Monthly Archives: November 2015


A two-day Series Land Rover and Defender heritage exhibition will be on display at Bonhams London from 15-16 December ahead of the prestigious charity auction of the Defender 2,000,000. The exhibition will celebrate 67 years of UK production and chart the Defender’s journey to becoming a global automotive icon.

Prospective bidders and the general public are invited to preview the Defender 2,000,000 throughout the specially curated exhibition, which celebrates almost seven decades of Land Rover production at the Solihull manufacturing facility in the UK.

With a ‘hall of fame’ depicting the Land Rover playing a supporting role to Hollywood heroes such as Steve McQueen and Daniel Craig in his role as James Bond 007 and Sir Winston Churchill and British nobility including Her Majesty The Queen, the exhibition will illustrate the journey of an icon that has travelled the world, playing a key role in expeditions and touching the lives of countless millions through Land Rover’s longstanding humanitarian and conservation work with partners such as the British Red Cross and the Born Free Foundation.

Visitors will be encouraged to share their Defender stories and journeys with a wall dedicated to capturing the moment that Land Rover made an impact on their lives.

Roger Crathorne will be on hand to talk to visitors during the exhibition. Roger is known simply as ‘Mr Land Rover’ to Royalty, VIP customers and global explorers worldwide. With more than 50 years’ service with Land Rover, Roger’s vast knowledge of the company, experience of driving the product in the world’s most inhospitable regions and passion for the brand is invaluable.

Roger Crathorne comments: “The Series Land Rover and Defender have played a huge role in the lives of people all over the world for almost 70 years and to be able to offer it a fitting send off as it nears the end of production is an honour for me. Through the creation of the exhibition we have really got under the skin of just what has made Defender such a loved vehicle.  We hope that the exhibition really brings to life the richness of the vehicle’s heritage and why it has had such longevity.”

The exhibition will precede a prestigious charity auction where collectors and Defender fans will be given the opportunity to own the Defender 2,000,000, a unique piece of Land Rover history. Reflecting Defender’s heritage, all proceeds will be donated in their entirety to Land Rover’s humanitarian and conservation partners – the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Born Free Foundation.

The Defender 2,000,000 is a one-of-a-kind vehicle that was assembled over ten days earlier this year by 33 Land Rover brand ambassadors and enthusiasts including adventurer Bear Grylls and British entrepreneur Theo Paphitis. Representatives from the IFRC and Born Free also made the journey to Solihull to fit their part to the vehicle, including actress and founder of the Born Free Foundation Virginia McKenna OBE.

Interested visitors and bidders can drop into the exhibition at Bonhams on New Bond Street, London free of charge any time from 09:00hrs to 17:00hrs on Tuesday 15 December and from  09:00hrs on Wednesday 16 December with the auction starting at 18:00hrs.  Potential bidders must purchase an auction brochure to be eligible to bid.  See www.bonhams.com for more information.


Four years on from the initial concept stage, during which time over 1,500 UK jobs have been created, the car – part of an £840 million investment programme – will now enter full production, with deliveries to customers starting in January 2016.

Wolfgang Dürheimer, Chairman and Chief Executive of Bentley Motors, said: “Bentley Bentayga will be the benchmark against which all other SUVs are measured, defining a new segment – the luxury SUV.

“This car is a celebration of UK manufacturing at its very best, not only reinforcing our commitment to industry in this country, job creation and significant investment, but to our home in Crewe. This is an important moment in our history, where we reflect and celebrate, but also look ahead to delivering this extraordinary car to our customers.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues from all parts of the business for their dedication and professionalism in delivering the Bentley Bentayga. It would not have been possible to deliver this car without the support and belief from the UK Government, our parent company and other business partners. We can all take pride in this achievement.”

The first production Bentayga, finished in paint colour – Anthracite – was handcrafted across 130 hours. During the assembly process, the car passed through a new bodystore, a new paint shop and a new assembly line, all part of this substantial investment.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron, commented: “I am delighted that the first Bentley Bentayga has rolled off the production line in Crewe. It marks the culmination of a period of exceptional hard work by Bentley and its dedicated workforce as they brought this remarkable new vehicle to market.

“The Bentayga represents an ambitious £800 million investment into the Crewe factory backed by £9.5 million from the Regional Growth Fund. It has created hundreds of valuable skilled jobs for the area and secured the future of production onsite.

“Well done to all at Bentley. This is a moment of great pride for everyone who lives and works in Crewe.”

