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19 Dec 2005
2006 will be Chrysler Group’s biggest ever year in the UK with no less than six new right-hand drive vehicles going on sale in the first seven months of the year.
Chrysler’s high performance version of the 300C saloon - the Chrysler 300C SRT-8 - will arrive in April. The 300C SRT-8 features a 6.1-litre HEMI 420hp engine, a top speed of 170mph* and a 0-62mph time of less than five seconds. This high performance engine will also feature in the Grand Cherokee SRT-8, the world’s fastest 4x4.
Due to launch in July, the Grand Cherokee SRT-8 features a specially developed full-time 4x4 system that channels 90 per cent of the power to the rear wheels. If sensors detect rear wheel spin torque will then be sent to the front wheels to increase traction. A reprogrammed traction control system, 20-inch wheels and an SRT sports-tuned suspension all help create outstanding ride and handling. These SRT versions have been developed by Chrysler’s ‘Street Race Technology’ performance division. All SRT vehicles feature powerful engines, unique exterior details, sports suspension and a sports interior.
Simon Elliott, Managing Director of Chrysler Group, said: "We will only bring a small number of the 300C and Grand Cherokee SRT-8 into the UK but these two aren’t the only stunning vehicles to be launched next year. The final new vehicle for Chrysler Group in the UK next year is the new Jeep Commander, a seven-seat version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which launches in April.
Simon Elliott added: "Although the new Commander shares the same four-wheel drive system, suspension and powertrains as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, it is a very different vehicle." On the outside, the Commander is less than two inches longer than the latest Jeep Grand Cherokee, even though it is designed to accommodate seven people. On the inside, the three rows of seats are arranged theatre-style while the interior materials and design are different to that found on the Grand Cherokee. There is no doubt that the Jeep Commander has a unique look and this is increasingly important in today’s crowded marketplace. It has been deliberately designed to hark back to the rugged look of the original Cherokee that so many people love."
Editors comment: 6.1-litre 420hp but no mention of miles per gallon or CO output, I wonder why?
19 Dec 2005
The model line-up and pricing for the stunning new L200 pick-up have been announced by Mitsubishi Motors UK. In showrooms from the end of February, many prices have been reduced from the outgoing range with prices now starting at £12,249 CVOTR for the 4Work 4WD single cab rising to £19,999 CVOTR for the new range-topping double cab Elegance.
Keen pricing, generous specification, technical advancements and stunning styling make this new model an extraordinary proposition. The addition of a new more powerful engine, improved chassis and suspension plus the option of automatic transmission, super select 4WD and stability and traction control, makes this a pick-up range whose attraction will lie as much in its dynamic capabilities as its undeniable good looks.
“Mitsubishi Motors has been instrumental in the massive growth of the UK pick-up market – a segment which has grown 347% in six years from 7,553 units to 33,742 at the end of 2004. During this time the L200 has become the undisputed king of the pick-ups with the outgoing model still commanding a massive 48% of the retail market, and we have absolutely no intention of relinquishing our crown” commented Jim Tyrrell, Managing Director of Mitsubishi Motors UK. Tyrrell went on to explain, “Dealers have already taken a considerable number of L200 orders including cash deposits, so if the reaction so far ahead of the launch is anything to go by, we have a very successful new model on our hands.”
With exterior styling based on Mitsubishi’s 10 times Dakar conquering Pajero Evolution, the L200 is the only UK pick-up to offer SUV-like manoeuvrability with a 5.9 metre turning radius and the only one to have stability and traction control and super select 4WD as standard on all high series models (i.e. 80% of total L200 sales). The newly designed double cab also boasts class-leading rear legroom making it number one in the segment for passenger comfort.
UK L200 Pick-Up Range
As with the current range, the L200 Warrior is expected to remain the best seller with its bold on-road image and high level of standard specification including 17” alloys, climate control, CD with MP3, alarm, keyless entry, central locking, power windows, power rear cab window, stability and traction control, super select 4WD, plus Warrior branded mats, door entry guards and exterior accessories.
Even though the new L200 looks set to become a style icon amongst modern 4x4 pick-ups, beneath its sweeping exterior lines lies a powerful workmanlike structure that makes the L200 the toughest of contenders. Improvements have been made on all fronts including engine, body and frame construction, suspension and brakes.
Four Wheel Drive
Traction and Stability Control
Revised Chassis and Suspension
Improvements have also been made to the L200’s ladder frame. The new frame’s cross-section has been enlarged from 110mm to 145mm, drastically increasing frame rigidity and reducing body vibration whilst also enhancing straight-line stability.
Servicing and Warranty
The new L200 range officially goes on sale 1 st March with many dealerships around the UK taking delivery of their first demo units in February. Mitsubishi Motors UK expects to sell 9,000 units in 2006 rising to 13,000 units in its first full year on the market.
“We are planning conservatively at the moment,” stated Sales & Marketing Director Lance Bradley. “However, this new vehicle is so good and so radically different from everything else on the road that it could fuel further growth of the pick-up segment just as it did between 2001 - 2003. If demand increases beyond the original plan, we will be ready to respond.”
1. All prices are CVOTR (excluding VAT).
2. All models are fitted with the 134bhp 2.5DI-D engine with power upgrade to 160bhp available as an accessory
3. Club cab derivatives will go on-sale in August 2006
Editors comment: The above fuel consumption figures come out slightly better than the actual from my Land Rover 110 County 300tdi
9 Dec 2005
Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a new highlight in the luxury Sports Utility Vehicle market segment: the GL-Class. The seven-seat premium off-roader offers excellent handling both on and off-road and pampers occupants with its extremely spacious accommodation with the comfort of a luxury saloon. The GL-Class sets another milestone with PRE-SAFE®, the comprehensive safety system, a first in this market segment.
