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30 Sep 2005

Nissan is the 2006 4x4 Maker of the Year. At least according to 4x4 & MPV Driver magazine it is. And few should disagree given Nissan’s range of six four-wheel drives, soon to become seven, which caters for the widest variety of customers’ 4x4 needs and even includes 4x4s that aren’t.

Nissan’s 4x4 range is split into three types. There are the sport utility vehicles, or SUVs, that are aimed at families who want up to seven seat versatility with the reassurance of constant mobility whatever the weather or terrain. Then there are the crossovers that are more biased to road use and only engage four-wheel drive when the conditions demand it. And finally there are the traditional mud-pluggers for whom no job or obstacle, short of crossing the English Channel, is too much.

As the editor of 4x4 & MPV Driver, Bob Murray, puts it: "Nissan has gone 4x4 crazy and now boasts models to suit just about everyone from those who don't really need a 4x4 to those whose lives depend on one. It's an intelligent, sexy, capable and appealing range. But more than anything all the models represent great value for money." Sexy, Nissan? Oh yes – this company is going through a major SHIFT_. And 4x4s are a major part of it.

Most successful is the X-TRAIL, Nissan’s multi award winning compact SUV. It’s priced from £16,500 to £24,600 and offers a choice of four equipment levels and three engines including an economical, modern diesel. Unusually the X-TRAIL also offers a choice of electronic, fast reacting ALL-MODE 4x4 that engages all wheels when conditions demand reducing fuel consumption and minimising emissions, or unusually a front-wheel drive only X-TRAIL that offers all the clever design and space of the four-wheel drive X-TRAIL while confusing the anti-4x4 fraternity. But then every X-TRAIL has a better pedestrian impact rating than many ordinary cars, dimensions little bigger than a family hatchback and 39.2 mpg fuel economy with the dCi engine that most are ordered with. Other pluses include a commanding driving position, wipe-clean cargo bay, a ski hatch, air conditioned cool boxes, as well as safety features such as anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist. Every X-TRAIL also has ISOFIX child seat mounting points. And in most versions, a glass sunroof so large that baby can watch the clouds pass by above rather than mum and dad’s heads playing Punch and Judy.

If your family is XL sized both in number and literally, Nissan offers the Pathfinder SUV. It’s as thoughtfully designed as the X-TRAIL but offers five quick folding rear seats in addition to the front pair adding up to 64 people-versus-luggage permutations. The Pathfinder employs the X-TRAIL’s ALL MODE 4x4 system with the addition of electronic stability program for increased safety. In fact, this driveline coupled with a lower centre of gravity than its top heavy rivals makes the Pathfinder an extremely dexterous 4x4. And at 4.74m it’s actually shorter than a Vauxhall Vectra Estate that seats two less.

The Pathfinder is also surprisingly economical for so versatile a vehicle – fitted with Nissan’s 2.5-litre dCi engine, it returns 31.4 mpg on the combined cycle. The 4.0-litre V6 petrol isn’t so parsimonious but then it will speed to 62mph in 8.9 seconds – that’s fast for a seven seater let alone a 4x4 one. Standard equipment is luxury league with items like a colour rear view camera, MP3 compatability, Bluetooth phone compatibility, xenon headlamps, and DVD satellite navigation all available. But we’ll leave the summary to 4x4 & MPV Driver: "Nissan’s Discovery rival has just as much presence and similar mud-plugging ability but at a price more of us can afford." And what is that price? The range starts at £24,500 rising to the totally equipped 4.0V6 T-spec automatic at £33,960. Rather less than the equivalent Land Rover.

The Pathfinder has recently spawned a range of mud-plugging King and Double Cab pick-ups called the Navara. It’s the most powerful vehicle in its class with 174PS and the Navara boasts the biggest carrying capacity, too. Unusually for what is essentially a workhorse, the Navara is available with many of the luxury features of its SUV sister. Which even includes electrically adjustable and heated leather seats. The Navara will carry over a tonne and tow up to 2.7 tonnes and is set to be the UK’s favourite pick-up if journalist opinion has anything to do with it.

If towing is your game, look no further than the Patrol. Nissan’s iconic 4x4 has been in production for over 50 years and the current incarnation is the most capable and comfortable yet. Loved by peacekeeping forces for its indestructibility, the Patrol will tow up to 3.5 tonnes. That’s practically a house. And nothing else offers as much metal for the money – the 3.0-litre diesel fuelled Patrol is priced from £25,750. Rather more compact but almost as capable on the rough stuff is the venerable Terrano which is available in three-door or Van forms priced from £14,295 ex-VAT. Given their credentials, it’s no wonder that the Patrol and Terrano are rarely seen down town being much happier mucking about up country.

And then there’s the crossover Murano. It looks unlike anything else on the road and offers unbeatable value for money so much so that 4x4 & MPV Driver awarded it its 4x4 Deal of the Year award. There’s only one Murano powered by a version of the 350Z Coupe’s 3.5-litre V6 engine coupled with continuously variable transmission (CVT) for smooth progress with just the one option – metallic paint. Everything else is included. So that includes ALL-MODE 4x4 ensuring the Murano remains front-wheel drive unless more traction is required, electric leather seats, 6CD autochanger, DVD satellite navigation system, 18" alloy wheels, xenon headlamps, an electric glass sunroof, reclining front and rear seats, colour rear view camera … the list goes on and on. The price is £29,995 – £1000s less than its rivals equipped to the same standard. Which leaves the styling. This being a subjective subject, let’s get the opinion of 4x4 & MPV Driver: "Looking like a cross between a sports coupe and a 4x4, the Murano provides the ultimate wow factor – and the perfect antidote to the anonymity of some rivals." Head turning, then.

4x4 number seven will be revealed in less than a year’s time. Nissan’s most compact 4x4 yet has been designed in London, is being engineered in Bedfordshire and will be built in Sunderland. Rather fitting for the UK’s 4x4 Maker of the Year.

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29 Sep 2005

  • Sixth generation of the legendary Toyota Hilux
  • Toyota’s second most popular vehicle with over 12 million sales to date
  • Built in nine countries and sold in 164 different markets
  • ‘One Size Up’ design brings significant increases in passenger and load space
  • More car-like interior and improved specifications
  • Revised 101bhp (102 DIN hp) 2.5-litre D-4D diesel engine
  • Improved five-speed manual transmission with more refined operation
  • ABS, driver and front passenger airbags fitted to all models
  • Air conditioning, alarm and remote central locking standard on all versions
  • CD player with MP3/CD-R compatibility fitted as standard on all HL2 and HL3 models with 6 CD autochanger standard on Invincible model
  • Improved noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) performance
  • New double wishbone front suspension
  • Rear differential lock standard on all models
  • Chassis has 45 per cent greater torsional stiffness over previous model for better body control and less cabin noise
  • On sale in the UK from 1 October in Single Cab and Double Cab body styles
  • Available in the UK in three grades – HL2, HL3 and Invincible

On-the-road prices from £12,145 (Single Cab 2WD HL2) includes delivery charge, first registration fee, vehicle excise duty, number plates but excludes VAT

The launch of the new Hilux marks the latest generation of one of Toyota’s most successful models. Renowned throughout the world for its off-road capabilities, durability and reliability, the Toyota Hilux has long been the vehicle of choice to tackle the toughest driving conditions.

The new Hilux was designed to the principle of being ‘one size up’ from the model it replaces. This yields bigger dimensions all round, not least in length which has increased by 340mm to 5,255mm. The extra length is mainly in the wheelbase, contributing to greater interior space and a better ride and improved comfort for passengers.

The size of the rear deck has also increased with load capacity on Single Cab models up by 15 per cent and on Double Cabs by 30 per cent. Although the new Hilux is bigger in size, the increase in kerb weight is more modest at an average 131kg across the range.

The Hilux Single Cab is offered in 2WD and 4WD versions, exclusively in the entry-level HL2 grade, with an emphasis on robust work performance. Features include ABS, driver and passenger airbags, power steering, electric windows, air conditioning, tilt adjust steering column, remote central locking and an audio system with CD player with MP3/CD-R compatibility. Built to withstand wear and tear, it comes with seats finished in a hard-wearing cloth and vinyl floor trim. The 4WD version rides on larger, 16-inch wheels and has a rear differential lock.

The entry-level Double Cab HL2 model matches the Single Cab 4WD’s specification with the addition of carpeted interior, a smooth sided load deck, an upgraded audio package with four speakers and body colour matched front bumper and grille.

HL3 grade introduces 15-inch alloy wheels with body colour matched wide wheel arches, chrome detailing on the door handles and mirrors, rear step and grille surround, velour upholstery, electrically adjustable heated door mirrors, alloy side steps, and a Thatcham Category 1 alarm with interior and perimeter protection. The Auto Disconnect Differential (ADD) gives the HL3 improved NVH and economy for two wheel drive driving.

Invincible models gain darkened rear privacy glass, six disc CD autochanger, chrome tubular side bars, front fog lamps and 16-inch alloys.

The Hilux is powered by the latest development of the Toyota 2.5-litre D-4D diesel engine, featuring a second generation common rail system. It develops 101bhp (102 DIN hp) at 3,600rpm and is tuned to deliver two different torque outputs: up to 260Nm for 4WD versions and 200Nm for 2WD models.






Toyota Hilux Single Cab 4x2




Toyota Hilux Single Cab 4x4




Toyota Hilux Double Cab HL2




Toyota Hilux Double Cab HL3




Toyota Hilux Double Cab Invincible




Toyota commercial vehicle on the road price includes delivery charge, RFL, number plates & first registration fee but excludes VAT.

Overall maintenance times have been greatly reduced compared to some of Hilux’s typical market rivals and the cumulative servicing time up to 60,000 miles is the best in class. This is of particular interest to business users, for whom minimum ‘downtime’ is vital.

