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In this section of 4x4News: January - December 2009

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THE FREELANDER 2 SPORT FOR 201016 December 2009
Key features:

  • A sports-styled Freelander 2 for the 2010 model year
  • 19" diamond turned alloy wheels
  • Unique two-tone Ebony & Storm interior
  • Sports styling pack available on one derivative
  • Rear spoiler

Introducing the Freelander 2 Sport, which goes on sale in the UK in January 2010 priced from £26,695 on-the-road. In showrooms early next year, the Freelander 2 Sport will be available with two derivatives and two colours – Santorini Black and Lago Grey. Both will feature exclusive 19" limited edition diamond-turned alloy-wheels, a unique two-tone interior together with a rear spoiler, colour-keyed exterior trim and matching door handles and mirror casings.

There is a standard model available in both Black and Lago Grey with cloth interior and one with a sports styling pack available only in Lago Grey. A unique two-tone interior is introduced on both derivatives, in contrasting Ebony and Storm. The derivative featuring the sports styling pack will offer a leather interior and the standard version with a cloth/leather interior. The sporty theme continues through the cabin, with an Ebony-coloured centre-console and lower fascia complemented with two-tone door casings. The Sport emblem is embossed on the front and outer rear seat head restraints, with Storm coloured stitching on all seats and unique Ebony interior carpet mats with contrast piping feature throughout.

The Freelander 2 Sport is available with the powerful and economical 2.2-litre TD4 diesel power unit. The manual diesel comes with Stop/Start technology delivering an 8% improvement on CO2 emissions compared to the previous manual diesel Freelander 2 (from 194g/km to 179g/km) and fuel consumption is reduced (from 37.7 to 42.2mpg – an improvement of 4.5mpg).

John Edwards, managing director, Land Rover UK said: "With its dynamic styling, the Freelander 2 Sport allows you to combine sporting characteristics with all the sustainability and driveability benefits of the intelligent Stop/Start technology." priced from £26,695 on-the-road.For more information on any of the 2010 models or to book a test drive log onto www.landrover.co.uk

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Skoda Yeti: 2010 Czech Motoring Journalists Club Car Of The Year

Skoda Yeti: 2010 Czech Motoring Journalists Club Car Of The Year10 December 2009
The Škoda Yeti has won the “2010 Czech Motoring Journalists Club (KMN) Car of the Year” award. An independent jury made up of 37 selected KMN members announced the result of this year's poll at yesterday's gala award ceremony in Prague.

“We are proud to be entitled to use the 2010 Czech Motoring Journalists Club (KMN) Car of the Year” title, one of the reasons being that the new Yeti has become the first SUV in history to have won this prestigious award“, says Jan Hurt, Head of Škoda Sales, Central Europe. “Achieving what no other SUV car has achieved so far shows that we are on the right tack with the Yeti. The first Czech-made SUV was launched in the Czech market this year in mid-July. Since then over 2,400 vehicles of this model have been sold in the Czech Republic alone (13,500 worldwide). Just after three months after the launch in the Czech market, the car became the best selling SUV here. Moreover, the 2010 KMN Car of the Year is not the only award the vehicle has won since its launch. The new Škoda Yeti has also scooped the Auto Bild Golden Steering Wheel award in Switzerland and Austria, the latest award so far is the Auto Trophy in Germany as the most popular imported vehicle“, adds Hurt.

With 223 points in total, the Škoda Yeti comfortably beat the Opel Astra (164 points), Mercedes Benz E (143 points), BMW X1 (136 points) and Volkswagen Polo (134 points). The first round of the poll saw altogether 34 vehicles across a wide range of brands launched in the Czech market from 21 October, 2008 till 31 December, 2009.

Organised every year by the Motoring Journalists Club, the objective of the poll is to find the most significant new arrival in the Czech market. The appraisal criteria include e.g., overall design, safety, economy, driveability, on-the-road behaviour, compliance with environmental standards, price, etc. One of the criteria that makes it possible to compare vehicles of different classes is value for money.

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  • Following the successive launches of Logan, Sandero and Logan MCV (seven-seat estate), plus Logan van and Logan pick-up, Dacia is now poised to tackle the 4x4 market with ‘Duster’, a tough, reliable, easy-to-use 4x4, aimed at motorists looking for an everyday car with real off-road ability.
  • Dacia Duster is economical both to buy and run:
    • economical to buy: an unbeatable performance/equipment/space package for its price.
    • economical to run: available with a choice of economical engines with low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The 4x2 diesel versions of Dacia Duster will emit less than 140g CO2/km, making them eligible for the Dacia eco² signature, while the 4x4 diesel versions will emit less than 150g CO2/km.
  • Dacia Duster is proof that it is possible to produce an all-terrain vehicle that is not only functional and affordable, but also respectful of the environment.
  • Dacia Duster is proof that it is possible to produce an all-terrain vehicle that is not only functional and affordable, but also Dacia Duster will be manufactured in 4x2 and 4x4 versions for the European, Turkish and Maghreb markets at the brand's Pitesti plant in Romania. Sales begin in Spring 2010.
  • Duster is a truly international vehicle, both in terms of its markets and production. It will gradually become available across the world, badged as either a Renault or a Dacia, following the example of Logan and Sandero.

The Duster project was born out of the simple premise that a real need existed in the world for an affordable, comfortable and rugged 4x4, a class which is currently not well served. Aware of this gap, the Renault group decided to develop an all-terrain vehicle aimed initially at emerging markets. The needs of European customers were also taken into account from the project outset.

In emerging markets (Russia, Brazil, etc.), the middle classes aspire to owning a modern car that reflects their social status. At the same time, they want a strong car that is reliable, versatile and capable of standing up to climatic demands and conditions that can be both tough and varied (long distances, difficult terrain, use in large built-up areas). The current offer is largely dominated by imported SUVs, which are often priced beyond the means of these middle classes.

In Europe, Dacia's success has highlighted the demand for modern, reliable and affordable cars. Although the current range of 4x4s and SUVs is quite extensive, it neglects the call for a functional, affordable all-terrain vehicle, favouring instead SUVs that are expensive and often ill-suited to the needs of off-road driving.

Indisputable 4x4 looks…
At first glance, Dacia Duster is clearly a 4x4. Its front end exudes a sense of ruggedness, with its imposing chrome grille and sump guard also pointing to its clear 4x4 credentials. Seen in profile, its high ground clearance, wide wheel arches and body protection are an open invitation to take on even the toughest surfaces.

Today's all-terrain vehicles are often synonymous with bulk, a preconception which Dacia Duster sweeps aside. Being 4.31 metres long and 1.82 metres wide, Dacia Duster is very compact, making it as at home in built-up areas as it is when taken off the beaten track. Although it clearly demonstrates that it belongs to the world of all-terrain motoring, Dacia Duster boasts attractive, yet not ostentatious lines.

…with genuine go-anywhere ability
Dacia Duster was designed to tackle all types of roads and tracks, all over the world. In order to meet these varied needs, it will be available in all markets in both 4x2 form (for customers looking for good ground clearance and a high driving position, without the need for four-wheel drive) and with 4x4 transmission for off-road driving.

Dacia Duster's strengthened undercarriage is suitable for dirt roads and all-terrain use thanks to its high ground clearance (more than 200mm) and impressive clearance angles (approach angle: 30 degrees; departure angle: more than 35 degrees).