With its poised, assured presence, the GL-Class leaves you in no doubt about its aspirations to conquer this competitive market segment. The distinctive, striking design exudes power and exclusivity. Calm body surfaces, powerful, wedge-shaped features and striking details give the impression the luxury off-roader is surging forward even when stationary. The spacious body (length 5088 mm, width 1920 mm, height 1840 mm) is beautifully proportioned.
Superlative comfort whatever the conditions
Intelligent solutions promote excellent safety
The GL-Class meets all the requirements of a state-of-the-art, luxury SUV, or even redefines them on a higher level. Yet the hallmark Mercedes off-roader genes such as superlative robustness, ruggedness and long-term durability have not been compromised. It is not for nothing that the model designation echoes the legendary precursor of all Mercedes-Benz off-road vehicles – the G-Class. The evergreen off-roader is now entering its 26th year of production and will continue to be marketed alongside the new GL-Class.
Outstanding handling on and off-road
Special off-road features such as Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR), hill-start assist and off-road ABS assist the GL-Class driver off road. The Off-Road Pro engineering package, standard on all European models, means the GL-Class can also handle the most extreme off-road terrain. This includes a two-speed transfer case with a low range ratio and 100 per cent differential locks for the transfer case and the rear axle. The modified AIRMATIC air suspension, designed specifically for more demanding conditions, increases the ground clearance to a maximum of 307 mm where required, and raises the fording depth to 600 mm.
Majestic drive systems: new V6 and V8 engines
All GL-Class engine variants come with the standard-fit 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission with DIRECT SELECT. Excellent performance and low fuel consumption result not just from the perfect combination of ultra-modern engines with 7G-TRONIC and the friction-optimised powertrain. Another important factor is the comparatively low gross vehicle weight thanks to the unitised body and the excellent aerodynamics (Cd 0.37) for such a large vehicle.
9 Dec 2005
The Jeep Cherokee now comes equipped with ESP (Electronic Stability Program) and a tyre pressure monitoring system as standard across the model range. The Sport model also has alloy wheels and a spare wheel cover as standard while the Limited model features sat-nav, part-leather trimmed heated seats and an electric sunroof as standard – and all for less than the 2005 model.
Simon Elliott, Managing Director of Chrysler Group in the UK said: "The 2006 model boasts a host of new standard equipment but without any price increase. In fact, our best selling Limited model gets heated part-leather seats and sat-nav – but is £1035 cheaper than last year!
"If drivers are looking for the ultimate in safe and effective driving this winter they should look no further than the Jeep Cherokee. The four-wheel drive system already provides outstanding traction on wet or icy tarmac - adding a skid control system like ESP means that customers can enjoy their car with the added peace of mind that they are in one of the most capable cars on the road."
Already awarded four stars by Euro NCAP, the new Jeep Cherokee’s standard safety features include ESP, ABS, driver and front passenger airbags, side impact protection guards, a tyre pressure warning system and on the Limited, side curtain airbags.
The Jeep Cherokee is available with either a 2.8-litre CRD diesel engine with manual or automatic transmission or 3.7-litre V6 petrol auto. Prices for the Cherokee Sport 2.8 CRD (manual) start at £19,890 and £22,490 for the Limited 2.8 CRD (manual).
All Cherokee models are covered by the comprehensive Jeep warranty scheme, which provides a three-year/60,000 mile mechanical warranty, seven-year anti-corrosion warranty and 12 months’ European roadside assistance.
The ESP computer maintains increased stability by continuously comparing the actual behaviour of the vehicle with pre-programmed reference values. The moment the car deviates from its ideal line, the specially developed control logic triggers immediate intervention in the form of precisely controlled braking at one or more wheels and/or a reduction in engine power. The braking counteracts the critical rotational movement and restores stability. The system is of particular value when driving on mixed surfaces including snow, ice and gravel.
Unlike acceleration skid control, ESP® is in operation under all conditions, whether braking, accelerating or coasting. The stabilisation is an ongoing process and is continuously adapted to take account of the movements of the vehicle in any given situation, until the risk of skidding is eliminated.
The Cherokee is now the second Jeep to have ESP as standard along with the Grand Cherokee. An additional feature of the Jeep ESP system is ERM (Electronic Roll Mitigation). This is an extension of ESP which uses the ESP sensors to anticipate if the vehicle is entering a potential roll situation. It applies the brakes individually and modulates throttle position as needed to attempt to avoid the roll situation.
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 5 December 2005
On sale since May this year, the Range Rover Sport is enjoying a very successful start, with over 20,000 sales around the world and 11 awards to its name. This latest honour comes on the back of rigorous road tests and challenges set for the vehicle by the Top Gear team – from out-manoeuvring a high-performance military tank with laser-locking devices on the TV show, to conquering Dubai's 'Big Red' sand dune in the magazine.
Top Gear editor, Michael Harvey, said: "The Supercharged 390bhp Range Rover Sport is the only choice for Top Gear magazine's SUV of 2005. BMW and Porsche make world-beatingly-great sports cars, one or two of which look a bit like SUVs. Land Rover has only ever made great SUVs, one of which now goes a lot like a BMW or a Porsche."
Jaguar and Land Rover chief engineer for vehicle integrity, Mike Cross, was also named a Top Gear 'Man of the Year for 2005' in the magazine, which goes on sale today. Michael Harvey said of Mike Cross: "Cross is as important to new Jaguars and Land Rovers as their design teams, and he has instigated a paradigm shift at Land Rover with the Discovery 3 and Range Rover Sport."
