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.

 

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.