Monthly Archives: June 2016

New Amarok Hardtop Image3Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has launched two new Truckman hardtops for its Amarok pick-up. Available to order in a wide range of colours, the RS and Utility hardtops offer customers a practical yet stylish storage area, differing from the current ‘luxury’ GLS and Grand hardtops as they have been designed for more commercial use.

Features of the RS hardtop include an integrated spoiler, non-drilling clamp fitting, solid sides for secure storage and cab height to create a sleek finish. With gull wing side access, a wash-clean interior and significant roof strength which allows additional storage, the utility hardtop also has a large capacity with plenty of space for racking and tools.

The RS combines the workability of a commercial hardtop with the advanced styling of a leisure top. It has a practical wipe clean interior and solid sides for a secure, hidden load whilst the rear door glass is tinted and toughened.

Trevor Hodgson-Phillips, Head of Service and Parts for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: ‘The two new Truckman Amarok hardtops further enhance the range of off-the-shelf storage solutions we can offer as a brand. There is now even greater choice for business users and those Amarok owners that require a more commercial practical storage solution.

‘Working in partnership with Truckman, we’ve developed two new products that not only meet Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ stringent manufacturing and technical standards, but also enable us to meet the business needs of our customers. With the variety of colours available, the new hardtops are guaranteed to make Volkswagen drivers stand out from the rest.’

The new hardtops can be ordered via Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles network of 73 Van Centres, and are made to order in the UK.

4,000,000 Dacia sold worldwide LEADDacia continues to grow, selling its 4 millionth vehicle and setting a new record in its young history. This milestone was celebrated with the Dacia community at its annual picnic on Sunday at Domaine de Courson in France. With his purchase of a Duster, Denys Charrasse became the brand’s 4 millionth customer and, in turn, a part of Dacia’s history. Mr Charrasse was welcomed and celebrated at the Dacia France Picnic by more than 11,000 participants at the event, who had the opportunity to sign a commemorative Duster prepared for the occasion.

In the UK, Dacia regularly outperforms much larger and well-established brands in its segment thanks to strong Sandero, Duster and Logan MCV sales, with over 78,000 Dacias sold in the UK since its launch in April 2013.

The eighth edition of Dacia’s yearly picnic was again a great success. Customers and their families enjoyed a day full of events such as volleyball, football, sailing, photo booths and workshops. Dacia organises these events across the world to thank its enthusiastic customers and ever-growing community.

Dacia UK’s Dacia Day for owners will take place on 13th August at Bruntingthorpe.

Ford_GW2016-Kuga_04Ford has revealed the production version of the new Ford Kuga Vignale upscale SUV that will expand the Ford Vignale product and customer experience when it goes on sale in Europe later this year.

The Ford Kuga Vignale is presented in pearlescent-metallic Vignale Milano Grigio exterior colour with Cashmere leather interior trim as part of an exclusive specification, delivers meticulous craftsmanship and will be offered with a range of powerful and efficient Ford EcoBoost petrol and TDCi diesel engines – and with Ford Intelligent All Wheel Drive.

The Ford Kuga Vignale joins the new Ford S-MAX Vignale sports activity vehicle and Ford Edge Vignale large SUV as one of three new Ford Vignale models presented this year, following the introduction of the Ford Mondeo Vignale in 2015. The Ford Mondeo and S-MAX Vignale are available to order now, with the Edge Vignale also arriving in late 2016.

The expanded Ford Vignale model range is available to order at FordStores across Europe, including Georgia and Turkey, and at customers’ Ford retailer of choice. FordStoresincorporate dedicated Vignale Lounges that deliver a personalised purchase experience supported by a Vignale Relationship Manager. Ford has 70 FordStores already established across the UK.

Customers can now use Ford’s new dedicated Ford Vignale Internet destination and online configurator to explore pricing and options – including new design options introduced earlier this year that enable customers to further personalise the exterior styling of Vignale models.

Ford earlier this year also announced a new travel, event and lifestyle service that will offer Ford Vignale customers valuable offers and access to travel and lifestyle activities, including hospitality experiences at the Chelsea Flower Show in London and access to VIP premieres such as the Cannes Film Festival.

Vauxhall’s new Mokka XVauxhall’s new Mokka X will be in showrooms from October this year, priced from £17,590 on-the-road.

The new SUV looks to build on the success of its predecessor, providing a wide range of variants across the Design Nav, Active, Elite and Elite Nav trims. A number of petrol and diesel engines will be available, including the new-to-range 1.4i 153PS Turbo automatic petrol engine, as well as the 1.6CDTi 110PS ecoFLEX manual diesel.

