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31 Mar 2006

  • All-new L200 range to take centre stage at CV Show in April
  • Full range of working and lifestyle variants on display
  • L200 Tipper concept on show to test opinion

    The complete new L200 pick-up range will take centre stage on the Mitsubishi stand at the 2006 Commercial Vehicle show in April. In both single and double cab form, all variants of the stunning new pick-up will be available to peruse from the practical 4Work right through to the more extravagant Animal.

    In addition to the standard range, Mitsubishi Motors UK will also take the opportunity to test an L200 Tipper concept vehicle with visitors to the show. Whilst on display, Mitsubishi product managers will gather feedback and evaluate demand in order to decide whether to add it as a new member of the UK line-up.

    Officially on sale from the beginning of March, demand for the new L200 pick-up has already outstripped initial supply with 1,500 orders being taken before the demonstrators had reached the dealer showroom floors. A combination of keen pricing, generous specification, technical advancements and stunning styling have captured the buying public’s imagination. With new supplies already on their way, Mitsubishi looks set to record an all-new pick-up sales record in 2006.

    As well as the pick-up, Mitsubishi will also show the practical and value-packed Shogun and Shogun Sport commercial vehicles. The 4x4 commercial vehicle sector (excluding pick-up) is a niche market but one that has been steadily growing for Mitsubishi Motors UK, fuelled by the creation of a one-stop-shop for specialist fleet customer conversions at its Head Office in Cirencester. This facility allows customers to place their order along with conversion requirements - ranging from lights and stripes and racking systems to heavy duty winches - and have the vehicle kitted out and delivered ready to go to work. Customers making use of this facility have been the Forestry Commission, Environment Agency, Orange, BT and numerous police forces.

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    One of the many specialist automotive services provided by Oxfordshire based Owen Developments to manufacturers, importers, dealers, motorsport teams and private customers are the provision of proven and durable-to-use power upgrades for standard production vehicles. The latest models to be added to the range of vehicles that can benefit from a power upgrade are the new Toyota Hilux pick-ups.

    Brian Owen, Managing Director said, "We have developed, and can now supply, two power-grade packages, one for the 2.5-litre common rail turbodiesel models imported by Toyota into the UK and the other for the 3.0-litre turbodiesel variants which are imported independently.Any competent do-it-yourself customer can fit these upgrades to their vehicles in less than 15 minutes."

    He added, "Whether the owner of the new Toyota Hilux uses their vehicle for towing, carrying loads up to the maximum weight for this vehicle or just wants more performance and better driveability, our power upgrade will dramatically transform the throttle response, pulling power and acceleration. The microcomputer we supply is already programmed and it comes with a plug-in adapter loom to link it to the engine’s standard ECU. As we supply all the fitting instructions it is just a case of plug it in and go."

    Toyota Hilux 2.5-litre power upgrade

  • Power increased from 101 to 120bhp at 3,758rpm
  • Torque increased from 178 to 213lb ft at 2,334rpm
  • Retail price £420 plus VAT

    Toyota Hilux 3.0-litre power upgrade

  • Power increased from 152 to173bhp at 3,470rpm
  • Torque increased from 242 to 290lb ft at 2,274rpm
  • Retail price £420 plus VAT
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    Gaydon, Warwickshire, 28 March 2006
    The Range Rover Sport, the most dynamic Land Rover ever, now gets an even more exciting look to the new flagship, the Supercharged 'HST' specification.

    Having received its UK debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed Press Launch for 2006, the HST adds a host of additional equipment along with dramatic design cues inspired by the Range Stormer concept car, first shown at the Detroit auto show in January 2004. "The HST allows a Range Rover Sport customer to drive the closest thing there is to the radical Range Stormer, our first ever concept vehicle and a real milestone for the company," says Land Rover UK managing director, John Edwards.

    The new HST will be based on the Supercharged specification with the additional equipment including: electric sunroof, an electronic active locking rear differential and privacy glass. The interior is distinguished by a unique hand polished lined oak trim. The exterior design is the work of the same Land Rover team that created the original Range Stormer. It includes new flush-fitting front and rear bumpers and a new larger open-mouth grille. The front lower air intake is deeper and new front fog lamps are mounted in the spoiler. The lower doors and lower rear boot are body-coloured, making the body sides appear deeper, accentuating the vehicle’s road-hugging qualities. A new tail spoiler is also fitted, and the special rectangular tail-pipes are close to those used on the original Range Stormer concept vehicle. Further visual impact is provided by the 20 inch 'Stormer' alloy wheels, chromed aluminium side vents and body-coloured door mirror cappings, unique to this derivative.

    "The HST gives the Range Rover Sport an especially impressive stance, hunkered down tight to the road," says Land Rover design director, Geoff Upex. "It's the extreme version of the Range Rover Sport, the design that will be chosen by those who want to stand out from the crowd." The HST is available in five colours; Bonatti Grey, Cairns Blue, Java Black, Rimini Red and Zermatt Silver. Performance figures are the same as the standard Supercharged model. As a Land Rover, the HST will naturally still have off-road capability. The removable chin spoiler means that approach and departure angles are as good as the standard vehicle.

    "The Range Rover Sport continues to be a major success for Land Rover, with strong order banks in most markets," says John Edwards. "It appeals not only to those who want a dynamic 4x4 but also to customers who want comfort and refinement. That's why we call it a Sports Tourer. Customers are coming not just from competitor 4x4s but also from premium saloons. They value the extra all-round command driving and breadth of capability that only a Land Rover can offer."

    The Range Rover Sport HST is now on sale from £63,000 on the road. For more information contact your local Land Rover dealership or visit www.landrover.co.uk

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    28 Mar 2006
    These are the prices of the first two Suzuki SX4 models which are now on sale:


    On the Road Price

    SX4 1.6 GL manual


    SX4 1.6 GLX manual


    Metallic/pearlescent paint is available at a charge of £300.00 inc. VAT.

    Prices for the automatic version of the 1.6 GLX two-wheel drive and the 1.6 GLX and 1.9 DDiS 4GRIP models will be announced before their launch mid-year.

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    FORD RANGER TIPPERBrentwood 15 Mar 2006

  • Ford Ranger Tipper available now at £16,800 on-the-road
  • 4x4 Tipper with multi-stage under floor tipping gear based on the new Ranger Chassis Cab
  • The new pick up truck is the ideal 4x4 solution to moving raw materials on or off road

    Ford's new Ranger Tipper is now available to order and is ideal workmate for every kind of business from farming to roundabout maintenance. The new model is a 4x4 Ranger with a TUV approved rear tipping body with a useful under-body stowage box. The high quality powder coated body is manufactured from corrosion resistant Zinc plated Steel with double skinned Aluminium side and tail-boards.

    Gary Whittam, commercial vehicles director, Ford of Britain said: "We are delighted with the way this new model looks and operates. Conversions can often be ungainly but we believe this model is in good proportion.

    "Builders, agricultural and forestry workers, playing field and roundabout maintenance teams will all welcome the tipping action and the ability to tow extra equipment such as lawn mowers and trailers. Out in muddy forests and fields the fundamental ability of the Ranger will be a bonus," he added.

    The Ranger Tipper is an extension to the market leading Transit "One-Stop" range of ready-for-work conversions. It can uniquely meet operator machinery directive requirements, providing buyers with peace of mind in this increasingly complex legislative environment.

    Chassis Specification

    Model: Ranger Regular Chassis Cab 4x4
    Engine: 2499cc, 109PS, 4cyl, 12 valve turbo inter-cooled Diesel
    Transmission: 5 speed, limited slip differential, remote free wheel system
    Wheels/Tyres: 15" steel wheels, 235/75 R15 tyres
    Fuel capacity: 63 litres
    Steering: Power assisted
    Brakes: Disc/Drum servo assisted
    Suspension: Front, Torsion bar double wishbone, anti-roll bar. Rear, multi-leaf Hotchkiss
    Weights: GVM 2845Kg
    GTM 5645Kg
    Max gross trailer capacity 2800kg


    Overall length 5054mm
    Overall width 1720mm (excluding mirrors)
    Overall height unladen 1840mm
    Floor height unladen 940mm
    Turning circle (kerb to kerb) 12.6m
    Maximum wading depth:450mm
    Approach angle: 35° unladen
    Departure angle: 25° unladen
    Side Tilt angle: 40° unladen

    Body Specification:

    Gross payload: 935Kg
    Kerb weight: 1910Kg (full fuel, oil, water, spare wheel and tools, no driver)

    Length: 2286mm (7ft 6in) internal
    Width: 1660mm (5ft 5in) internal
    Headboard height: 941mm (3ft 1in)
    Unladen Floor height: 920mm (3ft 0in)
    Side/Tailboard height: 350mm (13¾ in)
    Maximum tilt angle: 40°

    Type: Tipper, 1-Way rear tip, manual bottom hinged side and tailboards.
    Ram: Centre under-floor 4 stage chrome plated
    Power Pack: 800W electro-hydraulic, mounted inboard, 9ltr oil reservoir, ISO 32 oil
    Tip angle: Electrically limited to 42 degrees by limit switch operating on ram
    Electrical system: 12V system, 110A fuse, subframe-mounted isolation switch
    Control Gear: Microprocessor control unit system mounted on back panel of cab behind driver's seat. Tipper control initiated by control unit incorporating push-button on/off, raise lower controls, LCD function status indicator, integrated LED/audible warning devices.
    Hand control: Flexible coiled wander lead with handheld unit with raise/lower controls including emergency stop switch. Unit stowed behind driver's seat.
    Subframe: Open ‘C’ section Zintec Steel construction with cruciform
    Load bed: 2.5mm Zintec Steel platform supported by 5 closed box section cross-bearers, double skinned roll formed edge to rear lower edge.
    Headboard: Removable full width. Perforated behind cab rear glass, rubber finished top surface
    Sideboards: 350mm high double skinned extruded aluminium, 3 steel hinges
    Tailboard: 350mm high double skinned extruded aluminium, 2 steel hinges
    Latches: Pull up latches bolted to the front and rear pillars to enable service/repair, latch pin mounted on side/tailboard end caps.
    Fenders: Half round thermoplastic, mounted on bolted fender brackets
    Load Lashing: Load bed - 8 250Kg flush pull up rings. Headboard – 9 roping eyes to upper headboard, 2 roping eyes in outer uprights.
    Sheeting hooks: 8 hooks mounted to the crossbearer ends
    Body Prop: Integral pull up prop mounted to the nearside subframe
    Rear light bar: Full width bar with integrated light assemblies, licence plate holder and lamps.
    Stowage: Two steel panniers mounted below floor behind cab, lockable Inox handle and latch.
    Finish: Slate grey powder coat, 2-pack acrylic cab colour paint for side and tailboards.
    Body Warranty: 3 year, 100,000 mile.

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    FORD RANGER9 Mar 2006

  • Tough and modern exterior design
  • Completely redesigned interior
  • Increased loading and towing capacity
  • More durability and more comfort
  • More power with all-new 2.5-litre 143PS common-rail diesel engine.
  • Improved driving quality
  • On sale in Britain September 2006, pricing announced summer 2006.

    BRENTWOOD, ESSEX, March 9, 2006: The all-new Ford Ranger pick-up will deliver more power, more style and more durability when it arrives on Britain's roads, quarries and farms this Autumn. The all-new Ranger is a true off-roader which is both rugged and capable in the harshest of environments and yet stylish and comfortable for the driver who needs it to fit their lifestyle as well as their job.

    Gary Whittam, commercial vehicles director, Ford of Britain, said: "New Ranger is a very stylish yet durable vehicle. It really deserves its 'tough truck' label, and now offers higher levels of comfort and practicality.

    "Sales of Ranger have more than doubled over the last five years and we are confident that the all-new Ranger will attract even more new customers who will certainly feel the difference!"