Michael Straughan, Bentley’s Member of the Board for Manufacturing, addressed the company’s 4,000-strong workforce as the car was driven from the final production stage. He said: “This is a proud moment for the entire company. It’s been four years in the making and is a celebration of a sector-defining British handcrafted car.

“Bentayga is the Bentley of SUVs, with a level of attention to detail only achievable thanks to the outstanding skill of a British workforce that blends exceptional craft and skill with modern production techniques and materials.”

Volvo Car UK has launched a new R-Design version of its award-winning XC90. R-Design models are the sportiest XC90s to date, featuring a range of design, dynamic and equipment upgrades to give Volvo’s seven-seat SUV a sporty makeover.

The outside of the car is distinguished by 20-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, silver-effect door mirrors, gloss black mesh front grille and tinted rear windows. Inside, there are leather/nubuck sports seats, a 12.3-inch active TFT driver’s information display and a perforated leather-trimmed steering wheel complete with gearshift paddles. R-Design XC90s also get a powered front passenger seat with memory function (to match the driver’s seat), sports pedals, black headlining and upgraded interior lighting. There’s even an exclusive R-Design leather-clad remote key fob.

R-Design models come with Drive Mode Settings and Adjustable Steering Force as standard, too, which allow you to choose between different settings for the engine, transmission, steering and the optional air suspension.

This is on top of the already generous standard specification of entry-level XC90 Momentum models, which includes a nine-inch touch screen control system, Sensus Navigation, two-zone climate control with Volvo’s ground-breaking CleanZone air quality system, LED headlights, power-operated tailgate with handsfree opening, and the Volvo On Call mobile app. Standard safety equipment includes City Safety (which features pedestrian and cyclist detection, and front collision warning with full auto brake), driver alert control with lane departure warning, and front, side and full-length curtain airbags.

Nick Connor, Managing Director of Volvo Car UK, said: “The launch of the XC90 R-Design makes our premium seven-seat SUV even more distinctive and dynamic than before. Its sportier looks certainly make it stand out on the road, and its extra equipment ensures that the interior is as luxurious as it is stunning.”

R-Design versions are available with the D5 diesel and T6 petrol Drive-E engines, and in T8 Twin Engine petrol-electric hybrid form. Prices of the XC90 R-Design start at £49,785 OTR.

For more information on the Volvo XC90, please visit the website: www.volvocars.com/uk

Volvo In-car Delivery

Volvo In-car Delivery

With just days to go before Black Friday and Cyber Monday – the busiest online shopping days of the Christmas season – Sweden’s Volvo Cars has unveiled a new way to take some of the hassle out of Christmas shopping.

Volvo has launched the world’s first commercially available in-car delivery service by teaming up with PostNord, Lekmer.com and Mat.se to have Christmas toys, gifts, food and drinks delivered to its cars.

The Volvo In-car Delivery works by means of a digital key, which is used to gain one-time access to your vehicle. Owners simply order the goods online, receive a notification that the goods have been delivered and then just drive home with them.

“Christmas is fun – but let’s be honest, it is also a busy time for most families. This service simply makes shopping easier,” said Björn Annwall, Senior Vice President for Marketing, Sales and Service at Volvo. “Volvo In-car Delivery provides concrete proof that connected car technologies can be used to save people time and make their lives easier.”

Volvo In-car Delivery is currently available only for Volvo drivers in Gothenburg who subscribe to the Volvo On Call service, but it will be introduced elsewhere in Sweden and to other countries in future. There will also be a wider range of goods available for In-car Delivery as Volvo joins forces with more companies in future.




Dacia has entered into the season of giving with an attractive offer for buyers in the shape of £300 towards their purchase of some of its most popular models – the extra cash being on top of deposit contributions that feature in its current offers.

Available until 30 November, the additional £300 applies to selected versions of the Dacia Sandero the multiple award-winning Duster SUV and the Logan MCV.

The additional £300 complements the many finance deals that already feature across the Dacia range and, as an added bonus, all eligible vehicles will also automatically come with a free 5-year/60,000 mile warranty when purchased on Dimensions PCP or Hire Purchase scheme packages. Buyers can also opt for the added protection and value of a 7-year/100,000 mile warranty for a one-off fee of just £395 – a saving of £455 over the usual RRP price.



The Defender Challenge 2015 reached its climax at The Scottish Hill Rallies Club’s ‘Borders’ rally at Forrest Estate, Castle Douglas, Scotland at the weekend.

11 teams lined up on Saturday morning anxiously awaiting the start of the final fixture of the 2015 season. The Borders rally is reputed as the toughest round of the challenge due to the mix of extreme conditions and the skill and determination required to conquer it. Combining the speed of stage rallies, roughness of hill rallies, extreme conditions of a Scottish winter and set over two days, the challenge is one of endurance as much as skill, and to top it off, one of the most gruelling of the 13 stages is set at night. It is a mammoth battle of man against nature and the weapon of choice, the humble Land Rover Defender.

