An Arctic freeze gripped the UK during early 1982, laying the icy ground for an Autocar comparison test with a difference.
A glut of imported 4x4s threatened the Land Rover’s position as the best utilitarian go-anywhere vehicle, so the pretenders were gathered for a six-car test.
The vehicles were the Daihatsu F20 LX, Jeep Laredo, Subaru MV, Suzuki LJ80 V, Toyota Hi Lux and, er, Portaro Pampas 260 DL. A disparate group, as Autocar’s testers admitted: “Their only real common denominator is that each wheel can be driven at the flick of a lever, but how do they fare down on the farm?”
The farm? Yes, for this test, Autocar headed to Wye Agricultural College’s 2000-acre farm for a series of challenges to assess farm-worthiness. First up was the load test: how many calves, sheep or straw bales could each vehicle carry?
“The shape of the load space is as important as its cubic capacity; vehicles with intruding wheel arches, for instance, can take more tall, spindly calves than normally smaller but shorter and rounder sheep,” reckoned our testers, going on to declare the Hi Lux, which could accommodate 12 animals or 22 bales, a clear winner.