Dacia Duster is easy to drive and not only aimed at all-terrain drivers. Its combination of its low unladen weight (1,180kg in 4x2 - 1,280kg in 4x4) and compact proportions, ensure particularly agile handling. In the 4x4 version, thanks to the unique and intuitive control (sourced from Nissan) located at the foot of the centre console, Dacia Duster drivers can easily adapt the vehicle's transmission configuration to meet their needs of the moment. This control allows one of three modes to be selected:

  • When the AUTO mode is selected, the front/rear torque split is calculated automatically as a function of available grip. This system is aimed at providing optimal traction, however much grip is available, and gives Dacia Duster genuine 4x4 ability. In normal conditions, the torque is transmitted through the front wheels only. If traction is lost, or when grip is at a premium, some of the torque is transferred to the rear axle. In extreme conditions, the torque is split equally front and rear. This split is performed by an electromagnetic torque converter supplied by Nissan.
  • In LOCK mode, the driver electronically locks it into 4x4 mode, whereby 50 per cent of torque is consistently fed through the rear axle. This mode is recommended in low grip conditions (snow, mud, dirt, sand) at low speeds.
  • In 4x2 mode, the transmission is locked into two-wheel drive. This mode is suited to driving on good roads and reduces fuel consumption.

Duster, the sixth vehicle in the Dacia range, remains true to the brand's philosophy by offering unbeatable cabin space for its price, plus low running costs thanks to its thrifty fuel consumption, as well as a high level of safety and reliability whatever the conditions.

Unbeatable cabin space for its price
Although Dacia Duster's price is comparable with that of a city car, its exterior and interior dimensions are more akin to those of a compact car from the segment above. It comfortably seats up to five adults, with both front and rear occupants enjoying the same amount of space as passengers in its sister Logan model.

Dacia Duster's boot capacity is unbeatable, too, with a volume of up to 475dm3 ISO. With the rear benchseat folded and tipped forward, its impressive carrying ability can even exceed 1,600dm3 ISO.

Reliable engines with good fuel economy and low CO2 emissions
Both the 4x2 and 4x4 versions of Dacia Duster will be available with either a 1.6 16V 110hp petrol engine, or 85hp or 105hp dCi diesel power. All three powerplants have already demonstrated their efficiency under the bonnet of a number of Renault group models. These engines are perfectly suited to the criteria of cost, strength and ease of maintenance that are a hallmark of the Dacia range. Combined with Duster's low weight, they ensure that Dacia's newcomer returns low fuel consumption and boasts impressive ecological credentials, with the dCi diesel versions emitting less than 140g of CO2/km in 4x2 form (qualifying Duster for the Dacia eco² signature) and less than 150g of CO2/km in the case of the 4x4 versions.

Safety: an absolute priority
Dacia Duster benefits from Renault's acclaimed expertise in the area of safety. The news 4x4 features Bosch 8.1 ABS, as well as EBV electronic brakeforce distribution and emergency brake assist. On the passive safety front, Dacia Duster comes as standard with two front airbags (depending on market) and three-point seat belts with load limiters for the front seats. Depending on version, two lateral head/thorax airbags are fitted in addition to the driver and passenger front airbags to provide additional protection in the case of side impact. Pyrotechnic pretensioners for the front seats (depending on version) complete Dacia Duster's retention system. In addition to holding the thorax firmly in place, they limit forward body movement in the case of a frontal impact by tightening the belt around the thorax and the lap.

Reliability and strength: Dacia fundamentals
Like all the vehicles based on the B0/Logan platform, Dacia Duster has been engineered to deliver the hallmark strength and reliability motorists have come to expect of the brand. Particular attention has been paid to anti-corrosion protection thanks to several precautions:

  • wax-injected underbody and opening panel hollow sections,
  • mastic sealing of exterior joints,
  • additional wax treatment of underbody mechanical components,
  • stone-chip protection for underbody, sills and wheel arches.

Similar care has been paid to the electrics and electronics, with an installation already seen on several Renault models. To back up its high build quality, Dacia Duster comes with a three-year or 100,000km warranty in the majority of its European markets.

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  • Amarok sets new standards in 1-tonne pick-up class
  • Payload capacity of up to 1.15 tonnes
  • Maximum towing limit of 2.8 tonnes
  • 2.52 m² load area has largest dimensions in its class
  • Load area 1,555 mm long,1,620 mm wide
  • 1,222 mm between wheelarches to take Euro pallet
  • Rear-wheel drive, and switchable or permanent all-wheel drive
  • On sale in UK in September 2010
  • Double cab available from launch. Single cab to follow in 2011

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has released the first official images and more details of its new pick-up, the Amarok. The Amarok, which will be available as a four-door double cab version from launch with a single cab model to follow in 2011, combines the robustness of a pick-up with innovative technology, high safety standards, excellent fuel economy and Volkswagen standards of comfort, quality and durability.

Production of the Amarok is about to start at the Volkswagen factory in Buenos Aires, Argentina ahead of its worldwide launch starting in its native South America in early 2010 and in Europe next summer, with first models expected to be in UK Volkswagen Van Centres in September 2010.

The Amarok has a generous payload capacity of up to 1.15 tonnes and maximum towing limit of 2.8 tonnes. Its 2.52 m² cargo area has the largest dimensions in its class at 1,555 mm long and 1,620 mm wide, plus a best in class width between the wheelarches of 1,222 mm, which means that for the first time on a mid-size pick-up, it is possible to load Euro pallets sideways, saving on space.

The official photo show the Amarok reflects the latest Volkswagen design DNA with frontal styling in line with the latest Transporter and Golf. It is 5.25 m long with a ladder frame chassis and will be offered with a choice of rear-wheel drive and switchable or permanent 4MOTION all-wheel drive. For maximum convenience, the switchable all-wheel drive is engaged by the push of a button, and also has low off-road gearing.

The full-time all-wheel drive version is a rarity in the pick-up sector, and uses a Torsen differential to distribute drive at a 40:60 ratio to the front and rear axles for excellent vehicle dynamics and high traction, and also ensures that the wheel with the best traction always gets the most power. A rear differential lock is available.

Designed to tackle the toughest off-road terrain, the Amarok is offered with an electronic differential lock (EDL) and Off-Road ABS to significantly shorten braking distances in off-road conditions or gravel roads. At speeds of under 20 mph it also activates Hill Descent Assist to control hill descents by using selective braking interventions. Furthermore, the ESP Plus system includes Hill Hold Assist, which prevents the vehicle from rolling back by holding it in place on inclines until the driver presses the accelerator pedal.

Under the bonnet there will be a choice of two 2.0-litre fuel-efficient, Euro5 compliant, common rail TDI engines producing 163 PS, with torque of 400 Nm at a low 1,500 rpm, or 122 PS with maximum torque of 340 Nm from 2,000 rpm. Both engines have a six-speed manual transmission and will have impressive fuel economy with low emissions to make the Amarok the first all-wheel drive pick-up in this class offering CO2 emissions of less than 200 g/km. Like the new Transporter and Caravelle, the Amarok has a gearchange indicator to help drivers achieve the best fuel economy, which with an 80-litre fuel tank should offer a range of over 600 miles.

UK prices and specifications will be confirmed nearer the Amarok’s UK launch. The range is expected to comprise a standard model for customers who need a pick-up that is as robust and practical as possible, to offering all the latest luxury items expected for those using Amarok as a leisure vehicle. An extensive accessories programme will also be offered for the Amarok – from a styling bar and running boards, through a cargo cover and Multi-Connect load securing system to a selection of stylish alloy wheels.

