August 2, 2015

IRONMAN 4×4 2015 NISSAN NP300 NAVARA VL REVIEW

ROBERT PEPPER GOES OFF-ROAD IN AUSTRALIA IN A THAI-SPEC 2015 NISSAN NP300 NAVARA MODIFIED BY IRONMAN 4×4. HAS IT BEEN WORTH THE WAIT?

THE UTE MARKET just keeps getting hotter, so does Nissan’s 2015 Navara NP300 stand a chance?

There’s sixteen or so utes on the Australian market right now, with the exact number depending on the day of the month and whether you count conversion companies.  Either which way you look at it, the market is competitive and nowhere more than in the Big Eight of, in order of sales success – Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger/ Mazda BT-50, Mitusbishi Triton, Holden Colorado/Isuzu D-Max, Nissan Navara and Volkswagen Amarok – more on that in our full analysis of the 2015 ute market.

The order of the vehicles is interesting.  The Volkswagen Amarok is last of the Big Eight despite being very well regarded by road testers, mainly because many buyers are still stuck in the dark ages and consider that only milk comes in two litres, certainly not ute engines. [Read More]

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July 28, 2015

Kumho awarded top prize for futuristic all-weather tyre concept

Kumho has claimed a top design award for a futuristic tyre able to vary the position of and space between its tread blocks.

Dubbed the Kumho Maxplo, the super-low aspect ratio tyre features tread blocks that claim to have the ability to adjust their position to suit a range of weather conditions, from completely dry to snow.

Referred to as “the ultimate all-weather product”, Kumho says the tread blocks broaden in slippery on- and off-road conditions, while spikes are released to “deal with the dangers of snow and ice”. [Read More]

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July 23, 2015

Nissan Navara NP300 five-star ANCAP rated

The recently launched Nissan Navara NP300 has been awarded the maximum ANCAP five-star safety rating against its latest — and toughest — 2015 testing regime.

Despite some differences in specification, all versions of the Nissan Navara (the on-sale dual-cab, as well as the king-cab and single-cab variants due to launch within the next few months) get the maximum score.

As such, it joins rival utes such as the Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50, Mitsubishi Triton in getting five stars across all variants. Other ute rivals such as the (soon-to-be-replaced) Toyota HiLux, Isuzu D-Max and Volkswagen Amarok get five stars in some body-styles, but not all. [Read More]

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July 21, 2015

NEW TOP-OF-THE-LINE FORD F-150 LIMITED IS MOST ADVANCED, LUXURIOUS F-150 EVER

New Ford F-150 Limited meets the growing needs of discerning truck customers interested in exclusivity, capability and craftsmanship – those looking to differentiate themselves from buyers of other high-series trucks.

Innovation comes standard with new F-150 Limited – including SYNC® 3 with AppLink™, and class-exclusive features such as a 360-degree camera system, adaptive cruise control, quad-beam LED headlamps, remote tailgate release and multicontour massaging front seats.

Exclusive exterior and interior design elements include raised LIMITED lettering on the hood, unique custom satin-chrome grille and tailgate, 22-inch wheels, genuine fiddleback eucalyptus, Mojave leather seating surfaces, unique instrument cluster face and laser-engraved VIN plate with production number. [Read More]

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July 20, 2015

2016 Hyundai Tucson

For most of us, September 2009 doesn't seem like that long ago. We had the same president, carried Apple iPhones, and were even paying roughly the same amount for a gallon of gas. For Hyundai, though, this particular month was when everything began to change, thanks to the introduction of "fluidic sculpture" and the second-generation Tucson.

The swoopy, handsome styling introduced on the Tucson infiltrated the rest of the brand's offerings, starting with the Sonata sedan and filtering through. In the process, Hyundai raised its flag not as a manufacturer of ultra-affordable utilitarian transport, but as a company that builds fashionable, well-equipped, and high-quality cars. [Read More]

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July 17, 2015

All-new Fortuner Adds Refined Style and Comfort to Off-road Capability

Yesterday, Toyota unveiled a full redesign of its Fortuner seven-seater SUV at simultaneous events in Bangkok, Thailand and Sydney, Australia.