Land Rover's managing director, Matthew Taylor, said: "These accolades represent a fantastic endorsement of all the investment and hard work that is going into re-vitalising the Land Rover range, and from without question the world's most influential group of motoring journalists, it is praise indeed. The Range Rover Sport is only our fifth model-line ever, and the first all-new addition to the Land Rover range since 1997, so is a very big deal to us and we are delighted to receive such significant recognition for it."
24 Nov 2005
BANGKOK, Thailand, November 24, 2005 – Ford Motor Company today staged the world premiere of a stunning concept pick-up truck at the Thailand International Motor Expo in Bangkok. The concept, dubbed 4-Trac, is a dynamic package that brings together Ford’s "tough truck" DNA with ideas that explore practical functionality, lifestyle and sporty uses for Ford pick-up trucks of the future.
The concept takes a typical pick-up truck and adds a lot more sophistication, style and purpose. It’s a workhorse that delivers on the "Built Ford Tough" promise by offering true off-road capability, rugged features and durable aluminum surfaces. At the same time, owners will be proud to use it as stylish transport for their active families and leisure time.
Pick-up truck owners are passionate and highly discerning. Ford's Consumer insight research has revealed that customers need and want pick-ups that are rugged for the workplace and stylish for the family. The 4-Trac concept clearly shows Ford will continue to produce pick-up trucks that make a statement for a younger, bolder generation of consumers who want a vehicle that provides more possibilities for them to enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle.
An attention-grabbing four-door crew-cab, the 4-Trac stands out from the crowd with its rugged aluminum surfaces and innovative design features. Continued
The 4-Trac has a large vertical face and prominent Ford oval in the middle of the signature three-bar grille. This dominant feature forms a power bulge that runs from the hood through to the undercarriage. It is flanked by high-tech headlamps and integrated fold-out rope hooks. Contributing to its powerful on-road stance are a boldly embossed 4-Trac brand; large, clean surfaces down the body side; pronounced wheel arches with integrated side repeater lamps; and 17-inch six-spoke "turbine" alloy wheels with all-terrain tyres.
Reflecting these attributes, the 4-Trac has a strong "rescue" theme with its lustrous red paint, heavy-duty power winches front and rear, integrated rope hooks and tie-downs points. It can carry five rescue workers with access through four large doors.
At the rear, 4-Trac features a unique double-folding, power assisted rear tray with three-step access. This "tailgate within a tailgate" offers inner and outer sections operating together or independently: the outer body-color section folds down to the ground, acting as a ramp; the inner aluminum section, with unashamedly large 4-Trac branding, folds 90 degrees for ease of loading and unloading.
The rear cargo area features six portable containers – inspired by offshore rescue boats – for carrying a variety of gear, including rescue equipment. Another innovative feature adding to 4-Trac versatility is a rear hatch that enables access from the cargo area directly into the cabin.
23 Nov 2005
Thirty-two Toyota Land Cruisers are joining what is set to become one of Britain's most visible 4x4 fleets, with more to follow next year. They are part of the biggest shake-up in motorway emergency management since the network began and will have to live up to their reputation for reliability.
Under the new arrangements, 1200 Highways Agency traffic officers are being deployed to free up police by managing all but the biggest traffic incidents, and keeping traffic moving. The officers have been operating on West Midlands motorways since last spring, the south-east since August and begin operations in the north-west and north-east in September. By mid-2006 they will be patrolling all of England's motorways around the clock. The HA teams have no enforcement powers although, working through seven Regional Control Centres, they co-operate closely with the police.
Using four makes of 4x4 spread between the regions, including the five-door Toyota Land Cruiser LC3 3-litre diesel automatics, the officers carry out high-visibility patrols, attend accident scenes, remove damaged and abandoned vehicles and clear debris. They also supervise road or lane closures, direct traffic, place and operate signs and manage traffic surveys.
Contract hire company Lloyds TSB Autolease was asked to produce a shortlist from 12 possible vehicle manufacturers to fulfil what Highways Agency Project Sponsor Graham Pittaway describes as a "long, detailed specification". Among other factors, the agency required vehicles that could carry a potential 625kg payload, including emergency gear and up to four people, and diesel automatics for economy and reliability. "All those selected are prestige 4x4 vehicles," said Mr Pittaway. "Four-wheel drive was specified to offset risks in wintertime, to maintain tractability and for the safety of the crew."
The vehicles have a crew of two, and carry traffic cones, first-aid kits, warning lights, water containers, road-clearance implements and other accessories, contained in a bolted-in purpose-built rack system. They also have roof warning lights and variable message signs at the rear.
The Land Cruisers are being delivered to Qi Van Systems of Telford to carry out the conversions. They are also applying the HA livery of yellow/black chequerwork, with red and orange bands on the boot, the logo in black on a blue bonnet and a black HA with vehicle number on the roof.
"We're proud that our vehicles are assisting in this significant development in motorway management," said Toyota Fleet General Manager Jon Pollock. "These Land Cruisers will be among the hardest-working vehicles on the road and we're confident that they will meet expectations."
Captiva will be Chevrolet’s first compact SUV with a diesel engine. With impressive on-road ride and handling, tailored to suit the requirements of European roads and customers, the vehicle will be available with a state of the art two-litre 150hp common-rail direct-injection diesel. There will also be a 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 140hp and both will offer superb driving dynamics. Captiva will be the first model in Chevrolet’s European range with an electronic stability program (ESP).
