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BR AND TINNIE OW 2014 SH le TACKLE 20 doub ne of Score o . See inside for s e s s pa tails more de


We road test the latest fourbies on the market

BUYING A SECOND-HAND 4X4 What to look out for when buying a used car

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CONTACT US Features editor: Kiri ten Dolle Creative: Melissa Doyle Contributors: Grant Edwards, Vani Naidoo, David Lems, Tammy Lewis Advertising manager: Peter Hockings Editorial inquiries: T 3817 1743 E Contact us now for the June edition: Advertising: T 3817 1717 E The Queensland Times 260 Brisbane St, West Ipswich, QLD, 4305 Publisher’s indemnity Roughin’ It is published by APN Australian Publishing in Ipswich. Those who make advertising placement and/or supply copy material or editorial submissions to Roughin’ It, undertake to ensure that all such material does not infringe any copyright, trademark, defamation, libel, slander or title, breach of confidence, does not contain anything obscene or indecent, or does not infringe the trade practices act or other laws, regulations or statutes. Further to the abovementioned these persons agree to indemnify the publisher and/or its agents against any investigations, claims or judgements.

4. .............................................Condamine River Rd: We test drive Mazda’s new BT-50 6. .......................................................................................Easter camping getaways 6. .......................................................................................Moreton Island adventure 8. .............................................................................................Fraser Island holiday 9. .........................................................................Hitting the sand: Beach driving 101 10. Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show and National 4x4 and Outdoors Show: Win tickets 12. ......................................Fishing in adverse conditions: David Lems shares his tips 13. ...................................................................New release: Polaris Sportsman ACE 14. ..................................Ipswich 4WD Club advocates safety on the tracks this Easter 16. .....................................................................................Hema releases new app 16. ............................................................................Second-hand 4x4 buying guide 18. ..........................................................Road-tested: Roo Systems tents and swags 20. .........................................................................................Review: Toyota Prado 21. ..............................................................New-generation Range Rover impresses 22. ........................................................................................Top drive: Isuzu MU-X

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TOP-QUALITY MAZDA ONE OF THE The Mazda BT-50’s real muscle is felt off-road, writes Kiri ten Dolle THE Condamine River Rd is an absolute must-do track, whether you’re a novice or seasoned four-wheel drive enthusiast, or simply looking for scenic day trip to take the family. We tested Mazda’s new BT-50 XTR on the track, which crosses the Condamine River 14 times between the area south of Boonah and Killarney. The difficulty rating is easy but recent rain filled the creek beds, allowing us to make bit of a splash after the dry spell. The deepest crossing lapped the bottom of the door. The BT-50, voted Drive’s best ute for the second consecutive year, is a practical yet stylish workhorse and easily transitions from work to play. On first acceleration, its feels like you’re driving a smoothly responsive SUV, with handling, tight turning circle and a short-shift gear range in the six-gear manual, which echoes that of a sports car. Page 4.

Off-road The 4x4 dual cab is big, burly and king on the road. Its real muscle, however, can be felt off-road, where it makes the toughest terrain a walk in the park. It’s powered by a 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel engine with peak torque between 1750rpm and 2500rpm, allowing for impressive grunt quite quickly. Condamine River Rd is only accessible the Boonah end, via White Swap Rd, while Head Rd remains closed due to flood recovery works. From Boonah, you head south towards Carneys Crek Rd and continue on White Swap Rd, which crosses the New South Wales border. A sharp right turn onto Head Gate Rd connects you Condamine River Rd. Our test model was fitted with 17-inch Mickey Thompson all-terrain tyres, which are perfect on the gravel road and handle the loose river bed surface with ease. Four-wheel-drive selection is on the fly up to 120kmh, with the

exception of four-low, for which the vehicle has to be at a standstill. We switch it over to four-high for the river crossings, which wasn’t necessary on some parts of the track, but it’s fully capable through the water. The steepest part of the track is located before the first crossing so at the click of a button we activate descent control – cheater’s mode for crawling down hills. This is just one of the enviable features of the ANCAP five-star rated BT-50’s safety package, which includes hill-start assist, locking rear differential, traction control and dynamic stability control with 205mm ground clearance. The in-built rear diff lock makes climbing muddy ravines no challenge by a simple click of a button located on the dash. What do you get? There’s roll stability control and load adaptive control, which adjusts the ABS, DSC and traction control technology to optimise control when carrying cargo. Its 3.5-tonne towing capacity and serious off-road credentials has


KINGS OFF THE ROAD seen the BT-50 catch the eye of caravanners and tradies alike. The cabin is spacious so it’s no surprise this truck has the potential to be the family car of choice. The interior is a modern blend of practicality with comfort. Seats are wide and supportive (XTR comes with fabric seats), while surfaces are nicely textured and hard wearing. The XTR 4x4 freestyle cab is available in six-speed manual or automatic and puts you in full control. It comes fitted with 17-inch alloys, fog lamps, chrome door handles, powered chrome mirrors, a chrome rear bumper and side steps. Inside features dual-zone climate control, leather-wrapped gear shift knob and steering, on-board satnav, Bluetooth and cruise and audio controls easily accessible via the wheel-mounted controls. From the outside, the BT-50 sports a sleek, athletic design. A twoinch lift kit and reverse camera or sensors would make this vehicle hard to beat in terms or performance and appearance. The tray is the compromise for four doors, measuring just short of the width of a standard Australian pallet.

The BT-50 trumps its twin-under-the-skin, the Ford Ranger, on the basis of a superior value proposition at $4500 less for the blue-badge equivalent. This truck is fun to drive – a test drive won’t disappoint. The vehicle was provided by Ian Boettcher Mazda SPECIFICATIONS Model: Mazda BT-50 XTR Details: Four-door 4WD ute Transmission: Six-speed auto or manual Engine: 3.2-litre five-cylinder inline DOHC intercooled turbo diesel Power: Maximum of 147kW at 3000rpm and peak torque470Nm between 1750-2500rpm Consumption: 8.9l/100km (manual) Bottom line: $50,000 on the road Warranty: Three years/100,000km, or two years/unlimited warranty for customers who do high kilometres