The Hilux-based Fortuner is already renowned as a durable SUV with impressive off-road capabilities. As the nameplate approached its second generation, however, Toyota focused on creating a more distinctive, sleek and powerful design while improving performance and adding a wide variety of features to increase convenience, safety and ride comfort [Read More]

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July 16, 2015

2016 Toyota Fortuner revealed

The all-new 2016 Toyota Fortuner SUV has been unveiled at simultaneous events in Thailand and Australia ahead of an October sales debut this year.

The Japanese brand’s new rugged off-road model – which is based on the new-generation Toyota HiLux – is to that ute as the Ford Everest is to the Ranger, the Isuzu MU-X to the D-Max … you get the idea. It’s a wagon, based on a ute.

Unveiling the new SUV today, Toyota Australia marketing director Tony Cramb described the exclusively seven-seat Fortuner as “an in-demand diesel alternative to the petrol-only Kluger range”...

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July 13, 2015

Mitsubishi Montero Sport 2016

Amateur spy shots taken in Thailand have revealed the all-new Mitsubishi Montero Sport well ahead of its scheduled debut at the Bangkok International Grand Motor Sale that will kick off on August 1st.

The images confirm the off-roader gets a much more aerodynamic design inspired by the 2016 Outlander and the upcoming Outlander Sport, while its rear end boasts an upright hatch and vertical tail lamps that stretch from the belt line all the way down to the bumper. All told, Mitsubishi has designed the most style-focused Montero Sport ever, a move that reflects its upmarket ambitions.

The next Montero Sport is based on the L200 pickup that's sold in a number of global markets so it retains the outgoing model's rugged body-on-frame construction. Technical details are not available yet, but it will likely be offered with four-cylinder gasoline- and diesel-burning engines borrowed from the Japanese automaker's parts bin, and a V6 will be available in select markets. Buyers will be asked to choose between two- and four-wheel drive...

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July 10, 2015

2016 Toyota Fortuner

The 2016 Toyota Fortuner — the company’s new-generation HiLux-based SUV — appears to have been captured sans disguise in Thailand ahead of its expected world premiere next week.

If these images — which we’ve sourced from Ferd — are legit, then it appears the Fortuner will get a sleeker set of headlights and a very different V-shaped grille, to differentiate itself from its ute sibling.

It also appears to receive a distinctive kinked windowline around the C-pillar, as well as a slim set of tail-lights and a notable roof spoiler... [Read More]

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June 10, 2015

2015 Ford Ranger Wildtrak revealed

The flagship 2015 Ford Ranger Wildtrak made its world premiere in Thailand today, bringing new levels of driver assist technologies to the ute market, wrapped in trademark aggressive styling additions

The updated Wildtrak premieres a few months after the rest of the mid-life updated Ford Ranger line-up, but will arrive on Australian shores at the same time — in the third quarter of 2015.

Ford’s facelifted top-of-the-range ute gets tweaked styling that is still “inspired by tools and machinery”. There’s a bolder new trapezoid-shaped grille finished in dark grey, and grey highlights on the side mirrors, door handles, side air vents, bed rails and tail-lights. Read More

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June 1, 2015

15 Summer Camping Essentials from the Jeep® Brand

Before you spend the night in the wilderness, you first need to be able to get there, and that requires a vehicle capable of going off the beaten path. With Jeep® Trail Rated® vehicles you’ll have no problem getting to your camping spot, no matter how remote. Here are 15 off-road, off-the-grid essentials to help you make the most of your time camping.

1. Jeep Trail Rated Vehicle: Capable at every level and ready for a camping trip, Jeep Trail Rated vehicles have been tested to perform in the following five categories of off-road conditions: traction, ground clearance, maneuverability, articulation and water fording. So wherever you plan to set up camp, your Jeep vehicle will put you directly under the stars.

2. Emergency Recovery Strap Kit: For Jeep brand enthusiasts who like to travel with friends and tackle the roughest terrain, this 30-foot-long tow strap with double attachment loops has a 20,000-lb. webbing break strength and 10-ton towing capacity. The strap comes in a heavy-duty 1680 denier ballistic nylon carry bag with two bonus tool-storage compartments. [more]

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May 21, 2015

Eight Generations in, the Toyota Hilux is Redefining "Tough"

To truly understand what our customers expect from us and the challenges they face on a daily basis, our development teams travel the globe, getting direct feedback from customers and driving on a wide variety of different roads to get a feel for different usage conditions. To gain inspiration for the eighth-generation Hilux, the development team drove in conditions ranging from rough, muddy forests to deserts with temperatures exceeding 50°C and flooded roads in the rainy season. Sometimes they came up against even harsher conditions than expected, which brought home the need to develop an even tougher Hilux.