The diesel engine was developed in cooperation between GM Powertrain and VM in Italy. It is the first application of a family of diesel engines that will later become available in the range of Lacetti 5-door, 4-door and Station Wagon models.
Captiva will make its world premiere at the Geneva Show in March 2006 and its UK show debut at the British International Motor Show in London in July 2006.
Solihull, West Midlands, 20 November 2005
The UK national selections started on Saturday, when 48 competitors from around the country achieved their first task by locating the map coordinates and arriving at Land Rover's ‘Home of the Legend’ at the company's Solihull factory. What followed was a gruelling weekend of physical and mental challenges, designed to find the three competitors who have what it takes to win the Land Rover G4 Challenge to be held in April next year.
The 12 women and 36 men selected from thousands of applicants were brimming with expectation and tension as they were thrown into a demanding morning of activities designed to thoroughly test them in a range of mental and physical areas.
After five hours of activities with names like Spine Tingler, Ladder Rack and Jungle Fever, the 48 exhausted, cold and battered competitors were lined up in front of a huge world map depicting the Challenge route through Thailand, Laos, Brazil and Bolivia and the group was unceremoniously cut to 24.
There was no rest for the remaining 24 competitors as they embarked on a new range of 4x4 driving, navigation, initiative and physical assessments, taking them well into the night. Then, cold and tired, they were woken from their tents at 4.30am and dragged back out into the night for a group problem solving exercise involving the rescue of a submerged Land Rover Defender from the Solihull factory's frozen lake.
This challenge was followed immediately by a kayaking exercise through the ice-encrusted water, climbing and abseiling a frost-bitten 12-metre wall, technical 4x4 driving in the Defender, Discovery 3 and Range Rover Sport through the Land Rover Experience Jungle Track testing ground, mountain biking and mechanical aptitude. This series of activities brought to a close the UK national selections for the 2006 Land Rover G4 Challenge, where three successful candidates were selected to go forward to the International Selections in February next year for the chance to represent the UK in the actual Challenge.
Land Rover UK marketing programmes manager, Bill Welch, said: "We've met a group of 50 remarkable people this weekend, with all-round qualities of an extremely high standard. The commitment, camaraderie and spirit of adventure they have shown has been outstanding. But this weekend was all about finding three potential representatives for the UK, and Brian, Suzanne and Andrew stood out in this very talented crowd. We are sure that any one of the three will make an awesome final choice for the UK come February."
One of the three victors from this weekend will be selected in February to represent the UK and compete with competitors from 17 other countries in the actual Challenge which starts on 23 April 2006 in Bangkok. The Challenge takes place over four weeks, incorporating 4x4 driving and multi-sport challenges in Thailand, Laos, Brazil and Bolivia.
4 Nov 2005
Nissan today revealed a dynamic line-up of vehicles, ranging from modified production vehicles and futuristic concept models to NISMO race trucks, at the 2005 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas. The craziest of the bunch was the "Rockn" Navara.
The "Rockn" Nissan NISMO Navara by RCH Designs is wrapped in Monster Energy Drink vinyl graphics by Imagic. Exterior modifications include a custom-made grille guard with winch mount and skid plate by Spencer Low Racing, custom-built front and rear fenders by Hannaman, custom exhaust system by Spencer Low Racing, Sway-A-Way remote bypass shocks added to a custom-built suspension by Spencer Low Racing, PIAA HID off-road lights, Sol-Tek HID racing light mounted on a Baja Designs light bar, Snorkel by ARB, two 9000i winches from Warn, 17-inch custom racing bead lock wheels from KMC and monster 36-inch BFGoodrich Baja TA race tyres.
Interior modifications include a Powertank portable air system, Hi-Lift jack, custom interior cage from SLR, 45 gallon racing fuel tank, four Mastercraft Rubicon racing seats with harnesses, Ignited light switches, Optima Yellow Top deep cycle battery, NISMO cold air intake and a Sony Xplod Premium Series stereo system which includes 12-speaker surround sound system, three amplifiers, and a flip up in dash LCD monitor with DVD/CD/MP3/tuner for "rockn" sounds.
3 Nov 2005
Nissan’s recently launched Pathfinder teams MPV versatility with SUV ability and at a price that undercuts its rivals, a formula that added up with 4x4 magazine which voted it Best Medium Sized 4x4. Now Nissan has introduced three offers to help make potential buyers’ finances add up, too.
The Pathfinder S and SE will come with a free TomTom Go 300 navigation system, free rear parking sensors and free servicing and roadside recovery for four years. This little lot is worth more than £1200.
The Pathfinder SVE is available with a free Communications Pack. Normally a £2000 option, it adds Nissan’s famous DVD Birdview Europe-wide navigation system, Bluetooth phone connectivity, colour rear view parking camera, premium audio with MP3 compatibility and voice activation for navigation and phone operation. Handy. And free.
All Pathfinders are available with three years’ 0% finance. You have to pay a 30% deposit first which, taking the S version as an example, means £7350.
The Pathfinder features a robust body-on-frame design with the latest version of Nissan’s acclaimed ALL-MODE electronic four-wheel drive technology, a system that’s as easy to use as it is sophisticated. In normal road conditions, the Pathfinder behaves like a rear-wheel drive estate. However, should conditions worsen, additional drive to the front wheels is automatically engaged. It also incorporates ESP to stop the car getting into a skid and traction control. Coupled with a lower centre of gravity than its rivals, these systems make the Pathfinder a safe and easy car to control.
