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The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman (Photo: BMW)

When MINI Cooper came out with its Mini Countryman in 2010, it looked like what it was – a 4x4 crossover for people who like MINIs, but occasionally need to drive through a field or live on steep, icy hills. This year, MINI’s John Cooper Works sub-brand comes out with its version of the Countryman that takes the bucolic MINI and gives it a heavy dose of racetrack style and technology.  Read More

The Gnarboard looks like so much fun

The growing availability of high capability electric motors is currently in the process of revolutionizing every aspect of personal transport. In a short time, electric skateboards have gone from being docile and anemic to having enough power to do burn-outs and wheelies. In April we looked at all the available 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-wheel transportation appliances on the market, but envisaged nothing quite like the newly announced US$6100 Gnarboard 4WD Trail Rider with its 3.4 kW of power and peak-power output of 16.5 kW. The Gnarboard accelerates so hard that it can hit its top speed of 28 mph in 1.9 seconds, which is faster than almost anything on the road. Ridden by an expert, it is quite possibly the fastest urban point-to-point conveyance available, yet can be ridden through soft sand and up the steepest of trails. For pure road riding, there's also a slick-tired 4WD road board available.  Read More

The 2013 G-Class maintains traditional styling with a few subtle updates

Mercedes-Benz debuted its 2013 G-Class off-roader this week. The vehicle receives some updates for the 2013 model year, but keeps its tough, rugged look and drive. Hard-nosed off-roader outside, Mercedes inside.  Read More

The Unimog 4WD Cabrio truck concept

It may look like one of the most outrageous automotive concepts seen in many a year, but the Unimog 4WD Cabrio Truck concept created to celebrate 60 years of Mercedes Benz Unimog production actually has some basis in history - the very first Mercedes Unimog which rolled off the production line back on June 3, 1951 was also a cabrio, and it was also green, as has been almost every other Unimog in the intervening years. Based on the current Unimog U 5000 with its exceptional off-road capabilities, the Unimog Cabrio is apparently designed to bridge current and future Unimog design.  Read More

The practical V12 Ferrari FF - four-seat, four-wheel-drive, 660 bhp

UPDATED - NEW IMAGERY Ferrari’s new FF is unquestionably the most practical and versatile Ferrari yet. Four-seats, four wheel drive and the carrying capacity of a “shooting brake”, all styled by Pininfarina, offer a previously unavailable blend of sporting DNA and usability. The technological input is as one might expect from a company at the forefront of Formula One – an innovative lightweight four wheel drive system, the latest magnetorheological damping system, a transaxle dual-clutch F1 gearbox. It’s the unprecedented provision for four people and their luggage which makes it a milestone though. Bravo Ferrari.  Read More

The EUR 250,000 Bocklet Dakar U685

Getting away from it all in Germany, where there are 8000 camping grounds and an equally massive motorhome industry, you need to go just a bit further to escape the madding crowd. Bocklet caters to the adventure touring market by building “go anywhere” motorhomes for those who do not wish to travel the road well traveled, and the company's latest is the Unimog-based EUR 250,000 (USD 315,000) Dakar U685. Capable of carrying 330 liters of fuel and 300 liters of fresh water, the Dakar can take you a long way off the beaten track yet seemingly wanting for little. Creature comforts include diesel-powered heating and air conditioning, a hot water service, shower, toilet and kitchen, 110-liter refrigerator, 220 Ah battery, 260 watt solar panel, automatic battery charger, 1.2 kW inverter, satellite TV and a king sized bed. Anything else you need, just ask.  Read More

Mazda's frugal 55mpg 4WD commuter

We know that the grass is always greener on the other side… but do the cars also have to be greener elsewhere too? Mazda's Carol micro-mini is only available in Japan yet its excellent fuel economy, affordability and specifications read like a wish list for commuters the world over - 4WD, 55 mpg, CVT, keyless entry, keyless start system, immobilizer, DOHC VVT motor, four-wheel ABS, electronic brake distribution (EBD), brake assist, split folding rear seats, heated seats… there's even wing mirror heaters to prevent fogging on cold mornings.  Read More

For a holiday with a lot of difference, Arctic Trucks gets you among the action in Iceland...

You will probably never get the chance to race a Bugatti Veyron against a Eurofighter Typhoon, play "car darts" or fire an anti-tank gun at a flying Ford Scorpio - because unless your name is Clarkson, May or Hammond, you don't have the best damn job in the world. But if you fancy a taste of the incredible life the Top Gear crew enjoy, you might be interested to hear that Arctic Trucks, the Iceland-based company that took the lads to the North Pole in 2007's Polar Challenge, is now offering a range of two-day, five-day and longer expeditions across the same territory - in the same beefed-up Toyota 4WDs that raced against Hammond's dog sled team. Bring your own smug British humor.  Read More

The Toyota Prado gets put through its paces on the 4WD test track

"Two-in-one" products generally mean there's a compromise. A desktop replacement laptop is great until you've lugged its weighty frame through five airports in two weeks, a road-trail motorcycle is fine until you hit a really snarly stretch of dirt, and a keyboard that becomes a mouse when you turn it upside down, well, lets not even go there. So when Toyota introduced its new Prado Landcruiser mid-size 4WD as a "best of both worlds" solution for both the highway and the rough stuff I was a little skeptical. But after taking on all types of terrain - including, open roads, tight forest trails and a formidable purpose built 4x4 track - I may just have been convinced otherwise. The vehicle's versatile performance owes particular thanks to a sophisticated new suspension system and electronics suite, and although there's no point pretending that it can be a sports coupe one minute and a monster truck the next, as a two-in-one auto solution the fourth-gen Prado comes very, very close.  Read More

The MINI Beachcomber - Moke V2.0

MINI is set to display a modern version of its spartan MOKE open-body, four-seater of the seventies at NAIAS in January. The MOKE (pictured in background) was hugely loved in tropical climates, having the fundamentals of a MINI but not much more – the “Beachcomber Concept” takes the same sense of minimalism, freedom and adventure and enhances it with a roll cage, a lockable trunk and the 4WD drivetrain and design elements of MINI’s upcoming compact SUV.  Read More

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