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Browsing: First Drives

Words and Pictures by Andrew Middleton. Although more usually known for its wildlife, deltas and vast grassy expanses, the quiet desert recently awoke to an all-new kind of roar – the growl of internal combustion in its finest and rawest form. For an inside line into the incredible sport, we joined Deon Venter (the owner of 4×4 MegaWorld) and his son, Jason, at the recent Botswana 1 000 Desert race. Covering almost 1 000 km in a weekend and over some of the most arduous terrain imaginable, the Botswana desert race is overlanding on steroids… and then some. The 4×4

Words by Andrew Middleton. Pictures by Nissan The new and improved Nissan Patrol Pickup is now available in South Africa. Offering a well-balanced mix of brawny good looks and brute performance, the new model now sports an all-new engine, revised rear differential, and several cabin enhancements. For the past 60 years, the Patrol Pickup has proven to be a highly capable, never-say-die 4×4, with many off-road aficionados swearing by its performance and durability. This new model builds on the Patrol’s heritage, while representing Nissan’s commitment to the large pick-up segment. Available in single-cab guise only, the latest Patrol Pickup boasts

Words by Jess Fogarty. Pictures by Jeep. The Jeep Cherokee has seen several revolutionary designs during the course of its history, and its latest transformation is no exception. The newgeneration Cherokee (dubbed the KL model) re-invents the mid-sized SUV segment by offering a uniquely sleek and athletic design, along with a few industry firsts in its segment. According to Jeep, the Cherokee is the first mid-sized SUV to feature rearaxle disconnect – an all-new system that reduces friction, energy loss and fuel consumption by uncoupling the rear axle when 4×4 capability isn’t required. The rear-axle-disconnect system is able to switch

Words and photographs by Andrew Middleton and Grant Spolander The Forester was an immediate hit following its launch in ’97. Back then, the Forester was marketed as ‘SUV tough, car easy’. An apt description for this truly unique softroader. Over the years, the utilitarian Forester has done a great job of combining estate-car practicality with go-anywhere AWD ability, and – thanks to its quirky looks and unexpected scope of abilities – the humble Forester has gained cult-like status the world over. Seventeen years on, the Forester has seen several tweaks and facelifts, as well as a few power-plant variants. But,

Words and pictures by Andrew Middleton. “Bugger the Bugatti Veyron…” his words rasp through clenched teeth as our Editor floors the throttle and we tear over a mountain pass with 375 kW clawing at the tarmac, “…this is a true supercar!” We’ve just pulled out of Honingklip 4×4, a grade 4 trail where the Range Rover Sport put its low-range gearbox and rear diff-lock to the test. Now, however, we’re screaming from 0 to 100 km/h in a stomach-churning 4.9 seconds up a mountain road. It’s a crazy statement, but given the Range Rover Sport’s wide-ranging abilities, I have to

Since its inception in ’99, the BMW X5 has sold more than 1.3 million units worldwide. Globally, the X5 is said to be the best-selling vehicle in its class and the founder of the Sports Activity Vehicle segment. Fifteen years on, the X5 has undergone its third-generation upgrade, boasting extensive changes to its interior and exterior, as well as revised engine options and a tweaked AWD system. On the engine front, the X5 sports five power-plant options – the xDrive50i, xDrive35i, xDrive30d, xDrive40d and the M50d. As the brand’s flagship performance model, the petrol-burning 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo xDrive50i punches out

Words and pictures by Grant Spolander. When it comes to engines I favour the redneck philosophy – the bigger, the better. As a 4.0-litre Jeep owner, I cling to that doctrine like a fine-toothed comb in a hillbilly’s mullet. However, I had to question my beliefs after driving the Amarok with its 2.0-litre BiTDI engine – a powerful oil burner that scarcely notices the bakkie’s weight. And now, with the recent launch of the Renault Duster 1.5-litre Dci, I’m again forced to reconsider my beliefs – and come to grips with the notion that small-capacity engines may have a place

Words and pictures by Bridgestone SA. The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and iconic action hero Chuck Norris have quite a number of qualities in common. Both are tough, capable, and a little bit rugged. Both are also nigh unstoppable off the beaten track. But, here’s the thing: What will happen if you let a troop of Rubicons loose to do battle amongst themselves? The Bridgestone 4×4 Club Challenge, that’s what! Okay, so driving a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon – with its front and rear differential locks and electronic front sway-bar disconnect system – in a tough off-road environment is a bit like

Hilux Xtreme Upgrade I think this upgrade, which began with a pencil sketch and a few ideas, epitomises our passion for what we do every day. We’d had our extreme bumper fitted on the Hilux, but wanted to take the rig to another level. Wider fenders was something we’d wanted to have for a long time, but we decided to widen them by only 40 mm so that we could easily fit a 10” rim with 285 tyres. We fitted 17” XD rim with 12 offset 285 X 65 RN BFGoodrich MT tyres, and 30 mm spacers, just to get

New Models: Jeep Grand Cherokee Jeep have just introduced their 2014 Grand Cherokee, sporting a minor face lift, interior upgrades and some performance improvements. The main exterior upgrades are the new high-intensity discharge (HID), bixenon headlights, with LED daytime running lights (DRL), offered as standard on all trim levels. The rear of the new Grand Cherokee boasts larger tail lights with LED lighting, a larger and more aerodynamic rear spoiler, new bumpers and a re-sculpted tailgate which provides greater rear visibility for the driver. Dual exhaust pipes are now standard on both Limited and Overland models. The interior sports a

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