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Browsing: First Drives

Words and pictures by Grant Spolander. As some of you may know, SA4x4 recently attended the Allrad & Abenteuer Show, the largest overland expo in Europe. It was a huge privilege and a great opportunity to see the global industries’ leading offroad gear. Many of us consider the European off-road market to be at the forefront of innovation and design, based on the industry’s quest for superb build quality, unrivalled professionalism and phenomenal attention to detail. But the truth is that there’s no need to travel 8 000 km to Germany to see the latestand- greatest in 4×4 gear; simply

The Iveco Daily 4×4 was launched a few years ago in foreign markets, but, owing to SA’s poor-quality diesel, this versatile truck never made it to our shores. Now, however, the Daily 4×4 has been fitted with a Euro 3 engine that will happily run on 500 ppm diesel, thus paving the way for this multipurpose truck to be in Africa. In terms of market position, the Daily 4×4 is said to be the smallest of the off-road trucks in this sector – noticeably smaller than the Unimog. Amongst its many features, the Daily 4×4 sports a truck-derived chassis on

New models: Land Rover Discovery XS. Many old-school off-roaders consider contemporary SUVs to be too expensive, too complicated, and too heavy. Too everything, in fact. Whatever your views on the subject, what’s indisputably true is that every time a new model breaks cover, it’s invariably more expensive, more complicated, and more weighty than its predecessor. Which is precisely why the new Land Rover Discovery XS is such a breath of fresh air in the SUV category: it’s none of those things. Ostensibly, the XS has been launched to provide Discoverylovers with an ‘expedition-ready’ machine – but the cynics amongst us

New model: Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. Luxury 7-seater SUVs are comparatively few in number. Rarer yet are 7-seaters that accommodate adults comfortably in their third row. In years past we’d have gone as far as to say that only one vehicle ticks this box: Land Rover’s Discovery. But, with the launch of the second generation Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Solihull’s stranglehold on third-row comfort has finally been broken. This is a Benz which can transport the entire remuneration committee to lunch at the Westcliff with nary a whisper of complaint from Perkins and Khumalo in the back row. The new GL was launched at

Words by Grant Spolander. Pictures courtesy of Land Rover UK. Land Rover’s 65th birthday celebration. Before taking a job at SA4x4, I spent eight years working as a fitter & turner. In the early days of my apprenticeship, many of the precision tools I used were made in England, proudly advertising the fact with a stamp that read ‘Made in Sheffield’. These days, I think of England as a nation of pen pushers, bankers and insurance brokers. The glory days are over; China has stolen England’s seat at the forefront of industrial leadership. However, if I were a born-and-bred Englishman,

  New model: VW Amarok Double Cab 2.0 BiTDI 132kW 4Motion AT Highline It was only a matter of time before VW dropped an auto box into their Amarok. And when they did, earlier this year, it was entirely fitting that they kept with the game-changing nature of their new model by trying something entirely new. It’s not that they’ve introduced an 8-speed box, although that’s newsworthy in its own right. No, the big news here is that VW claim that their new gearbox does away with the need for a transfer box, such is its capability and versatility. The

Words by Grant Spolander, photographs courtesy of My first impression of the Navara, some years back, wasn’t very favourable: I faulted its off-road abilities and criticised its squishy-squashy suspension. But, after a recent Navara-driven trip to the Kalahari in this vehicle – plus now having more comprehensive experience of other DC bakkies – I feel obliged to revise my opinions. We can’t compare every DC’s suspension system without evaluating them simultaneously; but, (and I’m going out on a limb here,) when it comes to dirt, the Navara’s suspension is the smoothest and most comfortable of all the DCs I’ve

Words and pictures by Grant Spolander. Power Play VW has recently upgraded the Amarok’s 2.0 BiTDI engine. Previously, this twin-turbo, common rail unit produced 120 kW, but this figure has subsequently risen to 132 kW thanks to minor ECU modifications. The engine’s torque output remains unchanged with 400 Nm @ 1 500 to 2 250 rpm. Fortunately, this 12 kW power gain doesn’t affect the Amarok’s respectable fuel-economy figures, and the big bakkie still claims an impressive 8.0 l / 100 km for the 4MOTION model. According to VW, small changes were also made to the Amarok’s clutch pedal action,

Words and pictures by Neil Harrison Slip,sliding away While the phrase ‘extreme weather’ sends most folk into hibernation mode, our editor recently spent a weekend away with a club whose members relish such meteorological challenges.There is a fair number of clubs clustered around the interests of off-road vehicles and travel. Some clubs are geographical in nature: if you live in Putsonderwater you might belong to the Putsonderwater 4×4 club. Other clubs are focused on a particular activity: the Lets-see-howfar- we-can-drive-up-thisdune- while-holding-arefreshing- libation-inone- hand club enjoys ongoing support. Clubs’ entrance requirements vary. Some require that you simply share an interest, others

Words and pictures by Grant Spolander GROUND BREAKING Arctic Trucks Amarok conversion It’s been said that form follows function, but I questioned this belief while standing beside an Arctic Truck. Sure, you can’t doubt its visual appeal, but how practical can they really be? Well, I recently had the opportunity to find out while visiting SA’s very own Arctic Truck division in Knysna, where the company was about to launch their newly converted Amarok – a sole SA development project. Most of us love the idea of a highly lifted 4×4. Unfortunately, it’s a catch 22 situation; more often than

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