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Any 4x4 will do?


LincsLad

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Spent the last few days watching ALL "Dirt Every Day" and Ultimate Challenge" and was amazed to see that all vehicle types completed all tasks, saying that I'm guessing that most of the vehicles being used were running the same drive train and tyres.

Knowing very little about off roading but being an ex-Land Rover Defender owner [many] I was always in the company of others that proclaimed Landies as being the best off roaders? I might add here none were used in the American shows I'd watched which predominately featured Jeeps [un-modified Landies wouldn't have had a chance anyway?].

Now all American 4x4's used in the shows were heavily modified, I'm guessing all were using very similar components that no doubt were the best for the tasks that laid ahead. Some shorter smaller vehicles fared better in the tighter routes between tree's etc while the longer wheel base seemed to do better on some of the hill climbs.

Now the question,

Is there an un-modified production 4x4 that outshines the rest or is it a case of whoever has the most mod's win's regardless of original motor?

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In the early 90s, I took part in a huge 4x4 competition over Salisbury plain, involving a night navigation off-road exercise, then a day of 'trials' doing short sections of mud, lumps and water etc. There were no modified cars that I can remember, apart from more suitable tyre choices. There were lots of Land-Rovers: Defenders, Discoverys and Range Rovers, a few Jeeps, Suzukis, Toyotas, our Mahindra, and quite a few Vauxhall Fronteras, which were a new car around then. The car that shone out and pretty much wiped the floor with everything else was..... the Vauxhall!

Edited by Fourpot
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They are great shows but don't be fooled, drivetrains and tyres can vary enourmously in the USA as there is so much variety to choose from in new, used and aftermarket parts.

 

One of the US Land Rover clubs often organises their annual Moab event the week before NAXJA organises theirs. Those that I have chatted to seem like a nice bunch. I have wheeled in Moab (in a Jeep) with stock and modified Land Rovers on the same trails. They do OK, but even in the USA the drivers still tend to keep together which makes sense when it comes to breakages. I remember one Easter Jeep Safari and a heavily modified visiting diesel Defender from the UK couldn't get up a sandstone hill, quitting it after three attempts. My friend Janet from Isle-of-Man driving a rental TJ on ATs was following the Landy. Janet made the hill look effortless by doing it on her first attempt. Driver skill, picking good lines, choosing the right tyre pressure and just knowing how much power to deliver is what it takes in Moab.

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When I did the occasional RTV trial years ago I remember Suzukis being annoyingly capable compared to my Land Rover. Very similar dimensions to the original Willys MB, light, solid axles and good power to weight ratio made a good combination. Some years later I gave in and bought one myself. The new Suzuki Jimny looks really good.

 

Of course driver skill makes a huge difference, and these days there are a lot of electronic drivers aids to help, e.g. electronics that use the ABS system to brake spinning wheels. However, today I would imagine the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon would be pretty close to the most capable 4x4 you can buy off the shelf as it already comes with things people typically modify their vehicles with such as diff locks and sway bar disconnects - plus of course excellent power output. It will be interesting to see what the new Defender eventually comes out with; I suspect LR will want to steal some of that Rubicon market so will probably increase capabilities through diff locks, terrain response and / or disconnecting sway bars.

 

However, in major competitions it is likely to be one of the most heavily modified vehicles that wins - you're not going to turn up at King of the Hammers in a bog standard LR 90 and get very far. After a certain amount of modification the difference between makes reduces as the vehicles get further and further from their off-the-shelf models and just become custom extreme offroad creations regardless of what brand the body shell is modelled after.

 

Steve.

 

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33 minutes ago, sabconsulting said:

I suspect LR will want to steal some of that Rubicon market so will probably increase capabilities through diff locks, terrain response and / or disconnecting sway bars.

 

On front and rear independent suspension? I doubt there will be any substantial mechanical improvements to the Range Rover/Discovery platform it will be built from. It's going to be another 'look-at-me-I-can-still-move-with-two-wheels-in-the-air' premium 4x4. Only those with more money than sense will ever take one off road. The new Suzuki Jimny is going to steal away the functional 4x4 market from both Jeep and Land Rover globally (outside of USA) and I think it deserves to.

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There were a few Suzuki's on the show, only thing that seemed to let them down was their weight, or the lack of it. Quite a few were shown wheels spinning on the loose stuff, all the power you could have wished for but a bit light.

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On 10/09/2018 at 20:02, Fourpot said:

In the early 90s, I took part in a huge 4x4 competition over Salisbury plain, involving a night navigation off-road exercise, then a day of 'trials' doing short sections of mud, lumps and water etc. There were no modified cars that I can remember, apart from more suitable tyre choices. There were lots of Land-Rovers: Defenders, Discoverys and Range Rovers, a few Jeeps, Suzukis, Toyotas, our Mahindra, and quite a few Vauxhall Fronteras, which were a new car around then. The car that shone out and pretty much wiped the floor with everything else was..... the Vauxhall!

Yeah the Vauxhall was actually an Isuzu MU in drag. I drove an Isuzu Big Horn round a quarry in Wales and was pretty impressed.

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