Last month I reported that our Discovery 3 was reporting no less than three faults – park brake light flashing, suspension height error in off-road mode and an engine system fault accompanied by black smoke and a loss of power. This month the fixes are in, and they’re all simple – a software update solved the first two, which were as usual with modern Land Rovers related even though they’re in entirely different parts of the car, and the third was the common split turbo hose replacement. So the D3 is returned to health and we’re continuing to appreciate the car’s performance and versatility. Our latest run was a 1000km drive to the 2013 South Australia Land Rover Jamboree, which we comfortably managed without refuelling thanks to our second fuel tank. Once there, we relaxed with friends and other Land Rover owners, enjoying a nice small campfire as conditions permitted.
The wonderfully named British mountaineer, Kenton Cool, used an Evoque as his support car in the Lyngen Alps, Norway, prior to his 11th expedition climbing Everest. Cool is a Land Rover ambassador
As we rightly claim the Jeep Grand Cherokee to be the bargain of the off-road world, it’s only natural for a real life owner to offer her comments…
As you will see elsewhere in this issue, the subject of our Buyers’ Guide this month is the Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ model. Regular readers will know that, as an owner of an aged WJ myself, it would be impossible for me not to comment on the potential of this fine vehicle as a best–value bargain 4×4 available in the current market.
Born in 1999, the WJ replaced the ZJ classic model, with the boxy lines and fuel-gorging 4.0-litre six-cylinder Italian (VM Motori) petrol engine. That engine remained, and was joined by the even thirstier 4.7-litre V8. Well, they were times when we didn’t really worry too much about the price of fuel at ‘who cares’ pence a gallon/litre. In September 1999 came the real serious revolution that gave birth to the luxury 4×4 diesel engine concept for Jeep.
Jeep introduced the 3.1-litre CRD VM to the range and – the real ‘wow’ factor at the time – it was mated to an auto ‘box. The Grand was never available with manual transmission, and so it was a real revolution. Then, in October 2001, the 2.7 CRD was introduced after the joining of forces with Mercedes-Benz. This MB engine is what powers my WJ and has proved a huge seller, improving fuel economy, top speed and acceleration.
Last month at the Shanghai Motor Show, two new SUV offerings were unveiled, from two very different manufacturers. Volkswagen decided to use Shanghai to unveil the CrossBlue Coupe. What is not obvious from these pictures, however, is that this concept SUV is actually longer than a Touareg, wider, but lower – aiming to give a ‘muscular, sporty appearance’. The design concept displays VW’s Modular Transverse Matrix components set, which allows the vehicle to be built using a variety of different powertrains, and indeed aiming it at very different markets. As you would expect, this includes the option of a hybrid model that would have a V6 turbocharged petrol engine linked with two electric models; one for the front wheels, one for the rear. This would allow the vehicle to have ‘propshaft-by-wire’ off-road capabilities driving all four wheels via the electric motors. The 410bhp, and tree-stump pulling 700Nm (516lb ft) torque engine would ensure that the CrossBlue Coupe would have impressive performance of 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds, and a top speed of 146mph. And this despite the fact that the additional electric motors and batteries give the vehicle an unladen weight of 2200kg. There are said to be no immediate plans to put the CrossBlue Coupe into production, but as a concept vehicle, it seems very well finished to us.
Nigel Fryatt – editor
It took a long time, but finally I’ve done it. From the very start of my Toyota Hilux ownership, some 18 months ago, I’ve been going ‘to do something about it….’ The problem with the Hilux, and any opened backed pick-up is that despite the fact that you have enormous carrying capacity, it’s not actually very secure. You can’t just sling things in the back and forget about them; they’d get nicked, and they’d get very wet! The only option, therefore, is to have bags and cases behind the front seats. To help this, the Hilux’s rear seat folds upwards and so there is a massive space, and it does have ‘privacy glass’ to help mask what’s being carried, but it’s not secure should you park the vehicle and leave it for any period. There are two ‘secret’ hidden compartments under the rear seat (don’t let anyone know) but these are small, only really useful for documents, wallets etc. They are not even big enough for a decent sized camera.
Last time I wrote I brought you the news that my LR Discovery 2 had been an interesting purchase and as many would expect, ownership hasn’t been plain sailing.