1-2. The first and second crossings are about 100m apart. There’s some small ravines and tracks to play with in between. 3. Double Crossing: Here you cross the river twice. This one rarely dries up due to a mountain spring-fed creek entering upstream from the crossing. 4. Mawhirt’s Crossing: This was the deepest crossing, reaching the doors. The road climbs a further 1.5km before the next crossing. The grassy area near here is called Dinner Camp – here we dropped the tray and had a picnic for lunch. 5. Bullocky Crossing was the traditional rest stop for drovers on their route through Cambonoora Gorge. 6. Flaggie Crossing. There is a lovely picnic spot under the arched tree. The flat stones on the bed of the river at Flaggie Crossing are often slippery with algae. 7. About 400m along, Rocky Crossing has a deep swimming hole and is another perfect spot for a picnic spot. 8. Mill Crossing refers to a mill that once operated near this location. There are commercial plantations of softwood and paulownia trees along this part of the trek. 9. Continue on 200m to Reis’ Crossing. Remnants of the fruit grove that was once here still remain today. 10. A further 600m will bring you to Heywood’s Crossing. Heywood’s Crossing was named after Billy John Dagg’s daughter, who married into the Heywood family. 11. Billy John Dagg’s Crossing. Established pine trees mark the original Wynola school site. 12. About 800m along is Andrew Evan’s Crossing, named after a man who drowned here while attempting to cross his team of bullocks through the flooded creek. 13. Long Crossing is a further 1.2km along. 14. Finally Watson’s Crossing, 300m down, was once the deepest of all the crossings, but now has a cement causeway. The track takes about half an hour to complete. Keep driving a few kilometres and you’ll find yourself in Killarney. Another 11km is Queen Mary Falls and Dagg Falls. Page 5

GET AWAY FROM IT ALL IN STYLE Lake Moogerah Caravan Park Lake Moogerah Caravan Park is situated right on the shores of beautiful Lake Moogerah and surrounded by the spectacular scenery of the Scenic Rim. From powered and unpowered camping and caravan sites to cabins and the lakehouse,there is accommodation to match all needs. Muller Park Rd, Moogerah QLD 4309 5463 0141 Maroon Dam Holiday Park Whether you are skiing on the lake, fishing or bushwalking, Lake Maroon Holiday Park is the perfect location to base yourself for fabulous camping holiday. It’s just a short drive from wineries and pubs, in a secluded area. 535 Burnett Creek Rd, Maroon QLD 4310 5463 6256 Ketchup’s Bank Glamping Glamping is the new craze of traditional camping with a touch of glamour. Ketchup’s Bank offers luxury accommodation with the romance of camping under the stars. Relax in your eco-tent, complete with en-suite, quality linen, private deck with spectacular views and your very own camp kitchen. 726 Green Hills Rd, Cannon Creek QLD 4310 5463 1269

MORETON ISLAND JUST BLISS FOR CAMPERS This third-largest sand island in the world is one of Brisbane’s best-kept secrets ANY camping trip I’ve undertaken could qualify for a National Lampoons sequel. But no matter what Mother Nature threw at us, Moreton Island stood up to its reputation as one of Brisbane’s best-kept secrets. Located 40km off the coast of Brisbane, Moreton is the thirdlargest sand island in the world, following Fraser and nearby North Stradbroke. We boarded the afternoon MICAT ferry from the Port of Brisbane for the 75-minute journey. Our Isuzu D-Max was only 14 days off the showroom floor and we were keen to test its power in the beach terrain. Halfway to the island, a gorgeous blue September sky was blackened almost instantly by an ominous storm cloud. Had we made the right decision to escape for two nights’ camping? The boyfriend let down the tyre pressure, afraid of being the one who got bogged in the sand the moment they drove off the ferry, holding up the mass exodus of four-wheel-drives eager to hit the beach. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Once we arrived at Tangalooma, not only was his blood pressure rising but so was the tide. The only route to our campsite at the very northern tip of Moreton Island was along the beach, before we could cut in along the Middle Rd. We found ourselves sandwiched between the sand embankment

and the ocean, which was ready to swallow the brand spankin’ new D-Max. With only a car’s width between land and water, we followed an old Toyota utility skilfully driven by a local who knew what he was doing. A few painstaking creek run-offs later and close brushes with the deep we made it to Comboyuro Point. We were the only campers in the whole 49 sites, so of course the blue skies emerged and we hunted down the best campsite just metres from the beach. We pitched our beaut lime green and orange ’70s canvas tent, humbly known as the Taj Mahal, and set up for the night. We kicked the soccer ball along the secluded beach, with not a person in sight, as the sun set over the ocean – absolute bliss! Then Mother Nature struck again – 95kmh winds tore through the campground with more rain on its way. There was no way I was prepared to relive our overnight camping trip in Byron Bay a few weeks earlier, when our cheap and nasty dome tent turned into a teepee and we awoke on Noah’s Ark floating on an air mattress above two inches of water. No! So up went the tarp. Surprisingly I managed to get some sleep, until I was awoken by the boyfriend yelling “are you all right?” I sat up frantically to the sound of a monster directly outside our tent. It was a wild boar rum-

Lake Somerset Holiday Park Situated between Brisbane, Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast, Lake Somerset Holiday Park is a short drive from the country towns of Kilcoy, Esk and Woodford. Set on 45 hectares on the northern shores of Somerset Dam, the park offers an ideal getaway for families, groups and individuals, and is perfect for watersports enthusiasts, freshwater anglers or those just wanting to relax. 78 Kirkleagh Rd, Hazeldean QLD 4515 5497 1093 Murphy’s Creek Escape Murphy’s Creek Escape offers exciting waterfront camping 30 minutes from Toowoomba and one-and-a-half hours from Brisbane. There are generous-sized powered and unpowered sites and group camping areas, all in a natural bush setting. 356 Thomas Rd, Upper Lockyer QLD 4352 4630 5353 Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park and Cabins Enjoy a relaxing holiday in the mountains in luxury cabins in a natural bush setting. Queen Mary Falls is a beautiful sheer 40-metre drop of spring water flowing all year round. Spring Creek Rd, Killarney QLD 4373 4664 7151 GLORIOUS: A CAMPING TRIP TO MORETON ISLAND IS AN EXPERIENCE TO SAVOUR. PHOTOS: KIRI TEN DOLLE

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maging through our esky. The Bulwer locals warn campers of feral pigs and advise of keeping food items inside your tent or vehicle. After a bit of a tussle we were sound asleep. Surely it couldn’t get any worse. It didn’t. The next day we experienced everything Moreton Island is renowned for – the Champagne Pools, kilometres of pristine beach, exhilarating four-wheel-drive tracks, sand tobogganing, the Blue Lagoon and, of course, the wildlife. We spent most of the day exploring the western side of the island by four-wheel-drive. We stopped at the Cape Moreton lighthouse, one of the oldest operating lighthouses in Australia, and watched as a pod of dolphins played in the ocean below. It didn’t take long for us to learn how crucial the tides were, unlike

an unfortunate duo who hired a boat, anchored it, only to come back later to find the tide had gone down and he was left stranded on the beach. Oops! On return to the campsite, we found a small green sea turtle washed up on the sand on its back, exhausted. We helped him back into the water and, on the second go, we watched as he gave us a wave and paddled into the sunset. It was certainly the highlight of our trip. That night we dined at the island’s sole cafe and convenience store for campers, Castaways Restaurant at Bulwer. The meals, although somewhat pricey, were delicious. At Comboyuro Point campsite there are no showers or toilets. The MacGyver in my chef boyfriend filled an old 20-litre oil tin with water and placed it on the coals to warm before filtering through our

outdoor shower, which did the trick. On day three we threw a line in the ocean, catching only a toadfish. But when you’re relaxed and blessed with glorious weather, it didn’t worry us. We scuba dived around the shipwrecks and enjoyed lunch at Tangalooma Resort, before it was time to board the ferry back home. As Clark Griswold says, “half the fun is getting there”. Right? n A word of advice. Bring your food, first aid and necessities as there is only one general store on the island. Campers can’t use the facilities offered by Tangalooma Resort unless you’re a guest. Camping permits are essential and must be booked before travel at or www.nprsr.qld

