If you're the owner of a soft-roader SUV such as a Toyota Rav4, Hyundai ix35, Mitsubishi Outlander or even a SsangYong Kyron, you wouldn't be seen dead in a 4WD store. It would be the automotive equivalent of arriving at a Star Wars convention with your Country and Western gear, you would certainly stand out from the crowd - and not in a good way.
Bushranger 4x4 Gear wants to remove the stigma involved with off-roading in a soft-roader. Bushranger believes that with the correct recovery gear and the right training, even soft-roader SUV owners can have a bit of fun.
This fact was illustrated to CarAdvice in early 2008 when we crossed Australia with Land Rover in a Land Rover Freelander2. The car made the entire journey equipped with the correct recovery gear with little fuss and fanfare.
Fast forward to 2010 and Bushranger has equipped soft-roader SUV owners with the correct gear for off-roading that won't break the bank.
Bushranger 4x4 Gear chose Eastern Creek Raceway as the test bed for the demonstration of their equipment.
The day started off with arguably the most critical aspect of off-roading - tyre pressure. Bushranger offers an intuitive tyre pressure gauge with a lock-on function that allows the gauge to remain deflating the tyre without user intervention. This is a useful feature for high profile tyres with a greater quantity of air.
In addition to correct tyre pressure, owners should ensure they have the correct tyre for the off-roading conditions at hand. Many soft-roader SUVs use road oriented tyres to increase handling and performance, making them unusable for serious off-roading.
Bushranger CEO, Evan Black, told CarAdvice:
“Our mission is to raise the bar in terms of the quality and durability of anything that is sold under the Bushranger name. Bushranger products are certified to the latest official standards so that buyers can be rest assured of getting the best and safest equipment on the market and the company is also ISO and EHS accredited.”
Probably one of the most common experiences during off-roading is getting stuck. Bushranger's new 6500kg snatch strap is the ideal tool to help vehicles get free of mud or sand. The 6500kg snatch strap connects to a 5000kg tow hitch that replaces the conventional tow hook to act as a lever point for the snatch strap.
It's always essential to ensure a dampener is used on the snatch strap. A dampener stops the strap from becoming a weapon in the event of failure. The dampener ensures the snatch doesn't stray too far from its original location if it breaks. From there it's as easy as snatching the car out of trouble.
If another vehicle isn't available to snatch you out of trouble, a manual hand winch is also available from Bushranger. The hand winch uses a cantilever arm device anchored to an immovable object - such as a tree - to manually winch a vehicle out of trouble. The hand winch is surprisingly easy to use and requires just a small amount of elbow grease.
Bushranger also sells a variety of camping gear that is attachable to SUVs, leaving extra room for luggage. Bushranger's roof-mounted storage units come in a variety of sizes and connect directly to your roof racks.
The purpose built 4WD circuit at Eastern Creek Raceway was a great demonstration of just how capable soft-roader SUVs like the ix35 and Rav4 are in the real world.
While there are some places you wouldn't take a soft-roader SUV, owners should rest assured that there is purpose built recovery gear built specifically for soft-roader SUV owners. They also need not be ashamed to visit a 4WD store if they are in need of equipment for their car. It's always better to be over-prepared when you are out in the bush 4WD'ing.
Bushranger has provided us with a great check list for people planning on heading off-road in their soft-roader SUV. Simply click here to download the Bushranger SUV Checklist.