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Sarah Kidd

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As you’ll know if you’re a regular reader of this magazine, for the last few years we’ve been running an Isuzu D-Max as our go-to off-road machine. It was built by Isuzu, to a spec we drew up with the guys there, the idea being that they’d exhibit it at the NEC’s Commercial Vehicle Show then afterwards it would spend a period of time featuring in our roadbooks and green lane guides.


That particular CV Show was the one in April 2020, and we all know how that worked out. But at least the bit about us using the D-Max for green laning went to plan… so much so that it’s still with us now. That’s us sorted, then, but what about Isuzu?

After going to all that effort, they missed out on giving the D-Max GO2, as it was named, its big moment in the public
eye. Then a few months later the all-new model came out, meaning ours wasn’t much use to them any more.

Read the full article in the August issue –

https://shop.assignmentmedia.co.uk/current-issue/4X4

Six months ago, Kia flew Britain’s motoring press to Inverness for the UK launch of the new EV9.
We spent a lot of time behind the wheel and got to experience the vehicle in all sorts of various conditions and on all
sorts of roads – but we didn’t get a sniff of anything not covered in tarmac.


But this is a big, premium SUV with all-wheel drive. Not price-pointed against the Range Rover, perhaps, but in its own
way Kia’s equivalent to that kind of vehicle. It doesn’t need to be able to get you across the Darien Gap, maybe (that was then and this is now), but it does still need to be a credible way of getting you to the other end of a rough track.


Houndkirk Moor, a very well loved byway west of Sheffield, is a rougher track than anyone who buys an EV9 (or rather who leases one, or more likely gets one through their company) will ever attempt. Is that too bold a statement? I suppose short of shouting FACT like some loser on Facebook, it can’t be proven, but I wouldn’t mind betting
this was the most extreme thing anyone in Britain has ever done in one of these vehicles. And it made it look like a stroll in the park.

Read the full article in the August issue –

https://shop.assignmentmedia.co.uk/current-issue/4X4

We’ve previously described the Skoda Kodiaq as the best vehicle never to win 4×4 of the Year. It arrived in 2017
and kick-started a new era for the Czech company, moving it further away than ever from its dodgy old roots and entrenching it in the mainstream as a brand that’s not just acceptable, it’s aspirational.


Our editor tells the story of a friend whose family owns a giant country estate in the south-west of England. Proper old money, and lots of it. Her car of choice? Not a Bentley, not a Roller, not even a Range Rover, but a Kodiaq – and she
absolutely loves it.

That’s just a one-off anecdote, of course, but it’s an illustration of how far Skoda has come – and of the
job the company has on its hands with the new Kodiaq, which has to replace a full-on superstar.

Read the full article in this month’s issue –

https://shop.assignmentmedia.co.uk/current-issue/4X4

One of the very earliest Range Rovers has emerged into the daylight after more than 35
years. Registered NXC 234H, the 1970 Suffix A was the third pre-production model to be built after the initial run of 25 Velars; requiring full restoration, it has been owned since 2006 by lifelong Land Rover enthusiast Peter Butters but is now for sale at an asking price of £45,000.


Originally painted Masai Red, the Range Rover was manufactured between 22 April and 28 May 1970. It was one of those used on the press launch in Plymouth but was later repainted in Lincoln Green – the story goes that it was chosen to be presented to the Queen on a visit to Solihull and loaned to the Royal household for a short period of time afterwards, and that Land Rover’s top brass felt that Prince Philip was unlikely to appreciate his new shooting
party transport being bright red. Just as the Range Rover has some outstanding tales to tell, so too does the
man selling it.

‘I fell in love with Land Rovers at about the age of five,’ says Peter, ‘when my Grandfather bought a new Series
II in 1959 – which I recently found and intend to restore.’

Read the full article in August issue https://shop.assignmentmedia.co.uk/current-issue/4X4


Defender takes luxury adventure to new heights with greater choice and more power,’ begins the latest communication from the entity once known as Land Rover. The company’s ‘unstoppable 4×4 has been
updated with a suite of comfort-enhancing features for more luxurious all-terrain travel’ and is now available with a new diesel engine as well as a special edition named after an old Kia people carrier.


This is the Sedona, a version of the 110 whose deep red colour was inspired by the iron-rich sandstone of Sedona, Arizona. So not the Kia Sedona after all, soz.

Based on the already highly kitted X-Dynamic HSE, the 110 comes with extensive black trim and details including 22” alloys, a bodycoloured spare wheel cover and Kvadrat seats which provide ‘a tough and highly tactile environment.’ It costs £82,130 before you get started with the options.

Read the full article in this month’s issue https://shop.assignmentmedia.co.uk/current-issue/4X4

Some 20 years ago, David and Tisha Selway were on holiday in Namibia. At a watering hole in the Etosha National Park, they found themselves parked up near a 1-Ton Land Rover 109” which had been converted into a home from home – and they had a moment of realisation. This was what they wanted to do.


