Monthly Archives: January 2014

special-edition Amarok Canyon

Volkswagen’s multi award-winning Amarok has always challenged traditional pick-up conventions, and now a limited number of 350 vehicles will be available to UK customers when the Canyon goes on sale on 1 April.

From its specially developed high-shine styling bar to the robust, colour-keyed under-ride guard, the Amarok Canyon exceeds expectations in terms of technology, engineering and style.  Based on the popular Trendline trim but boasting hi tech features as well as distinctive rugged styling, the Amarok Canyon is packed with over £8,500 worth of extra equipment including: satellite navigation with a six-inch colour touchscreen,Bluetooth, unique styling bars, 19” Cantera alloy wheels and heated leather seats.  Drivers also benefit from front and rear parking sensors, privacy glass, a protective coating for the load area, a matt black roll cover, interior floor mats and high-gloss black side styling bars and rear bumper. 

ROLL UP COUNTRYThe Mountain Top cover is a superb loadbed top (we fitted one to our Toyota Hilux last year), but it does have its limitations. Should you want to carry something that is higher or bigger than the height of the pick-ups sides, you have to remove the Top completely. Now, that’s not difficult, but it is bulky and it’s certainly a two-person job. The news that the company has produced a new roll top version will surely increase the market enormously. If you are looking for one of these new Mountain Top Roll covers then a call to the guys at Up Country would be a good place to start. The Tops are available to fit with genuine factory supplied sports bars or the Mountain Top Sports Bar as well as Cross bars for carrying bikes. Double Cab and Extra Cab fitments are available for Ford Ranger T6 2012+, Isuzu D-Max 2012+ and Toyota Hilux Pick-up 2009+. Call 01986 875171 or check out the website.

Website: www.upcountry4x4.co.uk 

Race2Recovery to DVDThe story from 2013 of the injured British servicemen competing on the Dakar Rally is now available on DVD. The team competed in four Land Rover Wildcats, and while the aim to get all vehicles to the finish was not a success, the overall result certainly was and it makes excellent viewing. The DVD is produced by Gaucho Productions and directed by award winning director Tim Pritchard (he filmed Ross Kemp on Gangs), and is available now from www.dukevideo.com for £14.99 – with 10 per cent of all DVD sales being donated to Help for Heroes. You can also buy or rent the documentary from iTunes.

We will have a full report on the Dakar in our March 2014 issue.

QUICKSILVER EXHAUSTSAny vehicle that has a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine under the bonnet deserves a decent exhaust, and this new stainless steel system from Quicksilver looks exactly that. And of course the design has been made to ensure what the company claims is a ‘civilised tone’ when at idle, but that the exhaust has been ‘tuned for the enthusiast’ when on full revs, a full 18 per cent louder than the original. It also weighs less than the original system, a claimed 50 per cent less in fact, comes with a 25 year guarantee and can be ordered and delivered within three days. The cost is £1480 for the Sport and £1160 for the Super Sport. Your nearest distributor can be found on the website.

Website: www.quicksilverexhausts.com 

Football 4X4 driveRsOne of the side effects of Fiat’s partnership with Jeep has been the sponsorship of Italian Serie A football team Juventus – you couldn’t have seen the US brand being that interested in a ‘soccer’ team before! The result of the sponsorship has been the delivering of a fleet of some 27 Jeep Grand Cherokees, painted in either black or white (the Juventus team colours). Back home in the Premier League, it’s Chevrolet getting in on the sponsorship act with former Manchester United player Denis Irwin (below) presenting a specially signed Trax to Frosts of Shoreham, the West Sussex dealer having won the car on a special charity auction, the proceeds for which went to the Manchester United Foundation to support the team’s Ability Counts programme, which offers disabled people the opportunity to play or coach with Man Utd. Not all links between Man Utd and Chevrolet have been so positive of late; Paul Scholes having recently been the victim of ‘frost-jacking’ when he left his Chevrolet warming up on the drive at his home, only to come out to find it had been nicked! Given the way he tackles, you wouldn’t want to be the thief if he catches him…

Whether you’ve signed up to an organised 4×4 expedition tour or are going it alone, preparation is key. We join an expedition training course to see what’s involved… 

Words and photography: Sarah Harrington-James


A sense of adventureImagine this scenario: before officially tying the knot, the appeal of one last epic adventure with your best mate is soon concocted over several pints of the best British ale. Africa is earmarked, with Kenya the end game and several weeks on a plan is in motion, now that you’re the winning bidder of a 1995 Land Rover Defender 110. However, the adventurous pair in question, groom-to-be electrician Lewis Ashley and farming machinery specialist Kris Romney, are expedition newbies and under no illusion that they need to learn the necessary skills for their planned adventure. Sensibly, they sign up to an intensive three-day True Grip Off Road expedition preparation course – and I tag along too for good measure.

