4x4 Australia of the year

SEVEN CONTENDERS DRAW SWORDS FOR 4X4OTY.

WORDS MATT RAUDONIKIS

4cast NEWS AND VIEWS

SEVEN CONTENDERS DRAW SWORDS FOR 4X4OTY.

AT THE end of 2016 we selected seven of the most interesting, new and updated 4WDs as the finalists for our 4X4 of the Year test.

They were then taken out for a solid week of on- and off-road testing before they were judged and scored to determine our 4x4OTY.

Which do you think will win?

We’re giving you the chance to cast your vote as to which of our finalists deserves the 4X4OTY gong.

To cast your vote head to www.4x4australia.com.au and check out the selections to be in the running to win a $500 voucher from 4X4OTY supporters Tough Dog Suspensions. The voting runs from February 2 to March 16, 2017. 4X4 Australia magazine’s 4X4OTY will be announced at the Australian Motoring Awards held in Melbourne on February 1, and the results will be published in the March 2017 edition of the magazine the following day. All copies of the March issue of the magazine will be withheld from sale until that day – including subscriber copies. Keep an eye on your letterbox and news-stands on February 2 for the full story.

Here are the magnificent seven 4X4OTY contenders.

HAVAL H9 LUXURY $49,990

HAVAL is Great Wall’s SUV offshoot brand, and the H9 is the only serious 4x4 in the Haval range. While a ‘take’ on the Toyota Prado in general size and layout, thanks in part to Haval’s recruitment of former Toyota chief engineer Suguya Fukusato, the H9 is petrol-only. The engine in question is a 2.0- litre turbo four-cylinder and the 4x4 system uses a self-locking and self-proportioning electronic transfer case (BorgWarner; built under licence) much like that used in last year’s winner, the Ford Everest.

HOLDEN COLORADO LTZ $52,690

AFTER unsuccessful attempts to bring its Colorado up to scratch, Holden has finally started again. It has moved the engine’s balance shafts; added sound deadening; changed the engine and body mounts; installed a new torque convertor; recalibrated the suspension; added electric power steering; and installed a thicker windscreen, new window seals, roof mouldings and mirror mounts. The outputs remain, but Holden claims low-rpm torque is stronger. Extra kit, new dash and frontend treatment features.

HOLDEN TRAILBLAZER LTZ $52,490

TRAILBLAZER is a new name for what was previously called the Colorado 7, a sevenseat wagon based on the MY17 Colorado ute.

Yet, only the dampers on the wagon have been changed whereas the ute gets new springs, dampers and a front swaybar. As with the ute, the majority of the changes are aimed at refinement. The Trailblazer also gets a new dash and more tech kit such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as embedded sat-nav in the top-spec model.

MERCEDES BENZ G300 CDI CAB-CHASSIS $119,900

THE G-Class is Mercedes- Benz’s longest-running model and even outdates Toyota’s venerable 70 Series. This G-Class Professional G300 Cab- Chassis is the latest in a long line of G-Class variants to be sold here and joins the G350 and G63 AMG wagons.

There’s only one engine, a low-tuned version of Benz’s ubiquitous V6 turbo-diesel. A five-speed automatic is the only gearbox offered and it’s mated to the G-Class’s trademark dual-range full-time 4x4 system with its triple diff locks.

MITSUBISHI PAJERO SPORT GLS $48,500

THE Pajero Sport is based on the new-generation Triton ute. Aside from the body and the coilspring rear suspension, the notable change from the Triton is an eight-speed automatic in place of the Triton’s five-speed auto. There’s no manual in the threemodel range, and all have Mitsubishi’s Super Select 4x4 system that offers the functionality of fulltime 4x4, but with the option of 4x2. Otherwise it’s Triton engine, Triton front suspension and a shortened/modified Triton ladder-frame chassis.

TOYOTA LAND CRUISER 79 DOUBLE CAB GXL $71,751

TOYOTA’S 70 Series dates back more than 30 years and the latest round of updates are significant, with all variants getting a new five-speed manual gearbox. All models also get auto-locking hubs, cruise control as well as electronic stability and traction control. Singlecab models then get additional curtain and driver’s knee airbags and thicker frame rails for five-star ANCAP safety compliance. The 4.5-litre V8 diesel is now Euro 5 emissions compliant, too.

VOLKSWAGEN AMAROK TDI550 ULTIMATE $67,990

THE Amarok V6 diesel represents the first significant change since the eight-speed automatic four-cylinder models arrived in early 2012. The V6 comes with a beefed-up eightspeeder, and at this stage is only available with a single-range full-time 4x4 system. The V6 brings a significant jump in power and an extra 130Nm over the four-cylinder models at a modest $3000 premium in Highline specification and $4000 in Ultimate spec.