I BECAME aware of the iDrive Throttle Tuner when my son fitted one to his Hilux, after his best mate fitted one to his Ford Ranger. Both were raving about it and have been impressed with it around town, on the highway, up in the Vic High Country and out in the Simpson.

I thought there had to be something in this, so when we bought a V8 Cruiser dual-cab 79 Series recently, one of the first things fitted was one of these units.

Like most throttle tuners on the market the iDrive provides new points of reference for the vehicle’s throttle mapping, but it still works within the standard parameters of the throttle settings. This means, depending on the settings that you choose, it will give a sharper (or less sharp) throttle curve. The iDrive brings the throttle in earlier in the pedal stroke and reduces throttle lag in the pedal. It doesn’t recalibrate the ECU or increase power or torque; it just brings it on quicker.

The iDrive model I’ve applied is the EVC171, which is good for a range of vehicles, including the V8 70 Series, Land Cruiser Prado, Lexus and more.

The instruction sheet is brief and easy to understand and fitting the unit takes just a few minutes in most cases.

However, I found it easier to remove the whole accelerator assembly from the vehicle, so that removing and inserting the plugs was easier.

You simply unplug the throttle wires from the accelerator assembly, plug the iDrive into the accelerator plug, and then plug the original wiring back into the iDrive. The biggest decision you have to make is where to mount the small control unit – the unit is mounted with the supplied double-sided tape. Once it’s connected, turn on the vehicle’s ignition and set the unit for manual or automatic transmission via the ‘mode’ button.

The iDrive has four modes and it’s easy to toggle between them. Normal (N) mode is a replica of the factory settings, while Economy (E) mode has nine settings that reduce the response from the throttle. Why would you want that? We discovered it doesn’t improve fuel economy, but on rocky bush tracks we found the higher Eco settings were a little easier to control acceleration and reduce (or even stop) the ‘kangarooing’ many people have trouble controlling.

Ultimate Performance (U) mode also has nine settings: 1-3 are for everyday driving with smooth acceleration; 4-6 are sportier with a more responsive feel and would suit most users; 7-9 are for more

aggressive acceleration and towing.

Auto Control (AC) mode makes the iDrive unique. It’s a set-and-forget function – the unit determines how hard you press the pedal and how far you press it. If you accelerate gently the iDrive will respond but with a lower level of performance, and if you accelerate hard the unit will respond more aggressively.

For most circumstances I’ve found I prefer a setting of around U4, while on rocky tracks I use E7-E9. When towing I crank the U settings to 6-8, but while I’m reversing into a tricky spot I might change it to Eco mode to slow down the throttle response.

Most people will find it easy enough to install at home. Plus it works a treat around town or in the scrub, delivering all it promises to do. You can’t get better than that!