sliding on aluminium guides to the fully opened position. Releasing the control button stops the movement at any required position. Both glass front panel and sunblind may be fully opened in just seven seconds.
The parking sensor, which is activated whenever the ignition is switched on and reverse gear engaged, consists of four ultrasound sensors mounted in the rear bumper, and linked to an electronic control unit and a buzzer.
The four detectors cover the rear corners of the new Panda 4x4 from a distance of less than 60 cm, and the area immediately behind the car from a distance of less than 150 cm. Proximity information is transmitted to the driver in the form of bleeps at intervals. The bleeps are emitted with increasing frequency, becoming a continuous signal when the car reaches a distance of 30 cm from any obstacle.
Follow Me Home headlights
A practical, safety conscious innovation designed to light the interior of a garage or the path to the front door after the car has been locked, Follow Me Home activates the dipped beams and sidelights of the new Panda 4x4. The driver simply operates the light flasher stalk within 2 minutes of switching off the engine. Each time the stalk is operated, light activation is extended by 30 seconds up to a maximum of three and a half minutes.
Intelligent windscreen wipers
The new Panda 4x4 features two continual and four intermittent wiper speeds. A ‘smart’ washing system simultaneously operates wipers and washerjets with one stalk movement. The same system applies to the rear wiper, which is automatically activated when the front wipers are switched on and reverse gear is engaged.
28 Jan 2005
All new Subarus are to come with three years’ free servicing as part of an aggressive new sales drive. The offer runs from 1 February to 30 April and covers the entire Impreza, Forester, Legacy and Outback line-up. It gives owners three years’ peace of mind up to 36,000 miles, which covers the first three major services. All items listed in the Subaru Owner’s Service and Warranty book are free of charge – including labour. This and other initiatives – such as the highly successful 24-hour Test Drive programme – are aimed at increasing Subaru sales from last year’s 8,823 units to around 11,000 cars.
Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive range starts at £14,750 for the Impreza 2.0 GX saloon, with the Forester range available from £16,695 for the 2.0 X. Legacy prices are equally highly competitive at £16,200 for the 2.0i saloon (all on-the-road). Apart from the free servicing offer, all models benefit from a three year/60,000 mile warranty plus three years’ paintwork and now 12 years’ anti-corrosion cover (with inspections) and three years’ free membership of Subaru Assistance.
25 Jan 2005
The Cherokee Pioneer is now based on the 2.8-litre CRD Sport model and comes with multi-stage airbags, front fog lights, headlamp levelling, air conditioning, ABS, electric front windows and a single CD player as standard. It is available with either a six speed manual gearbox or five-speed automatic transmission. This Euro IV engine replaces the 2.5-litre diesel unit across the entire Cherokee range.
The new VGT engine uses an electronically controlled variable geometry turbocharger to improve control of boost pressure, reduce emissions and improve full load engine power and torque. Injectors on the 2.8-litre diesel have also been improved so that fuel burns more thoroughly, producing fewer particulates and lower emissions than previous generation diesel engines.
Simon Elliott, Managing Director for Chrysler Group in the UK, said: "The Cherokee Pioneer is aimed at customers who need a commercial vehicle that is able to carry, and tow, a significant load. The increased torque of the new 2.8 CRD engine helps to make it an even more capable vehicle for towing, while the Jeep’s off-road ability makes it ideal for anything from a farm to a building site."
Compared to the previous 2.5-litre engine, the Pioneer’s payload has increased from 359 kg to 380 kg for the auto (370 kg for the manual) and the maximum towing weight has increased from 2688 kg to 3360 kg for the auto (it remains 2688 kg for the manual). The top speed has also increased to 108 mph (the 2.5-litre engine offered 101 mph) and CO2 has fallen from 250 g/km to 246 g/km while torque has increased from 251 lb.ft to 295 lb.ft.
The Cherokee Pioneer was the UK’s first commercial Jeep and was launched in 2004 with a 2.5 CRD engine. It features a completely flat cargo area with a full-length galvanised metal floor. This floor space is 1.2 m long, 1.2 m wide and 1 m high, creating 1954 litres of load space. The cargo area is finished with a hard-wearing minimum slip carpet for load security. In order to qualify as a commercial vehicle the rear seat and seatbelt anchor points have been removed, and the rear quarter and rear door glass have been replaced with body colour aluminium panels. The rear doors however remain, making the load area easily accessible.
The interior of the cabin is a medium slate cloth and there is an optional floor to ceiling, metal mesh removable bulkhead available for £200. Metallic paint and alloy wheels are also optional extras.