But despite its authentic SUV credentials, the Pathfinder is not a huge off-roader. At 4.74m long and 1.86m tall (including roof rails), it’s shorter than a Vauxhall Vectra Estate and little higher than a Chrysler Voyager MPV. Similarly the advanced 2.5-litre common rail diesel that powers the 174PS Pathfinder dCi is one of the more efficient large capacity engines on the market. It generates 238 g/km of C02 emissions which is exactly the same as an Audi TT 3.2. But the Nissan seats up to seven, the Audi barely two.
There are similar comparisons to be made over fuel economy. The Pathfinder dCi returns 31.4mpg on the combined cycle, much the same as a BMW 320Ci. It’s also less thirsty than a Vauxhall Vectra 2.0T Estate. And the latter has the same power output as the Pathfinder.
All Pathfinders get driver, passenger, front side and curtain airbags. On a lighter note, even the £24,500 S model has 17" alloy wheels, dual zone climate control air conditioning, front and rear electric windows, electric door mirrors and remote control central locking with Thatcham Category 1 ultrasonic and perimetric alarm. For another £1800, the SE adds roof rails, rear privacy glass, front fogs, second and third row folding seats giving seven person capacity, opening glass on rear hatch, easy clean cargo area, compass, trip computer, 6CD autochanger … and a bit more besides. To that can be added TomTom navigation, rear parking sensors and the four years Peace of Mind package.
The SVE adds fully colour-coded body, side steps, leather upholstery on all seven seats, electric heated front seats with memory, cruise control, auto wipers and headlights, and Nissan’s Intelligent Key system for another £2460. And don’t forget the free Communications Pack worth £2000 which includes integrated satellite navigation and colour rear view parking camera. There’s 0% finance, too.
Maybe the Pathfinder isn’t such a hard car to add up after all.
3 Nov 2005
Volvo Cars of North America, (VCNA) has revealed two exciting new concept cars at the 2005 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) tradeshow in Las Vegas, Nevada, continuing a trend established in recent years. Painted a glittering Saffron colour reminiscent of a desert sunset, the 'XC70 AT' (All Terrain) takes the production Volvo XC70 to the off-road extreme.
The XC70 AT is inspired by the legendary, tough off-road Baja race. It features the 2.5-litre, 5-cylinder turbo engine that is normally found in the high performance V70 R. But where the V70 R makes an impressive 300 bhp, the XC70 AT, with its Garrett GT2835R turbocharger and ipd/MTE Stage III software upgrade makes 408 bhp at 6,200 rpm. Keeping the hot-blooded engine cool is an Aquamist in-cylinder intercooling system and an extra large top-mounted intercooler. Low restriction 3-inch stainless steel exhaust pipes emit a husky sound.
Producing an amazing 398 lb-ft of torque at a low 4,000 rpm, the XC70 AT uses the same 6-speed automatic transmission that is standard in the XC90 V8 (available in USA) and the 2006 V70 R. Making sure all four wheels get the most of the broad torque curve is Volvo’s fully automatic all-wheel-drive system by Haldex with Instant Traction.
The XC70 AT takes Volvo's Four-C active chassis to the next level with a custom fully independent air ride suspension offering 4-inches of adjustability via dash-mounted buttons. Add in a 4-inch lift kit and the XC70 AT can ride up to 8 inches higher than the standard production Volvo XC70. To keep body roll in check, 25 mm front and 28 mm rear anti-roll bars have been fitted.
Additional accessories include a 1,000 watt generator, high-lift jack, spare jerry can and tyre and remote exterior battery terminal connections.
Delphi launches three new technologies to help Land Rover achieve the highest standards of handling and comfort
1 Nov 2005
Luton (UK) - Three new technologies from Delphi Corp (NYSE: DPH) are helping the new Range Rover Sport achieve levels of dynamic performance and comfort that are widely regarded as setting new standards for a high-performance SUV. The combination of advanced air suspension and a new compact version of Delphi’s Active Stabiliser Bar System (ASBS) has been credited with helping to provide exceptional handling combined with best-in-class ride. The new vehicle is also available with a new generation of Delphi’s Forewarn Smart Cruise Control that will help the driver maintain a driver-selected time gap behind the vehicle ahead at highway speeds. "Land Rover wanted to define a new niche for an SUV that would combine comfort and sophistication with very high-performance. That’s an ambitious goal in a sector where the quality of competition is already very high," explains Rene Haep, Delphi’s customer director responsible for Land Rover. "There could be no compromise in the brand’s legendary off-road capability and there were other challenges, such as the need to fit 20 inch wheels without sacrificing ride quality. It was a tough challenge that required a fresh approach to several established areas of technology."
Dynamic Response system with Delphi’s new rotary actuators
A traditional stabiliser bar improves vehicle stability through corners by reducing roll angle and managing the tyre to road interface. Heavy vehicles with a high centre of gravity typically require stiff, large diameter stabiliser bars but these will substantially reduce ride comfort and refinement and can also reduce traction in some conditions. Traditional stabiliser bars also restrict wheel travel, potentially compromising off-road behaviour, and can create an effect known as ‘head toss’ that can be particularly uncomfortable in vehicles where the occupants are seated high. Land Rover’s Dynamic Response system, incorporating Delphi’s ASBS technology, helps minimise all of these issues.
ASBS technology splits the conventional stabiliser bar in the middle. At the intersection of the two roll-bar sections, a computer-controlled actuator applies a variable level of torque. When the vehicle is travelling in a straight line, the system effectively de-couples the stabiliser bars from the vehicle, improving ride comfort and allowing large wheel articulation to increase off-road ability. In a corner, roll-stiffness is instantly increased by applying torque to each end of the bar.
