adv2aOur long-term Jeep Wrangler has showed off its superiority on plenty of off-roading adventures, but it was time to see how it would fare on a real test of skill and precision, and so we entered it into a club trial… no pressure.

Words & photos: Toby Savage, with additional photography by Matt Savage

Looking forward out of the windscreen of the Wrangler, all we could see was blue sky. The view to the left and right was similar, but through the rear window was confirmation that we were still earth bound on the unforgiving surface of Yarwell Quarry in Leicestershire, a popular trials site with many Midland-based 4×4 Clubs. We were stationary, and from the advice I was hearing none of the Jeep’s wheels were actually touching the ground! It was not the grand return to competition I had envisaged − collecting a maximum 10 points on the very first section of eight.

advptcLast month we followed Toby, and partner Jo, down the Autoroutes of France in our long-term Mitsubishi Shogun 4Work Van to their friends’ old farm house, high in the hills of Northern Italy. Following a wine-buying spree, Toby ventured off onto some of the tracks in the area to give the Shogun a chance to stretch its legs before an eventful drive home via the Alps

Words & photos: Toby Savage with additional photography by Leigh Hooper

Our plans took a bit of a knock as we gazed out of the window at almost zero visibility. A thick mist, bordering on light rain, had descended and enveloped the hills in autumnal damp. Regrettably, we only had that Sunday free to do our off-road driving in the Shogun and, judging by the distant sound of shotgun fire, the weather was not deterring the hunters who would be out in force on this, the first weekend of the hunting season. Wild Boar is their choice of target, but, to be honest, any other moving animal will do. The hunting is fairly well controlled; hunters require a license and work in small groups communicating by radio. A battered 4×4 is parked nearby ready to transport the hapless beast back to the farm, where it is apportioned out among the team. Our one hope was, that in the poor visibility, they would not mistake us for game and take a shot at us!

it1A blast across France to the vineyards of Northern Italy in our long-term test Mitsubishi Shogun 4Work Van proves a breeze for Toby Savage on his first leg of a long-distance drive and greenlaning trip

Power steering! Whatever next? My first impressions of the new Mitsubishi Shogun 4Work had got off to a good start. With my own disparate collection of 4x4s being firmly rooted in the Tax Exempt category, the luxuries of power steering, a great heater and car-like performance were much appreciated assets for an autumnal run down to Italy. A wet and windy drive to Kent, to collect the Shogun from editor Hils, meant it was 21.00hrs before we hopped onto the ferry for France, luggage and gear thrown in the cavernous back. The wire mesh ‘dog’ guard ensured nothing ventured further forward than the seat bulkhead and all was well, if a little rushed.