Personalised 4x4 Wheel Covers Custom made wheel covers in both semi rigid vinyl and stainless steel wheel covers from The Sign Maker. Single colour, reflective colour or full colour printed. New to 2013 - Full Wraps
Back in the October 2012 edition of 4x4 magazine, I reported on our BFG KM2 245/70/17 mudterrain tyres and promised an end-of-life update. That time has now come and the verdict is in. A few years back the general rule was that you never used mud terrains on the road. This was because of poor handling, noise and excessive wear. Fast-forward to 2013 and now mud terrains are more ‘streetable’ than ever before, offering much improved levels of grip and refinement compared to their ancestor tyres. And today’s 4x4s are also much quieter, sharper handlers and better insulators of road noise than their ancestors, so combine those two factors and the mud terrain becomes a viable daily-driver option. But that said, the muddie is not without its disadvantages. The first is cost, not only in the purchase price, but wear.
Our Escape model is the off-road version of the Tiguan and therefore comes in at a smidgeon over £2000 more than the standard model. Both are equipped with VW’s 4MOTION intelligent four-wheel drive that kicks in when the system detects poor traction. I have always been a bit sceptical about these so-called ‘intelligent’ systems as they are reactive, i.e., you need your wheels to experience a bit of a problem before the electronics suss it out and then react accordingly and switch power delivery to a more even split between the axles.
I prefer a vehicle that lets me lock into four-wheel drive when I say so; which is why I will always be a bit wary of the intelligent SUVs that are swamping our 4x4 market these days. Yes, regular readers know that I am an old fashioned gal who loves a nice big transfer lever that you thrust into four low and know damn well that it is locked in and off you go into the wilderness.
As a Toyota RAV4 owner, driving the CR-V was an interesting experience. The two models must be an ‘either/or’ for a lot of people looking for a family-sized SUV. I’m on my second RAV4 and will admit to being very happy with my choice, so being able to spend a week with the new fourth generation Honda CR-V was an opportunity not to miss.
To be honest, it’s not that obvious when looking at the fourth generation, what the difference is on the previous model, but then Honda has sold five million of them in total since introducing the model back in 1995, so I guess they know exactly what they are doing! The model is also built in the UK, which appeals to many a more patriotic consumer; OK, so the profits leave the country, but it’s great to know it was built up in the North East.
It’s just as well that I carry one of those head torch things in the Cherokee. Not just because we’ve entered the dark days of winter, though it’s useful on those odd occasions when you need to see if what you’ve just run over is edible. I don’t even need the torch to find my way up the driveway after parking because the Cherokee has a “sentinel” headlamp system, which leaves the lamps alight for about 45 seconds after switching off the ignition. I need the torch because the dashboard lamps have failed, so I need a means of checking my speed and finding the stereo and heater controls after dark. It’s an odd one – the dash illumination doesn’t work, nor does the stereo display, yet the digital clock still ticks away in the dark and the stereo still works, it just doesn’t show me what station I’m listening to. The handbook doesn’t assign a fuse to the dashboard illumination, so I’m somewhat bewildered.
After repeatedly scraping the underside of my Maverick during a rock-strewn day of greenlaning, I decided it was time to check the ride height. The gap between the front tyre and wheelarch should be around 20mm less than the same gap at the rear. Use of a tape measure revealed that not only was the front end about 30mm low, it was another 10mm lower on the passenger side.
Thankfully, raising the ride height couldn’t be easier, or cheaper. The torsion bar suspension includes an adjustment mechanism to allow for sag over the years. All you have to do is undo the locknut on the adjuster and then screw the adjuster down for more height. It means a certain amount of scrabbling around on the floor but as the ride height goes up, this gets easier!