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Does the first double-cab from a premium manufacturer offer something truly different?

ARCTIC TRUCKS: Manufacturers flock to the iconic pick-up builder DV8 WORKS: Adding yet more flair to the Ford Ranger TESTED: Isuzu D-Max Huntsman, Toyota Hilux Active, Mitsubishi Shogun


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News 2 4 5 6 7 8 9

Nissan Navara AT32 model gains height and front locker Isuzu D-Max Special edition breaches the £50k barrier Land Rover Discovery Luxury off-road van costs a fortune Toyota Hilux Arctic Trucks conversion now available VW Amarok Yet more power from 3.0 TDI engine Ford Ranger New range-topping edition launched Mitsubishi Shogun Sport Van version of new wagon

Products 22 24 26 28 30 32 52 53 54 55 56

Lazer Lamps New fitting kits set to come on stream Bushtech Ultra-strong aluminium hard-tops from Africa Gearmate Top-quality truck bed stowage solutions SuperPro New greasable shackle kits for pick-ups Ironman 4x4 Mighty winch bumpers from Australia Rhino Linings Spray-on truck bed liners at a great price Pedders Disc brake conversion for the latest Hilux Snugtop Improvements to a popular range of canopies Anglia Vehicles UK home of a world-class off-roader Speedliner The story of a leading bedliner Forge Motorsport Performance brakes for VW Amarok

Features 10 16 34 38 42 46 48 50

Mercedes X-Class Is Merc’s pick-up truly premium? Isuzu D-Max Huntsman pack is pricey but brilliant Toyota Hilux Base-spec Active model keeps it real Mitsubishi Shogun Old warhorse still an off-road legend DV8 Works Taking the Ford Ranger to the next level Red Automotive Electric ute may come to Britain Experience the Country Tuition in classy surroundings Davanti Showcasing an all-new all-terrain tyre

Tel: 01283 553243 Email: Web: Facebook: pickupand4x4pro Editorial Supervisor Alan Kidd Deputy Editor George Dove Art Editor Samantha D’Souza Contributors Mike Trott, Dan Fenn, Vic Peel

Group Advertising Manager Ian Argent Tel: 01283 553242 Advertising Manager Colin Ashworth Tel: 01283 553244 Advertising Sales Manager Peter Topley Tel: 01283 553245 Publisher and Head of Marketing Sarah Kidd Email: Subscribing to Pickup and 4x4 Pro is FREE: just return the form on page 5. Every effort is made to ensure the contents of Pickup and 4x4 Pro are accurate, but Assignment Media accepts no responsibility for errors or omissions nor the consequences of actions made as a result of these. When responding to any advert in Pickup and 4x4 Pro, you should make appropriate enquiries before sending money or entering into a contract. The publishers will not be liable for loss or damage incurred from responding to adverts Pickup and 4x4 Pro is published by Assignment Media Ltd, Repton House G11, Bretby Business Park, Ashby Road, Bretby, Derbyshire DE15 0YZ ISSN 2516-8894

Assignment Media Ltd, 2018


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Lifted version of coil-sprung double-cab • Options include locking front diff • Price and on-sale date TBA


issan has unveiled the Navara Off-Roader AT32 – a version of its award-winning double-cab which has been enhanced by Arctic Trucks to take the vehicle’s performance to what it calls ‘a new extreme’. Based on coil-sprung versions of the Navara, this marks the first occasion on which the company has used a partner brand to develop a pick-up model for multiple European markets. Whereas Arctic Trucks’ versions of the Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max have been lifted to the point of running 35” tyres, the



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Navara gains just 20mm extra ride height, allowing its 17” alloys to be wrapped in 275/70R17 all-terrain tyres. These stand 32.2” tall: thus equipped, the vehicle runs 243mm of ground clearance and boasts approach and breakover angles of 35 and 24 degrees respectively (up from 30.4 and 22.2 degrees on the standard model). Further modifications from the Navara’s standard spec include wider wheel arches and heavyduty underbody protection for the engine, transmission, propshafts and fuel tank. In addition, optional extras available with the conversion include a

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snorkel, which boosts wading depth by approximately 35% to a total of 800mm. Of particular note for buyers looking to use their vehicle to the limits of its potential, the optional extras with the conversion also include a locking front differential to go with the rear locker that’s already standard across the range. This takes the Navara into very rare territory, making it one of the very few new vehicles ever offered in the UK in which it’s possible to achieve true four-wheel drive.

As with Arctic Trucks’ other vehicles, the Navara’s extra height is gained through a suspension lift using components which retain its ride and handling on the road as well as adding height and flexibility over rough terrain. The width of the tyres will not be to every off-roader’s taste, especially if like most UK drivers your main concerns are mud and wet grass, but this does at least lend itself to being aired down for use over soft surfaces like sand and snow.

Nissan says the AT32 conversion will be available based on a variety of Navaras. It’s not yet clear whether it will be offered as a model in its own right in the same way as the Isuzu D-Max, or as a dealer-supplied option in the same way as the Toyota Hilux – however what’s certain is that it’s fully approved by the company’s British importer, meaning it retains the standard model’s fiveyear/100,000 mile warranty. Arctic Trucks guarantees its own new parts for five years, too.

‘The Nissan Navara Off-Roader AT32 is the most capable Navara we’ve ever sold,’ says Nissan GB boss Alex Smith. ‘We believe the mix of enhanced off-road ability and upgraded exterior features will appeal to a new audience of both professional and recreational pick-up customers.’ Prices are yet to be set, as is an arrival date on the UK market, however with Isuzu and Toyota already making hay with their own Arctic Trucks partnerships it’s unlikely that Nissan intends to drag its feet.

Britpart are delighted to now be an approved stockist for the entire ARB range of products in the UK. For nearly 40 years Britpart has been synonymous with parts for Land Rovers and now we are expanding our range of quality aftermarket parts with the introduction of the ARB catalogue for a multitude of 4x4 vehicles. ARB’s range of products includes Air Lockers & Steps & Side > > Compressors Protection > Tyre Accessories > Camping Equipment > Canopies > Underbody Protection > Drawers > Lights > Linx Old Man Emu > Suspension > Rear Protection Recovery Points & > Equipment > Roof Racks > StealthBar Bumper

ARB accessories & suspension products for a wide range of manufacturers & models Ford Ranger / Isuzu D-Max / Jeep Cherokee & Grand Cherokee & Jeep Wrangler Land Rover Defender & Land Rover Discovery / Mitsubishi L200 / Nissan Navara & Pathfinder Toyota Hilux / VW Amarok

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AS IF THE ISUZU D-MAX AT35 wasn’t already enough of a rarity, the company has taken the covers off a very limited-run version of the truck. It’s called the Stealth – and the entire production run will consist of only ten examples. As with every AT35, the Stealth is converted after importation to



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the UK by Arctic Trucks, with body and suspension lifts making space for the 35” tyres that give it its name. It might be said that there’s not a lot in this that could be called stealthy, but this version of the vehicle is altogether harder to spot at night than the chromed-up standard model.

On the outside, said chrome is banished and the roof bars, side steps, radiator grille and all other exterior features get the blackout treatment. Even the badges have been changed to a new colour, and each example gets a unique plaque authenticating its place in the production run. A black rear sports bar and Mountain Top roll cover have been added helping give the vehicle a level of practicality to go with its image. Un-stealthily, there are LED headlights and two Lazer light bars mounted on the front bumper and the sports bar, allowing you to see and be seen from five counties away. Moving inside, predictably enough the bespoke leather

interior is black. The Arctic Trucks logo is embroidered into the headrests, and also features on the home screen of the 9” media monitor set into the dash. The part of this that deals with entertainment has nine speakers to play with, along with a subwoofer and a HDMI port. The AT35 was by some distance already the most expensive vehicle in the D-Max range, so it’s hardly a surprise that this limited-edition model will be pricier yet. The list price in manual form is £44,005 plus VAT, meaning private buyers will be billed for comfortably more than £50,000 – with which, the modern double-cab market strides across yet another threshold, never to return.

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DISCOVERY COMMERCIAL COSTS ALMOST £60,000 Fifth-generation Disco van offers two engines and three trims, with the same levels of luxury as the passenger-carrying vehicle


ach version of the Land Rover Discovery to date has been available in Commercial form. And while the Disco 5 may be the closest yet that the vehicle has come to impinging on Range Rover territory, it too has been given the van treatment. What the taxman doesn’t get, however, Land Rover will. Because

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prices for the six-strong Discovery Commercial range start at £48,695 – and climb all the way to a fairly breathtaking £59,995. This covers a choice of two engines (the 240bhp 2.0-litre SD4 and the 258bhp 3.0-litre TD6) as well as S, SE and HSE trim levels . In each case, you get an eightspeed automatic gearbox as well as Land Rover’s Terrain Response

system, and a host of driver aids are available including Hill Descent Control, cruise control and Autonomous Emergency Braking. There’s a range of mod cons to retain the luxury of the passenger-carrying Disco, too, and veneers are in place where the rear windows would have been. Designed to maximise practicality and utilise load space,

the new Commercial provides a variety of flexible storage options – all of them easily accessed via a powered tailgate. Its second and third rows of seats have been removed, giving it a cargo capacity of 1856 litres, and its 3.5-tonne towing capacity is retained. The Commercial is similar to the standard Discovery underneath and, aside from the unique seating and load space arrangement and the absence of rear windows, mimics its passenger-carrying sibling. It sits on exactly the same suspension and chassis, and the cockpit and interactive technology are also all the same. It does, however, allow you to tell your friends and family that you drive a 260bhp British twoseater. How long you leave them wondering if it’s a Lotus or TVR is up to you – though ironically, availing yourself of something from either of those brands might actually be a lot cheaper. This is, however, a sensational way to save a small fortune in BIK tax – and, if you’re in the market for an all-terrain van, a striking way of carrying medium-sized loads a long way into the wilds.



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One of three new Arctic Trucks pick-up launches at Commercial Vehicle Show • On sale now • Conversion price £15,780 plus VAT


oyota has become the second 4x4 manufacturer in the UK to offer Arctic Trucks’ AT35 conversion through its UK dealer network. The AT35 Hilux comes with 35” all-terrain tyres and a 25% increase in ground clearance, and carries the same 5-year/100,000 mile warranty as standard models. Unlike Isuzu, which lists the AT35 as a specific high-spec model, Toyota is offering the conversion as an accessory package on any



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new vehicle. ’Customers should contact their local Toyota centre and discuss the various options available with this vehicle,’ it says ‘The AT35 conversion can be specified as a standard package (£15,780 plus VAT and delivery) or enhanced with specialised upgrades at additional cost. Once the full specifications are agreed, the centre will price the Hilux AT35 to the customer’s requirements, place an order with Arctic Trucks and advise on its completion and delivery timing.’

With the conversion in place, the Hilux stands a total of 1890mm tall on its 315/70R17 tyres. The Arctic Trucks lift kit includes a bespoke suspension system approved by Toyota; though it’s new to the UK, this is already well proven in the many other countries where the AT35 is already a common sight – including, of course, Arctic Trucks’ home market of Iceland. Along with its much-improved ground clearance, the vehicle gains approach and departure angles of 37 and 28 degrees respectively. Hiluxes modified by Arctic Trucks already paint an iconic picture, both among off-roaders and car enthusiasts in general. The vehicle was made famous ten or so years ago when BBC Top Gear partnered with Arctic Trucks for

an expedition to the North Pole – and away from the spotlight, the company’s conversions have long been helping scientists and explorers gain access to some of the world’s remotest and most hostile environments. ‘We’re excited to bring the AT35 version of the legendary Hilux to the UK,’ commented Arctic Trucks Chief Executive Officer Patrik von Sydow. ‘The model is already successful in other countries, so it was a natural decision to develop and launch the vehicle for the UK market.’

