August 2018: Ev’itor’s Column
4X4 manufacturers are getting it wrong
Why is it that the new HSV SportsCat is fitted with decent off-road tyres, when it is tuned for improved on-road handling, but the new HiLux range features puny passenger construction highway tyres? They’ve gone to the effort of offering rated recovery points, rock sliders, front and rear bars (which is awesome), but didn’t think to fit at least a half decent set of all-terrains? I’m not having a go specifically at Toyota here, they certainly aren’t alone, but I’m just scratching my head wondering … why? Even if it was an option, pay an extra $500 or $1000 and have them fitted at pre-delivery – I’m sure that unless you had a friend or relative that owned a tyre shop and owed you a few favours, you’d tick that box come purchase time.
On a recent vehicle shoot, we had two vehicles sustain tyre damage on relatively minor forestry roads. Both suffered sidewall damage, something that is becoming more commonplace now that 15-inch wheels have been sidelined next to hand winches and torsion bar IFS. I’ve been with Unsealed 4X4 going on four years now, and have gone through more tyres in the last six months than the 3.5 years before that. It boggles my mind, I must say, and I can’t help but feel the tyres new 4X4s roll off the production line on are getting worse. Or perhaps my driving style and luck is…
We all know new vehicle manufacturers fit tyres that ride smoothly and are quiet during test drives while probably saving a few bucks in the process. I get that. But c’mon – a turbo-diesel dual-cab ute riding unloaded on leaf springs is hardly the pinnacle of refined motoring, is it?
So to new vehicle manufacturers, please think about fitting better tyres to your four-wheel drives, especially if you are promoting them with off-road packs and so on. It’s not only a win for us four-wheel drivers, but think about how much better your vehicles will look with a chunky set of donuts bolted under the faux flared guards. I bet you will keep your pre-delivery department busy, and will see repeat customers wanting replacement tyres when they wear out. And I bet you sell a few more units on the lot because your 4X4 actually looks like one. Now, I’m not an economist, but that is smart business in my mind.