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Wednesday, 13 August 2014 13:33

REVEALED; DISCOVERY SPORTWe recently received photographs of the new Discovery Sport. The team at JLR are becoming nearly as good at global publicity as they are at actually making vehicles, but this latest ‘reveal’ is simply out of this world as it is linked with the Virgin Galactic space programme. Earlier this year, when the initial Discovery Concept was unveiled in New York, it shared the stage with Virgin’s proposed Galactic commercial spacecraft. It seems that the two companies have been working together on the projects, including all the testing and development of the forthcoming Discovery Sport. No less than 181 protorypes have been used, covering some 750,000 miles and 9767 different tests. This has included driving in temperatures of minus 36degC in North America, and up to 42degC in the deserts of Dubai (two major markets for the proposed vehicle). It is also said to have been tested in water depths of 600mm, inclines of 40deg, and declines of 45deg. The camouflaged prototypes shown here give little away; a quick glance and you could be forgiven for thinking you are looking at a Range Rover Sport. The actual official global ‘reveal’ of the new Discovery Sport will take place on 3rd September, which planet that will be on has yet to be announced.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014 13:25

WHEN A PANDA GETS CROSSIf good things come in small packages, then look no further than the Panda 4x4 if you are looking for a capable city supermini that doubles as a surprisingly capable off-roader. It’s such a good package that one could have forgiven Fiat from leaving it alone, apart from the odd ‘paint job’ allowing the company to create some daft named ‘specials’. The good news is that despite the bright yellow paint job shown here, the latest Panda 4x4 Cross is anything but daft; it’s a capable small off-roader that has just got serious.

Regular readers will know that we rate the Panda 4x4, and have done since its first incarnation back in the 1980s. It was unique in the 4x4 market back then, and the latest version continues that tradition. Indeed, we awarded the latest version our ‘Best Mini 4x4’ in our annual ‘4x4 Of The Year’ last year. It’s pleasing, therefore, to be able to say that the new model, available in the UK at the end of this year, has received some significant upgrades, specifically designed to improve the vehicle’s off-road abilities. And it’s not very often that we are able to report that, especially when talking about a small SUV.


THE FAREWELL DISCOVERYSThe 2015 MODEL year range of Discovery models has now been announced by Land Rover. Given the arrival next year of the new Discovery range, this could be the last revamp of the highly successful Discovery 4 range. It also marks the 25 years of Discovery, and as you might expect there’s a new XXV Special Edition anniversary model available. The XXV Special Edition notably gets the new InControl Apps Options.

All models in the range get updates. The entry level SE now has additional features as standard compared to the previous entry point GS specification, including cruise control, front fog lights, automatic headlamps and wipers, headlamp power wash, auto dimming rear view mirror and interior foot well and door puddle lamps.

Next up, the SE Tech replaces the previous XS specification and adds Xenon headlights with LED signature as standard. The HSE variants now have 20 inch alloy wheels as standard. HSE also has the Grand Black Lacquer wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel from the XXV Special Edition anniversary model as an optional extra. The colour range has also been extended with three new colours introduced; Aruba, Kaikora Stone and Montalcino Red replace Luxor, Ipanema Sand and Nara Bronze.

Tuesday, 05 August 2014 00:00

NEW BRONCO? BRING IT HERE!In our Genius Tyre feature (September 2014) we have pictures of the Troller – not a vehicle with which we were that familiar. However, this model, built by Troller, a subsiduary of Ford do Brasil, looks like a Jeep Wrangler and Suzuki Jimny with a touch of Land Rover Defender could be thought as the successor to the Bronco. Sadly, there are no plans to sell the Troller in the US, although we understand that American off-road magazines are calling for it to be available, something that we fully support. The Ford Troller has heavy-duty Dana axles, an anti roll bar disconnect feature (like the Wrangler) and 17 inch wheels. It has a snorkel as standard equipment. Now, obviously the forthcoming Edge will be important for Ford’s balance sheet, but just imagine what the introduction of a European Troller might do to the company’s overall image. Who needs park assist and lane change warnings? What ever happened to ‘fun’?

Shogun the Barbarian
Tuesday, 29 July 2014 00:00

Shogun the BarbarianIt depends on your point of view; out-dated 4x4 or traditional workhorse? One thing not up for discussion is the Mitsubishi Shogun’s tough character and ability to get the job done. And with this brand new special edition, it’s quite a looker too! This is the new Shogun SWB Barbarian, which certainly looks great in this ‘stealth’ black option, complete with 20 inch black and silver Le Mans alloy wheels. Inside it has the L200 Barbarian-style leather seats and carbon inserts, DAB digital radio and alloy pedal kit. In manual form the Shogun SWB Barbarian will cost you £31,999, the auto version is £33,684. Mitsubishi is one of the few manufacturers still offering commercial spec versions and you can also get Barbarian ‘van’ options in manual and automatic for £33,449 and £35,134 respectively. All Shoguns come with a three-year/unlimited mileage warranty. OK, so it doesn’t have all the clever techno stuff of some of the latest SUVs, but for a tough workhorse that looks great, this new Shogun Barbarian ticks all the boxes for us.

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