I remember the look of horror on my son’s face. Late teens, slim, fit, enjoying wearing tight-fitting clothes. And the realisation as our conversation went on that there was an awful inevitability that at some point there would be a return of flared trousers. Because there are only so many things you can do in terms of cut of trouser and it just goes round and round.

And behold, two years later flares are back and my son is so upset by it we still can’t discuss it. Because what he is seeing is something sculpted and slim giving way to something baggy and floppy. And he’s not yet reassured that the only way this can go is to go back towards slim or some sort of cut fit.

Yes, obviously you’re ahead of me. The Toyota Land Cruiser. Only we’re at a different part of the cycle and boy is it a
welcome one. The last one was indeed the equivalent of flares. Big, rather bulbous, complex, expensive and sort of saggy. We’re talking loon pants.

Read the full article in the June issue https://shop.assignmentmedia.co.uk/issue/4×4202406

How many hobbies should a person have? The answer appears infinite. Certainly in my own case,
in addition to green lane activities.

I birdwatch, help run a charity and do a load of other, sometimes questionable things. The most questionable of all is a love of fact checking. You know the kind of stuff – using Facebook to sensitively correct misunderstandings about stuff like immigration, electric vehicles and especially the flat earthers. And in that latter case I have a particular speciality, having spent many happy hours arguing with many Americans about the nature of our planet.

One thing I have learnt (although I don’t actually seem to have really learnt it as I’m still banging my head against the wall) is that arguing with fanatics is entirely pointless. They simply are not interested in facts and truth and common sense, or even the evidence of their own eyes. The have an opinion, however mad it might be, and all they are interested in is shouting about it, regardless of how unrelated to reality it might be.

Read the full article in this month’s issue of Overlander 4×4.

Toyota’s new Hilux Hybrid 48V will go on sale in the middle of 2024. Initially available just in Invincible and Invincible X grades, and only with automatic transmission, this mates the vehicle’s familiar 2.8-litre diesel engine to a 48V hybrid system, adding up to 16bhp and 48lbf.ft to its overall output. The result, says Toyota, is enhanced acceleration, power and efficiency.

The system comes at no loss to the Hilux’s towing or payload capacity.  Toyota says it will allow smoother driving in town and off-road, too, thanks to a lower idling speed of 600 rather than 720rpm, and that the motor-generator within the hybrid set-up has been designed to withstand harsh working environments. By waterproofing the 48V battery and DCDC converter and using anti-slip and strengthening measures on the motorgenerator pulley and belt, Toyota has been able to retain a 700mm wading depth for the vehicle.

Nith Inshore Rescue, based near Dumfries on the Solway Firth, has become the first blue-light emergency service in the UK to order an Ineos Grenadier. Based on the Utility Wagon model, the vehicle was prepared by specialist supplier Emergency One with a variety of equipment including an extendable roof-mounted camera.

‘We deal with life-and-death situations, very harsh weather and challenging terrain,’ said Peter Bryden, secretary of Nith Inshore Rescue. ‘So when it came to evaluating the options for a new support vehicle, there were few options and the Grenadier stood out, ticking all the boxes.

‘We were very impressed with the way it has been engineered and built to last, as well as how straightforward it was to convert it for this role. Together with our revitalised lifeboat, we expect it to serve our team for the next 40 years.’

Skoda is upgrading the Enyaq for 2024. Our former Electric SUV of the year gains new, more powerful 85 and 85x powertrains with 286bhp, while vRS models develop 340bhp, and next-generation battery management technology will bring charge times down to less than 30 minutes. Further improvements include a longer range of up to 353 miles.

At the entry-level end of the range, the Enyaq 60 remains unchanged – however all models drop the ‘iV’ which was previously part of the vehicle’s name. On top of the existing spec options, meanwhile, Skoda’s high-end Laurin & Klement trim comes to the Enyaq for the first time.

Subaru will launch a new model, called the Crosstrek, in the first part of 2024. Replacing the existing XV, this has the familiar 2.0 hybrid engine and auto box driving all four wheels, with Subaru’s X-Mode system providing Normal, Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud drive modes.

Subaru says the Crossback will be a safety leader, with its latest Eyesight system among the driver aids and the whole vehicle being underpinned by the company’s excellent Global Platform. It’ll be loaded with kit, too, including an 11.6” info screen running phone pairing and built-in sat-nav on top-spec models. Prices are expected to start at £34,500 on the road.

