Monday, August 2, 2010

Beauty v Beast

Spent the weekend with a wide selection of off road vehicles and I think in my mind at least I have resolved the answer to the question of soft roader (SUV) versus full 4x4.

There is a ongoing argument as to what defines a Soft Roader v a full 4x4, but for the purposes of this debate a soft roader is a station wagon type vehicle with all wheel drive and slightly raised ground clearance, a 4x4 is a vehicle with all wheel drive and raised suspension and low range.
The long and the short of it is, in general the soft roader is an incredibly competent vehicle.Well deserving of there reputation but (and yes there is a but) these vehicles are superb on the road and more than capable on dirt roads even jeep tracks. However they are severly compromised by their low ground clearance and if they don't have traction control the smaller tires are not sufficient to give traction over very loose terrain. Also if you do take a Soft roader off road there is a good chance of breaking something as the Subaru did on Saturday when it dragged its towbar on the ground.

There is also the power factor, a twenty five year old Toyota Land Cruiser with low range can put down a ton more torque and can brute force its way through tough situations and since its not dragging it's rear or chassis on the ground you are less likely to tap off on the power when hitting the obstacle.

So all in all if your looking to go anywhere in any kind of weather conditions then a real 4x4 is the vehicle for you. However if your the kind of person who leave the beaten track, but still follow the trail on the map then a soft roader is possibly the vehicle for you.

Can you take a soft roader off road? Yes!
Would you want to? No!

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