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254bhp, 427lbf.ft 3.0 V6 TDI • 8-speed auto, full-time 4wd • From £37,000


ast year at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Volkswagen showed a concept evolution of the Amarok fitted with a 254bhp, 427lbfft version of the 3.0-litre V6 TDI currently powering the range. Well, now the company has announced that the tuned diesel will shortly be entering production for rangetopping Amaroks in Highline and Aventura trim. The newest version of the 3.0 TDI posts 34bhp more than the previous chart topping example, along with 22 more pounds of torque per foot. It promises to be additionally eager as well as strong, with an overboost function bumping power up to an eye-opening 268bhp and maximum torque available from a promisingly low 1400rom all the way through to 3000rpm. An eight-speed automatic gearbox will be standard with this version of the engine, along with full-time four-wheel drive. As with the rest of the range, however, the auto box means you have to make do with singlerange gearing only – if you want an Amarok with low box (and you should), the recently introduced entry-level manual model will be more up your street. Visual upgrades accompanying the higher-spec versions of the Amarok boasting the newly found grunt include a roof-top liner and pillar trim in a metallic black finish on the Aventura. Other features on this top trim level include 20” graphite wheels and Nappa upholstery in the cabin, plus aluminium finish bed cover and underbody plating. At the time of writing, the order book for Amaroks in the British market was scheduled to open in June, with pricing expected to be in the region of £37,000 and £42,000 for Highline and Aventura models respectively.

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TOYOTA HAS CONFIRMED UK PRICING for its newly launched Land Cruiser Utility Commercial. Available in short and long-wheelbase guises, this is a standard Utility model with the rear windows panelled and body coloured and the rear seats replaced by a flat, edge-to-edge non-slip floor tray and full-height mesh bulkhead. The Cruiser is powered by a 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel engine sending 175bhp through a six-speed manual transmission and offering 310 or 332lbf.ft in the short and long-wheelbase models respectively. Ground clearance is 205mm for the three-door and 215 for the five-door, while both can wade in up to 700mm. Payloads are 593kg and 756kg respectively, and a braked trailer limit of 3000kg applies across the board. Being based on the Utility version of the passenger-carrying Land Cruiser, the Commercial has a kit list that’s frill-free but not sparse. Even at this base-spec level, you get Bluetooth, cruise control, air-con, auto headlamps, roof rails, traction and stability control and, on long-wheelbase models, aux and USB connections. All Land Cruiser Commercials roll off the production line on 17” steel wheels. Prices for the new Commercial are £27,546 for the SWB and £28,509 for the LWB, in each case excluding VAT. Orders are open now, with deliveries beginning in July.



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One of three new Arctic Trucks pick-up launches at Commercial Vehicle Show • On sale now • Conversion price £15,780 plus VAT


n celebration of the vehicle’s 50th anniversary, Toyota has introduced a new rangetopping version of its Hilux pick-up truck. The Invincible X is based on the Invincible but receives styling updates at the front, with a new bumper and grille, revised fog lights and a silver steering guard. There are tweaks at the rear as well, with a new step and silver under-run bar. Changes inside the double-cab’s interior see it gain an all-black

theme, with a chromed instrument panel trim juxtaposing the black piano inserts on the dashboard, door panels, steering wheel, gear lever and leather upholstery. The instrument panel features new white dials and a central TFT display with a dedicated Invincible X start-up animation. In terms of equipment, the Invincible X matches the spec of the Invincible – meaning that among other things, it comes as standard with Toyota Safety

Sense. Lane departure warning and road sign assist are standard, as are cruise control, touch-screen infotainment, a rear-view camera and automatic air conditioning. Also standard is the same 2.4-litre D-4D diesel engine that’s found in the rest of the range, which produces 148bhp. However this model gets a six-speed automatic gearbox as standard. The Invincible X will go on sale in the UK in July. Prices for the vehicle start at £28,003 plus VAT.

• Also going on sale at the same time as the Invincible X is the Invincible X Limited Edition. This adds still further to the vehicle’s already pretty tidy eye appeal, with a range of exterior items in black – such as its 18” alloys, side steps and styling bar. The vehicle will also be available in two exclusive colours – Scorched Orange and Nebula Blue, with a total of only 150 examples becoming available when sales begin in July.

Highest-spec Ford Ranger gets the X-factor, too Ford has revealed a special version of its flagship Ranger pick-up, in the form of the Wildtrak X. Based on the top of the range Wildtrak trim, this gains Performance Blue paint for the first time on this model, along with a black finish for the grille, sport bar, roof rails, side steps, alloys wheels and Wildtrak decals. The interior has been given a similar treatment, with black leather seats and grey stitching. The Wildtrak X comes exclusively in double-cab form, powered by the popular 3.2-litre 200bhp diesel unit backed up by a six-speed automatic gearbox and part-time all-wheel drive. Prices for the new model are not expected to be radically increased over the standard automatic Wildtrak double-cab, which starts at £27,945 plus VAT. The order book is open now, with deliveries due to commence in August.



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VAN VARIANT INTRODUCED FOR SHOGUN SPORT L200-based station wagon converted to Commercial model • High-spec version only • On sale later this year, prices TBA


he Mitsubishi Shogun Sport is still a newcomer to the UK market, but the company has wasted no time in making the vehicle available in Commercial form. Launched at the CV Show in April, this gains a six-inch bulkhead behind the two front seats and a totally flat floor covered with bonded carpet. Rear side windows are opaque, with steel replacements optional. The load area is around 1500 litres in capacity, and the vehicle has a towing capacity of 3100kg. The Shogun Sport is based on the L200, so this van version is a commercial vehicle made into a passenger-carrying one and then made back into a commercial

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vehicle. It gets its power from a 2.4-litre, 181bhp turbo-diesel engine which is mated as standard to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Mitsubishi’s premium Super Select all-wheel drive system is also included, allowing the driver to switch between two and fourwheel drive seamlessly. Based on the top of the range Shogun Sport 4 spec, the Commercial comes with a host of standard features. Leather upholstery covers the heated seats, while keyless entry, dual-zone climate, LED headlight and tail lamps, privacy glass and automatic headlight washers are all standard, as is a Bluetooth and smartphone compatible infotainment system with a 510W output.

The vehicle also gets all the safety features of the stationwagon counterpart upon which it’s based, including adaptive cruise, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot alert, parking

sensors and a 360-degree camera. The Shogun Sport Commercial is scheduled to go on sale in the second half of this year, with prices to be revealed when the order book opens.



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Range-topping version of the first pick-up to come to Britain from a premium manufacturer costs coming on for £50k as tested


he first premium pick-up. That’s a strong claim to make, but if anyone can say such a thing and sound credible it’s Mercedes-Benz. The German company has long been building commercial vehicles of every size, as well of course as some of the world’s most desirable performance and luxury cars, so it stands to reason that if you marry those two areas together you should get a game-changer of a double-cab. It was common knowledge well before the X-Class was launched, however, that under the skin, this new Mercedes is a Nissan Navara. It’s not a naked badge-engineering job – Merc is keen to stress that the vehicle’s design was reworked entirely from scratch – but the platform and drivetrain are from the same source. Mercedes isn’t the first A-list van maker to plug the pick-up gap in its range this way. Fiat did it by partnering with Mitsubishi to create the Fullback, Renault’s Alaskan is also based on the Navara and rumours persist that a tech-sharing deal with a Chinese supplier could eventually see Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall bringing one-tonners of their own to the European market. For fleet buyers, this makes it easier to stick with one manufacturer – bringing greater potential for economies of scale and efficiency. Even if a manufacturer doesn’t expect to shift a truck in huge volumes, having it available to its customers could be enough to secure sales across a wider range of models – meaning serious volumes. The rationale is clear. In Merc’s case, it’s slightly different. Pick-ups are an essential part of many commercial vehicle fleets, but the booming market has been created by small businesses and sole operators taking advantage of a tax regime that looks favourably on onetonners with five seats, and this is



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why premium double-cabs have become such a phenomenon. Until now, however, there hasn’t been a truck available from a recognised premium brand – unless you count Land Rover, which, given that we’d be talking about the now-defunct Defender, most people wouldn’t. Hence the X-Class. At present, it’s available with a choice of two engines, two transmissions and three spec levels. To narrow that down, it’s a 2298cc diesel unit, and you can have it with 163bhp and a six-speed manual box or 190bhp and a seven-speed auto. Base-spec Pure and mid-range Progressive models offer the choice of either drivetrain, while the top-option Power version has the auto unit as standard. That’s what we’re testing here. In Power form, the X-Class costs £34,100 plus VAT, which equates to £42,305 on the road. In addition to that, though, ours came with a range of options with a list price of £6570, so to put one like it on your driveway would set you back to the tune of £48,804.


The first thing to say is that when you climb aboard the X-Class, it doesn’t in any way strike you as being like the Navara. Mercedes has done a genuinely successful job of making the cabin its own, with just enough cues in the layout and styling to resemble the extremely classy SUVs the company makes.

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The cabin has a quality feel to it without being particularly special in its ambience. Some of the plastics are quite hard and scratchy, but the seat leather is good and build quality is as you’d expect. There’s just enough about its design and equipment to put you in mind of Mercedes’ SUVs, though it doesn’t feel anything like as premium as those vehicles Despite this, though, it doesn’t come across as being truly premium the way those vehicles do. Large portions of the dash, floor console and door trims are shaped from hard plastic which, while it’s not brittle, doesn’t feel as dense and stout as the material used by some of Merc’s rivals. The upper dash and door trims have a slightly softer-touch feel to them, but they’re not plush – and, rather surprisingly, the top of the shroud covering the instrument panel in our vehicle could be wobbled up and down between a finger and thumb. Build quality is otherwise as sound as you’d expect, with little creaking from behind the interior panels and a floor console that’s good and solid. The switchgear has a fine, positive feel to it, though we never once managed to get anything out of the driver’s side door pocket without accidentally shifting ourselves up or down by hitting the buttons for the electric seat adjust. Those door pockets are long and easily accessible, though this is in part because they’re rather shallow. The glovebox and cubby are adequately sized – but that’s the end of the stowage opportunities, so don’t go laden with oddments if you don’t



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want to be leaving them on the passenger’s seat. The seats deserve to have people in them, at any rate, because they’re excellent. The leather is above average (as it should be at £890 on the options list; we’d stick with the standard Artico trim), the seating position is admirable and there’s excellent support in the base and back alike. Head and elbow room are both excellent, as is legroom, though in the case of the latter a six-footer will need to adjust the driver’s seat all the way back. This won’t prove popular if there’s another six-footer sitting behind him, which given that this is strictly speaking a work vehicle built to carry crews should be more likely to happen than it is in the average family-focused SUV. You can squeeze in to the rear seats with the fronts fully back, as they’re soft-backed and sculpted to accommodate your knees, but you’re pressed against them rather than just touching. The same goes for headroom in the back, which is pretty dire. Again, if you’re a six-footer you’ll be pressed into the headlining rather than just brushing it. Your eye line will also be above the top of the window next to you, too, which is saying something. The

C-post is at least well behind your head, though, so for smaller adults (and children, to be real about it) the accommodation in the back is just fine. Another useful practicality point is that the base of the rear bench folds up against the seat backs to create a big space for carrying cargo that can’t be left in the pickup bed. Handy if you prefer not to start every shift by going out to buy a new set of tools. All versions of the X-Class get a wide range of safety kit including autonomous emergency braking,

traffic sign recognition, lane-keep assist and an exceptionally crisp and clear reversing camera. That helps you relax, as does further equipment including air-con and a good quality infotainment system with DAB radio and Bluetooth audio. Progressive models add 17” alloys, more speakers, body-colour bumpers and niceties like carpets instead of hose-out flooring, while the Power range-topper gets 18” alloys, man-made leather, power seats, cruise, climate and LED lighting, as well as a very good load-securing system in the back. As well as the aforementioned leather, the range of options on our test vehicle also included front and rear parking sensors with a 360-degree above-view camera, which we found well worthwhile in tight situations, and Merc’s trademark COMAND multimedia system whose sat-nav is among the best we’ve come across. It uses a rotary controller and mousestyle click buttons instead of the touch-screen interface most manufacturers prefer; at £2225, it’s a big investment, but it’s definitely not a gimmick. It’s one of the few options that can be relied upon to help sell your vehicle second-hand, too. We don’t much like the way the tablet-style screen is mounted on the dash rather than in it, but Mercedes is by no means the only car maker to do this and ultimately it’s a price worth paying to have such an excellent system on board.