Dacia has lifted the wraps on a new, significantly modernised Duster – the first production model in the company’s journey towards realising its ambition of being seen in the same light as the likes of Jeep and Land Rover. Based on the CMF-B platform shared by Renault and Nissan, the vehicle promises to be more rugged and, in 4×4 form, better off-road than before, while also adding new hybrid powertrains to its offering.

As before, all-wheel drive will only be available with part of the engine line-up. This will include the TCe 130 mild-hybrid petrol model, in which a 6-speed manual box will be available with a choice of 4×4 and 4×4 models. The rest of the range will include full hybrid and bi-fuel LPG options, however diesel will no longer be in the mix.

The promise of enhanced off-road capabilities comes from from a range of updates over the previous Duster. These include a smart virtual centre diff lock, which distributes torque to the front and rear wheels according to grip and speed, and separate drive modes for mud, sand and snow.

Dacia quotes ground clearance of 217mm and approach, departure and breakover angles of 31°, 36° and 24°. Downhill speed control also becomes standard on 4×4 models, as do heavy-duty body cladding and skid plates.

The Duster will be available in four grades, including a new Extreme spec with features like roof bars, rubber mats and washable seat fabrics. You’ll be able to get a roof rack to mount on said bars, too, as well as a Sleep Pack for turning the vehicle into a basic camper.

The new Duster is expected to go on sale in the spring, with deliveries starting a few months later. Prices are yet to be confirmed, but they won’t be dramatically higher than for the outgoing model.

The Great British Land Rover Show, at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire, took place on Sunday 21 November. And after missing out last year when the second round of lockdown restrictions came into force, the annual indoor event was back with a bang.

Timed perfectly for the pre-Christmas market, the show has become recognised as the final flourish in the annual Land Rover calendar. It has traditionally pulled in bumper crowds – but this year, thanks perhaps to pent-up demand following the restrictions that have blighted all our lives since the start of the pandemic, more visitors than ever made the trip to Stoneleigh.

Once again sponsored by BFGoodrich, with support from Terrafirma, Paddock Spares and the All Wheel Drive Club, for the first time ever the show featured a driving course set out by the Land Rover Experience.  Next to the main entrance to Stoneleigh’s show halls, this featured a man-made hill, side-slope and axle-twister which demonstrated the abilities of the Discoverys and Defenders in which visitors could take passenger rides alongside the Experience’s instructors.

With a best-ever attendance leading to a lengthy queue at the doors, the Driving Experience provided plenty of entertainment for onlookers. And this soon meant another big queue as visitors waited in line to climb aboard and see for themselves what it was all about.

For those bringing their own vehicles, the All Wheel Drive Club was once again running the off-road course in the woods at the edge of the showground site. And this too was busier than ever, with more than 300 vehicles taking the plunge – leading at one point to a long line waiting their turn after a highly modified Defender had suffered a broken steering linkage which left it stranded on the course.

It was also notable how many of the vehicles taking part were ‘new generation’ Land Rovers with independent suspension and Terrain Response. Old-school Defenders and Discoverys were perhaps still just about in the lead in terms of numbers but Disco 3/4s, L322s, Range Rover Sports and new Defenders were a common sight too. Interestingly, the marshals reported that most of these vehicles’ drivers were struggling on hills because of not using enough gas – a sign that they had learned how to drive in traditional Landys and were needing to unlearn their old habits in order to get the best from the new breed.

Inside the halls, meanwhile, big crowds ensured that the traders had a busy time of it. All commented that for business and networking alike, it had been a huge success, with Martin Thompson of BFGoodrich summing it up: ‘The Great British Land Rover Show is always a big success for us, and this year it has been better than ever. We’ve had a very busy day and done great business – and I’m pleased to say that we’ll be continuing as Headline Sponsors again in 2022.’

Speaking for the show’s organisers, Managing Director Sarah Moss said:
‘We were absolutely delighted to see the Land Rover community out in force at the Great British Land Rover Show on Sunday 21 November. It’s been a frustrating two years since the event was last permitted to take place due to the restrictions on indoor events, but it was clear that both exhibitors and visitors alike were raring to get back to it and we hope that the Show will continue to thrive and grow in size going forward.’