The new six-speed manual 1.6CDTi 110PS diesel engine is available at every trim level and delivers up to 72.4mpg (combined) and only 103g/km. It is available from £19,515 OTR with the Design Nav trim, which also gives 20% BiK making it an appealing option to a company car driver.

Elsewhere in the range, Vauxhall is also introducing a new generation 1.4-litre Direct Injection Turbo (153PS) petrol unit that offers 0-60mph acceleration of just 9.4 seconds and a top speed of 120mph. With a six-speed automatic transmission, adaptive all-wheel drive and start/stop, the 1.4 Turbo engine is available from £21,150 OTR in Design Nav trim.

Standard equipment on Design Nav models is impressive and includes 18” alloy wheels (excluding ecoFLEX models), LED daytime running lights, front fog lights and silver roof rails on the outside. Inside the cabin, drivers will benefit from an 8-inch touch screen with Vauxhall’s IntelliLink Infotainment system, as well as the innovative OnStar personal connectivity and service assistant. This standard level of equipment is available from just £17,590 OTR with the manual 1.6 115PS petrol engine.

Elite Nav is the top-of-the-range trim and adds a host of comfort and convenience features. Priced from £22,855 OTR, Elite Nav models include full leather interior, heated front seats and steering wheel, and tinted rear windows for added style and privacy.

press01-model-x-drivingTesla has chosen this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed and Moving Motor Show weekend to unveil its spectacular SUV, Model X.

Model X is the uncompromising SUV that combines safety, size and speed. With enough room to fit seven adults and accelerate from 0-60mph in an impressive 3.2 seconds, Model X is the most capable sports utility vehicle in history.

Standing alongside Model X will be three of Tesla’s Model S cars and an AWD chassis. The top-class cast will be on display for all four days of the event from June 23-26 and the public will have the ability to book in advance for a test drive at future events.

During the Moving Motor Show, which has been part of Goodwood’s programme since 2010, Tesla’s stand on the Main Grid will be fully open for public viewing. The Moving Motor Show allows the public unprecedented access to the latest cars and a first-hand inspection of all Festival content, as well as the opportunity to put the pedal to the metal in some new wheels.

The Goodwood Festival of Speed and Moving Motor Show are not to be missed by any motoring enthusiast. The event sees the latest of the world’s most thrilling cars take centre stage – from Formula 1 to the most innovative electric vehicles – in addition to a whole host of off-track entertainment set amongst the glorious grounds of Lord March’s Goodwood Estate.

mg-gs-range-hi-2This time last week, MG Motor’s new SUV, the MG GS, went on sale. Since then almost 40 have been registered, orders have been taken, deposits are being made and handovers are just around the corner.

Customers looking to bag themselves this fantastic new model may not know that MG invited the public to be part of the creative process earlier this year.

Prior to announcing any details about the car, members of the public interested in hearing about the GS were given the opportunity to put forward their suggestions for trim level names. These names depict the grades of a model and differentiate the features and equipment available.

Almost 2,000 names were sent in. Those that were mentioned more than once were pulled into a list and the final decision was made by MG’s creative team. The trim level names were revealed last week, along with the pricing for each one. The three chosen names were: MG GS Explore (entry level), MG GS Excite (mid level) and MG GS Exclusive (top level).

Matthew Cheyne, Head of Sales and Marketing for MG, said: “We were delighted with the response we got from the public and thank everyone for their great ideas – there are a lot of creative people out there, which is what we were hoping for. The people who contributed are now part of automotive history, which is pretty exciting. We also had some of our dealers throw names in!

“This is a really exciting time for MG and we wanted our customers to be part of it, plus it’s nice to have a say in life. When we updated the MG6 last year we considered our customers feedback, so why stop there? This car reflects fun and adventures, so we decided to take our customers on an adventure with us and have a bit of fun along the way!”

The MG GS is MG Motor’s first SUV. With three trim levels offering customers plenty of specification for very little money, the MG GS is very competitive in its class with the range starting from £14,995. The top specification of the new model is available with manual or dual-clutch transmission (DCT).

Those interested in finding out more information and booking in a test drive can do so here: http://mg.co.uk/gs.

160615_Fiat-Professional_Fullback_03FIAT Professional has announced pricing and specification details of the new Fullback pickup truck ahead of its UK launch on July 4. Engineered to meet the broad needs of business users  – both professional and recreational – the new FIAT Professional Fullback offers the kind of flexibility and dependability its name suggests: A fundamental playing position in rugby or American football; the fullback which requires an intelligent and adaptable player capable of dealing with any situation.

