IT’S ALWAYS with relief that we get 4X4 Of The Year behind us and start planning the year ahead. What cars will be in contention for next year’s award? What launches and updates are coming? Those questions are yet to be answered, but the first vehicles off the blocks are the updated Isuzu siblings reviewed in this issue (p26) and, as this goes to press, we’re jumping on a plane to go and drive the new Land Rover Discovery in the USA.

The new Disco will be here in July, so it will definitely be a contender for next year’s 4X4OTY, possibly in a few variants.

What was more fun than 4X4OTY was our inaugural Custom 4X4OTY, where we picked our favourite customs from the past 12 months and allowed our readers to vote for the winner. It was well-received for the first time out and we hope to make it bigger in 2017 with all Australian-built cars in the running. We also aim to offer a bigger prize pool next time!

The inaugural winner of the award was the PXII Ranger built by Harrop Engineering. Rangers are hot stuff at the moment, so we’re glad to be bringing you another trick one this month (p32), along with four other cool customs.

My personal pick for 2016’s Custom 4X4OTY was Billy McKinnon’s wicked FJ45 from the October 2016 issue. Nothing’s cooler than a 40 Series, and when you improve its driveability by putting it on an 80 Series chassis and add the performance of a 450hp turbocharged V8 then it has to be a winner. Billy’s hybrid Troopy came a very close second to the Ranger, and this shows the scope of the many different custom 4x4s we see in this country.

Let’s hope this year throws up another exciting bunch for us to choose from!