When the new Subaru Forester goes on sale in the UK this May, it will be the fourth-generation of the SUV and is expected to quickly become the Japanese brand’s most popular model. Last year, the Forester accounted for 170,000 sales globally – 27% of Subaru’s total sales – with 15,000 sold in Europe. Since the Forester was introduced in 1997, European sales in the SUV-C segment have increased eightfold.
There are six trim levels for buyers to choose from, all with a generous level of standard equipment: XE and XE Premium is available on all naturally-aspirated petrol models; X, XC and XC Premium on all diesel models; and XT, the highest specification, is standard on 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol versions of the new Forester. Lineartronic is available on XE and XE Premium models and is fitted as standard to XT versions.
It’s often the small things that make such a big difference. Get caught out at night in your vehicle and need a torch, and if you even have one, chances are the batteries are flat. This could be a simple, inexpensive answer. Ring has produced a rechargeable torch that simply slots into your cigarette light, or 12v socket. You can charge and remove, or even leave it in the socket as an additional interior light. The RRP is only £5.99. Pretty good value, don’t you agree?
A couple of new products from the guys at MUD UK. Firstly they have teamed up with LeafSeat brand to launch a new seat cover, designed for all Land Rover Defenders. The Defender LeafSeat seat cover design is unlike the traditional seat cover design, thanks to its hinged ‘Leaf’ feature that folds to shield the vehicle interior from becoming damaged or dirty and then folds down to trap the dirt/wet. The LeafSeat leaf movement allows either a clean or dirty seating surface to be presented in seconds giving instant and additional protection for the vehicles occupants no matter what they’re wearing or the state of the vehicle interior. LeafSeat is available to fit Defender front seats only and costs £53 (inc VAT) per seat.
After seat covers, we are now looking up to the new Defender roof console which creates useful storage space. The twin overhead storage bins are complimented by a central binnacle that can be used for mounting a single DIN accessory or a bank of switches. The console has a factory fit finish and installation does not involve removal or cutting of the headlining. It’s priced at £159 (inc VAT). The console, the seat covers and much more are all available by going to: www.mudstuff.
There’s a new face at Nene Overland as Chris Hill joins to add his comprehensive overland, expedition and special vehicle parts and equipment knowledge and experience. Chris has detailed experience on both Land Rover and all the more popular 4×4 trucks, particularly Jeep, Toyota and Ford.
This is the perfect fit for a company such as Nene Overland, who since 1988 has focused on 4×4 vehicle sales, specialist builds and equipment. If you are considering an overland vehicle build, or would just like some initial advice regarding a forthcoming project, then Chris is your man. You can contact him on [email protected] or call 01733 380687.
Not everyone’s favourite pastime, but after the winter we have just had, getting all the salt and grime off your beloved 4×4 is something of a must. The muck that ends up on your expensive alloy wheels can cause a lot of problems and so getting them clean is important. Britemax has a new ‘Grime Out’ degreaser which the company claims dissolves brake dust, engine grease, embedded dirt in rubber, bugs, tar, salt… It is said to be ideal for extremely dirty vehicles, and most importantly, it does not contain acids or heavy solvents and is fully biodegradable. Available at motor factor outlets the RRP is £10.99 for a 24oz bottle, or you can find your nearest stockist by going to: www.britemax.co.uk
GIVEN THAT TOYOTA’S Hilux sometimes gets a ‘bad press’ for its towing ability, it’s amusing to see exactly what it can do when pushed. Or pulled… This picture shows a Sainsbury’s truck failing to move when the recent snowy conditions hit East Sussex. The Hilux was supplied by SLM Motors of Uckfield and it successfully pulled the truck – which can weigh up to 44 tons – up the incline and therefore allowed both it, and all the other traffic to go about their business. The publication of this picture and reporting of this incident has nothing to do with the fact that the Editor of this magazine is a very proud owner of a Toyota Hilux pick-up…
Buying a ‘new’ second-hand 4×4 is always daunting, yet as I open the first of two service books in the neatly presented folder and survey the almost spotless leather upholstery, I feel better. The passenger seat looks barely used, the back seat pristine. At first glance, only the slightly worn leather covering steering wheel bears witness to the 200K mile club membership the Freelander has earned itself. The first full service took place at Herbert Engels dealership in Krankelsweg on 16th January 2002, with 5184 miles on the clock and the most recent, including the air con in July 2012 at 200,513 miles at Hunters Land Rover in Derby, along with replacement of a chafed intercooler hose. Further inspection of the most recent of the pile of photocopied receipts reveals that the brakes were overhauled in November 2012. A tiny patch of rust under the rear nearside window mars an otherwise near flawless body, joined by a couple of superficial car park dents along the doors and the road grime of one last sleet filled journey from Essex to a family run garage in Skipton where the last exceptionally careful owner traded it in for a Freelander 2 (also with a fair few miles under its tyres).
The display of battery-powered Defenders at Geneva must have led to a few inscrutable smiles, and knowing nods among Mitsubishi engineers. The Japanese manufacturer actually started research and development on electro-mobility vehicles in 1966 and chose Geneva to announce its ‘Jump 2013’ business plan, which has a clear target to make sure that by 2020, the Mitsubishi product range will include 20 per cent electric/hybrid models, the majority of which will have four-wheel drive options. The company will begin this with an extensive range of electric hybrid models launched as early as 2015. To back this up, Geneva had the Outlander PHEV on display, a model proudly claiming to be ‘the first permanent 4WD electric passenger car in series production from a mainstream manufacturer’. The Outlander is a plug-in hybrid, which means it is electric, but retains a petrol engine for when needed, but that the primary motive force is from the front and rear electric motors. Of course, having front and rear electric motors does away with the need for a propshaft, hydraulic system and clutch plate to connect the front and rear axles. Engineers claim that the instant torque facility of the electric motors gives the Outlander PHEV acceleration comparable to a V6 petrol engine.
Jeep’s association with Fiat meant that the Geneva Show was the ideal place to announce the face-lifted 2014 model year Grand Cherokee. Nothing too obvious has changed from the picture here, but the model does actually have a new 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V6 engine, which is claimed to provide a best in class 30mpg, which also means an extraordinary potential driving range of some 730 miles! This impressive fuel efficiency is thanks in no small part to a new eight-speed automatic box (thankfully keeping low range). The new models will also have the option of a steering wheel paddle-shift gearchange.
Here’s hoping the bad weather is now behind us and we start thinking about trips, holidays and weekends away. Now if you are a family 4×4 owner, no matter how big your vehicle is, it’s never big enough, is it? If that’s the case, then the brand new HandiHoldall will appeal. This foldable soft roof box has a 320-litre storage and a load capacity of 50kg and is 100 per cent waterproof, making it an effective alternative to the traditional roof box. Unloaded, the HandiHoldall is less than 5kg in weight, allowing you to store off the vehicle when you don’t need to use it. This latest version of the HandiHoldall actually comes on sale in May, but you can find more details by going to: www.handiworld.com. It has a recommended retail price of £119.99 (inc VAT).