DRIVING As mentioned above, the 190bhp version of the 2.3-litre engine comes with an automatic box

The rear seats have just enough legroom for an adult to squeeze in. Headroom is poor, however, and a six-footer’s eye line will be above the top of the side window

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as standard. A surprisingly large number of pick-up buyers opt for self-shifters, so that’s unlikely to bother many people – especially as those who go for premium brands are more likely than ever to want this. The gearbox does have an effective manual override, which you find yourself using by default to keep on top of the engine’s revs. There’s an element of labouring as you accelerate in auto mode, which doesn’t sound particularly settled – though the engine is certainly strong enough to haul the vehicle along with the urgency you want, even when there’s a hefty load in the back. Push on through to motorway speeds and it settles to a smooth, quiet cruise which is definitely in

keeping with the premium status the X-Class claims for itself. It doesn’t settle the way you’d expect from an SUV, but the cabin doesn’t get noisy and there’s no untoward agitation from the steering or suspension. At lower speeds, whether around town or on A or B-roads, ride quality isn’t quite so smooth. The rear may be coil-sprung, but the coils in question still need to be able to hold up a tonne – which means that when they’re not having to, they’re a tonne too keen for the weight of the unladen vehicle. The inevitable result is a rather fussy, jiggly ride over urban bumps and corrugations in general, which is no problem at all if you understand pick-ups and are used to them but will

AT A GLANCE Base price £34,100 + VAT OTR inc VAT £42,305 Fuel consumption 35.8mpg combined Emissions 207g/km Payload 1066kg Braked trailer 3500kg Kerb weight 2235kg Gross vehicle weight 3300kg Service interval 24 months / 30,000 miles Warranty 24 months / unlimited miles

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come as a bit of a rude shock if you somehow think that by putting a three-pointed star on the front of a Nissan Navara and calling it premium, it’s going to ride like an S-Class. That sounds tremendously cynical and patronising but, given some of the stuff we’ve read from people who really ought to know better, it’s a comment that needs to be made. As it is, the X-Class steers predictably, grips well under hard cornering and doesn’t loll around all over the place when you throw it from side to side. There’s only so much you can do with the springs in a pick-up, but they’re damped very effectively so body control is excellent. It’s not up there with the best in the market – dynamically, the Ford Ranger continues to command top spot – but Mercedes hasn’t messed up its ride in search of handling or vice versa. It’s not special to drive, but it’s fine. Off-road, it’s as effective a tool as most other pick-ups. This model has 255/60R18 tyres, and we’d prefer the 255/65R17s you get on lower-spec models, but it’s sure-footed and controllable in everyday ruts and over appropriately rough ground. What you don’t get, however, is a locking rear diff. Interestingly,

the handbook says you do, but this is only an optional extra. So too is a suspension package raising ground clearance by 20mm; between them, they’ll cost £715 plus VAT, which we’d call a far better investment than some of the other options you can get, and with these mods in place you can expect the X-Class to be a very effective tool.

VERDICT The X-Class is a good truck, which it ought to be as a good truck is exactly what it’s based on. It’s well equipped in top-spec form – again as it ought to be, given the price – and there’s enough about it to make it feel like a Mercedes. What it doesn’t feel like, however, is something genuinely special. There’s little to criticise about it, unless you’re tall and need to ride in the back – but we were hoping for some surprise and delight from the first pick-up to carry a premium badge. Perhaps when the 258bhp six-pot 350d model comes along, it will give Merc’s double-cab the lift it needs to make it worth of its manufacturer’s lofty status, but for now it’s a good, solid all-round truck at a price that would put us off.



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Saturday 16th June 2018 The UK Motor Show for the 4x4 and Pick-up Market


Whether your interest is personal or professional, this is the 4×4 and pick-up show for you, with dedicated days for both trade and public. Complete show room experience from leading manufacturers and bespoke builders, allowing you to both view and test drive vehicles. 4x4PickupShow_DPS_Jan18_4X4.indd 1 Untitled-2 2


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TICKETS £10 in advance £15 on the door Under 14s go free



A4114 Burton Green Baighton



Bubbenhall Kenilworth

Organised by the Publishers of




A46 Royal Leamington Sa


National Agricultural and Exhibition Centre, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG 10am to 4pm

Friday 15 June 2018 Register your details at to receive your tickets and organisers of




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ISUZU D-MAX HUNTSMAN Comprehensive option pack aims to turn mid-range D-Max Utah model into an off-the-shelf vehicle tailored for country pursuits


t’s normal for pick-up buyers to accessorise their vehicles, and the aftermarket catering for those wanting to do so is enormous. Loadspace covers in particular are a common sight on trucks – but whether you’ve bought yours for work or play, surfboard toting or off-road action, long-range expeditions or being seen around town, bringing it home from the dealer is normally followed pretty much straight away by an extensive spell of shopping around. As always, the manufacturers have cottoned on to this and taken to offering a range of approved accessories to try and get as much of the aftermarket to themselves. But Isuzu has gone a step further, by offering an accessory pack for the D-Max which aims to give its target audience all the additional kit they need to tailor the truck to their outdoors lifestyle. That audience is a very specific one. Specific, but big. The D-Max Huntsman is ‘designed specifically for the professional, dedicated huntsman and countryman,’ to whom it ‘provides everything you need to enjoy the hunt.’ Apart from some animals to go after, obviously – but joking apart, this is one of the most comprehensive and purposeful sets of accessories we’ve ever seen offered as part of a dealer-fit package. To start with the most obvious items, you get an Aeroklas commercial canopy with roof rails and vent (if you are indeed a huntsman, or indeed woman, you’ll be using it to carry dogs). Under this is a Gearmate aluminium drawer system, complete with lockable gun boxes, and below that is an under-rail bedliner. The cab itself also has roof rails, in black, and this theme is continued around the vehicle – all the bits that would normally be chromed are instead finished in a dark Raptor coating. This could be construed as a form of inverse bling – though Isuzu says it’s



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The Huntsman is based on the Utah model, meaning it has a good general level of equipment without being ultimately plush. The seat leather is nowhere near as impressive to look at as in the range-topping Blade model, and it’s very shiny and slippery – which, combined with a lack of lateral support in the seats themselves, means you tend to slide around in corners and on side slopes. As always with the D-Max, however, it’s very spacious in all directions, and a useful double-glovebox and lidded dash-top tray mean it’s well above average for oddment stowage. Down on the floor, the tailored heavy-duty mats with velcro attachment and gaiters running all the way up the carpeted side trim are exceptionally good – even if you don’t go for the full Huntsman pack, they’re very highly recommended as an option in their own right there for a purpose, that being to prevent animals from being alerted to your presence by light glinting off your grille, door mirrors and so on.



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If you know the countryside and its ways, you’ll be far better placed than us to say whether there’s any truth in that. Camouflage, though (or ‘how not to be seen,’ if

you remember the good old days of Monty Python), which is why you can only get the Huntsman in grey, black or dark green. Anyway, what we do know about here is

off-roading, and the package also includes the best set of underbody guards we’ve ever seen on a dealer-supplied 4x4. We’re used to 4x4 makers’ idea of ‘protection’ being no more than plastic splash guards that come off at the first sign of grounding out. But these are heavy-duty aluminium jobs, and they stretch all the way back from behind the front bumper to below the transmission, as well as beneath the rear diff. Perch the vehicle’s whole weight on one and, while it might not prevent you from getting stuck, it will keep the component above it healthy. Further items on the list include a high-clearance tow bar with 13-pin electrics, a tailgate damper and a set of premium interior mats for both rows of seats. All of which count as good, sensible bits of kit chosen to do a job rather than flashing it up. From our point of view, the opposite has to be said about the wheels and tyres fitted to the vehicle. We don’t have any qualms at all over the Pirelli Scorpion ATRs, which is a perfectly all-terrain, but

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255/60R18s on black alloys look to us like they’re preoccupied with style rather than substance. To be fair, the combination does knock your eyes out – but the D-Max is also available on 16” rubber, and if that size of rims can make it round a truck’s brakes, we wouldn’t go an inch bigger. The 16-inchers fitted lower down the range stand 29.5” tall, while the Huntsman’s Pirellis push that to 30”. That’s still on the original ride height as standard, however you can also opt for the Huntsman Plus pack – which adds a Pedders suspension kit comprising springs, shocks and rear anti-roll bar which lifts the vehicle by 1.5” (officially, 3540mm). Thus equipped, you could certainly see 265/75R16s sliding nicely in beneath its arches, and in the real world of off-road driving in the UK a set of mud-terrains in this size is all you should ever need.

So that’s one thing we’d be looking to change about the Huntsman. But by our reckoning, the package gives you more than seven grand’s worth of equipment for £5995 plus the inevitable VAT. That’s at Isuzu’s own genuine accessory prices, of course, but it’s a useful saving on those – especially if you add the Pedders suspension, which lists at almost a grand and a half more but only bumps up the package cost by £1000 plus the dreaded.


The Huntsman is based on the Utah model, which is second from top in the everyday D-Max range. This means you get an integrated touch-screen media system, sat-nav, heated leather seats and so on, though it’s noticeably less plush and glamorous inside than

the range-topping Blade model. No bad thing, you might say – it’s a bit plain to look at but functionally ticks every box, and it’s put together to a very high standard. We’re not fans of the leather on the seats, though. It’s very shiny and slippery – and the seats themselves are low on lateral support, both in their bases and their backs, meaning you find yourself sliding sideways all too easily on the way through corners or on side-angles off-road. We would, absolutely, be investing in a set of fitted waterproof covers – no bad idea anyway in a high-spec vehicle intended for use in wet and dirty environments, but we doubt they’d ever come off except for washing. The floor mats, on the other hand, are sensational. Their rubberised facing is tough and grippy, and their velcro-backed edges are shaped to protect every

last scrap of carpeting in the vehicle – fitted properly, they cover it up completely. At £261 if you buy them separately through an Isuzu dealer, we can’t recommend them highly enough. Elsewhere, it’s familiar D-Max fare. This means a good driving position with a fine view ahead, and an excellent combination of head, leg and elbow room – especially in the back, where you can stretch out as well as in almost any other double-cab currently on the market. In-cab practicality is strong, too, with an excellent double glovebox and a useful tray under the steering column, as well as a lidded bin on top of the dash. The cubby is a decent size, too, though the door pockets are on the small side; overall, however, oddment stowage is well above average. In the back, meanwhile, the rear seat bases are rear-hinged. They

The Aeroklas Commercial hard-top is a sound, tough, no-nonsense unit fitted with roof bars and, with dog-carrying in mind, a ventilation system. Inside it, a Gearmate drawer set-up provides an impressive degree of flexibility for carrying all manner of items and still leaves enough room on top to load bulky items. Decor-wise, the Huntsman pack includes de-chromed detailing to the grille, mirrors, door handles and so on – Isuzu talks about this providing a level of camouflage, though mostly if just looks cool

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The model tested is the Huntsman Plus, which adds a +1.5” Pedders suspension kit to the standard list of equipment included in the package. All Huntsman models get an excellent suite of heavy-duty aluminium underbody protection plates as standard (below), including guards for the front axle, sump, transmission and rear diff fold as good as vertical, leaving a surprisingly big and usable space for carrying cargo. It’s not hidden like the boot of a station wagon, and nor it is as easy to access – but, in terms of the sheer volume it offers, the difference from simply chucking stuff on top of the rear bench is remarkable. So too is the difference between the open back of an unimproved pick-up and highly evolved set-up you have here. If you want to pile it high with endless loads of sand or rubble, it won’t suit you at all, but for carrying equipment it’s spot-on. Beneath the canopy, the Gearmate drawer system is superbly fitted and works a treat. There are two main drawers, one of them sectioned off; we won’t pretend to know what purpose this serves in the wild world of hunting, but if you’re going offroad it’s perfect for storing your ropes, shackles, snatch blocks and, in the second drawer, a fulllength high-lift jack. To either side of these drawers are gun cabinets, which we didn’t manage to find a use for, but the space left



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on top is still extremely usable – we managed to fit a fridge-freezer in it for the obligatory tip run, which, considering the amount taken out of the loadspace height by the drawer system, we found pretty impressive. Overall, the Huntsman is a very good example of how effectively a pick-up can be tailored to a task. The modifications made to it are designed for a very specific purpose – and while it’s a different one to ours, it lends itself near-

perfectly to being used as an off-road adventure wagon.