The new 2.8-litre VGT diesel engine Cherokee is available from all Chrysler UK dealers from January 2005. For commercial customers the Cherokee Pioneer 2.8 CRD is priced from £17,720 CV OTR for the manual (£20,785 OTR) or £18,570 CV OTR for the automatic gearbox (£21,784 OTR).
21 Jan 2005
The new Land Rover Discovery was last night named Car of the Year at this year’s motoring ‘Oscars’, the What Car? Awards.
The Land Rover beat stiff competition from 15 other category winners lauded at a glittering ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane.
The winning Discovery is the TDV6 S auto, priced at £33,490. What Car? – Britain’s leading car-buying magazine and website – praised the car for its practical seven-seat cabin, fine drive and go-anywhere ability.
What Car?’s group editor, Steve Fowler, said: ‘No other car is as many things to as many people. On the way to work it’s an executive saloon. With the kids in tow it’s a family-friendly MPV. Come the weekend it’s a hard-as-nails 4x4.'
The race for the overall award was so close that What Car? also named silver and bronze award winners. The Skoda Octavia finished in second spot, and was praised for its space, comfort, equipment and value for money. The new Volkswagen Golf GTi lifted the bronze award for its brilliant blend of performance, fun, practicality and desirability.
For the first time, What Car?’s readers chose one of the award winners. Asked to pick the initiative that had done most to make motorists’ lives safer, cheaper and easier over the last 12 months, What Car? readers singled out the standard fitment of anti-lock brakes. The technology prevents skidding under heavy braking so drivers can steer around obstacles. Thanks to a voluntary agreement between Europe’s car manufacturers, this vital safety equipment has been standard-fit on almost every new car since July 2004.
20 Jan 2005
As fresh and distinctive as ever, the Jimny is every inch the compact, chunky SUV that backs up style with substance, as capable of tackling forays off the beaten track as it is at handling the urban cut and thrust.
The variable valve timing of its new Euro IV-compliant, 16-valve 1.3 litre engine ensures lively performance, and strong fuel economy. Output rises from 82 to 85 PS, while the
In everyday terms the benefits are significant, with Combined cycle consumption improving from 36.2 to 38.7 mpg and carbon dioxide emissions down from 184 to
All new interior
Inside, it’s all change, with stylish new fabrics and finishes, new front and rear seat designs providing greater support and comfort, and a new steering wheel and fresh instrument panel featuring red illumination. Automatic transmission equipped models get a new centre console and gear selector gate, while both manual and automatic models now feature push button selection of the four-wheel drive system, located below the heating controls. This replaces the separate lever previously positioned behind the main gearshift. Finally, a new audio unit, with easy to use controls and a CD player is fully integrated within the stylish, all-new dash.
From the outside the latest Jimny can be distinguished by its new five-spoke alloy wheels and fog lamps set into the front bumper, both now fitted as standard rather than an option. The central locking system also features remote operation as standard for the first time.
The Jimny Estate continues to offer high levels of standard equipment, including power assisted steering, front electric windows, electric mirrors, radio/CD player, ABS and EBD, selectable four-wheel drive with high and low ratios and automatic free wheeling hubs, front seatbelt pretensioners and driver and front passenger airbags.
Smart in the city, tough in nature
As the entry level to Suzuki’s extensive range of SUVs, the Jimny Estate remains the perfect introduction for those wishing to sample the adventure of 4x4 motoring, thanks to the breadth of its capabilities and its compact dimensions. When required, it can be readily taken over more demanding terrain, with the rugged and distinctive styling underpinned by a separate chassis, Drive Select 4x4 system and all-round coil suspension.
The youthful, bold looks and ‘wheel in each corner’ styling have brought a loyal following and make the Jimny as enjoyable to be seen in as it is to drive. The neat, modern, practical look is enhanced by curving body panels, body-side protective mouldings and bumpers, all colour coded to match or contrast with the paint finish. Integral roof rails emphasise the roof contours, giving additional functionality with a range of roof rack accessory options available.
All body panels are made of high-tensile galvanised steel and are mounted to the separate chassis, which provides a rigid basis for the whole vehicle.
And Jimny’s firmly planted stance gives it a presence that belies its compact dimensions. An overall length of just 3625 mm and width of 1600 mm together with a high driving position and a tight 9.8 m turning circle, allow it to be manoeuvred about town and parked with ease, even in the most congested of conditions.
The driving position is high and commanding, offering enhanced views in all directions and occupants have plenty of headroom, enhancing the feeling of spaciousness created by the large glass area. Rearward visibility is aided by large, electrically operated door mirrors, doughnut-type headrests and a spare wheel mounted low on the rear door.
