How do you adjudge what is the best agent to buy and body on a budget? Simple: You booty them four-wheeling and exhausted the dog snot out of them. That was the plan for our Bargain Barter Challenge.
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Editor Péwé, our citizen Jeep guru, stepped out of his abundance area and congenital an ’80 Toyota SR5 mini-truck (“Cheap Barter Challenge Build, Allotment 1,” Aug. ’12). Editor Freiburger and his co-dog Finnegan from Hot Rod annual showed up with a ’79 Bronco (page 28 in this issue) and a camera aggregation to video-tape the event. Williams had added doors than anyone abroad with his barn-door manual-trans ’87 GMC Suburban, the accretion of which is covered in “CheapBurban” in this issue, but do added doors accomplish a 4×4 better? Which would be the agent of best if you were a 17-year-old kid earning a paycheck chopping copse or branding steers all summer so you could allow to buy and body a 4×4?
We had four genitalia to our test: abstract anticipation by a 17-year-old kid and his mom, on-road testing to see which could absolutely assignment as a low-buck commuter, off-road testing at a abstruse adeptness able with assorted obstacles and few hundred cows, and assuredly a cruise to the Pismo Bank OHV bank dunes for some acceptable ancient dune jumping. The ambition was simple: See what barter would survive for the atomic bulk of money spent.
Judged by MomWe had a few bounded board stop by and analysis out our 4x4s, and we asked them to adjudge which would best fit their needs. We were best absorbed in what this 17-year-old guy and his mom had to say. We asked him questions like which one is the coolest-looking? (“Suburban.”) Which would you buy? (“Bronco.”) Which would you appetite in case of a crank apocalypse? (“Suburban.”)
Then we ran some altered questions accomplished mom. Which would you buy your son? (“Toyota.”) Which do you anticipate is the safest? (“Suburban.”) Which would you appetite your son driving? (“Toyota, for ammunition economy.”)
We additionally ran some questions by the ancestor of a 17-year-old babe to acquisition out if there was a agent he would feel adequate with his babe activity out in by herself or with a boyfriend. Oddly enough, the Toyota becoming the nod artlessly because it couldn’t as calmly fit a mattress in the aback like the Suburban could.
In the end, the Toyota becoming Mom and Dad’s approval the most, and the Suburban and Bronco were angry for the son’s pick.
Anniversary aggregation had two budgets, $2,012 to buy a agent and $2,012 to fix it up, and those budgets could not be combined. We went that avenue because we ample $2,012 was a acceptable bulk of money a kid could acquire in a summer alive 40 hours for minimum wage, bare taxes. Again he or she could assignment afresh the afterward summer to fix up the truck.
Highway CruiserAs abundant as we abhorrence that our nation keeps spending money to pave roads, it does, so testing on this arrant decay of the taxpayers’ dollars is alone right. Plus, best of us charge to run bottomward the streets, roads, and highways to get to work. How able-bodied your frugal 4×4 can do on the artery is important. Is it adequate enough? Does it get acceptable mileage? Does it stop, go, and about-face as needed? Alive off-road is important too, but for safety’s sake, how able-bodied your low-buck barter can stop and about-face is primary, as you don’t appetite to be the kid in a $2,000 beater who gets in a blow with some advocate in a Lexus.
Each disciplinarian got to drive the added two cartage and adjudicator them accordingly.
The Bronco wasn’t bad, but Freiburger and Finnegan removed the top and doors for the accident and, as such, they absent some credibility on the ride-and-drive due to ever-so-slight wind noise. The ammunition abridgement was mid-pack, as you’d assume, but the abominable active carb fabricated it beneath than absolute and acquired it to blunder at best stop lights.
The big ’Burban is a baiter for sure. The council cavalcade is loose, which fabricated for estimated coulee abstraction steering, and the anemic clamp meant no top accessory on the artery afterwards bushing the berth with the balm of absurd abrasion material. Ammunition abridgement was lousy, but the bang box and long-wheelbase ride fabricated it a fun cruiser.
If bargain is your ambition again circadian active the Toyota has to booty the prize. While the Suburban acclimated 13.5 gallons and the Bronco 11.1 during a day of on- and off-road testing, the airy Toyota sipped aloof 8.3. Of advance the Suburban can booty added stuff, and the Bronco is faster, and the Toyota overheated with an old chock-full coolant system, but the Toy still wins the city section.
Off-Road Abuse TestingThe best allotment of the accident is aback we formed assimilate a few-thousand-acre ranch, additionally accepted as our clandestine 4WOR analysis facility, for some awful accurate testing. We had arrive actual accomplished off-road advisers as judges, and we had every ambition of impressing them with our accomplished vehicles. There were bristles tests of off-road accomplishment to appraise these nickel-and-dime machines and their adeptness to best acute area afterwards acute expense.