The development process also reflected invaluable feedback received directly from Hilux drivers. Some wished they could make long transcontinental trips without worrying about running out of fuel. Others described how hard it is to stay alert and drive safely during grueling long-distance journeys with extended stretches of rough driving. Yet another, who uses their Hilux for forest maintenance work and frequently speaks via radio with the police and fire department, explained how a quiet cabin is essential for communication. >> more

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March 27, 2015

Mercedes-Benz will launch the first pickup from a premium manufacturer before the end of the decade

According to report today from Automotive News, Mercedes-Benz plans to launch its first pickup truck by 2020, but unless you live overseas on in Latin America, it’s not clear whether North America will be seeing it.

The plan is for Mercedes to offer the truck the European, Latin American, Australian and South African markets, but according to comment made by Head of Mercedez-Benz Vans Volker Mornhinweg to the Wall Street Journal, the company is undecided if it will offer the pickup in the U.S. market. The new truck is said to offer a payload capacity of about 1 metric ton, and it will be built by its commercial-van division.

“The Mercedes-Benz pickup will contribute nicely to our global growth targets,” Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said in a statement today. “We will enter this segment with our distinctive brand identity and all of the vehicle attributes that are typical of the brand with regard to safety, comfort, powertrains, and value.”

Mercedes is looking to expand its portfolio of vehicles and says it sees an opportunity with the pickup market since more trucks are being used for private purposes. The company also said both commercial and private users are increasingly asking for vehicles that have car-like specifications.

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March 23, 2015

Ford Ranger: 2016 Model Unveiled Ahead Of Q3/Q4 Australian Debut

Ford unveiled its new tough and smart Ford Ranger, setting a new benchmark in the pickup truck segment with an uncompromised blend of robust capability, craftsmanship and advanced technology. Starting later this year, an updated range of the truck will take on the world in more than 180 markets worldwide

"The new Ford Ranger brings a new level of comfort and refinement to its segment without compromising on the rugged capability that our customers demand," said Brett Wheatley, vice president, Marketing, Sales & Service, Ford Asia Pacific. "It represents a smarter kind of tough, and will help our customers to achieve more, whether at work or with their families." - More

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March 20, 2015

Seven New Jeep® Concept Vehicles Unleashed for 49th Annual Easter Jeep Safari

Seven new, capable and fun Jeep® concept vehicles – featuring a host of Mopar and Jeep Performance Parts available to consumers – are set to conquer the trails of Moab, Utah, at the 49th annual Easter Jeep Safari, taking place March 28-April 5.  The Easter Jeep Safari is attended by thousands of die-hard off-road enthusiasts, who each year enjoy a week of serious off-roading on some of the country’s most rugged and recognizable trails.

“Jeep is proud to be taking seven new eye-catching and extremely capable vehicles to the Easter Jeep Safari, where we expect to delight our most loyal enthusiasts,” said Mike Manley, President and CEO – Jeep Brand.  “We go to this legendary event each year to showcase our latest Jeep production vehicles, as well as a variety of new ideas in our concept vehicles.  In doing so, we receive a tremendous amount of valuable feedback, while interacting with our customers in the Jeep brand’s natural environment. We’re especially looking forward to this year’s Jeep Safari, as Renegade makes its official public debut on Moab’s demanding trails.” (more)

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February 22, 2015

2016 Model Year Range Rover Evoque Debuts at Geneva Motor Show

Land Rover has strengthened its fastest-selling model globally, the Range Rover Evoque. The luxury compact SUV features a comprehensive range of new design features and technologies to reinforce its status in the market.

The distinctive exterior design of the Range Rover Evoque has been further enhanced with a selection of carefully chosen revisions. These updates include a new front bumper, two new grille designs, all-LED headlamps and three all-new alloy wheel designs.

Interior changes include new seats and door casings, new infotainment system, accessed via an eight-inch touchscreen2, and the introduction of new color and materials such as Lunar Ice, Vintage Tan and Dark Cherry (Autobiography only) complementing the bold architectural forms of the Range Rover Evoque.

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February 16, 2015

2016 Model Year Range Rover Evoque Previewed

Land Rover has today revealed the first glimpse of the 2016 model year Range Rover Evoque, previewing a striking new headlamp signature for the most successful Land Rover ever produced.

