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Suzuki’s Vitara was unveiled some 25 years ago, and it’s fair to say that it was one of the most significant modern 4x4s ever built. It very cleverly appealed to a completely new group of enthusiats and created a vehicle for the then named ‘leisure market’. Looking back today, it is certainly a very idiosyncratic design; slab sided, with a huge flat front windscreen. Times change and it ceased production, with only the larger Grand Vitara SUV remaining. At this month’s Paris Motor Show, the Vitara returns to the Suzuki range. Based on the iV-4 concept, the Vitara will be available in the UK in the spring of 2015, fitted with the company’s ALLGRIP intelligent four-wheel drive system and the range will include both diesel and petrol engines. Customers will be able to personalise their own Vitaras by choosing different colour and trim options. We will have more details on the new Vitara in next month’s issue.
Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV completed the recent Asia Cross Country Rally, finishing first in class and a creditable 14th overall. The Rally was used by Mitsubishi as a platform to confirm the hybrid vehicle’s reliability in difficult conditions. The PHEV is modified for competition use with the drive battery mounted higher to allow for better ground clearance, and it gets competition spec suspension. Add underbody suspension, a snorkel and the rest is left very much ‘standard’. We have a feature on the PHEV, matched against the company’s first Jeep on page 46 of the November 2014 issue - buy it here.
Impressive developments in hybrid and diesel drivetrains mean that CO2 outputs are falling year on year, writes Phil Weeden. What do you do, however, if you produce only SUVs and don’t have super-green city cars to offset some of the heavier, thirstier cars in your range? That’s the challenge at Jaguar Land Rover, which has recently revealed more info of its all-new Ingenium family of engines. The new units will be built from 2015 in the company’s new £500 million manufacturing centre near Wolverhampton (pictured above).
Doctor Wolfgang Ziebart, JLR’s Director of Group Engineering (pictured), revealed that by 2020, government legislation around the world will drive average CO2 emissions down to less than 100g/km and fuel economy to 75mpg. This provides tremendous challenges to car manufacturers, none more so than brands such as Jaguar Land Rover, whose products are premium and high performance.
The first Discovery was unveiled some 25 years ago. This new version is a very different beast, and the start of a whole new family of vehicles.
Words: Nigel Fryatt Photography: Land Rover
To quote English novelist L. P. Hartley, ‘the past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.’ Back in 1989, the Land Rover Discovery was unveiled to critical acclaim both for its exterior looks and its radical Terence Conran designed interior. It was a major new model for the company, starting a whole new model range, and that despite it being something of a ‘bitza’ product, strongly linked to the Range Rover but with other parts from the then British Leyland empire, including the Sherpa commercial van and even the now much maligned Austin Maestro. Remember them? As Hartley said, they certainly did things ‘differently’ back then.
It seems that the Honda CR-V is the most reliable 4x4/SUV on the market. So claims the annual Which? Car Survey, which has named the Honda CR-V 2.2 i-DTEC the UK’s most reliable 4x4/SUV up to three-years old. The report actually says the Honda has zero reported breakdowns, average annual repair costs of just £10 and an overall reliability score of 98.5 per cent over a 12 month period. The research was based on an impressive 49,000 owners, reporting on some 58,000 vehicles, so that’s a fair sample. To celebrate this success, Honda has a summer campaign where customers can pick up a Honda CR-V 2.2 i-DTEC Black or White Edition for a monthly payment of just £349, with a £500 deposit contribution. Additionally with the option of a comprehensive care package offering five year’s warranty, servicing and roadside assistance for a one-off payment of £555, it is claimed that owners can assume their running costs are covered for the next five years, and that they stand to make potential savings of up to £1290.