This year’s CV Show was memorable as much for what was not there, as for what was. Hils Everitt reports
The most notable feature of this year’s show at the NEC Birmingham, from a 4×4 enthusiast’s point of view, was that there wasn’t one utility Land Rover Defender in sight. Yes, there were plenty of new Ford Rangers, one or two Mitsubishi L200s and Toyota Hiluxes and Isuzu Rodeos bedecked in various mods with impressive loadbed storage systems, but not one Solihull product. Actually that is a lie, there were a couple of standard Discovery 4s showing off lighting or tracking products and a Range Rover police car, but it generally felt that the utility sector had decided the Defender was not the sign of the future.
Spent a very wet Sunday morning at our local Toyota dealer this month. Why? Well, it’s time for a change, or rather more of the same as I have decided to change the RAV4. For what, you may wonder… well, for another RAV4! Having spent the last couple of decades living with the Editor of this magazine, I do get the chance to drive an awful lot of 4x4s, so perhaps you’d think I’m not being very imaginative! It’s easy to imagine being the owner of the sumptuous, effortless, powerful, beautiful Range Rover Sport that I drove recently, and I would love one, but sadly that cannot be on the list.
There was a time when the Range Rover’s crown was seriously under threat. Nigel Fryatt remembers the Mitsubishi Shogun and wonders why it never quite achieved its claim of being ‘King Off The Road”
For many, the Range Rover has been the top production 4×4 since its original launch. Such dewy-eyed devotion to the cause has been cemented by a blinkered view towards what has come to challenge. For this magazine, a ‘Press test’ Range Rover in the 1980s would underline many things; the RR was a superb on and off-road proposition, but build quality levels led much to be desired. Personal experience at the time of driving a number of test vehicles – which, surely should be the best built of the bunch – regularly resulted in dislodged walnut veneer trim, detachable rear view mirrors and assorted water leaks. Surely there was something that could knock the Range Rover from what seemed to be a very complacent throne. Back in the winter of 1983, this magazine dared to suggest that such a vehicle existed when we had our first experience of a Colt Shogun.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, the Range Rover Evoque was voted the Women’s World Car of the Year 2012, beating BMW, Jaguar and Porsche to first place. Audi’s Q3 came third. The jury is based on the votes of female motoring writers from 12 countries and yet again, the Evoque has beaten all before it. Looking at the number of female drivers you see behind the wheel of the new baby Range Rover, its popularity just seems to grow in every sector. One female fan includes Victoria Beckham who appears to have been involved in a collaboration with designer Gerry McGovern to produce the new Evoque Special Edition. Hand finished matt grey paint, 20inch gloss black forged alloy wheels and rose-gold detailing will be exclusive to the new Limited Edition. The interior has Vintage Tan leather, with ‘a bold baseball stitch, detail chosen by Victoria as a tongue-in-cheek reference to her sporting husband David’. There, and you thought he played football, didn’t you? A bespoke luggage set is also included – for those Posh designer dresses… The model initially goes on sale in China later this year. For those of us on Planet Earth, this all seems somewhat frivolous, but with ‘indicative pricing’ of a whooping £79,995, it will undoubtedly sell and is yet another success story in the life of the Evoque.
There’s a whole new range of SUVs on the way, dubbed the Super SUVs by the London-based ‘boutique luxury carmaker’ Eterniti, and the first in line is the Artemis – according to the company’s effusive press announcement. The Artemis will bring ‘the higher levels of luxury performance and exclusivity demanded by today’s wealthy buyers’, levels that have not, apparently, been available before. The Eterniti Artemis (which is something of a mouthful itself) will go into production later this year, and therefore before the other ‘Super SUVs’ from Bentley, Maserati and Lamborghini (see separate story), with models on sale by the autumn. Extra legroom in the rear allows for this vehicle to be chauffeured and as you would expect ‘only the finest’ leather, quilted undercarpets and boot trim, lambswool rugs, natural wood veneer (is there any other kind of wood?) and carbon fibre will make the interior a very luxurious place to be.
Up front, under the bonnet, is a twin-turbo 4.8-litre V8, with a claimed 600bhp and 750Nm (553lb ft) of torque offering a performance figure of 180mph. High speed on-road performance is obviously the aim, as the Artemis is being engineered by Alastair Macqueen who has three Le Mans wins to his name with Jaguar and Bentley, and the Eterniti test driver is former Grand Prix winner Johnny Herbert.
The size of the light stick is 545mm long and has six metres of cable complete with croc clips. It is manufactured of high strength Polycarbonate with a hanging bracket and rubber grips, great for getting light exactly where you need it for emergency as well as general usage. The wattage is 15 (12 volt) and has a current draw of 1.05 A/H. The National Luna Light Stick is priced at £42.92
Well, it sounded like a good idea at the time… Toby Savage shares the ups and downs of planning a big Desert Expedition in two genuine WW2 Jeeps. Just how do you get your off-roader into Africa if you cannot drive it there?
Like so many good ideas, our plan to take two Second World War Jeeps to Egypt started over a few beers. Three of us, Sam Watson, John Carroll and myself shared an interest in Jeeps, the desert and the exploits of The Long Range Desert Group. Sam’s Masters Degree had been based on their accomplishments, John and I owned Jeeps in various states of disrepair and I had visited a few LRDG sites out in Libya. As the beer flowed and the conversation moved up a few decibels, a plan was hatched and by the end of the evening we had it sealed and nothing was going to stop us!
In the cold light of day, hangovers being cured by a fry up, our enthusiasm remained intact, but exactly how were we to achieve our goal and why had nobody done it before? Similar trips had been done in newer 4x4s, but old Jeeps seemed to restrict their foreign travel to the beaches of Normandy. Of course, the logistics of getting two Jeeps to Egypt would be tricky, there would inevitably be a mountain of paperwork to complete and hoops to jump through – plus none of us owned a Jeep that actually worked!
Peugeot used the Beijing show to unveil its new Urban Crossover Concept vehicle, aimed at the B segment. The French company’s road car range includes some funky designs and this has been transferred to this crossover concept, including the aluminium spoiler and the double roof bubble that are reminiscent of the Peugeot RCZ Sports Coupe. Although initially a concept, the car will make its European debut at the Paris Motor Show this September when production details are likely to be announced. China was chosen since the French manufacturer has a strong affiliation with with its Dong Feng Peugeot set-up, sales within China having increased by 28% in the last year.
The overall size of the Eezi Awn awning is 2000mm x 2000mm x 2500mm and is manufactured of PVC fabric housed in compact lightweight anodised aluminium casings. It has an easy pull roll-up-torsion mechanism and attached adjustable rafter arms and support legs. Eezi Awning 2.5 metres is priced at £505.32
Goodyear has announced a new version of the company’s EfficientGrip tyre, specifically for SUV and 4×4 vehicles. The company estimates that the European SUV/4×4 market will reach ‘several million’ vehicles by 2014, which makes it a serious area for sales growth, hence the new range. This new launch also coincides with the new EU tyre labelling programme which is coming into play; all tyres made after July 2012 will have to have the new labelling system and from November this year, labelling will be mandatory for all EU member states. The labels will have ratings for each tyre covering, wet grip, noise and fuel efficiency. The Goodyear EfficientGrip tyre has performed very well in these areas, especially wet grip and is OE fitting for Range Rover Evoques. Goodyear now has an impressive 4×4 tyre range from these ‘normal’ 4×4 road tyres to the more extreme Wrangler Duratec tyres. This magazine was with Goodyear in Portugal this month testing the full range and will report on our findings in a future issue. The photograph here shows that the testing was indeed, a lot of fun!