Last fall, Ken Block teased his next big project, a custom rally-spec Ford Escort RS Cosworth. This isn’t just some 25-year-old economy car. The Escort RS Cosworth was a fully homologated rally machine. Block’s is one of just a few thousand that were ever built. This isn’t just some show car either. Block plans to race it in several rally series around the world. The Escort RS Cosworth will also star in “GymkhanaTEN” sometime this fall.
Toyota’s new Land Cruiser is as tough and reliable as 4x4s come – something that Toby Keel was only too grateful about while cruising through the ‘Gates of Hell’ in Namibia.
It hasn’t rained in the Namib Desert for seven years.
That’s not to say they haven’t had a few drops here and there, or the occasional light shower. But the last time they had what we would think of as a proper rainstorm was 2011 — a fact which, on the face of it, makes it an odd place to test out a 4×4 with a view to how well it might perform in Britain.
Yet there was logic in Toyota’s decision to show off the latest iteration of its famed Land Cruiser 4×4 in a mystical, ancient place that is the oldest desert on Earth. The plan was to track up the coast, head inland across deserts, mountains and riverbeds kept damp by underground streams, before circling back to the starting point. That way we’d be able to try the car out on sand, gravel, rocks, mud and two feet of water, all in the space of a few days.
Thus it was that a day after arriving in Namibia I found myself staring up a near-vertical four-foot slope strewn so carelessly with boulders that it looked a like a still photograph of a rockslide in progress. All I could thing was How on earth am I going to get this thing up that?
I needn’t have worried. The two-tonne monster just whizzed up and over the rocks with such carefree insouciance that it put me in mind of watching my four-year-old walk nervelessly along the top of a wall, entirely ignoring the sheer drops either side that are giving his parents heart attacks. It didn’t take long for the car’s ability to transmit itself to the driver in the form of confidence, and after that I began to focus on the true business: the question not of how you’re getting there, but of where you are. And what a place Namibia is to be.
We began our three day 4×4 safari pelting along the deep, soft sand of the famed ‘Skeleton Coast’, originally named for the remnants of whales that littered the shore, now understood as a reference to the numerous wrecks which have fallen foul of the violent, freezing and fog-bound waters of this part of the world.
This has always been a treacherous spot. ‘Skeleton Coast’ is actually a relatively new name—it was coined in a 1944 book about the sinking of the Dunedin Star — but almost five hundred years earlier the first Portuguese sailors to visit this area gave it an equally dramatic name: ‘The Gates of Hell’. It was horrifyingly apt: escaping the surf to get back out to sea is all but impossible in a boat powered by oar or sail, meaning that many sailors ended up stranded in the dunes to face their doom. Abandon hope, all ye who make landfall.
One thing the Skeleton Coast doesn’t have in common with Hell is the temperature. Rain might be almost unknown but fog and cloud cover are near constant for most of the year, thanks to the Benguela Current that draws freezing waters up from the Antarctic in a sort of reverse Gulf Stream effect. We visited at the height of summer, but the temperature was under 20˚C and the water as chilly as a May Day dip in Brighton.
No wonder the only mammals to live here in any numbers are seals, who live in a string of vast colonies along the coast. We paid a visit to one of those colonies, which had around 100,000 residents – none of whom seemed the slightest bit bothered when a fleet of dusty Toyotas poured out a stream of awestruck, camera-toting journalists.
The contrast just 10 miles inland was extraordinary: the skies were clear and the tropical sun immediately made itself felt, beating down on us and bidding us to switch on the Land Cruiser’s air conditioning and fan-cooled seats. What those Portuguese sailors stuck on the shore would have given for such comforts – not to mention a 2.8-litre diesel engine to get them to civilisation.
Civilisation, however, is something that this place has never known. Most deserts, even the mighty Sahara, have been fairly wet at some point during human history. Not the Namib, which has been almost entirely devoid of water for some 55 million years.
That said, a few hardy souls have left their mark: as we headed inland to the Brandberg mountains that loom on the horizon from hundreds of miles away, we stopped off to admire the White Lady cave paintings created by bushmen. Sheltered from the wind and with no rain to wash them away, the preservation of these 2,000-year-old images is staggering.
On we headed, the gravel-and-dust track turning increasingly rocky as we climb into the arid foothills of the Brandberg range. A quick fiddle with the Land Cruiser’s off-road controls proved necessary: low ratio gears were engaged, and a twist of the satisfyingly chunky ‘MTS’ knob (multi-terrain select, apparently) put the car into ‘loose rock’ mode, one of the five available to cover you for everything from snow and sand to bare rockfaces.
The MTS knob enjoyed a fair bit of twiddling over the course of the trip. At the end of day two I popped it into the ‘mud’ setting to plough through a couple of feet of water and waist-high reeds. The Land Cruiser will wade through 27.5 inches of water, apparently, and I’m pretty glad it didn’t get stuck at that point. Not just because my shoes would have got mighty wet if I’d had to jump out to get rescued, but also because it turned out an enormous male lion was just a few yards away.
