November 2012 Issue of 4×4 Magazine
Writing this during the late summer sunshine we enjoyed earlier this month, it seems somewhat ironic that we are featuring preparations for the coming winter! We make no apologies, since if you are about to consider getting a set of winter tyres for example, now is a great time to start looking… and buying.
The severe winter of a couple of years ago meant that the demand for winter tyres far exceeded supply. Last year was milder, winter tyres sales dropped. Human nature perhaps; why buy something when you don’t need them? That’s a big mistake, in our opinion. The point that still seems not to be fully understood is that winter tyres are not snow tyres. They are tyres that work better than normal tyres, a lot better, when the temperature drops below 7degC. And by ‘working better’ we mean better grip, traction and, probably most significantly, winter tyres in cold weather offer significantly shorter braking distances.
I was very lucky to be invited to go testing with Pirelli earlier this year; to a cold, snowy and icy St Petersburg in Russia. The first hand experiences of driving 4x4s on snow and ice with, and without, winter tyres are explained on page 28. I’m not merely convinced on the benefits of the tyres, I’m now something of a passionate, crusading, fully paid up, winter tyre fundamentalist. It seems a complete no-brainer to me; use the best tools for the job and since the average temperature during rush hour in the UK is below 7degC for some six months of the year, why not have a tyre that works better in those conditions?
Of course, my fundamentalism does fall, broken on the hard tarmac of real life cynicism, and I suspect that winter tyre sales this year will probably be poor… until that white stuff covers everywhere, the country once again becomes grid-locked, and insurance claims rise as motorists go slip-sliding into each other. Just don’t come moaning to me.
Stepping smartly down from the soapbox, you have to check out the technical details of the new Range Rover in this issue. For many of us considering the price of a new set of tyres, a 4×4 that could cost £120,000+ is something of an irrelevance. As an enthusiast, however, you cannot fail to be impressed. A riveted, aluminium monocoque. Who saw that one coming? And what is still to come from Jaguar Land Rover in the future? That’s the most exciting question of all.
Here’s hoping you enjoy the issue. Do let me know.
Nigel Fryatt, Editor
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