Love them or hate them – speed bumps are damaging vehicles across the country. More than 30% of vehicles that fail their annual MOT do so because of damage to their suspension.
The UK is awash with speed bumps. Some motorists view them as the most annoying obstacle on our roads. Most road safety campaigners claim they save lives. There’s only one certainty – speed bumps are here to stay.
Following reports of damage to vehicles a new kit has been developed that can avoid the bottoming out a vehicle suffers when driving over a speed bump. The kit is also claimed to be an ideal solution for vehicles that carry extra weight, tow a trailer or for vehicles that are close to the ground such as sports cars and vehicles with lowered suspension.
The Rossini suspension muscle kit is a specially moulded rubber insert that fits into the suspension coil springs of a vehicle. They take minutes to fit and no special tools are required. It’s simply a case of jacking a vehicle up and sliding the rubber inserts into place. The suspension muscle kit operates when extra weight is added to a vehicle or a bump in the road is encountered. The muscle kit stops the vehicle sinking, dipping and bottoming out. Road handling can also be improved for vehicles that have a tendency to sink on cornering.
Risk of damage to a vehicle is minimised, passengers and the driver can enjoy a more comfortable ride and the manufacturers also claim that motorists are less likely to damage their exhaust when driving over the seriously high bumps used in some multi-storey car parks.
Mark Cornwall of mail order specialist, Car Parts Direct said: “Speed bumps are a major problem to motorists. We’re supplying more shock absorbers, coil springs and catalytic converters than ever because of damage caused by speed bumps. The suspension muscle kit is such a simple solution to a huge problem.”
The Rossini suspension muscle kits are available at £35.00 including free delivery when ordered online. Visit www.carparts-direct.co.uk or call 0870 977 9666.
Paris, 28th September 2006: Mitsubishi Motors will today unveil its renewed 4x4 line-up at the 2006 Paris Motor Show with the European debut of the all-new Outlander SUV and revised Shogun.
For more details on these two models and corporate information on Mitsubishi Motors in Europe click on the motor show press pack links below. For a full selection of images go to www.mitsubishipress.co.uk and click on Photos / UK models.
* SUV Heritage
* Shogun Evolution Dakar
* Corporate Overview
To be launched during the first quarter of 2007 all-new Outlander will allow Mitsubishi Motors to enter the fastest growing SUV segment in Europe - up 54% from 325,000 in 2001 to 500,000 in 2006, with a further 35% growth expected between 2006 and 2009 – and will go head to head, for the first time, with the likes of Toyota RAV-4 and Nissan X-Trail.
Outlander will also preview MMC’s all-new global C-segment platform. Engineered by MMC for world markets and shared with DaimlerChrysler, it will also form the basis of a string of new models in various segments of the market, to be launched within the next two years.
Celebrating a history spanning 25 years, Mitsubishi’s Shogun has been substantially upgraded for 2007 and makes its European debut at the Paris show. On sale in the UK from March next year, changes include:
* New exterior front-end styling
* Upgraded interior with finely detailed, contemporary dashboard
* High-end equipment including a 30 GB hard disk drive navigation system with music server, rear view camera, 860W 12-speaker Rockford Acoustic Design - premium audio system, rear seat entertainment system as standard on premium models
* New 4 cylinder 3.2 Di-D 170 ps Common Rail Diesel and Eclipse-derived 3.8 MIVEC V6 250 ps petrol engines
smart has developed a fortwo with monster ambitions. The forfun² has the body of a smart fortwo mounted on an all-terrain Mercedes-Benz Unimog 406 series.
The Greek 4x4 Rally Champion, Stefan Attart, joined forces with Mercedes-Benz Greece, to design and develop this one-off vehicle.
The engine and transmission are adopted from the Unimog and the vehicle has a six-cylinder diesel engine with a capacity of 5,675 cc delivering 84 bhp. By comparison, a fortwo diesel has a 41 bhp engine.
The vital statistics of the forfun² include ground clearance of more than 2ft, eye popping tyres on 26 inch rims, and a towering 12 ft height.
Attart wanted maximum off-road mobility which makes the Unimog 406 the perfect platform. He added oversized wheels, an aluminium safety cage, and his design team used special shock absorbers with manually controlled air suspension, which is an advantage on steep downhill slopes.
The more traditional smart range is available from smart retailers, starting from £6,775 otr. Customers can find out more about smart by logging onto www.smart.com/uk or by calling the freephone number 0808 000 8080.
Chrysler Group will unveil the all-new Jeep® Wrangler at the Paris Motor Show this week, and reveal a concept car that hints at a brand new Dodge saloon car that will be on sale in the UK by the middle of next year.
The production version of the two-door Jeep Wrangler and four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited are being shown in Europe for the first time, and will be in dealers in the UK by April next year.
Peter Lambert, Managing Director of Chrysler Group UK, said: “This new Wrangler offers drivers the ‘rugged’ Jeep look and feel without letting its extreme off-road ability compromise on-road dynamics. The new model is a significant step forward from the old vehicle, as it offers a diesel engine for the first time, a choice of short and long-wheelbase, much better road manners, reduced noise levels, a host of safety features, a convertible hard top and an all-new interior with space for five adults and their luggage.
“We expect the new Jeep Wrangler to attract attention from families that currently buy the Land Rover Defender. We will offer impressive value for money and fuel economy plus a diesel auto option and convertible hard roof not available on the competition.”
While 99 per cent of Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited sold in the UK in 2007 will be powered by a new 2.8-litre diesel engine, a handful of Jeep ‘Wrangler Rubicon’ models will be sold with a new
3.8-litre petrol engine and a host of additional off-road features that will make this the best off-road Wrangler ever.
Dodge is also looking to break new ground with the all-new Dodge Avenger concept – a bold styling statement that does away with the idea that a functional family car is automatically boring.
The Avenger concept will appeal to car buyers around the world who need the practicality, functionality and fuel efficiency of a mid-size saloon, but want more, including a vehicle that stands out and makes a statement. Avenger’s bold muscle car styling, innovative features and solid performance will allow them to do just that.
Peter Lambert added: “While the Avenger concept only hints at the latest vehicle from Dodge, it will do what Caliber has done for the family hatchback and what Nitro promises to do in the 4x4 segment – it offers a unique alternative to the competition. The Dodge Caliber has been a big success with the car-buying public so we are expecting great things from our two new Dodge vehicles next year.”
