Sarah Kidd


Nissan adds Parrot camera craft as £500 upgrade option

Nissan Drone

If you’re buying a Nissan X-Trail any time soon, you’ll be in line for a very modern sort of upgrade pack. That’s because a limited edition of 200 N-Vision and Tekna models are currently available for upgrading to X-Scape trim – complete with their very own drone.

For £500, X-Trail customers will get a camera-carrying Parrot Bebop 2 with First Person View functionality, ‘follow me’ GPS and visual tracking and a 14 megapixel onboard video camera – allowing you to take still or moving pictures
of your on-board adventures. Weighing in at a tidy 500g, the Nissan-branded drone has a digitally stabilised camera and comes with a headset and remote control. It can be used to deliver a live feed to the car or to immortalise your
exploits forever; a 25-minute flight time means you won’t be able to do full coverage of a trip over the Wayfarer, but for highlights of a suitable day on the trails it’s got what you need to make yourself look like a proper hero.

Of course, you don’t need to be aboard your X-Trail for the drone to film you taming the great outdoors. It can follow you autonomously in all sorts of situations – on foot, bicycle, canoe or skateboard, suggests Nissan. Or aboard an old Patrol or Terrano at your favourite quarry? We’re sure they just forgot to mention that.

Nissan dealers have 200 up for grabs, but you do need to be buying a new X-Trail N-Vision or Tekna first. Not what we’d call a hardship.

Renault’s fl agship SUV ready to hit the road this summer


Renault has opened the order book on its new Koleos, which will hit the road in the UK later this summer. Priced from £30,400 in 4×4 form (front-wheel drive models start at £27,500), the vehicle revives a name which first appeared on an X-Trail based SUV in 2008. When it was new, the original Koleos swept all before it to take the 4×4 of the Year title awarded by Planet 4×4, one of this magazine’s forebears. It failed to establish itself in the UK market, however, becoming one of the models smothered at birth when the credit crunch pulled the rug from under new vehicle sales.

Like the previous model, this Koleos is a D-segment SUV built on a shared Renault-Nissan Alliance platform. It’s powered by a 2.0dCi turbo-diesel delivering 175bhp and powering all four wheels via a choice of manual and auto boxes; as with the current X-Trail, a 1.6dCi unit it also available, however in the Koleos this will be limited to 2wd models only.

An initial range of two trim levels will feature Bluetooth, sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and 18” alloys across the board, with leather, heated seats, LED headlamps, 19” rims, an 8.7” tablet-style interface and a powered tailgate on higher-spec models. All come as standard with an appropriately high level of safety kit, though unlike the X-Trail there’s no seven-seat option – Renault says that during development, ‘exceptional interior space for five occupants was a main focus’.

As with the previous model, whose practicality was key to its success, 1690 litres of cargo space suggests it will be as roomy for kit as it is for people. Even with the seats up, the Koleos will still swallow 458 litres – and models
with the manual gearbox will be able to pull a 2000kg trailer.

With options like ventilated seats, hands-free parking, high-line Bose audio and brown or grey leather options, the Koleos will have plenty of premium features to go with its family-first utility approach. Being so closely related
to the excellent X-Trail will do it no harm, too, whether on or off-road – and with even the top-spec 4×4 model costing a relatively modest £32,700 in manual form, this time Renault’s SUV fl agship should do a far better job of establishing a foothold in the British market.


Seat has been making waves since entering the SUV market last year with the Ateca. And the Spanish manufacturer,
so well known for putting a sporty twist on everything parent company Volkswagen does, is shortly to open the order books for a new FR model – adding unique bumpers, alloys, spoilers and more to put more funk into its image.

The FR will be available with a choice of four engines, three of which will drive all four wheels as standard. These are the 2.0 TDI 150, which comes with a manual box and can return a claimed 55.4mpg, and the 2.0 TSI 190 and 2.0 TDI 190, both of which have seven-speed autos and get the car up to speed in less than eight seconds without going overboard on fuel themselves.

Inside, sports seats help cement the image created by the FR’s more aggressive looks, and a drive mode dial allows you to trim the vehicle’s handling to suit your mood – or indeed to get it ready for a journey off the beaten track.

Prices range from £28,410 for the 2.0 TDI 150 and climb to £30,930 for the 2.0 TSI 190, with orders opening on 3 July.

New name for Skoda’s small SUV • Practicality highlights retained


Skoda has unveiled the Karoq – its new five-seat SUV which will replace the Yeti this autumn. Once again based on the Volkswagen Tiguan, as is the outstanding new seven-seat Kodiaq which will sit above it in Skoda’s 4×4 range, this promises to replicate its ultrasuccessful formula by offering exceptional interior space and flexibility.

Technical specifications for UK models are yet to be confirmed, however the range-topping 2.0 TDI 190 model will feature all-wheel drive as standard. Most other versions will offer a drive mode palette including a ‘snow’ position, and as with the Yeti you’ll be able to specify 4×4 models with an ‘Off-Road’ button and Rough Road protection package.

Also similar to the Yeti is a cabin with three separate rear seats, each of which can be adjusted, slid, folded or removed – allowing a cargo capacity of up to 1810 litres. The front passenger’s seat can fold, too, to let the vehicle carry extra long items.

In these ways, Skoda will present the Karoq as an all-new car doing the same things that made the Yeti (the overall winner in our 4×4 of the 2010 awards) one of the very best vehicles of its era. Naturally, like the Kodiaq it will come with the latest in safety and connectivity, which means phone pairing and an on-board wifi hotspot to go with
features like active lane keeping and autonomous emergency braking. Front and rear lights will be LEDs, too – as will a programmable suite of mood lights inside with a choice of ten colours.

Prices for the Karoq will be announced nearer to its UK market launch, which is expected to happen in October. The Yeti continues to remain comfortably below the £30k barrier, however, even at the very top of its current range, and
with the need to keep clear space between it and the similarly good value Kodiaq it’s reasonable to assume that the company will be aiming to keep it there.