Factory Built Off-Road Machines Battle for Your Love
We are back with this week’s installment of AutoGuide’s newest, interactive weekly feature “Commute, Toy or Destroy.”
We are back with this week’s installment of AutoGuide’s newest, interactive weekly feature “Commute, Toy or Destroy.”
With success and plenty of awards being flung at the company’s compact luxury SUV, the Ranger Rover Evoque, volume sales seem more reasonable for the British brand than they might a few years ago.
Still, the new Defender will have a steep hill to climb if it is to overcome the mighty Toyota Hilux, which recently became the first vehicle to conquer the Magnetic North Pole.
Perhaps spurred on by popular sales figures for the Evoque, Land Rover boss John Edwards said he hopes the company will grow into a global brand instead of a brand being sold globally. That statement might seem a little bold in the face of only 20,000 defenders selling next to the 549,000 Hilux units sold in 2011.
Part of doing that will be offering more than one popular seller, which the Defender might be — if the company can settle on a design. The Defender DC100 concept got its North American debut last week in New York, but it’s still not clear if that model will make it to production.
Land Rover will also have its reputation for dubious reliability to contend with, especially if it hopes to challenge Toyota, a brand built on its dependability image, despite recent controversy.
The concepts heading to Moab, Utah this year are the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk concept, Wrangler Apache concept, Mighty FC concept, J-12 Conversion concept, Mopar Accessorized Wrangler, and the Wrangler Traildozer concept.
The video includes soundbites from President and CEO of Jeep Brand, Mike Manley and Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO Mopar Brand Service, Parts and Customer Care. Along with the feedback from them, we get a better look at all six concepts inside and out.
Watch the video of the 2012 Moab Easter Jeep Safari Concepts after the break.
This year the team stepped it up a notch, announcing six new Jeep concepts. Mopar has also announced an off-road division that will create authentic Jeep parts and accessories.
“The Jeep Safari has long been a great way for Jeep to connect with its core audience. We look forward to spending the week demonstrating our latest potential production and customization ideas and gathering instant feedback from the most knowledgable 4×4 enthusiasts in the world,” Jeep president and CEO Mike Manley said.
Mopar president and CEO Pietro Gorlier addded that “Mopar is tapping into a growing trend among extreme Jeep enthusiasts who want even more power and capability on the trail. This year, Mopar is pushing the envelope in this arena by offering our customers new Pro 60 portal axles and a new HEMI conversion kit, which we will showcase in those new vehicles. In addition, to further maximize our presence in the off-road market, we are creating a Mopar Off-Road division to develop Jeep Authentic Parts and Accessories.”
Chrysler released details on the Mopar Jeep Compass “True North” today, along with three other vehicles meant to mark their 75th anniversary, all of which will be on display at the 2012 Chicago International Auto Show.
Here’s what we’ve learned about the modified Compass since we published our earlier story featuring photos of all four cars.
First, we’ve found that Mopar knows better than to tinker with a Jeep owner’s pavement-optional perspective. They say it’s still an off-road capable, trail-rated vehicle, though nothing Mopar does really adds, or subtracts anything. The only modification that makes the “True North” Compass any more viable in the bush is the added brush bars on the front and back that might keep your undercarriage a bit safer from rocks.
That said, this is anything but a rock crawler. Realistically, most Compass owners probably don’t go off-roading unless you count driving on the beach or through a snowy parking lot.
The modifications are superficial, but at least they make the Compass look a lot cooler. For example, the two-tone burnt orange and matte black grille and bumper make the car look less like a boring suburb spelunker and more like a stylish SUV. The same matte black accents surround the front and rear fog lights and run along the edge of the fenders and fascia.
The interior really plays up the Compass’s appeal to the young outdoorsy types it’s aimed at. Mopar even added neoprene seats. Yup, the same synthetic rubber material that half the stuff in REI is made of. It’s a cool touch that screams out to people who own CamelBacks and Nalgene bottles.
