It’s easy to turn your nose up at 4x4s. They aren’t made for going off-road anymore, are they? They’re only ever driven on the road, they’re used for commuting, and the school run, and the shopping. Yeah. Pfft. Rubbish. But that’s not true at all.
Mercedes-Benz has pulled off quite a magnificent feat: a small cavalcade of G-Class, GLS 4x4s and one GLE managed to cross the UK from coast to coast, without driving on open public road.
Starting from the east near Inverness, the route followed tracks and mud ruts to Ullapool in the west. What’s brilliant is that Mercedes-Benz really went for it. This wasn’t a launch event, with everything controlled. This was off-roading with risk. A case in point comes in Piston Heads’ Alisdair Suttie’s story: ‘Slower progress ensued and then we came to the biggest, sloppiest bog you're likely to see. If one of us had tried to stand in this mire, we'd still be getting pulled out now.’
It’s brilliant that a manufacturer not only wanted to show what their cars could do, but the fact that their cars can actually do it. Farewell any pre-conceptions – Land Rover isn’t the only one who can build a proper off-roader.
For me, my colleagues and our customers it gives the cars in our showroom a hefty dose of credibility. Sports cars and luxury coupes and saloons are made for the road, but 4x4s need to be good on the road, while retaining their gravitas. Without being able to perform off road as well, they’d lose their credibility.
And that’s why and how we value them, why they’ll continue to be a popular used-car buy. So praise be to those manufacturers, those journalists, those drivers who decide to do something a bit daft: the world needs you.