Monthly Archives: April 2018

It was on this day 70 years ago that the world first saw a Land Rover. On the 30th April 1948 at the Amsterdam Motor Show, the first pre-production Land Rover made it’s public debut – and having been relocated it is being restored by Land Rover’s Classics team.

To mark the exact date of the anniversary, World Land Rover Day will celebrate the vehicles that have taken the marque from their humble beginnings to the global brand that it is today.

A live broadcast on the Land Rover YouTube channel at 8pm will tell the story of the brand, and how it has enabled adventure, supported humanitarian aid and produced much-loved working vehicles. The film calls on figures behind the legendary vehicles, plus an insight into the future only available from inside the factory.

‘Land Rover is so much more than just the most capable all-terrain vehicles,’ said JLR CEO Prof. Dr Ralf Speth. ‘It connects people through a passion for adventure and making more from our world. From our employees to customers and enthusiasts, this is the family that makes Land Rover special.’

The year of celebrations has already brought us some exciting vehicles, with the 1948 prototype rebuild, the Works V8 Defender and the Range Rover SV Coupé released by Land Rover – plus news on the new Defender expected later in the year.


Not so long ago, we lived in a much simpler time. A phone was a phone, and an SUV was… an SUV.

These days, companies aren’t satisfied with just producing something fit for one purpose. And with that, I give you the new Jaguar E-Pace – the ‘compact performance SUV with sports car looks’.

So, what about those looks then? Well, the E-Pace is an attractive vehicle, especially when finished in the R-Dynamic trim, with the rear being a particular highlight and some F-Type mimicking clear to see.

It’s the same inside, too, most noticeably when you look at how the grab handle runs from the side of the transmission tunnel on the passenger side up to the dashboard. On the whole the cabin is a welcoming enough environment, although its design is far from ground breaking. The switchgear is fine, apart from the toggle you engage to hop between driving modes, which feels cheap, frankly.

It’s Evoque-like inside: functional style, but with a little added flair. And that’s an important comparison, because the two share more than an interior.

While the E-Pace may wear a Gucci tracksuit, it’s based upon the same platform as the Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport. No surprise to see it uses the same nine-speed ZF gearbox through much of its range then, and a list of engines that’re straight from the JLR stable.

There’s a front-wheel-drive 150bhp diesel available with a manual ‘box and no R-Dynamic pack for under £30K, but unsurprisingly, we’re not too interested in that.

Thankfully, you can also equip an E-Pace with either a 180bhp or 240bhp tune of the 2.0-litre four-pot diesel, or should you want to go for the full Jaguar growl, there’s 250bhp or 300bhp 2.0-litre petrol engines.

Does any of this equate to a sports car driving experience? Not really.

There’s no denying that for a vehicle with a raised ride height carrying four-wheel-drive technology, the E-Pace is a competent performer, with a nimbleness to its handling that makes it feel lighter than it is.

However, this isn’t some low-slung sports car that’ll power slide its way to Tesco and back. Still, the lack of weight transpiring through the steering wheel is a testament to JLR’s engineers, especially when you consider the E-Pace is actually heavier than the bigger F-Pace (only JLR’s big boys get the expensive aluminium architecture).

A quick word on the two petrol variants: they’re both lovely to drive, with lively motors and a real verve in the way they go about their business. But, I can’t help feel Jaguar has missed a trick by not bringing in a ‘sensible’ petrol option. 250PS is a lot of power in any vehicle, and one can’t help but feel the emergence of a P200 may just be the peach JLR is looking for.

Currently, the pick of the bunch has to be the R-Dynamic SE 180bhp diesel in all-wheel-drive and auto spec. Forget the news, modern-day diesels aren’t the work of Satan and the 180bhp diesel provides a solid compromise between performance and economy.

The nine-speed ‘box still revs longer than necessary, but in everyday situations you’ll be pleased you took this over the manual. It’s all down to driving style, of course. If you insist on having an E-Pace you want to thrash, go petrol. The diesel is much better for cruising, and seeing as you’re likely to buy this vehicle with the view to popping a couple of your kids in the back, it’s better for the school run.

Jag’s new E-Pace offers good driving attributes for a car that isn’t a sports car. It rides well, whatever the driving mode, has ample performance and doesn’t feel bloated as its kerb weight suggests. But importantly, it has more kerb appeal than just about any other SUV out there. Thankfully for Jaguar, the beauty is more than skin deep.

After the reveal of a mega-limited Arctic Trucks D-Max yesterday at the CV Show, Isuzu have today revealed a special edition D-Max of their own.