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Tammy Lewis goes on a family holiday to nature’s wonderland, Fraser Island A WORLD of tranquillity, beauty and nature at its best – that was my first thought driving off the ferry onto Fraser Island. Arriving at Kingfisher Bay for a four-night getaway was nothing short of amazing. Fraser Island is the perfect destination for those who love to go four-wheel-drive adventuring. While the island has many picturesque locations, all require a rather long, nerve-racking drive. But fear not – those without a four-wheel-drive do not miss out. The island has a range of tour buses that visit some of the most pristine spots on Fraser – Lake McKenzie, Central Station, Wanggoolba Creek and the Seventy-Five Mile Beach’s famous highway, to name a few. Lake McKenzie is a must if you visit the island. With luxurious blue, calm waters and white, soft sand, it was ideal for a day trip, swim, picnic or just a pop-in visit to brighten your mood. Here you can truly appreciate nature, and for those who love a good bushwalk, you don’t even need a four-wheel-drive to get there. The soothing spot was accessible by a walking track through the bush that began at Kingfisher Bay Resort. As we experienced in my husband’s 2009 Nissan Navara dual cab, the sand tracks are for the brave-hearted or experienced only. On the journey, some 4WDs experienced problems, but my herohusband was always available to help. Those most skilled knew the tricks of the trade, and were able to Page 8.

get out of a “bogged” situation without much effort. Surprisingly, we were lucky to have a fairly good run, no thanks to me. While my husband’s driving was proficient, mine was somehow lacking. It was day three, as we headed out for a trip along Seventy-Five Mile Beach on the east side of the island. The sun was bright and warm and we admired the splendour around us. The ocean was blue and the waves rhythmically crashed on the shore. Families and friends camped up high on the beach with flags marking their territory. Some were fishing on the shore, some relaxing in the sun. Our goal was to head to the Champagne Pools, which we didn’t quite reach. The furthest destination we arrived at was Indian Heads, which I highly recommend visiting. The view was sensational and whales and dolphins could be clearly seen from the lookout, frolicking for their audience above. So did we find ourselves bogged you may ask? The answer was yes – during my driving stint. My husband always said “don’t stop in soft sand”, so what did I do? Thankfully it wasn’t hard to get ourselves out of that situation. For those contemplating a Seventy-Five Mile Beach drive, I would

MUST-SEE LOCATIONS n Lake McKenzie, an amazing freshwater lake that will take your breath away. n Central Station and Wanggoolba Creek, for the history of Fraser Island. n Pile Valley’s stunning brush box forests. n Seventy-Five Mile Beach’s famous highway. Keep to the speed limit and watch out for washouts. n The Maheno Shipwreck and the coloured sands of The Pinnacles. n Eli Creek, the best place to swim along the beach. n The mighty Stone Tool Sand Blow.

recommend checking the tides beforehand. The trip makes a perfect day out, so be sure to pack a lunch, chairs and sunscreen. And don’t forget to stop at Eli Creek, where the clear water travels from inland and children enjoy being pulled along by the stream on body boards. Our last day and night on Fraser featured relaxation, tennis, beach walks by the jetty and, for me, a hot-stone massage. At just over $60, it was a luxurious indulgence. Cheers to Fraser Island and may your beauty be kept unspoiled forever. *The writer was on a self-funded holiday.



THE BASICS OF BEACH DRIVING TIPS WHEN DRIVING: n If the beach is wide (low tide) and there is a large area of firm, packed sand, drive on the part just above the wet area where the waves wash in. You can do this in 2WD as if on the road, but remember to keep a check on your speed. Stick to a maximum of 80kmh because washouts and small streams crossing the beach can appear quickly. n Before attempting to cross patches of soft sand or creeks, engage 4WD (H4 in second or third gear). Keep engine revs up to provide maximum torque until you are back on firm sand. n Road rules apply on all beaches (including the wearing of seatbelts and the .05 blood-alcohol limit), so keep to the left as if you are on a marked road. n Do not carry passengers outside the cabin. People have been seriously injured when the vehicle they were on the outside of rolled or collided with another vehicle. n Slow down when approaching people or parked vehicles, as the

sound of the surf can obscure engine noise and children will often suddenly dash towards the water or parents. n Avoid any sudden changes of direction or acceleration and, if possible, coast to a stop rather than braking heavily. n If parking on the beach, where possible, stop on firm sand but not where other vehicles are travelling. Otherwise, drive towards the dunes and swing the vehicle around to face the waves before stopping. This will make taking off again a lot easier. n When leaving the beach, approach tracks through the dunes square on if possible, and keep your momentum up. Keep your thumbs outside the steering wheel and follow any existing wheel tracks. The vehicle will more or less steer itself if the tracks are deep enough. n Most inland sand tracks are single lane, two-way and have many blind corners, so keep your speed down to about 20-30kmh. n While it is not always possible, try your hardest to avoid driving in saltwater, as your vehicle’s longevity will be affected.

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THOUSANDS of campers and four-wheel-drive enthusiasts will take to Queensland’s stunning sandy beaches this Easter break. There’s two elements essential to driving on soft sand – tyre pressure and momentum. Brad McCarthy, the inventor of Maxtrax and author of Dirty Weekends in South East Queensland: The Essential 4WD Guide, says high-range four-wheel-drive is usually the best choice. “If your vehicle has free-wheeling hubs, engage them before leaving the barge, ferry or firm ground,” McCarthy says. “There is no need to unlock them every time 4WD is disengaged – only when your trip is over and you are back on the bitumen. This is also the time you may choose to lower your tyre pressures: 172kpa (25psi) should be adequate for most sand driving.” However, if you get into trouble in really soft sand, McCarthy advises dropping tyre pressures to 103kpa (15psi). “If not, you can go as low as 82kpa (12psi), but reinflate to 172kpa (25psi) as soon as you are free,” he says. “Remember to keep your speed down when travelling on deflated tyres as serious accidents have occurred.” Before taking your trip, be sure to check tide times for safe travel. “Contact the relevant authorities for permit details and local information. Ensure you have, as an absolute minimum, a snatch-strap, a couple of shackles, a shovel and a tyre-pressure gauge and your vehicle is mechanically sound,” says McCarthy.


