Winter 2015 Issue of 4×4 Magazine
Welcome to the 2015 4×4 Of The Year. This is our annual special issue where we look at the latest 4x4s on the market, from the seriously hardcore, the seriously expensive and the seriously competitive SUV market. Hopefully you won’t mind me blowing the magazine’s well used trumpet to explain that this magazine was the first ever to do such a major four-wheel drive group test back in the 1980s, and we have managed to continue every year since. As you can imagine, we are genuinely rather proud of that record, and since I was in on the very start, I can also be personally proud (and somewhat surprised, if I’m honest) to be still around and involved.
It’s always a massive undertaking to get all these vehicles together in one place, and the logistics were managed impeccably as ever by Sue Loy. We then need a photographer who understands the special demands of a 4×4 test, and once again we relied heavily on the many talents of Wayne Mitchelson. Our thoughts go to Wayne as he has managed to injure his back since the test – thankfully he got the images to me before the accident! Here’s hoping you are back behind the wheel soon, Wayne. In charge of most of the testing were previous editors of this magazine, Hils Everitt and Bob Cooke; add myself to the mix, and the team is complete. Our thanks also have to go to Peter and Heather Morgan who let us use the extensive facilities at their Motor Safari site. Without their help and support we would not have been able to complete the test. Thanks, guys.
This year was interesting in that we had a few significant vehicles appearing for what is probably the very last time. It’s certainly goodbye to the Land Rover Freelander, and probably the iconic Defender. It’s also hello to a couple of new models from the Fiat/Chrysler merger with the Fiat Panda Cross and the Jeep Cherokee. Looking at the future plans from this Italian/American manufacturer indicates that we are likely to have some interesting new models on test over the next few years. Indeed, since the test, we have been able to drive the new Fiat 500X SUV. While based as it is on the Renegade’s platform, these are two new models that missed out this year as they aren’t available in the UK yet, but next year they are likely to be strong contenders.
As before, we have split the group up into different classes, awarded Class wins, together with Highly Recommended awards. We also have a very special Spirit of 4×4 award for one vehicle. Which one? You’ll have to read the test to find out!
Now, I am sure that there will be some readers who own the models tested, or readers thinking of buying in the future. Do let us know what you think of our conclusions, especially if you are an owner. While we have been doing this for what seems like a very long time, we still want to hear from owners and drivers on what your ‘hands on’ experiences are.
Here’s hoping that you enjoy the issue, and find it useful if you are planning a 4×4 purchase in the near future. As, ever, do let us know.
Nigel Fryatt, Editor
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