Hilux 2WD models only require up to 5.6 hours and 4WD versions 6.2 hours for the standard maintenance programme to be carried out. Comparing the 4WD models also demonstrates the exceptional service time efficiency of the new Hilux, with labour time for the first 60,000 miles reduced by more than three hours compared to the previous model.

The new Toyota Hilux goes on sale on 1 October in Single and Double Cab bodystyles.

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28 Sep 2005

Land Rover Headquarters, Warwickshire, 30 September 2005 – A unique specification 35th Anniversary Limited Edition Range Rover goes on sale this month in celebration of 35 years of the legendary marque.

The V8 Supercharged 35th Anniversary Range Rover is equipped to Vogue SE specification and comes complete with a harman/kardon 'Logic 7' sound system, 7" touch-screen navigation with 4x4 information, rear-screen entertainment with DVD, personal telephone integration system, colour rear-view camera, front and rear Park Distance Control, and park heating with timer and remote control as standard.

Bespoke Limited Edition features include 'Anniversary Claret' metallic paintwork, carmen red leather interior and dual-toned steering wheel in the finest hand-picked Windsor leather, extended burr walnut trim and Limited Edition claret deep-pile sheepskin foot rugs.

The Range Rover was conceived in the mid 1960s when Land Rover began to develop a vehicle that would combine saloon car levels of performance, handling, ride comfort and refinement with all the ruggedness and off-road ability of the original. The 'tough luxury' Range Rover was the result and made its world debut at the London Motor Show in June 1970 to immediate acclaim. The Range Rover for 2006 remains the flagship vehicle for the Land Rover brand and enjoys peerless luxury together with class-leading off-road technology.

The first glimpse of the 35th Anniversary Range Rover can be caught whilst it leads the cavalcade of The South London and Surrey Land Rover Club London to Brighton Land Rover Run from Crystal Palace Park in London to Madeira Drive in Brighton, on Sunday 2 October.

A mere 35 Limited Editions are on sale now exclusively to the UK priced at £85,000 on the road. Please contact you local Land Rover dealership or visit www.landrover.co.uk for further information.

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MITSUBISHI - World debut for new Outlander 4x4

Tokyo, 28 Sep 2005
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has released the first images of its new Outlander 4x4 models, it will make its world premier at the 39th Tokyo Motor Show on October 19. The all-new Outlander SUV, due to be launched in Japan on October 17, is a mid-sized 4x4 that showcases outstanding design, versatility and utility. The Outlander 4x4 will be launched in the UK during the first quarter of 2007 with a 2.0litre diesel engine (as used in Grandis). The 2.4 MIVEC petrol engine will follow.

Outlander is an all-new mid-size SUV built off a newly developed global platform. With the option of both five and seven seats, the Japanese domestic Outlander debuts a brand new powertrain and borrows heavily from technology nurtured in the Lancer Evolution series to deliver hard-hitting on-road performance that raises the bar for SUVs.

The new 2.4-litre 16-valve DOHC engine uses an aluminium cylinder block and MIVEC variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust valves. On Outlander, the power unit is mated to a new Sports Mode 6-speed CVT that uses steering column-mounted paddle shifters for smooth acceleration and efficient fuel consumption. This new petrol engine is expected to appear in a number of new models across the Mitsubishi product range in the near future.

All Wheel Control (AWC)
The aim with Outlander was to develop a new-age SUV that delivers top-level all-surface cruising performance. To do this Active Stability Control (ASC) technology has been added to Mitsubishi's proven electronically controlled 4WD system to fully integrate control of engine output as well as of torque and braking force at each wheel. A new platform increases body and chassis stiffness, an aluminium roof panel lowers the centre of gravity and mono-tube shock absorbers all contribute to class-topping levels of handling and stability.

Outlander specifications:
Length 4640mm Width 1800mm Height 1680mm Wheelbase 2670mm Track F/R 1540/1540mm Engine 4B12-type in-line 4-cyl DOHC MIVEC Max output 170PS Max torque 226Nm Transmission INVECS III Sports Mode-6 speed CVT.

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27 Sep 2005

  • First official image released of all-new L200 in Warrior guise
  • Stunning new design based on all-conquering Pajero Evolution 4x4 rally car
  • New Euro IV 2.5 DI-D common rail turbocharged diesel engine with standard 136bhp
  • 160bhp power upgrade to be available from launch
  • Car-like driving dynamics with best in class turning circle and option of auto transmission
  • Renowned off-road ability enhanced with super select 4WD system on high series derivatives
  • On-sale 1st March 2006

Over the past seven years, rivals have tried and failed to oust Mitsubishi’s L200 pick-up from its market leading position. The brand’s best-selling iconic pick-up has been a big hit with both business and leisure customers and has secured its place as the undisputed king of the segment with a massive 48% retail market share (August YTD).

Not one to rest on its laurels however, Mitsubishi is gearing up to introduce a stunning all-new derivative from March next year. Bold, rugged and packed with innovative design features, the all-new L200 is a completely new model from the ground up. It builds on the strengths of its popular predecessor but promises to exceed expectations with a combination of best in class specification, car-like driving dynamics – including a turning radius of only 5.9 metres - and sensational exterior styling that wraps up a high-quality interior.

Despite curves that are guaranteed to be the envy of onlookers and the cause of sleepless nights for square-box competitors, the L200’s legendary toughness not only remains, it has been enhanced. Chassis strength has been increased by over 25%, and all-terrain capability has been further improved on high series models with the addition of traction control and super select four-wheel-drive as standard – great news for all those who drive off-road or tow heavy loads.

Lift the bonnet and you’ll find a new Euro IV compliant 2.5 litre direct injection turbo diesel engine. This time though, standard power is upped to 136bhp and, for the first time, there’s the option of an automatic gearbox. For customers who want a few more horses under the bonnet expect a power upgrade to be available from launch taking the standard power output up to around 160bhp.

Mitsubishi’s new L200 UK line-up has yet to be finalised but expect a range that spans the requirements of all customers with single, club and double cab variants leading up from the no-nonsense 4Work models to the top-selling high-series Warrior and Animal.

More detailed information will be released in November. The first new L200 demonstration models are expected to arrive at Mitsubishi dealerships in February for a 1st March launch.

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Hummer H2 Self Drive Hire

21 Sep 2005

In a world where SUVs have begun to look like their owners, complete with love handles and mushy seats, the H2 proves that there is still some out there that look the part. And with more spacious comfortable interior and a host of standard features, the H2 strikes a perfect balance between interior comfort, on-road capablility and off-road capability." Click here to view the Official Hummer Website
Technical Info
Engine - Vortec 6000 V8
Brake Horse Power (Bhp) - 325
Top Speed - 120 mph
Acceleration 0-60 mph - 10 secs
Full Luxury Pack
6 CD Changer
Privacy Glass
Sports Exhaust System
Front Double Brushguard and Side Steps
Pricing Information
Daily rate 1-2 days
Was £530
Now £398
  Daily rate 6 days+ Was £480
Now £348
Daily rate 3-5 days
Was £499
Now £368
  Weekend rate
(fri 12pm - mon 12pm)
Was £1,325
Now £995
Deposit: £3,500 Excess: £5,000 Reduced Rate Excess: £3,500
Perfect Cars offers a UK wide delivery and collection service for all their vehicles. This service is available to, or from, your home, work, airport, hotel, or any other UK destination. Please note all charges are quoted for deliveries or collections made during normal business hours. There is an additional charge of £60 for deliveries made outside these times.
Th Hire a Hummer contact Nigel at 4x4web on 01488 658157 or email webmaster@4x4web.co.uk for further details.

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New Q7 SUV combining petrol and electric power surprises the crowds at this week’s International Motor Show

16 Sep 2005

  • Q7 concept study combining a 4.2-litre V8 FSI petrol engine with electric power unveiled at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt
  • Could become a production reality by 2008
  • V8 with FSI direct petrol injection delivers 350PS at 6,800rpm and 440Nm at 3,500rpm
  • NiMH battery beneath luggage compartment and electric motor between engine and transmission add just 140kg to Q7 weight
  • Electric motor can work alone up to 18mph, reducing noise and emissions in dense traffic, or can join forces with the combustion engine, adding up to 44PS and 200Nm of torque to its total
  • Performance advantage over equivalent Q7 V8 and a 13 per cent improvement in fuel economy. 0-62mph in 6.8 secs, 50-75mph in 7.0 secs, 23.5mpg
  • Audi is the only European manufacturer ever to have brought a production hybrid vehicle to market – the Audi Duo launched in 1997

A closely guarded Audi secret has become public knowledge this week at the official unveiling of the new Audi Q7 SUV in Frankfurt, where a futuristic petrol and electric hybrid version of the seven-seat luxury all-terrain vehicle took the world’s media by surprise. Public reaction will be a key factor in determining the future for the Q7 hybrid, but this production-ready concept could become a reality by 2008.

The Q7 hybrid concept study combines a 4.2-litre V8 petrol engine incorporating economy-boosting FSI injection technology with an electric motor that helps to minimise emissions and to reduce overall fuel consumption by almost 13 per cent compared with a conventional equivalent.

Unlike some supposed cars of the future, this extra special Q7 remains firmly planted in reality where performance is concerned. Acceleration from rest to 62mph can be covered in just 6.8 seconds, and the key fifth gear overtaking increment between 50mph and 75mph takes exactly 7 seconds. Thanks to the combination of petrol FSI and electric technologies, the 2,410-kilogramme Q7 is also able to cover up to 23.5mpg – a considerable improvement over conventional V8-powered SUVs.