The Yukon Luxe Extended Cab receives a swathe of tweaks both internally and externally, adding both flair and comfort to the popular pick-up.

Eighteen-inch Black Shadow alloys apply edge to the look of the Luxe, whilst the power assisted tailgate adds functionality – and safety. Thanks to the Pro-Lift tailgate assist, the tailgate can feel 95% lighter.

The interior has received a red and black leather makeover, instilling style and comfort into the cab of the D-Max.

The Yukon Luxe Extended Cab prices up at £22,509 before VAT, only £1,000 up on standard D-Max Yukon models. Details on the new double-cab can be found on Isuzu’s website, or at your nearest dealership.

Arctic Trucks have been busy, not only have they worked their magic on an Isuzu D-Max and Toyota Hilux for the CV Show, they’ve also done work on a Nissan Navara.

It’s the first time that Nissan have developed a European pick-up with another brand, and the result is the Off-Roader AT32.

A bespoke suspension increases the Navara’s ride height by 20mm, resulting in 243mm of ground clearance. This also gives a new approach angle of 35˚ and a breakover of 24˚. The redesigned wheel arches were necessitated by the 32-inch tyres wrapped around the 17-inch alloys. Beneath the truck there is also underbody cladding for protection over rough terrain. Optional additions to the AT32’s off-road performance include a snorkel and a front differential locker plus bigger tyres present the option of reducing tyre pressure.

The AT32 is based on the Navara double cab, and as a result adopts the standard features of hill-start assist, hill descent control, emergency braking and a birds-eye-view parking camera. It also comes with Nissan’s five-year/100,000 mile warranty, plus a five year guarantee from Arctic Trucks on the new parts.

There’s no date announced yet for the Off-Roader AT32’s arrival on the UK market.

Arctic Trucks have taken the covers off a very limited run D-Max at the CV Show. The Stealth is based on the Isuzu D-Max AT35 double cab by Arctic Trucks, and the production run will consist of only ten examples.

The exterior has been de-chromed, with roof bars, side steps, radiator grille and all of the exterior features getting blackout treatment. Even the Isuzu badges have been changed, with a colour change up front, and on the D-Max Arctic Truck badges at the back, and the standard Isuzu decal on the tailgate has gone.

Black rear sports bar and mountain top roll over cover have been added to enhance the Stealth’s image. Un-stealthily, there are LED headlights and two Lazer lightbars mounted on the front bumper and the sports bar.

Predictably, the bespoke leather interior is black. The Arctic Trucks logo is embroidered into the headrests, and also features on the 9” touchscreen set into the dash. Nine speakers have been added, along with a subwoofer and a HDMI port.

The Stealth will cost £44,005 plus VAT, but it wasn’t the only Arctic Trucks project at the show.

The other Arctic Trucks vehicle at the show was the Arctic Trucks AT35 Hilux, sporting 10” alloys, 35” all-terrain tyres and a 25% increase in ground clearance. The AT35 Hilux is available to both commercial and private buyers, and comes with the same 5-year/100,000 mile warranty as Toyota Hilux models.

Ford have revealed a special version of the flagship Ranger pick-up in the form of the Wildtrak X.

Based on the top of the range Wildtrak trim, the X gains Performance Blue paint for the first time, along with a black finish for the grille, sport bar, roof rails, side steps, alloys wheels and the Wildtrak decals it adorns. The interior has been given a similar treatment, with black leather seats featuring contrast grey stitching.

The Wildtrak X comes in double cab form, powered by the popular 3.2-litre 200bhp diesel unit and a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

Orders are open for the Wildtrak X, with production starting in June and deliveries in August. Prices are not expected to be much more than the standard auto Wildtrak double cab, which starts at £27,945 plus VAT.

The newly-released Mitsubishi Shogun Sport has received a UK only commercial variant which has debuted at the CV Show in Birmingham.

With a redesigned interior, the Commercial vehicle has a six-inch bulkhead behind the two front seats and a totally flat floor covered with bonded carpet. Rear side windows are opaque, with steel replacements optional. The load area is around 1,500-litres and has a towing capacity of 3,100kg.

It gets power from a 2.4-litre, 181bhp turbo diesel unit, in conjunction with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Mitubishi’s all-wheel drive system is also included, allowing the driver to switch between two and four-wheel drive seamlessly.

Based on the top of the range Shogun Sport 4 spec, the Commercial comes with a host of standard features. Leather upholstery covers the heated seats, whilst keyless entry, dual-zone climate, LED headlight and tail lamps, privacy glass, automatic headlight washers, and a 510W amplifier for the Bluetooth and smartphone compatible infotainment system.

