INEOS Automotive have confirmed that their ProjektGrenadier – pinned as a spiritual successor to the mechanical Land Rover Defender – will use engines provided by an outside company.

And that company will be BMW. In the quest to build an off-road vehicle that embodies the spirit of classics such as the Willys Jeep, J40 Land Cruiser and Series Land Rovers, the German automotive giant will supply a range of both turbocharged petrol and diesel engines for the forthcoming Projekt Grenadier.

Dirk Heilmann, CEO of INEOS Automotive, said: ‘This technology partnership is a very significant milestone for Projekt Grenadier – we are delighted BMW Group will supply engines for our new off-roader. Its reputation as a maker of extremely reliable, high performance engines that offer total durability, efficiency and quality is second to none. Simply put, it builds the best engines in the world. Working with BMW Group is another major step forward in ensuring we deliver on our vision to build an uncompromising 4×4 with the ultimate in engineering integrity.’

Revealed at the 89th Geneva Motor Show, the all-new SsangYong Korando looks set to take the small SUV sector by the scruff of the neck.

It will come to market with a healthy spec list, a new 1.5-litre petrol engine, and updated version of the old 1.6 diesel and there will be an EV to follow.

There has also been some restyling, with a new headlight and grille design to help it fit in with the current SsangYong family.

The new model is wider, longer and sits shorter on a longer wheelbase than the previous model. This translates into a spacious cabin and storage space of up to 1,248-litres, plus a boot space measuring 551-litres whilst seating five.

Inside, the re-designed interior is contemporary and offers plenty of tech as standard. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come fresh off the shelf, as does the 9″ infotainment touchscreen and 10.25″ LCD driver displays.

Seating in the front is adjustable four-ways, with lumbar support, whilst the interior is also kitted out with ambient lighting – the colour of which is changeable (maybe don’t tell the kids about that one). The door sills are designed to cover the lowest point possible, so that external dirt isn’t picked up and brought inside whilst climbing aboard.

Safety systems to assist Korando drivers include advanced emergency braking, lane keeping assist, safe distance and driver alerts, plus adaptive cruise control, high beam assistance, blind spot monitoring and rear traffic cross alert.

The new 1.5-litre GDI-turbo petrol unit has 163bhp at its disposal along with 207lbf.ft. The updated 1.6-litre diesel kicks out 136bhp and 239lbf.ft as low as 1,500rpm. Both units will comes with stop/start abilities on two-wheel drive models and there will also be a choice of automatic or manual six-speed transmissions.

There’s no official pricing yet, but when the new Korando goes on sale in Europe later in the year, SsangYong say that it will offer sector best value for money. On previous form, there’s no reason to doubt this.

At the Geneva Motor Show this morning, Subaru revealed their all-new e-Boxer XV and Forester models.

Subarus have always been made to a set few criteria – to be safe, fun and tough – whether that be a snarling blue saloon with gold wheels or their ever-dependable SUVs. But with this announcement, they are bringing their first electrified models to the market.

Combining a 2.0-litre diesel boxer engine, a trademark unit that has been specifically tuned for each model, with an electric motor assisting the Lineartronic gearbox and a rear mounted lithium ion battery, the new powertrain has been engineered to maintain the superb safety scores of Subaru’s Global Platform whilst also improving efficiency.

In city driving situations, the e-Boxer uses 11% less fuel than its 2.0-litre petrol stablemate, and it can be used in a full EV mode at certain times. The system is a mild-hybrid setup, that will assist the engine using electric power in tougher situations, and also takes the opportunity to recharge where possible.

The electric aspects also increase acceleration response, and the fact that the engine isn’t working alone means that it is quieter, too.

The new powertrain also protects the ride quality of the existing models, and having driven it ourselves at an exclusive preview, we can confirm that the electrified powertrain only enhances the ride of both XV and Forester models.

The additions included in the e-Boxer upgrades only see 25kg added to the overall weight of the both the XV and Forester, and the mild hybrid models also match the luggage capacities of standard models, weigh just 1,100kgs more and can also to 1,270kg – just 130kg below the best full combustion models.

In the development of the e-Boxer, Subaru consulted their loyal customer base and ascertained that a full hybrid was not what their clientele wanted at the time. Their long-term plan, however, is to go straight from mild-hybrid to full-electric vehicles as the market demands.

The new e-Boxer models feature the same X-Mode as all of the latest Subaru 4x4s, and in our brief but exclusive preview, the battery enhanced powertrain was impressive off-road and retained usability and comfort on the road.

Safety features are also at the forefront of the e-Boxer models, with not only the ever attentive and protective Eye Sight system installed, but other features like automatic reverse braking and facial recognition enhancing the driving experience. Once the facial recognition system is initialised, the car will recognise the driver and align the driving position to his or her pre-set position.

The e-Boxer models can be expected in the UK later this year, and pricing and UK relevant specs should be expected in due course.

Skoda have confirmed that their small SUV, that will sit below the Karoq, will be called the Kamiq.

The Kamiq will debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, and takes its name from a model already used by Skoda in China. The word Kamiq is derived from Inuit used in Canada and Greenland, and refers to something that fits as well as a second skin. But more importantly, it begins with a K and ends in a Q, so it fits the Czech brand’s SUV naming convention.

In one package, the Kamiq will aim to be both a lifestyle SUV as well as a handy city car. It will feature safety and assistance systems afforded by the Skoda platform and will have classic Simply Clever features like the rest of its family.

More details will be revealed after it debuts in Geneva in March.

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.

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.

It’s been a while coming, but the next generation of Land Rover Defender has finally been spotted out in the open, as development enters the latter stages.

With deliveries expected sometime in 2020, budding owners have now been given a snippet of what their new steed may look like once completed. Details will naturally be released with every step closer to the Defender’s launch, but there are some points we can note from this camouflaged pre-production machine.