Located between the engine and the six-speed automatic transmission’s torque converter, the motor draws its power from a nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery system concealed beneath the luggage compartment floor. Neither component intrudes on cabin space, and the complete system adds only 140kg to the total weight of the Q7 - a modest 7 per cent increase.

A separating clutch links the FSI engine and the electric motor, and enables the two power sources to operate individually or in unison, meaning that at any one time the Q7 hybrid can be propelled by the combustion engine or electric motor alone, or a combination of the two.

‘Recuperation’ phase

The electric motor can operate alone - in virtual silence - at speeds of up to 18mph, reducing noise levels and emissions in built-up areas and dense urban traffic. While doing so, it can also feed the extra kinetic energy produced during braking and engine overrunning back into the system to recharge the battery. During this ‘recuperation’ phase the unit switches its function imperceptibly and in a fraction of a second to act as a generator. When battery capacity drops to a minimum, the combustion engine also cuts in seamlessly to recharge it.

The eight-cylinder petrol engine featuring FSI direct petrol injection delivers 350PS and a maximum torque output of 440Nm. If the accelerator pedal is fully depressed, electric and V8 power are combined and up to 44PS and 200Nm of torque are added to these totals, ensuring that performance is actually stronger than the ‘standard’ V8 petrol Q7. The sprint from 0-62mph is 0.6 seconds quicker, and the time taken to cover the important 50mph-75mph in-gear increment is reduced by two seconds.

If the new Q7 hybrid is stationary for more than three seconds, or is coasting without the accelerator pedal depressed, the combustion engine is automatically switched off to conserve fuel. Releasing the foot brake and depressing the accelerator restarts it. The electric motor assumes the role of the starter-alternator unit, resulting in a quiet, smooth and extra-quick starting process.

Solar cells

The concept study also harnesses the power of the sun. Solar cells integrated into the open sky system – the SUV's large-format glass sunroof – allow the ventilation and air conditioning systems to be operated when the vehicle is parked and switched off. The driver can also now activate these systems remotely a few minutes before starting a journey so that the cabin environment is pleasantly chilled right from the word go - a valuable boost to comfort on hot summer days. Part of the battery capacity of the hybrid drive system is used in order to achieve this.

Audi remains the only European manufacturer to have brought a production hybrid vehicle to market. The Audi duo - an A4 Avant powered by a 90PS 1.9-litre TDI engine and an electric motor that added a further 29PS – was launched in 1997, but experimental vehicles gradually evolving this technology have been developed by Audi since 1989.

Picture caption

Electrifying 7 - A futuristic petrol and electric hybrid concept study based on the new seven-seat Q7 luxury all-terrain vehicle has been unveiled at this month’s International Motor Show in Frankfurt. This concept study is production-ready and could become a production reality by 2008.

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Armor Holdings launches world’s first SUV and commercial vehicle armour system to protect against IED attacks

14 Sep 2005

Cincinnati, Ohio / Frankfurt Armor Holdings, Inc (NYSE: AH), a leading manufacturer and distributor of security products and vehicle armour systems serving the US$1,100 million military, law enforcement, homeland security and commercial market, announced the launch today of the IE-Defense System™, the world’s first SUV and commercial vehicle armour system, to protect against attacks from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

The IE-Defense System™ is a unique multiple threat system that can be applied to various commercially-available Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and other passenger vehicles, which account for US$620 million of the global vehicle armouring market.

It protects the vehicle’s occupants against an IED attack and subsequent attack by assault rifle with armour-piercing bullets. 75 per cent of attacks on vehicles involve IEDs rather than bullets, so the system has been tested to withstand high-energy fragments up to 20mm, typically the largest fragment from a roadside bomb.

Dr Tony Russell, Chief Technology Officer for Armor Holdings, Inc, said the launch of new
IE-Defense System™ underscores Centigon’s commitment to leading technology and to responding to the global security threat.

‘As IED attacks have become more commonplace, particularly in Southwest Asia, a growing number of government officials, private contractors, NGOs, private individuals need protection.
IE-Defense System™ is a major step towards neutralising the threat many of these people have to face every day,’ Dr Russell added.

Armor Holdings, Inc is also introducing a new single brand, CENTIGON, for its armoured vehicle business, to better leverage its combined global capabilities in the marketplace and to present a unified face to customers around the world, Gary Allen, its new President, announced.

The new company combines the commercial vehicle armouring operations of the Armor Holdings Mobile Security Divisions, including AMS – France (formerly LABBE), AMS – Germany (formerly TRASCO) and O’Gara-Hess & Eisenhardt (USA and Latin America).

In 2004, Armor Holdings’ Mobile Security Division had sales of US$125 million and armoured approximately 1,400 commercial vehicles worldwide. Centigon’s global leadership is driven by its fundamental commitment to research, development, testing and evaluation (RDT&E). Centigon spends more annually developing and testing new technologies than any other company in the industry.

About Centigon

Centigon, a division of Armor Holdings, Inc (NYSE: AH), is the world’s leading commercial vehicle armouring company. Centigon armours passenger vehicles independently and in partnership with OEMs for government and commercial customers. Centigon also armours Cash-in-Transit vehicles for the world’s leading Cash-In-Transit providers. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio (USA), Centigon has production facilities and sales operations in Ohio, France, Germany, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela.

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Audi Q7 The performance SUV

12 Sep 2005

Audi is about to unveil a vehicle that marks a superlative new development in the sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment. The Audi Q7 ingeniously combines sportiness and versatility, sophisticated technology and the luxury of a premium-class vehicle. On the road it excels with the driving performance and dynamism of a sports car; off-road it redefines the benchmark in its category. A vehicle that outwardly makes no secret of its qualities and whose technology delivers on its promise – on any road and in all conditions. The Audi Q7 – the performance SUV from the creator of quattro.

The Audi Q7 sets new trends through its design alone. Characteristic Audi dynamism is reflected in the broad curve of the roof and the distinctive high body surface in relation to the flat window area. The dynamic sweep of the front section and the powerful rear end with its sharply sloping D-posts fashion a coupé-like silhouette. Equally typical of the current Audi formal idiom are the shoulder line and dynamic line, which define the side section. The paintwork option of two contrasting body colours creates a striking look. Eleven basic colours are available, three of which are reserved exclusively for the Q7.

With a length of 5,086 mm and a wheelbase of exactly 3,002 mm (width: 1,983 mm / height 1,737 mm), the Q7 takes the lead in the SUV contest. Its occupants benefit from the comfort of incomparable spaciousness and a new dimension in versatility: no less than 28 seating and loading configurations are possible in the Q7.

Up to seven occupants can be accommodated in three rows of seats. The seats in the second row are individually adjustable for fore/aft movement; in addition to this, passengers can enjoy the largest legroom in this class. Both rear seat rows can be folded flat to provide a load area of 2,035 litres if required, without the seats having to be removed.

If used as a 5-seater the Q7 boasts a load capacity of 775 litres – the best in its class!

When the series is launched, Audi Q7 customers have the choice of two powerful engines: the new 4.2-litre V8 with FSI petrol direct injection develops 257 kW (350 bhp) and achieves a maximum torque of 440 Newton-metres.

The 3.0 TDI six-cylinder engine features a latest-generation common rail injection system that uses piezo inline injectors, thus combining the high performance of 171 kW (233 bhp) and massive torque of 500 Nm with exceptional refinement and excellent economy.

Power transmission for both engine versions comes from the 6-speed tiptronic.

The Audi Q7 is naturally equipped as standard with quattro permanent four-wheel drive. Its Torsen centre differential conveys power to all four wheels – on-road and off-road, achieving maximum traction and lateral stability – the prerequisites for optimum driving dynamics and motoring safety. This drive concept has become firmly established over the past 25 years: more than two million production Audis have left the assembly line with this technology and countless victories have been notched up on the racetrack and in rallies by virtue of this system.

Like the Audi RS 4, the Audi Q7 features the latest-generation Torsen differential, with a standard torque split of 40 : 60 (front / rear). The driver – also thanks to virtually balanced axle load distribution – benefits from even better agility and steering precision that remains practically free of torque steer.

The chassis of the Audi Q7 comprising numerous aluminium components – independent wheel suspension with double wishbones at the front and rear – excels with its all-round qualities. Steel-spring suspension and twin-tube shock absorbers are designed for sporty driving and superior comfort, even off-road. The tilted position of the rear spring and shock absorber unit reduces overall height and creates more room at the rear.

18-inch light-alloy wheels with 235/60 tyres (eight-cylinder: 255/55) are fitted as standard. All Q7 versions can be fitted optionally with 19-inch or 20-inch wheels.

Also available on request: adaptive air suspension. The combination of air suspension and an electronically controlled damping system represents the perfect synthesis of decidedly sporty handling and supreme ride comfort. The standard dynamic roll stabilisation system reduces body sway about the longitudinal axis to a minimum.

Variable ground clearance – starting at 180 millimetres and extending to 240 mm in lift mode – means that even challenging terrain can be negotiated. The off-road mode, with 205 mm ground clearance and adapted damper control, allows cross-country driving. The loading lip has a particularly convenient feature: it can be lowered to enable heavy objects to be loaded effortlessly into the luggage area.

Yet high-tech dominates not only the dynamic aspects of the Audi Q7. The Q7 is equipped as standard with the innovative MMI operating concept – much praised on the A8 and A6 – which can be extended in two stages to include a variety of additional functions.

On board the performance SUV, a number of innovative driver assistance systems, introduced for the first time in standard production, are available on request: e.g. Audi side assist with radar technology for lane-changing manoeuvres and the advanced parking system with optical/acoustic guidance and rear-view camera and the latest-generation automatic distance control system ACC+, which decelerates the vehicle and brings it to a standstill if required.