The daunting 100.1 stage miles was set over 13 stages, eight on day one and five on day two and taking in lochs, dams, quarries and forest stretched over imposing hills and deep valleys below, an apt backdrop for the drama that ensued as the Challengers took to the field to secure their championship places.

The opening three stages delivered little surprises in the running order with Sturgess Land Rover’s Edd Cobley and John Tomley establishing a lead above Lookers Land Rover’s Gareth Carruthers and is co-driver and Lookers Land Rover’s incentive winner Fraser Ward. With The Defenderists in 5th position, the fight for the final place on the podium was on between team Palmer and Northern Ireland Racing who were tied in 3rd.

Pushing the boundaries of fatigue and running on pure adrenaline, the teams headed out for the final stage. In varying shades of excitement and trepidation the 11 Defender 90s took their places at the start line. With engines revving high and ready, one by one the teams headed out into the pitch-black night led by Sturgess and then Lookers and with limited visibility of the track ahead. After a cornering manoeuvre went wrong, Northern Ireland Racing’s Defender lay on its roof in a ditch putting a halt to proceedings whilst a the recovery mission ensued.

Whilst Palmer and Hayward pushed ahead, organisers decided to cancel the stage due to the delay in recovering Northern Ireland Racing and the rest of the Challengers returned to the bivouac disappointed not to have been able to compete. Into the night the Bowler team worked to make repairs to the damaged Northern Ireland Racing Defender replacing broken glass and repairing damaged bodywork, determined that the vehicle would be on its wheels the following day for the final outing of the season.

Day two opened to cold but clear conditions and word at the bivouac was that the stages were even more rough after the previous day’s exploits. Those teams unable to compete in stage eight were each awarded a 20 minutes 10 second notional timing and the leaderboard stood with Sturgess’ Cobley and Tomley one minute and nine seconds ahead of Looker’s Carruthers and Ward.

The battle for bronze looked all but lost for Northern Ireland Racing who had slipped to the bottom of the table leaving Palmer and The Defenderists to go head to head for third place. Northern Ireland Racing’s David Johnston however was pleased to still race his Defender on the final day of the season having failed to complete the Borders event on two occasions previously. Resolute to finish the rally, and with the Defender mechanically sound and scrutineered, they joined the rest of the pack in the final five stages.

After the 12.30 miles of stage nine, Cobley and Tomley for Sturgess retained their lead over Looker’s Carruthers and Ward and Palmer’s bid for third was threatened by The Defenderists who had managed to close the gap to just 55 seconds.

After the penultimate service of the day only 32 seconds separated Sturgess and Lookers for first and second place and The Defenderists had climbed to third achieving a 50 second lead on Palmer.

Heading into the last stages of the last round, final places in the championship looked certain with prizes for the top three drivers of the year, top three co-drivers of the year and, the most revered of all, the Defender Challenge 2015 Championship title to be awarded.

Concluding the day, the round and the season, Sturgess Land Rover were really keen to bring The Defenderists home in one piece today. It’s been a real team effort and the skill and commitment of the mechanics working on the car between and during events has been invaluable.”


All-New Hyundai Tucson wins Best Family Car 2015 at Recombu awards

All-New Hyundai Tucson wins Best Family Car 2015 at Recombu awards

The All-New Hyundai Tucson has been named ‘Best Family Car 2015’ by top technology reviews website, Recombu.

Hyundai Motor’s newest SUV, which replaced the outgoing ix35 in August, was recognised by a panel of journalists for its stylish design and outstanding level of standard equipment. Additionally, Tucson was applauded for its ability to stand out from the crowd without compromising on practicality.

Rory Reid, Editor-in-Chief at Recombu Cars, commented: “The new Hyundai Tucson has successfully taken the fight to its more established rivals in the small SUV segment. It brings with it the most stylish looks in the segment, excellent build quality, a comfortable, family-friendly cabin, vast amounts of interior space, modern safety kit and efficient engines. The Tucson represents the pinnacle of what’s possible in a modern crossover–and that’s no mean feat in a sector full of excellent alternatives.”

Tony Whitehorn, President and CEO, Hyundai Motor UK, added: “Since we launched All-New Tucson back in August, this fantastic new car has continued to go from strength to strength. We’re already seeing how popular Tucson is with our customers, but this award win really confirms that it is a firm favourite among industry experts, too.”

