Home Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper

Automotive journalist specialising in 4X4s, sportscars, camping and future tech.

Developing a modern 4X4 – LC300 engineer interview

Ever wondered how a modern 4X4 is developed? Following on from my prototype drive in May 2020, in this interview I talk to two Toyota engineers who were closely involved with the design and development of the new LandCruiser 300 Series. This interview is a four-part series: Part 1: Development process Part 2: LC300 tech […]

Checking out a mud bog on a 4×4 track – and de-bogging a caravan

Everyone bar novices and a few crazies hates mud. It’s a real chore to clean, and damages all sorts of thing such as alternators, starter motors, wheel bearings…it’s basically water and grit. Awful. But, you have to deal with it sometimes, and the video below shows how it’s done. The one after…how it’s not! WARNING […]

MSCA Victoria Come and Try Phillip Island Reference Lap

Here’s a short video I put together for our club’s annual Come and Try day held towards the end of every year at Phillip Island. It is designed for novices driving sports cars such as hot hatches, but the general principles hold for pretty much any roadcar. Quick Tips Hands at 9-3 only. This gives […]

Rivian R1T – test drive discussion

The Rivian R1T is perhaps the most significant vehicle to hit the market in recent years because it represents the future – a vehicle designed from the ground up as a BEV (battery electric vehicle) AND as a real offroad 4X4. So when I saw David Tracy of Jalopnik had written a very detailed and […]

Lightness in action – why not for 4X4s?

Making a vehicle light is what is known as a virtuous circle. The lighter a vehicle is, the less strong the components need to be, which means they’re lighter…and that’s the circle. A lighter car needs a less powerful, and therefore heavy engine. The brakes don’t need to be as heavy-duty as there’s less energy […]

Does a GVM upgrade increase your towing capacity?

On the face of it, no it doesn’t. A GVM upgrade only increases the legal amount the vehicle can weigh, which has the effect of increasing how much it can carry. But one of the towing limits is in fact GVM, so if the GVM is increased, you may actually be able to tow heavier […]

Simple ways to show how trailer weight distribution matters

Don’t let anyone tell you different – trailer weights and dynamics are complex. But, unfortunately, if you tow heavy trailers you really need understand some of the basics about weight distribution, because it has a dramatic effect on trailer stability. Some people won’t need to watch the videos below – they are the folks who […]

Why the ‘leave a location voicemail’ is a bad idea

This bit of advice is rapidly circulating the Internet, and it really shouldn’t be: Why this advice is bad In brief; if you have phone signal, send a text message for help to your friends, or if dire, call 112. Don’t waste time and battery power on changing your own voicemail which is a very […]

Got a flat and don’t carry a spare tyre? Here’s your solution!

Modern tyres are more puncture-resistant than ever, so many cars simply don’t come with a spare tyre as carmakers claw back the space and weight, fighting to meet efficiency targets. This is all well and good until you actually have a puncture, and then you’re immobilised. Runflat tyres are an option, but expensive, uncomfortable and […]

Land Rover Defender L663 GVMs for Australia

There has been some confusion over Land Rover’s unusual, but not unheard of approach to GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) for Australia. That’s because there’s different GVMs for different configurations. Today I checked with Land Rover, and they confirmed the GVMs for the Australian L663 Defender 110 are (direct copy-paste): 110 5 Seat – 3200kg 6 […]