The organisers are already working on a new springtime version of the Great British Land Rover Show, which is planned for 1 May at Newark Showground. And the show will be returning to Stoneleigh once again next November – you can keep up to date with all the organisers’ plans at greatbritishlrshow.com.

  • Texaco’s average fuel price was 135.1p per litre, more than 5p more than the cheapest supermarket
  • The cheapest fuel at the ‘big four’ supermarkets is Sainsbury’s, with an average 131.50p per litre
  • The cheapest petrol pump was Costco Birmingham, while Sainsbury’s Enfield (London) has the cheapest diesel

While the long snaking lines of cars desperate for fuel outside petrol stations have dissipated, the panic of the fuel shortage is still fresh in many minds.

To add fuel to the fire, there are also reports of diesel costs hitting record highs in November. For drivers, it is easy to feel helpless as winter arrives. 

But it is not all doom and gloom. Vertu Motorcycles have analysed the fuel price fluctuations across hundreds of pumps to see where you can find the best value fuel in the UK. Prices were analysed on a weekly basis for six weeks in September and October.

Their data shows that the cheapest petrol in the UK can be found at Costco Birmingham, on Watson Road (B7 5SA) near Coventry. The cheapest diesel is found in Sainsbury’s Enfield in London, along the A10. 

The frequency of Costco fuel stations on their cheapest prices lists is most likely due to the supermarket’s member-only policy, allowing them to offer more competitive prices. Both lists are dominated by fuel stations found in Manchester and Coventry, too; 60% of stations in our two 10 cheapest fuel stations list are located in these two cities.

Furthermore, the data by Vertu Motorcycles revealed that the big garage brands, such as Texaco, Esso and BP, are best to be avoided for those looking to dodge the priciest pumps, as they consistently offer the most expensive fuel prices across the country. 

Texaco is especially costly, priced at 2.7p per litre more than the national average.

In contrast, supermarket petrol stations offer the better priced fuel for Brits overall. 

Costco, in particular, has the cheapest fuel prices at 129.9p per litre; most likely due to its member-only policy. 

For non-members, the cheapest prices can be found at Murco and independent fuel stations, but these are much rarer than the big garage brands.

Texaco, for instance, has around 800 stations in the UK, while Esso and BP each have over 1,200 locations to fill up at.

In terms of the ‘big four’ supermarkets (Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons), it’s Sainsbury’s that offers the cheapest fuel prices on average (131.5p per litre). 

Tesco is the most expensive supermarket for fuel, with prices averaging at 132.7p per litre, while Morrisons and Asda sit in the middle with 132.5p and 132.4p per litre, respectively.

Want to make more everyday fuel savings? Check out these top tips, below:

  • Branded fuel station or supermarket? Shop at supermarkets for the lowest fuel prices, but if you have the option of an independent station, it is a good idea to shop local, if you can, to keep them in business.
  • Have you checked your tyre pressure? Under inflated tyres require more fuel to maintain movement. Just a five-minute check every two weeks could be all you need to save £££ at the pumps.
  • Are you filling your fuel tank to capacity? While it might seem like a time saver to fill your tank right to the top, the extra weight will cause your car to burn through fuel quicker. Look to fill your tank up half-way to stay fuel-efficient. 
  • What are your driving habits? Accelerating smoothly and maintaining a constant speed, rather than erratic speeding up and slowing down, consumes much less fuel, netting you noticeable savings.

Vertu Motorcycles spokesperson commented:

 “With the fuel shortage still fresh in people’s minds, it is critical that everyone reassess how and where they buy their fuel from to avoid paying over the odds.

“Of course, it is not viable for those who live near expensive pumps to drive further afield to find cheaper fuel, but knowing which fuel brands are best to avoid could save you a pretty penny at the pumps if you do have the option. 

“Hopefully, this is the last time we hear of any ‘fuel crisis’, but it always pays to do your research and exercise cautious purchasing habits.”

Terranet AB (TERRNT B), developers of advanced driver-assistance software (ADAS) that specifically addresses safety and comfort through precise, fast, and intelligent sensor technology, has announced teaming up with holoride to explore innovative applications for its VoxelFlowTM technology – helping to revolutionize in-vehicle experiences for passengers in autonomous vehicles.