The large and ergonomically designed interior is the largest in its class and in many ways resembles that of a Volkswagen passenger car. Easy entry, lots of headroom and ample legroom for passengers on the rear bench seat make the Amarok a fully-fledged five-seater. If only two people are travelling, interior storage space can be increased by folding the rear seat.

Key markets for the Amarok include South America, South Africa and Australia; in these countries, because of their versatility, pick-ups are some of the most sought after recreational and commercial vehicles. Thanks to its efficient drive technology and tremendous versatility, the Amarok is also expected to be a trendsetter in the contemporary pick-up class in Europe.

Volkswagen will be putting the Amarok to the test as a support vehicle in the tough Dakar rally in South America in January. In the meantime, to see more of the Amarok and to sign up for Amarok news and events prior to its UK launch, go to www.volkswagen-vans.co.uk/amarok/.

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18 November 2009

  • New lower price for updated Santa Fe range
  • New engine with supercar torque, hatchback fuel economy
  • Prices start £21,495 (at new 17.5% VAT rate)
  • On sale 4th January 2010

A new world-beating engine, more equipment and a stylish new look – all at a lower price. The 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe looks too good to be true. But buyers looking for a big, practical family car can stop pinching themselves, as Hyundai has confirmed the amazing news that its 2010 Santa Fe will actually be cheaper than the car it replaces, despite a raft of improvements.

The headline news is the Santa Fe’s world-class new powertrain, offering an unrivalled combination of performance and economy. It means that the Santa Fe is now comparable on price and emissions with MPVs and estate cars, and comfortably powers ahead of SUV rivals. Much more than a simple nip-and-tuck, the new Santa Fe also benefits from subtly enhanced exterior styling and improved safety. Despite this, Hyundai has actually managed to make the list price even more competitive – with obvious benefits to private buyers and company car drivers alike.

Revisions to the design of the Santa Fe are concentrated on the finer details. At the front, the black two bar grille is replaced by chrome-edged three bar version, while revised headlight clusters sit above a new, more sculpted bumper which also houses new fog lights in a black surround. The rear gains a new bumper that curves neatly into more distinctive light clusters, while trapezoidal exhaust pipes and new alloy wheel designs improve the car’s stance and presence on the road.

On the inside carbon black trim replaces the previous wood finishes to highlight the Santa Fe’s modern feel, and the standard single CD/RDS radio now comes with an AUX/USB connection with full iPod control.

The range has been simplified, with a two-model range now comprising of entry-level Style and higher spec Premium. Style models are packed with standard equipment: 17-inch alloy wheels, reversing sensors, ESP and air conditioning are among the standard features, while moving up to Premium adds 18-inch wheels, dual climate control, heated leather seats with electric adjustment for the driver and automated lights and wipers.

The Santa Fe retains its outstanding MPV-rivalling practicality, with the even more versatile seven-seat option available for a modest £750 on both Style and Premium models. In either version it offers a huge 969 litres of load space in a five-seat configuration – double that of some its rivals – rising to a van-like 2,247 with all the seats folded. This is an increase of 34 litres over the previous model. Seven-seat versions are also fitted with a self-levelling rear suspension set up and rear privacy glass as standard, while five-seat versions get a substantial under-floor storage area.

Stronger, leaner and more refined. At the heart of the rejuvenated Santa Fe is a new 2.2-litre direct injection ‘R’ diesel engine that demonstrates major improvements over the already-impressive outgoing version. This new all-aluminium 2,199cc powerplant offers up a class-leading 194bhp – more than the six-cylinder units offered in some rival vehicles – backed by a mighty 311lb.ft of torque (322lb.ft when specified with an automatic gearbox) which amounts to improvements of 26% and 27% respectively on the previous engine.

These huge strides in power and efficiency give the Santa Fe an advantage over a wide range of competitors. With the six-speed manual transmission fitted, the Santa Fe can sprint to 62mph from rest in 9.8 seconds, giving it hot-hatch like acceleration. Although ultimate performance is not usually top of family 4x4 buyers’ priorities it is nice to know that it is the fastest seven-seat SUV you can buy for under £35,000.

That doesn’t come at the expense of economy however, as the combined cycle figure now breaks the 40mpg barrier and emissions have fallen significantly to 176g/km, moving it down on the Vehicle Excise Duty to Band I. These figures also put the Santa Fe ahead of the competition, with no seven-seat SUV or MPV coming close to its combination of economy and performance. In fact the Santa Fe can even beat the economy figures of the entry level Vauxhall Zafira and diesel Ford Galaxy while producing more torque than a Porsche 911!

These impressive figures are helped by a number of clever engineering developments, including the sophisticated six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes and an alternator management system that disengages when not required in order to save fuel. Drivers looking to maximise the efficiency benefits are helped by the ‘Eco Drive Indicator’ on automatic versions to monitor fuel efficiency, while manual versions have an optimum gear shift point indicator built into the trip computer display. Another advantage of the new engine is an increased towing capacity, with a maximum braked towing weight of 2,500kg, up 300kg on the outgoing model.

Running costs
The new Santa Fe proves that exceptional performance and a high specification need not come at the expense of running costs or a sky-high purchase price. Despite the improvements in equipment levels and drivability, prices are actually lower compared with the outgoing model. The entry-level five-seat manual 2.2 CRDi Santa Fe Style starts at £21,495 up to the Premium 2.2 CRDi 7 seat Auto at £25,495 (at the higher 17.5% VAT rate).

Significant improvements in economy and emissions have pulled back running costs for the Santa Fe and service intervals have been doubled to 20,000 miles, helping to slash maintenance bills. Company car drivers with P11Ds to consider will find the lower price and CO2 levels reduces their contribution further still, with the Santa Fe dropping from 29% to 26% tax rates – saving company car drivers hundreds in tax every year. Indeed the Santa Fe is not just more efficient at tax avoidance than other 4x4 rivals; it can also now be a real alternative to MPVs and estate cars.

Residual values are also expected to improve still further due to the enhanced specification and lower prices, placing it amongst the best in class for retained value. And of course, the Santa Fe enjoys the legendary five years unlimited mileage warranty for the ultimate peace of mind.

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Off-road excellence and on-road poise from latest in a line of 4x4 legends


  • All-new Toyota Land Cruiser builds on a world-leading heritage
  • Equipped with advanced new systems for safe and secure off-road performance
  • Engineered to excel in the toughest conditions, while maintaining on-road poise and comfort
  • Five-door model seating up to seven, powered by 3.0-litre D-4D engine with five-speed automatic transmission
  • Three equipment grades – LC3, LC4 and LC5 – priced from £29,795 on the road

The Toyota Land Cruiser has built a formidable reputation around the world for its ability to take even the most extreme conditions in its stride. From arid deserts to polar wastes, Land Cruiser has demonstrated its unrivalled toughness and durability in a heritage that spans six decades. This background of achievement makes the launch of an all-new Land Cruiser a particularly significant event and Toyota has wasted no effort to ensure its new model builds on the pedigree of its ancestors. It is equipped with a raft of new and advanced handling and driver assistance systems that take its off-road capabilities to new heights. At the same time, it has been engineered for greater poise, comfort and performance when driving on-road.

