Monthly Archives: November 2011

DecProdCameraCapture those special off-road moments with the GoPro HD camera from Devon 4×4. The camera records moving images directly onto its SD card, and can be installed on a helmet or dashboard to give a blow-by-blow record of your forays in the rough stuff.  Prices start at £299.


DecNewsLaterHard to believe that Continental tyres, now a global company that employs 160,000 in over 190 locations around the world, was actually founded some 140 years ago. And to save the mental arithmetic, that was way back in 1871. They were then based in Hanover, originally with the snappy name of Continental-Caoutchouc & Gutta-Percha Compagne.

Fast forward 140 years and in the UK, the tyre division is based in West Drayton, Middlesex. Continental Tyre Group Ltd’s main brands are Continental, Uniroyal and Semperit. After 140 years, the company certainly knows how to produce high quality winter tyres in its ContiCrossContact range, as we know from personal experience.

December 2011 Issue of 4×4 Magazine

DecBlogMet up with 4×4 magazine’s Australian correspondent Robert Pepper last month. We had never met face-to-face and while I wasn’t quite expecting corks hanging from a bush hat, I did think I’d probably get a ‘G’day mate’ in a typical Aussie twang. Turns out, he’s an ex-pat, and left these shores over a decade ago, and still speaks English (a fact for which he is to be complimented). We had a good chat about things 4×4, planned some excellent future features and then just chatted about how things had changed since Robert last lived within these shores. One thing he was finding hard to understand was the increase in crime here, compared to his life ‘down-under’. Sadly, I had to agree with him, since only a few days before we had received a knock on the door from one of the neighbours who lives further up the road. Now, we live in what is best described as in the suburbs of Surrey, certainly not some war torn deprived urban wasteland. The very good natured neighbour had noticed that we have 4x4s parked on our driveway and she just wanted to warn us about what had happened to her the previous night. It appears that while she was sitting, alone, watching the TV at about 11pm, she became aware of a strange noise, which was actually a pair of scum-balls trying to jemmy open her front door. Thankfully, turning the lights on meant that the pond life scarpered and left her alone.

When the police arrived – whom she commented were ‘absolutely brilliant’, so, given they often get a bad press, it’s hats off to Surrey’s finest this time, that’s for sure. The officers explained that the morons were actually trying to open the front door on the expectation that the owner had left the keys to the 4×4 on her drive, just inside the front door – as so many of us do apparently. They would grab the keys and drive off. My neighbour had dropped by just to warn other 4×4 owners in the street, which I was very grateful for – as was a neighbour further down the road who declared, “Blimey, I never even lock mine when it’s on the drive!” Guess that his insurance company aren’t actually aware of that fact!

DecNewsCaptivaChevrolet’s Captiva has become the fifth model in the American manufacturer’s range in the last two years to achieve a five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating. This respected rating saw the Captiva achieving an 88 per cent rating overall for adult occupant protection in the event of a collision.

Add that to a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty, and the appeal of this SUV to potential owners with a large family is obvious. The new Captiva was introduced this summer, with a new 2.2-litre common-rail turbodiesel engine and seating for up to seven passengers. Prices start from £21,995.

DecNewsShohgunThe new model year Mitsubishi Shogun arrives in the UK this month. There will be a four model line-up, the SG2, SG3, SG4 and the popular Warrior version. All models will benefit from 18inch alloy wheels, new chrome grille and colour coded front bumper, black front skid plate and black roof rails.

Since its debut back in 1982, Mitsubishi has sold an impressive 104,328 models in the UK alone and there is significant brand loyalty with Mitsubishi claiming that seven in 10 customers remain with the Shogun when changing vehicles. A new 2012 model year Shogun is included in our massive 4×4 Of The Year test in next month’s issue. It’s up against some tough opposition…

DecNewsCrossThis month’s issue (December 2011) has our group test of the best SUVs, or ‘crossover’ 4x4s on the market. Now while we fervently disapprove of the term ‘crossover’, you also have to ask whether Sports Utility Vehicle suits some of the models tested in this issue (see page 60). There’s little that is Utilitarian about them. Whatever the nomenclature, there’s a great model range on offer, to suit all tastes, from the impressive but somewhat sombre VW Tiguan, to the outrageously quirky Nissan Juke. Some love the weird, almost organic, bumps and bulges of Nissan’s tiny 4×4, others are, well… less complimentary. However, most will join us in complimenting Nissan for the latest development of the Juke: enter the Juke-R.

