Monthly Archives: March 2012

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4x4newsMarchThe Race2Recovery team, comprised primarily of injured British servicemen, has achieved what can only be described as an extraordinary result on its international rally raid debut. Both of the team’s Qt Wildcats finished the eight-day event and in the process, claimed a stage win for each competing member of the team.

The Tuareg Rally returned to Spain on the final day for a short special stage running through a dried river gorge to the finish of the event in Mojacar. However, during the course of the event, the crews had faced almost every conceivable terrain when it comes to Rally Raid racing, including harsh, rocky gravel tracks, wet and muddy roads washed away by heavy rain and of course, the sand dunes of the Sahara desert.

AprProdRearMore and more new 4x4s are arriving with rear view cameras fitted as standard. The bigger the vehicle, the more useful these cameras become. Indeed, reverse parking the Editor’s Hilux underlines the fact that, especially for pick-ups, it is very difficult to see what is behind you, low to the ground. There is now and aftermarket option available that, despite the product name, comes from the British company, Bierley. The new AmeriCam Reverse Camera can be installed to any vehicle in around 30 minutes. It includes a small flush-fitting camera to the rear bumper, linked to a slimline 3.5inc LCD screen that can be positioned wherever suitable inside your vehicle. The camera is waterproof (IP68 rated) and is certainly very subtle. AmeriCam retails at around £200 including fitting which seems pretty reasonable for this aftermarket addition that is often listed as a ‘luxury’ option on new 4x4s. You could also save by fitting the system yourself. For more details, and to see your nearest dealership, go to www.americam.co.uk

AprNewsEastnorTHIS YEAR WILL see a brand new Land Rover Show at Eastnor Castle. Timed to celebrate 50 years of engineering heritage, the Show will be held over the weekend of 25/26th August. All the usual club stands are expected to be there, together with a retail village and autojumble.

There will also be a Live Action Arena, hosted by the incomparable Diana Tigwell – if there’s a more enthusiastic 4×4 mistress of ceremonies, we’ve not heard of them! There will also be a Restoration Zone, which will include features and demonstrations on restoration and maintenance. Land Rover Experience will be opening up its off-road course, and you will be able to drive the course – as part of a supervised convoy.

AprProdLEDThe comprehensive range of Aroura Light Bars are now available from Devon 4×4. They stretch from a tiny four inches to a massive 50 inches! Claimed to have the virtually indestructable Lexan lens, fully waterproofed (rated at IP68), these light bars are suberbly suited to off-road use. Prices start from £130.80 (inc VAT). To find out more, contact the guys at Devon 4×4. www.devon4x4.com.

AprNewsArdenTHE GERMAN TUNING and modification company Arden Automobilbau Gmbh has a reputation for working over British vehicles, and so it’s no surprise that their designers have taken the Evoque as the company’s next project. Arden already does a number of conversions on both Jaguar and Range Rovers, as well as BMW’s Mini, so the Evoque was a logical next choice.

As we have seen elsewhere, the first decision has been to lower the suspension, by some 30mm, giving the vehicle an impressive road stance. Cosmetically Arden has changed the plastic body inserts and replaced them with stainless steel mesh grilles, which the company claims gives the vehicle a more luxurious appearance.

AprNewsJukeIT’S ALL BLACK AND WHITE in the Nissan Juke range; the Kuro (which is the Japanese for black) is to be replaced with the Shiro (which means white). It’s all about the detailing and the Shiro has unique white interior detailing including the centre console “inspired by the shape of a motorcycle fuel tank”, with white door surrounds.

The top of the range Juke also comes with 17in alloy wheels and has a special Shiro body colour called Nightshade, which is a deep aubergine. The new model is available from March and with all other Jukes is built at Nissan’s Sunderland manufacturing plant.

AprNewsPorschePORSCHE HAS NOW confirmed that the name of its new SUV is to be the Macan. The name is actually Indonesian for tiger and, “combines suppleness, power, fascination and dynamics – core characteristics of this new all-terrain car”. Ignoring for a moment exactly what planet marketing departments are populated from, the Macan is an important new model for Porsche.

The success of the Cayenne, which has been a surprise to some industry commentators, has shown the German company that this is an area it needs to develop further. The Macan will come off the production lines at a newly developed plant in Leipzig; a production facility that is benefitting from a 500 million Euro investment and is one of the biggest building projects in Porsche’s history. Production is due to start in 2013.

AprNewsEvoqueWHEN YOU CONSIDER that original four-wheel drive vehicles were open-topped, convertibles even, it’s interesting that there are so few such models on the market these days. It all started with ‘jeep’ 4x4s, and it is really only Jeep (the manufacturer) that still offers full open-topped off-roading with the Wrangler. Even Suzuki gave up a few years ago when first the SJ, and then the Vitara stopped producing wind-in-the-hair versions. Are times about to change, we wonder?

News comes that Land Rover is unveiling a convertible version of the Evoque at this year’s Geneva Motor Show and this will be alongside a revitalised SsangYong which will also have a concept 4×4 on display, and it too, is a convertible. Initial promotional pictures of the SsangYong XIV-2 are understandably ‘dark and moody’, but it’s clear that the vehicle will have a full length folding roof.

AprNewsShogunThis March, Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi will unveil a new model, which, although not expected to be a 4×4, could herald the potential for a new Shogun model in the next couple of years. The company’s “Jump 2013” campaign is a completely new design philosophy and will be unveiled at this year’s Geneva Show. Hopefully it will herald plans for a new Shogun which, even the most passionate owner must admit, is beginning to look a little long in the tooth and is falling behind its rivals not just in terms of looks, but also some of the electronic devices now available on a lot of other premium 4x4s. Here’s hoping.