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ALL THINGS OUTDOOR AND MORE Irwins to make special appearance at annual Tinnie and Tackle Show THE IRWIN family is among the line-up at this year’s Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show and National 4x4 and Outdoors Show at the RNA Showgrounds. Join Terri, Bindi and Bob from April 4 to 6 and more than 200 exhibitors for the ultimate in off-road, touring, towing, fishing and boating. Chris ‘Brolga’ Barns, also known as Kangaroo Dundee, will be sharing stories on his efforts to save one half of our national coat of arms. The WAECO Outback Stage, hosted by Carlisle Rogers of 4WD Touring, will also host a series of meet-and-greet sessions with some of the 4WD and outdoor industry’s biggest names, including Pat Callinan, Jase Andrews, Peter ‘Spida’ Everitt and Allan Gray. Renowned angler and host of television’s iFish program Paul Worsteling will make special appearances across all three days to host talks and conduct workshops. Chef Bart Beek will be conducting cooking demonstrations – a standing room-only feature of the 2013 show. The hugely popular Fishing Expo Stage, Yamaha Supertank and Kids Marine Zone are also returning. These various interactive displays will have a continuous rotation of guest speakers and live demonstrations, covering a wide range of products and fishing techniques. There will be plenty of giveaways, with something for fishing enthusiasts of all ages and capabilities. Page 10.

Exhibitors will showcase everything from entry-level tinnies to serious plate aluminium fishing boats, marine electronics, fishing gear and accessories, chandlery and much more. Some of the best-known names in the industry will exhibit in categories including 4WD vehicles and accessories, ATVs and dirt bikes, automotive accessories, safety and recovery gear, GPS and electronics, kayaks, camping equipment, tents and a vast array of camper trailers and off-road caravans. This year’s Action Arena will be presented and hosted by Isuzu Ute, with the Isuzu Team D-Max giving visitors the chance to take a twowheel ride with them and experience the world from a different angle, or perhaps be a passenger when they tackle the 450-degree incline of the Iron Summit. Extra action in the arena will include displays from 4×4 stunt cars, ATVs, demonstrations and test drives, all of which can be viewed from

the comfort of the XXXX Retreat. In between shows the famous XXXX Angels will entertain. Tickets for the 2014 Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show and National 4x4 and Outdoors Show are $18 for adults and $12 for seniors, with children under 15 free. A two-day adult pass is also available for $25. Ticket holders will enjoy a free train loop to the show, with a service running via Central, Roma Street, Fortitude Valley and the Exhibition Ground stations across all three days of the show. For more information and ticket details, visit www.tinnieandtackle or n Roughin’ It has 20 double passes to give away to the 2014 Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle Show. Simply send us a photo of your favourite 4x4 adventure, with your name, address and phone number, to kiri.tendolle@ for your chance to win.


eet... MTerri, Bindi

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DISCOVER REWARDS OF BAD-WEATHER FISHING WIND, weed and wild weather – overcoming Nature’s elements is a real test of an angler’s skill. Forget the sunny days with a gentle breeze and calm surf. Anyone can fish in those conditions. But “roughing” it and accepting a challenge is what makes fishing most satisfying. Catching fish when the wind blows across your line is tough enough. But it takes a hearty soul to keep fishing when fragments of weed are sticking to your line and it’s raining as well. I love it. On a recent trip to northern NSW, I had the beach to myself fishing in such tricky conditions. But I still caught an impressive feed of bream. The secret is to be patient. The first step, though, is to make sure you are comfortable. Wear a waterproof raincoat with a hood that keeps your head dry. Wearing diving or similar boots to give your feet protection is also helpful. Once you are cosy and ready to face the wind and rain, it’s time to cast out and brave what nature throws at you.





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David Lems has some tips for the diehard fisher when Mother Nature is playing up

Keep your line as tight as you can and try to angle your rod into the wind to reduce big loops forming. This is where a big sinker and strong-smelling bait work wonders. A large ball sinker will help counter the wind twisting your line too much. Baits such as mullet, mullet gut and prawns fit well on your hook and stay there even in the wind and rain. Using softer bait like yabbies can be a waste of time if you can’t feel your line properly in adverse conditions. Even if weed is causing problems, a smelly bait will still attract a fish and give you time to hook it. Try to clean your line and rod tip after every cast and persist if you are in a good gutter or close to a submerged sandspit holding fish. The final tip is to move your bait a bit with a few turns of the reel. It’s no good having your bait sit on the bottom if the fish aren’t biting. Use the wind and rain to advantage. Lift your bait regularly and keep tension on your line. Now all you have to do is hook your target and land it. With no-one else vying for your spot, it’s a fulfilling way to fish. The rewards can be surprising.

SAVE $50


BATTER ES Page 12.

Shop 1, 32 BRISBANE RD BUNDAMBA QLD 4304 PHONE : 3816 1851 (next to Salters Jeep)



WORK, PLAY WITH ACE POLARIS is defining an entirely new type of off-road vehicle with the introduction of the Sportsman ACE. The vehicle’s architecture is completely new to the industry and features a revolutionary, sit-in chassis that is nimble and comfortable to operate. Released this year, the new Sportsman ACE provides a confidence-inspiring ride, while being both farm- and trail-capable. “In creating the Sportsman ACE, we wanted to not only appeal to current farmers, commercial users and off-road enthusiasts, but develop a vehicle that brings new customers to both work and recreation,” said David Longren, the vice-president of Polaris’s off-road division. “We accomplished this by coupling an easy-to-use, nimble platform with a confident and secure ride that, together, provides drivers with an entirely new experience.” The revolutionary design combines the size and nimble handling of the Sportsman All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and the confidence and comfort of the RANGER and RZR side-by-sides in a rider-centric design with an easily transportable 121.9cm width. A comfortable and confidence-inspiring centralised seating position connects the driver directly with the machine. The Sportsman ACE boasts 26.04cm of ground clearance and 24.1cm of rear travel. Powering the Sportsman ACE is an all-new 32-horsepower ProStar electronic fuel-injected engine featuring an internal counter-balance shaft for smooth, vibration-free power. The dual overhead camshafts and a four-valve cylinder head work with the advanced engine management system to precisely deliver the fuel charge for impressive power and instant, predictable throttle


response, while the lightweight efficient transmission captures every ounce of power to deliver it to the ground. The engine is designed to reduce internal friction, which dramatically reduces noise and significantly increases efficiency, making it the most fuel-efficient engine Polaris has offered. This, coupled with the 19.87-litre fuel tank, provides the vehicle with excellent range for long days on the paddock or trail. For added comfort, an integrated dead pedal gives the driver a place to perch their left foot while the right nests in the integrated heel pocket and throttles the powerful ProStar engine. The vehicle also is equipped with powerful halogen lighting. The ACE is equipped with the same legendary on-demand true all-wheel drive (AWD) system found on all Polaris off-road vehicles. The system automatically engages when the rider needs more forward traction and then reverts to two-wheel-drive automatically when the AWD is no longer needed. The driver also has assured stopping power from the linked fourwheel disc brakes and braided stainless-steel brake lines. The Sportsman ACE is pre-wired for the installation of a winch with up to 1587kg capacity, and the has a 680kg towing capacity. The Polaris Sportsman ACE will be available in authorised Polaris dealers from next month.