It’s more rounded body comes as no surprise, with the old-school flat-sided exterior of the predecessor being one of the nails that eventually got hammered into the Defender’s coffin. And while the outside of the vehicle is more ‘pedestrian friendly’ and modern in style, the underpinnings will also be vastly different from Defenders of yesteryear.

Gone is the live axle setup with a traditional ladder frame chassis and instead in comes an all-independent suspension configuration, which will pave the way for a digital Defender utilising Terrain Response.

This test mule appears to be a prototype of the next 110, while a shorter wheelbase replacement for the 90 is also expected upon the Defender’s official return. For now, though, this 110 is running on a 2.0-litre diesel unit most likely of the Ingenium calibre, or at least that’s what the DVLA records state…

However, Jaguar Land Rover has made it clear that it sees electric power being the next step in automotive propulsion, so don’t be surprised if your next Defender is also available with some degree of hybrid power.

On approaching Land Rover with regards to these latest images, Land Rover declined to comment, purely releasing the following statement: ‘Jaguar Land Rover runs a wide range of engineering and technology development programmes. We can confirm that the Defender programme is progressing well and has reached an exciting stage of its development.’

However, when pressed further, a spokesperson revealed: ‘We can confirm customers around the world will be taking delivery of and enjoying Defender again from 2020.’

Since the pictures have gone viral, social media hasn’t been the kindest environment for the new Defender. It’s fair to say that many of the new Defenders will not be used in the same anger as their predecessors, but only time will tell as to whether this reimagining of a top British icon proves to be a success or failure for Land Rover.

Further details of the Ranger Raptor have been revealed on Ford Performance’s Australia website, offering a deeper insight into the specs of the hotly anticipated super-truck than when the truck was revealed in August.

The engine will b a 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel unit that gives 210bhp and 3868lbf.ft – we knew this before, but now Ford have released figures that are important to practical pick-up drivers.

At 758kg the payload comes in lighter than hoped, as does the braked towing capacity which falls short at 2,500kg. This may not be the end of the world for those who wouldn’t be using their Raptor as a workhorse, but it’s a big blow for those who would.

Dimensions of the truck bed have been revealed, too. With a length of 1743mm and a width of 1560mm, the size of the bed isn’t a worry. In the middle, between the wheelhouses, it is narrower – 1139mm – and the width of the tailgate opening is 1485mm.

In terms of economy, the Ranger Raptor is quoted a combined 34.4mpg and 212g/km for CO2 emissions.

With release set for next year, we are still waiting on pricing for the first Ford Raptor to be sold in Europe.

 

 

Skoda will debut an exciting new SUV at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. We don’t know too much about the Kodiak RS, but what we do know is exciting.

The 237bhp diesel unit in the top-spec sporty SUV will be the most powerful diesel engine ever utilised by a Skoda, and there will be adaptive suspension and all-wheel drive. The RS’s dash will feature Skoda’s latest virtual cockpit with a fifth Sport setting, plus a dynamic sound boost that monitors and controls the engine sound depending on the selected driving mode.

We can’t see much else from the video, other than the Racing Blue – a colour Skoda hasn’t put on an SUV before – which will be exclusive for the Kodiak RS.

For more than that, we’ll simply have to wait and see…

 

 

Mercedes-Benz have released information on the new GLE ahead of the SUV making its debut at the 2018 Paris Motor Show in October, with the production model hitting UK salesrooms in early 2019.

Chief among the talking points with the new GLE is the E-Active Body Control system. The 48-volt hydropneumatic active suspension system actively controls the air suspension’s spring and damping forces individually for each wheel. This means not only body roll will be managed, but the pitching and squat is controlled which will come in handy when driving sans tarmac – or over British pot holes.

The launch model will be the GLE 450 4MATIC with EQ Boost. The in-line six-cylinder petrol engine will lead the charge, with diesel options and a plug-in hybrid to come following launch. The in-line six available straight off the bat is electrified with 48-volt tech offers combined consumption figures of up to 34mpg with an output of 362bhp and 369lbf.ft. The EQ boost offers an extra 184 torques and 22bhp on top of that over short periods. This added grunt comes from the integrated starter/alternator which is also responsible for energy recuperation. the 48-volt onboard unit powers high demand units such as the water pump and air-conditioning compressor.

Every example of the GLE will be available with 4WD, and a nine-speed automatic will feature across the range. In four cylinder models the transfer case carries the power to the axles in a fixed 50:50 ratio. The other engines, i.e. the 450 available at launch, an electronically manned multi-disc clutch is used and allows the transfer case to offer from 0-100% of the torque between the axles.

Inside, the GLE’s interior extends the touchscreen multimedia system debuted in the new A-Class onto two screens measuring 12.3-inches each – which come as standard across the range. The MBUX multimedia system has been updated and includes ’40 or so’ new functions in the upcoming GLE – among which there is off-road support and extensive displays tailored for off-road driving which are visible on the instrument cluster. Other features in the system include favourite controls signalled by hand gestures, adaptive drivers seat adjustment (it chooses a position based on your body dimensions) and can read your e-mails out to you, becoming a mobile office.

Merc’s suite of driver aids in extensive on the GLE and sees the debut of Active Distance Assist – a faction of cruise control that can detect a tailback and automatically reduces speed to 62mph as a precautionary measure. If necessary the system hands over to the stop and go function, significantly reducing the driver’s workload. The cruise also has route based speed adaptation, which reads road signs and adjusts the speed of travel accordingly. Other driver assistances include active steering assist, active brake assist, emergency brake assist, blind spot assist as well as trailer assist.

Prices are yet to be announced, as are further details on the rest of the range, but there is still plenty of time before the latest of Merc’s seven SUVs comes to market.