In my search for a 4x4 in good condition with reasonable ground clearance and air-conditioning, all for under R100 000, I came across a few gems. My first encounter was with a 2003 Jeep Cherokee 2.8 CRD, fantastically comfortable and responsive enough for urban road use as well. I next came across a 2005 Hyundai Tuscon diesel automatic, which was in a good condition but the performance left a lot to be desired! The vehicle that I ended up choosing was a 2004 Hyundai Terracan 2.9 CRDi manual. Comfortable, powerful, easy to drive and hugely spacious.SLOW AND STEADYThanks to a chance exchange of emails in my search for a 4x4 SUV I managed to get in contact with a gentleman from ProCreations who organises the KZN 4x4 Open Challenge. I thought it looked like something fun to watch and, since Round 1 was being held in Cato Ridge, off I went in the newly purchased Terracan to see what other people were doing with their 4x4. I arrived very early and made my way into the venue. Being as early as I was, there were no spectators, no marshals or anyone really to tell me where I should be, so I just followed the sign that said “spectators” and ended up on a field with no one else around! Patience not being one of my strong suits, I was about to turn around and go back when another vehicle drove straight past me down an embankment, I assumed that whoever this was knew where he was going (which in hindsight he did!) and followed. As soon as I drove down the embankment I realised that was not where I was meant to be. I had just driven straight onto the 4x4 course! Without the space to turn around, nor the driving proficiency to reverse a two-ton vehicle up a slippery embankment, I decided it was best to slowly make my way through that portion on the course to get out the other side where the vehicle that had passed me had gone. INTO THE DEEP ENDDriving into the mud and ruts I had my heart in my throat for a few moments until I realised just how easily I was actually driving through. Losing traction, I simply turned the Terracan into 4x4 high range and it kept going, slow and steady. Gaining confidence, I decided to see what the low range was like so I stopped and engaged the 4x4 low range, took my foot off the clutch and idled all the way out of the muddy situation. I spent the rest of the day as a spectator and had a blast!Needless to say I was mighty impressed with my Terracan and have since done a couple of 4x4 outings in it and one road trip to Cape Town. I drive it 80km a day to work and back and am getting less than 10 litres/100km. I love my Terracan and am now ready to take on Africa.