n Powerful 32-horsepower ProStar engine with dual overhead cams n Unique single-passenger cab design gives a whole new off-road experience Confident and secure n On-demand true all-wheel-drive n Three-point seatbelt n Protective netting n Assured stopping power with four-wheel/four-disc braking system Comfort and convenience n Bolstered bucket seat with 10.2cm of adjustability n Easy ingress and egress with flat floor plan n Adjustable steering for optimum control n 260kg rack and storage capacity n Integrated foot rest n Integrated accessory door system n Convertible rear cargo box n 680kg towing capacity n Powerful halogen lighting Easy to ride n Independent rear suspension with 24.1cm of suspension travel n 19.87l fuel tank with electronic fuel injection n Rider-centric design Compact and nimble n low centre of gravity for stable and responsive ride n Trail-compliant 121.9cm width n 156cm wheelbase n Lightweight transmission for efficient power transfer n 26.04cm ground clearance

18 Turley Street, Ipswich

Hornbuckle Mechanical • Safety Certificates • Brake Repairs • Specials on Tyres • Log Book Servicing

Mobile: 0413 407 861


p 07 3812 9985 p 07 3812 9041 e w


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4WD CLUB STRESSES SAFETY Ipswich members follow their passion but take life-saving precautions


HE was young and confident with a rig decked out with big wheels and a lift kit fully capable of driving the local track. “He got to the top of a trail and there was a bit of a drop-off. He dropped the front wheels off and panicked, stomping on the brakes. “As he locked it up a gas bottle, which wasn’t secured in the back, projectiled through the wagon, hitting him in the back of the head and knocking him out.


“The car careered down the ravine. He wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and was flung from the car where it rolled on top of him.” This is the tragic tale Ipswich 4WD Club driver awareness trainer Col Crowther tells of a young 4x4 enthusiast killed following his passion due to a lack of simple yet life-saving measures. He said understanding the limitations of your vehicle and common sense were crucial when hitting the tracks this Easter.

“If you get to a trail, always stop, get out and look to see if it is safe to proceed,” he said. “At the end of the day, there are no heroes. If you are not confident or competent within yourself to go and drive a trail, don’t do it, don’t risk your life. You only get one chance.” Ipswich 4WD Club takes all new members through a safety course before taking to the tracks.

OFF-ROAD TIPS: n When approaching a track, aim to keep all four wheels on the ground. Cocking a wheel off the ground can damage your car and could risk rolling it. n Understand the limitations of your car. n When it comes to tipping a vehicle over, you need to maintain your vertical plane. Basic rule: The top corner to bottom corner of the body of your vehicle – if that goes beyond vertical you will go over.

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Col’s top tracks: 1. Blue Mountains – I’ve been there 60 times 2. Barrington Tops 3. Fraser Island Wish list: 1. Cape York 2. Tasmanian highlands

“When a person joins our club, before you go out on anything more than a scenic drive, we put our new members through driver awareness training,” Col says. “This involves an evening, usually three to four hours of theory, then a practical day at a private property where we will run through basics, like safe hill stalls, recoveries. “We show them how to recover vehicles in precarious positions or

if they are bogged. We teach them the hill-stop procedure. If they are going up a very steep mountain slope and the vehicle loses traction and there is nowhere to go, we teach them how to reverse down the hill without getting into trouble.” The club focuses on making sure members pursue their passion with due care for the environment. The stereotype of 4WD owners creating havoc with no care for

their surroundings certainly does not apply to the 120-member Ipswich club. Members take their vehicles into private properties, 4WD parks and designated areas of national parks and state forests. The club belongs to the 4WD Association of Queensland. “We are not environmental vandals like a lot of people think 4WD drivers are,” Col says. “We get very heavily involved in cleaning up the tracks. We also work hard to maintain tracks in national parks.” The Ipswich club was founded by Ross Pedley, Owen Otto and Jim Williams on May 1, 1979. After a few afternoon drinks the mates brainstormed the idea of starting a club, which attracted 38 people to its first meeting in Bundamba. It was called the Daihatsu And All 4WD Club of Queensland initally, but later changed to the Ipswich 4WD Club in October, 1980, because of the variety of vehicles. Three of the inaugural members are now life members – Williams, Ian Menzies and Neil Middleton. Ipswich 4WD Club meets on the first Tuesday of each month at Ipswich United Services Bowls Club at 7.30pm. For more information, visit www.ipswich4wdclub or the Facebook page at Ipswich4WDC.

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EXPLORE OZ WITH NEW APP HEADING off road has been made easy with interactive maps right at your finger tips. Hema has combined its map technology, including 40,000 interactive points of interest (POI) and online features in Hema Explorer – a GPS navigation app for tourers, four-wheel-drivers and campers, now available for Android. “Hema Explorer empowers users by giving them content and features never before seen in a navigation app in Australia,” said Rob Boegheim, managing director of Hema Maps. “We have created a tool that can navigate explorers, inform trip planning and make remembering and sharing those trips a real pleasure.” The app features Fraser Island, High Country Victoria, the Kimberley, Cape York and the entire Great Desert Tracks series (including Simpson Desert) standard with every copy of Hema Explorer from the Google Play Store. Hema Explorer features reliable Hema maps in tandem with Australia-wide online street, terrain and satellite mapping, which can be clipped and saved to use offline. The 40,000 interactive points of interest specific to campers, four-wheel-drivers and tourers transform the mapping, covering everything from campsites and caravan parks to lookouts and 24-hour fuel. A genuine real-time and ahead-of-time trip planner, Hema Explorer offers advanced trip recording and access to the trip-sharing Hema Explorer Cloud, meaning the app is a complete companion for all types of outdoor adventures. Hema Explorer has been a revelation for iPhone and iPad users who like to get outdoors, becoming the number one paid navigation app on the Apple App Store within a month of its release. This success represents Hema Explorer’s ability to empower adventure, its mix of navigation and additional travel content making it perfect for discovering Australia’s great outdoors. “We have been exploring Australia for the last 30 years to make the best navigation solutions possible for on- and off-road adventures.” All that experience and knowledge has gone into Hema Explorer, resulting in an end-to-end travel partner that can help guide and record everything from casual weekend road trips to remote 4WD and camping adventures,” Rob Boegheim said. Hema Explorer is available now from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for $49.99. To celebrate the launch of Hema Explorer for Android, for a limited time only Hema’s classic 4WD destination maps come free with every copy of Hema Explorer. This offer will be available for a limited time only.

