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Browsing: Off-road tests

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

Words & Pictures by Andrew Middleton When the Jeep Cherokee was first released in 1984, it caused a stir in the auto industry. By using a monocoque instead of a heavy body-on-frame construction, the Cherokee opened up a new market segment that dominates our roads today: the mid-sized SUV. Despite the fragile state of American Motors Corporation at the time, Jeep’s Cherokee XJ (said to mean eXperimental Jeep) quickly became the most popular Jeep product of all time: by 2001, 2.8 million units had been sold. Despite the fragile state of American Motors Corporation at the time, Jeep’s Cherokee XJ

Words & Pictures by Andrew Middleton King of the Hill Massively intimidating on the road, and hugely capable off it, the bigbody Range Rover is as much a status symbol as a mode of transport. Like a gold Rolex, this land yacht is so much more than the sum of its parts. One drive will convert any naysayer into a stuttering fool going back on their words. It’s in a different league to most other 4x4s, and will nonchalantly swat opposition like an emperor may a mosquito. The Range Rover completely redefines luxury travel for me, but the truth is

Words & Pictures by Andrew Middleton In South Africa, everyone knows a Hilux. For 45 years, the venerable bakkie has shaped our roads, carried the sheep, taken the kids to church and been used to teach countless sons and daughters the art of driving.  In becoming SA’s longest active model range, 13 million Hilux bakkies have been sold here – that’s one Hilux for every man, woman and child in Zimbabwe. Marking the 45th birthday of SA’s most historic bakkie, the Legend 45 has been released with some interesting kit. While Toyota directors won’t reveal when the next-gen Hilux will

Words & Pictures by Andrew Middleton After its inception in 1994, Toyota’s Recreational Active Vehicle (RAV) caused quite a stir, entering the market as the first-ever compact SUV to successfully lure city slickers and urban commuters to the 4×4 world.The RAV4’s tiny stature and car-like driveability resulted in low running costs and ease of use, while offering the benefits of a higher seating position. Despite its obvious appeal to soccer moms, the RAV4 was offering more than just scaled-down-SUV looks; it also boasted high clearances, incredible manoeuvrability and a featherweight build, all of which afforded the midget SUV impressive off-road

Words and pictures by Andrew Middleton One of only three remaining pick-ups with solid axles front and rear, the Nissan Patrol occupies a small section of the market which favours indestructibility above all else. Solid axles have been chosen for the Patrol, Defender pick-up and Land Cruiser, solely for their strength. While the rest of the automotive industry races ahead, these three bruisers have stagnated in a technological timewarp, just one step ahead of the tractors they work with. Of course, having too little technology has never been an issue for the breed, but to pass modern emissions legislation, advances

Words and pictures by Chris Collard. There are few places on earth that rival South- Eastern Utah in stunning aesthetics and recreational opportunity. It is home to two of America’s National Parks, and claims the title of one of the world’s top mountain-biking, hiking, and photography destinations. What many may not know, however, is that the region (specifically the Moab area, which has over 2 000 km of meandering two-tracks) offers some of the best fourwheeling on the planet. If a trip to the United States is on your agenda, Moab is the place to go, spring is the time

Words by Andrew Middleton. Pictures by Andrew Middleton and Daniel Zoeller Facing a suspension-flexing, axle-snapping, near-vertical conglomerate of white rock and sand, I pondered: “Will the little Paj rise to the challenge, or flee the scene like a scolded pup?” But then, the decision wasn’t up to the Pajero – I was in control, and keen on a challenge… Which, of course, led to my getting stuck and backing up for a second attempt. This time, however, I engaged the Pajero SWB’s newly-fitted rear difflock and took a more thoughtful approach. And so, we began to climb, with the right

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