In the UK new Land Cruiser is offered as a five-door model powered by a revised 171bhp 3.0-litre D-4D engine, matched to a five-speed automatic transmission. Three equipment grades are offered – LC3, LC4 and LC5 – with seven seats fitted as standard on all but the entry level version (on which third row seats are an option). Customer orders are being taken now with first deliveries from early December. On-the-road prices range from £29,795 to £44,795.

Design and Construction
The new Land Cruiser is only slightly larger than its predecessor, which helps maintain its off-road agility. The styling combines the model’s traditionally robust looks with styling cues that were first introduced on the larger Land Cruiser V8.

Intelligent interior packaging provides more space inside the cabin, with Toyota EasyFlat third row seats that can be raised of folded flat at the touch of a button (LC4 and LC5 models). The usable loadspace has been significantly increased and a new rear glass hatch allows items to be loaded without having to open the full side-hinged tailgate – ideal for tight parking places.

Toyota has retained the body-on-frame construction that has always been an integral part of Land Cruiser’s exceptional off-road ability. Careful attention to the suspension design and NVH measures ensure high standards of on-road ride, handling and comfort are maintained.

Technology for on and off-road performance
New Land Cruiser introduces a series of advanced but user friendly features that help the driver tackle even the most challenging routes. These include: -

  • Electrically modulated Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), which minimises body roll and gives positive steering on-road, and increases wheel articulation off-road.
  • Full-time All-wheel drive with Torsen limited slip differential.
  • Multi-Terrain Select (MTS), with four driver-selectable modes to tailor vehicle settings for different off-road conditions.
  • Multi-Terrain Monitor, a world-first system of front and side view cameras that give the driver a real-time view of areas immediately around the vehicle that can’t be seen from the wheel.
  • Crawl Control, which controls the engine and brakes to maintain a slow, safe speed when driving off-road or wading, so the driver only needs to concentrate on steering. This operates in both forward and reverse gears.
  • Active Traction Control (A-TRC), Multi-Terrain ABS and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) are fitted as standard on all models.

Equipment highlights
There is nothing spartan about life on board the new Land Cruiser. 17-inch alloys, roof rails, fog lamps, climate control, cruise control, Bluetooth and Smart Entry and Start system are all part of the LC3 specification.

LC4 models add triple-zone climate control, 18-inch wheels, powered folding third row seats, leather upholstery, electrically adjustable heated front seats, dusk-sensing headlights, auto-dimming rear-view mirrors, rear parking monitor, 17-speaker JBL premium audio package and a hard disc drive (HDD) navigation system with a 10GB sound library.

At the top of the range the LC5 models come with Adaptive Variable Suspension with Active height Control, sunroof, Crawl Control, Multi-terrain Monitor, Steering Angle Display, Multi-terrain Select and a rear seat entertainment system for DVD playback and gaming.

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Used Car Expert magazine’s depreciation index: 4x4s named and shamed

16 November 2009

  • Mitsubishi worst performer
  • Lexus Hybrid best performer
Used Car Expert magazine reveals the top and bottom depreciators for 4x4 category over last 3 years. Cars registered at the end of 2006 are now approaching their MOT and that’s a good time to look at their depreciation over the 3 year period.

Best performers
Reflecting the world’s ever greener conscience, the Lexus 400h (Hybrid engine) comes out as the best performer, losing an average of 8.3% p.a. Close behind that are Land Rover’s Range Rover on 9.7% average loss p.a.


Average annual loss %

Retained value after 3 years (e.g. spec)

Lexus RX 400h


£28,589 (SE)

Range Rover


£33,006 (3.6 TD HSE)



£25,996 (3.0 D)

Hyundai Sante Fe


£12,960 (2.2 CDX)

Nissan Pathfinder


£12,670 (2.5 DCI)

Worst performers
Mitsubishi Shogun suffers around double the depreciation of the Lexus, at an average of 16.5% p.a.
Jeep Cherokee suffers 16.3% depreciation p.a. on average.


Average annual loss

Retained value

Mitsubishi Shogun


£12,251 (3.2 Di-d)

Mercedes M-Class


£21,954 (280 CDI)

Jeep Cherokee


£14,894 (3.0 CRD)

Kia Sorento


£11,150 (2.5 CRDI)

Volkswagen Touareg


£17,403 (2.5 TDI)

The next edition of Used Car Expert magazine has a special section profiling the depreciation patterns of the major 4x4s, plus extra 4x4 reviews and news. Used Car Expert magazine is on sale from the last Thursday of the month in WH Smith, Tesco and all good news agents. Matthew Tumbridge, editor of Used Car Expert magazine and website commented, “Depreciation is the biggest cost to motorists, but it’s so easy to avoid being stung if you plan ahead using our price guide. In the current economic market, it can make owning a car a lot less stressful.” “If you want to save even more, you can study the year by year figures that we publish in the magazine each month, and you can then beat these figures by, for example buying 6 month old cars and selling after 12-18 months.”

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Cooper Tire launches first UHP 4x4/SUV product

Cooper Tire launches first UHP 4x4/SUV product12 November 2009
Cooper Tire’s first ever premium UHP 4x4/SUV tyre, the Cooper Zeon 4XS, has been designed and built by British engineers. Experts based at Cooper Europe’s base in Melksham, Wiltshire, developed the 4XS specifically to meet the demands of European 4x4 vehicles on European roads. It is the first time that the American company has entrusted a technical team outside of the US to design one of its 4x4 tyres.

The 4XS, which will include fitments for Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Touareg, BMW X5, Audi Q7, Volvo XC90 and Mercedes M-Class, is available to buy in V, W and Y speed ratings in the UK and mainland Europe from early November.

Cooper has used the latest in design technology to ensure the 4XS offers comfortable quiet running, while the asymmetrical ‘rib’ tread design offers optimum grip in wet weather conditions. A rim protector also guards your alloys from kerb damage.

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe managing director, Julian Baldwin, said: “The fact that Cooper Tire’s headquarters in America have entrusted our design team in Melksham with the development of the company’s first premium UHP tyre for high performance four-wheel drive vehicles is yet another major seal of approval on the quality of work we do here in Europe.

“The 4XS caters for a wide range of very popular vehicles and will compete with the market leaders thanks to a rich heritage in the US, where roughly one in every five 4x4 tyres sold is a Cooper.”

For more information or to find your nearest stockist, visit www.coopertire.co.uk or call 01225 705050.

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SMALL RANGE ROVER CONFIRMED FOR PRODUCTIONGaydon, Warwickshire, 24 September 2009
Land Rover has confirmed today that a production version of its exciting LRX concept car will be built. The new car will debut next year and join the Range Rover line-up in 2011. Designed and engineered at Land Rover's state of the art Gaydon facility, the new Range Rover will be the smallest, lightest and most efficient vehicle the company has ever produced. The new car will be built at the multi award-winning plant in Halewood, on Merseyside, subject to quality and productivity agreements and will be sold in over 100 countries around the world.

Phil Popham, managing director of Land Rover said: “The production of a small Range Rover model is excellent news for our employees, dealers and customers. It is a demonstration of our commitment to investing for the future, to continue to deliver relevant vehicles for our customers, with the outstanding breadth of capability for which we are world-renowned."

"Feedback from our customer research also fully supports our belief that a production version of the LRX Concept would further raise the desirability of our brand and absolutely meet their expectations." Phil added.

Gerry McGovern, Land Rover design director said: "The new vehicle will be a natural extension to the Range Rover line-up, complementing the existing models and helping to define a new segment. It will be true to the concept and have many recognisable Range Rover design cues including the signature clamshell bonnet, the floating roof and the solid 'wheel-at-each-corner' stance."