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SECOND HAND MAKES FIRST CLASS OPTION But make sure you take your time selecting your drive, writes Kiri ten Dolle

BUYING a second-hand four-wheel drive, like any other car, can be fraught with danger if you don’t do your research. Jeff Helland, who has been selling cars for 16 years, says the process should be emotionless and not rushed. “The beauty of buying second-hand is you’re always going to save on your resale,” he said. “The fellow who has bought the vehicle new is always going to cop the depreciation, so you’re going to get more bang for your buck. “I’ve got a Prado at the moment, which brand new ranges from $75,000. This one is five years old and $30,000,” he said. “A 2012 model X-trail is advertised at $23,990 – brand new it’s $33,000. It’s still got plenty of new car warranty, it’s done 35,000 kilometres and you’re saving $10,000.” Jeff’s parents founded Hellands Wholesale Cars at North Ipswich 44 years ago in 1970. He said it paid to be vigilant when hunting for a used four-wheel drive. “If you don’t know what you’re looking at, you could find yourself in trouble,” Jeff explains. “There’s a lot of ex-beach trucks and mine vehicles out there. When you’re inspecting them, you’ve got to be vigilant of rust and wear and tear. “Always look at the chassis rails and especially under the bonnet. Look out for nuts and bolts with corrosion, and the condition of the interior. “A lot of people forget to look at the hood lining – it can tell an awful lot about a car. The number of marks up there will tell you how much the car has been loved.” Compared with private sales, buying from a licensed motor dealer guarantees a clear title on all vehicles. “We must supply a Personal Properties Securities Register (PPSR), formerly known as a revs check, which will show if the vehicle was a repairable write-off, if it has been flood affected or if there is money owing on the vehicle,” Jeff said. Over the past eight years, Australian Bureau of Statistics show annual sales of four-wheel drive vehicles have doubled. Jeff said there were a number of factors that had contributed to this. “More and more people are buying four-wheel drives for seating capacity. They want the seven to eight seats,” he said.

Jeff’s top five 4x4s n In the wagons I’d go for a Toyota Land Cruiser, Prado, Nissan Patrol, Mitsubishi Pajero – they’re the four brands I’d personally by. n In the utes, it all comes down to price and how much money you want to spend. LandCruiser utes and your HiLuxes, Navaras and Tritons. There are cheaper brands like the Great Walls, which you would probably steer clear of as they have been known to have problems. n When you are looking at your 4WD, if you stick with your big name brands, such as Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi – there are a lot of aftermarket parts out there that will bring your repair cost down. Readily available parts bring motoring costs down. BASIC TEST-DRIVE n Inspect the gearbox for noise and sloppy engagement on the road n Be aware of exhaust smoke under acceleration n Listen for rattles while cold n Check the power of the steering wheel in full lock n Ensure the clutch engages at the midway point to give you an idea of the wear n Listen for noises in drive shaft, CV joints and diffs n Test the vehicle in 2WD and 4WD n Inspect the colour of the radiator coolant reservoir. Rusty brown water is a sign of neglect, while engine oil in the cooling system could lead to potential head problems

“They don’t want to be driving a Tarago mini-van. “Our kids grow up too fast, so getting away for the weekend is easy – just throw everything in the back and go. “Bribie Island is an hour from Ipswich – go for a drive up the beach. “Boonah has some lovely tracks that aren’t hard four-wheel-driving but it’s enjoyable.”

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FIVE REASONS THIS IS A WINNER n Sets up in less than two minutes. n Tough-as 320/340gsm poly cotton ripstop canvas construction. n High-density open-cell mattress – moisture dries super quick. n Fully water and insect-proof design – perfect for the tropics. n Stronger, longer ladder designed for lifted 4WDs. Specifications: n Open size: 240cm x 140cm x 130cm n Fold size: 120cm x 140cm x 28cm n Tent fabric material: 320gsm 14-ounce poly cotton ripstop canvas n 75mm high-density open-cell foam mattress n Aluminium ladder n Durable zippers n Nylon synthetics and polyester with reversible tracks n Top flysheet: 200D polyester, PU coated n Annexe: 660g PVC bucket floor n Annexe size: 2400mm (long) x 1400mm (wide) n Awning material: 320gsm ripstop canvas n PVC cover: 600gsm

ROO SYSTEMS’ NEW ROOFTOP TENT WHEN it comes to camping, convenience is the No 1 priority. Nobody wants to spend longer than they have to setting up camp. Having a cold drink, a feed and a good night’s sleep are the main priorities. A rooftop tent is one of the quickest camping options you can get, thanks to their set-up times of under two minutes. A rooftop tent also provides additional safety by keeping you well above the ground and away from nocturnal predators and any flash flooding. Roo Systems’ new rooftop tent has just arrived and is designed to excel as a convenient and safe camping solution for Australians. The Roo Systems rooftop tent is quick and easy to set up. It can be ready for use in under two minutes, and can be packed away just as quickly, thanks to the internal bungie cords that pull in the tent walls while it’s closing. The tent is made from tough 320gsm 14-ounce poly cotton ripstop

DOUBLE SWAG IS VERY ROOMY NEVER worry about feeling claustrophobic in a swag again. The all-new Roo Systems double swag is designed to cater for singles who like lots of room or couples for a comfortable night of sleep. This is one of the biggest swags you will find and the quality is amazing. The twin pole, free standing design means no canvas on your face at night and plenty of room to move. Specifications: n 15-ounce proofed 1000mm water head ripstop poly cotton canvas n PVC 550gsm bucket floor n Canvas pole clip loops n High-tensile 8mm alloy foot and head pole n Galvanised centre pole n Large storm flaps n Alternative entry n 50mm high-density mattress with poly cotton cover, 35kg/sq m n Carry bag n Dimensions 215cm x 155cm Page 18.

canvas with high-quality polyester and medium- to heavy-gauge selfrepairing coil zips. The fly is made from durable poly oxford with a 2000mm water head capability. Traditional polyester-edge binding has been replaced with durable flat-fell seams, ensuring no fraying and minimal risk of wicking (the ability of water to be drawn upwards by capillary). All seams are sewn with a poly cotton core spun thread, allowing for natural cotton swelling and ensuring needle holes are filled and watertight when wet. It comes with a 240cm x 140cm annexe with a 660g PVC bucket floor for additional accommodation. The 75mm high-density open-cell foam mattress makes for a comfortable night’s sleep. Open-cell construction allows air to circulate through the foam, ensuring moisture quickly dries.

The tent and the annexe are fully waterproof due to blade coat waterproofing application, and the windows feature a polyester sandfly and midge-proof mesh woven using one of the finest mesh grids available – 150gm/sq m. This still maintains anti-tear characteristics. All non-UV items such as elastic loops that are traditionally used to secure window toggles have been removed and replaced with bound poly cotton, adding strength and eliminating premature degradation. The aluminium ladder has been redesigned and is now longer, which means the tent is suitable for installation on almost any model of 4WD coming to a total of 2.1m high. Ladder extensions are available for higher vehicles if required. The PVC cover is made from heavy-duty 600gsm, which means the tent is protected from any low overhanging trees or other obstacles. Roo Systems’ range is available at 4WD Supacentre stores.