Access to the rear is assisted by a front passenger seat that slides forward, and wide-opening doors and low sills. Rear seat passengers are provided with armrests, holders for oddments and a cup holder. Additional cup holders are located in the central console between the front two seats. The rear seat backs are split 50:50 and can be both reclined and fully folded forward to open up the luggage area.
The seats offer comfortable support and the controls are light to use. The fascia is simple yet stylish, with clarity and ease of use being prime design considerations. Speedometer, tachometer, and gauges for temperature and fuel are accompanied by a full display of warning lights.
Since its launch in 1998, the Jimny’s separate, full box-section chassis has established a reputation for durability and toughness.
The rigid axles front and rear are attached to the chassis by a three-link arrangement, with a stabiliser bar fitted at the front. This well-proven design, controlled by long-travel coil springs and gas dampers, is configured to cope with the punishment of rough surfaces, while ensuring a refined and compliant ride on conventional roads.
Suzuki's Drive Select 4x4 system features a transfer box with high or low ratio four-wheel drive. The free-wheeling front hubs are engaged automatically and four-wheel drive can be selected on the move whilst travelling in a straight line at speeds of up to 62 mph. Jimny’s off-road credentials include 190 mm ground clearance, approach and departure angles of 42º and 46º respectively, and a ramp angle of 31º, impressive by any standards.
Jimny’s reputation for safety is well deserved and the chassis offers extreme rigidity in the event of a collision but is also designed to absorb energy from all directions in a controlled manner. Progressive and reassuring braking is provided by large front discs and rear drums, and ABS with EBD (Electronic Brake force Distribution).
SRS airbags for both front seat occupants, side impact protection beams and height adjustable front seat belt anchorages are all standard whilst the powerful multi-reflector halogen headlamps are now complemented by the front, bumper-mounted fog lamps.
Accessories for even greater personalisation
Jimny continues to be offered with a wide range of accessories including alloy wheels, spare wheel covers, graphics, door sills, dash and exterior light trims. Roof rack modules, for easy transportation of skis, snowboards, bicycles, surfboards, sailboards, and roof boxes are also available. All the accessories have been designed to enhance the rugged and stylish appearance of Jimny.
Jimny Estate is available in a choice of six new colours, with metallic paints carrying a £275 premium: Blueish Black Pearl; Cool Beige Metallic; Kashmir Blue Pearl Metallic; Bright Red; Grove Green Pearl Metallic; and Silky Silver Metallic.
JIMNY ESTATE SPECIFICATIONS
Land Rover Headquarters, Gaydon, 19 January 2005
Two standard colour options are available: Java Black with Burr Walnut trim and Jet/Jet interior, and Cairns Blue with Cherry Wood trim and Navy/Parchment interior.
For the first time, 19" alloy wheels come as standard with the TD6 diesel and, as before, 20" alloy wheels with the V8 petrol derivative. Both models will also come with Autobiography interior wood treatment, the Autobiography badge and a harman/kardon 'Logic 7' sound system with 14 speakers, sub-woofer and 710 watts of amplification, as standard.
The LE Autobiography Range Rover is available on the road from £59,995 for the TD6 diesel and £64,995 for the V8 petrol. The 200 Autobiographies made are on sale now at Land Rover dealerships across the UK.
19 January 2005
Fiat Auto UK has just announced prices for two new Panda versions which will be joining the UK range early in February.
The new Panda 4x4 offers true off-road capability in a practical, compact, yet well equipped package that incorporates all the comfort and technology features generic to the new Panda range.
The new Panda 1.3 16v MultiJet brings state-of-the-art high technology diesel power to the Panda range, courtesy of Fiat Auto’s award-winning MultiJet direct injection turbodiesel, which not only results in the most powerful and quickest Panda in the range, but also the one with the lowest fuel consumption, lowest emissions and lowest running costs.
Prices for the 4x4 are as follows:
Following its recent world public debut at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, prices and specifications for the Range Rover Sport are revealed today.
Starting at £34,995 for the entry-level Range Rover Sport 2.7-litre TDV6 S diesel and rising to £58,995 for the top-of-the-range petrol 4.2-litre V8 Supercharged 'First Edition', the fifth nameplate in the Land Rover range offers class-leading breadth of capability.
The Range Rover Sport goes on sale from mid 2005.
Land Rover today collected two awards at Fleet Management magazine's Fleet Excellence Awards, with the Freelander collecting the small 4x4 trophy and the Discovery reigning supreme in the large 4x4 category.