A center stack gauge pod holds pitch and roll meters if you do decide to take that risky first trip into the wild, though you won’t be doing it without modern amenities. Aside from little interior touches, the last big change is a Kicker sounds system the company says transforms the car into a “rolling high-end sound studio.” We’re not sure what sort of audio work people do on camping trips, but maybe you can enlighten us in the comments box below.
Off-roaders may want to listen up, this is your lucky day. Land Rover has confirmed production for the next-gen Defender SUV. The British automaker intends to launch a new Defender in 2015, and the concept version (DC100) will be present at next month’s Frankfurt Auto Show.
Gerry McGovern, Director of Design for Land Rover weighed in on the issue saying, “Replacing the iconic Defender is one of the biggest challenges in the automotive design world; it is a car that inspires people worldwide. This isn’t a production-ready concept but the beginning of a four-year journey to design a relevant Defender for the 21st century.”
The next-gen Defender is likely to be quite different than the old version in several ways. It will have a more refined design with more technological features and modern structural materials. However the new version will likely stick to the traditional simplistic approach for which the Defender is well-known.
John Edwards, Global Brand Director, Land Rover added:”Loved the world over for its simple, honest and distinctive design, we are determined that the new Defender will be true to its heritage, while meeting the requirements of a changing global market. We plan to engage with existing and potential customers to help us finalize the details of the new vehicle. One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be an exciting journey, and we can’t wait to get going.”
Fans of the Land Rover Defender have long feared the vehicle’s demise amid intensifying regulations and waning interest in off-road vehicles, but Land Rover isn’t giving up on their iconic product.
A report in a British magazine suggests that an all-new Defender will debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show, using the same underpinnings as Land Rover’s capable LR4 SUV. A new range of in-house 4-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines will be employed, as well as Land Rover’s Terrain Management System, which can adjust the entire driveline to cope with various off-road situations.
[Source: Auto Express]
Toyota has a long history of building rugged off-road trucks, the latest of which is the FJ Cruiser. And if you’re looking to match capability with Jeep’s “Trail Rated” machines there’s no better way to do so than with a more off-road capable Trail Teams Special Edition.
The latest Trail Teams model is available exclusively in a Radian Red paint for 2012 with black painted door handles, bumpers and front grille. Up top a set of off-road lights improve night time visibility, while inside there’s plenty of red accenting to go with the new paint color. Getting dirt into the Trail Teams model is part of the fun and getting it out is easier thanks to water resistant seats, plus a rubber floor and rear deck.
The standard 260-hp 4.0-liter V6 engine get a cyclone pre-air cleaner (another standard FJ goodie) to trap dirt, while off-road capability has been enhanced with an off-road package that includes Bilstein shocks, TRD wheels with BFG All-Terrain tires, rock rails, as well as skid plates for the engine, fuel tank and transfer case. Also standard is a rear differential lock and Toyota’s A-TRAC traction control system.
Other items that come standrad on the special edition model include a multi-information display, remote keyless entry, cruise control, 12V/100W and 115V/400W outlets, a back-up camera integrated into the rear view mirror and the final touch, a Trail Team badge.
David Coulthard and his Red Bull F1 team traveled down to Austin, Texas to check out the soon to be completed Circuit of the Americas track.
Over the weekend, David Coulthard took his 750-hp Red Bull Formula One race car on a cruise in and around the Texas capital, engaged in some hooning and put on a show for the crowd.
In this clip, Coulthard takes the high performance F1 car on the dirt roads of the soon to be grand prix track, as well as along some highways. It’s not every day you get to see one of these cars go off-roading, or tear through city steets.
Check out the videos after the jump!
And not the steakhouse either, where suburban G-Wagens are usually sighted. No, Mercedes-Benz is launching a rescue mission deep into the heart of Australia’s outback, where six of its off-roaders have been stranded.