    New Tough Exterior
    Immediately noticeable is the imposing new bonnet and wide grille opening which dominate the front, while prominent wheel arches emphasise the Ranger's tough image. The split front bumper and integrated fog lamps are designed to be protected during off-road driving, while the clean look of the front is emphasized by new clear lens reflector headlamps. The purposeful profile of the new Ranger is enhanced by attractive new 16-inch alloy wheels with 245/70R16 tyres (15-inch on some models). The new wheel/tyre combinations also provide better grip in all road conditions.

    New Engine
    The new Ford Ranger is equipped with an all-new 2.5-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel engine that features a new common-rail fuel injection system. The engine provides increased power from the previous 109PS to 143PS and increased torque from 226Nm at 2000rpm to 330Nm at 1,800 rpm. The higher levels of refinement of the new TDCi engine deliver a significantly quieter cabin. A Variable Geometry Turbo (VGT) is employed to provide an earlier and more broad torque delivery as well as reduced turbo lag. The transmission is the proven Durashift five-speed manual transmission.

    Reduced Noise, Vibration and Harshness
    A key area of improvement is noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) which has been achieved in a number of ways. The engine is quieter due to a new cooling system and very precise fuel injection patterns which are controlled by the advanced computer-managed high pressure common-rail system. Idle vibration is reduced thanks to stiffer engine and body mounts and a stronger chassis frame. A new door seal system, carpet and panel insulations also help reduce engine and road noise.

    New Stylish Interior
    The interior of the new Ranger has been completely redesigned. The seats boast a new sculpted seatback, wider shoulders, improved bolster and larger headrest. The angular centre console is finished in silver and chrome detailing continues on the instrument cluster, ventilator grilles, gearshift, window switches and inner door handles. There are numerous stowage areas in the new Ranger, including five cupholders and an industry-first instrument panel pull-out tray to keep stationery in place. Additionally, a two-bin centre console has the capacity for storing up to 10 CDs, mobile phones and small personal items such as gloves and sunglasses. All new Rangers feature an integrated radio with an in-dash CD player and MP3 compatibility: an in-dash six-CD player and additional speakers are also available.

    Increased Load Area and Towing Capacity
    For new Ranger, the pick-up box side wall height has been increased by 60mm to provide class leading load box capacity. In addition, cargo tie-downs have been moved to a lower position to give greater load security and an innovative new shelving facility has been built into the load area. Ranger is capable of carrying a one tonne payload and an increased, substantial three tonne towing capacity – enough to comfortably tow a double horse box, small boat or motorcycle.

    Improved Ride and Handling
    True to Ford's passion for driving quality, the new Ranger has significantly improved driveability. To deliver improved ride quality, Ranger gets larger suspension upper control arms and spring bushing, larger wheels and all-terrain tyres, larger diameter shock absorbers, and increased leaf spring length to optimise ride quality. There is also a new rear stabiliser, and an improved hydraulic braking system. The new Ranger provides safe and precise handling both laden and unladen thanks to its clever use of progressive damping and carefully tuned spring rates. Vehicle approach and departure angles have been optimised to tackle the steepest of climbs, while electronic 'shift on-the-fly' allows easy and quick 4x4 engagement whilst driving.

    As more and more customers use their Ranger for day-to-day and family transportation, Ford's no-compromise approach to safety ensures that all occupants are equally protected. The new Ranger is equipped with standard front airbags for driver and passenger, plus optional side impacts airbags for the front seats. Seatbelts are equipped with pre-tensioners to ensure maximum passenger protection in an accident. Child seat anchors are also available. Four wheel ABS anti-lock braking is standard across the Ranger model range, helping to avoid a collision even when towing at full gross train weight.

    Extensive Tough Testing
    The new Ranger has undergone one of the toughest testing regimes ever undertaken for a vehicle of this type. Proving grounds in Arizona, Japan, Australia, and South Africa were used, in temperatures ranging from -25 to 57 degC. Early production vehicles were subjected to some of the most extreme terrain on Earth including the mountain ranges of Northern Thailand and Laos, the Himalayas in Nepal, the jungles of Borneo, the Australian Outback, Kruger National Park in South Africa and the searing deserts of the United Arab Emirates. For those customers looking for the ultimate Ranger, the popular 'Thunder' package is available for the new model, with a bright tubular sports bar, chrome side sill bar and rear chrome underbar which complement the Ranger's sporty and tough look. Moving inside, buyers of the Thunder package can enjoy the comfort of leather seats, scuff plates, off-road gauges, six- CD player, air conditioning.

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    9 Mar 2006
    According to EurotaxGlass’s, the price of the average one-year-old prestige brand Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) is 7 per cent lower than at the same point 12-months ago, equivalent to a significant £2,500 fall in the typical asking price. Used prestige SUVs are becoming increasingly affordable due to wider availability, growing competition in the segment, and falling waiting lists for most new models.

    "Residual values for prestige SUVs are finally falling from the high levels that have prevailed for the last 36 months," comments Richard Crosthwaite, Prestige Car Editor at EurotaxGlass’s. "The good news for existing owners is that we now expect to see rates of depreciation for these cars level out, and they will still outperform most other prestige car segments."

    The EurotaxGlass’s analysis indicates that a 12-month-old BMW X5 3.0d Sport SE (auto) currently has a trade value of £36,625, approximately nine per cent or £3,550 down on what an identical X5 of the same age would have achieved in March 2005. Similarly, a Volvo XC90 D5 SE (auto) now has a value of £28,650, some £3,450 or 11 per cent lower than at the same point last year. The Porsche Cayenne has also suffered, with a Cayenne S (auto) now worth £40,600 compared to £42,825 in March 2005 – a fall of 5 per cent or £2,225. Meanwhile, a Mercedes-Benz ML270 CDI (auto) has a trade value of £25,000 this month, around £1,150 lower than the £26,150 that would be paid for the same age of ML270 CDI in March 2005.

    "Without exception, the vehicles that perform best in this segment are the diesel variants, and they will continue to do so," adds Crosthwaite. "Re-sale prospects are also aided by a good metallic colour – metallic black being the best, automatic transmission and satellite navigation." Crosthwaite says failure by buyers of new prestige SUVs to adhere to these basic rules can result in resale values that are several thousand pounds lower. "The absence of sat nav alone can take at least £2,000 off the trade price of a 12-month-old prestige SUV, with a similar sum deducted for a manual gearbox," he explains.

    Looking forward, the launch of new models such as the Audi Q7 will add some further used supply into the segment, but the resulting increases will be modest for at least the next 18-months. "It is therefore my opinion that supply issues will not adversely effect values to any significant extent," says Crosthwaite. "However, it must be remembered that patterns of demand in the prestige market are very much driven by popular tastes, so significant new arrivals will accelerate rates of depreciation for models that are at a more advanced stage in their product lifecycle."

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    6 Mar 2006
    The annual Heritage Land Rover Weekend will take place during the May Day Bank Holiday weekend (Saturday & Sunday 29-30 April 2006), at the Heritage Motor Centre, in Gaydon, Warwickshire.

    This year the show will be opened at midday on Saturday (29 April) by Lynn Bowles, BBC Radio 2 broadcaster. Lynn is an avid Land Rover enthusiast and will be providing commentary during the Show, on the exhibits and entertainment during the weekend. A weekend of outdoor activities is in store with off-road rides on the Land Rover 4x4 course and Range Rover sport demonstrations by the Land Rover Driving Experience, Terrapod, and plenty of contests, prizes, trade stands and food and craft stalls. Overnight camping is also available over the weekend.

    On the Sunday morning (30 April) there will be a cavalcade of over a hundred special classic Land Rovers from the Association of Land Rover Clubs, taking part in the annual Heritage Run from Solihull to Gaydon led by the oldest production Land Rover "Hue", which comes from the largest collection of historic British vehicles on display at the Heritage Motor Centre.

    The star of the weekend will be the unveiling of the first Range Rover. This legendary vehicle has undergone extensive restoration over the past year and it will be the first time it has been unveiled to the public in its restored state. This is a great day out for all the family with lots of fun and games. For more information log on to www.heritage-motor-centre.co.uk or telephone 01926 645120

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    Hybrid Land Rovers, new technology tackles fuel consumption and the environment


  • Innovative application of environmental and efficient technologies that enhance both on- and off-road performance
  • Real world solutions that will be available on Land Rovers progressively in the next few years
  • Potential for 30 per cent improvement in fuel economy
  • New technologies could reduce emissions to an approximate 150g/km CO2 (on a vehicle similar in size to a Freelander)

    Land Rover is showcasing a catalogue of innovative technologies – collectively known as the e-Terrain System – that reduce both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions while also improving the outstanding breadth of capability of Land Rover’s 4x4 vehicles.

    The efficient technology initiatives are all illustrated by Land_e, Land Rover's e-Terrain Technology Concept. Together, they contribute to a potential 30 per cent improvement in fuel economy over a current vehicle of similar size and performance. And most of the technologies will be available on Land Rover production models starting in the next few years.

    The key to Land_e's importance is that it shows available and relevant technologies – plus some new systems that are unique to Land Rover – in the most innovative and effective way possible. It combines mechanical and electrical advances to make gains in areas ranging from transmission function to cooling efficiency, and from battery power management to power steering efficiency – all without compromising the breadth of on- and off-road capability that defines all Land Rover products.

    "The e-Terrain technologies are practical, feasible, real-world solutions," says Matthew Taylor, managing director of Land Rover. "In every case, they preserve – and in most cases improve – our breadth of capability. We are not prepared to dilute the essence of Land Rover. But we are committed to improving fuel economy and reducing CO2 emissions."

    Over the past nine years, Land Rover’s cross-range emissions output has fallen by 13 per cent, compared with the motor industry’s overall average improvement of 9.7 per cent. Indeed, the Freelander Td4 diesel’s CO2 emissions compare with many hot hatches, and the seven-seater Discovery 3 TDV6 has CO2 emissions to match many saloons. Furthermore, the CO2 emissions from the latest 2006 Range Rover V8 have been improved by 11 per cent over those of the outgoing 2005 model.

    In addition, more than 90 per cent of all Land Rover vehicles currently sold in Europe are diesel powered, combining the versatility of a 4x4 with the economy of a typical family car.

    But the Company is committed to going much further. While adhering to Land Rover’s core abilities as versatile, all-terrain vehicles, the Land_e technologies target a sub 150g/km CO2 figure which equates to a combined fuel economy figure approaching 50mpg or 5.65l/100km – in a vehicle similar in size to the current Freelander. Such CO2 emissions levels are comparable with a typical petrol B segment or diesel C segment car, representing an almost 30 per cent improvement on today’s figures.

    The technologies that Land_e showcases are:

  • Integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive
  • ISG Integrated Starter-Generator
  • Innovative Propshaft with Seamless Re-connect
  • Terrain Response e-Mode
  • Bio-diesel capability
  • ITP Intelligent Thermal Programme
  • EPAS Electric Power Assisted Steering
  • IMES Intelligent Management of Electrical Systems

    Integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive: provides electric drive alone at low speed, plus improved 4x4 ability in tough conditions

    Integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive – used in conjunction with the ISG Integrated Starter-Generator system (as described below) – improves both urban emissions and off-road ability.

    Land Rover’s unique electric drive is different from the hybrid technology used by some 4x4 rivals. They use electric drive only to the rear axle, significantly reducing off-road capability. Integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive enhances off-road performance by augmenting rather than replacing the mechanical drive.

    Off-road, the Integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive system can provide additional torque, as required. And because electric power can offer maximum torque from standstill, it is most effective from virtually zero mph/km/h. This offers better low-speed control and enhanced pull-away in difficult situations – such as on slippery surfaces or when towing.

    On-road, the additional low-speed torque input from the Integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive offers multiple advantages. It allows electric-powered 'traffic creep' and low-speed acceleration up to 20mph or 32km/h, without restarting the engine, benefiting fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Whenever required, the ISG system restarts the engine, and the vehicle is then propelled by a combination of electrical and conventional engine power. The combined effect of delaying the restarting of the engine plus the continued assistance of electric drive, significantly reduces fuel consumption.

