Monthly Archives: December 2012

Jimny crackerDetails have been released of the 2013 Suzuki Jimny. Amazingly, 2013 will be the 43rd Anniversary of Suzuki’s first ever SUV. It’s great that the Jimny remains on the model range, standing as it does as the only small, budget SUV available in the UK with serious off-road ability – something that is recognised by an estimated 20,000 loyal owners in the UK. Design revisions for the latest model include new front bumper and grille design, new bonnet shape to incorporate a central air intake and repositioned front fog lamps. New fabric seat trim is available inside for the SZ3, with new head rest design and ISOFIX child seat mountings as standard. A new Breeze Blue metallic paint is a £399 option. We, perhaps, would have liked to see some extra oomph being added to the 1.3-litre engine, but that remains at 85bhp and 81lb ft of torque. Motorway journeys are something of a trial for the little Jimny, which truly bursts into life the minute you take it off-road. Great to see Suzuki will continue to produce the model.

Suzuki dealers offer owners a new winter tyre promotion with prices claimed to be 10 per cent lower than last winter, with storage facilities also available to look after your ‘summer’ tyres. For a Jimny, prices are around £169 each, and for the Grand Vitara £199.

BedsliderFor many owner operators, their pick-up is a very specialist vehicle. It is not just a big load area where you can randomly ‘throw’ all tools or products in the back. The Bedslide, available from Auto Styling, is a great way to load and unload your truck and it turns the bed into a sliding floor, allowing you to get goods from the back of the load bed without having to climb in – murder on the knees! The Bedslide 1000 is a sleek and stylish option from the people who really know about pick-ups, Auto Styling. It costs £675 (plus VAT) and can be found on the excellent Auto Styling website www.autostylinguk.com. You can call them on 0845 833 1101 to get a free catalogue, which is very cleverly produced so it can concentrate on your particular model of pick-up. Yep, the Editor already has a Hilux catalogue on his desk!

Wheels, tyres and liftsWhen it comes to Japanese vehicles, the guys at Milner Off Road have been in business since 1981, so if it’s a Jap truck that you own, this is a good place to start. To meet the coming winter season, Milner does a wheel and tyre package, various sizes and tyre options, and prices start from a very reasonable £375 (plus VAT). Give them a call to see what they advise. Of course, should you want to fit larger, oversize wheels, then you’ll be needing a body lift kit. Milner kits contain aluminium spacers and all the hardware to lift the body from the chassis 1.5in, retaining the centre of gravity, and without having to modify any other parts on the vehicle. Such a modification could also lead you to consider fitting manual freewheeling hubs. For many, manual hubs are a better option – less to go wrong – while also saving fuel and wear on the axles. Milner freewheeling manual hubs are available from £38 (plus VAT). The comprehensive website can be found at www.milneroffroad.com, you can email your query on [email protected] or be more traditional and call for a chat (remembering to say you read about it in this magazine!) on 01629 734411.

Flagship CayenneTHE MOST POWERFUL Porsche Cayenne ever is now available. The twin-turbocharged engined Cayenne Turbo S has a 10 per cent power lift over the previous model, rising to a stunning 550bhp, with the torque boosted from a ‘meagre’ 700Nm to a far more acceptable 750Nm…  Wow. This helps push the Cayenne’s performance to a 0-62mph in a sports car embarrassing 4.5 seconds and a potential top speed of 175mph. Why? Because you can. When you consider that the NEDC fuel consumption is 24.6mph it’s obviously a highly efficient engine, even if those lucky owners who can afford the £107,460 price tag are probably not that bothered. After all, who would buy a 550bhp 4×4 for its fuel economy? Exterior change include highlights to the air inlet grilles, headlight housings and mirrors, which are now, black matt. Inside there are new leather options and colours including Carrera Red and Black/Luxor Beige. Understandably for a prestige vehicle like this, it is fitted with the Porsche Vehicle Tracking System a very sophisticated system that has the approved Thatcham Category 5 standard. Buy a new Cayenne Turbo S and you also get a complimentary course at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone.

G-Class for 2025?If you think the pictures here look rather like something from a futurist Mad Max/Judge Dredd science fiction film, then you are probably not far from the truth. This is the result of the Los Angeles Design Challenge to find a ‘Highway Patrol Vehicle 2025’ and is the Mercedes-Benz entry, rather awkwardly called the Ener-G-Force. According to Gorden Wagener, Director of Design at Mercedes-Benz Cars: “The Ener-G-Force is the vision of an off-roader that, while reflecting tomorrow’s adventures, also invokes the genes of the Mercedes-Benz off-road icon, the G model. Modern and cool, it could also be a clue about a new beginning for the off-road design idiom of Mercedes-Benz.” It seems that the competition fired up the guys at Mercedes-Benz in such a way that they also decided to produce a ‘civilian’ version, which is what you see here. Given the slab-sided, box-like, shape of the original iconic G-Wagon, it’s fair to say that this is a significant departure. As design studies go, it is certainly radical, according to the details released by Mercedes: “The Ener-G-Force stores recycled water in tanks on the roof, and transfers it to the ‘hydro-tech converter’, where natural and renewable resources are converted into hydrogen for operating the fuel cells. The storage units for the electricity generated in this process are housed easily accessible in the striking side skirts. The Ener-G-Force emits nothing but water, has an operating range of about 800 kilometres and as a result truly is a green car. Four wheel-hub motors, whose output for each individual wheel is adapted precisely to the respective terrain by high-performance electronics, provide the pulling power.”

