WITH a heritage stretching back almost seven decades, the Defender was one of the all-time classic 4x4s. Basic, purposeful and available in a range of models, wheelbases and body styles.
It was the definitive British 4x4 that was loved by generations.
There is a new Defender expected to lob in 2019, but who knows what form it may take. We doubt it will be anything like the original, but more of a tribute to it. We live in hope.
THE quirky little Tojo finally arrived in Australia in 2011, quickly becoming a surprise 4X4 of the Year winner that year. Left-hand drive (LHD) production ceased in 2014 and the last RHD vehicles rolled off the line in Japan in August, 2016. Interestingly, the last of the LHD FJ Cruisers in the USA has one of the highest retained values of any used car there, fetching up to 97 per cent of its newcar price after three years. We doubt that will be the case here. e er
THE veritable grandfatherís axe of the 4x4 world, the GU was really just a GQ chassis and driveline with a bigger and more contemporary body laid over it. During its long existence the GU had no less than six different engines under its helipad-sized bonnet, but it always retained the well-proven formula of a part-time four-wheel drive system with coil-sprung live axles front and rear as well as a rugged ladder chassis.
The GU was available in both five-door wagon and cab-chassis variants. The cab-chassis offered traditional leaf springs at the back for heavy load-bearing, or coils for a more comfortable ride. The coil-sprung ute was a favourite for recreational 4x4ers. The Patrol name lives on in the Y62 wagon, a vastly different vehicle to what made the nameplate so popular here, but no less capable.
CAR companies are pretty good at keeping their future products under wraps, so we donít know what is coming for sure.
Toyota is the master of keeping secrets, but the 200 Series Land Cruiser is now 10 years old and the Prado 120- 150 series has been around for 15 years, so both of those key vehicles are up for renewal.
We can tell you Isuzu will be dropping refreshed versions of its D-Max ute and MU-X wagon in the first quarter of the year, with updates to the engine to meet EU emissions standards.
The fifth-generation Land Rover Discovery gets its global launch in Q1, so we could see that here before the year is out. The only other new 4x4 of interest that we know of will be the Jeep JL Wrangler, which is expected in the USA toward the end of 2017 Ė but itís not arriving here until 2018.
The double-cab pick-up and diesel variants of the Wrangler will not reach us until 2019.