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Tests & Reviews

When it comes to winch recovery, there is a sharp divide amongst enthusiasts about whether steel cable is superior to synthetic rope. No matter where you go, people seem to argue the merits of both types, making it hard for someone not in the know to get a definitive answer. In the past few years, the popularity of synthetic rope has escalated and it is now widely available; but is it the right choice for you? Steel cable For as long as winching has been around, the industry standard has been aircraft-grade steel cable, which is more durable than synthetic…

A range of three variants of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class double cab will make its way to South African showroom floors early in 2018. The partnership with Nissan and the use of the Nissan ladder frame chassis and engine choices is evidence that automakers give strong consideration to the expenses incurred when tooling up for a completely new vehicle. Especially in this instance, where Mercedes is expanding into a relatively untested premium pick-up niche. However, the Mercedes design department insists that although the new Navara chassis is the basis, the rest of the X-Class attributes are solely Mercedes in nature, with…

All new for 2017, the long awaited Mitsubishi Pajero Sport will be launched in South Africa towards year-end with a brand-new engine, gearbox and chassis, to challenge the Fortuner head-on. As far as the spec sheet goes, the new Pajero Sport may have what it takes to dethrone SA’s SUV king. All-new styling is a result of a ‘form follows function’ approach so as not to impact on the Pajero Sport’s rugged nature and off-road capability. LED headlamps and daytime running lights illuminate the road while the ‘shield’ grille gives the midsize SUV an impressive stance. Available with up to…

By Andrew Middleton For most of us, a late model, bog standard Rubicon would be more than sufficient as an off -road toy. For Anel Lewis, this obviously isn’t the case, and having a father who owns one of SA’s biggest 4×4 accessory stores means that ‘standard’ simply isn’t good enough. The jeep went through a full transformation using bolt-on kit that you can find at any LA Sport store countrywide. Built under Anel’s expert guidance, the Jeep fits the requirements of someone who wants a weekend toy that is epic fun to drive, far more capable than standard, and…

By Sam de Beer The Workhorse John Gaisford’s article on the role of Land Cruisers in the prospecting and exploration side of the mining business (SA4x4 June 2017) parallels my experience of Land Cruisers as workhorses. I have been involved in underground mining for more than 40 years. In Canada and Australia, I worked at open pit mines and underground mines that used wheeled and tracked vehicles for operations. Every underground mine has an adit (from Latin aditus) where you enter the mine, and then you drive in a spiralling tunnel and long straight ramps, up or down, to the…

Mazda CX-5 All New Mazda’s all-new compact SUV spearheads a whole new generation of Mazda design. The new CX-5 is sleeker, safer, and also better-looking, thanks to new colours and styling. With options between three engines, auto/manual transmissions, and FWD/AWD, the new CX-5 covers all its bases. The Only AWD model in the line-up, the CX-5 2.2L DE Akera AWD Auto, starts at R557 500, which puts it in line with top-end models from VW’s Tiguan to the Hyundai Tucson. AWD CX-5s all get the potent 129kW, 420Nm turbodiesel mill, mated to a six-speed automatic box. The Mazda CX-5 comes…

Words by Andrew Middleton Keeping up with the neighbours is getting more difficult nowadays, and if Oom Piet from across the valley has just bought one of these to take the sheep to market, you’re all but trumped. The big numbers alone are something to behold: 165kW and 550Nm, a sticker price around R700k, and eight gears. One of our esteemed colleagues touted it as the ‘Bush Lamborghini’, and what a fitting name that is! All this V6 hoopla comes nine years after the Amarok’s initial launch, and countless ‘Only milk and juice come in 2 litres’ bumper-stickers. The long…

Photography by John Gaisford, Hilton Sinclair & Toyota Since the Seventies, the Toyota Land Cruiser has been unmatched as the commercial vehicle of choice for mineral prospecting in remote areas of southern Africa. John Gaisford gives a personal account of these tough-as-nails vehicles… The prodigy that is the Toyota Land Cruiser was first produced in South Africa in 1972, after a few batches had been imported in the year prior to that. At the time, its future rival the Land Rover was the ubiquitous companion of travellers and traders, hunters and explorers alike, and had been for 20 years. To…

Words and pictures by Andrew Middleton It’s a whole lot more than the Fullback sibling, and might even help turn that bakkie scrum… Unbeknownst to most, the Mitsubishi Triton can trace its roots as far back as 1978 when the brand’s first pick-up, the ‘Forte’, was launched in Japan. South Africa got the second-gen Colt, also known as the L200, from the mid-eighties, and then there was the Rodeo… Now in its fifth generation, the Mitsubishi one-tonner remains a fringe product in SA’s bakkie segment, but majors on a great reputation for reliability, good value and a unique 4×4 system…

South Africans love to tow boats, caravans and trailers, often at the same time, and it was these land trains that were the subject of some confusion among the German hosts at the 2009 launch of the Amarok in Argentina. How, asked the South African devil’s advocate, would this four-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel be up to the task? What was needed was a V6, something with the required grunt. No amount of persuasion by the Germans along the lines of fuel efficiency, emissions or actual turbo-induced pulling power, would sway his opinion. The big V6 is now here, but back in…

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