New Model News

Land Rover revives Defender Hard Top for new generation

The Land Rover Defender Hard Top is designed to help with fleet tasks.

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

The Land Rover Defender is once again getting the commercial vehicle treatment. The company will restore the Hard Top name to its lineup for versions of the Defender 90 and 100 later this year. The Hard Top are dates back to 1950 the the introduction of demountable Hard Tops gave early Series Land Rovers added security and protection from the elements.

The new model is slated to be as tough as the traditional Defender, which offers 4x4 capability beneath its technologically advanced yet ruggedly styled body. It will share its fixed metal roof and silhouette with the iconic original.

2021 Land Rover Defender Hard TopThe Defender Hard Top revives a name first introduced 70 years ago.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

"We will maximize the functionality and usability of New Defender's cargo area, with tough materials and clever storage solutions to ensure it surpasses the capability of any previous Defender Hard Top," said Michael van der Sande, Managing Director, Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations.

Both Hard Top models will feature an independent coil-sprung suspension with an advanced electronic air suspension available on the 110 model. Both the 90 and 110 will have off-road chops - a ground clearance of 291mm, while the 110 Hard Top will have approach, breakover and departure angles of up to 38, 28 and 40 degrees respectively (in Off-Road height). Full technical details will be confirmed later this year.

"New Defender 90 and 110 Hard Top will be the toughest, most capable and most connected commercial 4x4s we have ever produced," said Nick Collins, Land Rover Vehicle Line Director. "They have been engineered to meet global safety standards and deliver impressive long-haul comfort, giving businesses and professionals the best of all worlds."

2021 Land Rover Defender Hard TopLand Rover will carry over the Defender's traditional capability into the new model.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

The models will have a towing capacity of 3,500 kg. Hard Top models haven no second- or third-row seats. A first-row jump seat will be available, which would bring up the seating capacity from two to three.

The interior of the models won't skimp on amenities, offering the same infotainment, safety, and driver assist technology as the traditional Defender.

Fleet owners can use the Remote smartphone app to track of the location, fuel level and journey history of their vehicle remotely, for ultimate peace of mind and security.

Land Rover is pricing the model from £35,500 (plus VAT) in the UK. Additional information will be available later this year.

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Family-friendly three-row SUVs

Three of our favorite three-row SUVs for 2022

The Grand Cherokee L is available with two different powertrain choices.

Jeep

There are more three-row SUVs on sale than ever before, so it can be tough to make a choice between them. You need to balance space, performance, safety, and tech to make your decision, and doing your homework is important. To help you get started down the right path, we've selected three of our favorite three-row family haulers. These are SUVs that bring the latest features and excellent design features to help keep you and your family rolling. Let's get started.

2023 Toyota SequoiaThe Sequoia is all-new for the 2023 model year, and finally stands on level ground with its rivals.Toyota

Toyota Sequoia

Toyota gave the Sequoia a much-needed overhaul for the 2023 model year that brought it up to speed with its competitors. The thirsty V8 and outdated styling are gone, and in their place, Toyota installed a twin-turbo V6 with a hybrid system that produces 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque. A ten-speed automatic transmission and either rear- or four-wheel drive are available.

The Sequoia’s update brought a new infotainment system with a much more intuitive, fluid interface. It runs on a standard 8-inch or an optional 14-inch touchscreen. Toyota’s new software offers voice controls, standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and much more.

Inside, the Sequioa’s interior feels much more upscale and modern than before, and there’s plenty of room for the entire family and all their gear across its three spacious rows. Starting with the Limited trim, Toyota gives luxurious standard features, including heated and ventilated front seats, a larger touchscreen, a hands-free liftgate, and a heated steering wheel.

2023 Kia TellurideKia updated the ultra-popular Telluride for 2023 with refreshed styling and features.Kia

Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride is easily one of the best family vehicles from the last ten years, and it offers great value on top of its functional characteristics. Kia updated the SUV for 2022 with a new 10.25-inch infotainment system and a highway driving assistance system.

The Telluride comes with a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. The SUV’s engine may not be the most powerful or thrilling, but it gets the job done and offers refined, smooth operation.

Kia equips the base Telluride with seating for eight, but the optional second-row captain’s chairs reduce capacity to seven. Interior fit and finish, materials, and styling are all far more upscale than the Telluride’s price tag would suggest, making the SUV an excellent family companion for longer road trips.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee LThe Grand Cherokee got a third row for the first time with the new L.Jeep

Jeep Grand Cherokee L

Jeep completely overhauled the Grand Cherokee for 2021 and added a new three-row “L” model shortly after. The new Grand Cherokee L features boxy, muscular styling that works with its stretched profile. Even with a new shape, the SUV is immediately recognizable as a Grand Cherokee.

Jeep offers two engines in the 2022 Grand Cherokee L. The base mill is a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is available that produces 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. Both come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and the V8 comes standard with four-wheel drive.

The L is more premium inside than most likely expect from a Jeep, but at the top end of the model line it’s deep into luxury territory, both on price and design. The Jeep is just shy of its competitors on interior space, but there’s still plenty of room for up to seven people. Top trims get luxury finishes like leather and woodgrain, and available tech like a rear-seat entertainment system helps keep everyone happy for the long haul.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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