Monthly Archives: November 2018

After a fair while of intense speculation, Jeep have officially revealed their Wrangler-esque pick-up, a.k.a. the Gladiator – and it will be coming to Europe in 2020.

The jaw-dropping design features the instantly recognisable front end of the newly released JL Wrangler paired with a five-foot truck bed. This means the frame is 31” longer than the Wrangler and has over 19” more in the wheelbase. It also promises to be an incredibly capable off-road pick-up, featuring the Command-Trac and Rock-Trac off-road systems, rides on third-generation Dana 44 axles, has front and rear axle lockers and a limited-slip diff. Top-spec models will also have an electronic sway-bar disconnect.

Gladiators will come ready for a day’s graft, with skid plates and rear tow hooks as standard. The Rubicon spec will also have a heavy-duty steel rear bumper and will pose the option of a winch prepared counterpart at the front. The ground clearance comes is at 11”, and the approach, departure and breakover angles are 43.6°, 20.3° and 26° respectively. Standard wading depth is quoted at 30” and the Gladiator has a towing capacity of 3,470kg and 726kg payload.

The body-on-frame design rides on a five-link coil suspension system, with lightweight materials used to keep down weight and boost economy. Aluminium is used for the doors and their hinges, the bonnet, wheel arches, fold-down windscreen frame and the tailgate. In another attempt to keep kerb weight down, the Gladiator’s track and stabiliser bars are hollow, and the engine mounts and steering gear are, too, made of aluminium.

Taking lead from the new Wrangler, the Gladiator will feature a bed load of safety tech, with a grand total of 80 active and passive features – the headline gear being a front facing off-road camera. There’s also blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, electronic stability control and electronic roll mitigation.

Jeeps fourth-generation Uconnect infotainment system is available via three different screens, measuring either 5”, 7” or 8” – the latter two are also available with satellite navigation. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also up for grabs with the bigger screens.

Two engine choices will be offered with the Gladiator, with the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 unit available at launch and a 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V6 coming shortly afterwards. The petrol version kicks out 285bhp and 260lbf.ft and will feature stop-start functionality as standard. The unit is ideal for truck life, as it’s designed to have a broad torque band that really comes into its own lower down. Once the diesel option hits the streets, punters will be able to have a more economical variant that combines 260lbf.ft and 442lbf.ft – also with stop-start abilities and paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard, unlike the petrol which has the six-speed stick as stock.

News on the pricing and more detailed UK specs will come closer to the launch, but with the new Wrangler being more expensive than many predicted the Gladiator might be a pricey option when it finally arrives.

Ford have refreshed the Edge with a new look, some punchy powertrains and plush specs with ST-Line, Vignale and Titanium trims.

An assortment of cameras and tech have been installed on the Edge, with adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functions, lane centring, post-collision braking and evasive steering assist. This more comprehensive safety suite is a step forward from the previous model.

The cabin has got new tech, too, with Ford’s latest Sync 3 8″ infotainment system (compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) and  that has a wifi modem embedded to keep you and up to nine others connected. A wireless charging pad also features, the seats are heated all round with the front getting ventilation, too, and a B&O sound system will pump out the tunes. The FordPass modem brings in live traffic updates, and also offers connection to the corresponding mobile app, which has a vehicle locator for the forgetful, status checks on fuel, oil and the alarm, remote unlocking to grant access from afar and remote start on models with the eight-speed auto.

Powering the ship is a new 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel unit. the twin-turbo unit delivers 238bhp and is paired to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Selectable four-wheel drive also features in the Edge, giving drivers the ability to prioritise either handling or economy – which is quoted at 35mpg. There is also a 150bhp version of the unit that achieves 41mpg.

ST-line Edges come with body-coloured arches, side and lower door mouldings, and a signature black ST-esque grille. The seats are partial leather, and the leather steering wheel and gear shifter (manual) gaiter get red stitching. 20″ alloys are standard on ST-Line models, with 21s an optional upgrade. Suspension tuning is also given to the sportier Edge, firming the ride a little to live up to the sporty image.

The Titanium model comes with 19-inch alloys, chromed roof rails and a sporty rear roof spoiler – inside it has lighting to illuminate the door sills. Vignale adds chrome to the fog lamp surrounds, a polished aluminium grille surround, 20″ alloys, hexagonal quilted Windsor leather seating and leather on the central armrest, door cards and instrument panel.

We were impressed with the Edge before, but with these updates it promises to tick more boxes for more people.

