Monthly Archives: March 2013

New Jeep parts supplier Travall is a UK-based company that has become an official distributor of accessories from American Jeep and truck specialist, Bestop. Travall carries the entire Bestop range, from soft tops to bumpers, seats, windows, steps and tubular doors. A new website at www.bestop.co.uk, allows customers to select exactly which model Wrangler you have and then view and purchase suitable products. The service suits the latest models, as well as many older models. The company also says that the operation is supported by ‘a knowledgeable, multilingual customer service team’, so you can also try the ‘old fashioned’ way and actually telephone for more details. The UK telephone number is 0800 311 2175

New Forester pricing confirmedSubaru UK has confirmed On-The-Road prices for the all new Forester when it goes on sale in May. Prices will start at £24,995 for the 2.0D X, rising to £30,995 for the range topping 2.0i XT.

The new, fourth-generation Forester will build upon the model’s reputation as a go-anywhere, user-friendly SUV with improved performance, safety and efficiency and a more spacious and better appointed cabin. Subaru’s unique Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system remains at the heart of the Forester, while a low centre of gravity and improved body rigidity contribute to improved refinement and a typically engaging drive on the road.

The engine line-up will include 2.0-litre Boxer diesel and petrol units, while Subaru will return to its Forester roots with the introduction of a new 2.0-litre direct injection turbocharged petrol engine, producing 240ps. All the engines have significantly improved CO2 and economy figures over the outgoing model.

Ranger topsThe guys at Auto Styling have expanded their range of specialist pick-up truck tops with a new hard top for the latest Ford Ranger. The British-built Truckman Ford Ranger top has been specifically designed to support utility companies and fire and rescue services’ fleets of off-road and multipurpose vehicles. Offering extra secure storage, these tops also have large side access doors for racking and storage systems. The specifications include a double skin solid side door, extra deep drainage channels and solid double skin rear doors. All openings feature secure double slam locks. This top is also available for the Mitsubishi L200. The Ford Ranger top retails from £1695.54 (excluding VAT) and can be ordered from www.autostylinguk.co.uk

isuzuIsuzu pick-up sales have increased by 13.6 per cent over the same period in 2011 – the best half-year sales performance in the company’s UK history. Indeed, Isuzu sold 2028 units of D-Max models in the second half of 2012, which is a massive 89.7 per cent increase in sales over the same period in 2011.

Jaguar Land Rover has reported pre-tax profits of £404m for the three months to the end of December 2012. For fiscal year to date, Jaguar Land Rover reported pre-tax profits of £1.2bn, up 20 per cent compared to the same period last year. Can it get much better?

the iMATWe recently ran a full feature on the benefits of DIY Diagnostics (February issue) and it is certainly an area that we think will grow, especially with the competent DIY mechanic. Laser Tools has just announced a new diagnostic tool, the iMAT; this stands for Multi Application Tool and is a handheld diagnostic/service tool that uses downloadable apps. The tool is bought preloaded with a particular app (Diesel Particulate Filter service, or Electronic Park Brake service for example) and then when future apps are required the user simply connects via USB to his laptop and buys the suitable downloads straight onto the tool from the Laser Tools website. The vehicle application list is large and the downloaded apps are upgradeable when more vehicles are added to this list. Laser say it’s very easy to use, you simply follow the instructions displayed on the screen. Plugged in to the vehicle’s diagnostic socket, the tool connects to and works with the vehicle’s computer to carry out the particular task required. When a user has a specific need, then a quick connection via USB to the Internet and the new app is downloaded straight on to the iMAT. The RRP is £499, but as ever, it is worth shopping around for offers. The downloadable apps are £75 (plus VAT). For more details go to: www.lasertools.co.uk

R-Line Touareg arrivesA NEW UPMARKET version of the Touareg has been launched by Volkswagen. The Touareg R-Line adds extra equipment and R-Line styling cues, which together are apparently worth over £4000, but this is all available for £750 over the on the road price of the Touareg Altitude model. The Touareg R-Line has 20-inch ‘Tarragona’ alloy wheels with 275/45 R20 tyres, with new look front and rear bumpers and side skirts and R-Line badges on the front wings. Standard bi-xenon headlights with dynamic curve lighting are standard on the R-Line. The Touareg R-Line is available with an eight-speed automatic gearbox paired to a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine with either 200bhp, for £44,025, or 242bhp, for £45,645. Both prices are on the road. We have a Buyers Guide on the Volkswagen Touareg is on page 98 of this issue.

JCB phoneA lot of things have a tough time off-road, and a mobile phone is one such product. How many iPhones do you see with broken screens? If you need a phone outside, in a working environment, why not consider a JCB Toughphone. These original phones were launched in 2010 and now there’s a JCB Pro-Smart which features an Android 2.3 handset with full app capability, a 3.2inch HVGA touchscreen. It’s tough and waterproof and dustproof; probably won’t work if you bury it in the mud and drive over it, but it’s certainly going to survive a working day better than most. For more information about the JCB Toughphone range visit www.jcbphone.co.uk

aprnewsdogsFORMER ENGLAND rugby captain Lewis ‘mad dog’ Moody recently competed in the Yukon Arctic Ultra, claimed to be the toughest Ultra Marathon in the world. Moody was supported by Land Rover who provided a Freelander 2 to help with the training. Polar adventurer Alan Chambers MBE and Phil Wall, founder of HopeHIV, were also in the team, which raised money for the HopeHIV charity. The Marathon covered a 300+ mile trek across the Yukon in Canada, for eight days with temperatures dropping to minus 50degC, not so bad if they were doing it ‘in’ a Freelander, but Moody and his team had to pull their equipment and food on sledges. Unfortunately, Moody got frostbite in a little finger, and the rules of the competition meant he had to retire. All that macho stuff and let down by your little finger! Moody was gutted to have to retire, but has resolved to return next year. Mad dog, indeed.

WIN A HUMMER MOROCCO DRIVEFANCY DRIVING a Hummer for 1000 miles over the Atlas Mountains and through the sand dunes of the Sahara? If that’s the case (and who wouldn’t?) then it makes sense to enter the 2013 Conti 4×4 Trophy, and it makes sense to enter pretty sharpish. We ran a feature on the event last year from reader Josh Rice who was one of the lucky UK winners – well, it wasn’t all luck, it took some skill to win the driving and navigation qualifier event. The Conti 4×4 Trophy is surprisingly less known in the UK, last year saw entries being four times the number needed for the qualifier event which, as with last year, will take place at Land Rover Experience at Gaydon. Some 200 teams at Gaydon will be fighting for the 28-team places for the event itself. The event is a cleverly designed promotional campaign for both Continental customers and retail outlets.

Hils BlogA trip skiing in the Alps just proves that good 4x4s never die, they just keep on off-roading. And long may that continue

I’ve been ‘off-piste’ rather a lot lately; and by that I actually don’t mean off-road in our traditional sense, but mean hitting the snowy slopes, and the very snowy roads, of the French and Swiss Alps. I am an avid skier and spend a lot of time in mountains whether for work or pleasure. And, when I am in the mountains, I always take a keen look at what the locals are driving and how they cope with conditions.

Our recent bout of heavy snow here in the UK caused the usual chaos; roads shut, accidents everywhere and stupid people driving stupidly without thinking about what they are doing and displaying no common sense at all. A lot of people always say: ‘Well, we’re not used to it in this country as it only happens for a few days’. Yes, that’s all very well, although hardly a decent argument to excuse the terrible winter driving skills that many possess; and, anyway, the last few years have offered up bad winters with plenty of awful weather to get us used to the rubbish conditions.