Monthly Archives: July 2012

SeptNewsDusterWe can, after a very long wait, finally announce the UK opening of order books for Dacia’s Duster, thanks to confirmation of the new car warranty terms of three years/60,000 miles, and pricing of 4WD models from £10,995-14,995. Dacia is mindful that British buyers might be more interested in the more expensive competition with lengthier terms as standard, so there are two extended warranty options for five and seven years. The five-year/60,000 miles warranty upgrade costs an extra £395 and the seven-year/100,000 miles warranty £850. Each warranty includes Roadside Assistance for the duration of the policy period and covers roadside repair or recovery. Potential customers are invited to sign-up at www.dacia.co.uk, where regular news updates will be posted plus a pre-order service. Details of pre-launch activities will also be available on twitter @daciauk, www.facebook.com/daciauk or by calling 0800 99 11 99.

julystaffhilsphotoHils Everitt – Editor at Large


The long-term VW Tiguan has stolen a fair chunk of my heart, but I have to say there are a few little things about it that do irk me somewhat. Here’s one of them.

First of all, I will say that the Auto Hold function is brilliant, although I have to mention that I am one of those drivers who take great pains to set off from the lights or at a junction on a hill without rolling backwards anyway. I apply my handbrake and use clutch/throttle control as I was taught in my driving lessons! I really loathe those in front of me who use the footbrake and always roll backwards before setting off. You would fail your driving test if you did that, so why do people do it when they’ve passed? It’s appalling!

SeptAdvStartIn this second instalment of an ambitious desert adventure, mirroring the activities of the WWII Long Range Desert Group, the team honour their forebears, then tackle the drive north through a dramatic sand storm in the Great Sand Sea

Words and photography: Toby Savage

Despite the concerns of our military escorts, we enjoyed an uninterrupted night camped on the edge of ‘bandit territory’ and awoke ready for another glorious day of driving our matched pair of LRDG replica Jeeps along routes used during WWII. We were near a famous landmark called ‘Three Castles’, comprising three enormous rock outcrops that are clearly visible from about 80 miles in any direction. These were used as surveillance points to track enemy supply convoys and it was on one of these that we elected to place our own memorial to the brave lads who endured hardship, danger and adventure 70 years ago.

September 2012 Issue of 4×4 Magazine

SeptCpverLgBlack. Round. Too expensive. Tyres, we all need them, but do we take enough time making the decision of what to fit? Do we leave them on the car too long? ‘Still got a few miles left, I’ll leave it for another month.’ Sound familiar? It’s surprising really, although admittedly understandable in today’s austerity, that keeping the Pound in the pocket may seem more sensible than splashing out on a decent set of rubber.

As this is being written, we are in the middle of the typical British summer – which means 60mph winds and torrential rain! Splashing out, therefore, is what a lot of vehicles will be doing on our roads. Poor tyres means poor grip, and that’s a serious safety issue.

Tyres are, therefore, the single most important item you can fit to your 4×4 for all kinds of reasons; climbing that steep muddy slope that always defeats you, to just keeping your family safe and secure on the school run. The trouble is, it’s just so confusing when you come to need a new set. What other product can you think of that has so many product numbers, letters and codes fixed to it? And to make things even more confusing, the EU, in its wisdom, now wants to add new stick-on labels. For heaven’s sake! With the best will in the world, I cannot see how that will help. It’s a laudable idea to be able to ‘rate’ tyres, so you and I can compare them, but tyres are not like refrigerators. Add to that the fact that the tyre manufacturer gets to self-certificate and I for one, am not filled with confidence. Fit the tyre and the sticker gets pulled off – buy that vehicle second-hand, and you have no idea what the rating was without doing some further research.

NigelFryattNigel Fryatt – editor

SeptStaffNigelHas it got something to do with when we were kids and liked to splash around in puddles, that when we get bigger, there’s still an attraction but where we once had brightly coloured wellies, we now have a 4×4 pick-up?

