Bob Cooke – contributor
The Cherokee launched over the crest so quickly and came down with such a thump that I banged my head on the roof – I didn’t think the seatbelt would stretch that much.
I blame the Trailmaster suspension – it’s given the Cherokee an extra two inches of ride height and is hard enough to absorb the worst of shocks from ruts and ridges taken a little too quickly. The result is that I find myself tempted to tackle increasingly difficult obstacles, safe in the knowledge that the lifted Cherokee has the clearance and beefed-up suspension to make it all seem easy.
I am actually a firm believer in the ‘tread softly’ approach, and I’m usually able to ease the Cherokee over even quite tortuous obstacles simply by getting the approach right so the old truck doesn’t have to lift a wheel, with consequent loss of traction. I can’t really afford that, because although the Cherokee’s Limited specification includes a limited-slip differential, it’s reached an age where there’s more slip than limit so there are times when the only way to clear an axle-crossing section is to floor it.
Garry Stuart – contributor
The beginning of March is when the new season for off-road sports events gets underway and that means lots of motorway driving, or at least it did before diesel became so flipping expensive. I had to go and shoot the AWDC new XL Challenge at the Walter’s Arena site near Seven Sisters in South Wales. From my starting point in Preston, the Via Michelin Guide on the internet recommended going via Chester, Wrexham, Welshpool, Brecon; a nice drive through the Welsh Marches. My instinct would have been to bomb down the M6/M5 and take the M50 across to Monmouth and Merthyr Tydfil.
I opted for the scenic route thinking that the lower average speed might be more economical on fuel. Arriving at Seven Sisters five and a half hours and 199 miles later, I appeared to have a third of a tank of diesel left.
The Walter’s Arena site is a huge area covering 1600 acres, and AWDC’s Neil Whitford and his band of marshals had used all corners setting up 20 long sections. Normally I walk around all the sections, but, in this instance, it was obvious that the Terrano needed to do some mild off-road work and cart me around the enormous site.
Louise Limb – contributor
As I was writing this I put aside my fussing and fretting about whether to risk the wrath of the walkers and farmers by driving a gentle Lakeland BOAT above Windermere, to witness in absolute horror on the glowing screen in the corner, the well-built Suzukis, just like mine, being tossed in the waves of the Tsunami, that overwhelmed north eastern Japan, like little tin boxes in a biblical flood.
It’s as good a reminder as any of the fragility of our highly-developed world and my thoughts, as I’m sure yours are too, are with their owners and drivers, even if, by the time this is printed, the devastation will have faded from our televisions.
Hils Everitt – Editor
My beloved Jimny nears the end of its time with us at 4×4 Magazine just as the rugby season ends, and it has proved an excellent manager’s kit lugger over the course of the season.
I have extolled the virtues of its surprisingly good carrying capacity despite being a diminutive 4×4 in previous reports. You have to put the rear seats down to make the best use of the space – that is obvious – and the seats don’t actually fold down flat, but there is still a good area for stowing an enormous shirt bag, two sets of water carriers and bottles, a large water carrier for fill-ups, a bag of balls, and various other bags full of kit that 18, hefty muscle-bound rugby players need to get them out on the pitch every Saturday.
Due to the poor weather we have had during the season I have had to protect the Suzuki’s rear with some plastic sheeting to make sure that the excessively muddy kit has not soiled the leather upholstery or the carpet-backed rear seats.
The one-spec Nissan Murano with a thirsty V6 didn’t really catch the UK public’s imagination, but the introduction of a 2.5-litre turbodiesel version may entice crossover fans to delve into the Nissan luxury brand
Words: Hils Everitt; photos: Nissan
The problem we always had with Nissan’s flagship, luxury 4×4 was the fact that it was powered by a really thirsty, albeit lusty and responsive, V6 3.5-litre petrol engine.
Mated to an Xtronic CVT automatic transmission it pumped out a hearty 252bhp with 236lb ft of torque. Impressive figures, but it really was a lost soul in the 4×4 market. Big petrol engines like that were an endangered species back in 2008 when the last revamp appeared, and in these days of extortionate fuel costs the 3.5 V6 one-model-only Murano is even more obsolete in the UK.
One of the many advantages of owning a 4×4 is the amount of space it offers for carrying cargo. Few other vehicles provide such load-lugging capacity, and it’s important to make the best of it. A storage solution can help you organise your load. We check out the options available
Focus on… N&J Aluminium Linings
Lancashire-based N&J Aluminium Linings specialises in producing hardwearing chequerplate products for pick-ups and Land Rovers. Its range includes the dog guard and drawer solution you see in the photograph – which is ideal for gundog enthusiasts or farmers.
N&J’s range isn’t just aimed at working vehicles, however. It sells a kennel that can be made to fit any 4×4 loadbed and provide accommodation for any breed of dog. It also offers aluminium storage boxes, pick-up loading bay covers and ladder racks.
All N&J Aluminium products can be fabricated to suit the particular needs of a customer. That means they are purpose-built, and guaranteed to be made to the highest standards. It also means that pricing varies – but you should budget around £350 for an aluminium storage box, designed to fit in the rear of your vehicle.
The colourful landscape and language of the Australian Outback is like nothing else on earth. Nick Redmayne hired a Mitsubishi Pajero to tackle the remote and challenging Gibb River Road and survived, with most of his Pommy pride intact…
I shouted: “Neville…Neville…er… Neville..?” Where was he? It was dark, a dazzling absence of ambient light in which eyes strained wide, aching for a clear view of nothing. Eschewing the European badge of shame that is a Petzel headtorch, I stumbled warily through unseen undergrowth – the Outback does not suffer Pommy nerds gladly and I needed empathy, and, more specifically, one of Neville’s spanners.
For a mix of off- and on-road driving, the Cooper Discoverer ATR is an ideal choice. Cooper tyres are renowned for their hardwearing construction and the ATR provides a good grip in the rough stuff, while maintaining a refined drive on asphalt.
With a 60-40 split between on- and off-road use, the ATR is perfect for a daily driver that makes weekend forays off-road. It’s available online from Tyrespec, which is the only Cooper Tire online retailer in the UK. www.tyrespec.co.uk
Nimbus Motorsport has just launched this deep cycle battery charger, designed to bring new life to worn-out batteries. The Save-A-Battery Charger features easy-to-connect cables with gold connectors. It can be mounted on the wall of a workshop or in a vehicle and delivers a restorative charge that rejuvenates even the weariest battery.
Priced at £109.96, including VAT, the charger is lightweight
and compact and will make a good addition to any classic 4×4 owner’s workshop. www.nimbusmotorsport.com
Green High Performance Air Filters is now offering a direct replacement air filter for Mk1 Land Rover Defender V8 models. The cotton filter offers enhanced power, greater protection and a longer life when compared to the original paper element filter.
Provided it is cleaned regularly, the filter can be re-used, meaning it should last well into the future. The cotton element is constructed from tightly interwoven fabric, ensuring strength and longevity. And with stainless steel reinforcement, it is resistant to damage or collapse.
The filter costs £47.60 including VAT and is identified by the following part number: R760022. www.autoinparts.com