Article Comment: 4WD vs AWD

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 13:47
ThreadID: 132243 Views:2980 Replies:11 FollowUps:15
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Just found a list of "unsuitable" AWD vehicles for visiting one of WA's national parks where sand driving is required. The list given is as follows:
Ford - EcoSport, Kuga, Territory
Holden - Captiva
Honda – none suitable
Kia – none suitable
Landrover - Freelander
Mitsubishi - ASX, Outlander
Nissan - Xtrail, Juke, Murano
Subaru – none suitable
Toyota - RAV4, Kluger
Volkswagon - Amarok
This is an extract from the article found at http://www.sharkbay.org.au/Assets/4WDing_Shark_Bay.pdf
The article was located via the http://www.sharkbay.org.au/visit-steep-point-and-edel-land.aspx website and is titled "Four Wheel Driving in Shark Bay".
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Reply By: Member - Allan L2 - Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 14:04

Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 14:04
I can understand why the majority of listed vehicles are unsuitable, but the Amarok comes as a surprise.

Cheers,
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 14:30

Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 14:30
Yeah, others in that list will work if aired down and driven with a bit of skill.

And sand ain't sand.
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Follow Up By: Malcom M - Thursday, Apr 28, 2016 at 08:39

Thursday, Apr 28, 2016 at 08:39
the auto Amarok is not 4WD, only the manual. Maybe they meant the auto

or was it no low range... forget now but theauto/manual are very different animals.
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Thursday, Apr 28, 2016 at 09:57

Thursday, Apr 28, 2016 at 09:57
Both are 4wd - the manual has low range. The 8 speed auto is single range but has a couple of extra lower gears which when linked to the torque multiplying effect of the torque converter means on the the track that it effectively has the equivalent of low range gearing.
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Follow Up By: gbc - Thursday, Apr 28, 2016 at 11:07

Thursday, Apr 28, 2016 at 11:07
No low range reverse though and that has been the Achilles heel of a few auto amaroks.

I still like them though.
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Reply By: Notso - Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 14:30

Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 14:30
Eeek, my Amarok driving mates will be disappointed!
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Follow Up By: Des G2 - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 19:11

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 19:11
lol...they won't be. The article is rubbish.
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Reply By: Life Member - Duncan W (WA) - Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 14:36

Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 14:36
And the older Kia Sorrento is a very capable 4WD
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Reply By: gbc - Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 14:36

Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 14:36
That's funny.

Bring the Passat/tiguan/tuareg but leave the amarok at home.
AnswerID: 599227

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 16:07

Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 16:07
Read the referenced article mate. They aren't listed as suitable.

Phil
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 14:53

Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 14:53
Yep - didn't think everyone would approve of the list! I doubt you'd be denied entry as it also states that it depends on the driver, but it's certainly odd to actually give a list of "unsuitable" vehicles. I've never seen this done before on a government tourism page. They do list this phone number to argue (oops! ..."check" if your vehicle is suitable). Phone: (08) 9948 2226.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 16:08

Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 16:08
Hi Michelle

The article also stated:

"These lists are not comprehensive and experienced
four-wheel drivers may be able to take vehicles
listed as unsuitable where inexperienced drivers
cannot."

Phil
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Reply By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 15:03

Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 15:03
They stuffed up , the reason someone with little 4wd knowledge has put the Amarok in that list would be because it doesn't have low range.

They forget it has wide spread 8 speed auto and a high stall torque convertor.

It also has rear locker , and when engaged it doesn't disconnect the traction control on front wheels like several other utes.

As a result its one of the best and has won 4wd awards.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 15:11

Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 15:11
Yes I think we should really be using the terms "off roader" and "softroader" to better explain the suitability of a vehicle for Australian offroad conditions. Most AWDs are softroaders and aren't going to cut it but there are exceptions.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Thursday, Apr 28, 2016 at 08:39

Thursday, Apr 28, 2016 at 08:39
I think the category terms are close to useless. Clearance and gearing sort the wheat from the chaff. With TC common, lockers are no longer a criterion in my opinion.
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Follow Up By: ian.g - Thursday, Apr 28, 2016 at 15:01

Thursday, Apr 28, 2016 at 15:01
Might have 8 forward ratios but only one reverse that is not too low geared, recipe for disaster in my opinion.
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Follow Up By: Des G2 - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 19:09

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 19:09
Amaroks are clearly not the 'best' 4 wheel drives on the market for aggressive off road adventures but they have proven themselves all over the world as highly capable offroaders. There are, and have been for a number of years, the support vehicles for the Dakar Rally, agreed by most experts as the most difficult offroad challenge in the world.

Geez, our own Mr 4x4 Pat Callinan, has even demonstrated the capability of the Amarok including crossing the simspon etc.

I think the poor lad/girl who wrote the Government transcript has never hopped out of their Honda Civic.......

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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Friday, May 13, 2016 at 22:02

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 22:02
Of our 6 vehicles on the run up the CSR a few years ago - 40 series / 80 series / Nissan GQ / 70 series / 200 series and an Amarok, apart from the 200 the Amarok had the least hassles - surprised the lot of us.
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Reply By: Ron N - Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 15:06

Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 15:06
I'd hazard a guess the only criteria looked at, when making up the list, was official ground clearance figures.