From the front, large quad headlamps surrounded by black housings create the distinctive glare that forms Avenger’s face and surround the signature Dodge crosshair grille. Avenger’s side profile is distinguished by a long bonnet, short deck lid proportions with muscular rear shoulders and sleek rear spoiler. This concept’s long glasshouse is created by the use of a high-gloss black B-pillar and aerodynamic inspired rear door appliqués, which make this mid-size saloon look like it’s pouncing forward, even when it’s at a standstill.
Deep side sills, nineteen-inch five-spoke painted satin silver wheels and deep red brake callipers add to the Avenger concept’s sporty look. Chrome-tipped dual exhaust outlets communicate the performance capability of the Avenger concept’s 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine.
Volkswagen has revealed the first photographs of its new Touareg luxury 4x4, ahead of its world public debut at the Paris Motor Show next week.
Sporting a new ‘face’, revised rear styling, updated interior and seats as well as the Dynaudio sound system as an option, the new Touareg will go on sale in the UK at the end of January 2007.
At the front, the new Touareg features a new grille, bonnet, front wings and bumper, plus new headlights and mirrors. The rear lights, spoiler, bumper and exhaust pipes have also been modified to freshen the 4x4’s appearance.
The new Touareg will feature new and revised technology, including ABSPlus and additional ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) features. ABSPlus has been developed and patented by Volkswagen and is a world first. The system shortens the braking distance by up to 20% on loose driving surfaces. New features have been added to the ESP, these include Active Rollover Protection (ARP), rain brake support, fading brake support and understeer control logic, which improves the turning behaviour in the event of understeer.
The UK line-up will remain as before with three trim levels – Touareg, SE and Altitude – all of which boast high levels of standard specification and trim.
Four engines will be available: one petrol and three diesel. These are a 3.6-litre V6 280 PS petrol; 2.5-litre TDI 174 PS with DPF (diesel particulate filter); 3.0-litre V6 TDI 225 PS with or without DPF; and the range-topping 5.0-litre V10 TDI with 313 PS and DPF. The 2.5-litre TDI will be available as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox and optional Tiptronic automatic transmission. All other engines will be mated to the six speed Tiptronic automatic transmission.
The current Touareg model went on sale in the UK in May 2003. The car is designed to deliver class-leading performance both on and off the road. Features such as permanent four-wheel drive, low and high gear ratios, electronic traction control linked to an auto-locking centre differential, hill start and descent assist and short front and rear overhangs all contribute to class-leading capability when venturing off the beaten track. Extremely steep slope angles are within the Touareg’s capability, and versions with air suspension can ford depths of up to 580 mm.
Since launch, over 10,500 Touaregs have been sold in the UK.
· KYB’s aftermarket coil spring range expanded
· Over 1,900 part numbers listed
KYB has introduced a new coil spring catalogue specific to the UK market.
The catalogue is easy to read and gives details of KYB’s K-Flex coil spring range which is made to original equipment (OE) specifications. This ensures all springs comply with block exemption regulations requiring components to be manufactured to the same specification as those fitted to new vehicles.
Taper Wire Miniblock Springs
KYB springs use progressive taper wire technology which ensures each coil fits neatly inside the adjacent coil when compressed, and KYB’s rugby ball shaped Miniblock springs use this to provide a high level of performance.
The key benefits of KYB’s Taper Wire Miniblock springs include:
- low noise levels
- high level of ride comfort
- long life through minimised damage to the surface coating
- compact design
The glossy 190 page catalogue lists over 1,900 part numbers in an easy to read format and contains full product descriptions
New vehicle applications cover both European as well as an extended range of Japanese vehicles, including Citroën’s C1, C2, C3 and C8 models, Nissan’s new Micra and Primera, the Peugeot 107, Rover 75, and recently launched Renault Clio III and Toyota Aygo. The catalogue also features commercial vehicle applications including a rationalised range for the Ford Transit.
KYB recommends that as coil springs are a vital part of a vehicle’s suspension system they should be replaced every four years or 50,000 miles, and where possible changed at the same time as shock absorbers.
Under normal driving conditions, the Ford Transit AWD uses rear wheel drive only. However, should road surfaces become slippery with rain, snow, ice or split friction, a loss of traction might occur and the rear wheels are likely to slip. Ford's mechanical torque sensor will automatically engage the two clutches inside the front transmission, which at the same time limits the rear axle's overspeed and transfers torque towards both front wheels for additional traction. At the same time the de-stabilising effect of spinning rear wheels is being re-balanced from oversteering to a neutral driving behaviour by the physical torque flow to the front wheels.
A core element of the system is a hydraulically controlled torque sensor inside the front axle transmission. By sensing speed difference between front and rear axles, the integrated oil pump will continuously lock the multi plate clutch to one of the front wheels and gently convert torque to the front wheel.
The system is completely mechanical and free of wear – no service is required during its lifetime, apart from oil level control inside the clutch housings. Another core element of the system is an Eaton-type oil pump inside each of the clutch housings. It uses a small volume of oil to engage the clutches whenever required (transmission oil type 75W-90 BO).
As long as the front wheels rotate on dry and solid ground at the same speed as the rear wheel drive axle, both clutch pumps remain static and the entire hydraulic system is without function – the clutch locking system remains without pressure and both clutches are open. In case of minor speed differences typical for cornering situations, the pumps begin to rotate gently and pump a small amount of oil through the valves of the clutch system, without closing them for straight torque transmission.
As soon as the rear wheel drive shows significant slip, both clutches inside the system engage as the inner rotor and outer rotor begin to rotate at different speeds. At an appropriate speed difference the two hydraulic valve systems close the clutch system to each front wheel, delivering enough torque to either wheel to stabilize the drive situation and reduce overspeed effects at the rear axle.
Once all wheel speeds are adjusted to a close to identical level, the system disengages automatically by releasing oil pressure from the clutch system. In order to adjust the clutch system to different oil temperatures – which may vary from -40 °C to around 100 °C – a viscosity compensation valve is embedded into the system.
