Today Ford have announced that the first ever Ranger Raptor will be coming to Europe – and will be on sale by mid-2019.

With the Ranger only becoming more popular in Europe, Ford have developed a truck that many spannermen have spent hours in the workshop building themselves.

Ford’s other Raptor – of the F-150 variety – doesn’t have much of a presence in Europe, but the popularity of the Ranger has lead the way for a Raptor with more European proportions.

Chief among the technical specification is the 210bhp, 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel EcoBlue unit with 368lbf.ft to boot and comes paired to Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission.

The baby Raptor’s chassis is strengthened by low-alloy steel and Fox shock absorbers feature position sensitive damping. These offer higher damping forces when off-road, but soften up for comfort and handling on smoother, more even surfaces. Aluminium control arms support these at the front, whilst the rear setup is a new and bespoke coil-over system that minimises lateral movement. Brakes are 332mm ventilated discs all-round, that’re 32mm wide at the front and 24mm at the back.

BFGoodrich All-Terrains  – in 285/70 R17 guise – adorn the 17-inch alloys and are custom made for the Ranger Raptor.

An F-150 Raptor-inspired grille adorns the front end, and flared composite wheel arches allow for further suspension travel and larger tyres. Underbody protection, rock-deflecting side-steps and a ruggedised front bumper prepare the Ranger for off-road mayhem – and make it look awesome.

The Raptor features all of the features and interior tech from the standard Ranger – but does have added driving modes: Normal; Sport; Grass/Gravel/Snow; Mud/Sand; Rock and Baja mode. Most interesting of those is the last – tailored for, you guessed it, dune bashing.

Next summer is quite far away, especially given that we’ve been dreaming of this for years. Try watching the video below – we find it helps.

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.

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.

Earlier in the week we brought you news that Skoda’s vRS-ified Kodiak had set a record at the Nurburgring.

We didn’t have a time then, but we do now – 9:29.84. It’s the fastest seven-seater around the Nordschleife circuit thanks to the driving expertise of Sabine Schmidt.

Having driven more than 30,000 laps of the infamously gruelling circuit, Sabine was the ideal driver to get the best out of the Kodiak’s new 2.0-litre BiTDI engine and the 236bhp it produces. Torque is easily accessible from the unit – reserved especially for the Kodiak vRS – thanks to Dynamic Sound Boost, and adaptive chassis control and selectable driving modes helped Sabine achieve the record.

The lap was completed with the vRS still wearing its camouflage, with the global debut set for the Paris Motor Show in October.

If you were in the market for a solid, yet hooligan-esque SUV but felt you were lacking in options, Skoda may be about to answer your prayers.

They’ve released a teaser video of a Kodiaq vRS at the Nurburgring with a promise of a ‘record breaking lap’.

Sabine Schmidt was at the helm for the lap, which will be revealed tomorrow, 14th June. Keep your eyes peeled…

Details on the hot seven-seater are yet to be announced, but it is expected to hit the market later in the year.

Want one already?

Land Rover have revealed their CORTEX project will explore the future of autonomous all-terrain vehicles.

Using LIDAR technology that monitors light, acoustics, video, radar and distance sensing, CORTEX looks to develop vehicles that can handle themselves in all conditions – dirt, rain, ice, snow and fog. The result aims to be level 4 and 5 off-road autonomy.

‘It’s important that we develop our self-driving vehicles with the same capability and performance that our customers expect from all Land Rovers,’ said Chris Holmes, head of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Research at JLR. ‘Self-driving is an inevitability for the automotive industry and ensuring that our autonomous offering is the most enjoyable, capable and safe is what drives us to explore the boundaries of innovation. CORTEX gives us the opportunity to work with some fantastic partners whose expertise will help us realise this vision in the near future.’

The CORTEX project will utilise algorithms, sensor optimisation and physical testing on off-road terrain in the UK, and will be conducted in conjunction with the University of Birmingham and Myrtle AI, leading experts in machine learning.

You wouldn’t have been alone if you scoffed when Rolls Royce announced their first SUV a few years ago. Nor when they attached the slogan ‘Effortless, Everywhere’ to it. However, if the Cullinan pulls off its ‘Final Challenge‘ before its launch, then may people may be forced to eat humble pie.

Along with celebrated explorer Cory Richards, the Cullinan will embark on a journey that sees it start in the highlands of Scotland and encounter the snow of Austria, Middle Eastern deserts and finally ‘the toughest terrain in the United States’. There will also be miles over tricky surfaces and numerous off-road challenges along the way.

The trip will be covered online by both Rolls Royce and National Geographic, when it kicks off tomorrow, 4th April. How rigorous the challenge is remains to be seen – but it may well change perceptions of the impending SUV.

 

Yep, you read it right. Honda have chopped the roof off the CR-V.

No, really, that’s what they’ve done. The CR-V roadster has no roof at all. This pigeon holes the vehicle into a summer-driver, and is estimated to have reduced the structural rigidity by 100% and the roadster will be in showrooms from April 1st. Oh, it’s an April Fools joke!

Credit for designing the rough concept goes to Honda’s ‘PR team and an angle grinder’, who removed both the B and C pillars, creating a ‘sleek flow from front to rear of jagged metal’ on a vehicle that ‘is completely useless for the two-day British summer’.

Eipurirufūru of Honda, whose name translates as April Fool in Japanese, said of the project in a press release:

“This is a bold new direction for the CR-V and opens up an entirely new non-existent market.  Our sales target is somewhat conservative to start with, at zero cars, but we are confident that once the minor glitches are ironed out, such as the lack of roof and the fact it is totally structurally unsound, the car will fly out of showrooms.”

Prices would hypothetically start at half of that for a hardtop CR-V, as customers are ‘getting half the car’.

Well played Honda, well played indeed.

Lexus have debuted their latest SUV in Geneva, the UX.

The new compact SUV offers is labelled as an ‘urban explorer’, and is the first Lexus to be made on the new GA-C platform.

Two powertrains are on offer, but four-wheel drive is only available with the hybrid setup. The 250h is a self charging hybrid system, that produces 176bhp, and in E-Four drives both axles. It consists of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine in conjunction with an electric motor powering the rear wheels.

Suspension at the front is a single strut setup, whilst the rear is a wishbone, and the UX gets Lexus’ latest EPS system.

The UX is optimised with the latest Lexus safety features. These include a pre-collision system, lane assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic headlights, road sign assist and a preemptive parking brake.

Interior leather is made using Sashiko – a traditional Japanese quilting technique, predominantly used in making judo and kendo martial arts gear. That’s not the only interesting internal patina, as the dashboard has been inspired by the grain of Japanese paper, or washi, but there is a leather option too.

There’s no information on prices, or release dates as of yet.