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HEAVY DUTY OFF-ROAD VEHICLES

Most 4WDs are used for pleasure by their owners, but many vehicles have to work hard for their living, serving the community in off-road tasks, such as power and communication equipment maintenance and bush-fire fighting. Others pay their way in the Outback in agricultural, mining and construction work.

Bush fire fighters need better equipment

Bush fire fighters need better equipment

The volunteers who risk their lives and give up their time to defend life and property from disaster deserve our highest praise and long-postponed remuneration as well. The under-funded bushfire effort in this country is a national disgrace.

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Isuzu NLS 200

Isuzu NLS 200

Isuzu Australia hasn’t dominated the local truck scene by accident, but by carefully analysing every possible market segment. The latest release is a ‘softer’ 4WD than the go-anywhere NPS, targetting customers who need a traction truck, not an expedition vehicle. 

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Scania P450XT 6×6

Scania P450XT 6×6

Scania is best known for its stylish on-highway vehicles, but the now VW-owned company has a rich history of off-road and military vehicles. The new P450XT model is a case in point.

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VW Crafter 4Motion

VW Crafter 4Motion

The all-Volkswagen Crafter is no longer a rebadged and repowered Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The post-2018 Crafter is designed and made by VW and 4Motion models are available.

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Automatic transmission light 4×4 trucks

Automatic transmission light 4×4 trucks

It’s always amazed us that working-4×4 ute and light truck makers have stuck with manual transmissions, when all earthmoving gear and most heavy all wheel drive trucks have automatic transmissions. Thankfully, that scene is changing and there will be three self-shifting light 4×4 trucks available in 2019.

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Mercedes-Benz new generation all-wheel drive trucks

Mercedes-Benz new generation all-wheel drive trucks

Mercedes-Benz has released its new-generation all-wheel drive truck range, consisting of 4×4, 6×6 and 8×8 models. Mining, construction, remote maintenance, fertiliser spreading and off-road adventure travel are among the design applications for the new all-wheel drive Mercedes-Benz range.

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Hino 300 Series 4×4

Hino 300 Series 4×4

Hino chose the May 2017 Brisbane truck show to preview its forthcoming 4×4 light truck market competitor. The official release was in November and we were there for the fun. An automatic retro-fit option was announced in late 2018.

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Iveco Eurocargo 4×4

Iveco Eurocargo 4×4

Iveco is one of the world’s largest producers of off road vehicles, for civilian and military customers. The Eurocargo 4×4 is an all-terrain development of the 4×2 road-oriented medium truck range.

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Iveco Trakker 4×4

Iveco Trakker 4×4

Iveco’s Daily has given the Japanese 4×4 truck makers a fright and the new Trakker 4×4 might do the same at the heavy end of the 4×4 market.

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Mercedes-Benz Zetros

Mercedes-Benz Zetros

Unashamedly military in appearance the civilian version of the Mercedes-Benz Zetros range is aimed at the Australian mining, exploration and fire-fighting sectors. Allan Whiting had some fun slip-slidin’ away on bush tracks around a damp Anglesea.

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Nine-seat Troopy

Nine-seat Troopy

Bus4x4’s third door conversion looks very much like a factory design and fitment, and solves the problem of legal access to three rows of seats. The front, second and third rows all have easy entry and exit.

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Fuso Canter 4×4

Fuso Canter 4×4

The latest Canter 4×4 performs better than its predecessors and has more interior refinements, but the suspension still needs some work.

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TravelTrucks’ modified Iveco Daily workhorses

TravelTrucks’ modified Iveco Daily workhorses

TravelTrucks was started by Kym Bolton, one of Australia’s most successful off-road competition vehicle builders and one-time founder of the Earthcruiser business. His ScrubMaster range benefits from many years’ experience working and competing in demanding conditions.

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Modern utes are complex creatures

Modern utes are complex creatures

Although today’s utes and tray-backs look similar in configuration to those of the early 2000s there have been a dramatic changes under the skin. Yesterday’s ute-purchasing criteria no longer apply.

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Brahman Traveller AWD Bus

Brahman Traveller AWD Bus

The Brahman Traveller all-wheel-drive bus has been accepted in the Australian and New Guinea markets since early 2013 and 34 examples are now in service.

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Bus4x4 mine vehicles

Bus4x4 mine vehicles

Bus4x4 is a Brisbane-based secondary manufacturer of 4WD and 6WD mine transport vehicles. The company’s principal product lines are Toyota HiAce and Coaster 2WD buses that are professionally converted to 4WD. OTA checked out the current range and tested the HLT project.

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Hino’s automatic GT

Hino’s automatic GT

The Hino GT is unashamedly targeting rural fire fighting fleets, but this versatile truck could have other applications. The 2020 Hino GT 4×4 Auto model combines an Allison self-shifter with upgraded mechanicals.

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Isuzu’s upgraded NPS 300

Isuzu’s upgraded NPS 300

We checked out the latest NPS 300 crew cab model and found many improvements over the original. In mid-2018 a two-pedal, automated manual transmission model was announced.

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Mercedes-Benz Unimog

Mercedes-Benz Unimog

The latest Unimog looks familiar, but hides significant powertrain changes behind that rugged façade. Allan Whiting was the first Aussie journo to give the new beast a workout.

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Isuzu FSS and FTS

Isuzu FSS and FTS

The Australian 4WD truck market leader has extended the appeal of its 8-9-tonnes-payload capacity 4×4 truck models with the addition of two new diesel engine variants. A new, powerful four complements a variant of the proved six that’s purpose-designed for off-road operation.

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Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4

Mercedes-Benz Australia hasn’t realised the potential in the Sprinter 4×4 range. Our testing showed this vehicle has good bush credentials and is worthy of consideration by anyone wanting payload capacity and cargo volume in an off-road machine.

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Iveco Daily 4×4

Iveco Daily 4×4

The Iveco Daily 4WD range was released in 2013. Brilliant off road credentials and more than twice the payload of a ute ensured good business for this capable machine. Refinements were added in mid-2016 and in 2018 and a greatly expanded range was released in late 2019.

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