Disappearing off to a foreign, Third World country can be hugely daunting, which is why the prep work has to start at home. Kent-based True Grip, the origins of which started in 1993, can develop a course specifically for each individual, which takes into account previous off-roading experience, the vehicle they’ll be taking, the type of terrain on their journey and driver’s skill. Using True Grip’s Defender 110 on private land encompassing Eastwell Park, Lewis and Kris opt for off-road driving, winch recovery techniques, survival skills, vehicle preparation and ‘get you back home’ mechanics.

julystaffhilsphotoHils Everitt – Editor at Large

Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland

So, having put a deposit on my new 2009 Mineral Grey Grand Cherokee Overland I picked it up four days later, after a two-hour train journey and a large chunk of cash filtering out of the bank account. The dealership didn’t seem too bothered that I didn’t want to take up the finance offer; I got a pretty cheap bank loan instead, with a bit extra to sort out the garage doors – one needed replacing and the other garage just needed a door, full stop.

In fact, the garage and its intended new electric rolling doors were a big issue in the purchase of this particular Grand. The garage we keep the MX5 in was fine, of course, bags of room. In my old WJ, parking in our open garage was quite a precise operation, with just an inch or two to spare either side. But garaging the WK Grand could have been a real problem.

Screen shot 2012-04-05 at 15.17.51Robert Pepper

Land Rover Discovery 3Perhaps the most commonly discussed topic in Discovery circles is that of tyres, and on that front I have news. Back in the April 2013 edition I reported that the D3’s BFGoodrich KM2 mud tyres had worn out, and I was replacing them with the least aggressive tyre I’ve ever owned on a 4×4; Cooper AT3s. The logic behind this was simple; after years of driving stock-standard press cars with standard tyres I’ve still managed to have a lot of fun and get pretty much anywhere I want to go. This is because over time vehicles are becoming more capable, with ever-more effective traction control, power delivery and suspension. Even today, my 2008 Discovery 3 can hold its head high, and while it is modified the mods are all about touring, not off-road capability. Tyre technology has also progressed, with punctures becoming so rare road cars are omitting spare tyres entirely, and traction has improved across all surfaces.  Yet for all that progress punctures are still entirely possible and in the ongoing war of sharp mallee roots against tyres it is fair to say nature is still well head.

BobCookeBob Cooke – contributor

Jeep Cherokee Ignominy. The dictionary defines it as a feeling of disgrace, public shame. That’s exactly how I felt; though at least there wasn’t any public around when it happened. Being a reasonably experienced and competent off-road driver, I’m usually quite good at reading the way ahead and deciding whether or not the Cherokee will get through. There is the argument that even if the way ahead looks doubtful the whole idea of having some off-road fun is to have a go, and no shame attached if you don’t make it, getting stuck does, after all, provide an excellent opportunity to exercise your recovery skills.

It’s just that on this occasion it wasn’t one of those challenging obstacles like a steep and rutted climb or a pile of rocks. It was just that the surface of the muddy track got softer and softer along its length. And I could see that it was getting even softer up ahead, to the extent that my brain said: “Time to stop and go back, old chap.” Unfortunately I ignored that advice, mainly because there was another car up ahead and it seemed to have no trouble at all in spite of its relatively narrow tyres. So I drove on – for another 20 metres or so, at which point the Cherokee simply sank into the soft mud and wedged its floorpan into the gloop.

Korando makeoverDespite being a relative newcomer to the UK market, the SsangYong Korando is about to get a makeover for 2014. The front gets completely new treatment, which includes a black radiator grille, more contemporary headlights and wider, lower level air intakes. The rear gets revised light clusters and there are new 16 and 17in alloy wheels, together with three new exterior colours of Sunrise red, Cosmic blue and Carbonic grey. The most significant changes have come in the interior with a completely redesigned dashboard with soft-touch materials and natural matt wood grain. The new Korando has much improved NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) levels, thanks to changes in the engine mountings, which has much reduced engine noise, plus some new rubber bushes fitted to the car’s sub frame. All Korando models come with a full five year unlimited warranty, and the new 4WD models in the range start at a very competitive £16,495, rising to £21,495 for the top of the range ELX4 Auto. The new Rexton W is now available in right hand drive (we tested the left hand drive version for our recent 4×4 Of The Year, Winter 2013 issue) with prices starting from £21,995.