Adding the ‘R’ designation indicates Nissan’s sporting models. In the old days of this writer’s youth, people put GT on the end of the car’s name! In Nissan’s case, the ‘R’ has seemed, in the past, to be little more than a clever way of charging a lot more for a model with a bit more power and a bit of fancy trimming and go-faster stripes. Not so the Juke-R, this is a seriously crazy road 4×4, and will certainly create a stir.

DecNewsArbilAs we closed for press last month, news came through to us that renowned off-road product supplier Arbil 4×4 has been appointed the new exclusive importer and distributor of the quality Australian ARB 4×4 products for the UK and Ireland. Now, as many readers will be aware, ARB products are highly respected all around the globe, and making them accessible from the guys at Arbil 4×4 is really good news to the UK enthusiast.

So if you are looking for air lockers, Old Man Emu suspension, roof racks, fridges and recovery gear, things are now made a lot easier by going direct to Arbil. Check out the website at www.arbil4x4.co.uk or call the guys up at 0845 600 4556. You should call for both private orders or if you are interested in stocking ARB products. Our advice is to give them a call and get them to send the free ARB catalogue. The Editor has grabbed one, and the plans for his Toyota Hilux are now coming to fruition!

Diesel engine performance specialist tunit has got into the Christmas spirit and is offering a special gift giveaway to everyone who has a tunit conversion this December. Increased performance, and increased efficiency from tunit’s conversions are claimed to save up to 12% on fuel costs.

You get a three year warranty with all the work, which can either be dealer or self-fit, and the guys at tunit say that they have options suitable for over 2800 models. You also get a Christmas gift of a High Street voucher worth £50 if you have the work done on your diesel engine this December. That’s fuel saving and a great gift, so if you’ve been considering contacting tunit, there’s really no excuse for not picking up the phone, is there? Contact them on 0845 838 1405

DecNewsCajunPorsche’s proposed small off-roader, still called the ‘Cajun’ in quotation marks on all Porsche press releases, is certainly on its way as significant expansion work has started at the Leipzig factory. This is the production facility that already builds the Cayenne (since 2002) and the Panamera (since 2009), but building the Cajun, sorry ‘Cajun’, involves an additional 500 million Euro investment.

It will lead to a total of 1000 new jobs and it is expected that the first vehicles will roll off the line towards the end of 2013. This is a particularly important model for Porsche. It is planned to make this the ‘entry level’ Porsche 4×4 in much the same way that the Boxster is the entry model to the sports car range. If the sales success of the ‘Cajun’ gets anywhere close to that of the ubiquitous Boxster it will certainly be classed a ‘success’, without quotation marks. The latest diesel-engined Cayenne is included in our 4×4 Of The Year test in next month’s issue.

DecNewsReliableJapanese manufacturers come out top with the Honda CRV (1998-2006) proving to be the most reliable, followed closely by the Suzuki Grand Vitara. Not so good news for Land Rover (2002-onwards), which is claimed, by Warranty Direct, to be the “most breakdown prone off-roader”. Despite this rather severe condemnation, the Freelander actually makes it into the top ten.

The bottom five include Range Rover (2002-onwards), Jeep Grand Cherokee (1999-2005), VW Touareg (2003-onwards), BMW X5 (2000-2007), with the ‘prize’ for bottom going to the Volvo XC90 (2002-onwards). Given the great number of different models included, a survey sample of 16,000 is perhaps a little small to draw any firm conclusions, and we would like to hear from readers about the reliability of their vehicles, send your comments through to us: [email protected]