With the new Fullback, FIAT Professional enters the buoyant medium-duty pick up segment which accounts for 650,000 vehicles a year in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa) representing 22% of the total LCV market. In the UK more than 40,000 pickups were registered in 2015 – a jump of 20% compared to 2014 – so it is clear that there is a growing audience, both internationally and in the UK, who see the rugged and practical pickup truck as an ideal solution to their broad spectrum of vehicle needs.

In terms of styling, the front of the FIAT Professional Fullback adopts the upmarket appearance of a sports SUV with its swept-back fascia, chunky front bumper and roomy cab-forward layout. Distinctive swage lines along the flanks tie the front of the pickup truck to the rear and, along with the sweeping shape of the front and rear lamps, help fully integrate the load bed as part of the vehicle’s overall design. Detailing is tasteful and restrained with two strips of satin silver trim used to frame the front grille on the entry-level SX, while LX versions also have a subtle satin silver trim around sump protector, as well as chrome-finished door mirrors, door handles and side steps. Attractive 16-inch alloy wheels are standard on the SX while the profile of the LX model is enhanced with 17-inch alloy wheels and substantial, body-coloured wheel arch protectors.

The interior combines the functionality of a work vehicle with the comfort and elegance of luxury vehicle with an attractive and ergonomically designed, two-tone black-and-silver dashboard, supportive and comfortable seats and impressive rear passenger room. Standard equipment on the SX version includes remote central locking, electric windows and mirrors, Bluetooth connectivity (phone calling and music streaming), DAB digital radio, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearknob, steering-wheel mounted remote audio controls, air conditioning (including rear vents), Start & Stop, front fog lamps, a tubular side step and a host of safety features including seven airbags, advanced ESC with ASR, TSA (Trailer Stability Assist), LED DRLs, hill start assist and cruise control with a speed limiter. Lane Departure Warning and a reversing camera are both standard on the LX version.

The FIAT Professional Fullback SX is powered by an aluminium-block, 2.4-litre diesel engine with a variable-geometry turbo charger which produces 150hp and 380Nm of torque yet its official combined-cycle fuel economy figure is just 44.2MPG (6.4L/100km) and its CO2 emissions are 169g/km. The standard SX transmission comprises a six-speed manual gearbox with on demand four-wheel drive system with three electrically-selected settings: 2H, 4H and 4L.

The power and torque outputs of LX version are increased to 180hp and 430Nm, while the full-time four-wheel drive system has four electrically-controlled settings: 2H, 4H plus 4HLc and 4LLc with a locking central differential for improved traction. Its official combined-cycle fuel economy figure is 42.2MPG (6.6L/100km) and its CO2 emission figure is 173g/km.

Technical highlights across all FIAT Professional Fullback models include a one-tonne payload with a bed length of up to 1.52m, 3,100kg un-braked towing capacity (2,700kg for the SX model), best-in-class turning circle. Sophisticated double wishbone front suspension and a solid axle with leaf springs for maximum reliability and sturdiness.

Standard equipment on the LX includes keyless go, leather upholstery, electrically-adjusted and heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, bi-xenon headlamps with washers, enhanced body styling, privacy glass and a 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system with DAB, Bluetooth connectivity and satellite navigation as standard. Lane Departure Warning, a reversing camera and a comfort-oriented “Touring” suspension are also included in the generous LX specification. When equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission, the LX version adds an upgraded 7-inch infotainment system and transmission paddle gear shifters.

Available as a double cab only and with all-wheel drive standard on all versions, the FIAT Professional Fullback starts at £20,995 (excluding VAT, VED, delivery and plates) for the SX version. The high-specification LX manual is priced from £22,995 (excluding VAT and OTR charges) while the LX automatic is priced from £24,395 (excluding VAT and OTR charges). The new FIAT Fullback will be available to order from FIAT Professional dealers from 4 July.

Is all-independent suspension and torquey turbodiesel engine enough to make the Shogun a worthy player in the modern premium SUV arena? It may have lost its way a little, but it is still a sound bet as a family estate with genuine off-road ability

 TARGET RANGE:  £8000 – £30,000 

The Shogun has developed into a crossover – a crossover between the old and the new. When the third generation of this popular 4×4 blasted on to the scene in 1999 it seemed to be leading the way, shunning the heavy separate chassis and rigid axles of its predecessor in favour of monocoque construction and all-independent suspension, backed up by refined new engines and slick-shifting transmissions. When the time came to leapfrog the technical advances of its key rivals in 2007 we expected something truly futuristic from this innovative company, lightweight construction with space-age materials, perhaps, integrated electronic communications and driving aids, advanced transmissions with fully automated four-wheel drive controls…

What we got was little more than a facelift of the previous model; even the much vaunted facelift for 2015 turned out to be little more than that – a deeper more integrated grille and the addition of daytime running lights – which means it’s the Shogun that’s been soundly leap-frogged by the opposition, so much so that in the 2016 edition of our expansive 4×4 Of The Year comparison we nudged the latest Shogun out of the top-range SUV category and shifted it into the hard core group along with the last of the Land Rover Defenders, the Jeep Renegade and the Suzuki Jimny.

