Monthly Archives: December 2011

JanNewsRoomIf you, or someone in your family, is a keen ‘PC gamer’ then this is certainly for you. Off-Road Drive, from Lace Mamba Global, is the new version of an established off-road driving computer game. Cross-country driving in specially tuned 4x4s is the real challenge for determined and tough extreme sports drivers, while sitting on the sofa.

Apparently, “Off-Road Drive lets players participate in various international competitions never seen before in a video game. All virtual contests are the exact duplicates of the real ones, including various extreme driving and use of the rules established by the international auto sports federations.”

JanNewsEvoqueThe new Evoque is much in demand, and there’s already a waiting list but that doesn’t stop the tuning boys getting their hands on one. AmD tuning and Milltek have developed a performance package designed to give the Evoque driver a claimed increase of 40bhp on the 190bhp Evoque. More important than just pure power, they also alter the torque curve to give far more grunt in the lower rev range where it matters most, particularly if the vehicle will be used for towing.

The conversion also benefits from a Milltek exhaust system which is a larger bore than standard and also profiled better to hug the underside of the Evoque – it actually gives the vehicle slightly more ground clearance compared to the standard straight system.
Our sister magazine, Land Rover World, was lucky enough to get hold of the AmD Evoque for a few days and editor Simon Ward-Hastelow told us: “The increase in low down grunt and sheer responsiveness while driving is very welcome, even on a vehicle that was no slouch to begin with.”

JanProdWarmThis is the time of the year when the sensible advise is to keep a blanket in your vehicle ‘just in case’. Problems in bad weather get worse if, while you’re stuck, or waiting for traffic to clear, you get cold. Even more important for any children or older passengers. The new Cosy Pod could be a useful winter accessory. Cosy Pod is a blanket made from revolutionary thermal reflective material, apparently originally developed by NASA, called Flectalon. It effectively reflects infra-red back onto the person wrapped within the blanket, ensuring that the core temperature is maintained and that the Cosy Pod user feels warm and comfortable.

The Cosy Pod is priced at £59.99 and more details are available from: www.enviro-pod.co.uk

JanNewsDakarAs you read this, the 2012 Dakar will soon be underway. Without doubt, still the most significant of all the global Rally Raid off-road competitions, the Dakar started way back in 1977 when the enigmatic Frenchman Thierry Sabine dreamt up the idea to race across North Africa. All these years later, international politics – and the threat of bandits – has seen the Paris-Dakar become just the Dakar, and is now run through Argentina, Chile and Peru. For 2013, a British team is preparing a new Evoque for this gruelling event.

Excite Rally Raid claim to be Britain’s first professional Dakar team (don’t tell former F1 race team owner and powerboat racer Ted Toleman and his partner and former World Hot Rod champion Barry Lee, who competed in the event in both Range Rover and Metro 6R4 machines). Excite Rally raid are joining forces with RaBe Race Cars and the project is being managed by David Jones, and is obviously a very serious attempt. Intriguingly, the Evoque’s bonnet in these pictures is emblazoned with the words ‘Land Rover’ whereas the road cars are all Range Rovers. The vehicle will be something of a hybrid racer, however, as it is expected that RaBe will use a BMW turbocharged diesel engine – a proven Rally Raid unit.

JanNewsAwardJaguar Land Rover’s Range_e has won the 2011 Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Award for Automotive Innovation. This important award goes to a vehicle that is Land Rover’s first diesel-electric hybrid – and it wasn’t many years ago that those words would have been met with incredulous and bewildered looks by most 4×4 enthusiasts.

The Range_e is actually capable of 89g/km CO2 emissions and a staggering 85mpg of fuel economy, thanks to the combination of the TDV6 diesel engine, 69kW electric motor and 14.2kWh lithium-ion battery. And the bonus is that the battery can be recharged simply by plugging into a 240V power source.