    When quicker acceleration is required, the engine can be restarted immediately, so both the conventional engine and the Integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive system supply power from rest. In this case, the electric torque boost provided by the Integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive significantly improves acceleration without adversely affecting either fuel consumption or CO2 emissions.

    The additional low-speed electric torque boost not only gives extra off-road ability, it also improves efficiency by using stored energy from the additional high-voltage battery system. Completely separate from the normal 12-volt battery system, this is a high capacity lithium-ion battery pack which is charged by regenerative braking energy.

    The regenerative braking puts otherwise wasted braking energy back into the high-voltage storage battery system. When slowing the vehicle, pressing the brake pedal causes the driveshafts and propshaft to transfer energy from the wheels to the Integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive system, decelerating the vehicle and transferring the 'braking' energy to the storage battery. For harder braking and for emergency stops, the conventional braking system is retained and fully operational, working in conjunction with the regenerative braking function.

    ISG Integrated Starter-Generator system improves emissions in traffic
    One of the simplest yet most effective CO2-reducing features highlighted on the Land_e is the ISG Integrated Starter-Generator. The ISG package replaces the conventional alternator and continues to take its drive from the normal ancillary belt. It is a ‘micro-hybrid’ system that allows the engine to be stopped automatically whenever the vehicle stops, as in traffic, and under the control of the ECU it restarts the engine quickly and smoothly when required. The engine does not idle unnecessarily when the vehicle is stationary, to the further benefit of both fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

    Together the engine stop-start function of ISG, plus the regenerative braking function, provided by the Integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive offer the potential of a 20 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions. The outstanding multi-terrain ability that is at the core of Land Rover is also enhanced.

    Propshaft with Seamless Re-connect enhances driving experience, and improves economy
    Seamless re-connect is a system that significantly reduces fuel consumption by cutting mechanical losses. Drive to the rear wheels is automatically disconnected when conditions allow, such as cruising on a dry surface. Yet unlike hybrid and selectable 4x4 systems, there is instant access to Land Rover’s full range of four-wheel drive abilities. The Propshaft with Seamless Re-connect allows the Propshaft and rear drive components to come to rest, avoiding unnecessary rotational losses.

    When rear drive is required – when, for instance, the system detects slippery conditions – the system reconnects the rear axle automatically and virtually instantaneously. The system not only re-engages full 4x4 much faster than rivals, it also offers much better 4x4 capability when connected. Re-engaging drive seamlessly also has safety benefits. It does not affect the car’s dynamic balance in the same way as a slower and less progressive re-connection.

    The technology also reinforces Land Rover’s fundamental principle to ‘Tread Lightly’. By ensuring that front and rear wheel speeds are correctly matched, and with the additional control of the Integrated Electric Rear Axle drive, the drive layout virtually eliminates wheel slippage, which in turn reduces soft-surface damage – for instance on grass.

    The ISG Integrated Starter-Generator, Integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive and the Seamless Re-connect propshaft are fully compatible with all Land Rover engine and transmission options, and could be adapted for any model and any market.

    Terrain Response e-Mode, for improved fuel economy in town, Land_e shows six Terrain Response modes:
    The e-Mode is shown for the first time and focuses principally on on-road use. This configures all the vehicle’s e-terrain systems for optimised fuel economy. It always retains instantaneous access to Land Rover's four-wheel drive capability but adopts soft throttle responses, and delivers early shift points.

    The other five modes are already available on some Land Rover products – General Driving; Sand; Mud and Ruts; Grass, Gravel and Snow; and Rock Crawl. In the Land_e, all use combinations of normal engine and Integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive. In all off-road modes, the engine is never shut down, even if the vehicle is stationary.

    In Sand mode, primary power is supplied by the engine; the Integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive system monitors torque to detect either wheelspin or bogging-down, and intervenes as necessary, either to stop tyre slip or to provide additional torque to deal with soft, deep sand.

    In Mud and Ruts mode, primary power is again supplied by the engine, while additional torque is available from the Integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive system for heavier mud or deeper ruts.

    In Grass, Gravel and Snow mode, control is more important than power, so engine power is fed in only once the vehicle is underway. Integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive is used for driving away without wheelspin even on very slippery surfaces – by constantly monitoring torque and intervening rapidly to prevent tyre slip. In this mode, the Integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive can respond to wheelspin even more quickly than the engine management, and can cancel the initial slippage within one-eighth of a wheel rotation – a critical figure that is small enough to regain grip and prevent permanent damage even on wet grass. No other system achieves this.

    In Rock Crawl mode, speeds are typically below 5mph/8km/h. Integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive now provides the primary power source, boosted as necessary by normal engine torque. In all cases, the great advantage of Integrated Electric Rear Axle Drive is that an electric motor offers maximum torque at the lowest wheel speeds, for the ideal mix of power with control.

    Bio-diesel moves towards a lower carbon fuel
    An increasing emphasis on diesel power is clearly important to overall CO2 reductions, and bio-diesel capability extends the potential advantages. Bio-diesel is a fuel derived from renewable and sustainable sources, such as natural oils from soya beans or other easily cultivated vegetable or cereal crops. It is currently commercially available as a blend of bio-derived diesel and petroleum-derived diesel, in varying proportions, and bio-diesel offers reduced emissions compared with petroleum-derived diesel.

    Currently, a five per cent bio-derived content is typical with forecourt diesel. Potentially, a vehicle could operate on a 25 per cent bio-diesel mix, which is a realistic goal within a few years, and one supported by the oil industry and governments. A vehicle running on 25 per cent bio-diesel mix could potentially reduce its CO2 emissions by up to 25 per cent. Next generation bio-fuels made from crop wastes are also being developed, and these will deliver even greater CO2 reductions, as well as being more sustainable.

    Other important technologies can make a difference
    Beyond the efficiency-enhancing drivetrain technology, the Land_e showcases other fuel saving technologies.
    The ITP Intelligent Thermal Programme controls engine parameters including exhaust heat management and cooling system function. Through heat exchangers, the EHRS (Exhaust Heat Recovery System) utilises what is normally wasted heat from the exhaust system to promote faster engine and gearbox warm-up from cold, with several advantages. In a production application, ITP could also control Active Aero Vanes, which would allow specific sections of the radiator aperture to be closed under certain operating conditions. That would reduce high-drag airflow through the radiator core and engine bay when cooling air is not needed – for instance at low ambient temperatures and when running in low-load conditions. The vanes would also be closed during engine warm-up, again to ensure that the engine reaches optimum operating temperature as quickly as possible. Faster engine and catalyst warm-up significantly reduces emissions in the first minutes after a cold start, and by bringing engine and gearbox oils up to operating temperature more quickly, it reduces mechanical frictional losses.

    An electronically controlled thermostat and cooling circuit give far more accurate control of coolant temperature than a conventional system, allowing the engine to run closer to its optimum temperature. The system also incorporates an electric water pump, which, unlike the conventional belt-driven water pump, is driven only on demand, and at variable speeds, avoiding inefficient and unnecessary overspeed running. Mechanical energy savings, optimum temperature control and fast warm-up from start offer the potential for additional CO2 emissions benefits.

    Significant benefits are also possible with the use of electric power steering technology, EPAS (Electric Power Assisted Steering). EPAS completely eliminates the pumped hydraulic assistance of a conventional system and powers the steering rack directly, by electric servo motor. That eliminates pumping power losses, including the significant losses when the pump is being driven at high speed even though assistance is not required, again offering a noticeable CO2 benefit compared to a belt-driven hydraulic system. The higher-voltage electrical supply made possible by ISG also allows the possibility of more powerful assistance for more demanding use – on off-road terrain, for example.

    All electrical system functions are controlled by IMES (Intelligent Management of Electrical Systems), with further efficiency gains. It incorporates a closed-loop system that monitors battery charge, vehicle electrical system demands, and generator speed and load. It uses the monitored data to ensure that the whole electrical system operates in the most efficient way. It charges the battery only when it needs it, avoiding the over-charging associated with ‘non-intelligent’ systems, and unless it is absolutely necessary, it avoids charging the battery when it is in ‘low-acceptance’ states – such as cold ambient conditions, below around 10 degrees C. It also regulates high electrical loads until the alternator is operating at high efficiency, which gives a further reduction in CO2 emissions.

    Editors comment: Toyota have got thousands of Hybrids on the road over the last few years. So come on Land Rover don't just talk about it get them in the showrooms now.

  • Back to News Index

    The New Chevrolet Captiva SUV

    28 Feb 2006

  • Stylish, practical and great value for money
  • Five or seven seat configurations with through ‘fold flat’ feature
  • Front or all-wheel drive
  • All-new 2.0 litre 150PS diesel engine

    The new Chevrolet Captiva brings a new dimension to the SUV market in the UK. From the manufacturers of the very first SUV back in 1935, Captiva is the latest in a long line of authentic sport utility vehicles offering great value for money in a stylish and practical package. Designed specifically for the European market, it will be available with front or all-wheel drive, five or seven seats and with a 2.4 litre petrol or leading-edge 2.0 litre diesel engine and will appeal to a wide range of customers. Captiva will be on sale in the UK from September 2006.

    Chevrolet – driven by value
    The new Captiva underpins Chevrolet’s driving force – value for money. From the entry level 2.4 litre petrol-engined front wheel drive LS to the fully equipped 2.0 litre 150PS diesel automatic LT, Captiva leaves nothing to be desired at any level. It will also appeal to a wide range of customers, from established families looking for a more stylish alternative to a seven-seat MPV to those with an outdoor lifestyle desiring a practical load carrier with good road manners and soft-road capability for those weekends in the country.

    New generation design
    Coming in close behind value is striking design and Captiva excels here too. It heralds the introduction of a new-style generation of Chevrolet products for Europe and, both inside and out, features design cues that will become familiar on future models. Examples include the strong ‘face’ of the brand incorporating a prominent Chevrolet logo; the facia design with integrated in-car entertainment and unambiguous controls, clear and informative instrumentation and details on the door cases, seats and console. Add the use of new high quality materials and even closer attention to fit and finish and you have a high quality product that belies its great value pricing.

    On the outside, Captiva also adds the durable and rugged look of integrated ‘skid’ panels in front and rear bumpers and contrasting dark sill and wheel arch mouldings. Twin exhaust tailpipes on all models also add a sporty touch.

    Practical, safe and secure
    For all customer groups, the ‘fold flat’ facility for all seats will be a boon when carrying long or bulky loads. When seven seats are specified, the third row folds completely flat into the floor. Third row seat folding is also carried out with ease in a one handed operation that the slimmest member of the fairer sex will really appreciate. This is achieved through a spring assisted fold-up/down mechanism where the headrests also pop up or fold away automatically with seat operation.

    Safety and security are a given in the 21st century and Captiva leaves no stone unturned even at this price. On the entry LS model, twin front and curtain airbags are standard, head restraints and full three-point belts are fitted on all seats (including the third row), front seat belts feature pre-tensioners and a smart seat belt reminder and there are ISOFIX fittings for child seats in the rear. Side airbags are specified on the LT models. All models are equipped with deadlocking and a Thatcham Category 1 alarm system.

    Impressive levels of standard equipment
    Captiva LS
    Specification levels will also impress, even in the entry LS model. Careful thought has been applied to what is a real need in an SUV as opposed to specification to impress. As examples, the power steering system is further aided by a rake adjustable steering column (also telescopic on the LT). There is air conditioning for comfort, power and heated door mirrors, speed sensitive windscreen wipers, electric windows all-round, vanity mirrors for both driver and passenger, a fully retracting loadspace cover and a tailgate glass that can be opened separately from the tailgate itself by the key fob remote control; they’re all there for convenience. Even the fully integrated in-car entertainment system has an MP3 function so that you can listen to your own choice in music. Front and side window tinting also helps to keep the large glass area under control in summer. The LS is only available with the 2.4 litre petrol engine and front wheel drive.