The Freelander, which achieved total sales of 22,506 in 2004 and maintained its position at the top of the UK 4x4 sales chart, also enjoyed a busy year in the corporate market by notching up a 28% share of the fleet 4x4 sector with 1,117 vehicles sold to companies.
In its last year of production, the Discovery also contributed significantly to the 6,355 Land Rovers sold on the fleet market, helping the company achieve 15% growth in corporate sales in 2004.
Commenting on Land Rover's success in the small and large 4x4 categories, Fleet Management editor Guy Bird said: "Majorly revised in 2003, both inside and out, the crowd-pleasing shape of the Freelander has proved to be the right choice time and time again, this year gaining twice the number of votes of its nearest rival, the Nissan X-Trail. The Discovery has stolen back the large 4x4 top spot this year thanks to the success of its run-out editions, and supported by the introduction of the all-new Discovery 3 in November 2004. It's a deserved victory."
Land Rover UK's corporate sales manager, David Easton, added: "Both the Freelander and Discovery are becoming increasingly popular with company car drivers. Those who want something different but are not prepared to compromise in terms of technology and driving characteristics are seriously looking at Land Rovers, as the early interest in the all-new Discovery 3 proves."
13 Jan 2005
Jeep®’s award-winning Cherokee has been improved for 2005 with a new look, updated interior and a new
This common-rail diesel 2.8-litre engine replaces the 2.5-litre diesel unit across the entire Cherokee range, and uses an electronically controlled variable geometry turbocharger to improve control of boost pressure, reduce emissions and improve full load engine power and torque. Injectors on the 2.8-litre diesel have also been improved so that fuel burns more thoroughly, producing fewer particulates and lower emissions than previous generation diesel engines.
This Euro IV engine is mated to either a new six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic transmission and produces 161 bhp at 3,800 rpm and 295 lb ft of torque at 1800rpm. The 0-62 mph time with the manual transmission is 12.8 seconds and 12.2 seconds for the automatic.
The new six-speed manual gearbox is also fitted as standard to the 2.4-litre petrol engine, while a 3.7-litre V6 petrol engine with five-speed automatic transmission completes the range.
The Cherokee includes a host of features including a new front grille with foglamps integrated in the grille surround together with a new front fascia, wider and more comfortable seats with improved lumbar support and rear seats that fold flatter than the previous model. Other improvements include moving the electric window switches to the centre console for better ergonomics and side-curtain airbags as standard on Limited models.
Simon Elliott, Managing Director for Chrysler Group in the UK, said: "The Cherokee has always been a big seller for Jeep in the UK – we have sold more than12,000 vehicles since 2001. Customers are often surprised just how much standard equipment you get in a Jeep, and the combination of its new rugged good looks and a 4*NCAP safety rating will all help make it an even more attractive purchase."
The Sport model, which starts the range at £17,995, is available with either the 2.4-litre or 2.8-litre engines, and features 16in steel wheels, multi-stage airbags, front fog lights, headlamp levelling, air conditioning, ABS, electric front windows and a single CD player as standard. Limited models, available with the 2.8-litre CRD or 3.7 V6 engine, come with 17in alloy wheels, chrome front grille, side curtain airbags, cruise control and power front seats as standard.
The addition of the VGT to the 2.8-litre CRD engine has increased the mount of torque on offer by 11 per cent – 266 lb ft to 295 lb ft compared to the previous engine, while the power output has increased from 148 bhp to 161 bhp. The CO2 emissions have fallen from 262 g/km to 246 g/km while the top speed stays the same at 108 mph.
The new Cherokee is available from all Chrysler UK dealers from January 2005. The commercial version of the Cherokee, the Pioneer, will also feature the 2.8-litre engine and is available with either a six speed manual gearbox or five-speed automatic transmission.
Note: The Jeep Cherokee Pioneer was awarded the ‘4x4 of the Year’ by 4x4 Magazine in 2004.
11 Jan 2005
JEEP GLADIATOR - CONCEPT
The Jeep® Gladiator is a lifestyle pick-up with all the capability of the famed Wrangler. It is an authentic statement of Jeep brand heritage, featuring the historic side-mounted spare wheel of the first civilian Jeep models. This "Flexible Utility Truck" has a rugged functionality only found in Jeep - it features an open-air canvas top, a flat truck bed that expands from 7 feet to 8 feet in length and the same 2.8-litre VGT diesel engine found in the latest Jeep Cherokee.
JEEP HURRICANE - CONCEPT
The Jeep® Hurricane represents the continued success of bold concept vehicles for the brands as a means of demonstrating Chrysler Group’s creative and mechanical expertise. Equipped with not one but two 5.7-litre HEMI engines in the front and back, both engines deliver 335bhp and 370 llb-ft of torque – a total of 670bhp and 740 lb-ft of torque.