The ESP includes numerous new functions such as hill descent assist. A special off-road mode optimises brake performance and traction on loose surfaces. Car/trailer stabilisation reduces the risk of fishtailing by means of targeted brake intervention.

The Audi Q7 will be available to order from 12 September 2005. The first deliveries will be made in the first quarter of 2006. The basic price for the Q7 3.0 TDI in Germany is 48,900 €.

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12 Sep 2005

Adventurous new concept car debuts at Frankfurt Motor Show

Coupe styling matched with SUV ruggedness

Twin-turbo version of 1.9 CDTi engine with 212PS

An all-new 4x4 is set to be the star of the GM stand at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Combining the head-turning looks of a sporty coupe with the chunky appeal of an off-roader, Vauxhall’s latest concept car demonstrates just how athletic and stylish an SUV can be. Developed entirely in-house by GM’s own design team, its coupe-like profile, LED headlamps and frameless windows are unique innovations in the class, and point the way towards the design direction of future Vauxhalls.

Sitting on 20-inch alloy wheels, Antara GTC takes strong styling cues from other models in the Vauxhall line-up. The distinctive bonnet ridge, for example, can be found on every Griffin-badged car, while the modular glass roof is inspired by the Panorama roof first seen on the New Zafira.

"With this study, we wanted to develop a concept that quite simply whets your appetite," said exterior design director Mark Adams. "An appetite for new discoveries, for driving and for getting out and doing something sporty. The result was a very attractive crossover that is a decidedly sporty interpretation of an SUV."

But it isn’t just about style, as the Antara GTC has been designed with many purposes in mind. Its looks certainly convey more of an ‘on road’ than ‘rough terrain’ image, but nonetheless it is a car that has been created to cope with unconventional conditions. Short front and rear overhangs and a lofty ride height suggest that this is a car capable of coping with the rough, while still looking smooth.

Practicality played a key part in Antara GTC’s design, too. The three-door body is accessed through clever door handles, which glide out of the door electronically when the remote locking is activated. They conceal a spacious four-seater cabin, with large glass areas to give a feeling of space. There’s plenty of room to get comfortable too, thanks to the innovative sliding seats. Unlike conventional seats, which are mounted on a pair of runners, the Antara GTC’s each have their own monorail to slide fore and aft on, allowing much more legroom for rear seat passengers. They also slide forward at the touch of a button to allow rear seat access.

The lack of a B-pillar allows easy access to the rear without compromising that sleek sloping roofline, while the tailgate is a work of art. Like the Insignia concept car previewed at the 2003 Frankfurt Show, it uses a ‘pantograph’ style door, which is counterbalanced rather than based on space-consuming hydraulics. This means it takes up far less space both inside and outside the car, lifting up and over the roof rather than outward like a conventional rear door. The back seats can be folded away completely from the rear, producing a completely flat load floor and allowing up to 2,400 litres of usable loadspace.

There are interesting developments under the bonnet, too. While some show cars are little more than static models, Antara GTC is fully operational and houses the latest development of GM’s 1.9-litre CDTi turbodiesel unit beneath its chiselled nose.

Developing 212PS, the unit has two turbochargers rather than the usual one, meaning it develops a massive 400Nm of torque at only 1,400rpm. That gives it enough grunt to accelerate from 0-62mph in around eight seconds, and on to a top speed of around 130mph. The engine is coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission, powering all four wheels.

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Toyota RAV4

9 Sep 2005
With its bullish good looks and rugged styling, the RAV4 gets noticed. But it's also proof that you can have the best of worlds, with no need to sacrifice practicality simply because you want something with style. The RAV4 really is a refreshing alternative to the usual family car and, thinking about it, is a realistic alternative to a sports car. It gives you everything, including style, versatility, performance, high specification and safety.

Request a brochure here

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9 Sep 2005
Chrysler Group has unveiled the Jeep® Commander that will be coming to the UK market in right-hand drive during 2006.

The Jeep Commander, the first-ever Jeep to offer seven seats, will arrive in the UK in March 2006, expanding and strengthening the Jeep range.

Commander is only 47 mm (1.8 in.) longer than the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, even though it is designed to accommodate three rows of seats, so it is as manoeuvrable and off-road capable as the Grand Cherokee. Jeep Commander shares the same state-of-the-art 4x4 systems, suspension and powertrains as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, including an independent front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering.

Simon Elliott added: "The Jeep Commander initiates the expansion of the Jeep vehicle line-up. Chrysler Group also revealed two new Jeep concept cars – the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot – at the show. These two compact SUVs focus on performance and fuel economy as well as nimble handling and a flexible interior, and help demonstrate where the Jeep brand may be heading at the other end of the range."

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Prices for the new Suzuki Grand Vitara

7 Sep 2005
Prices for the new Suzuki Grand Vitara are as follows:

3-door 1.6-litre VVT         5-speed manual         £12,699.00

3-door 1.6-litre VVT+         5-speed manual         £13,299.00

5-door 2.0-litre 16v         5-speed manual         £15,499.00

5-door 2.0-litre 16v         4-speed automatic         £16,449.00

These on the road prices are virtually identical to those of the outgoing models and include VAT, delivery to dealer, number plates, 6 months’ Vehicle Excise Duty and First Registration Fee.

The price of the diesel powered Grand Vitara will be announced later this year.

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1 Sep 2005
SNUGTOP should be a familiar name to anyone who has a pick-up. It’s particularly popular with Nissan because the company has been chosen as the sole UK official supplier of hardtops for the new Navara. There are five in the range. And all match Nissan’s high standards of quality, design and value.

The most dramatic SNUGTOP accessory is the XTR hardtop which has been specially adapted for the Navara. The design features a built-in roof rack that incorporates 2" tubular roof bars with a front mounted fairing to smooth airflow over them. The XTR also now includes remote entry. It also includes frameless curved glass windows and a finished edge that blends into the truck bed to give the Navara SUV looks. Other features of the SNUGTOP XTR include "pop-out" windows, an integrated LED third brake light, and a large rear window for improved vision.

The XTR is built to stand up to the abuse pick-ups endure. Important technical features include a one-piece reinforced fibreglass construction as well as a patented method of sealing the cap by means of a special inner lip. Each hardtop is painted to match factory colours using the highly effective DuPont Chromapremier paint process. SNUGTOP also backs each hardtop with a three year structural warranty, as well as a three year paint warranty.

In addition to the XTR, SNUGTOP also offers through Nissan dealers its familiar Cab-Hi models with side windows or solid sides, and the Supersport model. There’s also a new addition to the Navara range called the Hi Liner. This entry-level top is aimed specifically at the working truck with its high level roof, solid sides and white only paint finish.

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15 Aug 2005

Nissan’s new Navara, which went on sale this month, has gone straight in at number one in the pick-up residual value charts.

EurotaxGlass’s has released residual value predictions for the new 174PS Navara pick-up, which puts it ahead of close rivals from Mitsubishi, Toyota and Ford.

After three years and 60,000 miles EurotaxGlass’s reckons the new Navara 4x4 will be worth up to 47% of its original cost new. That means the £18,195 4x4 2.5dCi Outlaw Double Cab, which is anticipated to be one of the best selling models, will be worth £8,531 after three years.

That compares with the Mitsubishi L200 4x4 Animal Double Cab that is worth £7,974 (40%) and the Toyota Hilux Invincible 280VX 4x4 Double Cab £7,887 (44%) after three years.

Over two years and 40,000 miles the same Navara model will be worth 54% of its original cost new (£9,766), compared with the L200 £9,122 (46%) and the Hilux £9,023 (50%).

"'The new Navara range is very comprehensive with high levels of equipment included as standard. Nissan has a stylish and rugged looking 4x4 that is equally at home, both on and off road," explained Andy Picton, LCV Forecast Editor at EurotaxGlass's.

"With the launch of the new Navara, the gauntlet has been thrown down to the other manufacturers in this sector, moving the pickup market on to a new level with specifications that wouldn't go amiss in any SUV. Based on these observations and that the new Navara is the first of a new generation of 4x4 pickups on the market, the prospects for its residual values look strong," he added.

Francis Bleasdale, Nissan’s contract hire and leasing manager said: "Both the fleet and retail markets have responded very positively to the Navara since its launch and the new model is better equipped and has more power than the outgoing model.

"All the residual value guides and major fleets have had early access to the new Navara and the strong residual positioning is proof that everybody holds the vehicle in high regard."

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Sliding Cargo Tray For all 4x4's

12 Aug 2005
Never worry about loading up your pickup again! When you know you can unload your goods with ease. Just slide out the tray which extends 120% giving you full access to your cargo. Made from strong durable Alli checker plate the stow-more tray can carry 200kgs when fully extended. Optional extra tool boxes and side can be added for more information please visit Web site £475 each plus vat fitting extra if required. Contact Graham Email

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10 Aug 2005

Mayor Ken Livingstone may be against ‘Chelsea Taxis’ in the city and there may be plans to levy a £900 pa car tax on them, or even ban them altogether from London’s roads as has been done in Paris, but a recent survey shows the British continue to love their 4x4s.

The survey by leading independent insurance intermediary the A&A Group, based on the number of requests for quotes by 4x4 owners over a nine-month period to May this year, indicates that men are by far the keenest to get behind the wheel.

Nearly 75% of those requesting a 4x4 quote were men, although this will have something to do with the overall split of man and women on the road. The 4x4 men most wanted to insure was the Mitsubishi Pajero, which accounted for 27% of the total. Second was another Mitsubishi favourite, the Shogun (16%) and third the Land Rover Discovery (11%). Other 4x4s popular with men included the Toyota Cruiser, Land Rover Freelander and Range Rover, and the Suzuki Vitara.

The Mitsubishi Pajero and Shogun were also favourites with women drivers, accounting for 21.6% and 15% of requests for quotes respectively. But for women, the Suzuki Vitara was a clear 3rd.