American electric vehicle start-up Rivian have revealed a pick-up due to begin production in 2020, that if the figures are to be believed, will send shockwaves not only across the pick-up market, but the EV sector, too.

The R1T was revealed at the LA Auto Show, and the Michigan manufacturers claim the ‘Electric Adventure Vehicle’ will be a proper off-roader and work truck with a possible range north of the 400-mile mark.

Conceived with a double wishbone setup at the front and a multi-link layout at the rear, the R1T also has a low centre of gravity with the batteries and drive train all habituated below the height of the wheels. Yes, that read batteries – plural. Four of them, located each at a wheel and offering 2581lbf.ft of torque and 197bhp. PER WHEEL. That’s a total output of a useful 826lbf.ft and over 700bhp which equates to a three second 0-60 time, up to 100mph below seven seconds and a range of over 400 miles.

That isn’t strictly true, as there are plans for three different battery configurations, and not all of them have these insane figures. But they’re still very impressive in isolation. The smaller 105kWh pack offers less torque and power than the two bigger ones, and also has slower sprint scores. It’ll supply 413lbf.ft and 402bhp in total to the gearbox, with a range of 230-miles. The quickest 135 kWh configuration produces 754bhp, and the ground-shattering afore mentioned torque and sprint figures. This motor will have a range of over 300-miles, but if you want to get the top range 400-miler, you’ll need to opt for the 180kWh, 700bhp version. For those extra hundred miles, you’ll have to settle for wallowing to 60mph in 3.2 seconds. Oh so leisurely…

All batteries will provide an equal towing capacity of 5,000kg, aka five-tonnes, have a wading depth of a metre and will also top out at 125mph. Using an air suspension set up, there are four ride-height settings: park at 7.9-inches; Aero at 9.4-inches; Standard at 11 and off-road at 14.2-inches. This off-road setting produces an approach angle of 34°, departure of 30° and breakover of 26°.

Storage is also comprehensive in the R1T a load bed measuring 1.4 by 1.39-metres with the tailgate up, or 2.1 by 1.39-metres with it down. There is also a 330-litre frunk, 200 more litres in the rear bin, 350-litres in the gear tunnel below the cabin and 95-litres storage below the seats in 105 and 135kWh models. The 135kWh model has also been quoted an 800kg payload.

Rivian have already opened orders for the R1T, with the top two models available at launch and the base version coming a year later.

Second-gen baby Rangey goes hybrid and gains invisible bonnet…

Given the success of the debut model, it’s no surprise that Land Rover has stuck to its guns with the brand-new Range Rover Evoque.

The new version dons a familiar silhouette, though, combining the smoulder of the Velar with an updated version of the roof and waistline from the previous model. Whilst the new model mimics its forerunner, it’s built on Land Rover’s new Premium Transverse Architecture – an all-new base with electrification in mind.

On sale now, the new Evoque is available with a 48-volt mild hybrid system that recoups power usually lost during deceleration and stores it in the underfloor battery. Below speeds of 11mph, when braking the engine shuts off to minimise emissions output, the result is economy of up to 50.4mpg.

There are three petrol and diesel options apiece, all of which are from the Ingenium range of four-pot powertrains. On the diesel front, customers can choose from the following three states of tune: 150hp, 180hp and 240hp. The most efficient of these is the front-wheel drive 150bhp diesel option, capable of 52.3mpg. This is the only variant that WON’T carry the mild hybrid system.

The petrol models consist of a 200, 250 and 300hp selection, again all running the mild hybrid system, while all models bar the two-wheel drive Evoque come mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox.

Everything from the platform through to the engine is focused on being greener than ever. Along with the eco-friendlier powertrains, natural and recycled materials can account for up to 33kg of each new Evoque, helped by the wider choice of responsibly-sourced interior materials, each offering their own unique styling.

Seats can now be optioned in a leather alternative, from the Danish textile savants Kvadrat, a durable wool blend paired with a technical Dinamica® suedecloth – made from 53 recycled bottles. Another new interior option is the Eucalyptus textile, produced from entirely natural fibres, plus there’s a new lightweight performance material not derived from animals.

The new Evoque features world first Ground View technology, making the bonnet invisible. Sounds expensive in more ways than one, doesn’t it? Well, thanks to cameras in both the front grille and on the door mirrors, they project a feed onto the central touchscreen to show what is ahead of and below the front end of the vehicle with a virtual 180-degree visual – ideal for clambering over rocks, or Tesco car park kerbs.