A new all-wheel-drive (AWD) Ford Transit has been revealed this week at the Hanover Commercial Vehicle Show in Germany. The AWD system automatically provides stepless torque flow to the front wheels when required on slippery surfaces.
This new derivative is specifically targeted at customers who frequently face low friction surfaces, adding more flexibility and reliability to their transportation needs. The Transit's AWD system is available with the 2.4-litre 140 PS Duratorq TDCi diesel engine equipped with a six-speed manual transmission.
Steve Kimber, commercial vehicles director, Ford of Britain, said: "The new Transit range showcases what versatility for commercial vehicles is all about with a range of clean and efficient engines, front or rear wheel drive, dozens of body configurations, heavy duty front axle option, and passenger car comfort. The addition of the AWD system extends the choice again adding extra confidence when driving over slippery road surfaces. The system's design helps to reduce friction and mechanical losses often associated with AWD technology."
The AWD system is purely mechanical and operates automatically so that the driver is not distracted by having to engage the system. In slippery conditions the system simply increases drive to the front wheels, enhancing the vehicle's overall road performance.
Drive is taken off the transmission main shaft via a helical gear set towards the front differential. A system of mechanical multiplate clutches combined with an hydraulic freewheel mechanism feeds power forward when required.
The smooth and intelligently controlled torque flow to the front wheels via the freewheeling hydraulic unit ensures that the Transit's well proven driving dynamics are maintained even under slippery conditions. Standard ground clearance is also retained as a bulky differential housing is not needed with this compact and lightweight AWD system.
Compared with the standard rear wheel drive Transit, the additional front axle weight is just 50 kg – the rear axle weight does not change.
The Ford Transit AWD will be offered with rear wheel drive, single rear wheel vehicles across a broad range of cab-styles including single and double chassis cab and minibuses, plus the Transit panel van range. Low, medium or high roof derivatives will be available and short, medium or long wheelbase.
Key customers for the new model are those frequently encountering low friction surfaces and bad weather conditions. Transit AWD has improved off road capability but does not include raised ground clearance, therefore retaining standard load heights.
The new Transit AWD is perfectly suited for authorities like police, forest wardens, rescue services and fire brigades, providing the reassurance and confidence to handle situations which are beyond the capabilities of a standard vehicle. Transit ambulances fitted with the AWD system, for example, will be more able to ensure ongoing mobility in adverse conditions and deliver patients safely where previously they may have been delayed.
Utility companies will also benefit from the capabilities of the Transit AWD, as they will be surefooted performers for field and track work (for example crossing a muddy field track to fix a pylon). Ultimately this saves time and means that utility resources can be more effectively deployed.
"The all-wheel-drive system is completely transparent to customers, requiring no driver intervention, and it doesn't sacrifice any of the vehicle's core commercial qualities. It greatly expands Transit's capability as it adds more safety and flexibility to any kind of delivery or transport usage," added Steve Kimber.
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 19 September 2006 – Land Rover today releases prices on the all-new Freelander 2, starting from £20,935 and rising to £33,990, on the road.
Set to go on-sale at the end of this year, the Freelander 2 was first seen at the British International Motor Show 2006 in London. The vehicle is all-new from the tyres upwards and sets new standards for compact SUVs, with class-leading breadth of capability, a fresh and dynamic design, Terrain Response™ and two new engines – a 2.2-litre turbocharged diesel and a 3.2-litre straight-six petrol.
The Freelander 2 range starts with the entry-level TD4 S diesel at £20,935 rising to the i6 HSE petrol at £33,990 on the road.
SMMT has published a straightforward guide to biofuels.
Biofuels and Road Vehicles answers many of the most common questions including where biofuels come from, what different types are available and how they benefit the environment. Copies are free to download from www.smmt.co.uk
'Few doubt that biofuels will deliver more sustainable motoring,' said Christopher Macgowan, SMMT chief executive. 'However, some of the basic facts are not widely understood. Biofuels need to be fully integrated in sustainable motoring strategy, and an understanding of the key issues must be the starting point for all stakeholders.'
Biofuels and Road Vehicles includes advice on:
* Different types of biofuel – biodiesel, bioethanol and biogas
* Basic principles of photosynthesis; why fuels that come from biomass perform better than fossil fuels on CO2 emissions
* Blends in biofuels and quality control issues
* The future for transport biofuels
Under the Government's Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), fuel companies will be compelled to supply five per cent biofuel by volume by 2010. Details of the RTFO - and other developments on sustainability - can found in SMMT's seventh annual sustainability report, published this week and free to download from www.smmt.co.uk
· First public showing of QASHQAI compact crossover
· Upgraded 2007 Pathfinder
Following its recent world premiere in Paris, Nissan will be showing the QASHQAI, its new compact crossover, in public for the first time at this year’s Paris Motor Show.
Inspired by the concept car of the same name that was presented at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show, the QASHQAI is a new vehicle for Nissan in Europe, with sales starting in February 2007.
It will cater for those car-buyers who want a more dynamic design than that offered by a traditional C-segment car, but who are not attracted to the large, aggressive nature of a compact SUV. Full details of QASHQAI can be found at www.nissanpress.co.uk
The Pathfinder will be upgraded for 2007 with the fitment of Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist to automatic versions of the SUV.
Hill Descent Control is a system to facilitate a well controlled descent of steep inclines without driver intervention, while Hill Start Assist allows easy starting on steep ascents. The descent system uses engine software to regulate the speed of the vehicle during steep descents, allowing drivers to concentrate on steering without applying the brakes.
Similarly, to facilitate easy departure on a steep ascent, the Pathfinder’s brakes will hold the vehicle for up to three seconds after the brake pedal has been released, allowing the driver to apply the power smoothly to prevent roll-back.
As well as the addition of these two systems, 2007 model year Pathfinder will be Euro 4 compliant, with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) being fitted as standard on automatic versions. The same engine changes also apply to the Navara pick-up.
Prices for the 2007 Pathfinder remain unchanged with the range starting from £22,995.
Avon Tyres has launched a brace of new tyres to add to its comprehensive winter range programme.
Introduced to tackle the precarious driving conditions motorists face from November onwards, the Ice Touring ST and the Ranger Ice have been introduced for high performance saloon cars and SUVs, respectively.
