February 2011 Issue of 4×4 Magazine


Well, it’s good to kick off the New Year with some encouraging news. As you’ll see in our opening News spread on page 10, Jeep has announced that the brand is fully committed to the UK and the 2011 Wrangler will be appearing on our shores, sometime soon. The new Patriot – also now available in 2WD versions – is also due, as is the much-improved and impressive-looking Grand Cherokee that will arrive in showrooms towards the middle of the year.

After the Fiat takeover everything went very quiet on the Jeep front; vehicles weren’t available and all were extremely tight-lipped about the 2011 model line-up in the UK. So the recent announcement should be met with a collective sigh of relief in the 4×4 community. We are, however, disappointed that the Cherokee appears not to be figuring for us in the UK, apparently being replaced by a brand new Compass, which really has the look of the urban crossover SUV. It will probably do well, and illustrates Jeep’s move into the more mainstream market to meet current demand for such vehicles.

January 2011 Issue of 4×4 Magazine

JanBlog1Welcome to a New Year! As I write this I am staring out at a freezing winter’s landscape that has appeared rather earlier than most people would have predicted. The last week has been chaotic, with the early December snowfall that brought the UK to a grading halt. My part of Kent and the surrounding area has been immobilised – Gatwick Airport closed, motorways clogged with jack-knifed lorries littered everywhere and people driving on dangerous roads when they really shouldn’t be venturing out.

I had to abandon a rescue mission in my Grand Cherokee to pick up a good friend stuck at a railway station as the road to get to him was completely blocked by 2WDs stupid enough to venture out in the ice and snow. They were going nowhere and making it impossible for me and my Jeep to get past! I think it’s time we all came to terms with the fact that the UK is liable to suffer bad weather from late November onwards. And perhaps we are, because these are good times for 4×4 sales which, as you’ll read in our News, have rocketed. And that makes it even more of a good time to bring you our annual mega test that is the highly prestigious 4×4 of the Year 2011.

December 2010 Issue of 4×4 Magazine


Winter is just around the corner, and if the weather is anything like 2009/2010 then 4x4s owners will need to be prepared to save the day again

As I write this the leaves are falling from the trees and the glorious colours of autumn adorn my still-leafy corner of Kent. It’s a beautiful time of year but, as the weather chills and those east winds start to waft in, it’s time to prepare for what could be another snowy, freezing and icy winter.

Last winter, the heroics performed by the emergency services, the farming and rural communities and those members of the general public sensible enough to own 4x4s helped to quieten the anti-4×4 lobby, and it is heartening to note that they have been pretty quiet ever since. So let’s keep up the good work and be ready for whenever we might be called on again to perform the same essential and often life-saving duties as so many of the 4×4 community did last winter.

November 2010 Issue of 4×4 Magazine

This month’s cover is rather a sad one. Yes, it does show off our beloved long-term Jeep Wrangler doing what it does best, demonstrating its prowess off-road, taking on the experts in the world of off-road club trialing. As you’ll read on page 56, our regular correspondent, and relative trials novice, Toby Savage had a great time and marvelled at the abilities of our lifted Jeep with its fat mud terrains but, sadly, this is the last time you will see the much-loved Wrangler ‘XUH4’ that has been with the magazine for over two years.

All good vehicle loans have to come to an end, but, in this case, it was rather unexpected as Chrysler decommissioned the Wrangler from the fleet, so it was suddenly called back. All the mods that 4×4 Magazine had fitted have probably now been removed and our highly capable Jeep is now in the hands of a dealer who may have no idea of its previous triumphs abroad and in the UK.

The reason the Wrangler went back so suddenly was the takeover of Chrysler by Fiat. As of 1st September, Jeep no longer had control over or access to press vehicles and the fleet was put under review with the new bosses.

October 2010 Issue of 4×4 Magazine


So, we’re waking up to dew-dusted gardens and there’s a fine mist on our 4x4s’ windscreens to clear before we jump in and head off to earn the crust that keeps our off-roading hobby alive.   

Yep, it’s the first of the autumnal issues and Summer is officially over – well, that is until the traditional Indian Summer kicks in… although looking out of the editorial office window it doesn’t look like we’re gonna have much of one in 2010.

It’s been a poor summer all told. The early promise in June and July never really materialised and many of the off-road shows were blighted with downpours and high winds which rather dampened spirits. But the 4×4-buying public is still out and about, as the traders will tell you, and their stands enjoyed a steady stream of business. And there are still some out there who haven’t yet got the love of the 4×4. To tempt them in as the new 60-plate hits the road (seen one yet? No? Neither have I. Someone must have bought a new registration vehicle somewhere: even a non 4×4 will do) we have a special feature for those buying their first 4×4, or indeed anyone who is in the market to change or upgrade their 4×4.

September 2010 Issue of 4×4 Magazine

As you’ll have seen from the front cover and our contents pages, our main feature this month is the amazing Carbon Neutral Expedition that set off from Heber, south of Salt Lake City in Utah and ended at the Overland Expo in Amado in southern Arizona.blogSept

I was extremely lucky to be invited to tag along on this event in regular contributor Ann Lockley’s Range Rover Classic. To be part of an environmentallysensitive global first was privilege enough, but to have driven through some of the world’s most spectacular scenery while doing so was the true icing on the cake.

Anyone who has been to Utah and Arizona will appreciate what I am enthusing about. From cruising along the Buckhorn Wash Road where Butch Cassidy used to hang out, the spectacularly-coloured rock formations towering over us, to bouncing over rollercoaster tracks that looked like something out of a moonscape, against a backdrop of snowcapped mountains glistening in the distance, to camping beneath the most amazing rock structures imaginable was a breathtaking experience and something I will never forget.

August 2010 Issue of 4×4 Magazine


I recently visited Goodwood for the Festival of Speed, which is an amazing motorshow although, in the past, hasn’t been much known for its 4×4 content.

These days, however, there is the lure of a ride in a Dakar Rally vehicle, courtesy of the expert driving team at Bowler Off Road, and several manufactures showcasing their 4x4s to tempt the off-road enthusiast. For instance, this year we got to take a peek at Mini’s Countryman 4×4 – a rather bizarre-looking vehicle; Nissan was showing off its Juke Crossover; Mercedes exhibited its new G-Class, and the superb Hilux that took the ‘Top Gear’ North Pole challenge was there on Toyota’s stand. It’s good to see an ever-growing 4×4 presence and even better, the famous hillclimb was graced by Bowler’s new road-legal Nemesis EXR, which was, very prestigiously, allowed to race alongside the super cars on its debut!

July 2010 Issue of 4×4 Magazine

blog As I spend most of my time in vehicles that are generally not meant for speed – crawling over tricky obstacles or trundling along scenic country lanes admiring the view – my recent trip to a race track to have some fun at high speeds was a real treat.

The reason I was standing in the rain waiting to jump behind the wheel of an Austin Martin DB9 and then a flaming red Ferrari 360 at Prestwold Airfield was to take up my very belated birthday present of a race track day.