Gibb Grace, Editor, Commercial Fleet World, commented, Advances in refinement and fuel economy stem from an all-new 2.5-litre D-4D engine to suit 4x2 and 4x4 models respectively. Hilux now has an admirable combination of rugged durability and cost efficiency that appeals to both the private and commercial vehicle market sectors.
Jon Pollock, General Manager for Toyota Fleet commented: We are delighted to win these awards at such a significant time for Toyota Fleet. Adding this to the encouraging feedback from 250 of the UKs top Fleet Managers and the successful launch of our Toyota Business Centre Network in January, we are looking forward to a great year.
The all-new Isuzu pickup is now under full production for general export and distributed to the world market under the name Isuzu D-MAX (Rodeo in the UK only). Customers around the world will soon be enjoying the vehicles stylish design and enhanced durability, reliability and strength.
The Isuzu D-MAX is positioned as a sport-utility vehicle for active lifestyles. With its strongly emotional appeal, the Isuzu D-MAX is sure to be a source of great pride for the owners of this vehicle. At the same time, the Isuzu D-MAX is a highly practical vehicle suited to many commercial uses.
VOSA staff are being accredited with the powers to stop vehicles for roadside checks. From early September, pilot schemes are to be run in Cambridgeshire, Staffordshire and Northumbria, with similar schemes following in North Wales, Greater Manchester and the Metropolitan area.
This is a huge move for VOSA and is sure to ease the pressure on police, as well as helping crack down on unroadworthy vehicles and illegal road-users.
The vehicles which are being used are Ford Galaxies with yellow & black battenburg side markings, yellow & orange chevrons at the rear and a roof bar with amber lights & variable matrix signing. VOSA stoppers are being trained by the Police to ensure public safety as well as their own safety and effectiveness.
The Association of Chief Police Officers, the Home Office and the trade associations have supported the accreditation of VOSA staff.
For more information on VOSAs Powers to Stop or to request a leaflet please call 0870 6060440 or visit www.vosa.gov.uk
The BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) has received the five-star award in the Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) crash test underlining its position again as one of the safest vehicles on the road.
Mitsubishi clinched a record-breaking eighth Dakar Rally success, when Japanese driver Hiroshi Masuoka and German co-driver Andreas Schulz secured victory over a 34 kms special stage, near Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, also giving Mitsubishi there third win in a row
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 1st August 2003 - Land Rovers award-winning Freelander, the UKs best-selling 4x4 since its 1997 launch, has been comprehensively improved and upgraded for 2004.
The changes include a new interior and major external revisions, including new face and tail. There is also an additional derivative, the Freelander Sport, the sharpest handling and sportiest Land Rover production model ever.
"As well as being an international best-seller, the Freelander also invented a new segment – the compact premium 4x4 sector," said Matthew Taylor, Land Rovers managing director. "The latest changes are designed to improve the premium nature of the Freelander, and make it an even more desirable and successful vehicle."
The most obvious enhancements are to the styling. The front bumper, headlamps and front grille are brand new, and adopt the distinctive family face pioneered by the new Range Rover. The new, twin-pocket clear lens headlamps are similar to those of the Freelanders big brother, the Range Rover, and provide a higher light intensity – improved by 70 per cent. The bumpers are restyled and are now body coloured.
At the rear, the bumpers and lights are new. The bumpers are body coloured, and tail lamps have been repositioned higher on the rear bumper, improving their visibility and reducing the likelihood of them being obscured by road grime or off-roading dust.
The cabin of the 2004 Freelander has been comprehensively restyled, to improve comfort and the feeling of luxury.
"Weve paid particular attention to the interior," said Matthew Taylor. "Its where our customers spend most of their time with the car and the area where we knew there was room for improvement. Premium car buyers expect premium cabins, and we are confident they will be impressed with the new Freelanders interior."
There is a new facia, new instruments, new switchgear, new door trims and new seats that offer better body and under-thigh comfort, plus new upholstery fabrics.
The cabin doesnt just look better. The feel of the materials has also been greatly improved.
There continue to be two body styles on offer: a three-door version, featuring a detachable hard-top or retractable soft-top, and a five-door.
As before, there is a choice of three engines. The two engines first unveiled in the 2001 Freelander are carried over: the 2.5-litre petrol V6 and the award-winning 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel. The original but much-improved 1.8-litre lightweight four-cylinder petrol engine also continues, as the entry level option. The five-speed manual and five-speed automatic gearboxes are both improved for 2004.
For Europe, there is also a new Freelander model, the Sport. It rides on new 18-inch alloy wheels and uses lowered and firmer suspension to reduce roll and improve driver feedback. The result is more responsive driving behaviour on tarmac, and on smooth dirt or gravel roads.
The 2004 Freelander remains the king of off-roading among compact 4x4s. Its full-time four-wheel drive and a host of high-tech electronic systems, such as Hill Descent Control and Electronic Traction Control, allow the Freelander to wade through water, climb and descend slippery slopes, and give superb driver control when the going gets tough.
"The Freelanders off-road engineering translates into real on-road driving benefits too," said Matthew Taylor. "Its higher, command driving position allows driver and passengers to see more, and the full-time 4x4 system plus electronic controls offer more security when conditions turn treacherous – in snow, heavy rain or when hitting slippery patches on tarmac.
The Freelander offers the traditional benefits of a premium 4x4, but with the handling and practicality of a premium car.
Most important, it comes from Land Rover. We only make 4x4s. This engineering pedigree, we believe, gives the Freelander a big advantage over rivals from conventional car makers, whose 4x4s are usually full of compromises."
In a sensational move, Land Rover have announced that the next generation of the Freelander will be built at the Jaguar plant at Halewood, Merseyside, currently home of the X-Type, not at Solihull. Bob Dover has at long last fired a warning shot at Solihull. This is the first time that any volume Land Rover product has been made outside the Solihull plant. The new model is anticipated in 2006.
Solihull will now concentrate on the Discovery replacement and the new 'Baby Range Rover' that share the common 'multi vehicle' platform - code named 'T5'. The T5 reverts to a chassis and body configuration in contrast to the acclaimed monocoque Range Rover with which it will share the plant. Defender is set to continue until 2006 after which it faces an uncertain future due to emissions legislation among other things.
Land Rover remains tight lipped about what form the new Freelander will take. There have been rumours about a joint development with fellow Premier Automotive Group member, Volvo who has been making waves in the SUV market with the outstanding XC90 - currently on a 12-month waiting list in the UK. Insiders point to a degree of uncertainty about the concept for the replacement of the UK's best-selling 4x4, including a debate about whether this compact off-roader should be upsized to appeal more to the US market, where the current vehicle has flopped.
This move will cause howls of outrage among Land Rover purists but makes sense to a company struggling in a highly competitive world. Solihull was state of the art in the 1980s and was a model of an integrated manufacturing plant following the changes made by the then MD, Tony Gilroy, outlined in the recent 'Land Rover Heroes' feature. Times move on however and it now makes perfect sense for Solihull to concentrate on the mid-volume, premium models for which the plant is suited.
If nothing else the move and the massive investment at Solihull shows that the Ford Motor Company, itself celebrating its hundredth birthday this year, is committed to the long term future of Land Rover - great news for employees, dealers and customers who can be certain that their beloved Land Rover will remain part of one of the world's major players on the automotive scene.
Good news, the legendary 750R16 MUD PLUGGA is now back on the 4x4 market. After months of research and modifications the versatile and cost effective On and Off road tyre is now available once again.
For more details contact:
A+A Tyre Services
Tel 029 2037 1808 or via e-mail at