The iconic Land Rover Defender is still, along with the venerable Mercedes-Benz G-Class, one of the few remaining old-school off-roaders, both cars representing an era that will soon become just a romantic memory inside the minds of 4x4 purists everywhere around the world.
When Tata-owned Land Rover launched its two latest concepts during the Frankfurt Auto Show, the DC100 and the DC100 Sport, its marketing people were probably gunning for the children of the very same 4x4 purists mentioned earlier.
Unfortunately, according to the purest definition of the word “purist”, those Land Rover fans will probably be the ones completely saddened by the launch of the aforementioned concept cars. Why, you ask? Well, both the Land Rover DC100 and the DC100 Sport preserve almost nothing from the tradition of the old and trusted Defender model, which has been manufactured in more or less the same form since 1983, while being based on the original Land Rover, the Series.
Thankfully for the die-hard fans, the DC100 and DC100 Sport represent just the start in a four year journey of reinterpreting the Defender in a modern, twenty first century form. They are both like a pilot episode for a new show, if you wish.
Interested in every detail of the Defender Concept 100? Hit the jump and you’ll find out.
UPDATE 01/05/12: Land Rover’s decision to skip the 2012 NAIAS has cast a few raised eyebrows in the industry. Apparently, their new Indian ownership - Tata Motors - decided to bring Land Rover and Jaguar to their home auto show at the Delhi Auto Expo. In the case of the former, it meant that the Land Rover DC100 Concept would be in attendance dressed in a fancy Firenze Red paint finish. In so many words, this version of the DC100 Concept is all sorts of hot! Check out the new photos in the gallery! Full story
Usually when there is a transmission failure, it is something internal that, after many years of dutiful service, is expected to start breaking down. However, Nissan has announced that some of their best selling trucks and SUVs (2005-2010 Nissan Frontier, Xterra, and Pathfinders) are experiencing radiator leaks that are finding their way into the components of their automatic transmissions. This leak is causing premature wearing of the automatic transmission that warrants replacement often at less than 100,000 miles. The New York Times reports that even after Nissan extended warranties on the effected models by 5 years/50,000 miles (for a total warranty coverage for 80K miles/8 years) owners still reported that "the radiator issues have affected the vehicles transmissions, causing premature failure...Lance Wiggins, Technical Director of the Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association points out ’what’s happening is the radiator cooler tanks are rupturing, forcing coolant into the five-speed automatic through the transmission cooler lines." Motor Trend also points out that for many of the owners of these vehicles (particularly the older models) are beyond the extended warranty. If the transmission fails, they will have to put forth a substantial investment for a new one. Nissan says they "would cover transmissions damaged by coolant, as long as they met the extended warranty guidelines." No warranty, no fix.
Although Nissan says "only a small proportion of models are affected," we are perplexed by their actions. They seem to be doing enough to belay a lawsuit, yet don’t seem to be real concerned about maintaining a loyal customer base, which is a real pity because we love the ruggedness and the utility of the Nissan trucks and SUVs.
When it comes to off-road trucks, it seems everyone’s first choice is a Jeep vehicle. However, Toyota’s FJ Cruiser is also a very good choice, especially if you take under consideration the Trail Teams Special Edition. For 2012, this special edition will be available in an exclusive Radian Red exterior paint with black painted door handles, bumpers, and front grille.
The interior features the same red paint combined with water resistant seats, a rubber floor, and rear deck. The list of standard equipment includes: 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.
Under the hood, the FJ Cruiser Trail Teams Special Edition features a 4.0 liter V6 engine with an output of 260 HP. The engine is combined with Bilstein shocks, TRD wheels with BFG All-Terrain tires, rock rails, skid plates, fuel tank, transfer case, a rear differential lock and Toyota’s A-TRAC traction control system.
The year 2011 marked a new time for the Jeep Wrangler after Chrysler introduced a facelifted version of the off-road vehicle. A year later, the 2012 model has been released and while it looks pretty much the same as that of the 2011 model, Jeep is introducing a new powertrain that is significantly more powerful than the last model.
With the new engine, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler now produces an output of 285 horsepower and 260 lb/ft of torque, an improvement of 83 horsepower and 23 lb/ft of torque from the 2011 model, while also carrying an improved fuel efficiency rating of 21 mph. This comes as an improvement from the 15 mpg city / 19 mpg highway rating of the facelifted 2011 version.
“Our new 3.6-liter V6 engine gives the ever-capable Wrangler a completely new, more refined on-road driving experience – complete with more fuel efficiency, power and torque," said Mike Manley, President and CEO of the Jeep brand.
Find out more about the 2012 Jeep Wrangler after the jump. Full story
The Land Rover Defender is scheduled to be replaced in 2013, but the company is giving the SUV one more chance to bring in some cash. For the 2012 model yea,r the Defender has received a new EU5 2.2-liter diesel engine - to replace the EU4 2.4-liter diesel - that makes the Defender the cleanest Land Rover Defender yet produced. The 2012 Defender is priced at £20,995 on the British market, or about $34,000 at the current exchange rates.
The new 2.2-liter diesel engine delivers a total of 122 HP at 500rpm and a peak torque of 265 lbs-ft at 2,000rpm. The engine is mated to a GFT MT 82 six-speed gearbox and will sprint the car to a top speed of 90 mph.