That may seem like a bit of a comedown for a vehicle selling itself as a luxury estate – but could it be the exact opposite, a congratulatory recognition that the Shogun is one of the very few that have stuck to the original crossover concept, that heady blend of hard-core off-roader and luxury limousine that was kicked off by the Range Rover in 1970? Most of the other premium players in this arena have long ago shrugged off any pretence of being off-roaders adopting instead a whole range of technological advances aimed at enhancing their highway performance, refinement and gimmick-led convenience features, vehicles that pay lip service to their mud-plugging origins while pandering to the passion for fashion of the rich and the famous.

With its clunky five-speed transmission and manual-shifting four-wheel drive transfer case, vague steering and add-on electronics the Shogun feels like an old truck to drive compared with the latest offerings from Land Rover, Nissan, Jeep and even the once junior-league players Kia and SsangYong, but the fact that the Mitsubishi can hold its own against true hard-core off-roaders while offering much better interior comfort and space marks it as one of the few remaining vehicles of its type that still has real all-purpose capability, and therefore ideal for anyone valuing uncomplicated seven-seater family practicality and competence over the flighty demands of fashion.

There’s also the consideration that the short-wheelbase Shogun retains, even nearly a decade on, the dynamic Dakar-inspired styling that gives it classic, muscular and still youthful high street appeal as well as enhanced off-road capability with its short front and rear overhangs.

From 2007, in line with the focus on practicality, Mitsubishi dropped the frivolously thirsty petrol V6 from the range and offered only the 3.2 DI-D turbodiesel engine, tuned for 168bhp and returning little better than 30mpg, pick a model from at least 2010 to enjoy the higher performance and better consumption of the upgraded 197bhp unit promising better than 36mpg with the manual transmission, 34 with the automatic. We’ve long favoured this engine for its strong torque and have even excused its relative noisiness because of the almost stirringly sporty exhaust beat at cruising speed. It is, nevertheless, a dated engine; compare it with the 3.0CRD of the Jeep Grand Cherokee which develops a headier 247bhp, returns better than 37mpg and emits 198g/km of CO2 compared with 224gm/km for the long wheelbase Shogun, so you won’t be buying one on the grounds of efficiency alone.

 Our verdicts 

We appreciated the improvements for the fifth generation Shogun of 2007, but hardly felt any genuine excitement because it didn’t offer anything dramatically new – other than aiming even higher than before in pitching itself right in Discovery 3 territory. Of our first experience with the new model, in the March 2007 issue, we wrote: “The Shogun has moved further away from the slightly agricultural workhorse; it’s aimed squarely at the executive SUV market and there is now a new top-spec Diamond to head the familiar line-up of Equippe, Warrior and Elegance. The Diamond features 20in alloys, sports grille and lots of chrome trim for an extra £2000 over the Elegance. Is it really worth the extra cash for a bit of shiny trim? Perhaps not.”

We were no more excited about the Shogun when, a few months later, we were able to put one to the test in comparison with some similarly priced rivals, a SsangYong Rexton and a Nissan Pathfinder. In our Summer 2007 edition we wrote: “The fourth-generation model has arguably stepped back in time in terms of styling, with a leaner, squared-off version of the previous car’s more rounded, muscular haunches.” We approved of the way the spare wheel had been mounted a little lower than before, improving the view through the rear screen, but were not impressed with the price – we complained that at £34,696 the Equippe didn’t have the leather upholstery, heated seats, cruise control, satnav or front fog lamps of the higher-specification models, making the claims of this being an affordable luxury car seem less obvious. We did like the clever “hide and seat” rear seat arrangement, in which the bench simply folds up out of the boot floor; it’s a substantial item that’s heavy to operate, and really only capacious enough to accommodate children.