The Ice Touring ST’s specially-designed tread pattern delivers superb grip and handling in winter temperatures. Its high silica content, together with extensive siping, helps keep the tread blocks flexible at very low winter temperatures, which aids grip in the wet and traction in the snow. Wide spacing of the tread blocks also helps prevent the tread clogging up with snow.
The Ice Touring ST has an asymmetric tread pattern and is available in a range of popular wide, low profile 16 and 17-inch rim sizes covering H and V-speed ratings.
Meanwhile, the more rugged Ranger Ice boasts an aggressive tread pattern developed to cater for modern, high-performance 4x4s. Some sizes are speed rated to 130mph. It features Avon’s patented ‘Snow Groove’ - a unique serrated cut that provides extra traction on icy, snowy roads. The high silica rubber compound helps maintain the tread’s flexibility to provide optimum road holding and assist in clearing snow from between grooves.
The Ranger Ice’s innermost two tread blocks feature straight grooves, which aid traction even further in adverse weather conditions.
The T and H-rated Ranger Ice has a wide range of sizes available, including 15, 16 and 17-inch.
For more information, visit www.avontyres.com
Le Mans-winning Audi V12 TDI race engine provides firm foundations for potent 500PS Q7 TDI road car
· Development vehicle powered by new 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12 TDI engine gives a first glimpse of forthcoming Q7 diesel flagship
· 500PS @ 4,000rpm, 1000Nm from 1,750-3,000rpm, 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds, top speed electronically limited to 155mph, 23.7mpg combined
· Linked to new six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission
· Complies with EU5 emissions regulations effective from 2010
A road-going Audi Q7 SUV with a Le Mans race-bred V12 TDI engine bristling with 1,000Nm of torque takes pole position this week as the world’s most powerful diesel passenger car. Benefiting from technology honed in the development of the V12 unit that powered the Audi R10 TDI to the first ever Le Mans victory for a diesel-powered sports prototype, the 6.0-litre, 500PS engine will be available in fully fledged series production Q7 models in the foreseeable future.
Currently undergoing pre-production testing, the extremely compact twelve-cylinder unit produces its mammoth 1,000Nm torque peak – 350Nm more than the acclaimed 4.2-litre V8 TDI powering the A8 – from just 1,750rpm, guaranteeing breathtaking pace right from the outset as the latest generation quattro four-wheel-drive system smoothly distributes the power four ways via a purpose-built, strengthened six-speed tiptronic transmission.
The immediacy of the power flow shows in a 0-62mph sprint time of just 5.5 seconds, and the incredible performance is tempered only by the electronic limiter’s cut-in at 155mph. Yet unlike many petrol-powered V12 performance cars that at times struggle to return double-digit fuel economy figures, the Q7 V12 TDI achieves a surprisingly ‘real world’ 23.7mpg on the combined cycle, running many considerably less powerful V6 TDI SUVs remarkably close.
Two turbo chargers and a modified version of the highly sophisticated piezo common rail fuel injection system used by six and eight-cylinder Audi TDI engines play a major role in the dramatic power delivery of the Q7 V12 TDI. The adapted piezo system boosts pressure in the injectors from 1,600bar - the maximum achieved so far - to an exceptional 2,000 bar, optimising efficiency and performance. The cutting edge injection technology, in combination with a specially developed exhaust gas recirculation system and a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF), ensures that this latest Audi powerhouse already meets EU5 targets for emissions applicable from 2010.
The new Audi V12 TDI engine family also raises the bar for refinement, even by the standards of modern day diesels, as was demonstrated during the gruelling 24-hours of Le Mans marathon race by the winning Audi R10 TDI. Aside from the obvious diesel benefits that helped the new Audi sports prototype with its 5.5-litre, 650PS V12 TDI run for longer between fuel stops than its petrol-powered challengers, one of its most noticeable distinguishing characteristics was its exceptionally quiet running. The road-going engine will follow suit, ensuring that it is a perfect fit for the Audi SUV praised widely for its limousine-like character and finish.
Externally, the Q7 V12 TDI test car makes its presence felt even more emphatically than its V6 and V8 relatives through a striking new front end design featuring a unique chrome plated grille and LED strip daytime running lights, additional under-body protection panelling and large-bore exhausts.
Hyundai has released the first pictures of its stunning Arnejs concept; the best clue yet as to what the company’s all new C-segment car will look like when it arrives in the UK next summer. The Arnejs concept car will be on display at the Paris Motor Show later this month.
Designed at Hyundai’s European Research and Design centre in Rüsselsheim, Germany, the Arnejs builds on design elements first seen in the Genus concept at Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. And it marks a further significant milestone in Hyundai’s development of a stronger brand identity.
The Arnejs, pronounced Ar-nez, will be formally unveiled at 17.30 on Hyundai’s stand, number 511 in Hall Three of the Paris Motor Show, on 28 September 2006.
Cranfield University today launched its Off-Road Dynamics Facility (ORD) at its Silsoe site in Bedfordshire. The facility – the only one of its type in the UK – studies the relationship between machines and the soil environment in controlled conditions, and was officially opened by Richard Parry-Jones CBE, Vice President and Chief Technical Officer at the Ford Motor Company.
The National Soil Resources Institute (NSRI), part of the School of Applied Sciences at Cranfield, developed the £1.5 million facility to expand capability in the area of machine and soil interaction. The ORD will provide important research information to a number of diverse industries, including motorsport, aviation, agriculture, defence, telecommunications and sports surfaces.
Backed by Land Rover, Claas, Case New Holland (CNH) and Deutz, the ORD facility is based around four unique pieces of equipment developed at Cranfield:
o A “whole vehicle” controlled moisture soil lane – the first in the UK. The soil lane consists of a large open top tank built into the structure of the building to provide a 45 metre long, 5 metre wide trough into which soil can be placed in a highly controlled and repeatable manner. The significant width and depth of the soil volume allows the testing of complete off-road vehicles, components or equipment without significant variation. The water level in this vast bin can be controlled to simulate a range of conditions from the saturated sea-bed encountered in sub-sea cable laying, through to hard compact dirt roads and airstrips
o A mobile single wheel test apparatus capable of the precise control of wheel torque, vertical load and wheel speed in a wide range of off-road and on-road test environments
o A “variable plane” four wheel articulation rig for the measurement of wheel load and static thrust across a wide range of axle articulations
o A “Smart Winch” capable of applying precisely controlled loads up to 100kN on a vehicle
This equipment, together with related infrastructure, enables the study of off-road vehicle dynamics and soil dynamics, the effect of vehicular movement on the environment and the soil mechanisms associated with soil engaging machinery such as the measurement of tyre performance off-road.
