Monthly Archives: May 2014

Tracking  your 4x4There’s a growing trend of quality 4x4s being stolen, and not all of them the top of the range expensive models either. Land Rover Defenders still seem to be ‘disappearing’ overnight, often broken up for spares. Security is a hot topic, and this is one new high tech modern option that while it may not stop you actually losing your 4×4, you will at least know where it’s gone! CarLock uses remote GPS technology so an owner will know immediately that a vehicle is being tampered with, and possibly stolen. Plugged into the vehicle’s diagnostic port it communicates constantly to the CarLock Cloud. This then links to the mobile phone app that the owner downloads, letting the owner know if the vehicle is moving outside its locked area. The app is designed to work even when not turned on. Interestingly, it is claimed that this app will not drain a phone’s battery life due to the built-in cellular and GPS antenna. The CarLock system has subscription plans for throughout Europe, not just the UK. The price of the unit is currently 99 Euros, with a monthly subscription fee of 4.90 Euros. To learn more, check out the CarLock website.

Website:  https://www.carlock.co/

OME 4inch Wrangler liftJeep JK Wrangler owners can now buy a complete four-inch lift suspension kit. Old Man Emu is part of off-road experts ARB, and available in the UK through the guys at Arbil. The kit comprises of front and rear coil springs, Nitrocharger Sport shocks, steering damper, front Panhard rod, brakeline relocation kits, bump stop kit, coil packers, castor and driveline kit, along with anti roll bar disconnection kit and rear Panhard kit. Arbil explain that buying the complete kit will save a customer money when compared to sourcing individual items. The overall price of £1900 (inc VAT), which sounds pretty good to us. Due to the nature of the kit, it is designed for off-road use only in the UK, and ideal therefore for competition use. To get the full details of this kit, go to the Arbil website and search OMEJK4 for left hand drive Wranglers, or OMEJK4RHD for right hand drive. You can also find you local dealer online or call the guys at Arbil 0845 600 4556. Do tell them you heard about the kit in 4×4 Magazine.

Website: www.arbil.co.uk 

TIME PASSES FOR G-CLASSIt is the 35th Anniversary of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class (G-Wagon to us traditionalists) and to celebrate there’s an exclusive new chronograph from the Classic Ride Collection by 69 Pit Stop. The anniversary watch is made in Germany, naturally – although the G-Wagon is an Austrian production. As is the trend these days, this is a big watch with a diameter of some 43mm, with a black leather strap and stainless-steel clasp. The anniversary chronograph is available exclusively online at www.69pitstop.com and is available for 129 euros.

BobCookeBob Cooke – contributor

Jeep CherokeeIf anyone thinks it’s silly that I should own and run two gas-guzzling Cherokees, I’d like to explain that there is some reason for this apparent madness, and it does go further than to point out that the fuel consumption isn’t a problem because I can only drive one of them at a time. When I acquired my ’95 model in July 2011, I’d actually been on the lookout for one of the facelifted Cherokees from 1997 on; I bought the N-reg one because it came up unexpectedly and looked like a good deal at the time – £700 for a car with just 73,000 miles on it. Regular readers will remember the concerns I had about this car from the start – for instance there was no immobiliser reset key, the air con didn’t work because the reason for the car’s low mileage is that it sat in a field for years and the air con pipework had simply rotted away. Nevertheless, the old truck has given me excellent and trouble-free service for nearly two years, the only significant cost having been the few hundred I spent on fitting heavy-duty springs to give it a little lift.

However, I’ve always had in the back of my mind the thought that I’d really wanted one of the later, theoretically more refined, Cherokees. And even though the green ’95 model is still going strong (apart from a clonking from the rear which I suspect is a failed damper, not a serious problem to fix) when I saw the black ’98 model being wheeled on to the auction floor I couldn’t resist it.

julystaffhilsphotoHils Everitt – Editor at Large

Subaru Forester 2.0D XC Premium

This month we have taken delivery of a new long-termer. Having won our Mid Range SUV category in our 2014 4×4 of the Year, we wanted to give the latest Subaru Forester a real-life long-term test, as opposed to the week that our big test allows us.