The 2016 model year Range Rover Evoque will be the first Land Rover to feature full LED adaptive headlamps when it makes its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show on 3 March 2015. The powerful technology provides superior illumination in dark conditions, following the curves of the road, and is identifiable by the distinctive headlamp graphic.

Gerry McGovern, Land Rover Design Director and Chief Creative Officer, said: "Our challenge has been to enhance Evoque without diluting its iconic design. The design refreshments give it an even greater presence on the road yet retain the emotional appeal that has made it so popular with more than 400,000 consumers around the world." ...

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January 22, 2015

2015 Silverado Midnight Edition is The New Black

Truck fans know that nothing adds presence to a pickup like basic black. And Chevrolet is taking black to the next level with the Silverado Midnight special edition, on display starting today at the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention & Expo in San Francisco, and making its public debut February 14 at the Chicago Auto Show.

Beginning with a black Silverado Z71, the Midnight special edition adds:

  • An all-black front end with body-colored grille, bumper, headlamp bezels, tow hooks and fog lamps;
  • Black side moldings and beltline moldings;
  • 18-inch black painted alloy wheels with Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac all-terrain tires;
  • Special Z71 badges on the doors;
  • A spray-in bedliner (black, of course);
  • And the finishing touches – black Chevrolet bowties front and rear.
Like all 2015 Silverado 1500 Z71s, Midnight special editions include off-road suspension, a locking rear differential, Hill Descent Control and a trailering package. Midnight special editions also include rear park assist and heated, power-adjusted outside rear-view mirrors. ...

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January 15, 2015

Welcome to Detroit, BMW X5 M and X6 M

The new BMW X6 M and BMW X5 M are at the BMW exhibit in Detroit also, of course. Since both cars were already present at the Los Angeles Motor Show some weeks ago, they now move a little closer to the east coast. Their european debut will be at the Geneve Motor Show in March than.

The BMW BMW X5 M is sporting Donington Grey, while the BMW X6 M is looking great in Long Beach Blue Metallic.

Under the hood of the BMW X5 M and BMW X5 M there works the revised BMW M TwinPower Turbo V8 engine. It provides more power and torque; the peak output is 567 hp at 700 Nm. Top-Speed with the M Driver’s Package – 280 km/h, 175 mph.

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January 14, 2015

ABERCROMBIE & KENT AND LAND ROVER NORTH AMERICA ANNOUNCE HIGH-OCTANE ADVENTURES FOR 2015


Luxury travel experts Abercrombie & Kent and iconic automotive brand Land Rover have partnered to design seven unprecedented and exclusive, self-driving journeys for 2015. Dubbed "Land Rover Adventure Travel by Abercrombie & Kent," adventure travelers can explore the world's wildest and most scenic international destinations courtesy of renowned luxury travel company A&K, while getting behind the wheel of a state-of-the-art, all-terrain vehicle provided by Land Rover.

This new series of itineraries puts guests in the driver's seat, with an exceptional opportunity to travel off the beaten track thanks to Land Rover's full-terrain capabilities. Under the care of Land Rover Experience instructors, travelers can experience stunning landscapes, big-game viewing, and local cultures in fascinating destinations across the globe. Abercrombie & Kent orchestrates each adventure from start to finish, guaranteeing knowledgeable local guides, luxury accommodations and memorable meals in places such as Australia, Botswana, Morocco, Great Britain, Namibia and more. ...

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January 13, 2015

Dodge Ram Rebel 2015 Debut

2015 Ram 1500 Rebel takes advantage of exclusive air suspension in order to offer increased ride height

Standard 33-inch tires provide capability and rugged looks

First time 3.92 axle ratio available on 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine

Equipped with factory lift, skid plates, tow hooks and other off-road-ready features

New front grille design a significant styling departure for Ram Truck brand

New interior colors and materials, including Radar Red and Black seats with tire tread-matching pattern

Rebel features an all-new grille with prominent billet silver “RAM” letter badge. Departing from the brand’s iconic “cross-hair” designs, the blacked-out Rebel grille tops a completely new black off-road front bumper design with a durable powder-coated surface, which incorporates a powder coated, billet silver skid plate, new front tow hooks and new LED fog lamps. Black bezel bi-functional projector headlamps with LED marker lights lie beneath an aluminum, twin-snorkel sport hood. ...

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