In descending order the top ten most popular 4x4s with men and women in the A&A Group survey were:




1. Mitsubishi Pajero

Mitsubishi Pajero

2. Mitsubishi Shogun

Mitsubishi Shogun

3. Land Rover Discovery

Suzuki Vitara

4. Toyota Cruiser

Land Rover Freelander

5. Land Rover Range Rover

Toyota Rav 4

6. Land Rover Freelander

Land Rover Discovery

7. Suzuki Vitara

Toyota Cruiser

8. Vauxhall Frontera

Isuzu Trooper

9. Honda CRX

Vauxhall Frontera

10. Isuzu Trooper

Honda CRX

It is a bit of a surprise to find the allegedly popular Toyota Rav 4 and Honda CRX are not further up the list, or that Nissan X-Trail failed to make the top 10.

The big 4x4s are clearly the most popular with A&A Group customers according to the survey of nearly 1400 4x4 owners, and 4x4s overall have seen sales boom in the past 12 months: one report said sales were up over 17% nationwide.

But just a word of caution says the A&A Group: the most popular models are not always the cheapest to insure. So get a broker to find out which insurers offer the best deals on 4x4s and which are the cheapest to insure. The difference can be several hundred pounds a year and it might just influence your decision as to which of these popular vehicles to buy.

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Global Adventure for Range Rover Sport

Gaydon, 10 August 2005
The new Range Rover Sport has been put through a real on- and off- road work out during the latest Land Rover G4 Challenge recce trip in Southeast Asia. Setting out from the Laos capital city of Vientiane, the recce team completed two strenuous routes in the rugged and remote north of Laos, before heading south to Bangkok, confirming that the vehicle is more than capable of transporting the teams through anything that the terrain can throw at them.

Prospective entrants wishing to join the 2006 Land Rover G4 Challenge can apply at www.landroverG4challenge.com

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Jeep® Patriot Concept

8 Aug 2005
The legendary Jeep® brand hints at global portfolio expansion and explores all-new territory with the world premiere of two compact SUV concepts—the Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass Rallye. The Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass Rallye concepts are compact Jeep 4x4s that would deliver fun, freedom, utility, capability, as well as the potential for exceptional fuel economy and interior flexibility—all at a great value. The two concepts make their world premiere at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) on September 12.

The Jeep® Patriot concept offers a modern interpretation of classic Jeep styling: rugged, strong and capable. It would appeal to young buyers looking to join the brand in a genuine Jeep vehicle that would deliver fun and freedom at a great value. Jeep Patriot not only looks like a Jeep, but all-new Jeep off-road technology would ensure Patriot could be a Jeep Trail Rated 4x4, making it the most capable vehicle in its class.

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Jeep® Compass Rallye Concept

Aug 2005
The legendary Jeep® brand hints at global portfolio expansion and explores all-new territory with the world premiere of two compact SUV concepts—the Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass Rallye. The Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass Rallye concepts are compact Jeep 4x4s that would deliver fun, freedom, utility, capability, as well as the potential for exceptional fuel economy and interior flexibility—all at a great value. The two concepts make their world premiere at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) on September 12.

The Jeep Compass Rallye concept broadens the global appeal of the Jeep brand. It’s a contemporary styled Jeep concept that targets new buyers who might not have previously considered the brand. Compact and nimble, Jeep Compass Rallye concept is the right size for world markets and is designed to offer a fun-to-drive experience, performance and fuel economy unexpected in the highly competitive compact SUV segment.

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BRENTWOOD, Essex, 08 August, 2005
Ford Motor Company today announced a new special edition Ford Ranger Wildtrak. Available as a Double-Cab, loaded with extras and priced at £19,100 OTR, the Wildtrak is designed and equipped specifically for the outdoor adventure sports devotee, looking for both head turning looks and real-world functionality. With its outstanding selectable 4x4 capability, the Ranger Wildtrak is the ideal vehicle to transport the active sportsperson to the most extreme terrain, anywhere in the world.

Wildtrak stands apart from the existing Ranger line-up with a unique metallic red two-tone paint option, available as part of a five-colour line-up. A variety of sporty interior and exterior styling cues ensure Wildtrak is as visually exciting as it is uncompromising - both on and off road.

On the outside Wildtrak sports a unique front grille, functional roof bars and side steps. A stylish front over-rider, unique aluminium sports bar and colour-coded door handle protectors at the side and rear complete the exterior additions.

Outstanding functionality has not been achieved at the expense of interior luxury, and this special edition is equipped to the same level as a premium family car. Wildtrak is the first Ford vehicle to be launched in the UK with a fully integrated DAB digital radio with MP3 technology as part of the standard specification. Further refinements include stylish two-tone leather seats, air-conditioning, ABS and driver and passenger airbags.

With its generous payload and spacious rear load box, the sports enthusiast has all the capacity necessary to take on even the toughest of challenges. For added flexibility, Wildtrak comes complete with a load liner and lockable roll 'n' lock "Mountain Top" cover. When locked the cover ensures that the load bed is the ideal location for storing equipment. When an open bed is required, rolling the shutter back enables larger loads to be carried with ease.

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4x4 market shows no sign of tiring

8 Aug 2005
4x4 tyre sales have increased by a staggering 151% in the last five years according to data from tyre manufacturer, Cooper Tires. The soaring increase is being attributed to the influx of "Chelsea tractors" in town and city centres, as well as a growing trend to replace the standard manufacturer fitted wheels and tyres with larger sizes.

In 2004, there were 1.25million 4x4 tyres sold throughout the UK, a jump from 825,000 in 2000. Not only has demand for 4x4s vehicles almost doubled in the past five years*, vehicle manufacturers are building heavier, more powerful models, which in turn places even greater demands on the performance of the tyres. As a result, while most vehicles sat on 16" a few years ago, they are now standing taller on 20", 22" and in some cases, even 24" – the height of a toddler!

Cooper Tires has responded not only by supplying motorists with larger tyres, but has also increased the speed rating, with some 4x4 tyres now V-speed rated (150mph).

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8 Aug 2005
Suzuki has revealed the first official pictures of the new Grand Vitara range which will have its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

Initially the range will consist of two 5-door models – the 2.0-litre petrol and the 1.9-litre diesel – and a 1.6-litre petrol SWB 3-door model. Both petrol engine models will be available with an optional automatic transmission and all utilise an all-new Suzuki designed permanent four-wheel drive system.

For the first time Suzuki has opted for unitary construction for the Grand Vitara, although ingeniously the monocoque incorporates a ‘built in’ ladder frame to provide the necessary rigidity to ensure exceptional off road ability.

Substantially longer and wider than their predecessors, both 3 and 5-door models will come exceptionally well equipped with higher levels of safety, passenger comfort and interior room.

Prices and exact mechanical and equipment specifications will be announced at Frankfurt.

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8 Aug 2005

Egeus is about how Renault sees the high-end SUV segment.

"Egeus is an SUV for city driving and the open road, a sort of 'tall coupé' that combines driving pleasure with elegance and sportiness."

Patrick le Quément, Senior Vice President, Corporate Design at Renault.

At the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, Renault is presenting its new Egeus concept car, a resolutely upmarket 4WD Sport Utility Vehicle with the seductive elegance and luxurious, comfortable interior of a saloon. Thanks to its SUV size, Egeus offers a spacious interior while its exterior promises solidity and a dynamic personality. The longer bonnet highlights a soft, flowing design worthy of an upper-segment coupé.

The elegance of a saloon, the dynamic personality of a coupé

Egeus is the perfect combination of elegance and sportiness, power and solidity. Its design is a natural continuation of the previous concept cars Wind and Fluence and carries echoes of a top-of-the-range saloon. Its flowing, homogenous lines have nothing of the angular styling usually associated with an SUV.

The front end is deliberately pared-down. By incorporating the air inlets under the headlamps, Egeus has no need for a grille, too brash for such a pure design. The play of light on the double curve of the sides further accentuates its flowing form.

"The outside is about simplicity, unity, sensuality. Egeus looks as though it has been sculpted from a single piece. The undulating lines and voluptuous forms instantly suggest driving pleasure," says Patrick le Quément.

This suppleness is evident in the way the bonnet flows into the rounded windscreen, which, in turn, blends seamlessly into the bubble-shaped glazed roof. The bubble shape of the rear window forms a continuous, flowing line with the windscreen in a streamlined shape worthy of any coupé. The rear window rests on broad wings that sit the car squarely on the road.

With its longer bonnet, shorter front and rear overhang, and rounded rear wings, Egeus has a dynamic, powerful character. Its 22-inch wheels combine with higher ground clearance than that of a classic saloon to give this concept car its solid stance. Inside, the seat height is designed for greater visibility while reinforcing passengers' sensation of comfort and safety.

Upmarket, functional and innovative

Egeus features four independent seats with all the comfort of a luxury car. Noble materials and a subtle blend of colours and textures distinguish the spacious interior. The relaxed, elegant atmosphere adds to the feeling of serenity inside the cabin.

The "Cythère Blue" bodywork, the "manta ray" dashboard and the blue-tinted hues of the cabin evoke an underwater world.

The leather upholstery in woven beige tones, inspired by a pixelated image of a setting sun, creates a warm atmosphere. The centre console, upholstered in blue-tinted leather, echoes Egeus' undulating sides. It incorporates three generous stowage compartments in addition to the two front-door bins.

The cabin is warm and welcoming thanks to the glazed roof and a central strip with two transparent sections.

"The interior is spacious, comfortable, simple and discreet. Aesthetically, it aims for minimum intrusion and maximum well-being, as what counts when driving is the environment outside as it unfurls."