“Simulating extreme off-road environments will help to evaluate any machine that interacts with soil, from rally cars and agricultural machines, to tillage trains and aircraft tyres,” explains Professor Dick Godwin, Head of the Engineering Group, NSRI. “The lab is designed to help industry build vehicles and equipment that optimise their performance.”
The Off-Road Dynamics Facility’s designer and project manager, Dr James Brighton, comments: “Our long-term research aim is to create a precise simulation or indeed a virtual environment for the evaluation of any machine or vehicle configuration in a controlled manner. This will improve the accuracy, repeatability and cost-effectiveness of tyre and vehicle dynamics research for off-road vehicles and equipment.”
Volkswagen has revealed the first images of its new Touran compact MPV, ahead of its world public debut at the Paris Motor Show later this month.
With a fresh new appearance and innovative technologies, yet still boasting all the practical features for which the Touran has become renowned, the revised seven-seater people carrier looks set to continue the model’s success.
The new Touran will be the first Volkswagen available with ParkAssist, an optional parking guidance system developed by Volkswagen engineers. ParkAssist enables automatic parking, using front and rear ultrasonic sensors to detect available parking space and a control unit to calculate the ideal manoeuvring path. Acoustic and visual displays guide the driver to the correct parking start position, then once reverse gear is selected the car parks itself in under 15 seconds. All the driver has to do in this time is accelerate and brake – the Touran does all the steering. The system is likely to be available in the UK from June 2007.
In appearance, the revised Touran has a new radiator grille and headlights which are similar to those of the recently launched Eos coupé cabriolet. At the back, new rear lights and a modified bumper distinguish the new generation Touran. Inside, new fabrics and stainless steel trim, plus an MP3-compatible radio/CD player among other items give an upmarket feel and make the cabin a nicer place to be.
In the UK, the Touran line-up of S, SE and Sport remains, while engines will be rationalised to include two petrol and four diesel units. These will be a 1.6-litre 102 PS and 1.4-litre 140 PS TSI; and 1.9-litre 90 and 105 PS TDI plus 2.0-litre 140 and 170 PS, the latter with DPF (diesel particulate filter).
The new Touran will go on sale in the UK early next year; prices will be confirmed closer to launch. The current Touran went on sale in the UK in summer 2003 and has proved very successful with sales of over 32,700 units since launch.
Jeep will launch two new compact four-wheel drive vehicles in the UK in 2007 that will offer drivers fuel economy figures in excess of 43mpg for the first time.
The Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass Rallye are compact 4x4s that deliver a competitive package of performance and fuel economy, with a design and price that will appeal to a new class of Jeep buyers.
Both vehicles are designed to reach younger customers who may not have previously considered the brand but value the distinctive Jeep look and see four-wheel drive as a must-have on their daily drive.
Peter Lambert, Managing Director of Chrysler Group UK, said: “Customers are increasingly interested in family hatchbacks with four-wheel drive systems as they offer better handling and enhanced safety on the road.
“The new Jeep Patriot offers classic Jeep looks, a roomy interior, a choice of fuel efficient diesel and petrol engines and an all-new 4WD system in a package the size of a Ford Focus.”
Freedom Drive I is a full-time, active four-wheel drive system that offers the driver tangible benefits in every day driving conditions such as wet and icy tarmac as well as great off-road ability. The Patriot will be the new entry-level price point for the Jeep brand.*
“These two family hatchback sized cars represent a new chapter in the history of the Jeep brand – the compact 4x4 segment in Western Europe is expected to increase to nearly 400,000 units by 2010, and these new car-based four-wheel drive vehicles mean the Jeep brand is ideally placed to meet this growing demand.”
The Jeep Compass Rallye offers a very different look and feel to the Patriot, with a design that reflects the ‘Jeep Modern’ theme, but offers the same 4WD system.
Lambert added: “We considered the role of the Compass and Patriot in the UK and customer research indicated that the classic Jeep looks of the Patriot had a very strong impact with UK buyers. Our research also suggested that a ‘hot’ looking version of the Compass would be desirable in the UK, although we will only offer Compass Rallye in limited numbers at launch.
“The whole compact 4x4 segment is shifting – our competitors are pricing themselves out of the sub-£20,000 segment and we will fill this space with our new vehicles next year.”
The Compass Rallye and Patriot are both based on the Dodge Caliber hatchback platform, and both Jeeps will offer a 2.4-litre petrol and a VW-sourced 2.0-litre diesel engine.
“The vast majority of our vehicles sold in the last few years have been diesel powered and it is vital for the success of these new Jeeps that we have a small diesel engine that is competitive in the family hatchback segment. The 2.0-litre diesel will enable Jeep drivers to achieve a combined fuel cycle figure of 43.5mpg for the first time.”
In the UK the Jeep Compass Rallye will launch in April 2007 and the Jeep Patriot launches in July 2007.
After a comprehensive week-long group test in rural Wales, 4x4 magazine has voted the Jeep Commander the winner of its coveted 4x4 Of The Year Award 2007.
Unique among UK publications, 4x4 magazine is the only one to gather all the award candidates together at one location simultaneously. This year, it divided the 53 contenders into seven categories and in the Family SUV section the Jeep Commander faced competition from eight would-be rivals.
In a series of tests – each designed to put every vehicle through real world off-road situations – the Jeep Commander earned 39 points out of a possible 50 to triumph in the Family SUV category and beat products from other famous 4x4 brands such as Land Rover, Nissan, Toyota and Mitsubishi.
“This annual group test isn’t about just driving this massive fleet of vehicles through the muddiest, toughest, most extreme terrain our testers can find,” commented John Carroll, editor of 4x4 magazine. “Our 4x4 Of The Year is also about measuring their competence in a true off-road environment, while assessing their comfort, refinement, style and value.”
