• Off-roading 101


    offroading20160705Isuzu Action Playground stomps in Iloilo

    Few vehicle brands would be so willing to stick their necks out, so to speak, in showing their product line-up’s capability and durability, with the general public actually riding and driving the vehicles in demanding conditions. Sure, most of the brands do product test drives to the media but in this day and age of social media, everyone has their opinion of what a product is like and the public is more than willing to share their opinions.

    Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) has taken these public test drives to the next level. In Central and Southern Philippines, starting with Iloilo city, IPC held the Isuzu Action Playground, an all-steel off-road 4WD test track, which puts to the test the structural durability of the mu-X and D-Max four-wheel drive variants by going through the alternating mound that lifts one tire of the vehicle in the air in an attempt to twist the structure of the vehicle. Clearly, a vehicle that can be subjected to this type of abuse will give a long service life to the end user.

    Also part of the playground is the sidewall climb wherein the vehicle will climb a 45-degree sidewall on one side in order to demonstrate vehicle stability in extreme side leaning conditions, without fear of rolling on the vehicle’s side. The section also puts the vehicles break over angle ground clearance to the test, a very essential part of off-road/4WD driving.

    Test of traction
    Traction is one of the key elements of off-road driving. Having 4WD is not enough to get one through rough terrain – in the IPC 4WD playground, this is simulated by having two rollers diagonally placed, or one in the rear the other up front. Any vehicle without traction aids will not move forward even if it had 4WD. The mu-X’s electronic traction control system sees to it that it drives through the rollers like it was not there, while the D-Max’s very aggressive limited slip differentials also makes it a breeze to drive through slippery surfaces.

    But the best is always saved for the last. In what is definitely the tallest man-made structure made for 4wd test driving, called the “Thrill Hill” is an all-steel three-story hill with a 40-degree incline climb and descend, that will not just challenge the most competent 4WD vehicle for off road use but also the most steel-nerved off-road driver. It was for this reason IPC opted to have the participants be driven on the hill (instead of the participants actually driving). The balance of traction, momentum and low-speed gearing is essential to make the climb and descend from the thrill hill. Both the Mu-X and the D-Max, despite their not having all the electronic driving aids of the competition, showed that simple gearing ratio is all it takes to do the nearly impossible.

    Consideration has to be taken that these test units will be subjected to these stresses continuously for three days, non-stop, putting not just the vehicles capability to the test but the drive and power system as well. Slow speed driving places a lot of stress on the engine. Brakes are also subjected to continuous use. And since this is actually the third time the playground has been used, with the vehicles going through it over a thousands times, the abused vehicles has shown no sign of failure in its primary operating systems. Regular inspection of the vehicles is done and no out-of-the-ordinary wear or tear has been spotted on the Isuzu vehicles, which speaks much for their build quality.

    It must be said thought that our readers should not try these on their own or without professional supervision. The demonstration was actually done in the most extreme of conditions, which Isuzu vehicles can do. The question is, can you?


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