More details of the new small Range Rover will be released next year.

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  • All-new Land Cruiser builds on six decades of worldwide success
  • Advanced, user friendly technology increases off-road capability and driver assistance
  • More refined on-road performance
  • Improved equipment specifications
  • UK range to feature single powertrain:3.0-Litre D-4D diesel engine with five-speed automatic transmission
  • Five-door model with five or seven seats
  • On sale in UK from 1 December 2009

With a heritage reaching back almost 60 years and with five million customers in 176 countries around the world, the Toyota Land Cruiser has become an icon of the 4WD market, its name synonymous with Toyota’s core values of quality, durability and reliability. That peerless pedigree provides the platform for the debut of a new generation Land Cruiser at the Frankfurt motor show, a model that goes further than ever before to deliver true go-anywhere toughness and on-road driving poise.

Land Cruiser’s reputation has been built on its ability to meet owners’ demands for a vehicle that is utterly reliable in even the harshest off-road conditions, yet offering performance and refinement appropriate for day-to-day driving. With its new model Toyota has extended Land Cruiser’s off-road capabilities with a higher level of on-board guidance and technical support for the driver. New, user-friendly functions have been introduced that can help make tricky routes passable, over terrain on which even accomplished off-road drivers might feel challenged.

The quality and scope of these new features help make the all-new Land Cruiser one of the most technically advanced but enjoyable and easy to drive off-road vehicles in the world. Style and comfort are important to 4WD customers, too, hence Land Cruiser combines it off-road toughness with pleasing on-road driving characteristics and higher standards of quality and comfort.

Bodystyle and powertrain
In the UK new Land Cruiser will be offered exclusively as a five-door model with seven seats (LC3 model has five seats with optional third row), powered by a revised 171bhp 3.0-litre D-4D diesel engine with five-speed automatic transmission. A three-door model and a 4.0-litre V6 Dual VVT-i petrol engine will be available in other European markets, but there are no plans for these to be offered in the UK. Combined cycle fuel economy is a best-in-class 34.9mpg and CO2 emissions are 214g/km, improvements of 5.1 and 4.5 per cent respectively on current Land Cruiser performance.

Suspension, ride and handling
The rigidity of the body-on-frame construction has been increased by 11 per cent and insulating frame-to-body mounts have been added to absorb engine, drivetrain and road noise, and to improve ride comfort. The front independent double wishbone and rear four-link lateral rod suspension systems have been revised for extra comfort and steering feel. LC4 and LC5 models grade models are equipped with a new electronic Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), which adjusts the front and rear anti-roll bars for optimised on and off-road performance.

The flagship LC5 version benefits from Toyota’s Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system with Roll Posture Control, which lets the driver tune the ride characteristics with a choice of three damper settings. An electronically controlled rear air suspension system works with the AVS, providing an auto-levelling function and switchable height control. The air suspension is also effective in absorbing high frequency vibrations and reducing road-generated NVH.

Off-road technology
A new feature launched by Toyota in the new-generation Land Cruiser is Multi-terrain Select, which automatically controls power and braking to optimise performance for different types of off-road surfaces. At the same time, the Multi-terrain Monitor feeds real time images from around the vehicle from a network of four cameras to provide the driver with more information about the immediate surroundings. The new Steering Angle Display shows the position of the vehicle’s wheels and its predicted path, further helping the driver plot a safe route.

The Crawl Control feature lets the driver choose from five different setting to optimise vehicle set-up to tackle even extreme conditions with precision and control, without having to use the throttle or brake pedals. Crawl Control will also help the driver free the vehicle, should it become stuck in mud or sand.

Interior packaging
New Land Cruiser has a more spacious and refined cabin with accommodation for seven in three rows. The second row seats have a sliding range of 135mm and a more flexible 40:20:40 configuration, with reclining seatbacks. A walk-in, slide and tilt function gives easy access to the third row seats.

The two third row seats (an option on the five-seat LC3 model) are full-size with integral headrests and they fold completely flat into the loadspace floor when not required. The footwell floor has been lowered by more than 38mm for a more comfortable seating position and, thanks to the slide adjustment of the second row seats, legroom extends to more than double that in the current Land Cruiser.

The left and right hand seats can be raised and lowered independently, using the Toyota Easy Flat system; LC4 and LC5 grade models this function is power-controlled at the touch of a button. Controls are handily located both inside the tailgate and behind the second row seats. The flexibility of the seating is complimented by numerous, practical storage spaces, including a compartment with a USB port for simultaneous connection and charging of portable music players, and a large centre console box that can be fitted with a compact fridge unit.

Equipment features
Land Cruiser benefits from a range of high-tech, user-friendly systems to make life on board easier and more comfortable. The Smart Entry and Start system works in conjunction with sequenced lighting, and at the rear the tailgate has a top-hinged glass section that allows access to the load space even in tight parking spaces. Everyone can enjoy a comfortable cabin environment thanks to a separate air conditioning unit for the rear, giving new Land Cruiser a triple-zone climate control (LC4 and LC5 models only).

A multi-information switch on the steering wheel brings together several features under a single control, and the cameras used by the Multi-terrain Monitor also provide Wide-view Front, Side and Back Guide Monitors for easier manoeuvring in tight spaces and visibility at blind junctions. Land Cruiser LC4 and LC5 models are equipped with a 14-speaker JBL Synthesis Premium Surround Sound System, giving 7.1 channel sound from compatible CDs and DVDs. It features an 11-channel, 605W Digital Signal Processing amplifier and, using the navigation system’s Hard Disc Drive (HDD), offers a “sound library” facility, capable of transferring and storing up to 2,000 tracks from CDs.

Grade structure and outline equipment specifications
New Land Cruiser will be available in the UK in three equipment grades: LC3, LC4 and LC5. Equipment highlights are provided in the table below, with additional features across the board compared to current Land Cruiser specifications.


LC4 (adds)

LC5 (adds)

Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with Active Torque Control (A-TRC)

Electronically modulated Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS)

Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS)/Active height control

Downhill Assist Control (DAC) with Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)

Triple-zone climate control air conditioning


Seven airbags, including driver’s knee airbag

Rear privacy glass

Seat memory package

ABS with EBD

18-inch alloys

Crawl Control

Active front headrests

Toyota Easy Flat rear seat system with third row seats (powered)

Multi-terrain Monitor

17-inch alloys

Third row curtain airbags

Steering Angle Display

Fog lamps

Leather upholstery

Multi-terrain Select system

Roof rails

Electric, heated front seats

Rear seat entertainment system

Cruise control air conditioning

Illuminated entry


Smart Entry and Start

Rain-sensing wipers


Climate control

Dusk-sensing headlights


Scuff plates

Auto-dimming rear view mirror


6-speaker audio system

Rear parking monitor



Front and rear parking sensors


Optional 3rd seat row

HDD navigation system


JBL 14-speaker premium audio


Preliminary technical specifications


3.0 D-4D

Engine type

Four cylinders in-line

Displacement (cc)


Fuel injection type

Common rail

Emissions level

Euro 4

Max power (bhp @ rpm)

171 @ 3,400

Max torque (Nm/rpm)

410 @ 1,600-2,800



Acceleration 0-62mph (sec)


Max. speed (mph)




Overall length (mm)


Overall width (mm)


Overall height (mm)


Wheelbase (mm)


Front overhang (mm)


Rear overhang (mm)





17 or 18-inch


245/70R17 or 265/60R18



Approach angle (°)


Departure angle (°)


Ramp angle (°)


Side angle limit (°)


Minimum running ground clearance (mm)


Wading depth (mm)




Combined cycle (mpg)


CO2 emissions (g/km)





Double wishbone

Rear Four-link with lateral rod

Four-link with lateral rod



Braked (kg)


Unbraked (kg)



1. Fuel consumption and CO2 values are measured in a controlled environment, in accordance with the requirements of Directive 80/1268/EEC, including its amendments, on a basic production vehicle. For more information about the basic production vehicle, please contact the Toyota press office.