Delphi’s triangulated link ASBS actuators have been available on the Land Rover Discovery from the 1999 model year, giving the vehicle manufacturer considerable confidence in the technology. With the independent suspension configuration required for exceptional on-road performance, however, the Range Rover Sport could not accommodate this system. Being faster and heavier, the new vehicle also required more control torque than the previous generation system could provide. It was therefore decided to take a clean sheet of paper and develop an all-new actuator technology.
The new rotary actuator system uses a carbon steel drum known as a ball screw, which has a spiral ball track on its outer face and a splined channel along its centre axis (see illustration). The balls on the outer face engage with a matching spiral track on the inside of a slightly larger drum attached to one side of the stabiliser bar. The other end of the stabiliser bar is splined and inserted into the channel through the ball screw.
When hydraulic pressure is applied to a piston at the end of the ball screw, forcing it along the splines, the spiral ball race creates a turning movement that applies torque to the bar via the splines on one side and via the outer drum on the other. By modulating the hydraulic pressure based on input from two lateral accelerometers and, primarily, a steering angle sensor, the torque applied to the roll bars can be optimised for any driving condition in 70ms to 250ms.
The new Delphi system provides 88 degrees of articulation and more than twice the torque of its closest rival, all from an exceptionally compact actuator. It is also significantly more efficient than competitor systems, with more than 90 percent of the generated hydraulic pressure creating torque. The efficiency of the system allows a proven pump to be used with a small reservoir and low-cost, easily routed hoses, and helps to make its operation extremely quiet.
"The torques involved are huge, so we paid particular attention to fatigue and other aspects of long-term durability," says Tony Horne, UK operations manager for Delphi Energy & Chassis Systems and a key member of the team working with Land Rover. "Finite Element Analysis was invaluable and we’ve spent a lot of time helping our suppliers introduce advanced processes such as laser welding, all with in-line quality control to provide high efficiency no-fault-forward production processes."
Delphi’s portfolio of ASBS technologies includes systems suitable for all classes of vehicle, including performance cars, allowing increased ride comfort alongside outstanding cornering control. The company also supplies a wide range of other chassis control technologies to other vehicle manufacturers including electronic stability systems, variable damping control systems and antilock braking systems.
Advanced Air Suspension
Land Rover chose air suspension because it allows low spring rates (providing good ride quality) without compromising the ability to maintain ride height when loaded or trailering. Air suspension also allows the ride height to be increased when travelling over difficult terrain. Delphi already supplies compact air suspension modules for the new Discovery (called LR3 in the US) and the current Range Rover, so was a logical choice to as a key suspension supplier for the new Range Rover Sport.
When designing its air spring technology, Delphi chose a modular approach to allow fast adaptation to new applications. For the Range Rover Sport, the system uses high-pressure monotube gas shock absorbers to provide high damping forces and excellent high frequency control. The air springs are stiffened and a new type of single point top mounting has been developed to reduce the transmission of road noise into the vehicle body. The new gas shock absorbers have an 18mm shaft diameter, thought to be the largest in production for a passenger vehicle, and fit into the existing air sleeve without any modification.
The new air spring modules allow Delphi to meet Land Rover’s tough targets for performance, comfort, packaging and durability and, compared with conventional coil springs, also reduce vehicle weight by nearly 7kg. The units are designed to withstand the most demanding burst pressure and temperature range requirements set by any vehicle manufacturer.
Innovative design and electronic control allows all versions of the vehicle (four engine options, two suspension options and a vast number of accessory combinations) to be accommodated with just two versions of the air suspension module. As well as simplifying production and logistics for both Delphi and Land Rover, this helped significantly shorten the development time.
Fourth Generation Smart Cruise Control
At the heart of Delphi’s SCC is a mechanically scanning 76GHz microwave radar sensor, integrated with a yaw sensor in an easily packaged housing that in the Range Rover application is mounted behind a polymer body panel in the nose of the vehicle. A separate Electronic Control Unit processes the radar data to calculate the range (distance), rate (closing speed) and azimuth (lateral deviation) of targets up to 150m ahead and delivers appropriate control signals to the engine and brake control systems via the vehicle’s CAN bus.
Delphi’s narrow-beam radar system provides greatly improved angular accuracy and target discrimination compared with rival multi-beam fixed sensor systems. The wide angle view (up to 15 degrees) provides early warning of vehicles entering the lane ahead and superior tracking in tight curves. It also allows an automatic alignment feature to compensate for installation tolerances and for changes in sensor alignment during the vehicle's life, reducing fitting costs for the vehicle manufacturer and increasing system reliability.
The Delphi Forewarn system also includes a Forward Alert feature that the driver can set to provide audible and visual alerts if braking is required due to slower-moving vehicles ahead. Drivers can adjust system sensitivity to adapt alert levels to their preferred driving style. The system will also warn the driver if mud, snow or other material is blocking the sensor.
Other Delphi technologies
Other Delphi technologies on the new Range Rover Sport include the latest Passive Occupant Detection System (PODS) for ‘smart’ airbag control and a carbon canister for the emissions control system.
31 Oct 2005
AJS 4x4's Andy Sargeant emerged victorious from a keenly-contested Adventure Raid in the French Alps and has won a place to drive in the BFGoodrich team following the 2006 Dakar Rally - which starts in Lisbon on 31st December and passes through Morocco, Mauritania, Mali and Guinea, before, for the successful minority of drivers, reaching its climax at Dakar in Senegal on 15th January 2006.
BFGoodrich tyres have been run by the last six winners of the Dakar Rally and the company wanted to offer tyre dealers a unique opportunity to win a once in a lifetime opportunity to drive in a special BFGoodrich team at next year's Dakar Rally, in order to identify the driver best able to take on the challenge of the Dakar, a suitably demanding event was needed to assess driving skills, navigational ability, mechanical skills and also fitness. And so the BFGoodrich Adventure Raid was born.