Awarding the Jeep Commander the winner’s rosette for the Family SUV category, the magazine stated: “Retro looks hide a modern and comfortable seven-seater interior with… superbly shaped seats… smooth-revving 3.0-litre turbodiesel… more than adequate off-road agility, thanks to Jeep’s clever Quadra-Drive II system… and the V8 Hemi is a glorified – but luxurious – boy racer.”
The seven category winners’ scores ranged from 26 to 36 points, but none could come close to matching the Jeep Commander’s victorious tally of 39 points.
In selecting the Jeep Commander as the magazine’s overall champion and 2006 winner of the 4x4OTY award, editor John Carroll wrote: “The new premium Jeep surprised us. The Commander reverts to the true core off-roader value of functionality over form. Look past the brash grille and see the stepped-
up roofline allowing ‘theatre’ seating and the way the roof rails fold over to give a grab-handle effect on either side of the tailgate. The squared-up shape maximises interior space and practicality. Underneath, is the Quadra-Drive II system, so the Jeep has the genuine capability to back up its genuine off-roader looks”.
Peter Lambert, Managing Director of the Chrysler Group in the UK, said: “We are delighted that 4x4 magazine has awarded the Jeep Commander the coveted title of ‘4x4 Of The Year 2007’. Equally at home in the most rugged countryside or the smoothest street, the Commander is an exceptional vehicle in every way.”
Hiroshima, Japan, 7 September 2006. Mazda Motor Corporation will showcase the European version of the Mazda CX-7, its highly-anticipated crossover sport-utility vehicle (SUV), at the Paris International Motor Show to be held from Thursday, 28 September through Sunday, 15 October 2006.
A unique combination of sports-car driving fun, bold designing and SUV practicality and comfort, the Mazda CX-7 features a 6-speed manual transmission, new power output and many design elements that are specific to the European model.
Joining the Mazda CX-7 will be the all-new Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe with power retractable hard top and the all-new Mazda BT-50 pickup, which is even more stylish, practical and rugged than its successful B-Series predecessor. Also on hand will be the winner of the Grand Prix Du Plus Beau Concept Car at the XXIth Festival Automobile International in Paris in January this year, the Mazda Senku, making its first appearance at a European Motor Show.
Mazda will hold its press conference at the Mazda stand from 10:00 to 10:15 on Thursday, 28 September 2006. Detailed information and photos will be made available at that time.
Posted Sep 7th 2006 12:56PM by John Neff
Filed under: Concept Cars, Paris Motor Show, Hatchbacks
Daihatsu will be displaying this D-Compact X-Crossover concept at the Paris Motor Show later this month along with the very xB-like Materia multi-purpose vehicle. The D-Compact X-Over is supposed to reflect the idea of "harmony with nature" and keeps the greenery outside in clear view at all times by using a glass roof that extends from the windshield all the way back over the rear seats. The design was penned by Italdesign and, while pleasant enough, seems like it would get lost easily in a parking lot full of concept vehicles (i.e. it's just not very distinctive).
Nissan today (6 September) presented for the first time its new Compact Crossover for Europe, the QASHQAI at an event hosted in Paris by Carlos Ghosn, Nissan's President and CEO.
Inspired by the concept car of the same name that was presented at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show, the QASHQAI (pronounced "cash - kai") is a new vehicle for Nissan in Europe, with sales starting in February 2007.
It will cater for those car buyers who want a more dynamic design than that offered by a traditional C-segment car, but who are not attracted to the large, aggressive nature of a compact SUV.
The design of the car was led by Nissan Design Europe (NDE) and it represents the first new production vehicle to be designed at NDE since its move to London in 2003. The development programme was led by Nissan Technical Centre Europe based in Cranfield, England, with significant input from Nissan's engineering base in Japan. Qashqai will be produced at Nissan's factory in Sunderland, England.
As well as European sales, QASHQAI will also be exported from the Sunderland factory to Japan – where it will be named Dualis – the Middle East and additional overseas markets.
The QASHQAI is described as a crossover as it inhabits the area where passenger car attributes meet those of a 4x4. In terms of design, the top half of QASHQAI is reminiscent of a dynamic passenger car, with a sleek, dynamic form that features a distinctive shoulder line which rises at the rear – a design cue similar to that of the Murano.
The lower portion of the car suggests SUV attributes of strength and solidity thanks to large, pronounced wheel arches, slightly elevated ground clearance and a purposeful stance.
The interior has been designed to give the driver a focused cockpit feeling, with a clear separation between them and their passenger. The deeply recessed instruments give a sporty feeling to the driving environment – a feeling reinforced by the raised central console. However, the front and passenger environments have been designed to feel airy, spacious and relaxing.
In terms of size, QASHQAI sits between C-segment hatchbacks and SUVs. It has a wheelbase of 2630mm, it is 1610mm tall, 1780mm wide and 4310mm long. It is about 100mm longer than a typical hatchback but 150mm shorter than a typical SUV. Similarly, it is taller than rival hatchbacks by between 100-150mm yet up to 130mm lower than an SUV.
Four engine options will be available, two diesel and two petrol offerings.
The 1.6-litre petrol offers 115PS of power and 160Nm of torque, while the 2.0-litre produces 140PS and 200Nm. The diesel engine options – 1.5- and 2.0-litre – provide 106 and 150PS and 240 and 320Nm of torque respectively.
Several gearbox options are available, according to engine choice. These include a five- and six-speed manual, a new six-speed automatic and a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) option with manual mode.
Both 2.0-litre engine options can be specified with Nissan's advanced ALL-MODE 4x4 system which gives added security and stability in marginal conditions.
Speaking at the launch event in Paris, Mr Ghosn said: "European customers want it all: dynamic design, driving performance and attractive premium interior. QASHQAI delivers all which is why it will lead our sales growth in Europe and the growth in recognition of Nissan as a truly bold, thoughtful and innovative Japanese brand.
"We expect QASHQAI will sell more than 100,000 units a year on average across Europe – with 80% of those customers buying a Nissan for the first time. Before QASHQAI, they drove a premium C-segment car, a compact 4x4 or a D-segment car," added Mr Ghosn.
For further information on QASHQAI including Ghosn speech, full press kit and images please click on www.nissanpress.co.uk
* Hyundai Tucson Limited
* Hyundai Terracan Limited
* Even better value for money
* Up to £2,500 of extra equipment
* On sale now
* Five Year unlimited mileage manufacturer warranty
Two of Hyundai’s SUVs are now even better value for money, as the new ‘Limited’ special editions bring an even higher level of comfort and refinement.