DakarThe Race2Recovery team of wounded soldiers planning to enter the 2013 Dakar Rally have been conducting extensive desert testing in Morocco, with help from Land Rover. The Team has completed over 2000kms of driving over a variety of difficult terrain to hone their skills in preparation for the Dakar. Three Land Rover 110 diesels were used for the training programme, which included negotiating boulder fields, wadis, sand seas and razor dunes. Speaking from the Atlas Mountains on the exercise’s final day, Captain Tony Harris commented: “Our four days of training in Morocco have been incredibly productive and will prove invaluable in preparing the team for the rigours of the 2013 Dakar. Driving more than 500km per day in temperatures up to 37 degrees and over 2000 metre high peaks en-route to the desert, with rough camping alongside our vehicles for three nights, enabled our team members to experience this unforgiving and demanding environment and develop essential skills for ensuring success on next year’s Dakar rally.”

Screen shot 2012-04-05 at 15.17.51Robert Pepper

Land Rover Discovery 3This month has been a rather typical month for the Discovery – a 4×4 trip or two, the usual mundane school runs, shopping and personal transport duties. We went for a snow run after keeping a close eye on the snow reports, which promised much so we dropped everything and bundled into the orange beast, aiming to get at least 1100m above sea level. In good years, snow is found from 800m upwards and most seasons you can generally run into it from around 1000m. But this year it was slim pickings, as the photographs show.

The D3 does this sort of medium trip very well, as the drive to the snow mountains is around two hours and includes some very twisty and often wet tarmac, then off-road onto dirt tracks that are relatively high speed but still require clearance and traction. So all was good, except one of the D3’s major design faults and that is the park brake. For off-roaders it is the most troublesome part of the car, bar none, and that is because it is prone to clogging with mud or sometimes dust and dirt. Given the Discovery was developed in England, land of the long muddy green lane, it’s a bizarre design and even worse, it’s been carried over into the D4 when it should have been carried over to the rubbish bin. On this particular trip the activator light just lit up over corrugations, not activating the brake, but irritating. Yet another clean is in order. Why, oh why did they make it this way?

Range extends to the MaxYou can read how the vastly improved 2012 Isuzu D-Max pick-up truck fared in our Pick-up Of The Year test starting on page 46, but Isuzu hasn’t stopped at improving the outgoing Rodeo this year, having just announced the introduction of two new body styles to join the range for the very first time in the UK. And it has also confirmed a four-star Euro NCAP safety rating, writes Hils Everitt.
The utility and construction sectors should be rubbing their hands with glee as they now have the choice of a Single Cab and Extended Cab, alongside the familiar double cab, with a safety rating to please fleet managers; combined with the new body styles, this may grant the D-Max even more clout in the sector.

Prices start from £16,249 (plus VAT) for the new single cab (4×4), which boasts a payload of 1136kg and you’ll get 38.2mpg out of it on the combined cycle. The extended cab is only available as a 4×4 and starts from £16,749 (plus VAT) with a 1085kg payload. Like the Double Cab they’ll both tow 3000kgs and offer the excellent 30° approach angle. Due to customer demand the new trucks come with a utilitarian bent with steel wheels, fabric seats, vinyl floor, plastic bumpers, door handles and grille for easy cleaning, maintenance and repair.

Made In ChinaRumoured for some time, Jaguar Land Rover has now announced that it will build 4x4s in China, probably the most significant global motor manufacturing deal for many years

Evoques and Freelanders will, it seems, be built in China with the announcement from Jaguar Land Rover and Chery Automobile Company that they have signed a joint venture to build a new production facility in Changshu, near Shanghai. Rumours of such a deal have been circulating for some time, the deal having now been given the official thumbs up from the Chinese Government, a necessary signature of approval needed for such a massive deal to go through. The multi-million pound project will include a new research and development centre and engine production facility as well as the vehicle production plant. Actual details of what will be built have yet to be announced by JLR, but the China Car Times has reported that this 50:50 joint venture, ‘is likely to be limited to the highly popular Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Freelander models, although both are expected to be highly modified for the local Chinese market’. Modifications, which could therefore involve vehicles using Chinese components, even engines. It will also be interesting to see if Chinese components make their way into European built JLR models in the future.

Ranger rangeAs you would expect for such a top pick-up, there are some excellent new accessories coming to the market for the Ford Ranger. Tim Snowdon at 4x4at.com has told us about a new canopy, appropriately also designed by Ford Australia and built by Aeroklas. Twin-skinned, this ABS canopy is available with pop-out side windows, or solid sides. It costs £1199.99 (plus VAT), warranted for off-road use and comes with a three-year warranty. The guys at 4x4at.com also stock the famous Mountain top chequer plate lid for the Ranger. This durable and secure cover has now been tested in over 20 countries and is likely to be a big seller for the Ranger. You can get this from 4x4at.com for £875 (plus VAT). And for those serious about working their Ranger, 4x4at.com also has a tough recovery bumper, black powder-coated as standard, but can be colour-coded to the vehicle. They can be supplied with a 10,000lb winch. Prices start at around £700. All these, and many more accessories for all model pick-ups are available at www.4x4at.com. Check out the ad in the magazine, and give them a call on 01677 428797.