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

Words and pictures by Grant Spolander Br’UTE Force The double-cab sector has shaken up the recreational vehicle category. Bakkies are no longer just a compromise between load and people carriers – thanks to bigger cabins and more thoughtful ergonomics they’re now serious competitors to large family sedans. The new Ford Ranger is one of the latest double-cabs to debut a wide-bodied cabin, and although it was late to the game, this entrant’s a potential game changer. So the new Ford Ranger is finally here. We’re a little behind the pack with this road test and by now much of the

Information and images provided by ARB adapted by SA4x4 magazine ARB’s three-piece Air Locker design has a great reputation with the off -road fraternity. Trusted since the 80s, it’s become the yardstick, the diff -lock by which all others are judged. So if it ain’t broke, why mess with it? Well, there were a small number of Air Locker models that underperformed compared to the rest of the range. Enter one Daniel Bongard, now head of ARB’s Air Locker division, who was originally hired to improve these particular lockers. Th is turned out to be a tricky job. Says Bongard:

Words and pictures by Grant Spolander While there’s no denying the value of a roofrack or drawer system, many of us need more than these packing options when holidaying off-road, particularly when doing long hauls into neighbouring countries. For many overlanders, the obvious solution is to invest in an off-road trailer. As a result, trailer sales have boomed over the last decade and a number of new manufacturers have entered the market. To better address this burgeoning market, we’re planning to regularly feature trailer tests and trailer-related editorial, and we’re kicking off with a review of the Alu-Star Tracker, a

Words and pictures by Grant Spolander FUNKY JUNKY Toyota took their time to treat the South African market to a vehicle as boldly out-there as the fiery FJ Cruiser. We got hold of one and found that although it’s not the ideal overlander, it’ll make an entertaining mockery of just about any off-road terrain. That the FJ actually made it to our end of Africa is a shock to me. As far as model options go we never get the cool stuff from Toyota, like the Supra, the Tundra, the Celica and the original Ferrari-fast MR2. Even the Land Cruiser

Words and pictures by Grant Spolander LION HEART Towards the end of last year Nissan celebrated the Patrol’s 60th birthday with the launch of an anniversary model, the Adventurer 60. Aside from a few extras, the Adventurer is basically the same old Patrol it’s always been: stubborn, uncompromising and – according to our technical editor – damn near perfect. What’s the best 4×4? I’m asked this question almost daily and as most of you know, it’s something that’s nearly impossible to answer. What will the 4×4 be used for? Is good fuel economy important? How much load bay capacity do

Words by Grant Spolander Pictures by Grant Spolander and Craig Fox SMOOTH OPERATOR The Nissan Pathfinder is frequently criticised as a softie 4×4. I know this because I’m often the one making the accusation. But on a recent trip to the Baviaanskloof I realised the problem wasn’t with the vehicle, it was with me. When I originally tested the Pathfinder 2.5-litre (see page 74 in our October ’10 issue) I was so focused on the vehicle’s weaknesses that I failed to appreciate its strengths, or more importantly, what it was designed to do. Although the Pathfinder sports low-range the purpose

Words and pictures by Grant Spolander TRICK OR TREAT? At first glance the Prado TX appears to be an overlander’s delight, a stripped-down upmarket SUV solely designed for the off-road traveller. But is it really a better buy or a ploy to coax status-conscious off-roaders into the Prado den? This road test is long overdue and it’s entirely my fault. I could’ve tested the VX shortly after its launch, but I put it off because I figured that more of you would be interested in reading about the no-frills TX model which made its appearance a short while after its

Words and pictures by Grant Spolander MR MIN The Geländewagen has landed and it’s available in three guises: the G55 AMG, the G350 BlueTEC and the G300 Professional. Grant Spolander tests the Professional model, a military-spec 4×4 with no frills or fancies. Is this a practical off -roader or a niche-market oddity? Antoine de Saint-Exupe, a French writer and aviator from the early 1900s, wrote these words: “Perfection is achieved, not when there’s nothing more to add, but when there’s nothing left to take away.” I couldn’t agree more – the simpler a design, the less chance of something going

Words and pictures by Grant Spolander GRANDULAR FEVER As a Jeep fan and himself a proud owner of an ’00 XJ Cherokee, Grant Spolander eagerly climbs behind the wheel of the all-new Grand Cherokee, a vehicle that’s now equipped with air suspension. Can this game-changing feature restore the Grand Cherokee’s former glory? I own a Jeep but that doesn’t mean I’m biased. To prove my objectivity I’m going to quickly share my views on the Jeeps I’ve tested to date. ’09 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon: Hugely capable off -road, compromised on-road, fun for a weekend getaway but not really suited for

Words by Grant Spolander Pictures by Grant Spolander and Craig Fox PIED PIPER In our March ’08 issue we tested the Freelander 2 and declared it the best vehicle in its class. Late last year Land Rover released their second-generation Freelander 2. Does this newly upgraded model retain its sector-leading reputation? Let me start by saying, “I love the Freelander 2,” to the point that I often use this little Landy as the benchmark against which I compare all other softroaders. Why am I telling you this? Well, before I begin this road test I want you to know exactly

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