Monthly Archives: March 2014

Eastnor Castle’s Deer Park in Herefordshire is the venue for this year’s Land Rover Show, with the date moving to the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th May. This event is previously held in August and so one hopes that the earlier date will not be compromised by our recent monsoon weather. The Show will be celebrating 25 years of the Discovery with special displays and parades in addition to the off-road course, Live Action arena, autojumble, Club exhibits and special vehicle displays.

Discounted advanced tickets are on offer meaning costs can be as low as £10 per adult, while a family can take advantage of a weekend of camping and entertainment from £50. Children under the age of 15 years are free.

Visitors on Sunday can enjoy half price admission into the castle and gardens with a free bus service running from the Deer Park to the Castle. For further information on the show and how to book tickets, go to www.eastnorlandrovershow.com or call Mark Woodward on 016974 51882 email [email protected]

Pick-up battery traysARB has extended its range of battery trays to now cover the Ford Ranger and Mazda BT50. The new under vehicle battery tray is designed around the Optima range of battery and Redarc’s BCDC range of chargers. The trays are 4mm thick steel, zinc plated and black powder coated and are suitable for single, dual and extra cab models. The cover plate also incorporates plastic press fit insulators to prevent terminal and cover plate contact. As with all the top ARB equipment, it is available from the Arbil dealer network. Check the website to find your nearest dealer.

Website: www.arbil.co.uk/4×4/

Sixty years  of scrapesThere cannot be many readers who in their time have not used a good dollop of T-Cut to try and remove an annoying scratch or scuff. It’s particularly useful after a greenlaning trip when you suddenly spot the faint scratches along your paintwork. It will not surprise, therefore, to learn that the product is actually 60 years young. To celebrate, the company has commissioned a sparkling £50,000 Swarovski crystal-encrusted T-Cut tin! It seems it took 75 hours to piece together the 26,000 diamonds and the can will be shown around the country at automotive car retailers before being on permanent display at the company’s Bury headquarters. There is a nationwide campaign to find the vehicle that most deserves some T-Cut TLC… now surely we can find a Lada Niva or battered Series II that fits the bill!

Website: www.t-cut.co.uk

TONKA! WE WANT ONE…For anyone who has a penchant for pick-ups, then you are certainly going to love this… we do! This is a full-size Tonka toy, produced by the Tuscany Motor Company in Elkhart, Indiana. Based on the Ford F150 Lariat Crew Cab 4×4 pick-up, this special edition is built under licence from the toymakers Hasbro. As you would expect, there’s a lot of umphh under the bonnet, sorry hood, with a 5.0-litre V8 stumping up some 360 US hp. Pro-Comp provide the vehicle with a massive six inch suspension lift, with heavy duty shock absorbers and custom 20inch Tonka alloy wheels are fitted with 325/60 BFGoodrich All-Terrains. If you want one, it will cost you a cool 72,360 US dollars – don’t bother checking the exchange rate, we didn’t! Looks great though.

Intensity driving light coversA new range of ARB Intensity Driving Light covers are available in a new range of clear, colour tinted and solid colours. Manufactured from moulded polycarbonate, these covers are hard coated for scratch and UV resistance and designed for the harshest of conditions. The covers are available in clear, amber, blue, red and solid black. The covers retail at around £55, and are sensibly sold in pairs and are available through Arbil’s dealer network.

Website: www.arbil.co.uk/4×4/

Subaru XV upgradesThis is one model that we feel has not received the success that it deserves. Indeed, the Subaru XV was one of the class winners in our 2013 4×4 Of The Year. The latest models now have enhancements to improve the vehicle’s refinement, ride and handling, while the overall range has also been rationalised ‘to provide a simpler customer option’.

The petrol engine models have revised suspension to improve ride, while new valve-train components are said to reduce engine noise. Additional soundproofing in the bulkhead is said to improve NVH on both petrol and diesel models.

Inside there are a few tweaks aimed to improve the overall look and feel – something that we did comment upon when we tested the model, somehow it didn’t quite ‘look and feel’ quite as good as it should and in such a competitive market that can mean a loss of sales. All models also now have a tyre pressure monitoring system fitted, together with a gearshift indicator.
The 1.6i petrol engine model has been dropped from the UK market, leaving two Boxer engines, both 2.0-litre, in either petrol or diesel guise. Those choosing the petrol can opt for either the six-speed manual or Lineartronic CVT transmissions. Prices for the 2.0-litre Subaru XV are unchanged, always impressive when a vehicle gets upgrades, and start at £21,995 on the road. Indeed, prices for the XV were reduced by £2300 last July. Worth a look we feel.