DRIVING The Huntsman we drove was equipped with the standard six-speed manual gearbox, which suits the D-Max’s 1.9-litre diesel engine well enough. There’s loads of torque available, and you don’t need to go stirring the ratios to find it – though that’s a better thing than it probably ought to

be, because changing gear is rather imprecise and, while not obstructive, certainly not slick either. You find yourself operating it with the sort of slow, cautious precision that becomes second nature soon after you’ve bought your first Land Rover Defender. One criticism we’ve had of the D-Max since it went over to the 1.9-litre engine last year has been that it’s very noisy. As it happened, though, we drove the Huntsman immediately following on from

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a base-spec model of the same truck, and the difference was very clear – while it’s the same engine and drivetrain, the more premium version was noticeably more refined. You’d expect the biggest difference to be in its dynamics, however. Lifting a vehicle by 1.5” without doing something to its ride and handling takes some doing – but it there was a difference there, it was too subtle for us to spot. We’ve had plenty of experience of Pedders kit, having had the company’s suspension on an old Land Cruiser we used to run, and we hold it in the highest regard – and once again, it performs admirably on the Huntsman. The vehicle’s weight is well controlled over sharp bumps and broken surfaces, and you can chuck it around in corners without feeling as if it’s going to get unruly. Off-road, we have to be honest and say that on the terrain we drove, the 18” Pirellis did a

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pretty good job of rebutting out concerns about their low profile. They had plenty of grip – so much so, in fact, that we found the transmission starting to wind up during manoeuvring on wet and grubby ground, which takes some doing. There was no sign of them showing any inclination to go sideways, either – and on the sort of ground that twists the axles, despite the lack of locking diffs in the D-Max’s repertoire it never broke away. With so much tractability available at such low engine speeds, it’s very surefooted indeed. As an off-road package, while it’s very very good it’s still not complete. It seems odd that with all that heavy-duty metalwork underneath, the Huntsman still has fragile bumpers – we’d be budgeting for a visit to the aftermarket here, and of course the one at the front would need to be wearing a winch. The side steps, too, don’t look like the kind you can lay into with a high-lift jack.

The big question, if you’re after a D-Max with off-roading in its sights, is whether you’d go for this or the AT35. Without having driven both on the same ground, we wouldn’t want to make a definitive judgement – however for real-world British off-roading, particularly on green lanes where width is always and issue, it’s easy to make a case for the Huntsman.

VERDICT No other pick-up manufacturer can match the imagination with which Isuzu markets the D-Max.

The Huntsman is a clever answer to a question people have clearly been asking – and while it’s pretty expensive by the standards of option packs in general, it’s an extremely comprehensive and well conceived way of turning a standard mid-spec double-cab into a tailored-for-purpose. It’s a more complete vehicle than the even pricier AT35, too – and our instinct is that for typical British off-roading needs, it’s the best truck we’ve yet seen. Certainly, it’s our favourite out of all the versions we’ve driven of the D-Max in its current form.

AT A GLANCE Base price (vehicle) £24,354 + VAT Base price (option pack) £5995 + VAT / £6995 + VAT OTR inc VAT £37,324 / £38,524 Auto extra £1000 + VAT Fuel consumption 40.4mpg combined Emissions 183g/km Payload 1095kg Braked trailer 3500kg Gross vehicle weight 3050kg Service interval 24 months / 12,000 miles Warranty 60 months /125,000 miles



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Coming soon! Lazer’s British-made fitting kits will be available for the Isuzu D-Max, Toyota Hilux and many more other vehicles besides

any auxiliary installation is reduced significantly if you can’t see an easy, stylish way to mount the lights. Die-hard off-roaders have always found a way, as have people fitting lights on pure workhorses, but the attraction and practicality of most pick-up installs (in particular) have divided opinion to say the least. Not so with Lazer Lamps’ range of bespoke vehicle integration kits. Designed, developed and manufactured in the UK, this range of precision-engineered custom grille mounting brackets has been an instant hit. The finished look is OE quality, the mounting itself is secure and robust and typically fitting the lights can take as little as ten minutes without the need to remove any of the original bodywork or grille. Lazer Lamps Director, Ben Russell-Smith, comments: ‘In developing a mounting solution which engages with, not fits around, the original bodywork, we’ve developed kits which look and function extremely well. And the reaction from the market to date couldn’t have been better.’ It’s this reaction from customers that is pushing forward the development of products for new vehicles. With kits already available for the Ford Ranger, Land Rover Discovery 4 and Volkswagen Amarok, already in development are solutions for the Toyota Hilux and Land Rover Discovery 5 – with the Isuzu D-Max, Nissan Navara and facelifted Ford Ranger (due later this year) all scheduled for development in the coming months. Watch this space!



THE QUALITY OF AUXILIARY DRIVING LIGHTS for your pick-up has progressed a lot in recent years, but too often where and how to install additional driving lights has been overlooked. Not anymore. Lazer Lamps is pushing forward development of a growing number of bespoke vehicle integration kits, for a true OE-quality install on the most popular 4x4s, pick-ups and light commercial vehicles. Since the company was founded in 2010, Lazer Lamps has been at the forefront of LED driving

light design and manufacture. From its base in Harlow, there’s a real emphasis on applying the latest technologies – alongside exceptional product design, and innovation, to deliver top-quality lighting solutions. It’s why more and more professional teams at the highest levels of motorsport, for whom there can be no compromise in performance or reliability, now trust Lazer for their vehicle lighting needs. The 4x4 market is really where it’s at, though. Some vehicle



manufacturers seem to be constrained in applying these latest technological advances to their standard headlamps – which means the relevance of auxiliary lighting has never been greater. The difference after fitting Lazer’s LEDs is immediately evident. Low-light and night-time driving, whether on or off-road, becomes an easier, safer and altogether more enjoyable experience. Lighting performance and build quality are only half the story, however, though. The appeal of

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High-strength hard-tops built for African conditions, imported to Britain by APB ‘BUILT IN AFRICA TO TAKE ON THE WORLD.’ That’s Bushtech’s proud claim about its aluminium canopies, which are available in the UK to fit a wide range of onetonne pick-ups. Bushtech’s says its focus is to ‘deliver a superior product to the 4x4, outdoor leisure and commercial sectors, while offering the best customer service and knowledgeable advice for all your outdoor activity needs.’ Brought to the UK by APB Ltd, the canopies are currently available for the Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, Mitsubishi L200 (late models), Nissan Navara, Toyota Hi-Lux, Volkswagen Amarok and Land Rover Defender 110 and 130 – a pretty broad choice, then. ‘Africa will either make you or break you,’ says Bushtech. ‘For any outdoor enthusiast, Africa makes for the perfect environment to test out a 4x4. That is why Bushtech Aluminium Canopies are designed and manufactured in South Africa – putting our products to the test, to ultimately be the best. ‘As avid overlanding enthusiasts, we understand the importance of having a product you can trust to work for years to come. After more than 25 years in the 4x4 and motor vehicle industry, we saw a gap in the market to create a one of a kind, customisable aluminium canopy that is easy to use for everyday activities and fully kitted out for overland trips, without compromising space and functionality.’

The company claims a level of strength for its canopies that it says is unbeatable. As if to prove the point, it’s released a rather eye-opening video in which a Land Cruiser on a four-poster is lowered on to one of them – whose flip-up side and end doors all still open perfectly even with this much weight trying to distort the unit. So, why go with aluminium rather than the more traditional moulded options? Bushtech has a whole host of reasons… Strength: • Bushtech Aluminium Canopies are stronger and more durable than their fibreglass counterparts • The roof part of the canopy’s design has been weight tested to 2.5 tonnes, thanks in part to a custom suspension base rubber which has been specifically designed to cope with heavy loads and chassis movement and to dampen vibrations • A strong powder-coated frame and doors are standard features on all conopies. These are more durable than two-pack paints and are available in a range of colours • The doors have a specialised reinforced bracing to prevent flexing, and open on high-quality gas struts • Automotive sealing rubber is placed on the doors rather than the frame – this helps protect them from getting damaged • The increased strength brings better longevity

• A Bushtech Aluminium Canopy is designed for safety and security – it can act as a roll bar if your vehicle rolls, keeping the passengers in the cab safer • The weight of a Bushtech Aluminium Canopy is around 70kg Usability: • Practical side doors allow for easier access when unloading and loading your pick-up • The Bushtech Aluminium Canopy is extremely versatile. Its unique subframe design allows for the mounting of false floors, and there’s a wide range of multiple accessories available which clip easily into position • Useful for a variety of applications such as electricians, plumbers and farmers, and for outdoor activities such as camping, off-roading and overlanding • Side cupboards, tables etc are added and removed quickly and easily without drilling • All accessories can can simply be clipped into place. In minutes, you can go from an empty canopy to a canopy full of all your gear • Reinforced, slotted roof bars allow users to suspend multiple attachments from the roof of the canopy using a standard M8 bolt

• A uniquely designed roof rail is a standard feature on the canopies, facilitating M8 bolt head or standard cargo loop attachments to be used when fitting roof racks, roof top tents and cross bars Water and dust proof: • The Bushtech Aluminium Canopy comes equipped with a pressure equalising vent to neutralise any negative pressure in the rear of the load box, helping to keep dust out • Seamless waterproof and dustproof continuous hinges prevent water and dust from entering the canopy when the doors are opened As well as the canopies, APB offers a wide range of Bushtech accessories designed to help you get the most from your investment. These include shelves and cupboards, roof rails, dust guards and jerry can holders. Prices for these items vary, as they do for the canopies themselves. But they compare well with the other options – which, given Bushtech’s claims for the units’ strength, makes them well worth a look. To do that, visit www.expedition-equipment. com, or call 01299 250174, where APB’s staff will be happy to help.

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British-made storage solutions are compatible with all current pick-up models and a variety of SUVs GEARMATE IS A UK COMPANY which specialises in load bed storage systems for pick-ups. These provide a variety of drawer options as well as the Gearslide – a slide-out load bed base with an extended capacity of 400kg. ‘As pick-up truck drivers ourselves,’ says the company, ‘we became frustrated at the limited utilisation and accessibility of our vehicles’ load beds. So we decided to do something about it. ‘Using many years of engineering experience, we got to work on a solution, initially for our own needs only. We very soon realised that what worked for us would work for others. The main goal was to improve the driver’s daily life, at work and leisure, allowing 4x4 owners to maximise the potential of their vehicle.’ In addition to the Gearslide, Gearmate’s range of core products includes twin drawers with three different heights. The company also offers a range of accessories including racking solutions, infill pods and dog boxes – and has a bespoke service which clients can sign off before production begins. Gearmate’s customers include private individuals as well as fleet users running multiple units. It has systems to suit day-to-day life as well as professional use – and its products, which are compatible with all pick-ups currently on sale in Europe, are fully transferable from one to another with only



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additional brackets required to make them fit perfectly in their new home. Providing 75% load bed extension, the Gearslide has four lockable positions and costs £799. The Gear Drawers, meanwhile, have heights of 226mm, 300mm and 500mm and cost from £799 to £1449. You can also choose between single or twin units. ‘Our design team’s primary goal is to produce automotive standard products that offer different solutions to different users while following a common theme of bringing your load out to you,’ adds Gearmate. To find out more about the company’s range of high-quality pick-up kit, pay a visit to www.

Make the most of your 4x4 with Gearmate accessories and storage systems

Hall 1 Stand F3 Compatible with all pick up trucks and a variety of SUV’s For more information call 01789 595 200 or email us at Unit 15, Kinwarton Farm Road, Arden Forest Industrial Estate, Alcester, Warwickshire, B49 6EH

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SUPERPRO’S PHILOSOPHY IS, and has always been, to enhance the performance of suspension components and make them last longer. This is exactly the concept behind the company’s recently increased range of greasable leafspring shackle kits for pick-ups. Nearly all pick-ups have leaf springs fitted at the rear. This configuration copes well with heavy loads that are placed on a large, flat-bed carrying platform and, with no requirement for strut turrets, provides greater load area space. When the suspension moves, or weight is applied, the leaf springs start to ‘flatten’ and consequently the distance between the front and rear mounting points increases. As the front mount is a straightforward pin and bush fixing, it’s the rear point that moves. This is achieved by the use of a shackle that pivots backwards



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in order to compensate for the extended length of the spring. The bushes and shackles play a key role in controlling the movement of the spring as it extends and contracts. If the bush is not compliant or the shackle movement is restricted by, for example, corroded pins, overall performance of the suspension is affected. This reduces ride quality and increases the wear rate of the components, including the spring itself. If the bush allows too much axial movement, the laden spring will twist. This puts excessive strain on the front mounting bolts, the rear shackle pins and the springretaining U-bolts. The consequent impact on the rear suspension components can be significant, especially if the vehicle is regularly used on uneven terrain. To overcome these issues, SuperPro has developed a

range of easy-to-install kits that are designed to help increase component life while maintaining ride and stability, especially when the vehicle is loaded. The SuperPro kits comprise all the components required to upgrade the rear spring mounts: anodised high-grade steel shackles and pins, steel tubes and a set of SuperPro polyurethane bushes. The pins for the front and rear mountings have a grease nipple at one end, enabling them to be lubricated at service intervals. This reduces the likelihood of any corrosion and subsequent restriction of movement that can occur with the standard items.

