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SA4x4 review the latest in 4×4. From off-road testing to on-road first drives.

Power without the penalties? Amarok Canyon Edition comes close Words & Pictures by Angus Boswell The Amarok is a cleverly-engineered pickup. From launch in 2010, it was a step or two ahead of the rivals in terms of technology, if not ability. Back then, the flagship version used a 120kW 2.0-litre turbodiesel, which was a very different approach to that of its rivals. “The body is too wide, there’s not enough lugging power, the 6-speed gearbox is notchy,” said the doubters, “and where is the 3.0-litre V6 that it needs?” Even so, the little 2.0-litre proved reliable, capable, and able

RICHARD KIGGEN’S RADICAL KB Story Jacques Viljoen & images by Richard Kiggen There are two groups of people when it comes to modifying vehicles: those who modify for looks and the guys who do it out of necessity. At SA4x4, we tend to have more in common with the latter group. Richard Kiggen, the owner of the Isuzu-based rig you see on these pages, is definitely a guy who puts his travel needs first. What motivated your build, we asked, and this was his reply: “I love the beauty of Africa, its landscapes and cultures, and I feel that it

Report & pictures Jacques Viljoen It seems that every other day a new soft-roader is launched and it’s pretty much the same story: striking looks and plenty of gadgets, but basically a ruse. When you get down to it, they are station wagons in off-roader frocks falsely claiming off-road capability. Most of them are okay for gravel roads, but what if you want to take on a few Grade 2 and 3 trails, or get safely through a full day’s off-roading in sandy conditions? Say hello to the Compass Trailhawk, Jeep’s attempt at setting themselves apart from the rest of

Light on the dark side With a brand new Amarok co-developed with Ford on the horizon for 2022, or thereabouts, VW is rolling out a few special editions based on the existing technology. It’s a sure way to ensure consumer appeal against some of the contemporary rivals who are now into the next phase of their development cycle. That said, getting acquainted with the Amarok Dark Label Special Edition underlined that the Amarok is still a top-notch product with arguably the best build quality and most impressive attention to detail of any bakkie in the sector. The tried and tested

Motorhome World’s one-of-a-kind luxury globetrotter Story & pictures Andrew Middleton When it comes to overland exploration, there are several ways to go about it. You can go the lightweight route with a bakkie and a tent, you could tow an equipped off-road trailer, or you could opt to travel in your home-on-wheels. The Dreamcatcher is very much the latter option. Built to endure extended touring periods in the Siberian and Russian winter, where temperatures routinely drop below minus 40 degrees Celsius, this lavishly-equipped motorhome is the ultimate ‘money is no object’ expression of luxury overlanding. The beast can comfortably sleep

A pair of Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 5023s have reached the highest altitude of any wheeled vehicle – further proof that they are among the most capable off-roaders in the world. The trucks were driven up Ojos del Salado, the world’s tallest active volcano located in the Atacama Desert in Chile, to a record-setting altitude of 6 694 metres (21 962 feet) above sea level. That’s nearly the full height of the volcano, which is 6 893 metres high. To put this in perspective, the Unimogs reached an altitude higher than the tops of Denali (20 308 feet) in Alaska and

Adding a six-speed auto to Mahindra’s workhorse ups the game for this value proposition. It’s hard to argue against a brand new, top-spec double cab with all the latest bells and whistles for the same price as a five-year-old Hilux with 100 000km on the clock. That’s precisely where Mahindra fits into the picture. This company, which now has 67 local dealers and an assembly facility in Durban, is pushing hard into the sub-Saharan market with a range of utility vehicles that offer extreme value. Surprisingly, at this price range, they are also producing high-quality products that are a joy

Two weeks on the road and an exploration of the Okavango Delta’s attractions is a stern test for Rob Thompson’s new solar set-up for his Imagine caravan. Story & photos Rob Thompson Although as a family we have travelled and camped extensively in South Africa, Andrew, a friend from work, inspired us with his stories of travel in Botswana. When our friends Stamatis and Helen suggested a camping trip to Botswana in the 2019 July school holidays we decided this was the ideal opportunity to go and see what it was like for ourselves. So the planning began. Andrew’s advice

Does an extra four gears and two turbos make up for a lack in capacity? We hit Kroonland to find out. Having tested the Ford Everest in 2.2-litre manual form back in January 2017, we came back wholly disappointed. The engine produced almost no power unless valves were dancing on the bonnet. The extreme turbo lag meant that pulling away from traffic lights smoothly was difficult and a light flywheel resulted in a vehicle that was easy to stall off-road and frustrating to drive. Unfortunately, during our testing the traction control system on that vehicle, which allows you to input

Hendri Mouton’s hybrid 2000 Land Rover Defender 130 V8 If you’re the type of person who just can’t resist stepping on the toes of purists, irritating those from the Land Cruiser community and Defender enthusiasts alike, you’ll love Pugly. Hendri Mouton, an engineer and owner of 4×4 accessory company Zombie Off-Road, picked up this far-from-stock Defender two years ago already fitted with one of the finest V8s ever put in a Lexus – the legendary 4.3-litre 3UZ. Breathing through custom 53mm headers into a 63mm main Zorst exhaust system, the beast makes an ungodly burble at idle and roars like

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