"The Dakar Rally is the ultimate test of driving skill, vehicles and tyres. The BFGoodrich Adventure Raid provided a great opportunity to showcase the performance of our tyres, while at the same time providing a fantastic chance for one UK dealer to participate in this historic, cross-country driving adventure," commented BFGoodrich brand manager Dominic Clark.
On 19th September a dozen hopeful drivers drawn from tyre dealerships throughout the UK arrived in the French Alps to participate in the BFGoodrich Adventure Raid, an intensive two-day, off-road driver training and selection event set within challenging terrain high up in the Auvergne region of France, south east of Clermont-Ferrand. A top team of trainers and drivers put the participants through a carefully developed series of searching sessions designed to show how well equipped they were to take part in the ultimate rally driving adventure.
First off was a navigational seminar and orienteering race, the competition continued with a chance to demonstrate off-road driving skills at the wheel of a VW Iltis, the first winner of the Dakar Rally back in 1979. Each competitor had three tests to negotiate precisely and safely - the first was a deeply potted section of road, followed by a rocky, tree-lined incline and finally a steep and windy descent.
Day two commenced at the wheel of karts powered by 250cc Yamaha motorbike engines, which competitors drove around a dirt-track course. After the timed laps, the participants then drove much faster karts - powered by a 1000cc, 160 hp Yamaha R1 motorbike engine - around the same circuit.
Bowlers have successfully competed in the Dakar for the past five plus years, and so the chance to drive a 5 litre, 250 hp Bowler off-road and then change a wheel against the clock was a very real test of driving skill and mechanical aptitude.
Before the final decision was made, a panel of judges interviewed the three top-placed drivers prior to announcing that Andy Sargeant, the owner of Surrey-based AJS4x4, had won the place to drive in a special BFGoodrich team at the 2006 Dakar Rally.
"I am just totally shocked at winning this fantastic opportunity to go with BFGoodrich to the Dakar, which has been a lifelong ambition of mine, especially having supported the BFGoodrich brand for over 15 years through Southam Tyres," enthused a delighted Andy Sargeant.
28 Oct 2005
To commemorate the success of its renowned L200 pick-up Mitsubishi Motors UK has introduced the Trojan special edition. Priced at £13,999 CVOTR this highly equipped model goes on sale from 1st November with the remit to provide customers with class leading value and exceptional specification.
Since 1998 over 52,000 L200 units have been sold in the UK a staggering 20,499 units more than its nearest competitor, the Ford Ranger. Holding the title as segment leader since 2001, the current L200 is the undisputed King of the pick-ups.
As well as a comprehensive support package, including a three-year/100,000 mile warranty, a three-year pan European recovery service and a six-year Anti-Corrosion Perforation warranty, the L200 Trojan comes with Mitsubishi’s proven 2.5 TD engine. This 2.5 litre, 4-cylinder turbo diesel unit gives an output of 115bhp at 4,000rpm with maximum torque at 177lbs.ft at 2,000rpm. For those looking for a few more horses the Mitsubishi Power Upgrade Pack is available priced at £595 (plus VAT & fitting) raising power to 138bhp at 4,100rpm.
With a CVOTR price of £13,999, the L200 Trojan provides outstanding value with a level of equipment that leaves its competitors in the shade:
Available in Mitsubishi’s signature Starlight Silver, Cosmos Black or Titanium Grey, metallic paint is offered at no charge. Factory leather seats are an option for those who want a bit more luxury at an additional £1,000 (exc. VAT).
On sale from 1 November 2005, the L200 Trojan will replace all current high-series L200 models, except the popular Animal, and will run along side the all-new L200 range.
Since its introduction, the L200 has become the embodiment of the business/leisure crossover vehicle. Presently commanding 44% of the retail pick-up market, the Mitsubishi L200 caters for all requirements, its load carrying competence, towing capability and passenger comfort making it ideal for both commercial operations and leisure pursuits. The all-new L200 will be introduced from March 1st 2006.
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 25 October 2005
Ally Ballingall, President of the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers said of the award: "Our pick of the new SUVs to be launched in the past 12 months has proven all-terrain pedigree. However, the Range Rover Sport doubles as a sophisticated road car thanks to excellent driving dynamics that are complemented by a range of deliciously smooth Jaguar-derived power units. We loved this wonderfully talented and exceptionally luxurious British-built vehicle."
Collecting the award, the Range Rover Sport's designer, Richard Woolley, added: "Scotland is a very important market to Land Rover, with a very loyal customer base, especially for our more traditional models. It is therefore very encouraging that our newest offering has been so well received by the ASMW – Scottish sales of the Range Rover Sport are already beginning to reflect its award winning status."
This marks the Range Rover Sport's seventh award since it went on-sale in May this year, and follows a record-breaking month of sales in the UK during September. Over 1500 Range Rover Sports were sold and the Supercharged derivative's waiting list has grown to March 2006.
The Range Rover Sport is now on sale at Land Rover dealerships throughout the UK, starting at £34,995 for the 2.7 litre TDV6 turbodiesel, and topping out at £57,495 for the 4.2 litre Supercharged V8.
These days, you have to be a very rich motorist not to worry about the cost of fuel. Recent events have made it very expensive, and it would be foolish to assume it will ever again become much cheaper. The challenge is to use less of it.