All the parts contained in the kit are available separately. SuperPro bushes are manufactured from a unique blend of polyurethane that enhances the performance of suspension systems and provides drivers with more feel, with no increase in noise, vibration or harshness. They are designed to directly replace OE rubber bushes and, together with the shackles, will make a significant difference to the operational performance of a vehicle’s leaf springs – meaning greater longevity and better stability when heavily laden, towing a trailer or traversing uneven terrain off-road. If you’ve picked up this here magazine in time, a great idea would be to head to Stoneleigh Park on 15-16 June for the 4x4 and Pick-up Show? SuperPro is planning to use the show to launch its innovative and groundbreaking performance suspension programme, which is designed specifically for pick ups. For further information on all SuperPro products, and for a list of stockists, you can contact SuperPro Europe on 01823 690281 or info@, or by visiting


Isuzu Rodeo: 2003-2008 Isuzu D-Max: 2007-on Toyota Hilux: 1995-on Mitsubishi L200: 1996 -on

• • • •

Nissan Navara: 1997-on Ford Ranger: 2006-on Mazda BT Series: 2006-on Toyota Land Cruiser: 1976-on

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UPGRADE YOUR PICK-UP WITH SUPERPRO HIGH PERFORMANCE SUSPENSION PRODUCTS Calling on its extensive experience in the 4x4 and SUV markets, SuperPro offers a range of high performance suspension products for the UK’s most popular pick-ups that will enhance handling, comfort, drivability and stability, as well as increase component longevity. Product

All SuperPro products are designed, developed and tested to ensure they operate in harmony with the manufacturer’s original suspension system and therefore, compliment and improve the vehicle’s inherent characteristics and capabilities - both on and off road.


SuperPro bushes & kits Improved operation, more positive steering, greater on-road feel, longevity. Rear anti-roll bar

More stable and less ’lively' rear-end with improved cornering, especially when carrying loads or towing.

Greasable shackles

More effective and efficient rear spring movement.

Strut top spacers

Increased ride height and reduced harshness.

Easy lift kits

Includes rear leaf-spring lift blocks, extended U-bolts and strut top spacers for an increased ride height and enhanced stance to give a more imposing visual presence.

Applications available for: • Fiat • Ford • Isuzu • Land Rover • Mazda • Mitsubishi • Nissan • Toyota • VW

For further information on all SuperPro products and a list of stockists please visit our website or contact SuperPro Europe: Tel: +44 (0)1823 690281 | Fax: +44 (0)1823 698109 | Email: SuperPro Europe Ltd | Thorngrove Barn | Main Road | Middlezoy | Somerset | TA7 0PD | UK


WEST COAST OFF-ROAD BRINGS IRONMAN WINCH BUMPERS TO UK Leading Australian brand offers extreme strength – with style to match!

A WINCH BUMPER is one of the first accessories to be added to any 4x4, improving your approach angle and significantly improving your frontal protection. Ironman 4x4 Winch Bumpers help protect your vehicle from animal strikes when driving on remote roads and provide convenient locations to mount other 4x4 accessories such as winches, lights and aerials. Ironman’s bumpers are designed, engineered and tested in Australia. West Coast Off Road Centre, based in Southport, Lancashire, stocks, supplies and fits this safe, strong and smart essential accessory, which retails from just £894 includ-



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ing VAT. Every Ironman 4×4 Winch Bumper is carefully crafted from premium grade materials and components to deliver the most comprehensive frontal protection and styling available. They are carefully modelled using precision 3D vehicle scanning techniques to achieve optimal cosmetic design while also providing maximum vehicle collision protection. All Ironman 4x4 Winch Bumpers are fully winch, airbag and ADR compatible to ensure that you and your family’s safety is not compromised. You can see the full range of winch bumpers available at

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Vehicle Solutions

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Since 1958





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7 Side steps 8 Big bore exhaust systems

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9 Tow bars and rear protection bars 10 First aid kits 11 Recovery kits and jacks 12 Canopies

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16/4/18 4:09 pm


RHINO LININGS’ SPRAY-ON PROTECTION FROM £499 Rhino Linings’ rapidly growing UK importer promises top-quality results

RHINO LININGS has more than 2000 application centres around the world – including here in the UK, where the company is continuously expanding. With its head office in Nottingham, Rhino Linings’ British arm currently has growing network of applicators – any of whom can treat your personal, commercial or agricultural vehicle to a top-quality spray-on lining. This can be applied not only on the bed of your pick-up truck, but also on its grille guards, bumpers and rocker panels. Applying a Rhino Lining to your truck offers increased longevity with resistance to corrosion and chemicals and decreases the likelihood of the treated areas becoming scratched. When applied on a truck bed, the coating offers refinement alongside



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robustness, with improved grip on the bed to help prevent cargo from slipping around – as well as impact resistance to stop it from getting damaged. For the driver’s benefit, the lining also deadens noise from vibrations and impacts. Rhino Linings UK not only has state-of-the-art application facilities, but works with several associated companies that share a background in high-quality protective coatings. These companies include surface protection experts Paintseal Direct in the UK and Europe, Central Lotus car and carbon fibre composite experts and not to mention Rhino Linings USA. The Rhino Linings network continues to grow, and recently announced its first fully authorised Rhino Centre in the UK – Tyntesfield

Coach Works Ltd covers all Rhino Linings work in the Bristol region. As the product is so diverse, Rhino Linings continues to grow

on a global scale too, with more applicators and distributors offering specialised formulations, comprehensive system package and practical experience alongside professional support. Drivers from all sectors are entrusting Rhino Linings to protect their investments. The lining costs £499 plus VAT – a price which includes all of the preparation work on your vehicle before the full application takes place. Whether you’re a 4x4 owner looking to get it protected or a prospective applicator looking to join the company’s thriving UK network, is the place to go next.

PICKUP & 4X4 PRO 05/06/2018 13:12


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Price includes all the preparation work prior to full application of the Rhino Protective coating to your truck bed.* Additional cost items can be sprayed such as Bumpers, Wheel Arches, Side Steps & Sills etc.


Paintseal Direct (01283) 703777 Waterside Way, Nottingham NG2 4DP | @paintsealdirect @paintseal *Excludes any rust or dent removal

Untitled-12 1

01/05/2018 12:16



Most of the market is concentrating on high-spec lifestyle trucks, but when it comes to fitness for purpose the basic Hilux still takes a lot of beating


retty much everything that’s written about double-cabs now concentrates on the high-spec versions that have come to dominate the market. Which is fair enough, because they dominate the market for a reason – almost all the sensational growth we’ve seen in the pick-up sector has come from lifestyle models. But if the people currently buying high-specification trucks in their tens of thousands eventually wander off to find another fashion (or, more likely, are driven away by a future tax grab from our masters in Whitehall), there’ll be a core of customers that still remains. These are, of course, the ones who buy pick-ups for their original purpose as working tools. There are manufacturers out there which have just about abandoned the work truck market, or at the very least treat it as a distraction from the serious business of selling pick-ups with big alloys and lashings of leather. Toyota is not among them. Of course, the Hilux is available with all that stuff – in fact, it was one of the first trucks in the UK to offer blinged-up options. But it has always kept in touch with its roots – and the current model, despite being more SUV-like than ever (Toyota’s own claim, that), can still be had in no-nonsense form. That’s what we’re looking at here. The Active model has 17” steel wheels, a black front bumper, fabric seats and a manual gearbox. It’s not all pared back to the bone, though – air-con is standard, as are steering wheel controls and an infotainment system operated through a large tablet-style display attached to the upper dash. There’s plenty of safety kit, too, along with a refrigerated glovebox and, everyone else please take note, a locking rear diff. The engine is the same 2.4-litre, 150bhp diesel unit you’ll find in the rest of the range. Not very sexy compared to some of the other



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The cabin has a no-nonesense appeal, with tough, rugged materials put together to the very highest standard of build. The dash is dominated by a large media screen that works well but looks like an afterthought in the way it’s mounted, and there’s an excellent double glovebox. The front seats are very spacious and provide an excellent driving position; the rears aren’t quite as generous, but remain adequate for adults

units on the market, but good and strong – a bit of kit whose businesslike nature means it’s very well suited to the vehicle itself. Inside, it’s all hard plastics as you’d expect. The dash is even



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quite scratchy to the touch, and it’s not what you’d call pretty, but it feels dense and incredibly stout and there’s a no-fills appeal to its appearance – it’s kind of like a good pair of boots in this respect,

and if you have a need for such a thing you’ll know how comforting that is. Build quality in the cabin is absolutely rock solid, with next to no trim groans and a floor console

that feels like part of the chassis. The dash design is clear and simple; there aren’t many switches, but those there are have a good, clear layout. The highlight here is certainly the media screen, which stands out both for its size and for the rather unsatisfactory way it’s mounted on the dash, not in it, making it look like something of an aftermarket add-on. The system controls phone and stereo functions, with hassle-free pairing for calling and music alike. It’s only mono, though, and the interface isn’t the clearest. Elsewhere inside, a doubleglovebox and enormous cubby combine with decent door pockets, a big console bin and more cup holders than you’d believe possible to make the Hilux one of the best vehicles around for oddment stowage. The seat fabric is tough and grippy, the seats themselves are comfortable and the driving position is excellent, with a commanding all-round view and plenty of room in every direction. You can even

PICKUP & 4X4 PRO 04/06/2018 23:55

see what you’re doing when you look back over your shoulder – though this is just as well, as reversing aids are only optional on this model. In the back, knee room is adequate when sitting behind a tall driver. It’s not the very best in this respect, but it’s a long way from being the worst. Head and elbow room are rather limited, however, but it still manages not to feel claustrophobic. In the very back, once again it’s made for work. The model we tested had a stout plastic bedliner and four lashing rings, but as ever there’s a pretty much limitless range of options for keeping your cargo secure. The tailgate isn’t on gas struts, however, which we heartily recommend you not to find out the hard way. On the move, the big differences between this Hilux and others we’ve tested are its manual gearbox and higher-profile tyres. The latter have the effect you’d expect – it rides with plenty of cushioning, taking all the harshness out of the many bumps that come through when running unladen. In corners, it’s definitely not a hot hatch – but it handles the way a truck should, with a lazy, wafty confidence you’ll quickly find yourself warming to.

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The gearbox, too, is that of a truck, not a car. It feels mechanical, with a long throw that means you won’t be snicking it from gate to gate, but once you’re used to it (which, again, won’t take long) there’s a positivity and precision that makes it a pleasure to operate. On the way through the gears, the engine pulls as strongly as you’d expect from something with 295lbf.ft at its back from down at 1600rpm. It labours if you try to let it settle in too high a ratio, though – we found that at a steady 40mph, anything above fourth gear was too much. Up at a higher speed, the engine settles well to a quiet cruise at steady motorway speeds. In this way, it’s less anxious to drive than the auto – it’s not sprightly when you put your foot down, but there’s none of the moaning you get from the self-shifter when it’s trying to wind itself up at this kind of pace. The Hilux we drove would cost £23,057 plus VAT, or £27,540 on the road with everything taken care of (including £545 for the surprisingly good looking grey metallic paint). We’ve no reason to doubt the official figure of 40.4mpg, but most of all this is likely to be among the best vehicles on the entire market at holding on to its value.

That’s assuming you don’t beat it to smithereens, of course, the way traditional pick-up users so often do. That’s a clear difference between the kind of people who buy work trucks (especially for fleet use) and those who choose a high-spec truck as their company car. All the same,

the Hilux has long since had a reputation for being able to take an almost absurd amount of abuse – and of all the pick-ups on the market, it would still be a brave man who’d bet against Toyota’s ability to build a truck that can do exactly what you want of it in the world of work.