With so much excitement over new Range Rover and Evoque models it’s hardly surprising that the baby of the Land Rover range has drifted out of the spotlight. The Freelander 2 is still a superb compact luxury SUV, available and affordable with it

TARGET RANGE: £6000 – £36,000

BUYERS’ GUIDE: FREELANDER 2 A drive last year on the icy roads of a Canadian winter reminded editor Nigel Fryatt of what a competent, comfortable and pleasant car the Freelander 2 is. It was a reminder, rather than a sudden realisation, because we’ve always liked Land Rover’s compact SUV, it’s just that little has changed since the introduction in 2006, so we’ve not felt the need to reappraise the model on more than a few key occasions.

From launch the Freelander appealed to us more for its technology than for its styling – we felt some disappointment that it had lost some of the traditional visual off-road appeal of the original, describing it as ‘a baby Discovery, though it looks more like a road-going SUV.’

Like the original the Freelander 2 has ‘intelligent’ four-wheel drive, though with a more advanced Haldex central coupling which ensures quicker engagement of drive to the rear wheels when needed. A key improvement is that all but the base S versions have the clever Terrain Response system aimed at enhancing off-road capability. Build quality is also significantly better than the original, while the interiors are also more stylish and better equipped, with top versions offering Bluetooth connectivity and premium sound systems.

Stuck for where to start improving your 4×4? Then follow our guide to find out more about the most popular modifications

Words: Rob Hawkins

MODIFYING YOUR 4X4There’s always going to be the potential to improve a 4×4 or add more accessories to it, but the list of options can be bewildering and choosing the right ones isn’t always that easy. It is, however, easy to throw a lot of money at a vehicle, but be left wondering whether it was really all necessary. We’ve all been there; purchasing products from the Internet and Shows, sometimes only to gather dust in the garage.

We’ve spoken to a number of 4×4 specialists to find out which upgrades are the most popular for these vehicles, especially when it comes to using them off-road, on expeditions, for carrying loads and pulling themselves out of trouble. Over the following pages, our findings are detailed in various categories to help group them into relevant subjects, with advice from specialists, prices and which vehicles they can be fitted to.

Korando Sports pick-upThe Yeti has proved an impressive sales success for Skoda and the latest revised version is likely to gain more converts, thanks to the fifth generation Haldex clutch

Words: Nigel Fryatt

It seems Yeti sightings are becoming a lot more common. Indeed, unlike the fabled ‘big foot’ itself, it’s now quite common to spot one, since a quarter of a million Yetis have been built since the launch in 2009. And after sightings in China, Russia and Germany, the UK is the Yeti’s most popular home with just under 30,000 having been sold. That makes it a popular SUV, and in its 4×4 mode it has achieved our Highly Recommended Award in its class for the last two 4×4 Of The Year group tests. It’s a very popular machine, and owners tend to be extremely enthusiastic, this is one SUV that you make a decisive decision to buy. In looks alone, this is not another ‘copycat’ SUV design and for 2014 the Skoda Yeti has received a facelift, which actually goes a lot further than just tarting up the somewhat idiosyncratic exterior. It’s the changes underneath that interest us.

BobCookeBob Cooke – contributor

Jeep Cherokee I haven’t dared to tell Pete how I came to get the Cherokee stuck, because he’d call me such an idiot. Particularly since, for once, his 1949 Willys just didn’t have enough oomph to pull my Jeep out of the mud hole. When he drove off without a word I assumed he’d got the hump and had just abandoned me, but he came back with Brett Mawer in his high-rise Range Rover which hoiked the Cherokee out of the hole as easily as a bear snapping up a salmon.

It was only after the Cherokee had regained terra firma that I spotted the tell-tale green indicator lamp on the dashboard and realised why the Cherokee hadn’t been able to follow Pete’s Willys through that particular mud hole.

I’d like to point out that I do know the difference between ‘permanent’ 4WD and ‘part time’ 4WD as applied to the Jeep. I blame the fact that the Cherokee was in the wrong 4×4 mode on old age. The Jeep’s old age, not mine!