Despite this SUV being sparse on life’s luxuries, Vani Naidoo is more than comfortable with its ability off the bitumen THE Toyota LandCruiser Prado, the darling of the Japanese manufacturer’s range, has been spruced up with a retuned suspension, improved safety aids and new styling inside and out to ensure it keeps its stranglehold in the large SUV market. It is offered as either a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel or 4.0-litre petrol in four models paired either with a five-speed auto or six-speed manual transmission. Comfort The interior of the Prado is Toyota to a “T” – very few bells and whistles and almost stark in its simplicity. The GXL was particularly austere, with brush metal highlights failing to soften the impact of its hard plastic and simple fabrics. Buttons and surrounds look basic, and while the cabin is practically set out, it would be reasonable to expect more when you are parting with so much cash. The Kakadu was far more luxurious with its pale leather and woodgrain highlights leaving a better impression. Consideration has been given to the availability and placement of storage. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to pack the necessities needed for your journey. Seven seats come as standard across the range except for the GX, which can be fitted out for an extra $2000. On the road The 4.0-litre petrol and 3.0-litre turbo diesel have carried over from the last edition and are paired with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed sequential auto. The entry-level GX and GXL have different suspensions and fourwheel drive systems from the upmarket VX and Kakadu and this is evident, especially at low range, both on and off the road. Our manual GXL lumbered along the bitumen, efficient at speed but feeling its hefty weight around corners. It drifts a bit, too, with the tyres better suited for off-road forays sometimes losing purchase. The Kakadu’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, purchased by Toyota from a Western Australian company, is decidedly superior certainly in terms of stability and ride comfort. It is more effective in transferring front to rear weight during turning and allows the stabiliser bars to loosen for off-road drives and tighten again for a smoother ride on the tarmac. Off road, it is neigh on impossible to fault the Prado with the clearance levels, angles of departure and tight turning circle, evident in the last edition coming in to play again. The Kakadu benefits from the added technology of a front-mounted wide-angled camera that gives the forward view from the top of the Page 20.

bonnet – useful when you are coming down off a ridge or when faced with a drop-off. What do you get? Inclusions depend on the model you settle for and the difference between the entry-level GX ($55,990) and the range-topping Kakadu ($92,590) is very noticeable. Among other things for our test GXL, this little update has translated into 17-inch alloys, heated exterior mirrors and a new six-speaker display audio above the 17.7cm colour screen to add to tri-zone climate control, reverse camera, parking sensors, cruise control, keyless entry and push button start, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity. The Kakadu adds a whole bevy of extras, including 18-inch alloys, heated leather accented seats, power adjusting steering, rain-sensing wipers, auto headlights, sat nav with multi-info display, cool box, sun roof, a premium audio system and a Blu-ray rear seat entertainment system. Off-road features in the Kakadu are a five-mode Crawl control, height adjustable rear suspension, four-camera terrain monitor, electronic rear diff lock and a terrain select traction control dial. Other options Buyers in this market will also probably look at: Mitsubishi Pajero (from $50,990) Jeep Grand Cherokee (from $51,000) Isuzu MU-X (from $45,600) Holden Colorado 7 (from $46,990) Land Rover Discovery (from $68,545), as well as SUVs like: Ford Territory (from $39,990) Toyota Kluger (from $40,490). These SUVs are an option if off-road prowess is not a selling point. Practicality The Prado’s popularity is difficult to miss, finding favour with both commercial buyers and regular mums and dads. The option of seven seats, engine reliability and off-road capabilities offers up a heady mix. While high ride height is excellent for visibility, it is difficult for older people to climb in and out and parents of young kids may have to climb up to secure them in their car seats. Trailer-sway control is a boon for those wishing to tow. It is interesting that the best off-road technology has been saved for the luxurious top-of-the-range model, unlikely to ever see a corrugated road. Running costs The Prado shines here, using much less fuel than you would expect

from a vehicle nearing 2.5 tonnes. Official figures rate the petrol at 11.5 litres/100km and the diesel at 8.5L/100km, figures which stayed well within the realm of possibility during our test drives. Toyota offers a three years/100,000km warranty and fixed-price servicing at $210 for each of the first six services. Funky factor The exterior has been softened to some extent by a large new grille, freshly styled headlights and an oversized bumper. Toyota still favours straight lines where others have opted for curves but there is, I suppose, some comfort in familiarity.

VITAL STATISTICS Model: Toyota Prado GXL and Kakadu. Details: Five-door four-wheel-drive large SUV. Transmissions: Five-speed auto or six-speed manual. Engine: GXL has a 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel generating maximum power of 127kW @ 3400rpm and peak torque of 410Nm @ 1600rpm; Kakadu has a 4.0-litre V6 petrol generating 202kW @ 5600rpm and 381Nm @ 4400rpm. Consumption: 8.5 litres/100km (combined for diesel) 11.5L/100km (petrol). CO2: Diesel – 225g/km (a), 232g/km (m); Petrol – 271g/km. Bottom line plus on-roads: From $55,990. GXL diesel from $61,490 and Kakadu petrol from $91,590.

WHAT MATTERS MOST What we liked: Rugged nature, spacious interior, off-road prowess and technology. What we’d like to see: More generous inclusions, less on-road noise. Warranty and servicing: Toyota offers a threeyear/100,000km warranty with fixed-price servicing for the first six services. Services are $210 each. They are required every six months or 10,000km.

NEW CHAPTER FOR RANGE ROVER With more than 40 years of history, this latest generation is plusher than ever before, writes Grant Edwards GETTING behind the wheel of a new Range Rover doesn’t happen all that often. Not that the fine folk from the British brand are unwilling to throw around the keys – it’s due to the fact that this hallowed off-roader has a long life cycle. After more than 40 years, this is only the fourth generation. It’s still big and uber plush, but this new Rangie is packing some serious technology, an aluminium body and suspension components, along within a rounder, more contemporary skin But don’t expect to find a new Range Rover in the cheap and cheerful aisle. They start from $168,900 for the 3.0-turbo diesel. We sampled the Autobiography derivative, armed with a 4.4-litre oil-burner which is a hefty $232,800. The supercharged petrol V8 is the range-topper, costing $240,100. Comfort Regal and stately in every facet, there is nothing frugal about the

Range Rover cabin. It’s a stand-out for its stately persona and high-quality materials. The headrests are the most supple we’ve sampled across all luxury marques. Range Rover has resourced its hulking SUV wonderfully, and despite an array of technological prowess, it’s easy to use. The central touch-screen has fixed touch pads on either side for quick access to the most popular operations – meaning you don’t have to dive through various menus to find what you’re after. Getting inside can be a challenge for the elderly or ladies with tight skirts (this model sits 20mm lower in access mode), although the driver’s pew is electronically lowered and steering wheel raised automatically to allow for easy entry and exit. Oh, and the front seats also offer a massage. The digital driver’s display with analogue-looking gauges is modern, while maintaining the dignified facade, and there are folding armrests

up front to complete the lavish environment. Running costs It’s surprisingly easy on the juice. We achieved about 9.5 litres per 100km, slightly higher than the official figure. Owners have managed excellent fuel economy from the Range Rover in the previous iteration – and we’ve had rave reviews from grey nomads even while towing. Ongoing maintenance can be expensive, especially with spare parts and tyre replacement. What do you get? Everything goes into the Autobiography, although there are still some items on the options list that cost you more (like metallic paint, active rear locking differential and a rear console cooler). The Rangie can be extensively tailored with an array of colours, finishes and various details, so you can have one which befits your tastes.