Five standard G-Class models and one “military-spec” example are stuck somewhere along the Canning Stock Route, where they blew their shock absorbers while crossing some rough terrain. Fourteen people have been stranded and are now waiting for Mercedes-Benz to fly in replacement parts to a remote airfield near their base camp.
Luckily for the team, they have ample provisions and are in little immediate danger (as long as they watch over their babies for dingoes). But the 14-day crossing of the Outback still has 800 kilometers to go, across the aptly-named Great Sandy Desert.
“When we undertook this journey we were well aware of the punishment that the vehicles would endure,” said Horst von Sanden, a managing director of Mercedes-Benz Australia. “We put in place a group of very experienced Outback operators who have the expertise and logistical knowledge to cover off any eventuality. “I have complete faith in the team out on the Canning and the thorough logistics and preparation the team have put in place.”
The military G-Class is the only vehicle to not break, rather unsurprisingly: it is similar to ones used by the Australian Defence Force, and in civilian markets is known as the GProfessional. It will meet the rescue flight at the airport and deliver parts to the stranded team.
This is Benz’s attempt to complete the first crossing of the Outback by car, 1,900 kilometers total across the desert: if there ever was a car to have faith in for completing dangerous off-road expeditions, it is the mighty G-Class. Now that the even mightier Outback has claimed another victim, though, we’re not so sure.
[Source: The Land]
Audi has just released the new A6 Avant and is working on expanding the lineup with the all new Allroad model. The new version will be similar to before with a raised ride height, steel bumper guards and subtle plastic cladding to protect the body over off-road terrain.
Aud’s adaptive air-suspension will come standard on the Allroad, so drivers can adjust the ride height to suit different conditions at the push of a button. The Allroad will likely come with the 3.0-liter TFSI turbocharged powerplant and the 309-hp diesel engine.
As well as the Allroad, the high performance S6 sedan and wagon will debut this September at the Frankfurt Auto Show, so wagon lovers are in for a treat.
[Source: Auto Express]
If you are an avid viewer of Top Gear, you are then probably aware of the Bowler Nemesis. This custom-built off-road vehicle can tackle just about any terrain, and now its maker is hoping to make one for the high streets.
According to Bowler’s managing director Steve Haywood, they are looking to make a “Supercar SUV” based on the Range Rover Sport. Haywood, who was previously a chief engineer over at Range Rover, says his first job at Bowler is to develop the fourth-generation model of the Nemesis. Along with the hard-core Rally-Raid version, a road going version is also in the pipeline. This more luxurious version will be priced around $246,000.
Bowler is currently owned by Coventry Prototype Panels (CPP), a company which also owns Spyker and is also looking to take over the Italian design house Zagato.
Given the companies in CPP’s portfolio, they should have no problem developing a new super SUV and broadening their market. Bowler currently produces 15 to 20 vehicles a year. Haywood believes there is a market for 150 to 200 vehicles per year.
The New England Motor Press Association has voted and presented the ‘Official Winter Vehicle of New England Award’ to the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
During the winter, a side by side test compared 4×4 SUVs in winter conditions and found the Grand Cherokee to exceed expectations. Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Product Marketing, accepted the award and felt that the Grand Cherokee combines three different aspects better than the competition. He felt the Jeep excelled in luxury, fuel economy, and four wheel drive capability. John Paul, NEMPA Winter Vehicle Awards team leader said, “It handles everything mother nature can put in its way.”
The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes in several trim levels including the base Laredo E for $37,995, the Laredo X for $42,995, the Limited for 46,995 and the Overland for 49,995. A 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar engine is standard with 290-hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The optional 5.7-liter HEMI V8 is also available as an option.
Check out the video after the jump!
Jeep has just hired and filmed a commercial with Lenny Kravitz to give the brand a new cool look. The commercial features Lenny Kravitz off- roading in the backwoods in a 2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. The commercial also features Lenny Kravitz’s new song from his album “Rock Star City Life”.
Check out the video for yourself after the jump!