Monthly Archives: January 2012

FebNewsMavaraTractor and farm Trader has placed the Nissan Navara at the top of their towing list in a recent test. Taking five of the most popular pick-ups, editor Howard Sherren and his team spent time putting them through their paces off-road with a trailer loaded with 300kg bales of hay.

The Navara had plenty of pulling power, excellent steering and comfort, with a firm ride it felt the most stable when towing and achieved the best traction. The VW Amarok followed closely on its heels with excellent build quality, new features and driveability. T&fT considered that the VW might be considered better value when compared to the V6 Outlaw Navara’s high purchase price.

FebNewsJukeBeing a tough, serious 4×4 magazine, we are not supposed to be that bothered about ‘soft-roader’ SUVs, but confess that this one raised our interests. Nismo is the performance arm of the Japanese manufacturer Nissan, and at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, the company unveiled the Juke Nismo.

Very distinctive styling, has the Juke as a lower and wider machine, much more aerodynamic than the standard machine, reducing the lift at speed and ‘forcing’ the vehicle down on the road through its 19-inch alloy wheels. The Nismo Juke is powered by an uprated version of the 1.6-litre direct injection turbo engine. Probably the wrong thing to say, but we like it. Even the fancy red stitching of the interior.

FebNewsChrokeeJeep has announced details of two new versions of the Grand Cherokee. The 3.0 CRD Overland Summit is the high spec model that takes all the features of the current top of the range, Grand Cherokee Overland and adds a few more. An exclusive new Rugged Brown paint scheme with fully chromed grill and fog lamp bezels, and 20inch polished aluminium wheels distinguish the Summit model’s exterior. The additional tech spec includes Jeep’s Advanced Warning System and Adaptive Cruise Control group; which has Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross-path detection systems. Inside the cabin, there’s a lot more wood and leather for the passengers . All this comes at a price of £44,795.

If it’s extra performance that you require rather than fancy wood and trim, the Grand Cherokee SRT8 (below) will certainly meet that demand. Street and Racing Technology (SRT) is the sports arm of Chrysler and the ‘8’ reflects the fact that under the bonnet is the new 6424cc HEMI V8 engine that delivers 470bhp and 465lb ft of torque. That’s 50bhp more than the previous V8 model, which is a serious increase. Oh, and it also includes Jeep’s Fuel Saver Technology… Jeep is marketing this as the ‘ultimate performance SUV’ and you can order your model now, for delivery in the spring, for a cool £58,995.

FebNewsScenicToyota pick-ups were somewhat plentiful across Antarctica in December as amazingly another expedition was attempting a formidable double transverse across the southern most continent. Led by Tony Martin of Extreme World Races, these six-wheeled Toyota AT44 pick-ups had crossed from one side to the other at the time of going to press, covering an astonishing 3280km in 23 days.

These six-wheelers, built by Arctic Trucks, are heavier than the Polar RTV and therefore, more prone to the problems caused by crevasses and leader Martin admits that at one point it was the machines advance radar equipment that stopped the entire fleet of three Toyota’s from disappearing down one particular fault line. This amazing motorised journey was being done to provide supply dumps and logistical support for the EWR Centenary Race to the South Pole which is a foot and ski race to mark Captain Scott’s Centenary which started on 1st January and included over 50 competitors.

FebNewsRecordWhile we were struggling with Christmas trees, buying unnecessary presents and unwanted Brussel sprouts, some four-wheel drivers were breaking world records – in Antarctica. Regular readers will remember our feature in the September issue on the amazing Polar RTV. We drove the mighty beast (based on a Toyota Tacoma pick-up) at Brands Hatch, a slightly incongruous venue for a machine designed to be the fastest, motorised vehicle to reach the South Pole, unsupported. The intention had been to arrive at the Pole exactly 100 years after the first man to do it, Norwegian Roald Amundsen. The weather gods and a broken wishbone put paid to that, but driver Jason De Carteret and engineer Kieran Bradley made repairs, tried again, and still managed to break the record and travelled from Union Glacier, Patriot Hills, to the South Pole in an astonishing 39 hours and 54 minutes. That absolutely smashed the previous record of two days 21 hours and 21 minutes, by over 29 hours. Amundsen had taken some 56 days to do a similar trip…