Reflecting the name of the two new models, new car buyers will have to be quick to take advantage of the limited numbers of the Hyundai Tucson Limited and the Hyundai Terracan Limited available.
The new special editions are available in showrooms now.
Hyundai Tucson Limited
Hyundai is launching the new Hyundai Tucson Limited, based on the generously equipped CRTD CDX.
Already offering a host of features including climate control, leather seats, front fog lights and CD player, the Hyundai Tucson Limited adds body coloured bumpers, body coloured side mouldings, privacy glass and a new black interior.
Available in either Warm Silver or Ebony Black the new Hyundai Tucson Limited offers a higher level of specification, luxury, and style, inside and out.
The Hyundai Tucson Limited comes with Hyundai’s torque on demand system, allowing the car to switch automatically between two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive when necessary. The new Hyundai Tucson Limited also features the new high-powered Euro IV diesel engine, which produces 138bhp and 225 lb ft of torque, making the Hyundai Tucson Limited a great choice for both on and off-road motoring.
Although the new Hyundai Tucson Limited adds £600 worth of extra equipment, it only costs £18,370 on the road, just £200 more than the standard CRTD CDX model, on which it is based.
Hyundai Terracan Limited
Fans of the Terracan will already be familiar with its go anywhere capabilities, and now the Hyundai Terracan Limited brings a little added luxury to Hyundai’s heavy duty 4x4. Practicality and a high level of equipment ensure that the Hyundai Terracan Limited is as at home on a family outing as it is off-road.
Standard equipment on the Terracan already includes driver and front passenger airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, rear limited slip differential and low ratio gearbox, climate control, electric heated door mirrors, stereo radio/CD player, alloy wheels, and front fog lamps.
The Hyundai Terracan Limited adds DVD player, privacy glass and a bespoke two-tone grey and black leather interior, complete with seat faces and mats stitched with the Hyundai Terracan Limited logo.
The new limited edition is available in Ebony Black, Warm Silver and Prime Green.
Despite more than £2,500 worth of extra equipment, the Hyundai Terracan Limited available from £19,995 OTR for the manual version (automatic available for £1,000 more) offers fantastic value for money, at only £625 more than the standard Terracan.
Five Year Warranty
Hyundai still remains the only manufacturer confident enough in the quality of its cars to offer a five year unlimited mileage warranty across its entire range of cars, including the new Hyundai Tucson Limited and Hyundai Terracan Limited.
Isuzu’s new 2.5 litre entry-level Rodeo Denver Max pickup is now available with a free Prodrive Performance Pack worth £760.
Available from 1 September until 31 December, 2006, the PPP boosts power from 100 PS at 3,800 rpm to 128 PS – a 28 per cent increase.
Equally important – especially for towing and load-lugging duties – the torque rises by 33 per cent from 166.7 lb.ft to a substantial 222.0 lb.ft.
The PPP gives stronger throttle response, increased flexibility, greater refinement and quicker acceleration. The extra power and torque is achieved thanks to a reprogrammed Electronic Control Unit which uprates the fuel supply and alters the ignition timing.
As turbo boost is not affected, engine strain remains low. It allows Isuzu (UK) Limited to include the PPP under its normal three year/60,000 mile warranty.
Winner of a host of accolades, the Rodeo range now starts at £13,990 (on the road but excluding VAT) for the new 2.5 litre Denver Max.
Isuzu (UK) Limited Brand Manager, Kenyon Neads, said: “Rodeo demand is now stronger than ever, especially as we are continuing to offer automatic transmission free of charge on the popular Denver 3.0 Max and Max LE models until the end of the year.”
Demanding off-road journalists have voted Daihatsu’s totally new Terios sport utility a ‘4x4 Of The Year 2007’ winner following their gruelling annual event.
The 1.5 litre, five-door, five-seat Daihatsu now holds the title of: ‘Compact/Affordable Category Winner’, awarded by 4x4 magazine.
The Terios beat all major rivals such as the new Fiat Sedici 4x4, smaller Fiat Panda 4x4 and even larger and more expensive all-wheel drive models such as the Volkswagen Golf 4Motion.
Key criteria for the judges were a car which combined practicality with driving enjoyment, value for money and – of course – genuine off-road character.
The magazine editorial said: "We like our 4x4s to have some off-road character in their styling, and in this little group the Terios stands out as the only one that evokes any image of wild-country adventure."
Road testers from 4x4 magazine went on to praise the Terios’s: "fresh and funky styling" and "compliant off-road ride and impressively stable handling when driving on tarmac."
And they added: "The engine’s long-stroke design enhances its torque delivery, which we experienced to good effect when faced with a steep climb that we were convinced could not be scaled without low-range gearing.
"However, the Terios climbed comfortably to the top with its engine beating steadily at 3,000 rpm. Not only that, but variable valve-timing extends the torque and power throughout the rev-range giving the engine an incredibly flexible nature.
"This also reduces the need to change gears on and off the road, helping towards the 40 mpg economy."
The magazine also praised the space, value and standard equipment of the new Terios and concluded: "Modern styling combines off-road character with city presence and good all-round practicality."
Commenting on the award, Daihatsu Vehicle Distributors Managing Director, Paul Tunnicliffe, said: "We are delighted that our efforts to create an affordable, convincing 4x4 which is also a pleasure to drive on-road have been recognised."
Launched in May, the new Daihatsu Terios is available in three trim levels starting with the Terios 1.5 S which costs £12,995 on-the-road.
This is despite a high standard specification including air-conditioning, power-steering, ABS with EBD, full-time four-wheel drive with electronic centre diff-lock, driver, passenger and side airbags, radio/CD player, four electric windows and even reverse parking sensors.
The multi-award winning Nissan Navara has done it again. Beating off stiff competition from Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Mazda and Toyota the Navara has been crowned “Lifestyle Pick-Up of the Year 2007” by 4x4 magazine.
Since its launch date of last August the Navara has continued to sell beyond expectations. “We just can’t build them quick enough,” said David Jackson, Nissan’s brand manager for Navara. “The whole of September’s supply has already sold out.”
