THE keys to our resident 79 Series Land Cruiser were begrudgingly handed back to Toyota this month. We say begrudgingly, because the Cruiser was a great off-road companion for our five months of ownership – it took us to the top of countless scraggy rock-climbs in the Victorian High Country, across more than one state border, and it was the perfect load hauler to assist with tip runs and home relocations.

All up, we made the most of our time with the ‘2017 4X4 of the Year winning’ LC79 and hope our next shed rig – whatever that may be – can match the high standards and expectations left by the V8-powered Toyota.

Speaking of high expectations, this month we took Merc’s wagon version of the G300 CDI Professional for a dance up at Toolangi in Victoria, where you can read all about it on page 44.

However, with the good comes the bad, and we also got to drive it in peak-hour Melbourne traffic (lucky us!), where the lack of mod cons became increasingly evident.

It was an entertaining experience explaining to a passenger the price tag after they learnt the big Merc lacked Bluetooth and electric windows.

The all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is at the opposite end of the 4x4 spectrum, with a relaxed, passenger-carlike on-road demeanour and a nicely detailed cabin, but is the rig as capable off-road as it is on bitumen? Find out on page 38.

The same can be said for updated Isuzu MU-X’s interior, which now has pleasing soft-touch materials on the inside and reduced NVH levels in the cabin. Read all about the re-styled, well-priced Isuzu wagon on page 34.

You may have noticed editor Matt has shifted 4Word duties this month. Why? Well, he is cruising down a stretch of water somewhere in Europe with beer in hand. He’ll be back next month, ready to drive and dissect the latest and greatest 4x4s.

In the meantime, enjoy this cracking July issue –TT