On the road we appreciated the lusty nature of the engine, the responsive transmission, good steering feel and sharp handling that enhanced driving confidence. Off-road we criticised the long rear overhang, in spite of which it outclassed the Rexton and Pathfinder in difficult terrain. In the final verdict, the Shogun lost out to the Nissan that had better on-road performance and refinement, and more capacious seven-seater accommodation.

side slope capability, hill descent control, axle articulation, approach and departure angles and hillclimb ability. The Shogun came ninth out of 12, losing out to more focused rivals such as the Jeep Wrangler, Toyota Land Cruiser, the Land Rovers – and, surprisingly, the Volkswagen Touareg. We commented: “The aspiring Discovery rival not only lags way behind the Land Rovers, but also plays second fiddle to the Nissan Patrol and Toyota Land Cruiser as an off-road force to be reckoned with. The Shogun has tidied up its act with improved styling and better road manners, but off-road it remains decidedly average. Naturally a short-wheelbase Shogun would be a better bet for anyone looking for a very competent off-road plaything.”

The significance of this comparison has faded over the succeeding years, as most of the other premium SUVs involved have erred in the direction of on-road enhancements, leaving the Shogun as a more genuine, even if not Wrangler-competent, off-roader. Our comment when pitted against the hard-core Defender, Jimny and Wrangler in our most recent 4×4 Of The Year competition: “Now completely unsuitable for the Prestige section, the Shogun fits more neatly into this group. Mitsubishi has refused to update its once luxury flagship – it still has the spare wheel on the back door, just like all its new best friends in the hard-core group.” The Shogun came third behind the Wrangler and the Land Rover, but not by much, racking up a score of 80 per cent against the winning Jeep’s 88 per cent.

Pretty much everything we felt – and still feel – about the Shogun is reflected in our most recent evaluation: “Just because the Shogun’s beginning to look a bit long in the tooth doesn’t mean it’s no longer good. The bold sporty styling gives it a pleasing individuality; the turbodiesel is one of the strongest in terms of stump-pulling off-road torque and it sounds good under power on the highway. There’s no question about its strength and reliability.”

 Which one to buy 

The Warrior specification always struck us as the best value, and you’ll still need in the region of £10,000 to acquire a reasonable-mileage example from 2007, Sheffield Car Centre (01142 572032) were offering a still-gleaming black seven-seater with 99,400 miles, full service history and long MOT at £10,795. The specification is excellent, including full black leather with heated front seats, satellite navigation, climate control, tinted glass and 18-inch alloys. You will pay less for a three-door, for example £8250 would have secured the similar-age black 90,000-miler with warranty and new MOT from Perrys of Mansfield (08448 154452).

Meanwhile the base Equippe is hardly spartan, it has cloth upholstery but includes air conditioning, electric windows and central locking, with front and side airbags; it has traction control and electronic stability systems, which explains why a clean, well-maintained example could easily ask as much as a higher-mileage Warrior or Elegance. The Elegance has an electric sunroof and enhanced stereo, pay upwards of £8000 for a reasonable-mileage, well-maintained early example, more like £14,000 for a post-2010 example with the uprated engine, Milton Keynes Mitsubishi (01908 224234) were advertising a metallic grey towbar-equipped 69,000-miler for £13,995, with full service history and long MOT.

The Diamond has enhanced interior trim and adds little touches such as parking aids and bigger alloys, enough to boost the price to a good £1000 more than an Elegance of similar age and condition. Bedford Car Centre (01234 217777) had a metallic black one-owner 2010 model with 71,000 miles going for £15,990, black leather interior, moon roof, CD autochanger, rear DVD screens, side steps and xenon headlamps.

During 2011 the Shogun was updated for the 2012 model year, the main mechanical enhancement being the retuned engine to meet Euro V emissions standards. Cosmetic details include a revised grille and colour-keyed front bumper, a new style of 12-spoke alloys and black roof rails on the outside, with better quality materials for the interior trim and enhanced instrument illumination. Badging also changed, with SG2 as the entry level but impressively equipped with keyless entry, climate control and integrated Bluetooth, and more luxury in the SG3 and SG4 versions, which have SD card satnav, DAB radio and reversing camera as well as automatic headlamp and windscreen wiper functions. Second-hand five-door SG2 versions are rare, but we spotted a smart Cool Silver example with manual transmission on a 12 plate with 29,000 miles at Fownhope Mitsubishi (01432 273791) priced at £18,995, not only a one-owner car with towbar and BFG all-terrains, but one originally bought and subsequently fully maintained by that dealer. A similar-age SG3 five-door with 30,000 miles, Granite Brown with cream leather with a full service history, was going for £22,950 at Speeds of Loudwater (01494 512525), a car that was once their own demonstrator so sold with a full service history and a six-month warranty.