Another visual aid bestowed upon new Evoque drivers is the ClearSight smart rear-view mirror, which transforms into a HD video screen at the touch of a button, bypassing the bobbing heads of rear passengers and displaying the feed from a camera mounted above the rear window.

The interior also takes design cues from the Velar, with a dashboard housing two 10-inch touchscreens and driver information being delivered via a 12.3-inch interactive driver display behind the wheel, alongside a full-colour head-up display. There’s smartphone integration, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot. You can even download an app for your Evoque so you can programme certain settings within your vehicle.

It’s not just a pretty face, either. The Evoque has the ability to learn the preferences of its driver, using artificial intelligence algorithms to monitor habits displayed by the helmsman or helmswoman. This can prepare the heat settings, massage seat preferences, and also remember the seat and steering wheel settings for each driver – up to eight profiles can be registered.

The new Evoque is live on the online configurator, and is available from £31,600 for the manual two-wheel drive D150 model, whilst all-wheel drive models start at £35,100 with the same engine, but with an automatic shifter.

Their first entry into the large SUV sector, the seven-seat Tarraco completes Seat’s sports utility line-up and will come to market at the start of 2019.

Becoming the new flagship model, the Tarraco sits above the Arona and Ateca in Seat’s hierarchy, there are two petrol and two diesel powertrains to choose from.

The petrol units on the table are a 150bhp 1.5-litre TSI unit available with a six-speed manual ‘box, and a 2.0-litre version offering 190bhp that’s mated to a seven-stage DSG auto and four-wheel drive. On the other front, both of the diesel blocks are 2.0-litre TDIs, also offering either 150 or 190bhp. The lesser diesel can be front or four-wheel drive with either of the transmission options, whilst the punchier version gets both the DSG and drive to all of its wheels.

MacPherson strut system underpins the front of the Tarraco, with a multilink setup at the back, with the aim of giving the big wagon a dependable stability and responsiveness to the driver’s controls whilst having the size and space to seat seven and serve compellingly as a family chaperone.

Interior features include digital cockpit and a 10.25″ screen for the driver and an 8″ touchscreen infotainment that adorns the central dashboard. The system features both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and there is also a seat Drive App which allows users to stay in touch with their vehicle’s information and control various features. Amazon Alexa is also available on the Tarraco, allowing customers to manage their personal schedule, select music, navigate with ease and even ask for news updates. Oh how 21st century.

Pinned as a capable family vehicle, the amount of safety equipment on the Tarraco is certainly pleasing. Front assist with bicycle detection, plus lane assist and emergency call are standard on all Tarraco models. Adaptive cruise control is standard on Xcellence trim variants, and emergency assist, blind spot detection, exit assist, traffic sign recognition , traffic jam assist and light assist can all be optioned. The Tarraco can also be fitted with two new systems – pre-crash assist (like on the new Touareg) and rollover assist. The pre-crash system detects an incident, and in 0.2 seconds tightens the seatbelts, closes the windows and sunroof to make the passenger compartment as safe as possible. Rollover assist, when activated by the occurrence of a roll, turns off the engine, unlocks the doors, turns on the hazards and adjusts the ventilation system.

Other systems that can make life easier for Tarraco drivers include the park assist, electric tailgate featuring virtual pedal activation, and a top view camera system.

Pre-sales of the Tarraco will begin in December, and the car will hit the market early next year.

Suzuki have released details on the specs – and pricing – for the first new Jimny in twenty years, which goes on sale in January 2019.

There will be two models made available from launch, with the SZ4 and SZ5 trims both featuring AllGrip Pro selectable 4WD with a low ratio transfer box equipped as standard.

SZ4 specifies plenty of standard equipment, such as air-con, cruise control, dual sensor brake support, DAB radio, all-important Bluetooth connectivity and front fog lamps.

The top-spec model adds 15-inch alloys and LED headlights, plus climate control, sat nav with smartphone connectivity, heated front seats, rear privacy glass and body-coloured door handles.

Lane Departure warning is standard on all models, as is the weaving alert function and high beam assist is standard, too.

With the latest slew of true off-roaders have increasingly swollen price tags – the new Wrangler is almost thrice the price of the last one, the G-Class is priced out off green lanes and into music videos and the new Defender won’t be cheap, either – has the Jimny followed suit?


The SZ4 model will begin at £15,499 whilst the SZ5 is £17,999 with a manual, or £18,999 with an automatic transmission. With figures like these, and such positive reviews so far, if you want a new Jimny, you might want to get in line, now…

Aston Martin have confirmed that their upcoming SUV will be called DBX – and testing has begun on a Welsh Rally stage with a development prototype.

