Monthly Archives: July 2013

Under your seat

Often, whenever you lose something in your vehicle, it turns up trapped under your seat. This time it’s different, as MUD-UK has a new secure storage option for Land Rover Defender owners. The XD case from Garrison Outfitters, it’s a semi-hardshell case that will fit any Defender front seat base. Full seat adjustment remains, the case is fully concealed, gives you ‘stealth’ storage but offers easy access to your roadside emergency tools, first aid items or general clutter, now neatly stored. Designed and manufactured in the US, it’s available from MUD-UK at £99 (including VAT).

Website: www.mudstuff.co.uk 


septnewsx5IF YOU ARE wondering what the difference between an SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) and an SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) is, you are not alone. An SAV is a vehicle with the “all-roads, all-weather capabilities and the space and versatility of an SUV, with the driving enjoyment of a BMW.” It seems that the BMW X5 was the first SAV and is now in its third generation. The SAV is certainly popular as the first two generations of X5s sold an impressive 1.3 million units. The new models will be available with five TwinPower Turbo engine options – four diesels and one petrol – a standard eight-speed automatic transmission and the option of two or four-wheel drive (sDrive and xDrive). In the UK it will be offered in SE or M Sport specifications. All models are claimed to have significant CO2 emissions and better fuel economy, with equally impressive increases in power and torque. Looking at the picture here, the model retains its visual identity, which at best can be described as conservative. The xDrive intelligent four-wheel drive system is lighter than the out-going models and is now linked to a 3D xDrive display giving real-time details of body roll and pitch in the central information screen, as well as a digital compass display. The new BMW X5 goes on sale in November and will cost from £44,895 OTR as an xDrive25d SE. 

What makes a great tow car? Veteran tow car tester, Clive White, gives an expert insight into The Caravan Club’s Tow car of the Year competition and offers advice on choosing the right 4×4 for towing

Photography courtesy of the Caravan Club, www.caravanclub.co.uk 

I’ve been putting tow cars through their paces for The Caravan Club Magazine (and its predecessor, En Route magazine) since 1991, and during that time four-wheel drive towing vehicles have really come into their own.

In the early 90s, few 4x4s would be found on the entry lists of the annual Tow car of the Year competition, and those that were, often tended towards the utilitarian variety. Apart from the heavyweights like the Range Rover and Land Rover Discovery, Far Eastern models were usually derived from light commercial vehicles, with handling, refinement and performance levels to match – unsuitable for our needs.

Chosen more by off-roading enthusiasts and farmers, they were originally not the ideal family-friendly vehicles that would appeal to the majority of caravanners. Those who ventured into off-roader leisure towing at the time had to choose between gas-guzzling petrol engines or noisy, performance-starved diesels.

Apollo’s Cooper take-awayNEWS HAS ARRIVED that India’s Apollo Tyres Ltd has bought American Cooper Tires. It seems the Indian company has purchased the US manufacturer for a staggering (to us!) $2.5million. The deal to purchase the second biggest tyre manufacturer in the US should make Apollo the world’s seventh-largest tyre maker. And no, we hadn’t heard of them before either. This will give Apollo direct access to the enormous US market. It also confirms that the replacement tyre market is a very big, international, business! The company already had a strong involvement in Europe with its Vredestein and Cooper brands, with Apollo owning the manufacturing plant at Melksham in the UK (primarily a motorsport tyre producer). Interestingly, it seems Apollo is likely to become a big sport sponsor, thereby broadening the brand. However, that this is not going to be in the motorsport arena, but more likely football and golf. Coming to a Premier League team near you, perhaps?

SUZUKI GOES HUNTING PANDASSmall, on-road 4x4s have been somewhat rare, meaning that Fiat has had that market to itself with the launch of the excellent new Panda. Now the Italian buzz-box has competition.

After success selling in Germany and Switzerland, Suzuki is introducing the 4×4 version of the Swift to the UK. This five-door model has the 1.2-litre petrol engine, and manual gearbox. The body ride height has been raised 25mm, and has been fitted with front and rear skid plates. The model gets 4×4 badging, together with black wheel arch extensions and side skirts. The new model is only 65kg heavier than its 2WD equivalent and emissions are only 10g/km higher at 126g/km. The new model is also part of a Suzuki promotion, which offers ‘VAT-free’ purchases for a limited period. This means the new 4×4 Swift is something of a bargain small SUV at £11,516 for the SZ3 and £13,116 for the higher spec SZ4. We are fans of the Fiat Panda; it will be interesting to see how this new competitor stacks up.