2.The fuel consumption and CO2 values of your vehicle may very from those measured. Driving behaviour, as well as other factors (such as road conditions, traffic, vehicle conditions, installed equipment, load, number of passenger, etc) play a role in determining a car’s fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

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Holland & Holland Range Rover by Overfinch announced

23 July 2009

  • The most luxurious and exclusive off-roader ever – only one hundred to be made
  • Based on 2010 MY 503 bhp supercharged or TDV8 Range Rover Autobiography
  • Interior and exterior enhancements designed and manufactured in conjunction with Holland & Holland
  • To be launched at the Holland & Holland Shooting Grounds on Wednesday September 23rd

It was announced simultaneously today at the Game Fair and Salon Privé that Holland & Holland, makers of the world’s finest sporting guns and Overfinch, designers and manufacturers of exclusive Range Rover enhancements since 1975, are joining forces to create the ultimate luxury off-roader.

The Holland & Holland Range Rover was conceived with a single intention: to create an all purpose, all season, luxury supercar for the discerning few. Designers and engineers at both Holland & Holland and Overfinch have worked together to create a car that embodies Holland & Holland’s unique sporting heritage and Overfinch’s bespoke craftsmanship. The result is a quintessentially English take on luxury. Based on either the 5.0 litre 503 bhp Supercharged or TDV8 versions of the new 2010 MY car, the Holland & Holland Overfinch features a raft of enhancements that make it unmistakably something very special.

Daryl Greatrex, Managing Director of Holland & Holland, said, “Holland & Holland is globally synonymous with both luxury and supreme functionality. To look at, to handle and shoot with a Holland & Holland is to appreciate 174 years of using the best craftsmanship and technology to make things work supremely well and look even better. It’s ten years since we had a Holland & Holland Range Rover and we decided that working with Overfinch was the only way to do it this time. Over the years it has become clear that what AMG is to Mercedes and Alpina is to BMW, so Overfinch is to Range Rover.”

Neil Underwood, Chief Operating Officer of Overfinch added, “There has always been a great deal of talk in the media, speculating that Range Rovers could start approaching Bentley levels of luxury - for one hundred fortunate customers, that will now become a reality. We have worked closely with designers, engineers and the quite astonishing craftsmen of Holland & Holland, who have helped us create the most exclusive, most luxurious off-roader ever built.”

Overfinch is a design-led engineering company that has over the last 34 years built a luxury brand. Based in Farnham, Surrey, they operate on five continents and are the originators of the performance Range Rover. It was in 1975, only a few years after the Range Rover was launched, that Schuler (later to become Overfinch) built their first high performance derivative.

During that time, their in house design and engineering departments have enjoyed a close working relationship with Land Rover, starting with the development of the first ever automatic Range Rover and notably including a Paris Dakar win on behalf of Land Rover France in 1981. Overfinch are the only company in the world building bespoke Range Rovers as their sole business.

Holland & Holland are bespoke sporting gun and rifle makers, founded in London in 1835 by Harris Holland, who was later joined by his nephew Henry to create the eponymous brand. They are the most famous gun makers in the world, being the first choice of virtually every royal family and are holders of royal warrants from HRH the Duke of Edinburgh and HRH the Prince of Wales.

Holland & Holland’s factory on the Harrow Road was purpose built for them over a hundred years ago and is home to a quality of time-honoured craftsmanship virtually unique in the twenty first century. Skills are often handed down from father to son but, despite that, it takes five years of training to become and Holland & Holland craftsman.

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9 July 2009

  • New, refreshed Jimny introduced to the Suzuki range
  • Upgraded part leather interior, new rear window privacy glass
  • Available for £10,990 on-the-road inclusive of metallic paint

Suzuki GB is pleased to announce the introduction of the new higher specification Jimny SZ4 to the range. The Jimny is an established model in the Suzuki line-up and is a genuine off-roader with push-button selectable four-wheel drive.

The Jimny has a revised interior and exterior and the new model features – at no extra cost - new design 15-inch alloy wheels, rear window privacy glass, upgraded part leather upholstery and two-tone black and silver roof rails.

Jimny has a neat and practical look and since sales began in 1998, it has accumulated a loyal following of repeat customers who enjoy a quirky alternative to a supermini or crossover SUV. The Jimny exceeds expectations off road whilst still being more than capable in any urban area, ideal for customers who want the best of both worlds. All this is available for £10,990 on the road (inclusive of metallic paint).

The Jimny is available in four eye-catching colours:
Twilight Purple Pearl Metallic
Graphite Grey Pearl Metallic
Bluish Black Pearl Metallic*
Nocturne Blue Pearl Metallic*
*Two-tone with Graphite Gray Pearl Metallic

The engine and transmission options on the revised Jimny remain unchanged; a 1.3-litre petrol engine with variable valve timing. Fuel consumption on the combined cycle is 39.2mpg (manual model) and CO2 emissions stay at 171g/km, making the Jimny one of the least polluting SUVs in its class on sale today.

Commenting on the latest addition to the Suzuki range, Rob Lake, Product Manager commented: “The Jimny is a youthful, energetic and agile car. It can go places off-road that many other SUVs can’t, making it a perfect choice for people who want to find their adventurous side but still need to get comfortably from A to B. It is compact in size and affordable in these difficult economic times.”

To find out more about the Suzuki automobiles range, visit www.suzuki4.co.uk.

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BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/AKM2 - The second generation of the legendary off-road tyre

BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/AKM27 July 2009
BFGoodrich has launched the second generation of its celebrated 4x4 off-road tyre, the Mud Terrain T/AKM2, in Europe. The new tyre is replacing the BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/AKM, which is both the market leader in the off-road category and the spearhead of the BFGoodrich brand in Europe.

During the design phase, engineers focused on producing a tyre capable of overcoming all obstacles on harsh, uneven, muddy and rocky surfaces, which is why robustness was their top priority. To ensure exceptional strength and endurance, three technologies have been incorporated into the BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/AKM2 – aggressive sidewall lugs, cut and chip-resistant sidewall compounds, and stronger sidewall cords. These three technical features have already proven their effectiveness on the most successful tyre in the history of extreme, off-road racing, the BFGoodrich Krawler TEK.

The sidewall cords of the BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/AKM2 are up to 33% stronger than those of the previous-generation tyre. The TriGard 3-ply casing also has stronger cords that significantly improve sidewall damage resistance. The tyre features thick lugs on the shoulders that extend onto the sidewalls. These provide the dual benefit of superior grip and enhanced protection and the new cut and chip-resistant rubber compound greatly reduces the risk of tears caused by sharp rocks.

