If you are driving your 4×4 to Europe this summer, be warned: Motoring across the Channel could work out expensive, as speed cameras, overzealous policemen and on-the-spot fines are awaiting.
An EU directive began in March allowing European countries to share driver information. EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said: “Foreign drivers account for five per cent of traffic on Europe’s roads, but 15 per cent of offences. If you are one of those drivers, I have bad news; you are very likely to be caught.”
Brits are being forced to hand over 90 Euros for not displaying a GB sticker or failing to carry a high-visibility vest. Not having a warning triangle or spare bulbs can cost another 90 Euros. In France, licence and vehicle confiscation is another possibility.
4x4s, or SUVs as they’re now often called, offer everything from legroom and comfort to off-road proficiency and boot space. If you’re thinking about buying yourself a 4×4, then you should know what will work best for you. Whether you’re an economical sort looking to cut down on the cost of their fuel and motor insurance, an urban mum looking to ferry her army of kids around the city every day, or you’re just rather fond of sitting up high and going quite fast, then there’s something on the market for you – it’s just a matter of finding out which one’s for you. Read on to find out which 4×4 we’ve rated best at what…
Believe it or not, the concept for this 4×4 was conceived way back when in 1979, and has now become the bread-and-butter staple of any 4×4 enthusiast’s diet. The Shogun’s concept was, in fact, so good that Mitsubishi decided to stick with it, tweaking the original design only slightly and at very timely points throughout its 40-year career on the road.
Mini monster truck meets crazy Californian hot rod? Whatever the influences, you cannot miss the latest lurid green Jeep from American Kenny Hauk’s design studio. Outrageous and possibly not to everyone’s taste, you’d love the chance to scream Dune Raider up a sand dune or two, wouldn’t you?
These American 4×4 custom creations may be mighty loud, arrogant and unnecessary, but they are also well built with impressive specification. The Hauk Dune Raider has a 5.7-litre Chrysler Hemi VVT engine that thumps over 400bhp, and 360lb ft torque. The Wrangler’s been stripped somewhat as well to lighten it, and uses aluminium panels, or ‘Body Armor’ (sic) as it says on the spec sheet. Front and rear Dana 60 axles with alloy shafts and locking diffs, Teraflex high lift suspension, 20in Raceline bespoke performance wheels with massive Toyo Open Country MT tyres complete the important stuff.
August 2011 Issue of 4×4 Magazine
Understandably perhaps, if you are not directly involved, it’s a little difficult to know exactly what an editor of a motoring magazine actually does. Quite often, the first question an editor gets asked is “so what have you been driving then…?” Usually, it’s a great question, especially when asked by a fellow enthusiast who really wants to hear, and wants to develop the conversation and talk four-wheel drive. But not this month…
Asked, “what have you been driving lately?” and my answer would have been short, sharp, and admittedly, it would have been answered through clenched teeth. What have I been driving? Simple: my iMac computer.
And before anyone shouts at the page, this writer is fully aware that writing for a living beats what a lot of people have to do to earn a crust. And writing is a passion, but I have to admit that you can get a little stir-crazy stuck in front of a computer screen, especially when you are subbing and editing stories about other people driving 4x4s, often in fabulously interesting and challenging places!
One of the least-known Balkan states, Montenegro is a secret paradise of stunning mountains and glorious coastline. It offers excellent off-roading on self-drive adventures courtesy of nature and adventure company Medraft
Words and photography: Hils Everitt
Whenever I mentioned to anyone that I was going to Montenegro, they looked puzzled and, to a man/woman said: ‘where on earth is that?’
Most people are dimly aware that it’s a Balkan state, but few are certain exactly where it fits into the geography of a region that was so prominent on our TV screens in the early 1990s when what used to be Yugoslavia was being torn apart by civil war. As it happened, there was a rather spooky reminder of those days when, not long after I returned, General Ratko Mladic was finally arrested for war crimes in Bosnia, putting the region back on the news agenda and lending it fresh significance.
Ann Lockley – contributor
Whether you are a mountain biker, climber, kayaker or off-roader, Moab, Utah should be on everyone’s ‘bucket list’. The spectacular scenery, the incredible slickrock trails, and the funky little town all make it a unique place to visit. That being said, unless you like overcrowded trails with Jeeps as far as the eye can see, don’t visit over the Easter holidays.
Jeep Easter Safari is the largest off-road event in North America with two thousand registered vehicles in attendance and normally double that of ‘hanger-on’, unregistered vehicles. The place is a zoo with up to 50 vehicles per trail at any time and every campsite and hotel room booked up sometimes a year in advance.
Garry Stuart – contributor
This June marked the eighth anniversary of ownership of my Nissan Terrano. I reflected upon all the past cars that I have owned and realised that the Terrano is the one that I have owned the longest. As a roaming freelance car/motorcycle photographer for the past 26 years I have clocked up huge mileage travelling from job to job in a whole range of cars (and a few bikes).
My first car was a Mk3 Ford Cortina which was the first car I drove in France way back in the early ’80s when I shot the Le Mans 24hr Bike Race. Little did I know back then that this was to be the first in a long line of cars that I would sleep in; a practice that continues to this day. Other cars included a Matra Rancho (great car), Peugeot 309, Citroen BX, Astra Van, Ford Sierra, Ford Mondeo and even a classic 1970 Porsche 911.
Louise Limb – contributor
As the year leaps optimistically forward from spring to summer, the weather taking alarmingly retrograde steps as it does so, I note that my amazing rear tyres are still not ready for renewal; after three months of testing they cling on to their 4mm of tread depth like little ones to their mother’s apron strings. I’m not complaining; the cleverly designed Bridgestone Duelers have rolled on for well over 54,000 miles. I have a sneaking suspicion that the front tyres were replaced too soon, wasting me nigh on £250, even if I did fret at the time that the winter ice might get the better of my attempts at road holding if there was less than a chasm between the channels of rubber.
Bob Cooke – contributor
It’ll never get up there,” said Derek, as he looked up at the steep climb up to the high plateau on the eastern side of the Boxgrove site. “Of course it will,” I said.
“But Eugene’s misfiring,” Derek replied. “No it isn’t, those old side-valve engines do idle in a funny off-beat way.” I’d sorted the misfire just weeks before, by the simple expedient of cleaning the plugs, and Eugene was running like a train again – not in the sense that it was blowing steam, but it was making its usual irregular ‘chuff chuff’ noises. “Just put it in second and boot it,” I said.
Hils Everitt – Editor at Large
It’s always good to have a pick-up truck on the 4×4 fleet. The pick-up is a classic example of the 4×4 genre, with all the current models still offering us our beloved four-wheel-drive low range and good quality off-roading ability combined with wonderful practicality for anyone who needs a vehicle to earn its keep.
Our previous long-term truck was the double cab Isuzu Rodeo. At the lower end of the truck price range, the Rodeo offers good, solid, honest, no-nonsense performance, even if it is a little rough around the edges with its somewhat uninspiring interior and rather bulky exterior looks. But now, our new long-term, double cab pick-up has taken us from that boxy Isuzu at one end of the range to the brashy, chrome-adorned L200, a vehicle that caused a real stir when it first appeared on the market in 2006.