Munich-based holoride is building the world’s first immersive in-vehicle media platform by enabling processing motion and location-based data in real-time. Through this new iteration of Terranet’s and holoride’s relationship, holoride will be integrated into NEVS’ revolutionary PONS mobility system focusses on urban areas and is built to reshape mobility in cities. holoride’s content adjusts to the motion and route of the PONS mobility system and other vehicles and perfectly syncs with the passenger’s journey. Through this, holoride creates a new media category made for moving vehicles called Elastic Content, which allows for a novel approach in content creation.   

The integration of Terranet’s super-fast object detection and classification system VoxelFlowTM will help to enhance real-time, in-car XR experiences by incorporating aspects of this versatile sensor tech software into the holoride developer’s ecosystem, empowering content creators to embed geospatial context and real-world road objects into breathtaking virtual playgrounds. Also, fusing Terranet’s game horizon concept with holoride’s Elastic SDK will significantly reduce the design time and the developer resources required to create virtual environments.

“We are enthusiastic about holoride’s mission to add thrill to every ride. In-vehicle entertainment will become even more important along with a higher penetration of self-driving cars,” said Terranet CTO Nihat Küçük. “Terranet’s contribution to a ride in a virtual world is to stream real-world objects – which we see in VoxelFlowTM – into the VR platform in real-time. With our partner holoride we will disrupt the in-vehicle gaming experience, injecting static and dynamic objects which we detect and classify using Terranet’s neural network model and machine learning algorithms.”

Users will be able to experience a fully immersive experience, reflective of their surrounding realties. For example, when traveling to a European capital, riders get to experience the city and its history in a city tour in one of NEVS’ self-driving vehicles. The resulting experience combines what riders see through the windows with a VR/AR overlay that incorporates the same places and sites in the historical context of the previous century. The holoride VR headset soaks riders  into an immersive virtual world of gaming, entertainment or information – whatever is preferred. Both static and dynamic objects of a rider’s real local environment are transformed into a visual and auditive historical scenery. A city ride on a NEVS autonomous vehicles can quickly become a thrilling experience e.g., being embedded in an action game that takes place in your very local neighborhood. Beyond cities, theme parks or film studios could stream their 3D entertainment content into a motion aware ride through their facilities.

By the joint agreement the three companies, holoride, Terranet and NEVS, aim to push for establishing a new paradigm of unmatched safety and offering a novel media format through XR experiences for the passengers in an autonomous vehicle. Terranet led holoride’s  Series A funding round earlier this year and joined existing shareholder Audi as strategic investors. The ongoing strategic business collaboration with holoride opens a new vertical for Terranet’s VoxelFlow™ technology by reusing 3D event data for XR applications, like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). 

About Terranet

Terranet AB (Nasdaq: TERRNT-B). With a vision to save lives Terranet designs and develops a new class for vision-based sensor systems, used for road safety. It markets and delivers a software stack with features available across vehicle platforms and car models. The technology was handpicked and showcased twice at the innovation platform STARTUP AUTOBAHN powered by Plug and Play in 2021. The company is located in Lund and Stuttgart. Terranet AB (publ) is listed on the Nasdaq First North Premier Growth Market. Discover more about Terranet: www.terranet.se/en/.

About holoride

holoride creates an entirely new media category for passengers by connecting Extended Reality (XR) content with data points from the vehicle in real time. These data points include physical feedback, like acceleration and steering, traffic data, as well as travel route and time. holoride technology provides a new type of immersion into any kind of VR content, creating a breathtaking, immersive experience, and significantly reducing motion sickness. The tech startup was founded at the end of 2018 in Munich, Germany by Nils Wollny, Marcus Kuehne, Daniel Profendiner and Audi, who holds a minority stake in the startup. In April 2021, holoride raised €10 million in its Series A funding round led by Terranet AB, earning the company a €30 million valuation. That same year, ​​holoride won the prestigious SXSW Pitch and was also named Best in Show. It has been hailed “Best of CES 2019” four times, recognized as one of the “100 Best Inventions of 2019” by TIME Magazine and is part of the global innovation platform “STARTUP AUTOBAHN powered by Plug and Play”. For more information, please visit https://www.holoride.com/.