Sunday, March 4, 2012

Cruisin' the Dunes


I get to drive and test all kinds of vehicles every week. It's an interesting job and you really get a complete overview of what different kinds of vehicles and brands offer. Driving all these new vehicles you do tend to get a little blasé, but when I scheduled the new FJ Cruiser from Toyota I simply could not wait to get my hands on this baby!

And right from the start I knew where I was going to put it through it's paces - the Vleesbaai Dune route!

Much has been written about the FJ already so I wasn't going to do a "normal" article, but rather see how well it copes in off road conditions with a rookie behind the wheel.

Unfortunately we had some light rain when we got there, but we weren't going to let that stop us!

I have been on this route a couple of times before of course, both times with my dad and his Land Cruiser (reports here). That would be the case again today and as it turns out what a good thing that was...

This route is situated on a farm right next to the ocean. When you are not concentrating on the obstacles you are treated to the most wonderful views.

The light intermittent drizzle didn't make the route much easier. Sure there was a layer of wet sand, but once you broke through that the soft sand underneath was a whole different ball game!

Some playing - getting used to the FJ:

That 4 litre engine is a monster. 200kW and 380Nm makes most of these obstacles look like child's play!

Time to hit the serious stuff. Let's see what this FJ is made of...

Men never grow up, the sand boxes just get bigger!

Short course with lots of obstacles and little space to get speed / momentum. Pity you cant see the gradients on the photo.

See how low the FJ starts in this clip en where it ends. Easy Peasy.

Some more scenery:

Good photo spot for the article.

This FJ is such a treat. it simply runs over anything you throw at it. The kids were having a blast!

And of course, just as I get cocky, the inevitable happens...

No matter what you drive, you can't buy skill. I ran out of talent real quick.

Luckily the other Cruiser was at hand with the winch. If you don't get stuck you weren't playing hard enough, that's what I say!

More high dunes:

The old and the new. How cool is that?

Another photo opportunity for the article:

Now for the downhill on the other side...

Once again, you never see the true gradient on a photo, but this was STEEP. On the way down I "stood" as to not slip off the seat! FireFly opted out of this experience volunteering to take the photos.

Some more playing - it looks easy but believe me you can get stuck very easily here.

And finally - "The Dune":

This high dune is right at the end of the course. It has been the nemesis of many a 4x4. When we arrived this Toyota KZTE was ready to take it on...

There is no shame in only making it there. Lot's of 4x4's don't make it past there.

Deflating the tyres 'n bit more. 0.6 bar in front and 0.5 rear.

And that makes all the difference!

My dad and his Land Cruiser:

Now the FJ's tyres were sitting at 1 bar. Everybody said I should deflate, but of course I didn't think it necessary. I made it here like that didn't I?

And of course, just as I get cocky, the inevitable happens... again!

Land Cruiser to the rescue.

(See how high this dune really is - look at the vehicle in the background)

Second attempt (all tyres at 0.8 bar) and I ace it!

And again and again. This FJ just has oodles of power. Some video footage:

The view from the bottom:

Most vehicles running up here choose a gear and pin the throttle all the way to the top. This FJ has an auto gearbox and I drove it in "drive". It changed gears on the run up no problem. In fact, it has so much power you can slow down and speed up again at will on the way up. It's such an easy drive.

The view from the top:

What a magnificent vehicle. It's a smooth ride and yet a VERY capable 4x4. And this is in standard form!

I drive different vehicles every week, all new and top of the range, but this, this is one of those vehicles I would buy for myself. A truly versatile do anything vehicle.


1 comment:

bed and breakfast luray said...

I hope you have had wonderful and enjoyable journey and the course you went through.