    Moving up the range
    Captiva LT
    The entry model may be well equipped but there’s a lot more to come as we move up the range. LT models come with just the 150PS diesel engine and are fitted as standard with 17” alloy wheels, levelling suspension, half leather trim, heated windscreen and ESP, the electronic stability control programme. Practicality is not overlooked on the LT either with a load restraining net, front passenger underseat stowage and a facia deposit box for coins or maps – there’s even a cooled glove box to stop your chocolate bars melting in summer. LT models come with side airbags as standard.

    Level ride rear suspension ensures that the vehicle maintains good road manners even with a full load and automatic transmission is available as an option with the diesel engine (seven seat models only), not always the norm in this sector.

    The LT is available as a specific derivative with either five or seven seats. With the seven-seat model comes a cargo net (in lieu of the five-seat load restraining net) and rear park sensors.

    Captiva LT ‘Special Model’ (name to be announced nearer to on-sale date)
    At the top of the range comes the flagship Captiva LT ‘Special Model’. This really is the ‘has it all’ Captiva and here are some examples: 18” alloy wheels, full leather trim, 8-way power driver’s seat, 6 CD autochanger, air quality system with full climate control, cruise control and a trip computer. The full specification for all Captiva models is listed later.

    Visibility and comfort – a great driving combination
    SUVs have a practical job to do for the family but also offer a feeling of greater security when driving that is particularly appreciated by women. The ‘command’ driving position ensures a great all-round view and controls are light and convenient. There is plenty of space inside Captiva for five adults in great comfort. The third row of seats (available in the LT model) will accommodate two teenagers in comfort and even adults for shorter journeys. The easy-fold feature on the third row and fold-flat capability for both second and third rows is impressive and the large hydraulically assisted tailgate with wide aperture makes the big boot area easy to load (for light shopping, the remote control operated tailgate glass is a real boon, opening without the need to unlock the rest of the vehicle).

    Front or all-wheel drive – the choice is yours
    Chevrolet has focussed a great deal of attention on driveability with Captiva. ‘Just like a car’ has been the key phrase with light steering and brake controls, stable road manners and good traction in all driving conditions. Add great visibility from the raised driving position and Captiva is a joy to handle. In summary, the front-wheel drive LS entry model displays all the characteristics of a family car.

    Add the electronically-controlled all-wheel drive system that comes as standard on LT models and you bring in the further dimension of much improved on-road traction in difficult road conditions and ‘soft-road’ capability.

    But it’s on the road where the intelligent all-wheel drive system matters most for the vast majority of owners. The system combines front-wheel drive progressively with rear-wheel drive when conditions demand. In heavy rain, snow or on greasy roads, all-wheel drive gives optimum traction for greater peace of mind, engaging when it senses the onset of wheelspin. Captiva is not an ‘off-roader’ in the vein of the more traditional (and much more expensive) vehicles that have additional and locking centre differentials and heavy low range transfer gearboxes, but it is still very capable when the going gets tough.

    Captiva’s electronically controlled all-wheel drive can cope admirably with that muddy track to your holiday cottage in Wales, the escape from a sticky field at the British Grand Prix after a summer downpour or those rare winter snowfalls. Importantly, this capability is combined with minimal weight gain so that fuel economy is not compromised, as a figure of over 37mpg on the EC combined cycle will testify.

    ESP for driving security when you’re really on the move
    Another feature that ensures driving security is ESP (Electronic Stability Programme). This sophisticated, intelligent system comprises a number of traction and stability aids and is fitted as standard with the all-wheel drive package. All-wheel drive acts seamlessly with ESP and engages when you're driving perhaps a little more assertively through the bends or when the conditions become slippery and more challenging. It monitors information from the steering wheel, tyres, brakes and accelerator and automatically makes any adjustments necessary to make sure you’re always being monitored, and reacts to your inputs. It provides a safer, smoother and more controlled drive, controlling traction particularly when conditions are less than ideal – ice and snow or heavy rain for example. Importantly, ESP has been found to reduce accidents with personal injuries by automatically cutting the throttle or balancing the brakes to avoid a skid. ESP functions also include Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA) and Active Rollover Protection (ARP), detecting emergency situations and ensuring that braking is more balanced, faster or more powerful depending on conditions, making it one of the safest driving technologies available today.

    ESP also provides a hill descent function or HDC (Hill Descent Control) so that control and traction of the vehicle in downgrade slippery conditions is managed by the electronics as a major aid to the driver. ESP also provides greater stability when towing a trailer or caravan.

    Drives just like a car
    Driving ‘just like a car’ also applies in the engine department. Captiva is powered by either petrol or diesel engines although with greater fuel economy (and therefore lower CO2 emissions), the diesel engine is predominant in the derivative line up. Importantly, and not ‘the norm’ in this sector, the diesel is also available with automatic transmission. The entry LS model is only petrol driven with a 2.4 litre 16 valve four cylinder unit delivering 142PS at 5,200rpm and a maximum torque of 220Nm at 4,000rpm. The Captiva 2.4 petrol engine combined fuel consumption (EC) is 28.5mpg.

    The 2.0 litre four cylinder 150PS diesel is the first of an all-new family of diesel engines that have been developed jointly by GM Powertrain and GMDAT with VM Motori. With aluminium cylinder heads and sophisticated injection systems, the diesel engines are refined, clean and efficient. In Captiva the engine has a variable geometry turbocharger which provides the power and torque requirements that match the character of Captiva.

    In this application, the 16-valve unit offers 150PS at 4,000rpm and maximum torque of 310Nm at 2000rpm. In the EC combined cycle, fuel consumption is a very creditable 37.1mpg. All diesel derivatives will be equipped with a particulate filter.

    Like the manual gearbox, the automatic is also a five-speed unit. It has electronic control and a ‘tiptronic’ function so that the vehicle can be driven as a clutchless manual should it be desired. The automatic is available only with seven seat variants.

    Fully independent Suspension and tested in Britain
    The suspension settings on Captiva were developed for Europe at GM’s Millbrook Proving ground in Bedfordshire. It was here that the vehicle also undertook a considerable amount of durability testing along with other development programmes and tests specific to Europe. The suspension is fully independent for excellent on-road performance but the ground clearance and wheel travel ensure that Captiva is more than capable off-road. It consists of a MacPherson strut configuration at the front and an independent four link set up at the rear. Ventilated disc brakes are standard on all four wheels. The entry LS model is fitted with 215/70R 16 tyres on 6.5J x 16 inch wheels, while the LT versions feature 235/60R 17 tyres on 7.0J x 17 inch wheels. The flagship LT ‘Special Model’ has 18 inch wheels with 235/55R18 tyres.

    The model range

    There are a number of derivatives in the range, each carefully specified to deliver great value for money:

    LS Petrol   LT 5 seat diesel    LT 7 seat diesel

    LT ‘Special Model’ seven seat flagship

    Specification – LS Petrol, front wheel drive, 5 seats

    Air conditioning Air filter

    ABS Front and roof airbags

    Power steering Rake adjustable steering column

    Deadlocking Thatcham Cat 1 alarm

    3 point seatbelts at all seats Smart front seat belt reminder    

    Rear ISOFIX child seat mountings Manual front seat adjustment

    Electric windows all round Opening tailgate glass

    Power/heated/folding door mirrors RDS radio/CD/MP3/6 speakers

    Tinted windows all-round Front wipers with speed sensitivity

    Fully retractable loadspace cover   Fabric trim

    Sunvisors with covered mirrors Front reading lamp

    Twin exhaust tailpipes       16” alloy wheels – 215/70R16 tyres

    Grained front and rear bumpers and skid plates moulded in colour


    LT Diesel, all-wheel drive, 5 seats (differences to LS)

    ESP Level ride suspension

    Side airbags Rake and reach adjustable steering column

    Front fog lamps Load restraining net

    Half leather trim Leather 4-spoke steering wheel

    Leather gear knob Glove box cooling

    Under seat stowage, front passenger     17” wheels with 235/60R17 tyres

    8 speakers  Heated windscreen      

    LT Diesel all-wheel drive, 7 seats (differences to above)

    2nd and 3rd row fold flat seats  Cargo net ilo load restraining net

    Reverse park sensors 3 point seat belts for third row

    Automatic option

    LT ‘Special Model’ Diesel, all-wheel drive, 7 seats

    Climate control Air quality system

    8 way power driver’s seat         6 CD autochanger    

    Front lamp with sunglass holder       Trip computer

    18” alloy wheels Heated front seats

    Full leather seat trim Rain sensitive front wipers

    Headlamp off delay Cruise control  

    Illuminated vanity mirrors   Chrome exhaust tailpipes  

    Stainless sill plates       Automatic option

    Door mirrors with integrated turn signals

    Painted and grained front and rear bumpers

    Painted front and rear skid plates      

    Bodyside mouldings with painted accents


    Captiva Technical Specification overview

    (Fully homologated technical specification available later)




    4,639/1,849/1,726 mm


    2,707 mm

    Kerb weight

    1,585 – 1,710 kg

    Luggage capacity

    400 L (VDA)




    4 cyl/inline, petrol

    4 cyl/inline,

    common rail diesel


    2,400 cc

    2,000 cc

    Max. output*

    104 kW/142 PS at 5,200 rpm

    110 kW/150 PS at 4,000 rpm

    Max. torque*

    224 Nm at 4,000 rpm

    316 Nm at 2,000 rpm

    Drive axle

    FWD, AWD


    5-speed manual,

    5-speed automatic (option - diesel 7 seat only)

    Fuel consumption* MVEG combined
    Auto in brackets

    28.5 (27.6) mpg

    37.1 (32.8) mpg

    Chassis and brakes


    Wheel suspension front

    MacPherson strut

    Wheel suspension rear



    Power assisted rack and pinion


    Ventilated discs with ABS


    16”, 17”, 18”


    215/70R16, 235/60R17, 235/55R18

    *preliminary figures subject to homologation

  • Back to News Index


    Cadillac Escalade23 Feb 2006

    • European premiere of iconic, luxury SUV at Geneva Motor Show 2006
    • Escalade features 6.2-litre all-aluminium V8 engine with an output of 409 hp (301 kW)
    • European market launch in third quarter of 2006

    Breukelen – Cadillac presents the all-new Escalade, the next generation of the iconic luxury SUV, at the 76th Geneva Motor Show. The Cadillac Escalade features a new, powerful, all-aluminium V8 engine with an output of 409 hp (301 kW and 565 Nm) and is scheduled to enter the European market in the third quarter of 2006.

    Based on General Motors’ brand new full-size SUV architecture, the updated Escalade features new powertrain, chassis, safety and interior systems. These integrated systems deliver the most powerful, efficient luxury SUV in the segment, led by a new 6.2L all-aluminium V8 engine with variable valve timing technology.

    “The 2007 Escalade represents the next phase of Cadillac’s product renaissance – one that was launched by the previous-generation Escalade,” said Jim Taylor, Cadillac general manager. “Since its inception, Escalade has been an icon – the vehicle many discerning customers aspire to own.”

    New Cadillac Escalade highlights include:

    • All-new distinctive exterior design
    • A highly refined spacious interior
    • A new 409 horsepower 6.2L all-aluminium small-block V8 with VVT providing improved fuel efficiency
    • Efficient six-speed automatic transmission with Driver Shift Control
    • Stronger frame chassis with responsive coil-over-shock front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering
    • Standard roof-mounted head curtain side air bags and StabiliTrak stability control system with new rollover mitigation technology
    • Bose 5.1 Digital Surround audio system, including available navigation radio with touch-screen control
    • A myriad of luxury features available including chrome wheels, climate controlled front seats, power fold and tumble 2nd row seats, power articulating running boards and power liftgate
    • Enhanced four-wheel disc brake system
    • Improved fuel economy
    • Variations of the Cadillac Escalade, the ESV (extended version) and the EXT (pick-up version), will not be launched in
    • Europe. Details of prices, specifications and standard equipment of the European version of the Escalade will be available closer to launch.