AT A GLANCE Base price £23,057 + VAT OTR inc VAT £26,995 Fuel consumption 40.4mpg combined Emissions 185g/km Payload 1115kg Braked trailer 3500kg Gross vehicle weight 3210kg Warranty 60 months / 100,000 miles



04/06/2018 23:55



Mid-range version of Mitsubishi’s long-running off-road wagon makes a more compelling case for itself in mid-range form


he Mitsubishi Shogun used to be a byword for bling. Back when you could still buy Patrols and Land Cruisers with all-round live axles, the Shogun was very easy to sneer at for being showy and, to be blunt, shallow. At the top of the range, these days Shogun is showier than ever. Yet somehow, it has gone from being among the shallowest 4x4s on the market to one of the most credible. That’s down to the way the rest of the market has gone, of course. But it’s also the result of Mitsubishi sticking with some of what was best about the vehicle during the course of several iterations. The old days we’re talking about here are now so far in the past that people born then are old enough to be married with kids. That’s the amount of time that’s passed since the Shogun went over to allindependent suspension and, soon after that, traded its locking rear diff for electronic traction control. Astonishingly, there’s only been one new model since then. So what we have here is Mitsubishi’s latest take on a vehicle that’s been around in the same mechanical form since 2006. The Shogun range seems to be ever-changing, but it’s tested here in mid-range SG3 form. A welcome change from the previous version we drove, which was a rangetopper whose red leather seats and 20” alloys were, safe to say, unlikely to be near the top of a farmer’s must-have list.


It might only be a mid-ranger, but the SG3 still packs a lot of kit. You get cruise, climate, an electric sunroof, rear air-con and a DAB/ Bluetooth infotainment system with premium stereo and nav functions as well as a rear-view camera. The vehicle has seven seats as standard, trimmed in



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05/06/2018 00:06

The Shogun’s dash has a basic design that goes back a long, long way. You could consider it dated, if you were feeling mean, or merely classic. Either way, there’s a simple, truck-like elegance to it and the materials in which it’s carried off are very businesslike. The layout of some of the buttons could be tidier, but there’s not much here to complain about leather (black, or cream if you opt for bronze paint on the outside) and heated and electrically

adjusted up front. So you’re certainly looked after, though for £38,675 you deserve to be.

The seats themselves are soft but supportive, and they put you in an excellent driving position

with a fine view ahead. There’s enough room in the back for adults to ride in decent comfort, and they’ll get a good view too. Up front, the dash has the same distinctive design Shoguns have been featuring forever and a day. It’s carried off well enough to pass muster, with stout plastics that feel dependable if not premium, and there’s a nice simplicity to its design – though once you notice the amount of buttons strewn around it, you might find it a little less tidy. Cargo-wise, the rear seats fold and tumble with a mechanism which would have felt archaic ten years ago but actually now comes across as being a simple, old-fashioned way of doing a job well. That’s because back then, most manufacturers were putting plenty of effort into creating rearseat arrangements that folded 100% flat – but now, no doubt as a consequence of bean-counters balancing the cost of developing these systems against customers’ response to them, most new 4x4s have gone back to very simple and slightly rubbish fold-to-not-veryflat set-ups instead. The Shogun is so old that it rode through all that and still does it

Rear seats have a fold-and-tumble action which feels dated but does the job, revealing a flat floor with a capacity of up to 1790 litres. That floor also has a third row of seats stowed underneath it; these fold up very cleverly, but aren’t much use for all but the smallest passengers. Both the front two rows are spacious enough for tall adults, however



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PICKUP & 4X4 PRO 05/06/2018 00:06

the way it always did. The seats do take a bite from the length of the cargo bay when stowed, but they tumble forward to leave a flat load space that’s usably enormous and easily accessed through a massive side-hinged rear door. This means getting stuff in and out is a breeze, though you might get rained on in the process. Another feature of the Shogun is a third row of seats which folds down under the floor when not in use. The seats themselves are definitely best left for kids – small adults could just about squeeze into them for short journeys, but expect complaints.

DRIVING As we mentioned above, the previous Shogun we drove was on 20” alloys which looked great but did it no favours off-road. The SG3 tested here is on 18-inchers, which are the smallest in the range – and while 265/60R18s are still on the low-profile size for a work truck, they’re a lot better. On the 20-inchers, that previous Shogun’s ride was absolutely shocking – so bad, it even upset the vehicle’s handling. So we’re pleased to say that this one was perfectly settled on the road, still thumping over jagged pot holes

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and so on but capable of crossing rough, pattery surfaces without fussing. It feels like a truck, not a car, but with the commanding road presence that comes with being properly planted. As a result, you can take corners with reasonable confidence. It still steers with the lazy assertion of a tall, heavy vehicle, but drive with that in mind and it’ll do what you tell it. Likewise, settling into a rhythm means accepting a certain amount of body sway – you just need the right mind-set to see this not as a flaw but a natural sign of its authenticity. Likewise the engine noise, which is pretty profound as it works to keep the auto box wound up. There’s no shortage of heave from the big old diesel, and it’s not found wanting on motorways, but it’s not the most refined of units. There’s less road noise from the tyres than you get on models with bigger alloys, though. Off-road, the Shogun manages to defy the oft-quoted conventional wisdom which says you need a ladder chassis and live axles to do a proper job. Despite having neither of those things, it’s among the most truck-like vehicles left, and given the traction it can clamber over some seriously uneven obstacles.

Its all-inedependent suspension may be short on articulation, but ground clearance is good and, while we’d still prefer a high-profile tyre, the standard 265/60R18s did pretty well in a wide variety of offroad situations. You can get mud-terrains in this size, too, albeit not the widest choice in the world. So we’d have confidence in the Shogun as an off-road workhorse – albeit not as much as we’d have with a locking rear diff. Traction control goes some way to doing the job of a locker, but will never have the same efficacy or finesse. For really serious off-road work, then, it does have its limitations. But everyday conditions on farms, construction sites and so on are meat and drink to what is a vehicle with the engineering to get the job done – and the strength not

to tear itself apart in the process. And while this particular model didn’t have a towbar, we know from experience that the Shogun is a stellar performer in front of the heaviest trailers, both on and off-road.

VERDICT The Shogun feels its age, but in this form it’s an honest truck that’s well worth considering. A superb driving position makes up for the modern safety kit it doesn’t have, and with sensibly sized tyres it’s far better on and off-road than more expensive models. You do still pay quite handsomely for it, but you get a decent stack of kit – and with dealers reportedly knocking off as much as five grand to get your business, it’s a good bit of truck for your cash.

AT A GLANCE Price (OTR) £39.075 Fuel consumption 30.4mpg combined Emissions 245g/km Cargo capacity 663-1790 litres Braked trailer 3500kg Kerb weight 2300kg Service interval 12 months / 14,484 miles Warranty 60 months / 62,500 miles



05/06/2018 00:06




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ord Rangers are all the rage at the top of the bespoke pick-up business. With its size and in-your-face styling, not to mention a 3.2-litre engine, the vehicle has surged to the top of the truck market in the UK – and a thriving industry has grown up around the demand for modified examples. As always, you can just throw a few accessories at a vehicle and hope they work. While you’re at it, you might also have to hope they don’t make it illegal, or dangerous, or impossible to sell on when you’re done with it. But a specialist worthy of the name won’t lead you down that road – whether you want your truck prepared for offroading or turned into an eyeballgrabbing street machine. DV8 Works is one of the newer names on the scene, and the Rangers it builds are a bit of both. Rather than being prepped for extreme off-road use at the expense of everything else, they’re enhanced with the ability to perform beyond standard whether for work or play – while also standing out in a crowd. That’s unless it’s a crowd of other DV8-built Rangers, obviously.

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Because while each is unique, all the vehicles in these pictures are produced to the company’s Armoured Plus spec – which includes a tasty range of mods to make the most of what is already the best truck on the market. For starters, Armoured Plus models run on +1.75” mediumload suspension. This uses a Pedders spring and shock package which was developed in consultation with DV8, whose customers had asked for a system that would keep on working even with a heavy trailer on the back – something almost all these vehicles will be used for. Bigger lifts are certainly available, but this strikes the right balance while allowing an upgrade to 305/50R20 Maxxis Bighorn MT764 tyres whose 32” height and chunky 12” width gives the truck a suitably purposeful appearance. This is aided by a +10 offset on DV8’s own 20” alloys, which are rated to 1100kg each – giving them the strength to cope with the Ranger’s heavy-duty capacities. This isn’t a throw-on fitting – the company says it was thoroughly though. ’It generates a 4.88% increase in rolling circumference and so a speedo



04/06/2018 23:53

Above left: Suspension is by Pedders, but it’s not an off-the-shelf solution – DV8 worked in consultation with the UK importer to get a 1.75” lift that maintains the Ranger’s body control when towing Above right: The taller springs and shocks make room for a set of 305/50/20 Maxxis Bighorn MT764 on 20” DV8 Armoured Plus alloys. These have a 1100kg load rating – so once again, they’re about more than just lobbing on something pretty and hoping for the best reading of 60mph would generate an actual speed of 62.93 mph. In addition, we found anything larger than this was a struggle for the gearbox to work with.’ The gearbox in question is the automatic unit that comes as a factory option with the 3.2 TDCi engine. And on the subject of options, the engine itself can be pushed usefully beyond its standard power output.



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DV8 uses a tuning box remap which it says has been tested on more than five vehicles and gives a 20% increase in power and torque alike over the standard vehicle. On top of this, you can opt for a Stage 2 Performance Pack consisting of a PWR Intercooler, ITG Air Filter and straight-through cat-back exhaust; this can be tailored to each customer’s requirements, but DV8 quotes

240bhp and 450lbf.ft as a comfortably achievable figure. Also optional is a 20” Discreet Light Bar, which has the benefit of being CE approved – meaning it can be wired in to the headlamps to operate with the vehicle’s main beam. This sits behind DV8’s custom grille, which it describes as a ‘labour of love’. The company removes the original grille and surround, flattens out the ‘Ranger’

logo then fits its own hexagonal mesh grille to create its signature aggressive appearance. This is enhanced by a nudge bar which was lowered not only to look better but to avoid rubbing on the bumper. The vehicle also then gets colour-coded DRLs and light guards, as well as smoked rear LEDs with separate fog lights – something DV8 says is necessary to comply with MOT requirements.

PICKUP & 4X4 PRO 04/06/2018 23:53

Above: The grille is DV8’s own work, which the company describes as ‘a labour of love.’ A discreet light bar can be fitted behind the grille as an option, and as well as the additional LED spots seen here you get colour-coded guards for the front lights and smoked rear LEDs with separate fog lights Below right: Customers will choose whatever load space cover they want, but in each case the tailgate behind it will open gently thanks to a damper which DV8 fits as part of the package ‘We run a standalone fog light mounting,’ it says,’ on to either the rear bumper or tow bar, depending on the vehicle.’ Further features of the Armoured Plus model include privacy glass on the rear doors and bulkhead window, and a detailed paint programme which DV8 describes as one of the ‘finer details’ you get from its level of service. ‘We strip and repaint the complete front end, DRLs, light guards, grille, door handles, roof

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bars, wing mirrors (the complete unit, not just the caps), rear sports hoop and rear bumper. And finally, we wrap the side steps as, being chrome, paint would only be a short-term solution. The results? Well, you can see them for yourself. The Armoured Plus double-cab is a seriously purposeful truck, even by the Ranger’s normal standards – and while it’s not been pushed to the limit for off-roading, it’s every bit as capable as it looks. The experts

always say that if you’re going to modify a vehicle, you should start with the best standard one you can afford. It’s a bit of a twist on that advice, but starting with the best truck on the market puts you in pole position to build one of the

best mods – and they don’t come much better than this.