February 2012 Issue of 4×4 Magazine

FebBlogMoose on the loose! Sounds a bit daft, until you realise just how dangerous this can be – something I was reminded of this month when reading the excellent expedition stories in this issue. The expert expedition guides we have writing for us this month give advice on a variety of different regions; from North African Saharan sand dunes, Australian bush, and North American deserts, all the way to the European Arctic. Different regions, maybe, but one thing they all have in common is the warning to look out for wild animals and the dangers that they can cause your 4×4 expedition, in some cases bringing it to an abrupt halt.

Beware of the moose was something I became aware of when driving through Canada’s wonderful province of Newfoundland. The cartoon Canadian road signs display a somewhat disgruntled moose, scowling at a particularly crumpled vehicle. What a hoot…. That is until you see other signs describing not just how many accidents there have been in the area that year, but how many fatalities. And that’s people, not moose.

JuneStaffShionPicShion Scudamore – contributor

FebStaff2SchionAnother year is slipping by and the Bedford is still on the drive. Indeed, it’s been a few months since I have had much to report. Where does all the time go these days? The good news is that the welding on the cab has more or less been finished. However, the race against time to get the paint on the front half of the chassis and the cab is not looking good at the moment.

Once the old girl is roadworthy again, I can get her to a decent venue to complete the spraying but for now I am at the mercy of the Anglesey wind and rain – which is particularly viscious as this is being written – and matched with rapidly dropping temperatures.

BobCookeBob Cooke – contributor

FebStaff3BobSome sausages on a makeshift barbecue, a Kelly kettle and a Jeep. What more could anyone ask for? I’d had enough of beavering away in a stuffy office. It was wintry cold outside, and it looked as if it might be working up into a gale, but the thought of getting a breath of fresh air easily outweighed the prospect of catching up with a boring backlog of filing. I called Pete and found that he felt the same way, so pausing only to purchase a pack of Toulouse sausages from our local superstore, I aimed the Cherokee towards Buckinghamshire, the cruise control coming into its own on the long haul round the M25. I mention that because the cruise control still works, even if the air conditioning doesn’t, which is a pity – even in winter – because air con can be an effective means of demisting a clammy vehicle.

The heater fan is still capable of blowing hot air into the cab, so the only really annoying problem left is that the heater controls, along with the stereo and the digital clock, don’t illuminate at night, so I’ve had to learn to operate them Braille-fashion. Perversely, the gearshift indicator beside the gear lever has suddenly decided to illuminate again. Permanently.

LouiseLimbLouise Limb – contributor

FebStaff4LouiseDon’t you think you ought to put it in four-wheel drive’ my husband suggested weakly, as we slewed around the moor top road in the gloom, an early fall of snow having settled upon earlier slush, the two layers of road gunge freezing fast as I picked my way along. ‘I am in four-wheel drive’, I snapped back, hoping quietly we’d make it gently through the downward sloping junction without hitting anyone. I’d forgotten about those pesky back tyres and the snow had caught me out.

HIlsEverittHils Everitt – Editor at Large

FebStaff5HilsAs you will have read in last month’s issue, we recently tagged along with the Mitsubishi L200 Owners’ Club for a day of off-roading in the picturesque surroundings of Hawkestone Park Follies in Shropshire.

The L200 OC holds its AGM over a weekend at a site that can offer good camping and plenty of 4×4 fun for its members who own a wide range of L200s. I thought that our squeaky clean and shiny new Warrior model would stick out like a sore thumb among the heavily modded, knarly old trucks, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. There were a couple of other youngsters there, one with a novice off-roader behind the wheel who thought his truck was ‘awesome’ off the road and had a ball, blasting his way around the site, tackling some extremely difficult hillclimbs.