Monthly Archives: July 2019

Most Land Rover talk of late has been about the new Defender, however Land Rover Classic have announced a range of upgrades for models made between 1994 and 2016, which take inspiration from the Defender Works V8.

For both 90 and 110 variants, the range of aesthetic, performance and handling upgrades begin with the 18″ diamond-turned Sawtooth alloys – just like those on the Works V8.

The Suspension Upgrade Kit, for models from 2007 and younger, equips Defenders with a bias towards on-road comfort with altered coil spring rates, dampers, anti-roll bars, links and bushes.

To improve the braking performance, the Handling Upgrade Kit instills Works V8-spec brake discs, pads and callipers.

Finally, for 2.2-litre TDCi powered Defenders from 2012 or later, the Defender Classic Works Upgrade Kit includes all of the above enhancements in addition to new performance-rated tyres and an influx of power, taking the total figure to 160bhp and 312lbf.ft. This tips top speed up to 106mph, too.

This comprehensive kit also includes bespoke wing badging, an owner’s certificate, vehicle health check and handover with a tour of Land Rover’s Classic Works unit in either the UK or its German counterpart in Essen, Germany.

Each and every component are of the same standard as those in the Works V8, plus the engine upgrades keep the 2.2 TDCi in-line with the EU5 N1 Commercial standards as when it first left the factory.

Pricing for the upgrades begins with £432 per alloy, also sold as a set of five for £2,160. Adding the performance tyres to that will bump the price up to £4,068, although that includes fitting. For the suspension kits on a 90 and 110, the tickets read £2,247.07 and £1,822.97 respectively whilst the handling kits weigh in at £10,391.47 and £9,967.37 – all of which is just for parts. Combine everything, and both 90 and 110 owners will be invoiced for £16,995 for fitting of the Classic Works Upgrade Kit.

The Sawtooth alloys, plus the Suspension and Handling Upgrade kits can be purchased and fitted at all local Land Rover dealerships or direct from Classic Works in Coventry, whilst the wheels and tyres kit, plus the all-inclusive kit must be ordered from and fitted  at the Classic Works facilities.

The Skoda Karoq and Kodiaq are marching into the 2020 model year fresh faced and armed with more toys for comfort and safety.

Side Assist is a new addition for the two SUVs. It’s a safety system that replaces Blind Spot Detection and the latest version has a range increased from 20 to 70-metres. The system warns the driver of vehicles up to 70-metres away that are in their blind spot via the new, more noticeable warning signals in the side mirrors.

An adaptive chassis is now available, too, with Comfort, Normal and Sport settings to choose from.

Another new addition for the Kodiaq and Karoq is the Kessy key. It features a motion sensor, meaning the risk of the can being stolen or broken into is reduced. The optional extra switches off after 15-minutes with no movement, but as soon as the key moves the transmitter function is re-activated.

Now for the individual updates. The Karoq gets a new 2.0-TDI, well, new-to-Karoq, anyway. It’s the 190bhp Euro 6d-Temp compliant unit, and features an SCR catalytic converter with AdBlue injection and a diesel particulate filter. The engine is available in conjunction with all-wheel drive and the seven-speed DSG auto ‘box as standard.

The Kodiaq has a new set of 20″ alloys. Called Ignite, they are now wider at 255mm and are available on the Kodiaq Sportline as well as the Kodiaq RS and the L&K version. There’s also a new tyre pressure monitoring system for individual wheels of 18″ or more. Clever temperature-regulating leather seat covers are now available on the hardy Kodiaq Scout.

Skoda are also in the process of spreading the SKODA lettering on the tailgate across their range, including the Karoq and Kodiaq.

SsangYong have this morning announced the Rexton Ice special edition, offering high-equipment levels and a unique paint colour.

Based on the ELX specification Rexton, the Ice comes with a well-stocked interior, a comforting level of safety kit and, as with all SsangYong products, commendable value.

Inside you’ll be sat on new TPU leather-look seats which for the first and second row are heated and rear passengers will benefit from privacy glass. The driver will also have a heated steering wheel and will absorb the necessary driving information from a 7″ digital cluster and navigation is displayed on the 9.2″ touchscreen. This screen is also enabled by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with DAB radio and Bluetooth and Ipod connectivity. There’s also air conditioning and an auto defog system in place with air quality sensors.

Along with speed sensing steering to make life easier in car parks and more comfortable at speed, the Ice has automatic headlight control and rain sensing wipers and front and rear parking sensors. The Rexton Ice comes with a whole load of features that keep you safer whilst on board. It has Autonomous Emergency Braking, Active Rollover Protection, Hill Descent Control for off-road exploits, Lane Departure Warning, High beam Assist and Traffic Sign Recognition.

Other cool features include touch sensitive door handles, a detachable boot net between the tailgate and storage area and new 18″ alloy wheel designs.

The Rexton Ice is on sale now and will be available, on the road, for £34,995.

For years, Ford’s Raptor nomenclature has referred exclusively to the too-big-for-Britian F150 truck. But last year it was announced that the company was getting set to give the Raptor treatment to the Ranger, too.

And now we’ve driven it.

With uprated Fox shocks and a dedicated Baja mode for dune-bashing and high-speed off-road exploits, the Ranger Raptor is a certified thrill seeker. Safe to say that on an introductory test drive in West Sussex, we didn’t come close to exploiting its full skill set.

One of the key factors in the Raptor’s character is its engine. Ford has introduced a 2.0-litre four-pot diesel across the whole of the Ranger line-up; this is smaller than either the 2.2 or 3.2-litre units which have been available on the current model since its launch in 2012, which was met with groans – but if any manufacturer knows how to get more from less, Ford’s recent record suggests it’s the one.

Under the Raptor’s bonnet, you’ll find the range-topping bi-turbo version of the 2.0-litre engine. This has 210bhp and 369lbf.ft – figures that surpass those of the much-revered 3.2-litre from the previous Wildtrak.

You’ll gain access to the engine’s torque slightly later, with max shove coming between 1750 and 2000rpm. Peak power is reached further up, too, at 3750rpm (3000 for the 3.2). We like stuff to happen at low revs, but we like torque and power wherever we find them so Ford’s downsizing may not be a case of doom and gloom after all.

And it isn’t.

But it’s not a roaring success either.

Sadly, we didn’t have any dunes off of which to launch our Raptor. The track we were given to drive on was more like a green lane, with a few rough straights to fly down – and it was here that the power plant felt most at home.

Up and down various climbs, it felt like the unit was being worked hard. To us, certainly, it doesn’t have the same easy-going nature as the 3.2. With a 10-speed automatic gearbox as standard, it takes a bit of a stamp on the pedal to eke any urgency out of the motor – it does respond with some decent poke, but you do need a heavy foot with which to extract it.

This translates on to the road too. The twin-turbo unit is more than comfortable at a cruise and is actually remarkably quiet, but the power still doesn’t feel forthcoming from low down.

The suspension on the Raptor, however, is wholly impressive. The set-up is independent at the front, with a multilink solid axle at the back and truly wonderful Fox 2.5” internal bypass shocks on all four corners. These do result in a ride that is on the firm side, but the control and adaptability they offer is immense – and ride-wise, it refrains from ever crashing about and always keeps on the good side of your spine.

This is the case both on and off-road, where it’s particularly impressive is when you’re battering down a trail at the sort of pace you just wouldn’t use on a green lane. You’re well aware of the obstacles beneath you, but the Fox shocks revel in suppressing the impacts they create.

You’re also treated to a comfortable time on the road, which is good because the Raptor cabin is a sophisticated place to be. You’ve got well sculpted suede and leather seats; Ford’s latest SYNC3 multimedia system, complete with an 8.0”-inch touchscreen, adaptive cruise control and a FordPass Connect Wi-Fi modem.

It’s difficult to make a conclusion on the Raptor as a dune-basher, as we didn’t get chance to, well, bash any dunes. What we can say, though, is that with its strengthened chassis, and in particular those Fox shockers, it feels ready for anything. You can tell, even at low speeds, that you’re riding on a sophisticated yet heavy-duty suspension set-up – which of course just makes you want to push it harder. As pick-ups go, it’s a definite driver’s truck.

The Raptor’s suspension is outstanding, for sure – so much so that it goes a long way to making up for the vehicle’s somewhat hot and cold engine. We do feel a bit harsh to be criticising the latter, however, as it does a good job overall. Certainly, had the old 3.2 not have been viewed so fondly for so long, there would be no complaints.

There’s a suite of driver aids which means that piloting the Raptor both on and off the blacktop is a doddle. Adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, cruise-managed hill descent control and hill hold are all worthwhile additions that go a long way to making the Raptor effortless to manage.

Without a more comprehensive drive of the Raptor, we can’t yet deliver a complete verdict. It’s a super-truck, however – that much is clear. And so too, to us, was the fact that after just the briefest of times behind the wheel, it’s a pick-up that’s capable of much, much more.

Read the full First Drive account in the September issue of 4×4, out 6th August.

Nissan have detailed further the specifications of the soon-to-be-updated Navara, with more depth on the economy, infotainment tech and the specifications of different trim levels.

The engine available with the updates – the same 2.3-litre unit in either 163 or 190bhp – is more economical than before, with a 40.9mpg return attainable on a combined cycle(NEDC).

Suspension changes have been made to allow easier to handle steering, plus the five-link rear setup is standard across all models now, having been added for KingCab body styles.

A swathe of advanced connectivity also makes the Navara a sturdy workhorse at the same time as being a truly modern vehicle. There’s NissanConnect with Alliance in-Vehicle Connectivity, the system upgrade also allows users to mirror their smartphone on the upsized 8-inch screen that is more responsive and features a clearer display. The Nissan Connect Services app is also now fitted, with built in 4G, TomTom maps with real-time, over the air updates and both Google satellite and Street View. The app also offers remote control of the horn and lights, plus a vehicle locator to help in Navara-heavy car parks, I guess… The system is also compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Standard wheel size on lower spec models is now 17-inch (rather than 16) with new 17 and 18″ designs, whilst high-spec models also get LED headlamps with a gloss black inner shell.

The new Navara is on sale now across Europe, with pricing kicking off at £21,850 as a CV for the KingCab variant.