JanNewsLalaSo, the campaign continues. And this time the stage was the Los Angeles Auto Show in the US. We can expect to be seeing the ‘new Defender’ DC100 and DC100 Sport at numerous high profile motor shows and publicity events over the coming year, as Jaguar Land Rover gauge public opinion, or merely convince public opinion (depending on your point of view) as to what should be the production version specification, and final design, of the replacement Defender. During this period, information will be drip-fed to the public, and every word spoken by Jaguar Land Rover executives will be scrutinised for any clues.

In Los Angeles, there was talk of selling the DC100 to the Third World (following in the footsteps of the original Land Rover) but this was matched by photo-shoots on the beach at Malibu… Third World? More another world. John Edwards, Jaguar Land Rover’s Global Brand Director, was reported speaking about ‘fine tuning’ the DC100, which would mean (as we believed from the off) that the company is pretty sure of the design, the specification and the plans for production and sale. Edwards also spoke of the DC100 being available in the US from around 2015. The present Defender hasn’t been sold in the US for around 15 years, as the aging design doesn’t meet the stringent US safety regulations, and the cost of modifications has always been prohibitive. He was also asked as to what vehicle he saw as the direct competitor, to which he replied the Jeep Wrangler – for its off-road abilities, if not its design sophistication – which means we will be able to continue with our Icons battle in future 4×4 Of The Year tests!

January 2012 Issue of 4×4 Magazine

JanBlogWelcome to a very special issue; known to all on the 4×4 team as, ‘the big one’. It’s our annual 4×4 Of The Year issue, when we get as many new models as possible together, in one place, put them through their paces, judge them scrupulously, and find a winner. So, what wins our 4×4 Of The Year 2012? I’ll let you enjoy the magazine first, so you can see how we came to our decision.

Of course, awards’ issues, ‘best ofs’ and ‘mega’ group tests are all the rage with motoring magazines these days, but there was a time when that wasn’t really the case and proudly, this magazine can justifiably confirm to be the first to ever look at matching up a group of 4x4s, and deciding which is best. I can confidently claim that because, back in March 1986, we were the ‘only’ 4×4 magazine on the shelves! Oh how times have changed. Our name for one, and 4×4 is somewhat shorter than Off Road and 4 Wheel Drive!

JanProdPumasAdd extra gauges or accessories on the latest Tdci dashboard with the Puma Pod from MUD-UK. Rather cleverly, the Puma Pod utilises the pen tray on top of the dashboard as a mounting location, and the curved profile of the Puma Pod has been designed to mirror the rounded contours of the dashboard while CAD trimming during manufacture ensures the Pod base accurately follows the profile of the dashboard surface. Available in two options; one with a pre-cut aperture to accept a six-gang Carling switch mount (switch mount also supplied) and the other with a blank moulding to allow the user to create their own preferred set-up for alternative switches and/or gauges.

Contact MUD-UK for more details and prices: www.mudstuff.co.uk

JanProdDemisterIt’s that time of the year that whenever you get into your 4×4, it’ll mist up! And for Defender owners that’s a difficult and daily experience. Good to hear then that at the recent Made in Wales Awards, hosted by James Naughtie, the Defender Demister was shortlisted along side major manufacturers such as GE Aviation (the ultimate winner). A great achievement which should give all Defender owners confidence to consider this product. Launched in September this year, it is already on sale across the world.

This retrofit side window demister for Land Rover 90/110 & Defender Models can be fitted in 30 seconds and costs £85 per pair including VAT and UK delivery. Available at www.defenderdemister.com.

JanProdSafetyIf you have a modified off-roader and take it away from the tarmac, carrying a decent fire extinguisher is common sense. We checked out with Devon 4×4 and were advised that AFFF extinguishers are ideal for use on solids such as paper, wood, plastic and flammable liquids such as paraffin, petrol, oil, diesel – all the things you find in a 4×4! These are often a minimum requirement on many competitive events; Devon 4×4 have a 2-litre extinguisher complete with mounting bracket, which can be recharged after use. CE and Kite marked this will comply with most fire fighting and motorsport regulations. Available at a very reasonable £32.63 including VAT. Worth thinking exactly where you position this item – don’t just throw it in the rear ‘somewhere’, make sure that it easy to grab in an emergency.