The wraparound seats guarantee a high level of comfort and stand out for their innovative functions. The front seats pivot outwards and can be lowered 70mm for the easiest possible access. The rear-hinged doors plus the absence of a centre pillar give unencumbered access to the rear seats.

The boot features a split-level opening, with a classic lift-up top and a motorized, drop-down lower section that includes a sliding tray for effortlessly loading heavy or bulky objects.

The height of this tray can be electronically adjusted to reconfigure the boot's interior space.

The side door handles are flush-fitting so as not to detract from the streamlined sides. An optical sensor detects an approaching hand and pushes the handle out a few centimetres, making it easy to grasp.

The GPS navigation system calculates the recommended speed, which is then shown in the centre of the speedometer dial, with its analogue and digital displays. LED diodes around the dial flash to alert drivers if they go over this speed.

In off-road mode, an indicator on the instrument panel is automatically activated to show the car's attitude to the horizontal and alert the driver if there is any risk of roll-over.

At the top of the dashboard, a centrally positioned interactive screen relays information to passengers, in particular a detailed trajectory map.

The intuitive controls are true to the principles of Touch Design. The central rotary speed selector benefits from simple ergonomic styling. The ideally-located multimedia control lever makes for easy handling while the steering wheel-mounted controls mirror the natural curve of the hand.

Driving pleasure, power and control

The 250hp 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine, mounted north-south, gives Egeus both power and agility. Euro 4 compliant, it is fitted with a particulate filter.

The fully automatic 4WD transmission regulates traction on the four wheels from 0 to 100% according to grip. This, combined with a seven-speed flick-shift automatic transmission, ensures a high level of driving comfort while substantially reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.


Egeus is fitted with Michelin Eden Weiss tyres.

Striking a perfect balance between sensitivity and performance, these tyres are ideally adapted to Egeus' dual function: the adaptability of a roadgoing vehicle that can also handle off-road conditions. The front and back tyres are mounted differently.

These tyres are designed to better withstand friction and in doing so reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The compact, closed tread minimizes deformation and therefore energy loss. The long, shallow grooves help reduce road noise while ensuring a firm grip in off-road conditions. The centre of the front tyres' tread, with a less open tread pattern and water-holding capacity, is designed to transmit power to the ground and provide good grip on wet roads. The rear tyres have rigid shoulders for optimal handling during cornering.

Thanks to the PAX System, Egeus does not need a spare wheel.

The wheel rims have been specially developed by Montupet.


Egeus’ boomerang-shaped headlamps function as running lights and indicators, thanks to LED diodes in two different colours. This optical system, developed in partnership with Valeo, matches efficiency with an innovative and compact design.

All light comes from high-performance diodes and, as on Fluence, the amount and direction is adjusted according to the steering angle.

On twisty roads, an electronic function automatically directs the beam.

On motorways, the diodes are automatically activated and modulated to maintain a constant and optimal range without dazzle. Their colour is similar to that of daylight for greater comfort and visibility. These diodes have a significantly longer lifespan than any existing light source.

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Land Rover Adventures - South Africa

4 Aug 2005
The Land Rover Adventures program is going to South Africa for a 7-day, 6-night experience of a lifetime. Explore the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town, the coastal forests of Knysna, and the raw African environment of the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve. Drive some of the most scenic roads in the world, as well as venture into territory only few have had the pleasure of visiting – all behind the wheel of a capable Land Rover LR3. For more information, please visit www.landroverexperience.com

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1 Aug 2005
Nissan has added more cylinders and more power to the Pathfinder model range with the introduction of the 4.0 litre V6 T-SPEC, priced at £33,960 OTR.   And if that’s not smooth enough, Nissan is also tempting customers with one of the most advanced communications packages, worth £2000, as a free upgrade on the SVE model.

The Pathfinder 4.0 litre V6 shares its VQ engine with the award winning 350Z and the stylish Murano.   There’s added capacity, though, to suit this off-roader application - 3954cc, to be exact, 456 more than the 350Z.   Producing 265bhp of power and 385Nm of torque through a five-speed automatic gearbox with manual override linked to a switchable high or low ratio transfer box, it propels the seven seater 4x4 to 62 mph in just 8.9 seconds. Which Nissan believes makes it the fastest SUV available, in the UK, with seven seats.*

Not only fast, it’s also controllable.   Nissan’s ‘All MODE’ 4x4 system maintains traction in all conditions by transmitting power to the rear wheels until any wheel slip is detected.   It will then transfer the power to the front wheels or with the help of Electronic Stability Program (ESP) apply a braking force to the offending wheel, or both, depending on the circumstances.   Therefore maximum traction is always applied whether you are travelling on road or off-road.

The V6 is currently only available in range topping T-SPEC form.   The T stands for Technology and to justify this here are some of the features included as standard:

Communication pack:

  • DVD birdview satellite navigation system.   This latest path-finding aid features voice recognition, a full seven inch colour screen, enough mapping to cover 21 countries throughout Europe plus traffic management channel (TMC) to help avoid any congested areas – leading you clearly and easily to your chosen route.  
  • Bluetooth phone connectivity.   Just pair your phone up to the N-FORM console and full hands-free, voice activation operation can be applied via the screen monitor.
  • Rear parking camera.   Select reverse and a full colour image of the area behind you, along with guidance lines, is displayed on the 7-inch monitor.
  • Premium Audio.   An in-dash 6CD system with a superior sound quality specially tuned to the vehicle and featuring MP3 compatibility.

During August and September Nissan is offering the above Communication pack as a free upgrade on the 2.5dCi SVE.    Normally this would add £2000 to the SVE’s £28,760 price tag, which already includes the luxury of leather upholstery, electrically adjusted and heated front seats, five flat folding rear seats, 17” alloy wheels, privacy glass, Intelligent Key, front and rear climate controlled air-conditioning, auto headlamps, auto wipers and cruise control.   Incidentally, all this is shared with the new V6 … along with the additions of xenon headlamps and an electric glass sunroof.   Try specifying one of the Pathfinder’s petrol-fuelled rivals to the same level and then compare prices.   You’ll find that the Nissan is much more affordable.

The Pathfinder V6 is on sale now, deliveries being expected in September.   With this new combination of smooth power to tackle the rough, not to mention a technological offer to tempt the most loyal of land-roamers, many more SUV buyers should find their path takes them into a Nissan showroom.

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27 Jly 2005

A new model year traditionally provides manufacturers with the chance to rack up a vehicle’s driver appeal with an attention-grabbing array of new features. When it came to grooming the new ’06 Land Cruiser Amazon, Toyota soon realised that, apart from fitting a real array of whistles and bells, the ’05 model more or less had it all.

Thanks to the exceptional standard specification of the Land Cruiser Amazon, Toyota’s flagship 4x4, the principle changes are subtle, but stylish. There is a new-look grille with three horizontal bars and a larger Toyota insignia and both front and rear light units have been slightly restyled. Three new metallic paint finishes are available: Tyrol Silver, Slate Blue and Island Green.

Where standard equipment is concerned, an automatically dipping electrochromic rear view mirror has been introduced. An ICE system comprising a DVD player with twin front headrest mounted monitors and infra red headsets increases the fun factor for long journeys. The package, newly available as an accessory, can play movies and CDs and is compatible with computer gaming systems.

As before, the seven-seat Land Cruiser Amazon is available with a 4.2-litre turbodiesel engine with five-speed manual or automatic transmission, or a 4.7-litre V8 petrol unit, exclusively with the automatic gearbox. Standard features include DVD-based satellite navigation with Electronic Traffic Avoidance function, a Rear Park Assist Monitor for simple and safe reverse parking manoeuvres, touch screen controls for the navigation, audio and air conditioning functions, Bluetooth® connectivity, leather seat facings, seven-speaker sound system with six-disc CD autochanger and additional rear seat controls, climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels, side steps, automatic rain-sensing wipers, electric sunroof, electrically adjustable front seats, cruise control and headlamp washers.

The 2006 Land Cruiser Amazon is on sale now, prices shown in the table below. The ICE package costs £2,200.

Model              Price
4.2 TD manual £45,995
4.2 TD auto     £47,675
4.7 V8 auto     £48,675

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26 Jly 2005

Jeep® has launched a new special edition Wrangler – the Renegade – plus three striking new colours, to help this iconic 4x4 stand out on UK roads this summer.

Based on the 4.0-litre six-speed manual Sport, the ‘Wrangler Renegade’ features 15" x 7" Ecco alloy wheels, CD player with seven speakers and subwoofer system and unique ‘Wrangler Renegade’ badging. Customers can choose from two exterior colours – black and light khaki. Only 55 units will be available for sale priced at £16,300.

The Jeep Wrangler Sport will also be available in three new colours: Flame Red, Solar Yellow and Electric Lime Green.

Simon Elliott, Managing Director of the Chrysler Group in the UK, said: "The Jeep Wrangler is a firm favourite in the UK – whether you are after a hugely capable off-roader, or a classic four seat convertible for our British summer."

All new Jeep models come with a full peace-of-mind warranty package and European roadside assistance cover for three years/60,000 miles, plus seven years’ unlimited mileage anti-corrosion guarantee.

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Land Rover Headquarters, Gaydon, 22 July 2005
Following on from the successful ‘Defender Black’ limited edition in 2002, Land Rover revealed at this year's Canary Wharf International Motor Expo a rebirth of the Defender limited edition, the ‘Defender Silver’.

The ‘Defender Silver’ is available in 90", 110" Station Wagon and 110" Double Cab derivatives and will include a broad range of interesting features including A-Frame protection bar, driving lamp kit, hinged lamp guards, sump guard, black chequer plate styling kit and wing top protectors, half leather seats, CD player and tow bar with electrics.