The judges at 4x4 magazine commented: “Nissan got it right with this mean and moody-looking powerhouse of a truck. It helps that the ‘truck’ manages to blast more gravel-scattering power out of its compact 2.5-litre engine than even its Rodeo rival. The Nissan’s engine is not only powerful, but economical – a high-efficiency design that should return 33mpg. The engine power translates into exciting road behaviour; the Navara responding tautly to the steering, and revving strongly to put the racy six-speed manual gearbox to good use. The engine’s punchy torque keeps the car cruising easily at motorway speeds with hardly 2000rpm showing. Inside, the Pathfinder-emulating features give the Navara a modern, youthful appeal”.
On the road prices for Navara start at £17,588.60.
An entirely-new CR-V goes on sale in the UK from January 2007. It promises a driving experience as good as a D-sector saloon car, improved equipment levels and Honda’s latest advanced safety technology. All this, and the CR-V remains as practical as ever.
The outgoing model dominated retail sales charts since launch, set new standards in the SUV sector and remains the benchmark vehicle for its impressive road manners and versatility. With the market becoming increasingly crowded, Honda has raised the bar further – the latest CR-V is even better on the road, has a more sophisticated interior and it’s even more practical.
A lower centre of gravity (reduced by 35mm), wider stance (increased by 30mm) and a number of changes to steering and suspension geometry have all helped to enhance the CR-V’s handling characteristics. Steering response is faster and feels more direct, while directional stability and all-round agility also benefit from further development to the car’s chassis.
While the on-road capabilities of the CR-V are much-improved, its off-road skills have been tweaked as well, with a revised Real Time 4WD system that detects front wheel slip and promptly sends torque rearwards. The new system – which, like the outgoing model, features a quiet, dual-pump system with a one-way cam unit – can transfer 20 per cent more torque compared to the existing unit. This 4WD set-up not only allows light off-road driving, but also helps maintain stability on the road – in snow or other slippery conditions, for example.
Improvements made to the driving dynamics are reflected in the styling of the vehicle – a coupe-like tapering side window profile gives the CR-V a similar shape to a car. The front has been given a bold presence, with a distinctive double grille as the focal point, flanked by projector-style headlights and a large bumper. It all makes for a muscular front end, emphasised by the car’s wide track and 17- or 18-inch wheels. At the rear, a vertically-opening tailgate is the main design feature, sandwiched between roof-high strips of lights, and notably, the spare wheel has gone – it’s now hidden under the load compartment floor.
Two active safety systems are available on the new CR-V, and they’re unique to the SUV segment. The first, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is a radar-controlled cruise control function which maintains a set distance to the vehicle in front, while Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) predicts collisions and warns the driver, before applying strong braking and retracting the front seatbelts if the situation becomes critical. Both these systems are optional depending on grade.
Elsewhere, a full complement of passive safety measures includes dual stage SRS front airbags, side airbags for front seat passengers, full length curtain airbags, front and rear seatbelt reminders and active front headrests – all fitted as standard.
The new CR-V also incorporates Trailer Stability Assist (TSA) as standard which together with Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) ensures that towing safety is continuously monitored and corrected. Importantly, towing capacity on the diesel-engined CR-V is increased from 1500kg to a very competitive 2000kg.
Honda anticipates a class-leading Euro NCAP 5-star rating for occupant protection, 4-stars for child protection and a 3-star pedestrian rating. It achieves excellent levels of safety through a strong body structure design, made from 58 per cent high tensile steel.
Active Front Lighting (AFS) – headlights that turn to illuminate the road in the direction the vehicle is heading – also make their way onto the CR-V for the first time. This system uses High-intensity discharge (HID) lamps.
Inside the cabin, accommodation remains generous and the dimensions are similar to the previous CR-V. Load space, however, is extended backwards to take up the space left by the former tailgate-mounted spare wheel. Access has been improved by larger doors that open wider, and lower sills.
The interior is high quality, featuring metallic elements on the dash and doors that contrast with soft textured black trim. Front seats are larger and more comfortable and the steering column is adjustable for reach as well as rake. Relocation of the gear lever to the base of the centre stack brings it closer to the steering wheel and creates more floor space.
Depending on grade, more premium equipment is available, including a driver’s 8-way adjustable power seat, leather upholstery, 19-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors and a rear view camera.
Top spec CR-Vs are equipped with a panoramic glass roof – similar to that found on the Civic – which provides an even lighter cabin. This can be closed off by two electric blinds which are covered in the same material as the roof lining.
The rear seat (split 60:40 at base, 40:20:40 seat back) is able to slide forward to maximise leg room or luggage space and can also recline for added comfort. The centre section folds flat to enable longer items to be carried while still accommodating two rear seat passengers. A huge load area is created by tumbling forward the seats, storing them upright. This is big enough for two mountain bikes with their front wheels still in place.
Added flexibility is provided by a novel ‘Double Deck’ luggage area, created by a shelf that sits at a height of 330mm above the load floor. It means luggage can be subdivided, with that on the lower level more easily accessible. The shelf is also hinged across its width for added convenience. When not in use, the shelf can either be removed or stored snugly in a recess in the floor.
Power comes from a new 2.0-litre petrol or a 2.2 diesel engine. Honda’s celebrated 140PS 2.2-litre i-CTDi diesel continues; but as aerodynamic efficiency is improved by 12 per cent, fuel economy proves even better.
The petrol engine is an all-new unit based on the 1.8-litre SOHC i-VTEC from the Civic range. And like that engine the 2.0-litre features latest VTEC and friction reduction technologies, plus the delayed closure of the intake valves combined with a wide open throttle valve during low-load driving conditions. This helps to reduce pumping losses and thus boost fuel economy. Petrol engine models are also equipped with brand new transmissions: all manual gearboxes are 6-speed, while a 5-speed automatic is also available.
Maximum power is 150 PS at 6,200 rpm (lower in the rev range than the current 2.0), while torque is 190Nm (140lb.ft) at 4,200 rpm. The efficiency of the engine, together with improved aerodynamics and new gearboxes, have boosted fuel economy figures. Performance is also enhanced, with the 0 to 62mph time dropping from 10.8 to 10.2 seconds (manual) and from 13.1 to 12.2 seconds (automatic).
The new CR-V will receive its international show debut in Paris on 28 September.