We were attracted to the Cool Silver 2015 SG4 being offered for £27,900 at Humphries and Parks of Maidstone, a pristine car with only 11,000 miles, not bad since we’ve seen cars two years older and with higher mileage asking similar money.

There are special editions worth looking out for. The Black – oddly enough available in Frost White, Cool Silver, Orient Red and Granite Brown as well as Diamond Black – is based on the high-spec SG4 and has a satin black styling kit including 20-inch wheels, black spoiler, door mirrors, grille and headlamp bezels, door handles and side steps. These are naturally rare second-hand, Holwood Cars of Keston, Kent (01689 326848) had a white 12-reg 39,000-miler on offer at £32,990, not bad for a car that cost over £38,000 new.
Keep an eye out for good deals on new and nearly new examples. The Shogun remains desirable but with interest in the new-tech Outlander PHEV on the increase, some outlets might ease the asking price on Shoguns just to move some stock. Autoecosse of Dundee (01382 780852), for instance, had a selection of range-topping unregistered SG5 models with 100 miles on them priced at £37,300, list price £40,299; Grenson Motor Group of Crewe (01270 359971) wanted a mere £36,299 for an unregistered SG4 with 10 miles on it, £4000 off the list price.

The most desirable three-door is also the most recent special, the Barbarian launched in July 2014, with gloss black and silver Le Mans alloy wheels, L200 Barbarian style leather interior with carbon inserts, DAB digital radio and alloy pedal kit, look for a low-mileage nearly new ex-demonstrator, for instance the 2000-mile 65-plated automatic with extras including satnav asking £28,995 – a saving of a good £3000 over the new list price – at Brindley Mitsubishi at Cannock (01543 406620), though Grays of Holbeach (01406422129) had a new Barbarian with tinted glass and sidesteps, only 20 miles on it on offer at a stunning £27,750.

Several dealers had ex-demonstrators for sale, the gleaming black SG3 on a 65 plate with just 1900 miles caught our eye at Westway Motors of Northampton (01604 651033), priced at £30,990 with electric sunroof, side steps, Rockford premium audio and HD navigation, a snip compared with the £34,744 list price.

One of the reasons for buying a car with a chain-driven camshaft rather than a belt-driven one is that the chain generally lasts the life of the engine so you escape those high-cost services at 80,000 or 100,000 mile intervals involving a belt replacement – a significant point for anyone buying a higher-mileage second-hand car to consider. The Mitsubishi 3.2-litre DI-DC turbodiesel has a chain – but the nylon-faced chain guide has a habit of wearing away at around 80,000 miles causing the chain to dislodge with consequent damage to the engine. Since a replacement is cheap and easy, it’s worth having this done on any car showing anything near 80,000 miles. Cars used for heavy towing duties have been known to overheat, so check for signs of “mayonnaise” under the oil filler hinting that oil and water are mixing through a damaged cylinder head gasket. Otherwise the engine is generally reliable, apart from problems that can affect any turbodiesel, such as a clogged-up exhaust gas recirculation valves; some owners may have blanked this off to avert the problem, with a slight performance improvement as a bonus, but check that the car has an MOT report showing the emissions aren’t seriously affected.

Manual gearboxes can be troublesome, probably because they’re having to deal with the massive torque of the turbodiesel engine. Listen for excessive whining noises, particularly in top gear, during acceleration or on the overrun. Also check the synchromesh, any crunching or resistance to change might indicate impending failure. Also make sure the clutch takes up smoothly and progressively, without any grinding or chattering noises, or a shuddering feel, which suggests an expensive problem developing with the dual mass flywheel. Automatics are generally trouble-free but have been known to overheat if used for heavy long haul towing; an acrid smell from the transmission dipstick might indicate that the transmission has overheated at some time. In any case the automatic transmission fluid should be changed regularly at six-year intervals so check that this has been done on any older model you’re buying.

Sagging springs aren’t unusual on an older car, particularly one used for heavy towing, so make sure it sits level. Damper wear shouldn’t be a problem even on cars dating from 2007, but again if it’s one that’s been used for towing the rear dampers may have suffered leading to a tendency to ‘wander’ on the road, though this could also be down to worn rear suspension bushes. Either way, reject any car that doesn’t feel crisp and stable. Power steering failure is rare in this latest generation, but it’s worth checking that the steering works quietly from lock to lock, check for leaks from the power steering pump and the steering assembly. Anti-roll bushes can soften, which could cause the car to pull to the left under braking. Brake pads tend to wear quite quickly, it’s more important to check that the discs aren’t warped, brake hard at speed and reject the car if you feel a wobble from the front wheels, a feeling that’s nothing like the clattering of the antilock system; that’s also known to fail so make sure it’s working on any car you’re thinking of buying. Listen for the rumbling groan of worn wheel bearings, a fairly common problem on older cars.