The Selways fell instantly in love with the idea of camping with wildlife. Having lions and hyenas on the doorstep of their home from home seemed a logical dream to have. But as they got talking to the owners of the Land Rover, they realised they would need something bigger, stronger and more reliable.


What they chose was very big, very strong and very reliable. Dating from 1988, it was an ex-Army Bedford MJ which David bought for £4000 in January 2007 with just over 32,000 miles on the clock. ‘It had to be an older vehicle, to be affordable,’ says David. ‘An older truck using more basic last-generation technology was a good option as it would be repairable by the average bush mechanic or ourselves
alongside the road.’

Read the full article in the July issue – 

https://shop.assignmentmedia.co.uk/issue/4×4202407

For much the last decade, Defender building has shifted its focus from purpose and practicality to looks and lifestyle. As the vehicles’ values went up and up without any sign of ever reaching a ceiling, demand for blinged 90s and 110s appeared unquenchable –
the result being that now the market has adjusted itself to a slightly more sane position, it’s flooded with shiny Land Rovers rocking big alloys and trick paint.


Shiny Land Rovers do look good, if you’re into that. And some of the trucks the bling artists created during that period really
were quite mind-blowing. As that market moves relentlessly upwards, however, and gets more and more formulaic as a result,
individual builds are moving back in the direction of purpose and practicality.


A good Defender is still a pretty valuable thing, however. So we’re not seeing a return to the days when people would cut one up and go bashing it off trees at Tong or Slindon, or CCV-ing its brains out with their local Rover club. Instead, the new zeitgeist in Defender building is to turn a 110 into a long-range camper or expedition vehicle.

Read the full article in the July issue – 

https://shop.assignmentmedia.co.uk/issue/4×4202407

LOWER CLAERWEN IS ONE OF OUR FAVOURITE GREEN LANES ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY. Running alongside the Afon Claerwen river, between the head of Caban-coch Reservoir and the Claerwen Dam, it’s around two and a half miles long and packs in a variety of rocks, potentially deep water and supreme scenery. Towards its western end, this is dominated by the looming presence of the dam – beneath which, the trail begins or ends with lengthy ford over the confluence of the Claerwen and Afon Arban.

The lane has always been challenging in places; the rocks are tricky, particularly when travelling from the east, and when water in Claerwen Reservoir is overtopping the dam it’s a sure sign that it’ll be over your hubs, too. All this, and the wonderful isolation of the landscape as you pick your way along the valley floor, make it a highlight of any lane run in an area which is not short of classic rights of way.


Over the last year or so, however, the condition of the rock sections has slowly changed and they have become more extreme. This has led to drivers of less well equipped vehicles looking for alternative routes around the obstacles – causing off-piste damage to the adjacent land. As a result, the Green Lane Association has called for restraint in its use, specifically asking drivers not to attempt it in standard vehicles.

Read the full article in the July issue – 

https://shop.assignmentmedia.co.uk/issue/4×4202407

Ineos Automotive has acted to address an issue in the Grenadier range which saw customers being unable to claim their VAT back on Utility models. The Grenadier Commercial, which starts at a basic £51,931 in the UK, has been modified to comply with regulations on its tax status, also allowing customers to run one as a company vehicle while enjoying the lower income tax rate on benefits in kind.


Built in the same factory as the rest of the Grenadier range, the Commercial is converted ex-works by EDC of Pontypool. The result is a vehicle with aluminium inserts in place of the rear passenger windows, blacked out glazing on the rear doors and permanently disabled chassis mounting points to prevent a second row of seats from being added afterwards.


The truck has a full-length flat floor with a full-height bulkhead behind its two front seats, and can carry a standard 1200mm x 800mm Euro pallet. Its cargo area has a total capacity of more than 2000 litres; as with the rest of the range, you can depend upon a 3500kg towing capacity. Ineos also says that the Commercial has ‘5.5 tonnes of winching power for recovering itself or other vehicles’ when so equipped.

Read the full article in the July issue – 

https://shop.assignmentmedia.co.uk/issue/4×4202407

Four years ago, we got together with Isuzu to build the GO2 – a modifi ed off-roader that took the D-Max to new heights of ruggedness and capability. It was meant to be the star of the company’s stand at that year’s CV Show, but then someone in China fancied bat for
lunch (other explanations are available).


The GO2 has been seeing service on our own fl eet ever since, but Isuzu must have liked the spec we drew up for it because
now they’ve done one of their own. Called the Mudmaster, it’s based on the current V-Cross range-topper and features a snorkel, winch, LED grille and roof lamps, lifted suspension, custom rock sliders, larger all-terrain tyres, heavy-duty seat covers, vinyl mats, door handle protectors and more.


Is it named after an obscure new wave album from the 1970s, though? Thought not. Ours can still GO2 places other 4x4s cannot reach – but the competition is getting stiffer.

Read the full article in the July issue – 

https://shop.assignmentmedia.co.uk/issue/4×4202407