Some possibilities are obvious but perhaps not very appealing. You could buy a smaller car. You could drive more slowly. Switch off the engine if you are standing at a red light. But worthwhile savings are also to be had without altering your entire driving lifestyle, beyond thinking more carefully and paying attention to detail.
others, while maintaining the same schedules. The secret, as the most skilled drivers will tell you, is to think ahead and to maintain enough space around you that you can always be smooth and gentle with your car. Heavy acceleration is the enemy of fuel economy, but heavy braking is even more so. Standing on the brakes is like opening a tap to trickle fuel onto the road. All that energy wasted. So don’t just look at the car in front. Study the situation and try to anticipate.
Then again, is your car fully fit? So many drivers complain about the cost of fuel while running low tyre pressures which mean each litre is taking them 5% less far than it should. Just as much to the point, when was your engine last checked over? These days, with long service intervals and generally good reliability, drivers tend to take things for granted. Yet it is possible for an engine to be running smoothly and delivering good performance, and still be using 5% more fuel than necessary.
The reason the engine continues smoothly is because today’s engines are managed by extremely clever computers. If, for example, the spark plugs are worn (and a great deal is demanded of modern spark plugs) then the quality of ignition may be affected. To compensate, the engine management computer may retard the ignition timing - and although the driver feels nothing, the fuel consumption will be slightly increased. Today’s car manufacturers insist on spark plugs which perform satisfactorily perhaps for 12,000 miles or even more. And they do; but by the time they reach 12,000 miles (and how many drivers put off the service for as long as they dare?) they have lost the “fine edge” of super-efficiency which new plugs provide. Drivers whose engines last a very long time often say their secret is to change the engine oil more often than the car manufacturer recommends. Much the same applies to spark plugs.
And engine economy is dependent upon not only fitting just a new plug but also fitting precisely the correct plug for that engine from a Company such as NGK Spark Plugs, brand leaders in the UK spark plug market.
Even more complicated is the effect which errors in the exhaust emission control system may have on fuel economy. Emission control in a modern petrol engine depends on signals being fed back from an extremely sophisticated sensor (the oxygen content or “lambda” sensor) sitting in the stream of hot exhaust gas. Lambda sensors are tough and long-lasting - they have to be. But they also become tired, and their signal may “drift”.
The engine management computer still accepts the signal, but the end result is that fuel consumption increases slightly (and so do exhaust emissions). It is possible to have the lambda sensor(s) replaced, and in older cars it may not only save fuel but also make it less likely the car will fail an emissions check. It may even, in some cases, avoid the need for an extremely expensive replacement catalytic converter.
When replacing the Lambda sensor it is very important to fit the correct Original Equipment specification sensor from a Company such as NGK, the world’s largest manufacturer of Lambda sensors.
It may seem a lot of trouble to have your engine checked, and parts replaced if necessary, every 6,000 miles if the handbook says 12,000 miles and your engine seems still to be running fine. But you could end up using less fuel - and indeed, taking better care of the environment we all share.
6 Oct 2005
The Dodge Nitro is the brand’s first mid-size SUV and will be based on the Dodge Nitro concept that was unveiled at the 2005 Chicago Autoshow.
Simon Elliott, Managing Director for Chrysler Group UK said: "The Nitro is a five-seater SUV that is designed to attract customers seeking a vehicle with distinctive styling, sporty performance and a very flexible interior.
"This is now the second Dodge concept car confirmed for sale in the UK. The Dodge brand will launch with the Dodge Caliber in July next year and you can expect to see the Dodge Nitro on UK roads during 2007. Both of these striking vehicles will come with diesel engines and embody the bold, powerful and capable characteristics of the Dodge brand."
Dodge Nitro Concept
With a uniquely bold, powerful design statement that will ignite the mid-size SUV segment, the Dodge Nitro’s crisp lines and substantial body size create a brawny character not found in any other mid-size SUV. The Dodge Nitro’s spacious interior is both functional and flexible for people and cargo. Chrome, silver and red accents have a dynamic presence throughout the interior. The concept car featured
20 inch cast aluminium wheels, a rear hatchback and sliding cargo floor.
Dodge Caliber Concept
A new slant on one of the world’s most competitive segments, the Dodge Caliber concept’s powerful design shatters the conventional definition of what a global compact car should be. As a five-door vehicle that features a rear hatch, the Dodge Caliber concept combines a sporty, coupe-like profile with the strength, stance and functionality of an SUV.
Dodge Caliber’s powertrain will offer many firsts – it will be the first Chrysler Group vehicle to offer the full range of World Engines and a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which contributes to a 6-8 percent improvement in fuel economy compared with a traditional four-speed automatic transmission. A 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine will also be available in the UK.
3 Oct 2005
Simon Elliott, Managing Director of Chrysler Group UK, said: "There is a big market for classic American trucks in the UK, but up until now, a grey-import has been the only way to get your hands on one. Buying an officially imported Dodge Ram through a Chrysler dealer means you get our three year/60,000 mile warranty and access to dealer servicing. You will also get a Thatcham Category 1 alarm system and a quality single vehicle approval (SVA) conversion to make sure you are fully road legal.
"As we get our vehicles direct from the factory our dealers will also undercut the current importers - the Dodge Ram SRT-10 will be around £4000 less than our competitors."
The Dodge Ram 5.7-litre 4x4 Laramie, which with a towing capacity of 7350 lbs (4036 kg) is an impressive – and unique looking – workhorse. UK-spec cars will feature side airbags, leather heated seats, 17" aluminium wheels and a rear window defroster. An optional full-length bed liner and 20" wheels are available.
A small number of vehicles will be available through all Chrysler UK dealers from October.
UK standard features 1500 Laramie Quad Cab 4x4 Dodge Ram: