George Dove


SUVs are taking over. You’re now as likely to see a Range Rover at a hillclimb as you are a green lane. As such, there’s some super-hot variations that are expected at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed this year.

Jaguar’s 542bhp F-Pace SVR will make an appearance at the FOS next week.

It will look to utilise its 4.1 0-60 time to lay down the power on the iconic hillclimb, in what will be the model’s active debut after details were released in March.

Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio Quadrifoglio will be hitting the hill, too. A special edition NRING variant will be there, too, to celebrate the Stelvio’s lap record at the Nurburgring.

The Pikes Peak Bentayga will appear at the festival too, after setting a record of its own at last month’s Pikes Peak climb in Colorado.

Maserati have chosen the 25th FOS as the destination for the world premiere of the V8 Levante GTS. It boasts 550bhp and 538lbf.ft from the twin turbo, 3.8-litre V8 with four-wheel drive, new wheel designs, as it sits alongside the Levante Trofeo at the top of the model range, which also makes its European debut.

Land Rover is 70 this year. Or so I’ve heard. They’re also descending on Goodwood with a fleet of vehicles from every year of their history. There will be vehicles from each model line, special editions and a healthy dose of public service vehicles from over the years.

Other aspects of the Land Rover presence include a record attempt including stunt driver Terry Grant and a Range Rover Sport SVR; electric Defenders for children; a challenging obstacle course for visitors to attempt and the Defender Works V8 will take to the hill.

In other, still bizarre news, WWE wrestler and actor Bill Goldberg, a.k.a. Goldberg, will be driving a Toyota Tundra up the hill… for the second year in a row…

At long, long last, we’ve had our first experience behind the wheel of the all-new Jeep Wrangler.

And it’s so far, so good. Very good.


It’s been mainly road miles so far, but that’s the area where the Wrangler had to improve – and it has. Ride quality is way better than before. Admittedly on very smooth roads (we’re out here in Austria on the European launch), the new Wrangler glides along with no sign of harshness or vibrations coming through the chassis. We aimed for whatever rough bits we could find, and they didn’t upset it.

So far we’ve found that positioning it on the road needs a bit of concentration, as steering feel is – well, still pretty Wrangler-like. To put that comment in context, though, we’re talking about narrow roads, driving on the wrong side, while trying to avoid aquaplaning in the middle of a thunderstorm. So we’ll come back to you on this when we’ve done some more.

The 2.2-litre diesel engine pulls pretty well. So far we’ve only driven it with an auto box (there doesn’t seem to be a manual) in the long-wheelbase model, and if it can cope with that it can cope with anything.

The new Wrangler is a lot lighter than the old model, which is one reason why smaller engines are okay – initially at least, we’ll only get the diesel, along with a 2.0-litre petrol unit.

Inside, the cabin is looking excellent. The design is not dissimilar to the old JK’s, but its quality is strong as an ox, and the layout is really pleasing. Elbow room still isn’t what you’d call generous, but the driving position is outstanding.

So, next step off-road. Quite what we’re going to find, we don’t know, because this was written from a tent in the middle of a thunderstorm on an Alpine hillside, and the forecast is for things to get dramatically worse over the next few hours. Ideal, then! We can’t wait.

Thus far, though, we’ll say this – if you liked the old Wrangler, we reckon you’re going to love this one.

SsangYong have released extended details of the new Musso pick-up as it goes on sale in the UK, with a seven year warranty, four models to chose from and space for a euro pallet in the truck bed.

Based on our reigning 4×4 of The Year, the pick-up sits on a quad-frame construction, and uses the same 4×4 system and 2.2-litre diesel engine as the Rexton, providing 179bhp and 295lbf.ft through either a manual or Aisin automatic six-speed gearbox.

The bed comes with hooks already fitted for tying down cargo, and has a payload of over a tonne. In a rather jaw-dropping stat the Musso can fulfil both the one tonne payload and its 3.5-tonne towing capacity at the same time.

Inside, there’s plenty of space, and DAB radio and an eight-inch touchscreen with mobile connectivity feature across much of the range, whilst nappa leather and a 9.2-inch touchscreen with TomTom navigation can be found on top-spec models.

Entry level EX is a work focused trim, with 17-inch alloys, manual air-conditioning and automatic headlights and windscreen wipers. It gets DAB radio and bluetooth – but no touchscreen.

Rebel spec adds an inch to the alloys, plus roof rails, floor mats, the eight-inch touchscreen and a reversing camera. Leather-look seats are fitted, and in the front they are both heated and ventilated. The leather steering wheel is heated and the black side steps and Rebel graphics distinguish the exterior styling.

The Musso Saracen offers a more premium feel, with nappa leather seating, heated in the fron and back. The bigger touchscreen comes into play in this spec, as do automatic LED lights, cruise control, and a front skidplate, bright rear corner bars, mirrors and door handles accompany the Saracen lettering on the outside.

Topping the range is the Rhino – which is limited to 100 trucks. The special launch edition is finished in red or black, exclusively features the Aisin automatic ‘box and see the skidplate, now 20-inch alloys, tubular side steps and rear corner bars blacked out. Tyres are upgraded to General Grabber all-terrains, and privacy glass fills the rear windows.

Pricing starts at £19,995 with EX models, rises to £22,495 for Rebel spec, £25,995 for Saracen and Rhino models will cost £28,495 – all excluding VAT. The new Musso is on sale now, and the only cost options are £1,250 for the Aisin six-speed auto ‘box and £430 for metallic paint options. All models come with a seven-year/150,000 mile warranty.

We got behind the wheel of a Korean-spec model in the last issue, click here to read our thoughts.

Further information has been released on the first new Suzuki Jimny in twenty years, as the old 1.3-litre engine grows and there’s a raft of safety tech introduced.

The new Jimny will utilise a 15% lighter 1.5-litre K15B unit – which it will share with the Ertiga – a seven-seat MPV developed by Suzuki’s Indian subsidiary Maruti. The unit produces 95lbf.ft and 101bhp in a vehicle with a kerb weight of a little over a tonne.

Combine the dimensions and the peppy engine with attractive approach, brake over and departure angles – 37º, 28º and 49º respectively – and the little Suzi seems like the same classic formula.

Two transmissions will be on offer, a five-speed manual and a four-speed auto, both with a high/low transfer box and Suzuki’s AllGrip Pro 4WD system.

Suspension shapes up as a three-link rigid axle with coil springs both front and back.

As standard, the new Jimny is fitted with assisted braking – which warns of a collision and intervenes autonomously if necessary, lane departure warning, weaving alert, high-beam assist, and also reads road signs.

Whilst this information is from Suzuki, it isn’t necessarily the spec that we’ll get in the UK. This will be confirmed closer to the Jimny’s release.

Jeep have announced a 5-3-5 campaign for new vehicles in the UK. The numbers come from the five-year, 75,000 mile warranty, three-year servicing programme and a five-years roadside assistance.

The initiative rolls out today, and will be offered to customers buying new Jeep vehicles and covers all models in the current line-up.

It’s a move that underlines the brand’s confidence at the moment and will offer further peace of mind to prospective Jeep owners.

Due in showroom this Autumn, pricing and specs have been announced for the new Hyundai Santa Fe.

Updates from the previous generation include a new look both inside and out, plus new powertrains and safety equipment.

A 2.2 litre diesel produces 197bhp and 324lbf.ft throughout the range, and comes paired with either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed auto ‘box. On the entry SE trim it comes in front wheel drive only, whereas on the Premium and SE Premium there is a choice of all-wheel drive, too.

On four-wheel drive options you’ll get Hyundai’s HTRAC system, with three settings which split the power between the front and rear axles at various rates. Sport utilised a range of 65/35-50/50; Comfort uses 80/20-65/35 and Eco 100/0-80/20. The system also offers a ‘4WD lock’ which holds the split at 50/50…

The standard equipment list on the Korean seven-seater comprises of roof racks, front and rear parking sensors with reversing camera, plus automatic wipers and lights, lane assist and emergency autonomous braking. Inside you get dual zone air-conditioning, heated front seats and leather steering wheel, plus DAB radio and privacy glass.

Premium spec adds 18″ alloys, keyless entry and stop/start functionality, whilst adding the KRELL sound system and 8″ touchscreen. The safety features are increased too, with blind spot detection – blind spot assist with braking features on automatic models – and also rear occupancy alert, for when you lock up but forget the kids are in the back…

Top of the range Premium SE adds further to this list with an extra inch in alloy diameter, a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats and a heads up display.

Pricing for the new Santa Fe begins at £33,425 OTR for entry SE models, and 4WD options beginning at £38,995 with the manual Premium spec. Premium SE trim starts at £40,610, whilst the 4WD version costs £42,410.

Hyundai have said that the new Santa Fe goes on sale at the start of September.

Dacia has come a long way in a short amount of time and it’s now time for the UK’s most affordable SUV – the Duster – to have a proper makeover.

Let’s be clear from the offset: this is Europe’s second best-selling C-segment SUV, so pay attention. Plus, this isn’t just a facelift either – you’re looking at the Duster 2.0.

There are no panels carried over from the old model, and the new version looks altogether more muscular.

The sculpted bonnet, wider headlamps and revised grille all contribute to this, while the raised shoulder line gives a greater sense of security from inside. At the rear, the tail lights are now chunky and square and smart alloy wheels now reach as big as 17” on the top-spec Prestige derivative.

The simplicity of the brand is clearly inside. You have everything you need and nothing more. The new S-shape dash is uncluttered, with the focal point being the 7” touchscreen multimedia system that comes as standard on Comfort and Prestige trims.

It’s a typical black interior, which should help it age gracefully, while the seating has been improved with height adjustability, even if more support under your thighs would be nice. Look more closely, though, and you can start to see how Dacia keep their prices so low.

The air vents for example (of which there are five) are identical, meaning they’ve only had to spend the time – and resources – in developing one vent. As a result, they can focus on stuff that matters, like improving storage and refinement.

A neat drawer under the passenger seat addresses the former, while the thicker glass and more liberal use of absorption materials behind the scenes tackles the latter. Okay, so the Duster still isn’t a byword for luxury, and there is an air of cheapness about the cabin, but you cannot argue when you consider the Duster’s pricing.

You can get behind the wheel of a new Duster for just £9,995, albeit one that is basic even by Dacia standards and only 2WD. Nevertheless, you could go all-in for the 4WD Prestige model and you only need to part with £16,395. You’ll find that down the back of the sofa…

And for your sofa change, you now get rather a lot. Owners of the old Duster wanted a few of the extra toys you expect to get with modern cars. Climate control, keyless entry, a rear camera and even electric power steering – you can fill your boots with the new Duster. There’s even fancy tech like blind spot detectors, although no lane departure or autonomous braking yet.

What about driving, then?

Well the 4×4 variant only comes with the 1.6-litre 4cyl SCe 115 petrol motor. It’s a naturally aspirated unit and rather slow. But, in the absence of a turbo, this is an engine that loves to rev and even manages to sound fruity on occasion. So you can thrash it to your heart’s content (necessary rather than a choice) and you’ll still only be doing 17mph.

Thankfully, a turbocharged TCe 130 engine is expected to arrive in March next year, which should help provide some welcome mid-range. The 4WD Duster also uses the six-speed manual over the five-speed, lowering drone on motorways. Shifting gears requires a relaxed approach, but is certainly no chore, while the lighter steering will prove useful around town. The only place the Duster does start to feel out of its depths is on the faster roads, where tyre noise, ride quality and its lack of power are all exposed.

Around town the suspension setup is actually pretty good at tackling the worst of British roads. Off-road the Duster is a capable and formidable machine, with short overhangs, all-new Hill Descent Control, short first gear and the 4WD rotary system, the same you get in a Nissan X-Trail.

It’s still more of a soft-roader, with limited articulation and no low-range ‘box, but it’s determined to conquer any obstacles in its way and performs like an SUV as well as looking like one.

Like Dacia, the Duster sticks to doing what it does best. It’s a plucky SUV that will give you everything you need on a drive as you go about your daily life, but has more than enough ability to turn out a welcome surprise now and again.

Plus, the Duster seems a vehicle that is as easy on the eye as it has always been – and still is – on the wallet.

It raised a few eyebrows when Bentley announced that their entrant into Pikes Peak this year was going to be a Bentayga. But it paid off, setting a new record on the hill climb for a production SUV.

Rhys Millen piloted the course in 10:49.9 – covering the 12.42-mile sprint almost two minutes quicker than the previous record.

The Bentayga was modified for the challenge, although not much. Alterations consisted of racing seats in the front and none in the back, a production spec Akrapovic exhaust, a roll cage, fire extinguisher and  sticky Pirelli tyres.

In celebration of the achievement, a very limited run of 10 Pikes Peak Edition Bentaygas will go on sale in August. They’ll have the same W12 engine, plus it will be available in the same Radium green as the record breaker. There will also be a black paint option to go along with the 22-inch alloys with Radium accents and the equally colour co-ordinated leather and alcantara interior. Normal service will be resumed on the seating front, and the dashboard bears a graphic of the world-famous hillclimb.

Made in such small numbers, and on offer to both US and European customers, all ten are sure to be spoken for very quickly, although there is no word yet on pricing.

Mitsubishi’s Shogun Sport went out of production twelve years ago, but made a comeback in Australia in 2015 under the Pajero Sport alter ego. And after success Down Under, the Sport is returning to the UK, too.

The 2018 Shogun Sport takes its place as the hardy, practical and off-road capable SUV in the Mitsubishi stable. And it feels purposeful.

Power comes from a 2.4-litre, all-aluminium turbo-diesel engine that gives 179bhp and 317lbf.ft. Given that the Sport weighs in at over two tonnes, it isn’t quick off the line by any means, but when in the economical 2WD setting power goes to the rear wheels only.

Out on the road, it is a comfortable yet firm ride, with controlled body roll, although on the winding lanes of the Cotswolds the seven-seater felt rather large. The driver is afforded a princely vantage point, though, and visibility is good. Steering is a tad heavy, but not intrusively so. It just serves as a reminder that the Shogun Sport is utilitarian.

On both 3 and 4 variants (the only two trim options) the Shogun Sport comes with leather seats on all three rows – the third of which is actually habitable. Piano black plastics cover much of the cabin, and contrary to modern interiors, almost everything is button-manned. There are two handles for both the driver, passenger, and then one on either B-pillar, which if you’re lucky will frame your view over the shoulder rather than block it.

Stowage in the front is poor, though. The smooth and sleek centre console flows into the armrest between the front seats, and whilst it looks smart, you soon realise that there is nowhere to put things – or is there… Down either side of it, you’ll find pockets big enough for a phone or notebook, and door pockets that are similarly sized. Two central cup holders sit in front of the padded armrest, which is hinged to give access to the cubby box. This is where USB ports live, and there’s a convenient shelf that sits atop the storage area to provide a resting place for your now necessary mobile phone. Let me explain…

There is a seven-inch touchscreen, and the infotainment system gives access to vehicular information but, bizarrely, no navigation unless you utilise the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto capability. This isn’t such a stress as both functions work well, but really, no sat-nav in a brand-new car? What if you don’t have any mobile data? You expect us to read a map that’s been printed on paper?

Being big, you’d expect the Shogun Sport to be practical. It is. The boot measures in at 131 litres with all seven seats upright, but flatten the back row and that figure grows to 502 litres. There’s a towing capacity of 3,100kg for a braked trailer with a weight of 125kg. The roof boasts a load capacity of 80kg, and the payload for the boot sits at a handy 600kg.

The eight-speed automatic offers plenty of low-down revs to get the Sport up and running and is then smooth and faultless at cruise – you’re up in sixth gear doing 40mph before you know it. Paddles behind the wheel override the automatic selection, which is convenient once you venture beyond tarmac.

Equipped with Mitsubishi’s Super Select II 4WD system, the Shogun Sport has four transmission modes and another four off-road settings. 2H offers power to the rear axle alone for better fuel efficiency, whilst 4H spreads the power and gives 40% of the drive to the front axle. The next setting, 4HLc, locks the central diff and is ideal for snowy, sandy and high-drag surfaces, whereas 4HLLc drops into low range. In the two latter settings, the rear diff can be locked via a switch on the centre console. The off-road settings are gravel, mud/snow, sand and rock – so you’re well covered on all fronts.

Let loose in the Shogun Sport we were directed to an active quarry, where a bespoke off-road course had been cultivated around the busy lorries and trucks at work. This highlighted the expertise of the Shogun Sport, and vastly altered so-so opinions gathered on the road.