With release scheduled for the final quarter of 2019, the DBX is the first Aston to be made entirely at the brand’s new plant in St Athan. This signifies the start of a new era for the marque, as this plant will not only be home to their first ever SUV but also to their march towards electrification.

The DBX is being developed to conquer everything from glacial terrain to desert dunes and everything in between – whilst also retaining Aston Martin’s sporting history. And the dynamics that are demanded with it. No small order, then…


Mitsubishi have revealed the new L200, which will hit the market in Thailand on 17th November.

The new version of the pick-up that is celebrating its 40th anniversary has been updated and now incorporates the new generation Dynamic Shield front styling.

Tweaks to the interior are said to have made the truck more ‘modern and robust’ in feel, with frames surrounding the switch panel and air outlets, plus soft pad materials and stitching on the floor, armrests and handbrake.

New L200s will come with either adaptive Super-Select 4WD or Easy-Select 4WD which simplifies the manual switching between drive modes for varying road surfaces. Both feature an off-road mode with settings for gravel, mud or snow, sand and rocks – all in low-range, of course. Hill-descent control will be fitted, too.

Safety features on the new L200 consist of Forward Collision Mitigation, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System.

Larger front discs and callipers have been added in the updates, and rear dampers have been enlarged and accommodate more damping oil, giving a more planted ride. The gearbox has also switched to a six-speed automatic, up on the current five-notcher.

Following it’s release in Thailand later this month, the updated L200 is set to be rolled out sequentially in the company’s markets around the world, and eventually being available in 150 countries world wide.

We’ll get more information on the European spec truck in the run up to its release on the continent at the end of summer in 2019.

Volkswagen have launched the Tarok concept in Sao Paulo, an all-new pick-up truck set to hit the Brazilian market sooner rather than later. Allegedly with minimal changes to be made in becoming a production vehicle.

Set to match the tech content in their current SUV-offensive, the Tarok concept possesses a predominantly digital design. The interior also features a colour-keyed crossbar across the dashboard, surrounding the glass covered infotainment set-up with a digital cockpit.

The Tarok concept runs on a 1.4-litre 148bhp four-cylinder TSI unit that can be driven in Brazil as a TotalFlex Fuel Unit – running on either pure ethanol or a gasoline-ethanol mixture, utilising permanent four-wheel drive. This differs from the unit that will be used in the series version of the Tarok – a 2.0-litre turbo diesel TDI with the same power output that would be more appropriate for other global markets.

Real interest in the Tarok, though, comes around the back, with a variable load space. The design allows the load space to be extended by both opening the tailgate and then into the cabin. A system is in place so that it is possible to fold the lower rear section of the cabin, and the three rear seats, thusly extended the load space. In its smallest, most standard form, the bed measures 1206mm from back to front. Then extend it into the cabin and you’re looking at a figure of 1861mm and with the truck bed down it rises to 2775mm.

This could be of interest to those wondering about the lineage of the next-generation Amarok, as it itself grew from a concept before Volkswagen set it into production in 2010. One thing is for sure, the Tarok has potential to become a very versatile pick-up.

The VW one-tonner is already one of the more luxurious offerings within the current pick-up market, but with the new Aventura special edition, it just got a bit fancier.

Powered by the most powerful 254bhp V6 in the range, the Aventura runs with the eight-speed DSG gearbox, permanent all-wheel drive and features an overboost function which temporarily ups power to 268bhp.

The interior features the Discover Media Navigation system, and the Aventura is fitted with other extra gadgets to make the driver’s life easier. The Lights and Vision package installs automatic headlights and separate daytime running lights that feature a coming home function along with automatic windscreen wipers.

Seating comes in the form of Volkswagen’s ErgoComfort seats. These come wrapped in Nappa leather and are 14-way adjustable. The same leather also adorns the steering wheel which boasts controls for the multimedia system and houses paddle shifts to manually control the transmission.

Paint options are either Ravenna Blue or Indium Grey – both of which can be specified in a matte finish. If you do choose to go matte, the Aventura comes with a 24% saving on the usual price for the procedure, at £2,335 pre VAT. The wheels are 20″ Talca alloys and the exterior is fitted with a body-coloured sports bar, chrome plated side bars, under-body cladding, power folding mirrors and a protective coating for the truck bed – to which you can add Mountain top roll covers for £1387.50 plus VAT.

The Aventura Amarok is on sale now, with pre tax prices starting at £39,960 at your nearest VW CV centre.