04/06/2018 23:53

RED AUTOMOTIVE SET TO L ELECTRIC TRUCK IN LATE 2 Australian start-up plans electric off-road vehicle with range-extender engine •


top speed of 150mph. A 0-62 time under 4.0 seconds. Ground clearance and suspension travel of 375mm and 450mm respectively. A range of up to 750 miles. Towing capacity of 3500kg. And zero emissions. That’s the extraordinary set of targets at which this revolutionary Australian pick-up has set out to achieve. The as-yet unnamed vehicle is being developed by Red Automotive Technologies, a start-up company seeking to create a culture of specialist vehicle manufacture from the ashes of Australia’s collapsed carmaking industry. And this is not a mere softroader. ‘Our focus will be off-road capable SUVs,’ promises Red. ’And when we say “off-road capable”,



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we mean something that will leave the gnarliest Jeep or Land Cruiser way behind.’ Words are cheap, of course, but the company is confident that such a vehicle can be manufactured – at a price that will let it compete with trucks like the Ford Ranger and Land Rover Defender. ‘With breakthrough technology,' it says, 'primarily in drivetrain and suspension, we sidestep the compromises in conventional 4x4 designs.’ More than that, during the course of the truck’s development Red Automotive has found a secondary focus in what it calls PowerPlay – a patented technology allowing the vehicle to power its owner’s home. Its batteries are charged from the domestic supply at times when

the weather conditions allow peak production of wind and solar energy, and a diesel rangeextender engine provides an opportunity to reverse the power flow when the grid is at a lower ebb – even to the point of being able to sell surplus energy back to your supplier. The vehicle’s design includes an electric motor at each wheel, providing what Red calls ‘ultimate traction and control.’ Its battery pack will allow around 125 miles in electric-only mode, with the range-extender allowing it to cover as much as six times that between refills and recharges. In terms of appearance, what you see on these pages is just a series of concept sketches. But, says Red, they ‘give an idea of the direction we are heading.’ Most

of all, the company stresses that its trucks will be ‘contemporary, innovative and tough to deal with Australian conditions.’ This is at the heart of what the company is trying to achieve. Although it expects 90% of its production to be exported (with Europe an early target), it stresses that its vehicles will be built to prosper in the most testing conditions its home nation has to offer. Speaking to Motoring website, Red founder Paul van de Loo said: ’There’s no other country in the world that’s going to build an off-road vehicle better than we can, because we use them more than anyone else. We understand what it’s all about; we know that if you stop in the middle of the desert, you are probably going to stay there forever.’

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90% of sales predicted to be exports • Prices in same bracket as LR Defender Van de Loo is a Stanford-trained mechanical engineer whose consultancy business Applidyne has been providing product and systems design services to a broad range of industries since 1993. His vision for an off-road vehicle built around modern technologies grew as Australia’s traditional car manufacturing industry started to collapse – in a way which some say mirrors the demise of Britain’s domestic motor industry. The big three carmakers in Australia are Toyota, Ford and Holden – and a few years ago, all three announced the phased closure of their factories almost simultaneously. That left a huge pool of untapped talent – and, Red believes, a golden opportunity to reinvent the local car industry as a maker of specialised products. ‘Our goal is to manufacture and sell premium quality vehicles in moderate volume,’ the company says. ‘We will also license our intellectual property to automotive component and vehicle manufacturers globally where this does not conflict with selling our cars… and consider the sale of components incorporating our IP, such as transmissions, to other manufacturers.’ These technologies include a two-speed transmission system, which it believes is crucial to producing a vehicle combining class-leading on and off-road skills. ‘There have been previous attempts at two-speed transmissions,’ it says, ‘but currently all EVs use a single (fixed) ratio. Our novel transmission solves the problems encountered in previous attempts and incorporates braking, freeing space at the wheel thereby providing increased space to optimise suspension geometry and reduce unsprung mass.’ Another key area of innovation Red claims is in the vehicle’s chassis architecture. The company talks of a ‘clean-sheet-of-paper design’ based around its electric powertrain, with none of the

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legacy issues that come with adapting a traditional platform. Nonetheless, the company says it will base the vehicle on a donor chassis, citing Tesla’s use of the Lotus Elise for its original Roadster as an example of the cost savings that can be achieved this way while setting up as a car maker. In an interview with our sister magazine 4x4, van de Loo said: ‘We are using a ladder frame vehicle as the donor and replacing the entire rolling chassis. So within the constraints of body mounting hardpoints/ floorpan we have a clean sheet of paper design for our rolling chassis. As it happens that doesn’t constrain us very much.’ Although he wasn't willing to reveal where the donor chassis will be coming from, van de Loo did also confirm that the vehicle will have all-independent suspension. ‘We are confident that we will offer performance that matches live axles off road and will be way better on-road,’ he told us, volunteering also that the project is using ‘key suppliers’ in the UK and Europe. Applidyne has previously developed active suspension systems for heavy commercial vehicles, and van de Loo intends to create a team from his original company to work on secondment to Red Automotive. The new business will, however, also employ its own automotive specialists – taking advantage of the skilled labour pool becoming available

as Ford, Holden and Toyota close their factories. Even before its downfall as a location for high-volume carmaking, Australia wasn’t exactly known around the world for its motor industry. As most offroaders will recognise, however, some of the leading aftermarket brands originated Down Under – ARB and TJM are two obvious examples, and ‘Aussie-made’ has come to be seen as a badge of fitness-for-purpose throughout the market for overland and extreme off-road equipment.

With this in mind, Red Auto’s radical electric off-roader should receive a lot of attention when it comes to the UK. The company says the vehicle’s market release is scheduled for late 2019, though a commencement date for UK imports is yet to be announced. Red Automotive is one of several vehicles planing to launch new off-road trucks over the next few years. Some are more credible than others – but few can claim to be offering as radical and exciting a departure from the traditions of 4x4 manufacture.



05/06/2018 00:04



Off-roaders tend to prefer traditional 4x4s – but at Buckinghamshire-based Experience the Country, they fully embrace new technology WORDS AND PICTURES: MIKE TROTT


own in the green and pleasant county of Buckinghamshire, there lies the Hounslow Hall Estate. An 800-acre pocket of land in the lower abdomen of the country which, so far as I could tell, was a nice, if not slightly unusual place to have a 4x4 training centre. Often though, there is more than



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what meets the eye and this was certainly one of those moments. Driving down the entrance road past Hounslow Hall itself, the countryside opens up to you, like the blanket being lifted on a feast you’ve been hankering after all day. Some farm buildings approach and the first Experience The Country sign comes into view

with a neat directional arrow pointing you towards the banquet. As you pull up, on the one side you have what looks like a regular office block, but turn your head 180 degrees and you have the company’s fleet lined up in front of blooming fields. You are then welcomed into the establishment by the man who heads up the operation, Mark Stopps. ‘I think we’re the best kept secret in the south of England,’ he says. ‘We have a great location here, loads of space and can cater for all needs. Pretty much everything you can do in the country, we can do here.’ As many off-road centres have found, it’s not possible to survive purely on tuition alone and Experience The Country is no different. Along with 4x4 training, the company also runs clay shooting activities, laser

tag, Segway experiences and fly fishing. You can even taste your last slice of freedom by having your hen or stag party here. There are worse ways to go, I’m sure. But for all the list of things you can do at Experience The Country, much of the focus still remains on how to get you and your 4x4 working in complete harmony. The company is an accredited member of that familiar organisation BORDA, and with Mark a committee member himself there’s little surprise in the efficiency of the operation he runs. Experience The Country is only three years old and was formed from the remnants of a Land Rover Experience franchise that used to be based at Hounslow Hall. Mark was on board the Experience wagon throughout its ten-year tenure at the site in Newton Longville, as he managed the course and fleet until its owners decided to move on. Val and Brian Wood, who own the Hounslow Estate, figured there was still enough potential in the site to do something with it, and having had ties with Mark previous even to the LR Experience days, there was only going to be one man for the project. Mark ran an agricultural dealership years ago, but fell into the instructing side of things when Val and Brian recommended him for the new post Land Rover needed filling when they were originally setting up at the site. For Experience The Country, there were lots of bonuses to be had from following in Land Rover’s footsteps – especially the infrastructure they left behind. Wide open space, easy access, even a conference room… there’s a time and a place for a muddy wood with a hut in the corner,

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but this is from the other end of the spectrum. And that’s before you go down the bumpy track, past a beautiful lake and towards the purposebuilt off-road course. It’s around 40 acres of the total 800 and has everything a beginner would need to put those classroom theories into practice, including 3-4 miles of tracks, deep ruts, steep gradients, fords and more. So far we’ve just talked about the company and its background, but the longer you listen to Mark, the more stories he’ll come out with. Most instructors are champions of older, simpler trucks, but here’s a man who quite likes the new wave of high-tech 4x4s – even if he feels they’re ‘turning offroading into a video game.’ We’re not just talking about Defenders with brains (‘even the Puma model is growing on me. It may be semi “hit on the head with a hammer” technology, but it works’), here – is Mark actually doing the unthinkable and suggesting that Terrain Response may be more than just a gimmick? He certainly is. The new crop of off-roaders can be just as useful as any Defender, he believes – but they will only ever be as good as their operators. ‘It’s all about educating people, understanding the new generation of electronic aids and realising that you never stop learning. I’m always learning new things and I come across people who have been off-roading longer than me and I still teach them things they didn’t know. But the principles of off-roading stay the same whether you’re driving a Dacia Duster or a Chieftain tank. ‘I remember a farmer coming to test a new Range Rover, back when it was Land Rover Experience, and he seemed to be really struggling to go anywhere. I asked “have you told the vehicle you’re going off-road?” to which he replied he didn’t need to and he knew what he was doing. Funny that once I got it into him that you needed to tell the vehicle, otherwise it wouldn’t set up properly, he was completely amazed by the results and what it could do.’ Mark gets his buzz out of instructing and proving to people what they can do, even if it involves raising their heartbeat. ‘Some people think they can’t drive for toffee, yet once I’ve finished with them, they prove

themselves wrong. I enjoy the theatre of the thrill, the slight scariness I can give them although it’s always under control. ‘All vehicles today have Terrain Response or electronic traction control or some form of aids to help you – it’s just a different way to off-road nowadays. The weak link is usually the driver, not the vehicle, although these new systems try and make it more idiotproof than ever.’ So Mark welcomes the new technology, and good for him. But that doesn’t mean he’s blind to the potential drawbacks in trusting it too much. ‘The front cameras on a Discovery 4 are useful,’ he says, ‘principally because they give you an angle that is impossible for any driver to see from the driving seat. They are especially useful when climbing a steep gradient and when all you can see is sky, the cameras allow you to see what is beyond the brow and alert you of potential obstacles. ‘However, the new Range Rover Sport has that sonar feature, which measures depth levels of water with sensors on the wing mirrors. Now any good off-roader would say that you want to know exactly how deep the water is before you get in there. With this, the engine and electrics will be in the water before the mirror sensors even tell you how deep it is. Really the sensors ought to be at right at the front of the vehicle.’ So the man has logic about him. That’ll be why he’s the one in the instructing position and not one of the know-it-alls who

end up displaying their ‘genius’ to the world and making fools of themselves in the process. Mark doesn’t like the idea of showing off, but if he had more time in his busy schedule he’d probably be able to quieten a few mouths. Experience The Country feels very much like a place where off-roading and the countryside can be at one with each other. And when taking Mark’s Pumaengined Defender on the course, in all it’s air-conditioned comfort, the experience was as pleasant as a Sunday afternoon drive. Maybe it was the warm, sunny day, maybe the glorious setting, but I think I enjoyed it all the more feeling that yes, there is hope on the horizon,

where nature and technology will come together in the future to create a golden age of off-roading. The newer 4x4s Mark is talking about are capable of doing remarkable things, and they prove that you don’t need rip-it-up tyres and noisy great smoking bootfuls of power to enjoy off-roading. Experience The Country is like driving around in a nature reserve – the birds, rabbits and insects practically waved us by as we passed in our Defender. New isn’t always better – but without new, you wouldn’t respect the old. Technology, Mark would tell you, can be our friend. We just need to open the door to let it come in to wipe its feet.

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he Terratoura is Davanti’s first all-terrain tyre, and the company is aiming high with it. This is a global product – in explaining its purpose, Davanti explains that all-terrains make up a third of tyre sales in South Africa and a quarter of those in Australia. It’s an ever-popular market in the UK, too. Davanti product

manager Gary Cross says the British brand is looking to offer an all-terrain tyre with more bang for your buck. ‘Until now choice has been limited to a few premium priced brands. But by applying our research team to the problem, we have developed an all-terrain tyre that is almost unstoppable and offers great value.

‘Terratoura doesn’t just make extreme terrain accessible. It reduces the cost of running vehicles which some remote communities rely on and reduces the likelihood they will use unsafe part-worn or worn tyres.’ The Terratoura features a five-rib tread for grip and longitudinal grooves that run the circumference of the tyre, dispelling water and aiding grip in wet conditions. Wide shoulder grooves, meanwhile, are designed to do the same with mud, sand, dust and loose surfaces like gravel. Support bars are worked into the design to help the tread and limit road noise, while the carcass construction consists of reinforced polyester cords that enable a higher load capacity and, sitting beneath the tread, improve shock resistance.