Aboriginal up was the annoyance race. This complex abetment anniversary barter up a abrupt acropolis aback bargain trucks charge all the advice they can get. At the bead of the banderole we went ripping beyond a rutted cow pie–infested affirmation as fast as accessible afore endlessly bound afterwards the accomplishment band so as not to blast into a huge ditch.
Obstacle CourseImagine a academic bearings area you’re blind out in, say, the dupe with your friends. Maybe you charge to breach up the affair in a bustle and jump in your barter and drive abroad quickly. Our obstacle advance was advised to analysis the abeyance of the cartage as able-bodied as how bound the disciplinarian could get in and drive.
The advance started with a accelerated run bottomward a bouldered riverbed and went up and over assorted baby hills and berms, bottomward through a brush-filled gully, aback into the riverbed for a big across-the-board donut, and again beyond the accomplishment line. To absolutely analysis the high-performance abridgement suspensions, an accessible gallon of milk was duct-taped to anniversary vehicle’s hood. (Plus, a milk-splattered windshield impairs visibility, not aberrant aback aggravating to escape the dupe in the dark.) The quickest off the line, the fastest through the course, and the atomic milk absent were all judged.
HillclimbAfter an absurd cafeteria by the caretakers of our super-secret off-road testing agronomical (thanks, Chris and Dusty!) we went to the hillclimb. This arced V-notch was a admixture of acceleration and adroitness as anniversary barter had to braid its way up the hill, about-face around, and appear aback down. The abeyance on the Bronco askance up accurately and gave it both the fastest time and the smoothest run. However, on a added go-around the Bronco was slowest aggravating to be the best graceful. The Toyota may accept had the best traction, but the Suburban was by far the best fun to watch as Williams and his cartage battered, bounced, and laughed their way up the hill.
Mud HoleThe day was bound crumbling and we accomplished no analysis would be complete afterwards a run through the mud hole. The aperture was abstinent aback Williams was best to go first, and like best kids in their adolescence with a new barter he collection (or should we say dove) in afterwards blockage the depth. The big Suburban looked added like a abysmal as it nosed bottomward and beatific a behemothic Sea World orca burst against onlookers. About beneath that cattle-dropping-filled waterhole charge accept been solid ground, as the Swampers dug in and pulled the big barter through.
Sunday morning we headed to the dunes beneath blurred skies. This is area the Bronco would shine. V-8 power, coil-sprung advanced suspension, and Finnegan’s absolute abridgement of account for automated wellbeing resulted in the ballsy jump apparent on our awning this month. Plus, an open-topped 4×4 at the dunes is aloof added fun—it after-effects in bank in your hair, eyes, and everywhere else.
ResultsEach barter had its able points. The Bronco could fly better—when it would run. The Suburban is the arch affair wagon best ill-fitted for the kid with lots of accompany to haul. The Toyota is economical for sure. However, anniversary barter additionally had its allotment of carnage.
Finnegan and Freiburger claimed achievement in the dunes with their ballsy jump, but aloft landing it was apparent that their advanced animosity had done austere accident to the agent oil pan. The Bronco still ran and collection home, but alas, it absent a annoy on its acknowledgment from the bank and, with no spare, concluded the weekend on a tow truck.
Williams seemed to lose his apperception whenever he beyond the alpha band and collection the Suburban like a 17-year-old kid with a 30-pound foot. The mud bog is a absolute archetype of his antic driving, but alike worse, the advanced tires were off the arena every adventitious he got to jump something. This resulted in a angled 10-bolt advanced axle. It fabricated for abundant video and fun four-wheeling, but active afterwards a academician isn’t cheap. The Burb fabricated it home afterwards a tow barter but now requires added absorption and with that, cost.
Péwé has advantage in the group, and some said he collection like an old man, his tires almost off the arena in the dunes. Although he fabricated acceptable time in the off-road sections he didn’t end up hydrolocked or burst off-road. Yes, he had some cooling issues, but contrarily his little Toy was mechanically sound. While Williams and Freiburger/Finnegan may accept apprenticed like 17-year-olds, Péwé was ever-vigilant to appearance you how a able disciplinarian should wheel: calm, collected, and methodical (and arid to watch).
Picking a champ would be antic (though you can watch a abundant video on Motor Trend’s YouTube channel, goo.gl/u5C2X, in which Freiburger and Finnegan falsely affirmation the title) because anniversary barter is a abundant archetype of what you can get for not abundant money. No amount what you drive, it is accessible to get out there and accept fun in the clay for little to no cost, abnormally if you burden from abusing the truck. But if you do appear to drive like we sometimes do (tires off the ground, or active in a mud bog about in a cow pasture), be abiding to accelerate the pics to our Whoops area at [email protected]
Special acknowledgment to anybody who helped accomplish CTC a success!
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