The Peak of SafetySINCE WE MENTIONED in the last issue the Range Rover Sport’s success in breaking the record for a Production SUV at the recent Pike’s Peak hill climb in America, it only seems fair to mention two other manufacturers; Mitsubishi and Peugeot. Mitsubishi took the honour of being the ‘Official Safety Vehicle’ at this year’s event with the 2014 model Outlander. That’s right, the model is not actually available yet. It has the company’s Super All-Wheel Control (their words, please note), which undoubtedly was tested on the climb’s unique 12.42-mile course that has an amazing 156 corners, and rises to nearly three miles above sea level. Mitsubishi was also competing in the event with a two vehicle 100 per cent electric race car the MiEV Evolution II.

Overall success went to Peugeot in the all-wheel drive racing machine, the 208 T16 Pikes Peak. This race car is powered by a version of Peugeot’s twin-turbo V6 that competes in endurance racing. Weight was the real star, however, and the machine tipped the scales at only 875lb – ironically, that’s exactly the same number as the engine develops in bhp, giving it a power-to-weight ratio of 1:1! The Peugeot was driven by World Rally Champion, Sébastien Loeb and he completed the climb in 8mins 13.878seconds – don’t you just love the timing going to eight thousands of a second?!

Kia’s record JuneRECORD SALES FOR Kia in June is good news for all. The month means that the company now has a first half-year total, which is the best figure since 2010, and the company says ‘points the way to the continuing growth across the UK car market for the brand.’ It seems the Sportage is the leading model in the range. Paul Philpott, President and Chief Executive of Kia Motors (UK) Limited said: “June has been excellent for our dealers with very strong retail demand and I believe this shows that confidence is returning to the UK new car market. With our sales 12 per cent up over the same month last year, a first half performance has surpassed the height of scrappage scheme”. It is obviously very good to hear these results and it will be interesting to see if other motoring manufacturers announce similar findings over the coming weeks.

Socket to them

Products that work in the harsh environment of a sailing yacht or motorboat are always going to do well in the off-road world. Tallon is a company well known in the seafaring world and is turning its attention to 4x4s. The company produces an innovative socket and accessory system that will allow 4×4 owners to mount phones, tablets, iPads and other electronic equipment completely securely within their vehicle cockpit. This also includes options for USB sockets so that you can charge your electronic equipment.
Tallon Sockets are designed in New Zealand and the new mini sockets have been specifically produced for the automotive industry. The company’s website has some explanatory videos on the products, worth a look.

Website: www.tallonsystems.co.uk 



Light it up

The new ARB Intensity LED driving lights are the result of no less than three years of design and engineering work, six prototypes… and this is the important bit… extensive off-road testing in Australia. ARB gear is always the business and so you can expect this new driving light to deliver. They are also going to be tough, and these new lights are submersible to three metres (if it’s a roof mounted light, then after three metres we suspect whether the light still works will be the least of your problems). The lights are dust and waterproof to IP68 rating and incorporate a Gore-Tex breather, waterproof Deutsch connectors and a special custom moulded rubber seal. Finished with a UV resistant, two-pack automotive paint, these ARB lights are available as either spot or flood versions and can be ordered from the guys at Arbil, so we suggest you give them a call and discuss your requirements on 0845 600 4556, or check out the website.

Website: www.arbil4x4.co.uk 



September 2013 Issue of 4×4 Magazine

September coverWhy should selling a car be such a hassle? Finally, I have sold my Toyota Hilux. You would have thought that it would be easy. It is a great truck, well looked after, full Toyota service record and very low mileage. No commercial use – unless you include the collection of a recently felled tree that will be keeping Sue and I warm next winter. It has ARB underbody protection, and a recently fitted Mountain Top completed the extra’s list. Now, I wasn’t expecting to be swept away with the rush of potential buyers, but I thought I’d get a few sensible enquiries. What I wasn’t ready for was the numpties, ne’er-do-wells and the not-very-nice calls.

And what is it about ‘cash’? I ended having a 10-minute discussion with one potential buyer who made a ludicrously low offer, saying: ‘but it’s cash’. And when I said I wouldn’t sell for that low he still insisted in coming and having a look. ‘It’s cash, you know’. So blooming what, stupid? Finally got rid of him, only for his son to call a few moments later; same offer, same ‘it’s cash’ trump card. What a waste of time. Go away.