Delivering enhanced strength, damage resistance and grip, the new BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/AKM2 provides off-road drivers with outstanding performance regardless of surface conditions. It will be available in16 sizes in 15, 16 and 17 inch diameters for tyre widths from 215 to 305 mm, in 85 to 70 series aspect ratios and with a Q speed symbol. The M+S marking on the sidewalls indicates that the tyre has been approved for use in mud and snow.

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Discovery 4 pricesGaydon, Warwickshire, 3 July 2009
Land Rover today announces prices for the new 2010 Range Rover Sport and the new Discovery 4 – on sale in the UK from September 1.

The significantly revised and updated models feature new refined and powerful engines, completely redesigned interiors and a host of new technologies – all of which ensure greater customer value. The pricing structure will reflect the increase in the level of specification over the predecessor 2009 MY products.

New pricing is as follows:





3.0-litre TDV6




19" 15-spoke alloy wheels, 'Jupiter' finish front grille and side vents, LED front side lights and rear tail lights, Dynamic Stability Control, diesel misfuel protection device, touch-screen hard-disc drive navigation with 4x4 interface TMC and voice control, 9 speaker harman/kardon® audio system, iPod/USB connectivity module, Bluetooth phone system, 5" TFT information display, keyless push button start, leather seat facings.



20" 15-spoke alloy wheels, metallic paint, rear view camera with parking aid, front park distance control, keyless entry, dynamic response, leather/Alcantara seat facings, DAB radio, interior 'mood' lighting, lower centre console cooler box.


3.6-litre TDV8




3.6 litre TDV8 engine, 20" 15 spoke diamond turned alloy wheels, 'Titan' (bright) finish front grille and side vents, Adaptive Dynamics including new Dynamic mode on Terrain Response®, Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control with forward alert, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, Automatic High Beam Assist. 


5.0-litre V8 S/C




5.0 litre Supercharged V8 petrol engine, high performance brakes, 20" 5-spoke alloy wheels, chrome exhaust finisher, premium leather seats with perforations and optional contrast stitch.






2.7-litre TDV6




6-speed manual transmission, 18" alloy wheels, LED front side lights and rear tail lights, 4-corner independent air suspension, Terrain Response®, Dynamic Stability Control with Trailer Stability Assist,  Roll Stability Control, Bluetooth phone system, diesel misfuel protection device, 7 seats, 5" TFT information display, keyless push button start, cloth seat facings.


3.0-litre TDV6




3.0 litre TDV6 engine, 19" 7-spoke alloy wheels, 6-speed adaptive automatic transmission featuring CommandShift.



Cruise Control, Front Park Distance Control, front foglamps, automatic headlights, rain sensing windscreen wipers,  leather seats with manual adjustment, heated front seats, 9 speaker harman/kardon® audio system, touch-screen hard-disc drive navigation, iPod/USB connectivity module, roof rails.



19" 7-split spoke alloy wheels, Automatic High Beam Assist, Bi-xenon front headlamps, rear view camera with parking aid, keyless entry, electric front sunroof with 2 fixed glass rear 'alpine' roofs, premium 'Windsor' leather seat facings, premium carpet mats, wood finish end caps and centre console uprights,  8-way adjustable electric driver and passenger seats, electrically adjustable side bolsters for driver's seat, keyless entry, harman/kardon premium audio system with 14 speakers and DSP amplifier, premium hard-disc drive navigation with TMC 4x4 interface and voice control.


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The new BMW X1

The new BMW X12 July 2009

  • BMW’s first compact Sports Activity Vehicle
  • BMW’s first X model with Auto Start-Stop function as part of EfficientDynamics technologies
  • Choice of two- and four-wheel drive power

BMW created a new vehicle segment a decade ago when it launched the X5. That vehicle received critical acclaim at its launch and continues to this day as a market leader with 1.5million sold worldwide. The popular X3 followed in 2004 and the X6 spawned a new niche in 2008. Now BMW is poised to introduce the next derivative of the X model line-up with the X1.

The new BMW X1 takes its key styling cues and practicality from the X5 but shrinks it into a more compact and affordable package. The vehicle’s elegant lines and command driving position echo its larger stablemate, while the five-seat configuration and 1,350-litre boot space provide outstanding load-lugging capability. Power comes from a choice of three diesel engines and, for the first time on a BMW X product, the option to have rear-wheel drive (sDrive) or four-wheel drive (xDrive).




Torque   Nm

0–62mph Seconds

Top Speed mph


CO2 Emissionsg/km

BMW X1 sDrive18d SE








BMW X1 xDrive18d SE








BMW X1 sDrive20d SE








BMW X1 xDrive20d SE








BMW X1 xDrive23d SE









The dominance of diesel engines in other BMW SAVs, led BMW UK to decide only to offer diesel in the UK. The BMW sDrive18d and the xDrive18d feature four-cylinder powerplants with an all-aluminium crankcase and a single turbocharger with variable intake geometry. Third generation common-rail diesel technology ensures optimum combustion.

The 1,995cc engine produces 143hp while peak torque is 320Nm from 1,750rpm through to 2,500rpm. This equates to a zero to 62mph time of 9.6 seconds and a top speed of 124mph for the rear-wheel drive X1 sDrive18d SE. The X1 xDrive18d SE posts figures of 10.1 seconds and a 121mph top speed. Both models are exceptionally fuel efficient, capable of 54.3mpg and 49.6mpg on the combined cycle respectively. The engine is EU5 rated and records 136g/km and 150g/km CO2 emissions.

Offering a higher outright performance, the BMW sDrive20d SE and xDrive20d SE are also offered. Powered by the same 1,995cc engine but in a higher state of tune, these two models up the ante offering 177hp and 350Nm from 1,750rpm to 3,000rpm. This results in improved performance figures with zero to 62mph attained in 8.1 seconds (8.4 for the xDrive20d) and a top speed of 127mph.

As the flagship model the BMW xDrive23d SE is offered only as a four-wheel drive variant. Still using a 2.0-litre engine, albeit with twin-turbocharger technology, this International Engine of the Year category winner provides rapid performance that defies the model’s Sports Activity Vehicle position. The 204hp engine accelerates the X1 to 62mph in just 7.3 seconds. The near flat torque curve with a peak output of 400Nm from 2,000rpm to 2,250rpm permits effortless overtaking. The xDrive23d SE is an EU5 rated vehicle that records 44.8mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 167g/km.

Most BMW X1s come as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. However, buyers of the xDrive23d have a six-speed Sport automatic gearbox with gear change paddles located a finger tip away from the steering wheel for sporty changes.

Auto Start-Stop for greater fuel efficiency
EfficientDynamics plays a part in the BMW X1 story with the introduction of Auto Start-Stop technology on an X product for the first time. Available on all manual transmission cars the system improves fuel consumption figures. The BMW X1 also has the full suite of EfficientDynmamics technologies including Brake Energy Regeneration, optimised aerodynamics, optimum shift indicator and on-demand use of ancillary units to name a few.

The design of the new BMW X1 is stylish and sporting yet practical. Sleek lines blend into flared wheel arches to underscore the car’s dynamic capabilities as does the tapered roof line and wide track. Short overhangs front and rear, typical of every BMW, ensure the best basis for optimum handling. The profile of the car belies an interior space that sees five adults seated comfortably along with their luggage.