Phil Popham, Land Rover managing director commented: "The silver metallic paintwork, black chequer plating and alloy wheels give our icon a real on-road presence whilst retaining all its superb off-road characteristics. Defender Silver’s competitive price positioning also makes the already successful range even more appealing to new owners."

The Defender Silver is powered by the rugged 2.5 litre, five cylinder turbocharged diesel engine developing 122 PS and has a five speed manual gearbox, two speed transfer box and permanent four-wheel drive. Three hundred limited editions will be built for the UK and go on sale from 1 September 2005, with prices starting from £24,595 for the 90 Station Wagon, £26,995 for the 110 Station Wagon and £24,795 for the 110 Double Cab.

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Land Rover Headquarters, Gaydon, 20 July 2005
Discovery 3 has raced ahead of the competition to win the Auto Express ‘4x4 Off-Roader’ category in the magazine’s annual New Car Honours.

The Discovery 3 triumphed over the Volvo XC90 and Nissan Pathfinder in the battle for the prestigious 2005 Auto Express ‘Best 4x4 off-roader’ accolade.

Priced from £26,995, the award-winning Discovery 3 comes with a generous specification and a host of new safety features and technologies, including a comprehensive occupant safety package benefiting from the vehicle’s Integrated Body-frame architecture, door-mounted anti-intrusion side beams and eight airbags.

Complementing the occupant safety package are Dynamic Stability Control, Active Roll Mitigation, Electronic Traction Control, Brakeforce Distribution, Anti-lock Brakes, Terrain Response™ and park distance control technologies, putting the Discovery 3 amongst the safest SUVs on the market.

David Johns, Auto Express’s editor-in-chief said: "The Disco is great in the rough, as refined as the best executive cars and more practical than an MPV."

Phil Popham, Land Rover UK managing director added: "The Discovery 3 has been recognised yet again as the leader in its class for offering the technologies and capabilities that enable it to serve its owners as any one of three different types of vehicle. And all in one very competent, attractive package."

The Auto Express New Car Honour joins other notable successes for the Discovery 3, including BBC Top Gear Magazine’s ‘Best 4x4’ and What Car? ‘Car of the Year 2005’. Priced from £26,995 to £46,995 the all-new Land Rover Discovery 3 is on sale now at Land Rover dealerships across the UK.

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5 July 2005

The fish may be jumpin’ and the cotton high, but Suzuki believes the summer months should be a time for relaxing, and certainly no time to be overly burdened with financial outlay. What could be better therefore than some great new savings on selected models that should go some way to help pay for those little holiday extras.

On the Grand Vitara 3-door SUV, it happens to be quite a substantial saving: £2000 in fact, which brings the price down to £9999 on-the-road. There’s also a choice of either 1.6 litre petrol or 2.0 litre turbo engines for smooth and effortless performance.

Customers preferring a little more space and flexibility can opt for the bigger Grand Vitara 5-door or the even bigger XL-7; both are available on 0 per cent finance over four years. That’s 48 monthly payments of £199, a deposit of £5447 and a total price of £14,999 for the 5-door 2.0 16v and the same monthly payments, a deposit of £8447 and a total price of £17,999 for the XL-7 2.0 TDI 5-seater, as typical examples.

Purchases must be made by 30 September, but while the offers are limited, the Grand Vitara range most certainly isn’t. Beneath the stylish lines are a stiff ladder frame chassis and a four-wheel drive system proven in some of the most hostile terrain on earth.

And why should 4WD be a privilege to be enjoyed by SUV owners only? The Ignis 1.5 GLX 4Grip is a unique supermini designed around the concept that extra traction is available when you need it most – on slippery roads – and given an average British summer, that could be at any time, global warming or no global warming. Its full-time 4WD and variable valve timing 99 PS 1.5 litre engine are now available with a tempting 0 per cent finance offer over four years, which translates into 48 monthly payments of £134 after a deposit of £3267, for a total price of £9699 on-the-road.

Suzuki dealers are running these summer temptations until 30 September.

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5 July 2005
Nissan’s all new, rival-bashing Navara can be ordered now for delivery in August. Many of the new Navara’s numbers are already out there, for example its class leading 174PS power output which Nissan likes to mention at every opportunity. 174PS … there it is again. To the formula can now be added prices: they start from £14,695 (ex-VAT, on the road) for the standard King Cab. That’s just a ninth of the Navara story.

The Navara King Cab will be available in three varieties: standard, SE and Outlaw. The Navara Double Cab is offered in the same but with the addition of a new range topper with a new name to Nissan, the Aventura. It’s Spanish for adventure and is the best-equipped pick-up ever sold officially in the UK with a specification to shame a £40,000 SUV. Yet this Navara costs roughly half that. For most, though, the pick of this pick-up range will be the Outlaw Double Cab. It’s priced at £18,195 which Nissan claims is better value than less powerful and less roomy rivals. But let’s start with the standard setting ‘standard’ Navara.

This workhorse shares its tall, broad-shouldered styling with the rest of the range. Nissan’s trademark 4x4 grille, colour coded for this version, sends out don’t-mess-with-me messages. Mess, though, is exactly what this pick-up has been built to cope with. Its part time four-wheel drive system is electrically selected via an easy to use rotary dial on the dashboard. There are high and low ratios with the crawl ratio giving outstanding traction particularly on steep descents. Nissan also fits as standard a limited slip differential as well as anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and Brake Assist.

Up front there are twin airbags and a single CD audio system. Plus there’s a choice of pillar-less King Cab version with rear-hinged rear doors and fold down jump seats, or for £15,745 the crew friendly Double Cab. A metal guard is fitted to protect the rear window to which tools can also be tied, while a tubular rear bumper allows this Navara to be loaded by a fork lift. Both have remote control central locking and an alarm. Given the standard Navara’s utilitarian intentions, the only option is manual air conditioning for £450. Or, for another £1400, you could step up to the Navara SE. (All prices quoted are on the road and excluding VAT.)

The SE stands out to help you step up by virtue of its side bars and chunky chrome back bumper. The front bumper is now body coloured and chrome is liberally applied to the grille. The wheels grow to 17" and are the same alloy design used on Nissan’s latest SUV, the Pathfinder with which the Navara shares so much … electronic climate control, a leather steering wheel, electric and heated door mirrors, a fold flat passenger seat, and active front headrests, for example. They all feature on the Navara SE.

What you can also get on a Navara SE (but not on a Pathfinder) is Nissan’s innovative C-channel system and an external guard frame for the back of the cab. For £200, this so-called Utility Pack builds in five rails to the load bay (one on either side of the load floor, plus one on each of the three fixed sides of the pick-up bed) into which self-locking cleats can be placed to provide fixed points for securing ropes.

The C-channel is just one of the many extras included as standard when you step up to the Navara Outlaw. Having this iconic (in pick-up circles) badge on the Navara’s quick-release tailgate adds £900 in King Cab form or £1050 in Double Cab. That translates to £16,995 and £18,195 respectively, the difference in premium being accounted for by the Double Cab’s added roof rails. Destined to be the most popular version in the range, the Outlaw is loaded with equipment that will have the average pick-up driver thinking he (or she) has died and gone to SUV heaven: automatic headlamps, headlamp wash, rain sensing windscreen wipers, a trip computer, cruise control, front fogs, a 6CD autochanger with steering wheel controls and rear dark tinted glass. This is one blingin’ truck. And it’s as much as £2170 more affordable than its Mitsubishi, Toyota, Ford and Isuzu rivals once you adjust their specifications to match the Navara Outlaw’s.

But the available features haven’t stopped yet. DVD satellite navigation, a premium audio system with MP3 compatability, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity plus front side and curtain airbags are also available – at least if you’ve ordered an Outlaw King Cab and have a spare £1700 handy for this aptly named Hitech Pack. The Outlaw Double Cab gets its own £1375 option pack with, now get this, an electric glass sunroof, front side and curtain airbags, leather seat trim, and electrically adjustable seats. Would you believe they’re heated, too? The pick-up has come a long way.

Going a long way is one of the £20,995 Aventura’s many capabilities. With the just described Hitech and Premium Packs fitted as standard, there’s never been a more comprehensively equipped pick-up officially sold in the UK. What’s more, like the Outlaw Double Cab, buyers can choose five speed automatic transmission for £975 making it the ninth of the nine different Navaras. Is there another vehicle on the market that can carry 1097kg of whatever and tow a 2.6 tonne trailer yet guide its occupants to their destination by DVD satnav while they sit in climate controlled, Bluetooth linked, leather trimmed comfort? Nissan doesn’t think so.

More remarkable, given what you’ve just read, are the Navara’s green credentials. And we’re not talking about its likely popularity amongst landscape gardeners. The four-wheel drive Navara 6-speed pick-up is more economical (33.2mpg on the combined cycle) and emits less CO2 (226 g/km) than many passenger cars including, for example, an Audi A6 2.4. Of more interest to the building trade, though, will be the Navara’s commercial vehicle classification and the news that both versions have the greatest load floor areas in their class: the Double Cab's is 2.36m2 and the King Cab's is 2.9 m2, big enough to carry 4ft x 8ft sheets of plywood …surprisingly quickly. Acceleration to 62mph takes between 10.8 and 11.5 seconds depending on version. It doesn’t hang about between gears either, not with 403Nm of torque available at just 2000rpm. And we almost forgot to mention its peak power output (again) - 174PS at 4000rpm. Looks like every rival pick-up’s number is most surely up.