It also receives all of the safety features of the civilian counterpart, including adaptive cruise, Forward Collision Mitigation, blind spot sensors, parking sensors and 360˚view camera, plus mis-acceleration systems which use parking sensors to kerb sudden acceleration around obstacles.

Pricing for the Shogun Sport Commercial will be revealed closer to the launch.

In celebration of the Hilux’s 50th anniversary, Toyota will release two new models at the Commercial Vehicle show. The Invincible X will take its place at the top of the Hilux range, plus the Limited Edition version which will be, well, a limited-edition version.

The Invincible X receives styling updates at the front, with a new grille consisting of gloss black inserts and contrasting chrome edging. The bumper gets a re-working, too, with new look fog lights and silver steering guard. There are tweaks at the rear as well with a new step and silver under-run.

Changes inside the double-cab interior see an all-black theme, with a chromed instrument panel trim juxtaposing the black piano inserts on the dashboard, doors panels, steering wheel, gear lever and leather upholstery.

The instrument panel features new white dials and a central TFT display, a dedicated Invincible X start up animation and there’s a model specific key with silhouette details of the new front end.

The Invincible X matches the spec of it’s immediate underling, Invincible, and comes with Toyota Safety Sense. The safety package includes lane departure warning, road sign assist, cruise control, touchscreen infotainment system, rear view camera and automatic air conditioning.

The trim comes in conjunction with a 2.4-litre D-4D diesel engine, producing 148bhp and driving through a six-speed automatic transmission.

The Limited Edition Invincible X gets added street appeal with black exterior styling – 18-inch alloys, side steps and high-over bar – plus it is available in two exclusive colours. The run, which is limited to 150 UK models, will be either Scorched Orange or Nebula Blue.

Pricing for the Invincible X begins at £28,003 plus VAT.

The Hilux also broke cover in another guise at the show, with the Arctic Trucks AT35 Hilux, sporting 10” alloys, 35” all-terrain tyres and a 25% increase in ground clearance. The AT35 is available to both commercial and private buyers, and comes with the same 5-year/100,000 mile warranty as other Hilux models.

Last year VW showed a concept Amarok with a 254bhp, 427lbf.ft version of the 3.0-litre V6 currently present in the range. Well, now they’ve announced that the tuned version will be entering production for Highline and Aventura trim Amaroks.

The newest Tdi poses 34bhp more than the previous chart topper, along with 22 more torques. It promises to be eager as well as strong, with an overboost function bumping power up to 268bhp and maximum torque available at 1,400 through 3,000rpm.

Visual upgrades accompanying the newfound brunt include a rooftop liner and pillar trim in a metallic black finish on Aventura models. Other features on the top trim include 20″ graphite wheels and Nappa upholstery in the cabin, plus aluminium finish bed cover and underbody plating.

Orders are now open in Germany and will open in the UK in June, with pricing expected to start at £37,000 and £42,000 for Highline and Aventura models respectively. We’ll bring more on UK prices when they’re confirmed.

We likened the work-ready Utility spec of the formidable Land Cruiser to an off-roading icon in the latest issue of 4×4, out today, and Toyota have now released pricing for its Commercial sibling.

The Land Cruiser Utility Commercial is available in short and long wheelbase guises, powered by a 2.8-litre 4-cylinder diesel with a six-speed manual transmission. It’s the same engine offered with all Utility derivatives, producing 175bhp, and offering 310lbf.ft in the short wheelbase variant and 332lbf.ft in the bigger truck.

Both wheelbases offer the same approach angle of 31º and have similar ground clearance figures – 205mm for the SWB and 215 for LWB. The maximum wading depth for both trucks is 700mm. Both can tow a braked trailer weighing up to three tonnes, with payloads of 593kg and 756kg.

Conversion from passenger to commercial vehicle sees the Land Cruiser’s rear seats removed and the resulting load space receiving a flat, edge to edge non-slip floor tray, and a floor to roof bulkhead with a mesh top half separates the cabin and load area. Loading is simple with the hinged back door or, on five door examples, via the rear doors, and rear windows are panelled and match the bodywork colouration.

The front seats are cloth upholstered, and the cabin features a six speaker stereo system, CD player, plus bluetooth, and on LWB models aux and USB connections. Standard spec features smart entry, cruise control, auto headlights and roof rails. Driver aids include traction control, trailer sway control, mutli-terrain ABS, vehicle stability control and tyre pressure warning. All Land Cruiser Commercials roll off the production line on 17″ steel wheels.

Prices for the £27,546 for SWB models and £28,509 for the LWB version – both excluding VAT. Orders are open with deliveries beginning in July.