Rust is unlikely to be a problem on cars of this generation, though underbody damage from over enthusiastic off-roading could have given corrosion a hold, the spring housings are particularly prone to corrosion if grit and water are left there after an off-road outing. Check the sills for signs that dents or scrapes have been patched with filler. The bulging wheelarches are also prone to picking up scrapes from undergrowth, look for signs of hairline scratches hidden under colour polish. On a long wheelbase Shogun make sure the pop-up rear seats do pop up properly and that the floor underneath them is still sound, muddy boots can damage the surface and initiate corrosion. On a three-door check under the boot floor covering anyway for signs of water ingress, and also check for stains on the headlining on any car with a sunroof. The quality of the interior materials is better than in previous generations and shouldn’t show much wear, even so it’s worth taking a test drive over a side road with a broken surface to check for excessive squeaks and rattles from the dash. Make sure the satnav works, systems on earlier cars are known to have failed.

 Or you could consider… 

TOYOTA LAND CRUISERJeep Grand CherokeeSsangYong Rexton

This is the most natural alternative to the Shogun, because it’s another veteran that hasn’t succumbed totally to the modern rush for performance and refinement. With its blandly sleek and aerodynamic body it lacks the dynamic visual appeal of the Shogun but it outdoes the Mitsubishi in several areas, one being the retention of the traditionally primitive 4×4 requirements of separate chassis and rigid rear axle, along with dual range transmission giving it significantly better off-road capability. The front suspension is independent, which does detract from ultimate off-road agility, but some high-specification versions have a locking rear differential and traction controls that help to overcome any deficiency in this area. The 3.0-litre turbodiesel is more refined, more economical and cleaner than the Shogun’s rumbling 3.2 DI-D, and it can seat eight in comfort.

The iconic Jeep name ought to mean something to anyone looking for a serious off-road estate, but it just hasn’t been available in the UK long enough to develop anything like the Shogun’s reputation for hard work and reliable performance. However, in spite of its American feel the modern Grand has much to offer as an all-round SUV, since it’s every bit as competent off-road as it is on tarmac featuring a form of terrain response, height-adjustable air suspension, hill descent control and traction controls, while convenience features include a rear parking-aid camera and a panoramic sunroof. Power is from the efficient and economical VM-built Fiat Multijet II V6, the interiors of high-end versions are clad in sumptuous leather and electronic enhancements include cutting-edge electronic driving aids such as lane change warning, traffic sign recognition and autonomous braking.

What, really? It’s a Compact compared with the Shogun, but it’s a seven-seater, so offers similar interior comfort in a more natural car-like environment. It’s not the most refined of modern SUVs, but with its new smoother and cleaner 2.2-litre turbodiesel and seven-speed automatic combined with taut suspension and crisp steering it’s arguably a more pleasing vehicle to drive – and it will also tow a three-tonne trailer. It even challenges the Shogun off-road with its separate chassis offering good articulation; it also has a dual range transmission, traction controls and hill descent control. Equipment levels are excellent, including keyless entry and climate control in all models, leather upholstery in all but the base version and DAB stereo and satnav in the range-topping ELX, all at a price that undercuts the cheapest new Shogun.

New Dacia Duster (6) LEADDacia will debut the new 2017 model year version of its ever-popular, no-nonsense Duster SUV at the Moving Motor Show, held during the Goodwood Festival of Speed on 23 June.

On display in the new Prestige dCi110 4×2 guise, the new Duster will make its first UK appearance at the legendary Festival, joining the rest of the Dacia range. At the Moving Motor Show, guests will also have the opportunity to get behind the wheel of petrol and diesel versions of the Sandero – the UK’s most affordable car – together with diesel examples of the Sandero Stepway and the award-winning Logan MCV, which is the UK’s best value estate car.

The 2017 Duster receives a number of external and interior upgrades, while the popular range is strengthened with the addition of the new range-topping Prestige version.

Instantly identifying the new Duster are new, squarer headlights, the revised front end styling adding to the SUV’s purposeful and robust appearance.