The Recombu Awards is an annual event where journalists and readers vote for their favourite new products from a range of categories including new gadgets, technologies and cars.

All-New Tucson is now available to order from all Hyundai dealers across the UK, to find your local showroom please visit: http://www.hyundai.co.uk/dealer-locator

The Defender Challenge by Bolwer

The Defender Challenge by Bolwer

This weekend, the Defender Challenge by Bolwer meets for the final time this season at The Scottish Hill Rally Club’s ‘Borders’ rally. In the climax to the 2015 calendar, the 11 competing teams have one last opportunity to improve their standing in the championship.

Going into the final round, and sitting comfortably at the top of the table with a 20-point lead, is Sturgess Land Rover driven by 2014 Champion Ed Cobley and his co-driver John Tomley who are followed by Lookers Land Rover driven by Gareth Carruthers and co-driver Wallace McKay in second place.

With such a strong lead there is little team Lookers can do to knock Sturgess off the top spot, but with just three points separating three contenders for third place, the battle is on between Northern Ireland Racing, Palmer and The Defenderists teams for the last place on the podium.

The setting for the battle for bronze is the privately owned Forrest Estate near Castle Douglas, Scotland, comprising 11,000 acres of mixed woodland, lowland farmland and four large scenic lochs nestled in the beautiful Scottish hills.

All competitors will be driving Bowler-prepared Land Rover Defender 90s that have been race-modified by Bowler Motorsport for safety, performance and durability. The modifications to the competing Defenders include a full MSA / FIA certified roll cage, fire extinguisher system, racing seats and harnesses, light-weight Bowler wheels, a full Bowler racing suspension system with bespoke springs and heavy duty racing dampers and an engine tune to 175hp that delivers 450Nm of torque.

2015 was the second year of the Defender Challenge, a one-make rally series operated by Bowler Motorsport and designed to act as a feeder series to the annual Dakar rally and other global rally competitions. New to the Defender Challenge for 2015, Brian Palmer and co-Driver Callum MacPhail have made a stunning start to their rally campaign and are amongst the teams with an eye set on the Dakar.

In order to bridge the gap between the UK-based stage and hill rallies and the larger international rally raids, Bowler has developed a standard Land Rover Defender 110 Double Cab with a host of technical revisions and is set to race next year in an additional ‘Class Two’ of the Defender Challenge.  This weekend, the Bowler 3-litre supercharged V6 Defender 110 will compete in the Borders rally in its very first race since completing testing and those competitors looking ahead to the 2016 season will no doubt be keen to see the vehicle in action.

Volkswagen Amarok Paul O'Donoghue 4

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is working with one of the world’s leading experts in wildcats to conserve the last pure Scottish wildcats as part of the Wildcat Haven project and to bring the UK’s native lynx back to our forests.

Scottish wildcats are the UK’s rarest mammal – with less than 100 remaining – and lynx were hunted to extinction in the UK over one thousand years ago, with numbers now dwindling in Western Europe too.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has teamed up with expert geneticist, Dr Paul O’Donoghue to put one of its hard-working Amarok pick-up vehicles into his elite team of scientists.

O’Donoghue handpicked the Amarok because of its off-road ability and comfortable driving experience, with its 4×4 drivetrain coping effortlessly with his rugged wildcat site in the Scottish Highlands and his off-road lynx site in Thetford Forest in the East of England.

The operational benefits of the Amarok include the vehicle’s high beam light bar, allowing O’Donoghue to work late into the night, combatting the Scottish Highlands’ famous gloaming. The adaptable load bed and load-carrying capacity have also proved invaluable in his work.

The Amarok is currently available in three trim lines – Startline, Trendline and Highline – as well as the limited edition Amarok Atacama. Prices start from £25,054 for the Startline model.



The Dacia Duster has won the Small SUV class at the fifth annual Green Apple Awards held at the Houses of Parliament in London. The Duster, in dCi 110 4×2 guise, was voted into first place by judges thanks to its efficient performance, value for money and high specification.

Ian Donaldson, Chairman of the Midland Group of Motoring Writers said: “The Dacia Duster represents the best sort of economical motoring, returning good economy and costing less than you might expect for a car that feels modern and well equipped. It was greatly liked by my fellow members of the MGMW.”

Marks were awarded by judges for the way a car drives and behaves in the real world, away from the testing laboratory.

The multiple award-winning Duster has been a part of the Dacia range since the brand’s launch in the UK in 2013 and is the most affordable SUV on the UK market – priced from £9,495 with the Green Apple Award-winning dCi 110 4×2 starting at £11,995.