    Editors comment: I do not see any mention of actual fuel consumption or CO output. These items are vital because of how governments are likely to tax us in the future on how much we pollute. The cleaner the vehicle the less the tax is likely to be.

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    V8 contract - One of the greatest engines of all time is alive and burbling

    22 Feb 2006
    Despite reports as to its imminent demise it can be confirmed that the famous V8, used in many Solihull built Land Rover products, is alive and burbling and in production in the UK. MCT, the West Country based engineering and manufacturing specialist, has won a contract from Land Rover Ltd for the continuation of production to support the aftermarket requirement for original equipment engines. Production has been relocated from the home of Land Rover at Solihull to MCT’s plant in Weston Super Mare and, besides engine production, MCT also handle all the sourcing and procurement of components and sub assemblies and the testing and supply of the finished product.

    For over 40 years this famous V8 engine, with displacements from 3.5 to 4.6, has powered the cream of British marques including Land Rover Defender, Discovery and Range Rover, Rover P5B, P6 and SD1, MGB GT, Triumph, Morgan and TVR. It is also the standard British engine for all hot rod use and special versions powered the Formula 1 winning Brabham team. It’s not surprising therefore that in 2005 Engine Technology International magazine and its journalist Keith Read voted it “ the greatest engine of all time”.

    This contract is worth £25m over the next 5 years and over 70% of the volume will be exported. It is one of several that MCT has won in recent months. Over the past 18 months MCT has refocused its core manufacturing and engineering skills to provide a centre of excellence in the provision of outsourced manufacturing services to various industrial partners and to exploit the emerging markets where engineering excellence is in great demand.

    Originally established as a powertrain remanufacturer, MCT has now expanded the business to cover “Life Cycle Management” which covers new build requirements for low volume development and introduction period of a new programme, medium volume series production, low volume run-out and aftermarket requirements. MCT has invested in world class technical skills to provide product life cycle management, supply chain management and overall project management. This enables it to take blue-sky research projects through the applied technology stage to low volume production thus encouraging innovation to bear fruit.

    Current major automotive customers include Ford Motor Company, Land Rover, General Motors, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Subaru, Caterham Cars and LDV. In addition MCT is expanding into new sectors including marine drive systems and wind generating systems working with leading technology partners.

    Peter Roberts, managing director MCT, said: “We are delighted to have been selected by Land Rover Ltd against strong global competition. This shows that small and medium British manufacturing and engineering companies can compete for high-end added value projects because of our high quality skills, flexible manufacturing environment and know how. Focussing in these areas will ensure that the UK can consolidate and focus its manufacturing sector and achieve greater success.”

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    The new Jeep Commander is the first of the Jeep family to offer as standard three row seating, accommodating up to seven passengers comfortably. This classic, rugged 4x4 offers UK customers a class-leading vehicle with legendary off-road capabilities and on-road refinement. Simon Elliott, Managing Director for Chrysler Group UK, said: "The Jeep Commander is a striking looking vehicle, and deliberately harks back to the classic boxy look of the first Cherokee that sold so well in the UK in the early 1990s. "Our market research tells us that there is an increasing desire for cars to have a unique look. And if you remember the sometimes negative reaction of customers when the original Cherokee was replaced by the current model in 2001 you will realise that there is also a huge following for the classic Jeep design here in the UK."

    The Jeep Commander reflects the ‘Jeep-rugged’ design theme, while its sister the Grand Cherokee reflects the ‘Jeep-modern’ design theme. Simon Elliott added: "The Jeep Commander features a host of safety systems to help make this the safest Jeep ever while the four-wheel drive system is as relevant to drivers on wet and icy tarmac as it is to owners planning to tackle the rough stuff."

    The Quadra-Drive II four-wheel drive system uses electronic limited slip differentials and has the ability to keep Commander going even if only one wheel has traction. This is an advanced system that helps traction in on-road situations such as wet roundabouts as well as more challenging terrain.

    The Commander Predator comes loaded with a list of equipment as standard: ABS, ESP, tyre pressure warning light, body coloured grille and 17" alloy wheels whilst the Limited model has the same spec, adding dual zone climate control air conditioning, cruise control, leather trimmed interior, front and rear park assist, and Boston Acoustics speaker system.

    The Jeep Commander will be available in the UK from April 2006 with the 3.0-litre V6 CRD and 5.7-litre V8 HEMI engines. A choice of two trim levels is available on the 3.0-litre V6 CRD – Predator and Limited, the 5.7-litre V8 HEMI comes with the Limited trim only. Nearly 80 per cent of sales of the 700 Jeep Commander allocated to the UK during 2006 are expected to be diesel.

    Pricing for the Jeep Commander range is as follows:

    Pricing for the Jeep Commander range is as follows:



    On-the-road price

    Jeep Commander 3.0-litre V6 CRD



    Jeep Commander 3.0-litre V6 CRD



    Jeep Commander 5.7-litre V8 HEMI



    Optional Extras


    Luxury Entertainment Pack

    Limited only


    (full screen satellite navigation incl. six disc changer, rear DVD system, power Command-View sunroof with dual skylights)

    Privacy Glass

    All models


    Metallic paint

    Predator only


    As with all Jeep products Commander is 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.

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    17 Feb 2006
    Starting at just £10,499 on the road, Suzuki’s Jimny 1.3 JLX+ Estate is an attractive new choice in the compact SUV market. It takes as its basis the standard JLX model – which itself benefited from a major facelift last year – and adds further appeal with a series of interior and exterior enhancements.

    The interior makeover on JLX+ includes combination leather seats with matching soft leather-covered headrests and a leather-trimmed steering wheel, chrome-plated door handles, and a brand new door trim fabric.

    The colour coordination continues on the outside with body coloured door handles and spare tyre cover, lower quarter panels in a fetching Graphite Grey Pearl metallic, and silver roof rails providing the finishing touch. You can choose your Jimny 1.3 JLX+ Estate in the same Graphite Grey Pearl as the lower quarter panels or in contrasting Cat’s Eye Blue metallic, Shining Red pearlescent or Blueish Black pearlescent.

    Otherwise it’s the same appealing package of tough, SUV looks, compact dimensions, excellent agility and the ability, when required, to tackle demanding off-road terrain, thanks to its separate chassis, push button Drive Select 4x4 system and all-round coil suspension.

    That’s matched by a sparkling 1.3-litre VVT engine producing 85 PS, with near maximum torque – 81 lb ft – delivered from as low as 2500 rpm for superb flexibility, Combined fuel consumption of 38.7 mpg and carbon dioxide emissions of 174 g/km (automatic 36.2 mpg and 184 g/km respectively).

    The Jimny 1.3JLX+ Estate comes well equipped, with power assisted steering, air conditioning, front electric windows, heated and electrically adjustable mirrors, radio/CD player, ABS with EBD, selectable four-wheel drive with high and low ratios and automatic free wheeling hubs, front seatbelt pretensioners and driver and front passenger airbags all standard.

    At £10,499 on the road for the 5-speed manual transmission model and £11,299 for the 4-speed automatic, it’s just unbeatable value in the SUV sector.

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    16 Feb 2006
    Volkswagen has revealed its latest design study, the Concept A, a crossover between a sports car and a compact SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle).

    At 4,348 mm long and 1,854 mm wide, Concept A is 144 mm longer and 95 mm wider then the Golf Mk V. The height of Concept A is 1,551 mm, compared with 1,485 for the Golf; while its 2,602 mm wheelbase is 24 mm longer than the Golf’s.

    The concept combines a sleek coupe-style silhouette with the raised stance of an SUV. At the front, the shield-like front grill which is common to the Passat and Jetta has been developed to emphasise Concept A’s off-road styling by forming part of the underbody protection. High-efficiency LED headlights add a further modern touch.

    At the rear, Concept A has a practical hatchback tailgate; but this is coupled to a pick-up style fold-down rear section beneath the rear LED light clusters. This hatch can be opened independently and remain open while driving so long loads can be carried.

    Concept A does away with the traditional B-pillar. It features opposing opening wing doors which allow easy access for front and rear passengers as well as giving a feeling of space and light. This airy feel is enhanced by Concept A’s concertina-style soft-top which slides all the way back to the C-pillar.

    Inside are four sculpted, patent leather seats and ultra-modern facia with stylish and ergonomic controls.

    Under the bonnet is a 150 PS TSI engine: this uses Volkswagen’s latest turbo and supercharger technology for maximum performance but minimum fuel consumption. Designers say alternative engines, including TDI diesel units, could also be used in the concept. Whatever its source, power is distributed via six-speed DSG automatic transmission to all four 20-inch wheels using the 4MOTION system currently employed in the range-topping Passat and Golf R32.

    Concept A made its world debut today in Berlin and will be revealed to the public at the Geneva Auto Salon which starts at the end of this month. Production plans for the vehicle have not been confirmed. However, the concept further expands Volkswagen’s model range, at a time when customers’ needs continue to diversify.

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    Gaydon, Warwickshire, 13 February 2006
    The Land Rover Discovery 3 has been crowned the AXA Car of the Year 2006 in Northern Ireland. The title was awarded by the Ulster Motoring Writers Association (UMWA) who chose the Discovery 3 as the winner of the AXA Leisure Car category before being crowned the AXA Car of the Year 2006, beating tough competition from Lexus, Audi and Toyota.

    Chairman of the Ulster Motoring Writers’ Association, Jim McCauley, said: "Of all the vehicles judged in this year's competition the Discovery 3 scored consistently high. It scooped almost twice the number of points of its nearest rival which really sets it apart in its class. As well as its on-and-off-road capability, it offers a quality driving experience and is an outstanding testament to the UK motor industry."

    Land Rover's UK managing director John Edwards added: "We are incredibly proud that the Discovery 3 has won The AXA Car of the Year 2006. Since its launch in 2004 the Discovery 3 has won 70 awards around the world. This is a remarkable achievement and proves the strong appeal of a vehicle that demonstrates a true breadth of capability."

    Priced from £26,995 to £48,495, on-the-road, the Discovery 3 is on sale now at Land Rover dealerships throughout the UK, to book a test drive contact your local dealer or visit www.landrover.com

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    Gaydon, Warwickshire, 13 February, 2006
    Land Rover has got off to a flying start with a record breaking January. Global sales are up 22% against the same period last year at just over 15,000 units making this the best January ever for the 4x4 manufacturer.

    Once again impressive performances have been delivered in both the Europe and North America markets, with a 16% and 33% year on year improvement respectively. The UK also saw growth with particularly strong sales amongst Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models.

    Strong sales performances in emerging markets are particularly exciting. China has recorded a record month with sales up 176% year on year driven in particular by sales of Discovery 3. Russia, which saw dramatic growth in 2005 continues to steadily increase with January sales up 42% year on year, again a record.

    Matthew Taylor, Land Rover's Managing Director, said: "This really is a phenomenal start to 2006 and continues the incredible year we had in 2005. Customers from across the world are taking advantage of the strongest model line up in Land Rover's 58 year history and sales growth in emerging markets really demonstrates the global appeal of 21st century Land Rover."

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    NEW RAV49 Feb 2006

    The Toyota RAV4 was the inspiration for a new market segment for compact SUVs when it was launched in 1994 and has since proved an enduring success, with in excess of 1.8 million sales worldwide. More than 655,000 of these have been in Europe, where RAV4 has consistently been the best-selling 4x4 passenger vehicle.

    The all-new, third generation model sets new benchmarks in its segment with premium levels of driving performance, quality, comfort and equipment.

    New diesel engines that are cleaner, more powerful and more fuel efficient; new suspension for improved ride and handling; more advanced safety systems for occupant and pedestrian protection; a new, more versatile interior design; and fresh exterior styling combine to reinforce the RAV4’s reputation for all-round excellence.


