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While all the smiles on the Jeep stand in Geneva must have been around the exciting new 2015 Renegade and cheeky new Panda 4x4 Cross, the more serious expressions came with the first European showing of the forthcoming Jeep Cherokee. This can be described as the first ‘Euro’ Jeep, and undoubtedly the most important model produced yet from the partnership between Fiat and the iconic US 4x4 manufacturer. This is one vehicle that you feel just has to be a significant sales success for the joint venture to progress. It needs to be the basis for a growing market share when the Renegade arrives in 2015.
On paper it looks like being a vehicle that should appeal to more than ‘just’ the Jeep enthusiast. Indeed, it’s possible that the European design of the model will actually be something of a turn off for those deeply entrenched Jeep enthusiasts. As with the Renegade, this is something of a completely new look for Jeep, but it has some interesting claims. It will be the first mid-size SUV with a nine-speed gearbox, for example. To improve fuel efficiency, the rear axle is actually disconnected (again said to be a first), and it comes with two 4x4 options; the fully automatic Active Drive I and the two-step Active Drive II. It has a ‘best in class’ Euro NCAP five star safety endorsement. Power will come from the new 2.0-litre MultiJet II turbodiesel engine in two formats; one producing 170bhp and an impressive 350Nm of torque, or the more modest 140bhp version (which gets a six-speed manual transmission as opposed to the nine-speed automatic option).
Regular readers will know that we seriously rate the little Fiat Panda 4x4, it won our small SUV class in our 2014 4x4 Of The Year, and it did so with enthusiasm and certainly without any allowances having to be made. Make no mistake, the Panda 4x4 is small, agile and pretty tough. And now it’s just got tougher.
The Fiat Panda 4x4 Cross is certainly no shrinking violet. Of course, for a lot of hoary ol’ off-roaders all this flash plastic adornment is the antithesis of a serious 4x4. Here at this magazine, we tend to be a broader church and take the secular approach. It looks fun to us, and has some interesting technical improvements, which should actually increase its already impressive off-road abilities. The new Panda 4x4 Cross has a new Terrain Control selector to offer the driver three different modes. It also has improved approach (up 3degs to 24deg) and departure (up one degree to 33deg) angles, with a break over angle of 20deg. It also has a larger wheel and tyre option, when compared to the Panda 4x4, the Cross now being fitted with 185/65R15 tyres.
Getting news of a completely new Jeep model just before we closed this issue for press was exciting indeed. We are a little limited in space this month, but just had to show these pictures; introducing the brand new Jeep Renegade. And fear not, we will be giving you a lot more detail and many more pictures in the next issue!
The all-new Jeep Renegade will have been unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show as you read this and it’s the iconic 4x4 company’s first sojourn into the small SUV segment. To put the vehicle into perspective, initial details show it will be around 550mm longer than a Suzuki Jimny, 200mm wider, but very similar in height. The Renegade’s wheelbase is 320mm longer than the Suzuki’s.
It is due to be available some time in 2015, although that is likely to be in the US first, details of when it would come to the UK are as yet unreleased. The Renegade is, however, a global model for Jeep not just a niche sideline, since it is aimed at more than 100 markets around the globe, which alone means an option of some 16 (yes, sixteen) different power trains. It will be built in the US, Italy and Brazil.
Visitors to Tractor World Show could win a tractor for just £1. An International B-275 has been restored by the team responsible for this year’s National Vintage Tractor Road Run and they will be raising money for charity, selling tickets to win the vehicle; must be worth a flutter. The Tractor World Show is at Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire, on March 1 and 2.
There will be big displays from Ford and Massey Ferguson clubs to mark the opening of Ford’s factory at Basildon and the launch of MF’s 100 Series, as well as displays from the likes of Leyland and Allis-Chalmers enthusiasts. Horticultural entries are already the highest ever and stationary engine entries are pouring in.
Three Counties Showground is not far off the M5 in Worcestershire. Advance ticket prices are £10 per day for adults (£12 on the gate). Under 15s go free and there’s a great value weekend camping pass for two adults for the advanced price of just £50 (£60 on the day). For more information go to www.tractorworldshow.co.uk or tel: 01697 451882
As befits the exclusive Knightsbridge store, which once claimed was the place where you could buy just about anything, Porsche recently took over the main front window display to unveil the new Macan SUV. The display showed the new compact performance SUV some two months before it would appear in Porches Centres. When it arrives, there will be three models available in the UK, the Macan S Diesel and Macan S are priced from £43,300, and the top-of-the-range Macan Turbo will be priced from £59,300. All models include Porsche Traction Management (PTM), seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) double-clutch transmission, alloy wheels, digital radio, front and rear ParkAssist, floor mats, multi-function steering wheel with gearshift paddles, electronic tailgate release, USB port connection and a three-year warranty. The model will also be included to the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone for customers to get the full performance experience.