Inside, and all the main controls and dashboard displays are angled towards the driver. A range of storage compartments, trays and large door pockets provide a variety of places to keep personal effects. An owner that specifies one of the two available satellite navigation systems featuring the latest iDrive display, controller and Favourite Buttons gains a slightly revised interior layout to accommodate the system. The interior of the BMW X1 can be further enhanced by opting for the new Design package. This sees Sport seats in Oyster Nevada leather, Anthracite headlining and Fineline Wave wood trim. The Oyster theme continuing to the lower part of the dashboard, all of the centre console and leather piping on the floor mats.

The BMW X1 goes on sale in the UK on 24 October, 2009 with the sDrive18d and xDrive18d variants following in December.

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The new Volkswagen pickup, showcased as a concept last year and due to be launched in Europe in 2010, is to be called the Amarok. The new name means ‘wolf’ in the language of the Inuit, one of the Eskimo people who live in northern Canada and Greenland who highly regard the wolf as king of the wilderness and a figure of robustness, endurance and superiority. It translates into ‘he loves stones’ in the languages spoken in South America.

‘This name fits the characteristics of our pickup perfectly, which will set new standards in its class,’ says Stephan Schaller, CEO of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. ‘We took great care selecting this name, which can be used globally and is meant to invoke positive associations in all relevant international markets. The Amarok is a powerful and robust vehicle with great stamina – just like the wolf,’ he continued.

Developed from scratch, the Amarok will be launched as a double-cab pickup with four-wheel drive, while a single-cab version will be introduced later. It will be powered by Volkswagen’s powerful yet efficient, next generation common rail turbo diesel engines which will achieve class leading fuel consumption and emissions.

The Amarok is an important new model in the strategic growth plans for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and will be produced at its Pacheco plant near Buenos Aires in Argentina. It will be launched first in South America in early 2010, followed by Central America in Spring 2010, then Russia and Europe in the summer, as well as Africa and Australia. Prices, specifications and on-sale dates for the UK will be announced next year.

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Honda (UK)'s CR-V is storming the SUV sales tables this year, proving once again, 'not all 4x4s are the same'. Sales are up 48 per cent on its nearest competitor, proving the British-built model is still capable of bucking the trend three-years after it was launched. This year, 6,531 units of the well-equipped CR-V have been sold, boosted by a range of robust finance packages and a complimentary redundancy payment protection plan that provides added security for customers.

Honda is offering an array of finance options including 0% APR, low deposit and low monthly repayments at 4.9% APR plus savings of up to £3,100 off diesel CR-Vs. All CR-Vs purchased with Honda Finance benefit from complimentary redundancy payment protection which covers the customer’s monthly payments if they are made redundant for more than three months.

Not all SUVs are the same. Honda’s 2.2-litre i-CTDi diesel engine is the most popular CR-V derivative, making up around 75 per cent of total CR-V sales this year. It boasts excellent fuel economy of 43.5mpg and lower CO2 emissions than many competitor models, yet its torquey engine still cracks 0-62mph in 10.3 seconds. With plentiful interior and luggage space, great driving position and car-like, agile handling, the CR-V remains a favourite with many customers.

The CR-V diesel range starts from £17,995 on-the-road, with spring campaign savings available until 30 June 09. Diesel EX models also benefit from a reduced on-the-road price. Starting at £22,495 OTR they are equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats, DVD Satellite Navigation with Bluetooth Hands-Free technology (HFT), privacy glass, panoramic glass roof and rear parking camera as standard. Honda’s advanced safety technology such as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) can be specified as an option on EX models too.

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2 June 2009
DETROIT, June 2, 2009 – General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), announced it has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a buyer for HUMMER, its premium off-road brand. This transaction is the result of GM's strategic review of the HUMMER brand and the company’s ongoing restructuring efforts. The sale is expected to close by the end of third quarter of this year and is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of applicable regulatory approvals.

The deal is expected to secure more than 3,000 U.S. jobs in manufacturing, engineering and at HUMMER dealerships around the country. The transaction also includes plans by the investor to aggressively fund future HUMMER product programs. Under terms of the MoU, the identity of the purchaser and proposed financial terms of the agreement are not being released at this time.

“HUMMER is a strong brand,” said Troy Clarke, President of GM North America. "I’m confident that HUMMER will thrive globally under its new ownership. And for GM, this sale continues to accelerate the reinvention of GM into a leaner, more focused, and more cost-competitive automaker."

As part of the proposed transaction, HUMMER will continue to contract vehicle manufacturing and business services from GM during a defined transitional time period. For example, under the proposed agreement, GM’s Shreveport Assembly plant would continue to contract assemble the H3 and H3T through at least 2010. "GM has developed HUMMER into a globally recognized off-road brand,” said James Taylor, HUMMER chief executive officer. “The proposed agreement will enable us to continue that growth and maximize the brand’s potential through new, innovative off-road vehicles with improved efficiency and alternative fuel powertrains. Today’s announcement is great news for HUMMER’s current and future customers, dealers, suppliers and employees around the globe.”

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From today, all Defender 110 Station Wagons featuring the Utility Pack will gain a classification change from M1 passenger carrying to N1 Light Commercial Vehicle. With a payload capability in excess of 1,000kg, the Defender 110 Utility Wagon also meets requirements to be classified as a light goods vehicle for VAT purposes should the usage be commercial.

The Utility Pack, which is a no cost option available on all three trim levels – base, County and XS – replaces the rear side windows of the standard station wagon with panelled sides, providing a secure load space area whilst still maintaining seating for five people. Customers purchasing a Defender 110 Utility Wagon for commercial requirements can benefit from VAT reclaim, Benefit in Kind tax capped at £3000 for light commercial vehicles and an LCV rate of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) – £185 from May 1, 2009.

John Edwards, UK managing director, Land Rover said: 'The change in classification for the Defender 110 Utility wagon provides our business customers with a more flexible and cost-effective alternative to other double cabs. The Utility pack ensures a more secure load space whilst not affecting the vehicle's ability to transport five people comfortably – making it an ideal workhorse.'

Prices for the Utility Wagon will start from £23,970.00 OTR (£20,874.78 exc. 15% VAT but including VED and £55 registration fee). For more information on the Land Rover Defender 110 Utility Wagon, to book a test drive or to locate your local Land Rover dealership please log onto www.landrover.co.uk

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Latest BCA Report shows used prices of gas guzzlers are back in favour – has the weather had anything to do with it?

As the snow continues to fall in some parts of the UK, leading vehicle auction specialist, BCA (British Car Auctions) has released a report showing that gas-guzzling 4x4s are back in favour with buyers. Average sales prices for four wheel drives have improved for six months in a row and despite the downturn in the new 4x4 market, used 4x4 values are now at the same level they were a year ago.

“With increased fuel prices and the threat of government taxes to deter motorists from choosing bigger vehicles, there was a real expectation that there would be a significant downturn in sales and values for four wheel drives”, confirmed Tim Naylor, PR Manager, BCA. “And initially that view was well-founded as average values fell by over £2,000 in a matter of weeks, with many dealers only buying these vehicles to order and even refusing to take them in part-exchange. But as fuel prices began to drop, many motorists realised what exceptional value for money these vehicles had become and there was increased demand and a steady up-swing in prices.

“The prospects are looking positive for these vehicles early in 2009 too! In January, the average value for a four year old vehicle at 50,000 miles was £8,566, showing a small increase over December’s figure and just behind the peak values recorded last year. And if the snowy weather of the past few days has taught us anything, it’s that it’s hard to beat the pulling power or sure-footedness of a proper off-roader when the going gets tough. With that in mind it will be interesting to see if values improve yet again in February.”

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