    • All-new RAV4, third generation of the world’s most successful compact SUV
    • Rugged and modern five-door body
    • Longer and wider than previous model, but easier to manoeuvre
    • Significant increase in interior space, including 47 per cent more luggage room
    • Toyota Easy Flat folding rear seat system

    The RAV4 has been totally redesigned and is longer and wider than before, providing more cabin space for passengers and a 47 per cent larger load area.

    The interior is more flexible, too, with the adoption of Toyota’s Easy Flat system, which allows the rear seats (split 60:40) to be folded flat into the vehicle floor. A single lever action is all that’s needed to do the job – headrests and the seat cushions can be left in place. Handy storage spaces have been created throughout the vehicle, including a generously-sized underfloor compartment in the boot.


    • Three engines – revised 2.0-litre VVT-i petrol and new-to-the-range 2.2-litre D-4D 140 and 180 diesels
    • 175bhp (177 DIN hp) 2.2-litre D-4D 180 engine exclusive to flagship T180 model

    Two of Toyota’s new generation 2.2-litre D-4D common rail diesel engines are offered in the RAV4 for the first time.

    The D-4D 180, with 175bhp (177 DIN hp) and nought to 62mph acceleration in 9.3 seconds, is the most powerful engine in its class, yet will return 40.4mpg in combined cycle driving. Notably fuel economy and emissions levels are better than for the previous generation RAV4’s 2.0-litre D-4D engine.

    The D-4D 180 is available exclusively in the new RAV4 flagship model, the T180. The volume diesel power unit is the D-4D 140, delivering 134bhp (136 DIN hp), nought to 62mph in 10.5 seconds and 42.8mpg (combined).

    Both engines have lightweight all-aluminium construction and benefit from engineering advances to achieve new low levels of noise and vibration. Low compression ratios and, in the D-4D 180, the use of piezoelectric fuel injectors, contribute to the excellent economy and low exhaust emissions. Toyota D-CAT (Diesel - Clean Advanced Technology) applied to the D-4D 180, including the unique DPNR four-way catalyst system, gives the engine world-leading combined nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions.

    The new RAV4 is also available with an improved 2.0-litre VVT-i petrol engine, revised to give 150bhp (152 DIN hp), nought to 62mph in 10.6 seconds (12 seconds automatic) and 32.8mpg in combined cycle driving (31.4 automatic).

    Diesel models are equipped with Toyota’s latest six-speed manual gearbox, a compact and lightweight unit designed for smooth and precise gear shifts. Petrol models offer the choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions.


    • Ultra-tough in-house crash testing
    • Nine airbags, including first-in-class driver’s knee airbag, standard on all models

    The new RAV4 has been designed from the outset to achieve the highest, five-star ranking for occupant protection in Euro NCAP testing. More than that, it has also been subjected to Toyota’s more stringent in-house simulations, which analyse crash performance at higher speeds.

    The RAV4 has a new, impact-absorbing chassis, designed to minimise the degree of deformation in the event of an accident, by absorbing impact forces and channelling them away from the cabin.

    The design also takes into account the risk to pedestrians, with energy absorbing elements and crumple zones around the front end of the vehicle, repositioning of the radiator and bonnet catch, and detail changes to the headlight brackets and wiper units.

    Inside the vehicle, nine airbags are provided as standard, including a first-in-class driver’s knee airbag, and a dual warning system with light and buzzer ensures both driver and front passenger buckle-up. The front seats feature the latest Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) design for improved support in a rear impact.


    • Active Torque Control 4WD system automatically transfers torque between front and rear wheels for optimum performance in all conditions
    • First-in-segment Integrated Active Drive System (XT4 grade and higher)
    • Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) standard on XT4 grade and higher, plus Downhill Assist Control (DAC) on models with automatic transmission

    One of the key elements in the ground-breaking appeal of the original RAV4 was its excellent on-road performance, with handling more like a sporting hatchback than a conventional 4x4. Through the years this quality has been continually refined and in the new generation RAV4 reaches a new level with the introduction of Active Torque Control four-wheel drive.

    This system continuously monitors and controls the transfer of torque between the front and rear wheels to achieve the optimum grip and handling. The ratio can range from full front-wheel drive to a 55:45 front-to-rear balance. Instead of a centre differential, the system uses a network of electronic sensors monitoring performance data, including steering angle, vehicle speed, engine torque and throttle angle.

    The RAV4 is also the first vehicle in its segment to offer Integrated Active Drive. This combines and coordinates the Active Torque Control 4WD, the Vehicle Stability Control Plus (VSC+) and Electric Power Steering (EPS) to help bring the vehicle under control if the onset of a skid or slide is detected. This provides much smoother and more effective intervention to help the driver keep control than in vehicles where the functions operate independently of each other.

    Further aids newly available for safe progress include Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and, on models with automatic transmission, Downhill Assist Control (DAC), which automatically applies braking pressure on steep descents without the wheels locking.

    The RAV4 benefits from new suspension designs with MacPherson struts at the front and double wishbones at the rear. The new rear system features diagonally-mounted shock absorbers beneath the boot floor, causing less intrusion in the load space.


    • Four trim levels – XT3, XT4, XT5 and T180
    • Alloy wheels, air conditioning, sound system with CD player and MP3/WMA compatibility, Easy Flat folding rear seat system and remote central double locking and alarm standard on all models
    • Flagship T180 equipped with run-flat tyres and tyre pressure warning system

    The RAV4 is available in four grades: XT3, XT4, XT5 and T180. All models feature driver and front passenger front and side airbags, curtain airbags and driver’s knee airbag, ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and ISOFIX rear child seat mounts. XT4 grade models and higher additionally feature Integrated Active Drive System, Traction Control (TRC), Vehicle Stability Control Plus (VSC+), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and, on automatics, Downhill Assist Control (DAC).

    The XT3 grade includes manual air conditioning, Toyota Easy Flat folding rear seats, slide and recline rear seat adjustment, Electric Power Steering, sound system with CD player and MP3/WMA compatibility, remote central double locking and alarm, Optitron instrumentation, colour keyed electric heated door mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels with tailgate mounted hard cover for the spare, roof rails, body coloured bumpers, electric windows, driver’s seat height adjustment and tilt and telescopic adjustment for the steering wheel.

    The XT4 specification includes an electric tilt/slide sunroof, dual zone climate control, front fog lamps, retractable mirrors, glove box cooler, leather upholstery and remote audio controls on the steering wheel.

    XT5 versions come with full map satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, keyless Smart Entry and Smart Start system, rain-sensing wipers, dusk-sensing headlamps, cruise control, heated front seats and electric multi-adjustment for the driver’s seat.

    The T180 rides on 18-inch alloys with run-flat tyres, so dispenses with the rear-mounted spare wheel. It also features a chrome finish to the front grille, wheel arch extensions, darkened rear privacy glass and smoked glass headlamps.

    Fot further technical info click on More Info

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    Defender tackles rough terrain in BoliviaGaydon, Warwickshire, 7 February 2006

    Do you own a unique Defender that has led an interesting life? In a survey being conducted by Land Rover, this is one of the questions being asked of 20,000 Defender owners in the UK.

    The iconic Defender has become a long-term favourite with adventurers, explorers, farmers, emergency services, aid organisations and those who need to go anywhere, or carry just about anything. Owners of Defenders are being urged to reveal as much information as possible in 'The Great Defender Survey'.

    In doing so, owners will be entered into a prize-draw to win a five-star weekend at Land Rover's home of off-road driving, Eastnor Castle. Two winners and their partners will partake in a variety of off-road driving activities including a drive in one of the first ever Series I Land Rovers from 1948, DEL102, affectionately known as 'Del Boy'.

    Named 'the greatest car of all time' by BBC TV's Top Gear, the Defender continues to be the hero in Land Rover's stable of vehicles. To book a test drive contact your local Land Rover dealer or visit www.landrover.co.uk

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    Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire, 3 February 2006
    Brian Reynolds, a railway engineer from Chesterfield in Derbyshire, has beaten two other UK finalists in the Land Rover G4 Challenge 'International Selections' to take his place as the UK representative on the 2006 global competition.

    At the end of five gruelling days of international selections at Land Rover's off-road driving home, Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire, Brian was the clear winner in the final trials stage before the G4 ultimate global adventure kicks off in Bangkok on 23 April. The two other competitors – RAF doctor Andy Grieve from Tiverton and tour guide Suzanna Madge from Brighton – made it very difficult for him, and it was only on Friday afternoon, the last day of the selections, that Brian confirmed his place on the 2006 Challenge.

    The international selections, which hosted three competitors from each of the 18 nations taking part in this year's G4 Challenge, saw blood, sweat and tears at the freezing cold Eastnor estate with competitors camping throughout the week with frequent surprise middle-of-the-night challenges to test the competitors' character.

    Challenge director, Niki Davies, said: "This has been an extremely tough week for the competitors, with the temperature gauge seldom rising above zero. We wanted to select the best all-rounder from each country; physical ability is just a part of it – strategic thinking, endurance and team-working skills are all key to success in the G4 Challenge. You really get the measure of someone's spirit when they are awoken from a tent at 4.00am at -3 degrees C to recover a vehicle from a freezing cold lake – followed by 17 hours of competition before returning to camp."

    Brian Reynolds added: "I am worn out, exhausted and just about ready to drop, but it's the most amazing feeling to have got this far. I tried to qualify for the 2003 Challenge, but didn't make it into the top ten UK competitors, so I went away, assessed the areas where I felt I was weakest and worked extremely hard on my endurance, mountain biking and kayaking skills. It has paid off, and I am ecstatic to be representing my country at last – it was my dream, and it’s come true. I can't wait for the actual Challenge in April, and I will be training my heart out from now until then."

    The Land Rover G4 Challenge 2006 takes place over four weeks from 23 April, incorporating 4x4 driving and multi-sport challenges in Thailand, Laos, Brazil and Bolivia.

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    31 Jan 2006
    The Geneva Motor Show represents the world premiere of the Nissan Terranaut, a 4x4 vehicle which is intended for explorers and those customers with a spirit of adventure who want to travel to the extreme corners of the globe. While, at the other extreme is the Pivo battery-powered city car, first seen at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 2005, which has been designed to serve customers who want freedom and mobility in the busiest of urban environments.

    The Terranaut was conceived to serve as a mobile working environment for scientists, geologists, archaeologists or other adventurers who travel to the most challenging environments on the planet either for their work – or pleasure. Its cabin is designed to accommodate three people – a driver, a passenger and, in the rear, where a scientist or specialist is well served with a computer console, as well as communication and analysis equipment to support them in their work.

    A creation of London-based Nissan Design Europe, the overriding theme behind the concept is one of function. Project leader Felipe Roo Clefas, Assistant Chief Designer, NDE, says: "Terranaut has been designed for observation and communication in all four corners of the world." To accommodate the laboratory area within the cabin, the co-pilot’s side of the car has just one door, while the other side has a pair of swing doors and no central B-pillar. By hinging the doors at the front and rear respectively, ingress and egress is made easy. Nineteen-inch wheels are covered by tyres specially constructed for Terranaut by Goodyear. Puncture proof, they function as conventional road tyres when the vehicle is being driven on metalled roads but, by changing air pressure, transform themselves into chunky off-road tyres.

    Inside the vehicle, the spherical science laboratory dominates the entire cabin area behind the two front seats. A single revolving seat with an integrated computer keyboard is situated beneath the glass roof dome and gives the scientist complete 360-degree access to the various workstations found in Terranaut.

    "When creating these concepts, our objective was to explore the ultimate diversity of consumer needs. And, in common with the entire Nissan range, they have been created to provide drivers with an experience that goes beyond mere transportation. They are built on Nissan’s key strengths: the capability to scrutinise specific consumer needs and the power to deliver the best of technology," said Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President, Product Planning and Corporate Strategy, Nissan Motor Limited.