Previously I found that a rear brake caliper was binding causing the disc to heat up dramatically, which I could have done without. On the plus side the Discovery axle is fairly mechanic friendly, with great access and simple to work on. After some searching I found a pair of calipers online for just £44 delivered from McDonald Land Rover. Although they will be nowhere the quality of genuine I thought I’d give them a go. When delivered two days later they appear to be just the job, fitted without a problem and in the end appeared to cure the problem of binding brakes, saving the life of my recent pads and discs. However whilst I had the axle apart I thought I’d take the time to service the axles too. There were signs of oil on the right-hand side so thought best to try new axle O-rings at 58p each, before jumping into new hubs which are some-what dear in comparison.
Bob Cooke – contributor
Just for a moment I thought the Cherokee wasn’t going to make it. It was Pete’s fault, because he thought the Cherokee blasting through one of the water splashes would make a good picture, but he needed me to come in from the other side because of where the sun was. That meant bypassing the splash through a stretch of gloopy mud and turning around on what turned out to be not only gloopier mud but deeply rutted by other cars with bigger and more aggressive tyres. What was meant to be a quick three-point turn developed into a painfully slow seven pointer, taking it ever-so-gently to give the Wrangler Duratraks every chance of grabbing some grip in the cloying mud. Fortunately the mud at the Hop Farm isn’t of the seriously slippery clay-heavy type, so heavy-treaded tyres can find something to bite into. Time after time the Cherokee sank into the ruts, but gentle near-tick over tickling of the accelerator eased it out until it eventually lined itself up with the water splash. From then on it was easy.
The new upgrades to the Grand Cherokee have been announced earlier than many would have expected. They are significant, designed to make a positive impression
Words: Hils Everitt Photography: Hils Everitt, Jeep
It was way back in 2011 that Jeep, under the auspices of Fiat, gave us the WK2, a remarkable and impressive improvement on the rather disappointing WK Jeep Grand Cherokee that ambled along in 2005. The 70th anniversary year WK2 has done well, but Fiat is not content. Oh no, already it has decided that its flagship 4×4 born in the USA needs an upgrade, and not only that, to quote the big bosses in the US, has leaped a couple of upgrades in one go.
In other words… well, the way we read it, they feel it is a bit ahead of its time. Not sure we can concur with that, but it definitely has gone up a significant notch, and is even more ripe as a credible alternative to rival luxury SUVs when you look at the price you are now paying for a seriously well-equipped, capable and impressive off-roader. And now the revamp has been designed to make this serious off-roader a more impressive on-road drive.
July 2013 Issue of 4×4 Magazine
Climbing aboard, I should have realised. The quality of the seats, the trim, the beautifully engineered switchgear is unsurpassed. The sheer luxurious opulence of the vehicle’s cabin is almost over-powering; especially for those of us humans on planet earth that need to regularly budget for their motoring. But even for millionaires, far eastern royalty or even guileless, super rich Premier League footballers, the cabin of the new Range Rover is a fantastic, dream-like place to sit. The model I was driving was trimmed in lush Bourneville chocolate leather, which I must admit, seemed to be a horrible colour to me, but that’s hair-splitting to a ridiculously high level. It’s a simply superb place to sit.
Press the ‘start’ button and the way the circular drive selector wheel rises from the centre console is surely something you could never tire of watching. It has a mechanical smoothness beyond even the futuristic gimmickry you might see on the latest Star Trek movie. Turn the engine off and watch it descend, then on again, and it rises. OK, maybe it’s just me…
THERE WILL BE many books celebrating Land Rover’s 65 years. When it comes to photographs, you’ll have to go a very long way to top this one. Nick Dimbleby has been Land Rover’s official freelance photographer for the past 15 years or so, and besides being a great snapper, he explains that he has, ‘a wife, two children and three Range Rovers.’ He’s certainly an enthusiast. This is not a book that you will sIt down and engross yourself in the text, it’s all about the pictures. Yes, it is fair to say that a lot of the pictures are a little ‘press and promotional’ in their style (hardly surprising as that’s Nick’s job) but there are also snaps that really capture the marque and Nick’s abilities – pictures where perhaps he concentrated more on the photograph than the subject. The majority of the photographs do have comprehensive captions, which helps explain what you are looking at – especially the myriad of ‘specials’. Good quality photographs, on good paper, it’s a worthy tome, and well worth the £35 jacket price.