For 2012, the Defender has also received two new packages: Comfort and Offroad. The Comfort Pack includes air conditioning, a CD Player with auxiliary input, electric windows, and remote central locking. The Off-Road Pack comes with ABS, heavy duty rims and MTR tires, and a tow ball and under-ride protection bar.
"The substantial improvements to the Defender in 2007 transformed its on-road refinement and comfort whilst extending its legendary capability off-road for which Defender is synonymous. With the introduction of the new 2.2-litre diesel engine and two option packs, the Defender for 2012 now offers greater customer choice than ever before," said John Edwards, Land Rover Global Brand Director.
This week’s episode of Top Gear USA brought us back to the one segment format. The trio of Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust, and Ruttledge Wood had the challenge of proving which was the toughest off-roader in America by subjecting three of the best 4x4 vehicles to a series of tests.
Adam opted for a 1994 Ford Bronco with a 351 HP V8 and Ruttledge chose a 1989 Chevrolet K5 Blazer with a 350 HP V8. Tanner was the only one with an inline six in his 1983 Jeep Renegade. All three of them were dropped off in the middle of the Mojave Desert to sweat it out for 400 miles as they cruised to Vegas, dealing with the 134 degree weather. By the way, Tanner’s Jeep had no air conditioning. Yikes!
The whole point of this challenge was to find the best 4x4, so to put the vehicles through the test and put the guys through hell, the first 350 miles of the trip had to be made without their tires ever touching asphalt. What happens after this was made known is entirely predictable and grueling.
Hit the jump for details on Top Gear USA: Season 2 Episode 4. Full story
You know those build-your-own kit cars that all of us loved when we were kids? How would you feel if we told you that you could relive those old memories on a real vehicle that’s the definite personification of a bad-ass ride?
We first saw Local Motors’ Rally Fighter at SEMA a few years ago where it predictably caught the attention of many a heads while flaunting its awesomeness during the event in Las Vegas. Since then, the Rally Fighter has become one of the most unique car purchases you can ever have, complete with the opportunity to help build the car from the ground up.
The futuristic off-roader is a self proclaimed "premium, authentic off-road experience, custom designed and built for the deserts of the American Southwest." Even better than that is the fact that this machine is completely street legal and is actually 50-state-emissions compliant.
Don’t mistake it for a bare-as-bones niche vehicle that is catered only to a specific market. The Rally Fighter is an all-purpose ride that commands serious attention from just about all walks of life.
Speaking for ourselves, we’d certainly want to have one to call our own someday.
Find out more on the Rally Fighter after the jump. Full story
The boys from Top Gear USA were back this week and they are starting to pick up a little bit of speed in terms of entertainment value. The discussions still tend to be a little too rehearsed, but we didn’t want to turn off the television as soon as they started talking. Well, except for when Adam opened his mouth, but we’re used to that.
The main focus this week was trying to figure out which truck was the best in America. After spending the entire first episode trying to convince us all that pick-up trucks could be convinced by two-door models, this was a welcome change. Other segments included battling it out between the Local Motors’ Rally Fighter and an airboat, and a trip around the Top Gear test track with actor/comedian Bill Engvall.
Hit the jump to check out the full details on Top Gear USA: Season 2 Episode 3. Full story
With 24 years of history, the Jeep Wrangler has become one of the most successful models in the Jeep line-up. Currently in its third generation (JK starting 2007), the Wrangler is about to receive one of the most important updates for the 2012 model year.
Up until now, the Wrangler was powered by a 3.8-liter V-6 engine that delivered a total of 202 HP and 237 ft-lb of torque. This engine wasn’t bad, but it lacked the power needed for the Wrangler to really flex its muscles during those off-road activities. In 2012, that will all change as the boring V6 engine has been dropped on favor of a new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine that delivers a total of 290 HP and a peak torque of 237 lbs-ft.
The 2012 Wrangler hasn’t been announced by Jeep just yet, but a Georgia based dealer has already placed a Rubicon version on sale on eBay for a price of $35,628.
Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. Full story
Officially, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler doesn’t exist yet. No one at Chrysler will talk about it, but dealers have already received order guides for it. Now, an Atlanta dealership has posted the first 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with Chrysler’s Pentastar V-6 on eBay and they’re even offering it for sale below sticker price, instead of some absurd amount of “Additional Dealer Markup” tacked on.
The big news for the 2012 Jeep Wrangler is the new engine. Gone is the anemic 3.8-liter V-6 used on Wranglers from 2007 through 2011, and we say good riddance. The 3.8-liter engine was good for only 202 horsepower and 237 ft-lb of torque, which made the 3,800 pound Wrangler feel sluggish on pavement and hard-packed trails. It works well enough off-road, thanks to the Wrangler’s low gearing, but nearly every Wrangler owner we know sinks serious money into coaxing additional horsepower out of the old V-6.
For 2012, the Jeep Wrangler gets the same 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 used in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. It’s a big improvement in terms of output, and the new engine is rated at 260 horsepower when stuffed under the hood of the Wrangler. We haven’t seen torque specifications just yet, but we suspect they’ll be an improvement over last year’s 237 ft-lb as well. Fuel economy is up for 2012, with the Pentastar V-6 getting 13 percent better fuel economy in the city and nearly 11 percent better fuel economy on the highway. That puts the two-door Wrangler at 17 mpg city and 21 mpg highway, while the four-door Wrangler Unlimited clocks in with 16 mpg city and 20 mpg highway.