On petrol ver­sus diesel

Go! Camp & Drive - - You Say - CAL­LIE ROOS PRE­TO­RIA

For more than a year now I’ve been hold­ing back on a short note in Drive Out. My in­ten­tion is also to lay an egg on 4x4s and then, of course, to joke a bit with Jaco Kirsten, the edi­tor. I mean, you can’t help but love Jaco, but that’s where the trou­ble starts. You want to wind him up be­cause you love him. Two pre­vi­ous Drive Out is­sues (#108 and #110) opened the door. In the April is­sue is Mur­ray Burger’s let­ter about the ex­pe­di­tion ve­hi­cle of the year, Mic van Zyl’s petrol ver­sus diesel dis­cus­sion, and then the news that the Cruiser 200s (all diesels) are tops in terms of sales in South Africa. Now, I’ve driven some of these ve­hi­cles, a com­bi­na­tion of petrol and diesel, Jeeps, Pa­jeros, Cruis­ers. Here is my opin­ion: When it comes to sand driv­ing and tow­ing in Africa, it’s re­ally a 50/50 call. The ma­jor­ity of South Africans are crazy about diesel ve­hi­cles. I un­der­stand that. How­ever, I want to say that if you put two ve­hi­cles (one petrol and one diesel) with more or less the same abil­i­ties next to each other for the sand roads of Africa, I would choose the petrol. It’s sim­ply eas­ier/bet­ter and the 50ppm chal­lenge (in, for ex­am­ple Mozam­bique) just makes it more so. I don’t think there is a big gap be­tween diesel and petrol ve­hi­cles where that is con­cerned. With re­gards to Mur­ray’s let­ter about the Nis­san Pa­trol ver­sus the Land Cruiser 76 Se­ries V8: I’ve never owned a Pa­trol, but I think it’s one of the most un­der­rated off-road ve­hi­cles in South Africa. They just don’t sell well. But how do the man­u­fac­tur­ers ex­plain a well-spec­i­fied petrol engine 4.8 litre GRX and then in the other model this “flat” diesel ma­chine in terms of kW and Nm. Come on, guys. Al­most like the Prado diesel or the old Pa­jero, is it that hard to add that lit­tle some­thing ex­tra? Here I think about the Pa­jeros that un­der­stood that and added that lit­tle bit (of about 380 Nm to 440 Nm) to the old-tech­nol­ogy engine (500 ppm). And right there you have the one of the best value-for-money off-road ve­hi­cles in South Africa. Mit­subishi’s mar­ket­ing strat­egy bog­gles the mind. A Pa­jero sales agent once told me at a show in Midrand that there’s “good news” for me. What? I ask. There’s a new ver­sion of the Pa­jero on its way and it looks just like the Dis­cov­ery. And right there I de­cide not to buy my fifth Pa­jero. I’m now two Cruis­ers strong. My “is­sue” with Jaco is rather about the “most com­pe­tent 4x4 of the year”. For the past two years there has only been one win­ner, with­out any run­ners-up. This time it’s (again) the Jeep Wran­gler Ru­bi­con, which is great for the “ex­treme stuff”. I get it, but that’s not what most of us want to do with the ve­hi­cles. We also tow with them and drive on the open road. Two years ago Olga and I drove in the di­rec­tion of Da­ma­r­a­land and Kaokoland. We drive far, very far, and alone. We drive with a FJ Cruiser, a red one. On the trip in Namibia we see a few FJs (there where not a lot of other ve­hi­cles drive) and not a sin­gle Jeep Wran­gler. “Where’s Jaco now,” I ask Olga. I’m not dis­put­ing the win­ner, I’m merely ask­ing which ve­hi­cles are run­ners-up. The gap isn’t that big; on the con­trary, I know a few guys who traded their Wran­glers for FJs. Just say­ing… Then Mic van Zyl’s column about the petrol-diesel dis­cus­sion in the April is­sue. I’ve al­ready men­tioned that I pre­fer petrol ve­hi­cles for sand driv­ing and tow­ing. The past year I’ve been driv­ing a diesel Land Cruiser 200 GX. In a year we’ve cov­ered more than 40 000km, in­clud­ing big parts of Namibia, Zim­babwe, Mozam­bique and South Africa. The fuel con­sump­tion of a diesel 200 GX and a petrol 4-litre FJ was al­most ex­actly the same in sim­i­lar con­di­tions. With our last trip to Pomene in Mozam­bique it was al­most 100% the same: three weeks on the road, Afrispoor car­a­van, ex­tra cans for wa­ter and fuel, and two kayaks on the roof. The FJ did the whole trip at 5.4 km per litre ver­sus the GX’s 5.5 km per litre. Makes you think, right? By the way, if you were won­der­ing how I re­ally feel about Jaco and Drive Out, well there isn’t an­other 4x4 magazine that is as top­i­cal and stim­u­lat­ing. It’s bal­anced, re­source­ful, and chal­leng­ing. Thanks Jaco and the gang. You do ex­cel­lent work.

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