Browsing: Off-road tests

The much anticipated new Navara has been on our roads for around a year now, and although they’re still not selling as well as Ford or Toyota, it’s a credible alternative with an interesting, high-tech approach. So far, South Africa has received only the premium diesel double-cab versions, which use coil springs to control the solid rear axle. It’s an interesting take, perhaps due to the fact that the platform and development strategies have been shared with Renault (for the upcoming Alaskan bakkie) and Mercedes-Benz (the X-Class). Now it seems that the next Triton will carry the Navara DNA, since…

The road-holding ability of the Sprinter is brilliant: at 120km/h, it is a rock-solid drive with its permanent AWD. When overtaking big trucks and other vehicles in 5th gear, the Sprinter is (as its name suggests) a sprinter. SPECIFICATIONS Engine: Intercooled 4-cyl TD Displacement: 2143cc Power: 110kW @ 3800rpm Torque: 330Nm @ 1400-2400rpm Gearbox: 6-speed manual AWD: Permanent with centre diff lock Towing unbraked/braked: 750kg/2000kg Ground clearance: 192mm Price: R920 800 The big mirrors give a good view of what is happening behind you. The driving position was more comfortable than in a lot of 4x4s I had driven before. The…

You want tyres fit for the bush, which are also comfortable on tar? Yup, you have entered the realm of All-Terrain Rubber which must grip and grind its way over a variety of surfaces. But which brand is best? The SA4x4 team amassed 17 sets of AT tyres for the biggest local tyre-showdown ever… The tyres The tyre market in South Africa is rapidly expanding – in volume as well as in brand diversity. World-renowned manufacturers such as Bridgestone, Goodyear, Continental (General) and Sumitomo (Dunlop) have facilities here, and a plethora of brands is imported through companies like TiAuto, SA…

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…

Words and pictures by Andrew Middleton 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 to entice customers. The Triton is available in four double-cab flavours including manual and auto options, with…

Words Damian Haun (aged 12) For the Easter weekend, my father and two of his friends had decided to do a trip in the Karoo. So, that was one Landy Lightweight (Etienne de Kock), a CJ-6 (Ian Nuttal), and my dad (Bobby Peyrot) in his CJ-2A. Early on Good Friday morning, we all met up in Villiersdorp and started the trip. We hit the dirt around about 11:15. And that’s when the fun started. All was going well, smooth sailing, until Sunday morning. We had spent the night at Skurweberg, and when we had to leave for Die Mond, instead…

Words Andrew Middleton, Images Dirk Visagie “A Fiat bakkie?” I hear you say. Well, yes and no. Manufactured on the same Taiwanese production line as the new Mitsubishi Triton, the Fiat Fullback is the very essence of badge engineering, but with a twist. By using the previous generation Triton 2.5l engine (as opposed to Mitsubishi’s new 2.4), and keeping the recipe fairly simple, Fiat is offering the Fullback at prices somewhere between those of equivalent Chinese offerings and mainstream products, yet using proven hardware from the trusted brand that is Mitsubishi. The Fullback is offered in three variants: a petrol…

Words and images by Andrew Middleton Don’t let the name fool you: the new Discovery Sport is not a Land Rover Discovery, neither is it particularly sporty. What it does manage, rather well, is to have a great breadth of talent. It’s the replacement for the Freelander, and it’s here to stay. Bridging a gap between the rather pretentious (in my opinion) but extremely popular Evoque and the larger, more manly Disco-proper, the new baby Land Rover will go up against Audi’s Q5 and BMW’s X3, amongst others. Despite its initial foibles, the good old Freelander proved to be a…

Words and image by Andrew Middleton The first X-Trail, launched in 2001, was a distinctive and practical softroader − classed as such thanks primarily to sharing a platform with the Almera sedan. Its boxy design, rugged looks and outdoor-lifestyle advertising ensured its popularity, but it lacked true 4×4 capability when compared to its larger SUV cousins. For 2015, and its third X-Trail iteration, Nissan has dropped the boxy design and off-road pretence with a model that replaces not only its predecessor, but also the seven-seat variant of the smaller Qashqai. An important model for Nissan then, but also one with…

Words and image by Andrew Middleton Dubai Dreaming If you imagine an office block on wheels, capable of out-accelerating most sports cars, you’ll get a good impression of the G63 AMG. This berserk iteration of a 40-year-old ladder-on-frame design lays a very thin veil of modernity over one of the most recognisable shapes in the bush, and it’s all the better for it. Although the G-Wagen’s gangster-rapper chrome face and obnoxious exhaust may be useless off-road, surprisingly little capability has been sacrificed in the name of speed. Recirculating-ball steering and a centre of gravity akin to the Leaning Tower of…

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