We all know ground clearance is a very important feature of dirt road and rough track abilities - but the list doesn't take into account individual vehicle setups (suspension, wheel and tyre mods) - and individual drivers abilities.

I've seen some people who can bog a 79 series Landcruiser in reasonable going with absolutely brainless driving - and I've seen people who could take an old Holden ute fitted with widies and an LSD, very skilfully and capably, where only genuine off-road racers would normally operate.

The list is purely an attempt to try and stop idiots from becoming stranded. As such, I guess it's better than nothing - but I could see some people taking their AWD's mentioned in the list, on purpose, just to try and prove the list makers wrong.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Member - J&A&KK - Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 22:54

Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 22:54
Hi Ron

Can only agree. In the late 60's we used to measure water table depths throughout the sand plains north of Perth. Kit was a 149 HR panel van, cookie cutter tyres and two guys. No winch, no recovery gear, no backup and no phone. Shovels and sand bags only. Drove through, up and over the bottomless dry sand dunes. Low tyre pressures, light vehicle and human leg power in general. Used to lash the steering wheel to the window frame, wedge the accelerator to about 30 % and both get out and push, lift and push and run after it when it got away. It was called the " bore run". It was supposed to take two days. We did it in one many times and then took the next day off. When driving north from Perth now, when I see 4WD's bogged in the sand I just laugh.

John
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Follow Up By: Echucan Bob - Monday, May 02, 2016 at 17:13

Monday, May 02, 2016 at 17:13
Ron,

according to published data, both the Prado and the Freelander have a ground clearance of 220mm.

Anything useful the author of this article may have had to say is immediately negated by a ridiculous and clearly flawed list. The inclusion of the Amarok is laughable.

I'd say the article was penned by an idiot with an axe to grind. WA - your taxes at work!

Bob
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 10:10

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 10:10
Yes the Freelander has more ground clearance than some standard 4wd utes and given it shorter wheelbase its effective ground clearance is even better. Likewise it has a superior 4wd system albeit without low range but the auto setup does help a little to overcome this.

I agree the person who wrote the article is a bit of a noob.
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Reply By: garrycol - Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 16:01

Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 16:01
When you compare like for like - modifications/equipment "softroaders" will do better than most full on 4wds in sand due to lighter weight etc.

I think that the person listed certain full on criteria and then excluded vehicles that did not meet that, without considering actual offroad performance.

The obvious ones for me are the Amorak and the Freelander - both will match unmodified 4wds in most areas - people making these lists need to look at actual performance not perceived performance.

Garry
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Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 18:28

Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 at 18:28
With respect to the drive to Steep Point it is essential that you have adequate ground clearance. The track is for the most part very narrow and in places it is quite steep combined with deep dry sand. Tracks south of Steep Point are supposedly challenging in that the limestone creates tyre hazards. Thus road tyres are at a considerable risk.
We had no trouble in our 200 Series Landcruiser with our tyres set to 18 psi, However, use of a sand flag is most worthwhile as the vegetation that lines both sides of the narrow winding track in many places makes it difficult to see oncoming vehicles. When we met other vehicles they commented that they could see us well ahead of us reaching them thus enabling them to prepare for the meeting.
My general feeling is that attempting this area with a soft roader with limited ground clearance and road tyres is just asking for trouble.
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Reply By: Member - Warren H - Thursday, Apr 28, 2016 at 09:35

Thursday, Apr 28, 2016 at 09:35
Another side of suitability is what you have to dig out when you do get bogged. A lot easier to dig out an axle than the whole body, one of the big advantages of a live axle 4wd in my opinion. I once had to dig out the entire underbody of my Subaru (1982 dual range wagon which was quite capable within it's ground clearance limitations) when I was coming out of a dry sandy creek bed only to find that since my last visit national parks had put posts across the track and there was no room for a wide turn.
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Reply By: Michael H9 - Thursday, Apr 28, 2016 at 23:37

Thursday, Apr 28, 2016 at 23:37
The biggest handicap to a car is the driver. Most soft roaders have drivers not very experienced at 4wding. I just returned from Fraser and went all the way to Sandy Cape in my Freelander 2 without a problem. The Indian Head bypass had a stuck Pajero I had to wait for and at Orchid Beach I had to wait for a very nicely setup and extremely capable Subaru Forester to snatch a stuck Nissan Pathfinder out of deep soft sand. I know most of Fraser is very easy but there are some tricky spots, the hardest I came across being the South Ngkala Rocks bypass at the moment, very soft chopped up sand, fairly steep and hard to get a run at, plus it has a decent rock step that will cross axle you. On that list, the Land Rover, some Subarus, older Kia's and the Amarok have been unfairly categorised, all are very capable if the drivers are experienced.
It's a bit old fashioned to think you have to have low range to handle tough conditions these days. I was very sceptical at first having only had dual range conventional 4wd's like Patrols and Jeeps. The traction systems, auto boxes and engine power give a pretty good compromise once you learn how to use them. It is a different skill set. Pat Callinan towed a 1.5 tonne camper cross country in the North Simpson with an auto Amarok. In fact, in the ute hill climb test in a recent 4wd mag, the auto Amarok was the only one out of 8 that made it up without turning any traction aids on.
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