Taking my now Cooper tyre-shod Hilux down to John Morgan’s excellent Slindon Safari site, saw me splashing about in the puddles, a lot! Now, we all know what the rules are about water and 4x4s, although there wasn’t enough deep water to need to check the depth before ploughing through, trust us we were being sensible – even when encouraged to show a little more vigour by the photographer. Despite care, an annoying minor problem was to occur, however.

junestaffianseabrookIan Seabrook

SeptStaffPepperThe summer has proved a quiet season for the Maverick. For two whole weeks, the Maverick didn’t turn a wheel. I’ve been very busy with work and events and when there’s a long trip to go on, my 45mpg Citroens are a lot more tempting. Still, it gave me time to sort out a few issues. The towing electrics took a mighty pounding at a Pay and Play site a few months ago and it was time to do something about it. I’ve actually opted to keep the electrics inside and will thread them out via the door seal on the rare occasion that I’m towing. A family friend has been doing this for decades as he was fed up at how quickly the electric socket can deteriorate when its out in all weathers. I’ve also finally repaired the heater blower resistor, so I finally have four working speed settings. Bliss!

JulyHilsFaceQuite possibly the greatest range of modern 4x4s ever built? No, I’m not talking about a Land Rover product, not after my latest test drive…

I’ve been waffling on about pick-ups for the last couple of months: on the negative side, their lack of availability in some cases and, on the positive side, what great alternatives they now are to the Defender, the days of which are perhaps numbered. This month, however, I am pleased to be turning my attention to a vehicle that I have always deeply admired and one that you see plenty of, especially in one generational guise.

Regular readers will guess that I am talking about the Jeep Grand Cherokee. I have owned one for six years and, ever since the first model came out back in 1996 have been a big admirer; apart, that is, from the WK third generation that, I felt, rather let the Grand side down. So I am particularly pleased to have brought you two articles on three different Grand Cherokees this month. Two of them feature the beloved WJ model that I own and the other showcases the very latest addition to the Grand family, the stonkingly fast and furious, yet elegant and refined, SRT.

BobCookeBob Cooke – contributor

SeptStaffBobI really couldn’t understand why ‘er indoors didn’t like driving the Cherokee. It may be getting on a bit, and I can quite understand that she doesn’t like getting dirt on her tights as she steps in over the mud-caked sidesteps (they’re useless as sidesteps, but serve well enough as sill protectors) but once she’s inside she has all the creature comforts of any modern SUV, especially the supportive electrically-adjustable seats giving her that commanding view of the road ahead. I’d also assumed that, being a somewhat pushy driver, she’d approve of the Cherokee’s traffic-dominating size, not to mention the availability of tar-scorching acceleration. Her main dislike, however, seemed to be that “the steering’s too vague,” which adds up to a feeling of success when I eventually persuaded her to join me on a day’s off-roading at the Slindon Safari site near Arundel.

SeptNewsSpecialsGiven that the ‘replacement’ for the Defender is going to be a ‘hi-tech’ new model, presently code-named the DC100, and many miles away from the original utility ‘workhorse’ ideals, it is somewhat ironic that there’s a new limited edition Defender model launched this month, and it’s called the XTech. Basically this is a smartly painted new Special Edition, perhaps getting us used to the idea that new Defender customers want a good-looking 4×4, rather than just the world-renowned utility working class toughness of a standard Defender. The XTech is available in Orkney Grey or Nara Bronze, with contrasting Santorini Black rook and black chequer-plate detailing. Black 16inch alloys and MTR tyres finish off the XTech’s quite striking exterior. Inside is a ‘pure Ebony part leather interior’, with embossed Land Rover and Defender logos. Available as a 90 or 110, the mechanicals all remain as standard, but the prices start at £27,995. Looks cool, there’s no doubt about that, but somehow seems a little lacking in originality; a touch desperate, even.

SeptProdCoolIdeal for all 4×4 enthusiasts, from serious overlanders to simple day-trippers, Arbil has announced four new portable fridge freezers. Developed in Australia to suit extreme Outback conditions, an ARB Fridge Freezer offers the convenience of having cold food and drinks at all times. The freezers are supported by a three-year warranty, and are available in 35 litres, 47 litres, 60 litres and 78 litres, making it a perfect car fridge for any travelling adventure. To find out more information on the ARB Fridge Freezer range and the extensive equipment range in stock, contact Arbil 4×4 on 0845 600 4556, or check out: www.arbil.co.uk