Both engines are also fitted with the Chrysler Group Multi-Displacement System. Depending on the driver’s needs, the Hurricane can be powered by 4-, 8-, 12-, or 16-cyclinders. All of that translates into buckets of torque for climbing obstacles other 4x4 vehicles can’t even comprehend. In addition, it has the power and traction to move from 0-60 in less than five seconds.
The vehicle has 14.3 inches of ground clearance, appproach/departure angeles of 64.0/86.7 degrees and with 37-inch tyres the Huricance should not encounter any obstacles it can’t climb. The Jeep Hurricance is the only vehicle at the motor show that provides its own turnable feature – it has the ability to turn both front and rear tyres inward.
Nissan’s launch of two new 4x4's in 2005 – the Murano and Pathfinder – will spell a further strengthening of the manufacturer’s residual values in the fleet sector claims EurotaxGlass’s.
A combination of low volumes, stylish good looks and family car practicality suggest strong residuals for the Murano and Pathfinder that will also have a halo effect on the rest of the Nissan range in 2005 and beyond. EurotaxGlass’s is predicting a residual value of 46% for the Nissan Murano 3.5 Auto after three years and 60,000 miles, which means it will depreciate by £16,106, less than any of its close rivals. Over the same period of time and mileage, EurotaxGlass’s predicts the VW Touareg 3.2 Auto will depreciate by £18,253, the BMW X5 3.0i SE Auto by £17,605 and the Lexus RX300 SE Auto by £17,022.
"Not only does the Murano have a version of the 234PS V6 petrol engine from the 350Z, but it also shares plenty of design cues with the Coupe/Roadster which should ensure cult following of the new four-wheel drive," explained Jason King, Forecasting Editor of EurotaxGlass’s. "There should be no shortage of style conscious accountants, architects and professional people looking to buy a new Murano and because there are only 1,300 cars being imported residuals should stay very strong for a long while," he added.
Glass’s hasn’t set residuals for the new Pathfinder yet, but King is confident that the new 4x4 will follow in the Murano’s footsteps.
"The car is big and spacious, it shares the same rugged styling as the Patrol and the low volumes should spell strong residuals for the four-wheel drive," he said.
This follows Nissan’s decision in 2004 to reduce its short-cycle business, which has already seen Glass’s predict higher residual values for the Nissan X-Trail than the Land Rover Freelander.
Land Rover sold 47,147 vehicles in the UK in 2004, beating last year's record by 128 units in a year of increasing competition in the 4x4 sector.
Leading the charge in 2004 was the Discovery range, including the previous generation model and the recently launched award-winning Discovery 3. The previous model remarkably increased its sales in its final year of life, leading the company to run out of stock in October – a month before the all-new Discovery 3 arrived at dealerships.
In its first full month of sales, the Discovery 3 took 10% of the entire 4x4 sector in December with 1,089 models sold (2,349 Discovery 3s sold in total during 2004) – maintaining its position as the best-selling large 4x4 in the UK, a tag that looks set to continue with an order bank well into March 2005.
Hot on the heels of the Discovery is the Freelander, which beat 2003's sales figure with 22,506 vehicles sold, maintaining its position as the best selling of all 4x4s in the UK. The Range Rover, now almost three years old, continued its sales success with 6,484 sold in 2004, which places it at the top of the UK luxury vehicle sector with a 20% share of the segment comprising vehicles priced at £45,000 and over.
On the corporate sales (fleet) side of the business, Land Rover has also enjoyed a very successful year, with a record 7,509 vehicles sold to companies. All models in the range increased their sales through the year, with the Freelander leading the way as the best-selling 4x4 in the corporate sector, with three years' free servicing and very competitive whole-life costs now making it an even more appealing alternative to typical fleet choices.
Land Rover UK managing director, Phil Popham, said: "Last year, the 4x4 and luxury sectors became increasingly competitive and challenging with a whole host of exciting new entrants to the market, so to achieve yet another sales record in the UK is extremely satisfying. To remain the market leader in this climate takes some doing, but our results speak for themselves, with the Freelander increasing its market share in the most challenging part of the sector, Discovery maintaining its position as the best selling of the large 4x4s, and the Range Rover continuing as the undisputed king of ultimate luxury motoring."
Next week, Land Rover attends the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, where the Range Rover for 2006 and Range Rover Sport make their respective world debuts. Both vehicles go on sale in mid-2005, and already, over 1,000 deposits have been taken for the Range Rover Sport, before any customers have seen the vehicle in the metal.