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4x4 Newcomers

The recent Geneva Motor Show saw the unveiling of an array of exciting new 4x4s, SUVs and crossovers, set to give the UK market a shake-up over the next 12 months. We take a look at four of the most interesting:

Mitsubishi ASX


The Mitsubishi ASX compact crossover is a Nissan Qashqai and Hyundai iX35 rival. Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, it is set to go on sale in Britain in the summer of 2010. At 4.3 metres in length, the ASX is slightly shorter than the Qashqai and is based on the same platform as the regular Lancer range. It is expected to be available with either two or four-wheel drive, and its best-selling engine is likely to be a new Euro 5-compliant 1.8-litre turbocharged direct-injection diesel with stop-start technology, linked to a six-speed gearbox. The ASX is part of Mitsubishi’s plan to move away from its image as a manufacturer of large SUVs, repositioning itself as a maker of smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. It is, however, expected that the Shogun and top-selling L200 line-ups will continue to be a part of the company’s future plans.

Skoda Yeti
Traditionally, Skoda has had nothing to offer the 4x4 fan, bar the odd soft-roader version of the Octavia Estate. But with the arrival of the Yeti in the UK, that has all changed.

As you’d expect from Skoda, there’s some serious value on offer here, with prices starting from just £13,990. Of course the most basic Yeti is only a two-wheel drive unit with no more offroad capability than your average family hatchback, but if you dig a little deeper, £17,580 will buy you the Yeti S 2.0 TDI CR 4x4, rising to £22,635 for the range-topping 2.0 TDI CR 170 4x4.

Whichever Yeti you choose, it’s unquestionably a good-looking device with an interior that may well amaze you. There’s genuine quality here, with smooth, soft-touch plastics and classy

chrome detailing giving it a really upmarket feel. We can’t fault the driving position either, and rear space is also decent considering the Yeti’s compact dimensions (a full 107mm shorter than a Nissan Qashqai).
Greener Driving
Top tips to greener driving. It couldn't be easier, so start your greener driving today!

bm_0808_test_19391. Change gear early - As a general rule you should be changing gear at around 2,500rpm for a petrol engined car and 2,000rpm for a diesel. By following this tip you will save revving the engine too hard, reducing emissions and fuel consumption. However, you also want to ensure that you do not labour the engine by selecting a higher gear too early as this wastes fuel and increases engine strain.

2. Read the road - Obviously reading the road will help prevent accidents, but in terms of the environment by anticipating obstacles early you can avoid heavy braking, wasting momentum and therefore fuel. Similarly you should try and avoid unnecessarily sharp acceleration too.

VW Caddy Maxi Life 2.0 litre TDI PD
No not a golf but a Caddy, you could carry your clubs in this machine if you wanted to.

bm_0809_test_1971This vehicle created a new class of compact van for Volkswagen between its existing Caddy and Transporter models. The new Caddy Maxi is 470mm longer than the Caddy and has an extra 1.0m3 of load volume and up to 80kg extra payload, which means a 4.2m3 load volume and a payload of up to 800kg. It is available in three versions: a panel van, a five seat window van and the Life, the subject of our test, an MPV with seven seats in three rows.

Okay we know that this is really a van with frills but my goodness it is extremely practical with nooks and crannies everywhere. The diesel engine in our model was the new 2.0 litre TDI PD with 150 bhp, fitted with a Diesel Particulate Filter and a six speed manual gearbox, so powerful and oh so quiet. With the development that has gone into the modern diesel engine, petrol models are now not really necessary for fast and serene progress.
Mitsubishi Shogun
There can’t be many people around who’ve not, at the very least, heard of the Shogun as it has become one of the cars of choice for many boaters and caravanners alike.

bm_0809_test_1972The model first made its appearance in 1982 and since then over 2.5 million have been sold and there have been two model revamps. The current model is, as you might expect, chunky and solid and well spec’ed with a good selection of equipment – the kind you would expect in a car of this type. With prices for the five door LWB starting at £26,000 it’s easy to see why it has proved so popular. Admittedly it’s not in the bargain basement, but neither is it at the top of the league when it comes to pricing. Sitting comfortably in the middle the model has carved out a nice position within the 4x4 range.
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