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    25 Jan 2006
    Nissan sold more 4x4s in 2005 than in any other year in its 50 plus year history. 25,180 sales, compared to 21,292 in 2004, has led to a jump into the industry’s second place, with only Land Rover selling more. With a total of six four-wheel drives in the range, from a compact SUV right up to a Pick-up truck, there’s literally something for everyone. So it’s no wonder that sales have shot through the roof.

    Most successful is the multi award-winning X-TRAIL, Nissan’s compact SUV. It’s priced from £16,500 to £24,600 and offers a choice of four equipment levels and three engines. For the larger family, there’s the Pathfinder SUV with a starting price of £24,500. Both employ Nissan’s ALL MODE 4x4 system and are available with both petrol and diesel engines.

    Then there’s the Navara pick-up with a choice of King and Double Cabs. It’s the most powerful vehicle in its class with 174PS and since it went on sale in August 2005 has out-sold every other pick-up in the same 4 month period. Ex-VAT prices start from £14,895.

    If real mud-plugging is your game the Patrol is the one for you. It was the first 4x4 to be sold by Nissan over 50 years ago and the current incarnation is the most capable and comfortable yet. 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.

    And last, but by no means least, there’s the crossover Murano. It looks unlike anything else on the road and with more equipment than you can throw a stick at, the £29,995 price tag makes it amazingly good value.

    Nissan was recently voted 2006 4x4 Maker of the Year by 4x4 & MPV Driver magazine.

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    20 Jan 2006
    For the second year running, the Nissan X-TRAIL has been awarded “best compact 4x4” in the What Car? Car of the Year 2006 Awards, beating off competition from the Honda CR-V and the Kia Sportage.

    The prestigious awards were held last night in London, and Nissan’s managing director, Bill Bosley, was there to collect the award from Mary Nightingale.

    What Car’s judges, said: “The X-TRAIL is one of the most adept cars in the class at making progress on the sticky stuff. Thanks to its sophisticated four-wheel drive system it can easily cope with mild cross-country work. High ground clearance also helps its cause. However, it’s just as impressive on the asphalt as it is off it. Bends are tackled with composure, and quick, responsive steering adds to the fun. It rides well, too. Bumpy surfaces cause it few problems, and suspension clatter is far less prominent in the Nissan than in many of its 4x4 rivals. Above all the X-TRAIL represents fantastic value for money.

    The X-TRAIL comes with a choice of three engines: 140PS 2.0-litre and 165PS 2.5-litre petrol, and a 136PS 2.2-litre common-rail diesel. Last year, a 4x2 version was introduced, sharing the same 2.0-petrol and 2.2-lire dCi engines with the award winning 4x4 range.

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    Gaydon, Warwickshire, 20 January 2006
    The Land Rover Discovery 3 TDV6 was named the Best Large 4x4 for the second year running at the What Car? Car of the Year awards ceremony in London last night.

    What Car? group editor, Steve Fowler, said: "One year on, the Land Rover Discovery 3 TDV6 – our 2005 Car of the Year – remains a brilliant achievement and the best large 4x4 around."

    He added: "Making 4x4s isn't a fashionable new departure for Land Rover – it's what they do. None of the Discovery's key rivals can match its no-nonsense image or ability in the rough, yet it's also as classy and refined as an executive saloon and as practical as an MPV."

    This latest award is the Discovery 3's 67th, with honours coming in from all over the world including key developing markets for Land Rover such as Russia and China. The What Car? Best Large 4x4 award 2006 was hotly contested, with new entrants to the market – including the Mercedes ML – failing to beat the all-round capability of the Discovery 3.

    Land Rover's managing director, Matthew Taylor, said: "It is extremely satisfying to return one year after picking up the main Car of the Year award to collect yet another gong for the Discovery 3, especially given the level of competition in this sector in 2006. What Car? is the voice of the British consumer and we are delighted to have their endorsement once again, and with over 60,000 Discovery 3s sold around the world, it looks like the buying public is taking notice."

    Priced from £26,995 to £48,495, on-the-road, the Discovery 3 is on sale now at Land Rover dealerships throughout the UK.

    Editors' note: This year's What Car? award-winning Discovery 3 TDV6 SE Automatic, priced at £38,490, comes with a generous specification including active four-corner air suspension, Terrain Response™, cruise control, automatic climate control, a leather pack, satellite navigation and park distance control. Fuel consumption (combined cycle) is 30.0 mpg on the TDV6 manual (27.2 mpg with automatic transmission) and CO2 emissions are 249 g/km (manual) and 275 g/km (automatic).

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    Dunkeld, Scotland, 17 January 2006

    Counting down to one of the world's toughest driving and multi-sport adventure challenges, Scotsman and 2003 Land Rover G4 Challenge veteran, Tim Pickering, last week visited the Land Rover Experience in Dunkeld, Perthshire to administer some gruelling training on the three 2006 UK finalists.

    Putting the British finalists through their paces ahead of the competition’s next stage – the International Selections - Tim delivered an exhausting reminder of what’s in store for railway engineer Brian Reynolds, RAF doctor Andy Grieve and overseas tour director Susanna Madge – the UK’s first female finalist.

    To recap on their journey to date, all three originally entered online with thousands of other UK hopefuls, from which 50 were invited to compete in the UK National Selections event. One of the three, Brian Reynolds, recalls: "We were given only a series of map co-ordinates and a start time, so the first challenge for those competing in the UK National Selections was to actually locate the venue where the weekend’s activities would be taking place."

    Having correctly interpreted the map co-ordinates to lead them to the Home of the Legend in the West Midlands, Brian and his fellow competitors battled it through the first day’s physically and mentally demanding tasks which included off-road driving and team based multi-sport challenges.

    At the end of the first day the field of 48 was unceremoniously cut to 24. For those remaining the reward was a new range of 4x4 driving, navigation and initiative assessments followed by a night challenge (4.30am), which involved the recovery of a strategically placed Land Rover Defender in a freezing lake.

    Following an exhausting first day and very little sleep, the second day’s activities began with kayaking through icy water followed by climbing, abseiling and a technical mountain biking course that resulted in three UK finalists being selected for the International Selections stage, which takes place over five days at the Land Rover Experience Centre at Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire from 29 January.

    Looking forward to the International Selections phase of the G4 Challenge, the three UK finalists know that just one will go forward to represent the UK in the Challenge itself. Starting amid the bustle of Bangkok on 23 April, the Challenge will then travel through the jungles of Laos, followed by a special stage on the beach in Rio de Janeiro and a climb through the mountains of Bolivia.

    But before the UK finalists got too carried away with the dream of the travel adventure of a lifetime, Tim Pickering reminded them of the hard work ahead of them by building their confidence in vital off-road driving activities involving deep water obstacles, mud, ruts and heart stopping inclines using Land Rover’s full range of 4x4 vehicles – including the new Range Rover Sport and Discovery 3.

    Developing a base of core G4 skills, Tim Pickering also challenged the finalists to locate various kayaking, mountain biking and abseiling activities, using the latest GPS positioning equipment. Exhausted from the final training day’s activities competitors finished with a tough kayaking challenge, during which RAF Doctor Andy Grieve experienced the exhilarating nature of G4 as he spectacularly capsized in the icy-lake.

    Tim concluded, saying: "If our UK finalists think this is tough, they should wait until the actual challenge – four weeks non-stop, very little sleep, unbelievably demanding physical and mental challenges, no bed, questionable food, language barriers, and the adventure of a lifetime. I wish them all good luck – they're going to need it, together with abundant skill and stamina."

    To coincide with the International Selections, starting on 29 January 2006, a competition is launched on the G4 Challenge website, where visitors to the site get the opportunity to compete for a host of interesting prizes, most notably the chance to accompany the G4 Challenge team on the final stage of the competition in Bolivia.

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    16 Jan 2006
    Jeep will unleash two special editions this January with the launch of the Jeep® Grand Cherokee Predator and Jeep Cherokee Predator.

    The Predator features privacy glass and a list of standard equipment that makes the Jeeps more affordable than ever before.

    The Jeep Grand Cherokee Predator is based on the Limited model and features rear park assist, leather trimmed seats and steering wheel, heated memory seats, power folding door mirrors, chrome grille, tyre pressure monitor, rain sensitive wipers, premium sound system and steering wheel audio controls as standard. The Grand Cherokee Predator with a 3.0-litre CRD engine and 4.7-litre V8 petrol engine is priced at £29,990 (OTR).

    Simon Elliott, Managing Director of Chrysler Group, said: "The third generation Grand Cherokee, launched in 2005, is completely new from the ground up, and has been designed and built to master every imaginable day-to-day driving condition, whether on-road or off-road, in all kinds of weather."

    The Jeep Cherokee Predator features a 2.4-litre petrol engine and is priced at £15,990. Based on the Sport model, the Cherokee Predator features 16 inch steel wheels, air conditioning and a single CD as well as privacy glass.

    Simon Elliott continued: "Jeep has always enjoyed a reputation for its great value and drivers will be able to get their hands on a great Jeep deal at their local Chrysler Group dealer."

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    Safari Drive is proud to announce the launch of their new, improved website

    10 Jan 2006
    Safari Drive organises self drive safaris throughout Africa using fully equipped Land Rovers. This unique style of safari allows for a level of adventure that is simply not catered for by traditional companies. We give you the chance to go off and explore the wilds of Africa driving your own private vehicle whilst maintaining a high level of security and back-up on the ground. We can combine roof camping amongst game with stays in some sensational lodges and tented camps. Click on Safaridrive.com to find out more.

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    9 Jan 2006

    Two brand new Jeeps were also revealed at the show and customers in the UK can expect to see both the Jeep Compass and Jeep Wrangler early in 2007. Simon Elliott said: "These two new Jeeps are designed to reach younger customers who may not have previously considered the Jeep brand. They will have diesel engines and will be great on-road cars as well as being able to drive off the beaten track. It’s really exciting that at last customers will be able to boast that they have a ‘soft-roader’ with a Jeep badge to compete with the Japanese brands."

    A brand new all-wheel drive system is a key feature on the Jeep Compass as it offers on-road refinement with the performance, handling and fuel economy of a family car. The AWD system offers a full-time setting and will offer the driver tangible benefits in every day driving conditions such as wet and icy tarmac.

    "The Jeep Compass reflects the new ‘Jeep-modern’ design theme and fulfils customers’ demands for a modern family car with the credibility and characteristics associated with the Jeep brand name. For customers who want more off-road style and ability, the new Jeep Wrangler reflects the more traditional ‘Jeep-rugged’ design theme. The Jeep Wrangler may be the icon of the Jeep brand but there is nothing old-fashioned about this all-new vehicle."

    The new Wrangler will come to the UK with a diesel engine for the first time plus a new petrol engine that offers more power and more torque. The new Jeep also benefits from improved aerodynamics, reduced noise levels and a much improved and more spacious interior. ESP and side airbags also come as standard together with four-wheel disc ABS brakes. New innovative removable and convertible soft and hard roof options mean the Wrangler hasn’t lost any of its classic looks.

    The engineers have managed to significantly improve the Wrangler’s on-road characteristics with a wider track and longer wheelbase, new steering and 100 per cent stiffer frame. These improvements have not reduced off-road ability – the Wrangler features improved live front and rear axles, extra ground clearance and an electronic disconnecting front sway bar.

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    Gaydon, Warwickshire, 6 January 2006

    Land Rover has achieved its best sales performance in the company's history. In the record year of 2005, the 4x4 manufacturer sold 185,120 vehicles around the world, an increase of 14% on the previous year.

    The USA saw sales surge by 30% and for the UK it was another record year, marking six years of continual growth. Emerging markets like China and Russia witnessed sales increases of 105% and 67% respectively.

    In the UK, December's cold snap sent buyers into the 4x4 specialist's showrooms, giving an end of year boost which took sales to 48,777 – 3% higher than the previous year and the company's fifth record year in a row.