The latest, fourth generation, version was launched early last year and was available from May, so now it is approaching its first birthday on the road. Sales figures before launch of the fourth incarnation had reached 170,000 globally (15,000 Europe) and since May, Subaru has shifted 1300 units in the UK of the new version. We completely fell for the original Forester, launched way back in 1997, which sold around 8000 units until it was updated in 2002. It looked like a conventional, bland estate car, which many didn’t like, but it offered low-range gearing and was a very good competent off-roader, which afforded a remarkably pleasant on-road drive. (This month’s – June 2014 – Buyers Guide includes the Forester, see page 96).

Nigel FryattNigel Fryatt, Editor

Toyota Land Cruiser InvincibleIt’s big, bold and brassy. Sitting on my suburban drive, it dominates. Now it’s a long while since I drove my first ever Toyota Land Cruiser back in the mid-1980s – that was a 90 series diesel, very practical but with little passenger comforts. Since then we’ve both put on a lot of weight, and one of us has become rather clever at what it does; the other remains a motoring magazine journalist.

This latest Land Cruiser is in Invincible spec (surely the best moniker for any 4×4?). This means it is the five-door version, complete with additional third row of seats and is powered by the 188bhp 3.0-litre D-4D engine (delivering a thumping 420Nm of torque at only 3000rpm), coupled to a five speed automatic transmission and a very clever Multi-Terrain Select off-road system. The third row of seats are particularly well designed in the way that they fold flat, and do not seem to restrict rear luggage space, which in a vehicle of this bulk you would expect to be quite cavernous. The result means you can carry seven people and a little luggage, or five people and a great deal of extra stuff.

MR LAND ROVER RETIRESAs achievements in off-roading go, Roger Crathorne’s has to be up there with the most significant. As one of the most respected and dedicated Land Rover employees, Roger has a very special place with everyone at this magazine, myself included.

Back in the 1980s, then a new, relatively inexperienced journalist to the world of 4×4, I went to Eastnor Castle to do a driving feature and Roger was to be my instructor for the day. Now if you go to any off-road centre these days, instructors will often be dressed in the latest high-tech off-road gear, combat trousers, and serious boots. In short they will look tough, ready for the difficulties ahead. Roger, however, greeted me in a pristine white shirt and neatly knotted tie, and a pair of immaculate slacks. He obviously had no intention of us getting stuck in the mud, we were after all, going to be driving. He was, by far, the smoothest, calmest and mechanically most sympathetic driver that I have sat next to – and trust me, I’ve been with a lot of ‘experts’ over the years. Roger was simply Mr Cool, and I hope that a little of his knowledge passed to me that day.

FUTURE SHOCKThe Discovery Vision Concept was launched in New York, alongside a scale model of the Virgin Galactic spacecraft. How appropriate. Jaguar Land Rover has announced a partnership with Richard Branson’s commercial spaceship project, and as the details of JLR’s latest 4×4 are revealed, you have to admit that the company’s future plans for the humble SUV are a world away from what most of us drive, both on and off the road.

Among all the astonishing innovative features, and dubious marketing descriptions, one comment from Gerry McGovern, Design Director and Chief Creative Officer for Land Rover summed up the new vision succinctly when he said this was, “a significant shift from Discovery as we know it.”

Hils BlogWith all the latest high tech, and often highly expensive new 4x4s arriving on the market, it’s worth remembering when things were… a little simpler!

Good grief ─ at the moment, if you blink you miss it. There is such a stream of new or updated 4x4s coming out just now that it would be easy to miss something if you took your hands off the wheel for a second. Many of these latest 4x4s hail from the bounteous upmarket SUV class. According to CAP, out of the £50 billion-ish we Brits spent on new cars in 2013, the class of car we spent the most on was the SUV, to the tune of a momentous £10 billion.

No manufacturer can now afford be without an example of the genre. At the extreme, Bentley finally revealed the long-anticipated, but inconclusive, teaser pic of its new SUV in late March (in News, May issue). All we get is a front-end image surrounded by camouflaging smoke effect. It does look, however, like a Bentley and, no doubt, will be huge but rounded off at the edges to create the classic SUV look. As Bentley is owned by VW, expect a rear end of Touareg proportions and ilk. It will be classy, outrageously expensive and powered by a Bentley 6.0-litre W12 engine (with Hybrid and diesels on the cards), and be built right here in the UK at the Bentley Crewe works in Cheshire.