Each aspect of the Sport’s off-road credibility was questioned, and each time it answered confidently. In 4H the traction control managed the power well and calmly pulled us up twisting tracks. Hill Descent Control and 4HLc worked together well to calmly control speed down slopes – as did engine braking in low-range 4HLLc. Crawling over rocks – even without rock mode on – the Shogun Sport felt assured and steady footed, and it climbed faces much too steep to walk up, without breaking a sweat. Its wading depth of 700mm meant the lake we plunged into was easily crossed. It was here, tackling the challenges in the quarry, that the Shogun Sport came to life.

Balanced with the rear passenger wheel drooped and airborne, the Sport proved its strength. Rear doors opened and closed without problem, creaks or any issues at all – and the chassis was reassuringly strong, too.

Standard equipment on the Shogun Sport 3 comprises of 18-inch alloys, leather seating, LED head and tail lights, dual-zone climate control, reversing camera, the rear diff lock and all of the off-road toys – OTR pricing starts at £37,775.

Shogun Sport 4s – like the one we tested – come at a £2k premium, with the top-spec model bringing headlamp washers, heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, the 360-degree camera, and an upgraded sound system to proceedings. It also gets safety features in the form of Blind Spot Warning, Forward Collision Mitigation and an Ultrasonic mis-acceleration Mitigation System.

The Shogun Sport does what it must on the road and leaves little room for complaint, but where it really earns its stripes is in the rough and tumble. It isn’t massively sophisticated, but it is practical, robust, and impressive off-road. Compared to competitors that are strong performers away from tarmac, it doesn’t look bad value either.

Jeep are flourishing as a brand, and a model that has helped the brand grow in Europe – and the UK – is the Renegade, and it’s just received its mid-life facelift. So what’s changed?

Firstly, the 2019MY Renegade looks fresh. The front end is updated and has taken inspiration from the new Wrangler. The stylish mimicry begins with circular lights either side of the trademark grille, featuring the same horizontal, rectangular LEDs found in the big brother. At the back there are more similarities, with the square tail lights echoing those on the JL Wrangler. There’s plenty of space inside and the interior is smart – ours was black with grey leather inserts on the seats and dash – there isn’t a luxury feel, though.

A touchscreen infotainment system dominates the dashboard, and at times the menus made simple functions overly complicated, but it is responsive and display quality is good. At one point, however, the system froze and became entirely unresponsive, before sorting itself out after an indiscriminate amount of time. But, this being an early model, we wouldn’t fuss over that.

There is a cost to the eye-catching design, however, as the tall, square cabin is a victim of loud road noise on motorways and visibility is poor. The safety features and blind spot warning system is fine on faster roads, but driving in towns you’re reminded that it’s just better to not have a blind spot at all.

It isn’t just the looks than have been updated, with three new petrol engines on offer. With new aluminium blocks, there is a 1.0-litre three-cylinder worth 120bhp, and a 1.3-litre unit with an extra cylinder available with 150 or 180bhp. On the diesel front the 1.6 and 2.0-litre MultiJet II units remain unchanged.

We drove the 150bhp 1.3-litre four-cylinder, which comes with 4WD and a dual clutch six speed gearbox. It was sluggish off the line and this initially resulted in the right foot asking for more than it needed. However, it did highlight that the new engine actually has something to give and was fairly peppy and energetic when prodded, and at cruising speeds it was comfortable.

Ride quality in the Renegade was surprisingly firm, with potholes and impurities on the road very noticeable and not entirely comfortable at times.

There was plenty of safety tech too. Alongside the blind spot indicator there’s lane departure warning, speed assist that reads traffic signs, forward collision warning with active emergency braking – all of which is standard on Limited models like the one we drove.

We also nabbed a brief go in a TrailHawk version, and although it wasn’t a taxing off-road course there was no cause for concern. The ride was rather on the firm side, as in the Limited, but with the added off-road modes it remained surefooted up and down steep gravelly climbs and remained unfazed by the route.

The Renegade is by no means the hardest off-road vehicle Jeep make. Nor is it a driver’s car. It’s a practical family vehicle that sits everyone in comfort and does a job. Put to use or not, Jeep’s off-road credibility means that the updated Renegade remains desirable as the rugged option is its class.

Full specs as pricing are yet to be announced, but expect prices to start at about £25k when the refreshed Renegade goes on sale in the autumn.