Insurance Group

Basic OTR Price

OTR Price

2.5 dCi 174


King Cab

6 manual




2.5 dCi 174


Double Cab

6 manual




2.5 dCi 174


King Cab

6 manual




2.5 dCi 174


Double Cab

6 manual




2.5 dCi 174


King Cab

6 manual




2.5 dCi 174


Double Cab

6 manual




2.5 dCi 174


Double Cab

5 auto




2.5 dCi 174


Double Cab

6 manual




2.5 dCi 174


Double Cab

5 auto





Basic OTR price excludes VAT but includes delivery to the dealership, number plates, 12 months’ Vehicle Excise Duty and the Government First Registration Fee. OTR Price includes VAT, delivery to the dealership, number plates, 12 months’ Vehicle Excise Duty and the Government First Registration Fee.






Total Price (exc VAT)

Metallic, pearlescent or Black paint






Manual air conditioning



Utility Pack*



Hitech Pack (King Cab only)**




Premium Pack (Double Cab only)***





m = option l = standard

* Utility Pack includes C-Channel and external cab guard frame

** Hitech Pack is available on King Cab only and includes DVD satellite navigation, premium audio with MP3 compatibility, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity and front, side and curtain airbags

*** Premium Pack is available on Double Cab only and includes sunroof, leather seat trim, heated and electric front seats and front, side and curtain airbags

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5 July 2005
High value addition to Britain’s most popular luxury petrol SUV range

Just as Lexus initiates a quantum leap in the premium SUV market with the launch of its hybrid power RX 400h model, it is adding further lustre to its established range with the introduction of the new RX 300 Limited Edition.

Following its launch in 2003, the RX 300 quickly established itself as Britain’s best selling petrol-powered luxury 4x4. Now Lexus is broadening the appeal of the range still further with the new Limited Edition model. This comes equipped with many of the comfort, style and convenience features that are a hallmark of Lexus’s superior specification, but offered at a fiercely competitive price.

The Limited Edition is based on the entry-level RX 300, with the addition of a number of desirable items that hitherto have been reserved for higher grade models.

These include leather upholstery, eight-way electrically adjustable and heated front seats, a rear seat that split-folds 40:20:40, 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels with 235/55 R18 tyres and metallic paint.

These items are in addition to a standard specification that includes cruise control, eight-speaker sound system with in-dash six-disc CD autochanger, five-speed automatic transmission, leather trimmed steering wheel with audio controls, High Intensity Discharge headlights, rear and side privacy glass, climate control air conditioning, speed-sensitive power steering and a suite of nine cabin airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag.

Customers can also take advantage of two key options. The Lexus Navigator DVD-based satellite navigation system features convenient voice recognition control, Electronic Traffic Avoidance which automatically provides an alternative route if delays are detected on the road ahead, and Bluetooth® connectivity for hands-free use of compatible mobile telephones. The package also includes Lexus’s Parking Assist Monitor, which relays images from a rear-mounted miniature camera to aid safe and simple reverse parking manoeuvres.

Also available is an In-Car Entertainment package, comprising a DVD player with twin monitors mounted neatly in the back of the front seat head restraints. Rear seat passengers can enjoy movies on the move, CDs, music from MP3 files, or, with the benefit of additional connectors (not supplied by Lexus), computer games. Infra red headsets are provided which allow passengers in the front to continue listening to the RX 300’s audio system undisturbed.

These additional features have a customer value of more than £3,500, but the Limited Edition is available at an on-the-road price that is just £1,500 greater than the regular RX 300 model. Comparison prices are given in the table below.

RX 300

RX 300


Leather upholstery



Heated front seats



8-way electrically adjustable front seats

8-way driver’s seat, 4-way passenger seat


40:20:40 split-folding rear seat



18-inch alloy wheels



Metallic paint




Lexus Navigator with ETA, Parking Assist Monitor and Bluetooth® connectivity




ICE with DVD player and twin rear monitors





On-the-road price



The RX 300 Limited Edition’s price is even better value when compared to its key market rivals. The BMW X5 3.0i SE, Mercedes-Benz ML350, Volvo XC90 T6 SE Geartronic and Volkswagen Touareg 3.2 V6 Tiptronic are all more expensive in terms of on-the-road price, a gap which widens further when their specification is upgraded to match the Lexus’s superior standard. In the case of the BMW, the price tag is more than £9,700 greater than for the RX 300 Limited Edition, while for the Mercedes it adds up to almost £7,400, taking the additional specification items into account.

The Lexus RX 300 Limited Edition is available now, in Brechin Slate or Stafford Blue metallic paint finishes and Oakham Beige or Pembroke Black leather interior.

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Jly 2005

  • Hi-Q MSA British Off Road Championship - Round 3 Report, Scotland
  • Castle O’er - 2nd & 3rd July 2005
  • Three wins from three events for Mitsubishi
  • Read records first top ten placing of the year

For the third time in a row, Colin Read took the works Mitsubishi Motors UK Shogun Warrior to a Production Class victory in the Hi-Q MSA British Off Road Championship, round three in Scotland providing him with the opportunity not only to stamp his authority on the category, but also to finish ninth overall.

Maintaining a 100% success record in the class for standard specification vehicles, Read, partnered by his regular co-driver, Chris Eade, both from Great Bedwyn near Marlborough, proved uncatchable in the diesel engined Mitsubishi Shogun. Their overall  result was made even more impressive, when it was confirmed that the only competitors ahead of them were driving highly modified 3.5 litre or larger capacity hybrid vehicles specifically built for off road competition.

This weekend’s event took place in Castle O’er Forest, just east of Lockerbie, with organisers setting a course of nine miles, contested six times on Saturday and a further four times on Sunday. About two-thirds of the route utilised relatively smooth gravel roads, whilst the remaining distance took competitors through rougher un-made tracks and firebreaks.

Having come from a rallying background, Read revelled on the smoother and faster sections, his pace in the near standard Shogun surprising many of the crews in other classes.

Saturday’s dry and dusty conditions meant that speeds were even quicker than usual, a factor which did nothing to deter the Mitsubishi pairing, Eade reporting to have looked across at the speedometer to see over 100 mph registered on m ore than one occasion.

Although having to contend with two punctures, Saturday’s performance had given Read and Eade a two-minute Class lead and an overall position of eleventh by the end of the day.

Overnight rain saw the complexion of the stages change on Sunday. With a damp surface the dust had gone and although Read anticipated more slippery conditions, this was not the case, the rain has washed away the loose surface gravel which inevitably provided better grip!

With his tactic being ‘more of the same’ for Sunday, Read continued to set a pace faster than any of his Production Class rivals, comfortably winning every stage. However, his finish margin was increased to nearly 20 minutes, when his closest opponent, Dan Evans, driving a V6 Mitsubishi Shogun, had problems on the final test and subsequently recorded a maximum stage time.

“It’s been a great weekend for us and I’ve really enjoyed the stages”, commented a delighted Read at the finish. “Although we have become used to winning the Class, victory is still sweet and this is by far the biggest margin we have achieved so far this year. I am also pleased to record our first top ten overall finish of the season, especially against the competition, as there was a total of 50 entries on this event. The Shogun has really proved what it is capable of this weekend.”

The fourth round of the Hi-Q MSA British Off Road Championship takes place on 10th & 11th September, when the series makes its annual trip to Eridge Park, near Tunbridge Wells in Kent.

Based on the latest version of the company’s acclaimed short-wheel-base 3.2 litre turbo diesel engined model, the works Mitsubishi Motors UK Shogun Warrior DI-D is the sole manufacturer supported entry in this year’s Hi-Q MSA British Off Road Championship. The Mitsubishi Motors UK off road campaign is supported by: Shell Racing Fuels, Speedline Corse, Helix Autosport, Mintex, PIAA and ADR Motorsport.

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4 July 2005
PONT-DE-VAUX , France - The Mitsubishi Motors Repsol ATS Studios Team has just completed a grueling two-week test session near Erfoud and El- Rachidia in Morocco.

Team drivers Stéphane Peterhansel, Hiroshi Masuoka, Luc Alphand and Joan ’ Nani’ Roma were joined by Frenchman Jean-Pierre Fontenay to carry out around 5,600 kms of endurance testing with the new Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution 4. This is the revised MPR12 version of the all-conquering car, which the Japanese manufacturer hopes will propel it to a record-breaking sixth successive Dakar Rally triumph in January 2006. It will make its full competition debut in the autumn.

Frenchman Peterhansel - the winner of the Dakar Rally for the last two seasons - was joined during the first week of testing and development by Spaniard Roma, who finished sixth overall on his Dakar debut in the Mitsubishi Motors Team in January this year. Contracted French test driver Fontenay was also present.

Frenchman Alphand and the Japanese twice former Dakar winner Hiroshi Masuoka took over testing and development responsibilities for the second week, as the Pont-de- Vaux-based team elected to miss last week’s Masters Rally in Turkey to continue the endurance development of the Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution.

"You can never afford to stand still in this sport and rest on your laurels," said MMSP’s Team Director Dominique Serieys. "We carried out a very informative and useful endurance test in Morocco equivalent in distance terms to a Dakar Rally. Preparing as best we can for this event is the main aim. There will be two Marathon sections in January and we know how difficult they may be, so we need to be ready.

"We also have to be prepared for a possible change of regulations in the future and keep our options open. It was a useful test, where the temperature in the shade was as high as 43 degrees Centigrade. We had a team of 24 in Morocco, with a helicopter and a medical team in place.

"All our drivers had a lot of time behind the wheel and ’ Nani’ Roma was able to drive Stéphane’s MPR11 version for the first time for about 1,000 kms. He appreciated the difference in terms of stability and handling compared to the MPR10 he used in the Dakar and in Morocco. The test was a natural follow on from the shakedown we carried out with the new Evolution 4 in the south of France in June."

The Mitsubishi Motors Repsol ATS Studios Team will now spend several weeks working on the specification, suspension geometry and general revisions to the new Evolution 4 from its French base near Lyon, before returning to northern Morocco in early September to complete a second comprehensive endurance test.

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