    Andy Griffiths, Land Rover's UK Marketing Director, said, "Drivers are obviously looking for the sure-footedness and versatility a Land Rover offers when the going gets tough. Our unique Terrain Response system, which has a specific setting for snow and ice, will help drivers deal with sub-zero conditions. With more wintry weather to come we expect to see many more people choose a Land Rover."

    The sales growth has been driven by an exceptionally strong model line up. Range Rover Sport, the company's fifth nameplate, experienced a sensational debut with 30,356 models sold worldwide in six months. Discovery 3/LR3, which has collected 54 awards, saw sales climb steadily throughout the year to 53,558. In the US, a record year ended on a record high, with Land Rover's best December sales performance.

    Matthew Taylor, Land Rover's Managing Director, said, "This fantastic achievement is a reflection of a strong, new model line up and is a reward for significant investment and hard work. We said 2005 would be the year of opportunity and the United States would be an increasingly important market for Land Rover. We set out to seize success and grabbed it with both hands. We now need to maintain that momentum."

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    6 Jan 2006
    TOKYO – Nissan Motor Co., Ltd, has received approval from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to begin public road testing and leasing of its latest high-pressure, hydrogen-powered X-TRAIL fuel cell vehicle (FCV).

    The latest sport utility FCV is powered by a Nissan-developed fuel cell stack that is about 60% smaller compared with the previous stack on the 2003 FCV model. Despite its compact size, the new stack has a power generation capacity of 90kW, an improvement of more than 40% compared with the 2003 stack, giving the all-new FCV a top speed of 150 km/h. The 2003 model has a top speed of 145 km/h.

    The FCV is also equipped with a compact, 35MPa high-pressure hydrogen storage cylinder whose capacity has been reduced by 15%. However, thanks to a more improved fuel cell system, the FCV’s cruising range has been expanded to more than 370 km compared with about 350 km in the previous model.

    Separately, Nissan also announced it has also developed an X-TRAIL FCV equipped with a 70MPa high-pressure hydrogen storage cylinder and a cruising range of more than 500 km, about 1.4 times that of the 2005 model. Nissan plans to test the vehicle on public roads in Canada in February 2006 and in other locations when compatible hydrogen stations are available.

    Nissan has been working on FCV development since 1996. In addition to the design and engineering work conducted in Japan, extensive testing and development has been conducted in other markets, most notably the United States, where Nissan is a member of the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP). Nissan FCV activities in the US have focused on testing and demonstration work since 2000.

    Major specifications of the all-new X-TRAIL FCV. Figures in parentheses refer to FCV equipped with 70MPa high-pressure, hydrogen storage cylinder.

    2005 model

    2003 model


    Overall length/width/height (mm)



    Vehicle weight (kg)

    1790 (1860)


    Seating capacity (people)



    Top speed (km/h)



    Cruising range (km)

    Over 370 (over 500)

    Over 350



    Coaxial motor integrated with reduction gear

    Coaxial motor integrated with reduction gear

    Maximum power (kW)



    Maximum torque (Nm)



    Fuel cell stack

    Fuel cell

    Solid polymer type

    Solid polymer type

    Maximum power (kW)




    Developed by Nissan

    UTC Fuel Cells (United States)

    Rechargeable battery


    Compact Lithium-ion Battery

    Compact Lithium-ion Battery

    Fueling system

    Fuel type

    Compressed hydrogen gas

    Compressed hydrogen gas

    Maximum pressure (MPa)

    35 (70)


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    New Porsche Cayenne Turbo S Unveiled

    4 Jan 2006

    A new, supreme top-of-the-range model is taking over the leading position within the Porsche Cayenne range; second only to the Carrera GT, the Cayenne Turbo S is the most powerful Porsche homologated for road use. Benefiting from careful improvement and on-going development of the turbocharger system, the eight-cylinder bi-turbo power unit develops maximum output of 383 kW (521 bhp) at 5500 rpm, 52 kW or 71 bhp more than the Cayenne Turbo. Maximum torque of 720 Newton-metres or 531 lb-ft, in turn, is maintained consistently all the way between 2,750 and 3,750 rpm. This impressive output is reflected by truly outstanding performance on the road. The Cayenne Turbo S accelerates to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.2 seconds, sprints from 80 – 120 km/h (50 – 75 mph) in fifth gear in 5.4 seconds, and has a top speed of 270 km/h or 167 mph.

    Subtle external differences identify the new model; 20-inch SportTechno design alloy wheels, four exhaust tailpipes, the model designation at the rear and, if ordered by the customer, paintwork in Navy Blue Metallic, which is exclusive to this model. Under the bonnet, however, there are significant changes.

    Upgraded turbocharger system
    The 4.5-litre V8 engine featured in the Cayenne Turbo S remains unchanged in principle, modification of the two intercoolers serving to boost both engine output and torque to a new level of performance. Fitted between the turbochargers and the throttle butterfly, the intercoolers serve to cool the compressed air supplied to the engine, improving the cylinder charge in the process.

    The heat exchangers fitted in front of the wheel arches, together with the air supply and discharge ducts, are now made completely of aluminium and are 13 millimetres or 0.51" larger than on the Cayenne Turbo, ensuring a much higher level of efficiency and, at the same time, a significant improvement of flow conditions in the radiator, with the loss of pressure loss down by more than 50 per cent.

    Porsche development engineers have also used these positive effects to increase boost pressure, depending on the speed range, by up to 0.2 bar to a maximum of 1.9 bar, with engine output increasing further in the process. However, it is only the concurrent optimisation of engine efficiency that really confirms the supreme standard of engine management achieved by the new power unit, the Cayenne Turbo S not consuming any more fuel than the Cayenne Turbo in the same speed range.

    Eight-cylinder with substantial reserves
    Even in its 'basic‘ trim and configuration the engine is easily able, through its strong and sturdy components, to meet the highest loads and requirements. Particular features of this four-valve power unit are VarioCam technology allowing a cam adjustment angle of 40o, as well as integrated dry sump lubrication for reliable lubrication of all engine components even under extended periods of high lateral acceleration. Configured in closed deck design, the crankcase is closed at the top by a cover plate resting on the cylinder head and forms a complete, self-contained system together with the cylinder cooling ducts in the interests of a very high level of stiffness. Able to run at an extreme angle of up to 45o both in longitudinal and lateral direction, the engine is perfectly suited for even the toughest off-road conditions.

    Modified high-performance brake system
    Reflecting the supreme performance of the Cayenne Turbo S, the development engineers have increased brake power accordingly, the new model featuring even larger brake discs with larger callipers than on the Cayenne Turbo. To be specific, the diameter of the front brake discs is up to 380 mm from 350 mm (14.96 - 13.78"), the diameter of the rear brake discs has been increased to 358 from 330 millimetres (14.09 - 12.99"). The engineers have also designed new cooling ducts and achieved an increase in heat dissipation by 10 per cent. In standard trim the Cayenne Turbo S rides on 20-inch SportTechno design alloy wheels running on road tyres measuring R 275/40 Y. A tyre pressure control system is also featured as standard.

    Six-speed automatic transmission
    Like the engine, the six-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission is perfectly prepared for the supreme power and torque to be conveyed to the wheels, with gearshift points adjusting infinitely to the driver’s style of motoring and the route he – or she – is taking.

    Benefiting from the usual Porsche standard, the driver is also able to shift gears manually via buttons on the steering wheel. The additional option to shift gears instantaneously by briefly flicking the selector lever forwards or backwards serves above all to ensure a safe and smooth gearshift process when driving off-road.

    Four-wheel drive for optimum traction
    Transmission of power to all four wheels is elementary to the supreme driving dynamics offered by the Cayenne. Permanent Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive transmits 62 per cent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels and 38 per cent to the front wheels in the basic mode. Via a multiple-plate coupling operated by an electric motor and controlled electronically, power distribution may be varied as a function of driving conditions with up to 100 per cent of engine power going to the front or rear, depending on current requirements. This enables the Cayenne Turbo S to convey the supreme power of the bi-turbo engine to the road under dry conditions, without the supply of torque being cut off. The result, therefore, is optimum acceleration under full power for supreme performance on the road.

    Porsche Traction Management for supreme driving dynamics
    Porsche Traction Management (PTM) has a significant effect on the supreme standard of driving dynamics the Cayenne is able to offer. The longitudinal lock masterminded by map control and the optional differential lock on the rear axle included in the Advanced Off-Road Technology Package not only respond to a lack of traction on the front and rear axles, but also interact with sensors measuring the speed of the car, its lateral acceleration, the steering angle and the position of the throttle pedal, allowing PTM to calculate the optimum degree of differential lock on both axles at all times and thus distribute exactly the torque required to each axle. PTM thus ensures a high level of agility in bends plus exemplary driving stability when changing lanes, both at high speeds and when driving on ice and snow at a lower speed.

    Superior chassis and suspension with air springs and adaptive self-levelling
    With the chassis and suspension of the entire Cayenne model series being developed from the start to meet the greatest demands and requirements, Porsche was able to carry over the entire concept of this exceptional car to the new top-of-the-range model without making any changes. The front axle with rack-and-pinion steering comes in double control arm configuration, with the entire axle resting on its own subframe. The rear axle, in turn, is an elaborate multi-arm configuration also supported by a subframe.

    The Cayenne Turbo S comes as standard with air springs allowing no less than six different levels of ground clearance for optimum conditions and driving qualities both at very high speeds and when driving off-road. Benefiting from integrated self-levelling, the suspension offers the further advantage of consistent ground clearance, regardless of the load the vehicle is currently carrying. And the automatic reduction in ride height is two steps down from the normal level makes a significant contribution to enhanced driving safety at the very high speeds the Cayenne Turbo S is able to achieve.

    Variable damper system featured as standard
    Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) also comes as standard on the Cayenne Turbo S. This electronic, variable damper adjustment system controls damper forces infinitely as required, depending on surface conditions and the driver’s style of motoring. As an example, PASM will intervene under very dynamic driving conditions involving powerful acceleration and application of the brakes, as well as on winding roads with many bends. A further advantage achieved in this way is the reduction of roll and body sway in the interest of enhanced smoothness.

    Safety and equipment of the highest level
    The excellent passive safety of the Cayenne Turbo S results not only from the use of the most modern materials such as high-strength steel throughout the body of the car, but also from the entire structure of the vehicle with three load levels above one another serving to absorb deformation energy.

    Inside the Cayenne Turbo S, a wide range of airbags protects the occupants in a crash, examples being the driver, front passenger and thorax airbags as well as curtain airbags integrated in the roof frame and serving to protect the occupants at the rear.

    This complete system of largely "invisible" safety elements is enhanced by a high level of equipment boasting full leather upholstery and trim throughout the interior as well as other comfort components. These include bi-Xenon headlights with dynamically controlled, static curve lights, electrically adjustable comfort seats at the front with a memory function and seat heating, as well as heated seats at the rear, automatic air conditioning, ParkAssist, Porsche Communication Management incorporating satellite navigation, and Bose Surround Sound System all featured as standard.

    The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S goes on sale in the UK on 25 February, priced from £81,565 and including a Porsche Driving Experience programme.

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    4 Jan 2006

    The legendary Toyota Land Cruiser is renowned for being tough enough to take the harshest conditions in its stride. Beyond Arctic wastes and arid deserts, it’s also engineered to master the rigours of the urban jungle: for 2006, front and rear parking sensors are provided as standard, helping drivers avoid unwanted knocks. The sensors – four forward and four aft – are discreetly colour-coded and can be switched off independently.

    The Land Cruiser Amazon gains the same package and is also newly-equipped as standard with an in-car entertainment system. This features a DVD player mounted in the rear of the centre armrest unit, with twin monitors integrated into the back of the front seat headrests. Infra-red headsets are provided and the system can also be used to play computer games or play home movies (additional cabling required in addition to the ICE package).

    Taking the revised specification into account, Land Cruiser prices rise by £350, with the range now starting at £27,350 for the three-door LC3 3.0-litre D-4D. The Land Cruiser Amazon is now priced from £48,095 on-the-road (4.2 TD).

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