The Battle of the Off-Road


That’s more or less how we decided the time had come for another beater challenge. Past such budget-burners have featured ice racing, a sort of street-car Olympics, and a cross-country scavenger hunt. For this installment, we decided to buy old 4x4s and fix them up so we could break them again. Pairs of editors were given $1500 budgets, which they promptly blew, and we devised a series of off-road abuses. The scoring was, to put it mildly, improvised. Continue reading “The Battle of the Off-Road”

Land Rover defender 90 1989- The best Off-Road


A friend of mine once emailed to say that he was considering buying an old soft-top 109 Land Rover to carry around his family and their kayaks on weekend trips. “What about this one?” he asked, showing me a decent looking 109 rag top, “But I want a non fan-boy opinion”. I thought that was interesting. I’m known amongst friends to be very enthusiastic about Land Rovers, but to the point that people obviously believe I’m blind to even the biggest oversights and niggles that Land Rovers do have.
So, having sat and pondered this comment, I wondered, why do people buy Land Rovers? Land Rover’s are expensive, very basic, difficult to drive around towns, not particularly comfortable, stolen frequently, slow, fuel burners, noisy, costly to run, hard to get into with a skirt on (apparently), damp, leaky and we could go on. Continue reading “Land Rover defender 90 1989- The best Off-Road”

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro 4×4 Off-Road


Evaluating a proper off-roader like the TRD Pro on the mean streets of suburbia is one thing, but pavement cruising is to the Toyota’s mission as a fork is to eating yogurt. So we set a course for Michigan’s Silver Lake State Park and its playground of coastal sand dunes. With the tires’ inflation pressure significantly aired down to improve traction and a tall flag bolted to the front tow hook for more visibility, we put the transfer case in four-wheel drive high and fired the Tacoma over the open terrain it was designed to tackle. Continue reading “2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro 4×4 Off-Road”

The best BMW x5 2004 Off-Road


For years BMW used the advertising slogan “The ultimate driving machine”, so when it introduced the X5, its first SUV, in 2000, many enthusiasts were dismayed at such a betrayal. How could BMW build a car so at odds with all it stood for? But of course we shouldn’t have worried; BMW’s new 4×4 was virtually as great to drive as the car maker’s class-leading 5-series. Continue reading “The best BMW x5 2004 Off-Road”

Hummer H1 Strong Off-Road 4×4


“Only in America.” Nowhere in the vehicular universe does that statement apply more than when in reference to the Hummer H1. Originally designed strictly for military use, this absolutely massive four-wheel-drive utility vehicle earned its 15 minutes of fame as a civilian conveyance when it became the ride of choice among Hollywood celebrities and professional athletes who thought it oh-so-chic to pilot the ultimate ruff-and-tuff image machine. Continue reading “Hummer H1 Strong Off-Road 4×4”