The new Duster is also enhanced with the availability of the new 1.2 TCe 125 engine, providing customers with the option of a more powerful engine and complementing the existing 1.6 SCe 115 engine. The new turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engine provides 125 horsepower with 205Nm of torque at 4,000rpm and offers combined NEDC fuel consumption of 46.3mpg (4×2 version) and CO2 emissions of 138g/km.  Available on Lauréate trim and above, the inclusion of the new engine in the line-up means that customers now have the choice of a petrol or diesel variant at every trim level. Powering diesel versions of the new Duster is the well-proven 1.5 dCi engine.

Standard equipment on the Duster has been upgraded, with DAB radio as standard from Ambiance trim and new interior upholstery on all trim levels. Additional changes to the interior include the dashboard now in a dark carbon finish, whilst there is a new satin chrome centre console surround and steering wheel inserts to match.

There are also several new options available on the new Duster, such as 16-inch ‘Tyrol’ diamond-cut alloy wheels, which add further presence to the SUV. Rear parking sensors are also available for the first time as a factory-fit option, while a rear parking camera is now available as an option on Lauréate trim and above. All new part-leather ‘Aspira’ upholstery can be specified as an option, offering more refinement as well as practicality. Pennine Green, a new deep green metallic paint, has also been made available for the updated Duster.

The 2017 Duster range is topped by the new Prestige version. On top of the Lauréate trim, the Prestige adds 16-inch ‘Tyrol’ diamond-cut alloy wheels, MediaNav Evolution (7-inch touchscreen multimedia system with satellite navigation) and rear-parking camera as standard. Priced at just £900 more than the Lauréate, the Prestige represents a customer saving of £250 compared to buying the extra equipment as individual options.

Starting with the Access level of trim, the new Duster line-up also comprises of Ambiance, Ambiance Prime, Lauréate and Prestige versions.

The entry-level Access offers standard features that includeABS and Emergency Brake Assist
ESC/ASR (Electronic Stability Control and Traction Control),longitudinal roof bars, a Thatcham-approved engine immobiliser, electric front windows and remote control central locking.

In addition to the specification of the Access, the Ambiance adds extra equipment that includes 16-inch ‘Matterhorn’ steel wheels, body-coloured front and rear bumpers, a 4 x 20W DAB tuner with steering-column mounted fingertip controls, Bluetooth, AUX input, USB connection for MP3 players, front fog lights and height-adjustable driver’s seat.

On top of the Ambiance trim, the Ambiance Prime offers 16-inch ‘Everest’ alloy wheels and the exclusive Chestnut body colour.

The Lauréate trim adds even more luxury, its standard equipment including manual air conditioning,
electric front and rear windows, heated and electrically-adjustable door mirrors, on-board computer, leather steering wheel,
’Graphite’ cloth upholstery and 16-inch ‘Tyrol’ alloy wheels.

All versions of the new Duster can be specified with two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.

The new Duster range starts from £9,495 on the road and is available to order now with customer deliveries from July.

lead_New 2008 Compact SUV - GT Line with plenty of Allure besides 2326The new PEUGEOT 2008 Compact SUV is entering UK showrooms this week, and its arrival appears to be very timely – when rainfall for June 2016 has already broken all previous June month weather records. Having the right vehicle for the UK summer can mean needing one capable of operating in almost any weather condition.

The latest PEUGEOT 2008 has been updated, re-styled and features enhanced specification. It has an even more assertive  SUV design, including visual features; new wheel arch extensions (from Allure level), new vertical front grille and scuff plates (from Allure level).

The new Ultimate Red colour further epitomises the power and desirability of the new 2008. The Access, Active and Allure levels are complemented by the new sporty ‘GT Line’ model. This trim level is already a very popular choice on other key PEUGEOT models (108, 208, 308 and 508), and adds a sporty theme throughout.

The PEUGEOT i-Cockpit® is unique to the brand and embodies the driving characteristics of the PEUGEOT 2008, being agile, intuitive and safe. The compact sports steering wheel offers precise steering and improved manoeuvrability while the 7” multifunction colour touch screen puts all the functionality at your fingertips. In addition, the head-up instrument panel allows driver information to be accessed without taking the eyes off the road.

Grip Control – an adapted traction system – gives the 2008 its versatility on all types of terrain. It is combined with Mud & Snow (All-Season) tyres. PEUGEOT 2008 is also equipped with MirrorScreen, based on MirrorLinkTM and Apple Carplay®, along with the reversing camera, Active City Brake and Park Assist – a rarity in this segment.

Mark Pickles, UK Marketing Director at Peugeot, said: “With over 40,000 of the existing versions of 2008 on UK roads being joined by the updated new PEUGEOT 2008 Compact SUV, most of which are equipped with Grip Control and All-Season tyres, they look set to benefit customers with the perfect car for our ever-changing British climate!”