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THE LOWDOWN Isuzu is surging in the Australian market. The D-Max ute has been winning legions of fans in a competitive market. Up against big guns like the Toyota HiLux, Mitsubishi Triton and Ford Ranger, Isuzu is gaining ground. The MU-X takes the best of what the D-Max offers and wraps it in a useful SUV shell. This is a great package for those who want to take the family and get away from it all.

WHAT MATTERS MOST What we liked: True off-roading ability, surprisingly easy to drive around town, seven-seat flexibility. What we’d like to see: Reversing camera on all models, some soft-touch dash materials. Warranty and servicing: Warranty is five years or 130,000km, with five years roadside assist. Servicing is every six months or 10,000km.

VITAL STATISTICS Model: Isuzu MU-X. Details: Five-door all-wheel drive seven-seat large sports utility vehicle. Engine: 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel generating maximum power of 130kW @ 3600rpm and peak torque of 380Nm @ 1800-2800rpm. Transmissions: Five-speed manual or five-speed automatic (as tested). Consumption: 8.4l/100km (combined average). CO2: 217-223g/km (depends on drive and transmission). Towing: Three tonnes (braked), tow ball rating 300kg. Bottom line: LS-U 4x4 $49,300 (a).


Stepping into the passenger car realm, Grant Edwards finds this off-roader truck has ample comfort for the growing family TRUCKS have been the lifeblood of the Isuzu brand. They have traditionally been rough, tough and an ultra-reliable friend to the working man and woman. But now the marque is dipping its toe in the passenger car waters. Isuzu, however, is not sullying itself in the world of high-riding wagons masquerading as off-roaders. No mate, this the real deal when it comes to SUVs. It’s not afraid of the beaten track, and while there are a few modern luxuries, it maintains brand heritage combined with a cabin where there is room for seven.

COMFORT The rigours of family life are at the forefront of interior materials. Hard plastics are employed across the dash, doors and console. What it lacks in affluence it makes up for in common sense – with a car full of seven it’s likely to cop a battering and plastics are easy to keep clean and maintain. The leather-wrapped steering wheel has cruise-control and audio controls at your thumb tips, while it also has telescopic reach. Cloth-trimmed bucket front seats offer good support on longer journeys, with the driver having six-way pew adjustment. Climbing into the cabin can take some effort, which makes the door runners worth their weight in gold, and those getting into the third row also need to be nimble. Adults can fit in the two back seats, although it’s best suited to children with restricted leg and knee room. Three adults can be accommodated across the middle row but it’s better suited to a pair. Operationally, things are basic and straight forward. The primary controls are centred around a circular dash dial and it needs very little analysis to find what you’re after. Page 22.



Big and burly, the MU-X is no faux off-roader. This is designed as a bush basher with space for the family. Although it possesses the hardcore ladder-on-frame underpinnings, it has multi-link coil suspension that helps soften the ride and means passengers in the back don’t require a complementary kidney belt with each ride. The steering is relatively light, which makes the big SUV easy to handle, even in city confines. Our weekly grocery shop was a simple task, even with the bride at the helm, although a rear-view camera is only standard fare on the range-topping variant. Our LS-U variant only had rear parking sensors and it is difficult to see out the back. Yet it remains adept on the bitumen, with a smooth ride and minimal road noise ... with much of the on-road sound generated by the meaty 3.0-litre turbo diesel that generates some clatter at idle. This is a sought-after powerplant and it certainly has the goods for rewarding off-roading and towing. When stepping off the black stuff you can choose between four high or low, depending on the terrain, via a console dial, while the auto models also have hill ascent and descent control. Short overhangs with approach angle clearance just over 30% up front and about 25% at the rear ensure you can hammer over some pretty challenging stuff.

Most obvious competitor is the shell twin Holden Colorado 7 LT ($46,990), along with the Mitsubishi Challenger AWD LS ($49,990), Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo ($51,000) and Toyota LandCruiser Prado GXL ($61,490).



The mid-spec LS-U gets 17-inch alloys, MP3-compatible CD stereo with bluetooth, cruise control, rear parking sensors, climate-control air-con, rear cabin vents and a five-star safety rating with stability control, anti-lock brakes, traction control and six airbags.

With its imposing chrome grille, front fog lights and aluminium side steps, the MU-X has the Colorado covered in terms of good looks. This is still a square-edged SUV and it has handsome masculine features – especially from the front end.

RUNNING COSTS Our test managed to achieve just above nine litres for every 100km, which is not far from the official figure and pretty good going from a 2750kg truck. Servicing intervals are every six months or 10,000km, which is a relatively short interval nowadays given most manufacturers are heading towards annual maintenance with capped-price servicing.

PRACTICALITY For families, it’s difficult to argue against seven seats. It’s great for when the grandparents are coming along for the ride or additional cherubs. The MU-X’s third row collapses flat into the floor, while the second row folds and rolls for improved access and loading flexibility. A plastic cubby has a handy spot for tools or wet gear in the boot. There is a pair of cup holders in the console and fold-down arm rest in the middle row, along with useful bottle holders in each door.

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Ranger XLS 3.2 Man Double Cab Pick Up From $43,490 Ranger XLT 3.2 Man Double Cab Pick Up From $51,990 On an extensive range of models*

PX Ranger 4x4 XLT Double Cab Pick-up 3.2L Diesel shown. #Up to 3.5 tonne braked towing capacity on 4x2 Hi-Rider and 4x4 models only when fitted with a genuine Ford towpack and tow ball. Towing subject to State and Territory regulations. ~Only on 4x2 Hi-Rider and 4x4 models, maintaining a steady speed of not more than 7km per hour. *4x2 XL Single Cab Chassis models (standard ride height) achieve ANCAP 4-star safety rating.

34 Brisbane Road, Ebbw Vale Queensland 4304 (07) 3816 6700 | AH 0421 039 965 5580784aa

Roughin It March 2014  
Roughin It March 2014