During development, the aim was to create a tyre without compromise which out-performed its competitors. So, with premium brand road, off-road and winter tyres to act as testing benchmarks, the Terratoura was independently tested at three of the world’s leading test sites. At the IDIADA facility near Barcelona, the Terratoura was put through its paces with wet and dry runs of on-road handling and breaking tests. Then in Finland it was put through the same tests on ice and snow at Test World, where it was only the seventh all-terrain tyre to gain three-peak mountain snowflake certification for sub-zero performance. Finally, at Millbrook proving ground back here in the UK, gravel braking and off-road competency were assessed.

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NEW ALL-TERRAIN ALITY AT BUDGET PRICE The testing was carried out using a 2.0-litre VW Amarok with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. To ensure the tyres weren’t given an easy time, the trucks electronics were recoded so that they could be completely turned off, placing more stress on the tyres. Over varying terrains designed to catch out vehicles – and, naturally, their tyres – Davanti says the Terratouras coped faultlessly. We weren’t allowed behind the wheel to see for ourselves, but a passenger ride gave us the opportunity to experience them in action, and based on this the results do appear impressive. Up an inclined gravel path, there was traction under acceleration and poise in the turns – the tyres weren’t firing a barrage of stones into the chassis, either, so it was pleasingly quiet. On muddy trails, they gripped as well as you could ask from an all-terrain and plugged their way through, with mud visibly flicking out of the tyres’ tread after exit. Then, braking on gravel was very, very efficient, almost jarring – and thanks to the Terratouras’ strength, there was no steering deviation under the strain. On a damp field, there was a handling course which came closest to unnerving the tyres, the empty pick-up bed feeling light and threatening to lose that ever-present grip. One of the most famous obstacles at Millbrook is a 60-degree concrete slope used to test braking – and after rampantly climbing up and over the sandy bank to the summit, the Amarok caught itself effortlessly on the slope with the Terratouras resisting all the physical forces trying to make them skid. Over a short track paved with uneven logs, the ride was bumpy yet remained comfortably sure-footed. But you’d expect an all-terrain to be commendable on each of those surfaces. Where it was most impressive was on the road, however. On tarmac the ride was very quiet, and the steering was very precise. Around Millbrook’s alpine circuit the tyres were called

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upon to keep the Amarok in check far from its comfort zone. The Terratouras held well through both tight and sweeping corners, and helped the pick-up handle more like a car than what it actually was – a tall, unladen workhorse. This is a feature that increases the appeal of living with a tyre, and it was always part of the plan to handle like the brand’s line of road tyres. At first sight, the Terratoura does what it set out to do. Obviously, what it’s like to live with we can’t say – but so far so good.



05/06/2018 00:02


HILUX DISC BRAKE KIT FROM PEDDERS Pedders kit replaces standard drums on current model THE TOYOTA HILUX IS, to put it simply, a legendary vehicle. The current model builds on the reputation of a brand that’s sold more than 16,000,000 units in the fifty years since its launch – but while it’s a brilliant bit of kit at all sorts of levels, it does still have drum brakes on its back axle. This is mainly okay, but if you’re planning to fit a suspension lift and bigger tyres there’s always the spectre of brake fade lurking in the background. And if you’ve experienced it, you’ll know how very scary it can be. With Pedders’ new Trakryder disc brake conversion for the current Hilux, that’llBrake be one big thing lessAd Disc Conversion to worry about. This replaces the


drums with Geomet-coated, slotted brake rotors, which are clamped by kevlar ceramic pads – delivering increased stopping power, better pedal feel and modulation and much easier maintenance. Pedders says the disc brakes will take longer to go into fade than drums, as they have a wider surface area exposed directly to air. They’re also better at draining off water. All very well, but does it make a difference? According to independent test results quoted by Pedders, yes. Under braking from 62mph, on average a Hilux with the very good news. The Hilux’s legend conversion stopped 28.5 metres was built first and foremost on sooner than one without. heavy towing and load carrying, You2018 don’t to be running all – and in either of these April - need PRINT.pdf 1 06/04/2018after 16:40 huge tyres for this to sound like situations, the better you can stop,


the better you can do it. The kit is currently priced at £1795.04 delivered, including the VAT – pay a visit to to find out more.










PEDDERS TRAKRYDER REAR DISC BRAKE CONVERSION KIT Now available for: Toyota Hilux, Isuzu D-Max and Ford Ranger Features and Benefits: • Increased stopping power over drum brakes • Significantly reduced stopping distances • Brake pedal feel and modulation are improved • The disc brakes are completely self-adjusting • Reduced brake fade on heavily laden vehicles • Kit includes all necessary hardware • Installation video supplied along with fitting instructions • 2 Year 25,000 mile warranty

Specialising in suspension solutions since 1950 For further information go to: or please contact your local Pedders experts on:



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PICKUP & 4X4 PRO 05/06/2018 12:48


IMPROVED SPORTMAX PRO FROM SNUGTOP Latest updates make flagship pick-up load bay canopy better than ever THE SPORTMAX PRO is Snugtop’s latest product in its specialist field – namely pick-up load bed covers. This is a top-end bit of kit – or in Snugtop’s own words, ‘an elegant yet practical addition to any truck, blending in with the bodywork and offering more space and security out back.’ One-piece construction means the tops are good and strong, and Snugtop’s state-of-the-art paint system means a perfect match to your vehicle’s factory colour. Roof rails add further storage, and there’s a host of accessories available to go with them including bike racks and ladder mounts. The tops are glazed to the sides and back, with an all-glass tailgate

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meaning you retain the best possible level of visibility. The side windows, meanwhile, are of the pop-out variety, and the bed floor is layered with protective neoprene – both good things if you’re one of the many people who used their trucks for carrying animals. Internal LED lighting might be considered another bonus here, though you don’t need to be trying to fish a wet dog out of the murky depths for this to be another very valuable feature. Yet another is central locking, so you know that if your truck’s secure, so’s the stuff on board. It all sounds like a hard-top that ticks a lot of boxes, and a significant step up from the model

it replaces in the Snugtop range – which was already a very strong

option. To find out more, pay a visit to



05/06/2018 12:48


NO-FRILLS LAND CRUISER COMES TO BRITAIN Land Cruiser specialist Anglia Vehicles offers RHD 70-Series for UK roads THE TOYOTA LAND CRUISER 70-Series was built to work in conditions that would destroy other vehicles. That is why it’s the 4x4 of choice for the UN, NGOs, mining corporations and military forces around the world – as well as anyone else who needs uncompromising strength, off-road ability and legendary reliability. But you can’t get it in Britain, can you? Yes you can. Not from a Toyota dealer, but from Stamford-based Anglia Vehicles. ‘Since the demise of the Land Rover Defender,’ says the company, ‘there is nothing available in the UK for those needing a “real” fourwheel drive vehicle. After more than 25 years of supplying Land

Cruiser 70-Series globally, it is our duty to make it available in the UK. These days, the 70-Series comes with a 4.5-litre V8 diesel engine developing 202bhp and 317lbf.ft, helping it tackle the toughest of terrains with ease. ‘Maintenance is very straightforward,’ says Anglia. Having no ECU means all work can be carried out in the field without special tools or diagnostic equipment. Even tyre changing is a simple DIY operation thanks to the split-rim wheels.’ The Cruisers sold by Anglia will all be left-hand drive, however the company also offers a RHD conversion kit. ‘Thanks to the design of the vehicle,’ it says, ‘this is a straightforward task that

can be safely carried out by any competent workshop.’ All sounding good? ‘The cost of these vehicles, too, will come as a

pleasant surprise!’ says Anglia. And now it all sounds even better. Best of all, a visit to www.angliavehicles. will get the ball rolling.


76 LX 10 5 Door MWB Hardtop

79 Single Cab Pickup

79 Double Cab Pickup

78 “Troopy” 3 door LWB Hardtop

For further information contact Anglia Vehicles Ltd Tel 01780 757080 Email Website 54


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PICKUP & 4X4 PRO 05/06/2018 12:49

PRODUCTS Bed protection from Speedliner In 2011, Speedliner® Europe introduced their own unique spray liner – Speedliner Euro HS®. As well as giving higher strength, toughness and durability, this provides a quicker drying and curing time than previous compounds – and since then, Speedliner® has been supplying it to an ever increasing number of dealers and applicators. Speedliner Euro HS® provides a thick, incredibly tough, hard rubber / polymer coating. The spray-on liner means that there is no loss of cargo space, will protect the load bed from rust and corrosion and, being a high quality polymer, will not crack or warp. The textured finish gives a practical anti-slip, easily washable surface for load carrying – and a unique aesthetic finish too, with over 25 different stock colours available and customers able to request custom colours too. Speedliner Europe Ltd. also offers their Speedliner Euro HC® (Hygiene Coat) spray liner option that was the first and only long life, inclusive active anti-bacterial, anti-microbial spray liner coating available for vehicles of all types in the UK and Europe, offering 21st Century vehicle hygiene control. Speedliner Euro HC® is very often requested for applications to pick-up trucks that may carry police, security services and other high value specialist ‘working’ dogs as well as for many other specialist animal services to give the carrier vehicles an extra level of hygiene protection and bacterial cross contamination prevention. Speedliner Euro HS® is now applied by over 130 authorised dealers / applicators across 12 countries, including many specialist vehicle companies ranging from automotive bodyshops to some of the major names in the UK renowned for bespoke coachbuilding and vehicle conversions. It is used by MoD specialist vehicle suppliers,too – as well as health service trusts, utility services and many local authorities.


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Simply fill in your store details below and post to Pick-Up & 4x4 Pro, Assignment Media Ltd, Repton House G11, Bretby Business Park, Burton on Trent, DE15 0YZ

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05/06/2018 12:49


SIX-POT BRAKES FOR VOLKSWAGEN AMAROK Forge Motorsport conversion features 380mm uprated front discs FORGE MOTORSPORT now offers a 380mm front brake disc kit for the Volkswagen Amarok. Using the same six-pot caliper kit that have featured on the company’s other Big Brake Kit applications, this is ideal if you use your Amarok for regular heavy towing up hill and down date – if you can get these things to fade, you really need to stop trying so hard. The 380 x 32mm discs are a two-piece design, featuring a precision-machined alloy bell and track-quality disc for consistent stopping. The disc has a curved groove to remove residual pad material and ‘face off’ the braking surfaces to eliminate



1 Forge Amarok Brakes.indd 56

squeal and keep pedal modulation consistent. At £1413 plus VAT, the kit contains all you should need – including braided hoses, mountings and EBC fast-road/trackday pads. It’s suitable for all Amaroks, however it’ll only fit within a 19” rim or larger – so if yours are smaller, you’ll ned to spring for a new set. Don’t just buy the first wheels that take your fancy, however – some designs might still need a spacer to help it clear the caliper sufficiently. Want to know more? Go to www.

PICKUP & 4X4 PRO 05/06/2018 12:56

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CALL 03303 335126 OR VISIT ISUZU.CO.UK TO BOOK A TEST DRIVE #Over 40 MPG figure applies to manual transmission models. MPG figures are official EU test figures for comparative purposes and may not reflect real driving results. Official fuel figures for the Isuzu D-Max range in MPG (l/100km): Urban 30.4 - 38.7 (9.3 - 7.3). Extra Urban 40.9 - 50.4 (6.9 - 5.6). Combined 36.2 - 45.6 (7.8 - 6.2). CO2 emissions 163 - 205g/km. For full details please contact your local Isuzu dealer or visit †Important Information. Business users only. Rental amounts shown are for an Isuzu Eiger Double Cab Commercial Vehicle On The Road with manual transmission, excluding special paint finish. Contract based on 8,000 miles per annum, non-maintained. Vehicle must be returned in a good condition to avoid further charges. Provided by Lex Autolease Ltd trading as Isuzu Contract Hire, Heathside Park, Heathside Park Road, Stockport SK3 0RB. Available at participating dealers only. Excludes motability and fleet sales, not available in conjunction with any other offers (including the Work Pack offer) or with BASC or NFU member discounts. Available until 30th June 2018. Finance options available at participating dealers, subject to status. *3.5 tonne towing applies to all 4x4 models. **125,000 miles/5 year (whichever comes first) warranty applies to all new Isuzu D-Max models. Terms and conditions apply. Visit

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13/04/2018 09:38

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