He saw us, but none of us had a clue he was there; we only found out later when the extraordinary Dr Flip Stander, the area’s long-standing lion conservation officer, happened to stop off at our camp that night after dinner. He’d been tracking this magnificent beast to protect it from farmers who’d blamed it for the recent deaths of dozens of cattle.
The next morning, as the Land Cruiser steamed effortlessly along another dried riverbed, we encountered wildlife which was easier to spot: graceful herds of oryx, families of baboons gazing sternly down from rocky outcrops, agama lizards with their characteristic ebony-black bodies and tangerine-orange heads. Sadly we saw no elephants, though I did at least come across plenty of their droppings – much to the delight of the aforementioned four-year-old back home when I sent him a picture later than night.
We missed the wild African elephants, but the group before us AND the group after saw them. Here’s one of their pictures instead.
Throughout it all, the Land Cruiser remained effortlessly comfortable, poised, practical and powerful, the 2.8-litre diesel and its six-speed automatic gearbox beautifully in sync. Only once, in calf-deep, flour-soft sand, did I verge on getting stuck; a switch into ‘sand mode’ with that MTS knob helped me pull away easily. It’s nice to know that the car’s gadgetry isn’t just there to add another bullet point to the brochure.
The only disappointment, in fact, came on the final day when we turned off the dirt tracks and returned to tarmac. The car seemed to want to experience yet more of Namibia. I knew exactly how it felt.
– – –
Toyota Land Cruiser 2.8 D-4D: The details
Priced: from £32,795 (top-of-the-range Invincible starts at £52,295)
Combined fuel consumption: 38.1mpg
Power: 174bhp, 331lb/ft torque at 1600rpm
Top speed: 108mph
What’s new, what isn’t in the new Toyota Land Cruiser
The brand new model of Land Cruiser which we tested out in Namibia has a wealth of changes from the last iteration – some are complicated, as detailed above, but others include practical touches such as a scooped-out bonnet which improves visibility at the front.
Many more things remain the same as ever, though: the Land Cruiser still uses a separate chassis instead of a ‘monocoque’ construction that most SUVs use. A monocoque will probably give you a better ride negotiating the back streets of Kensington, but if you’re off-roading then the thinking is that a separate chassis is a better bet.
One of the tweaks to the Toyota range might woo Land Rover enthusiasts who still lament the discontinuation of the beloved Defender: the new ‘Utillity’ model is a spartanly-equipped, no-nonsense 4×4 priced from around £33,000.
The Land Cruiser’s gadgetry won’t protect you from everything: two of the journalists on the trip did manage to get stuck, both while going through water, by committing one of off-roading’s two deadly sins: stopping when you should be carrying on. The other, incidentally, is carrying on when you should be stopping — something which my co-driver for the week very nearly did while about to fall off the edge of a four-foot boulder.
The Lion king
Dr Philip ‘Flip’ Stander is an extraordinary man, worthy of a feature of his own. Born in Namibia, educated at Cambridge, he returned to his homeland and dedicated his life to protecting Namibia’s extraordinary desert-adapted lions. They’re the only big cats in the world who survive entirely without drinking water – they get all the moisture they need from their diet, and in part by licking the morning dew off each other’s fur.
A lion in Etoscha National Park, Namibia
Exploring Namibia for yourself
Our 4×4 safari in Namibia was run by Danie van Ellewee and Hein Truter of Live The Journey (www.livethejourney.co.za), who shared their knowledge and stories far beyond off-roading, covering everything from 1,500-year-old plants to the war in neighbouring Angola.
Make sure you get our and about on foot as well, however: on the final morning we took part in a fascinating ‘Living Dunes’ experience, with a guide who unearthed deadly spiders, delightful lizards and a very, very angry little snake…
A sidewinding adder in Namibia – it’s neurotoxin probably wouldn’t have been fatal, but would have blinded me for about three days.
For most car shoppers, there are several parts to the buying equation. The two biggest are the car itself (which you don’t have too much control over), and the price. The price is where you have all the control—and it’s the single greatest factor that will impact how quickly you sell your car.
One of the first things that draws most people to a particular car for sale is, of course, the car itself. Is it the type, make, or model the buyer is looking for? Color and options that they want? A mileage range they’re comfortable with?
These variables are obviously things you can’t change. But there are several things in this category that you can impact, at least to an extent:
There are things like dings and dents, and wheel scuffs, that some people may care about a lot, and others may not—especially on a car that is older, with higher miles. In some cases, it may be worth taking some small measures to address some of these things (e.g., putting some touch-up paint on any chips or scratches.)
If you’re selling a newer or more expensive car, it may be worth going a little further to make it closer to pristine. If it’s in excellent overall condition, for example, but there are one or two small dents, it might make sense to spend a few hundred dollars to have a body shop fix those. It’s hard to justify putting much money into a car you’re about to sell, but buyers are often willing to pay considerably more for a higher-end car in truly excellent condition—so you may want to look into that you’re selling a car in that category.
Whatever the age or price range of your car, one thing that always helps increase the chances of someone buying it is a good cleaning. If it’s spotless, inside and out, it looks its best. A clean car gives the impression that it’s been well cared for, which is is of course very important to most buyers.
Before selling your car, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s up-to-date on scheduled maintenance— things like oil changes and any other service the manufacturer recommends. It’s also a good idea to know about things that may need replacing soon, like tires. You certainly don’t need to put new tires on a car you’re about to sell, but you should be ready to discuss it with your potential buyers; you may want to tell them that you’ve priced the car a little lower to account for the fact it will need new tires soon, or to have a counteroffer amount in mind in case they make an offer below your asking price based on the need for new tires.
When you sell your car with TRED, we include a full inspection with one of our ASE-certified mechanic partners, as well as a CARFAX report on its history. These two things tend to make buyers a lot more confident, and willing to pay more for your car, since they know what they’re getting and that they’re not likely to be blindsided by expensive, unforeseen problems if they buy your car.
There’s nothing more frustrating than listing your car for sale and then hearing… nothing. For days, or maybe weeks. You’re ready to sell it because you’re moving, or you need the money, or you have your eye on another car that you’re eager to bring home. If you’re not getting the interest you think your car deserves, and if it’s taking a long time to sell, price is the most likely culprit.
We all want to get top dollar for our car, but it’s important to remember that asking a little less will almost always help it sell much sooner. Otherwise, holding out for that ideal price might mean many extra weeks on the market. Those are weeks you spend waiting. Maybe you don’t hear from any interested buyers. Or maybe you do, but you spend a lot of time showing your car to people who all end up offering considerably less than your asking price. Better to simply price it a little lower and attract a lot more buyers right away—which also increases the chances that someone is going to simply buy it at asking price, without trying to negotiate down.
Sometimes even a relatively small reduction in price can suddenly open up a lot more potential buyers—if you have your car listed at $15,400, for example, and you drop the price to $15,000, it may put you within more buyers’ price range. Because a lot of people use search filters, and if they’ve set a maximum price of $15,000, even if your car is priced at $15,100, they’ll never see it. So whatever amount you list your car at, keep in mind that reducing it by just a few hundred dollars will likely make it show up in a lot more buyers’ searches. And will mean selling it faster, so you can go buy your next car!
The Bentley Bentayga is faster than any other SUVs in the market
The Bentley Bentayga comes fitted with a double turbocharged engine with a capacity of 6.0 liters. The W12 behemoth engines is so powerful that it can produce up to 600 horsepower and torque power of 663 foot-pound. This powerful engine renders more powerful than other SUVs in the market. The Bentayga is fitted with an eight speed transmission that transmits power generated to all of its four wheels. With this power transmission, it can reach a leap from 0-60 mph in less than 4.5 seconds. The top speed of this car is 187 mph.
With the technology involved in the production, a Bentley Bentayga is costly
With the powerful performances exhibited and the luxurious assortments that accompany the car come with a price. Bentley Bentayga has a price tag of $230,000 making it the most expensive SUV in the world. It is $70,000 more than the most expensive Porsche Cayenne. The luxurious a assortments that come with it raise the price significantly. When all the additional assortments are included, the price of the SUV will shoot to almost a half a million dollars.
The Interior of the car is inspired with the technological advancement
Bentley Bentayga is fitted with all forms of technology developed in locomotive industry. It offers electric active control as an option for drawing power from its electric system of 48v. The roll bar is for giving ride comfort and body control balance. This will automatically bring the needed handling stability to the cabin. In terms of entertainment, every seat is fitted with a 10.2 inch tablets that are removable and can to the WiFi and mobile provided 4G networks. The android tablets are the forms of entertainment to the people aboard. Sound is enhanced by the fitted Naim sound system.
The world’s most expensive car watches is inbuilt in the new Bentley Bentayga
The SUV is fitted with the Mulliner Tourbillion Clock that is produced by Creitling. This clock goes for the market value of $234,000 US dollars. This is as part of the option list that most expensive cars come with. This extra list content has been broken by the contents of this Bentley. The price of the clock is justified by the manufacturer by stating that, Mulliner Tourbillion Clock is the most complicated clock ever made.
Inspiration of the name comes from Mother Nature and the founder
The name of this SUV originates from the Taiga snow forest that covers the northern part of the world. The naming is also attached to the Roque Bentayga. This is a form of rock that is mainly found in an island in Spain called Gran Canaria. The name therefore is intended to evoke the natural beauty of mother earth given by its off-road capability. The owner believes that the name reflects the company’s believe on the capability of the car. The exceptional performances of this car take the experiences to another level of exotic environment associated with the inspiration the name is derived from