Iceland is a volcanic island located in the North Atlantic Ocean, covered by snow and ice all year round, with a harsh climate. The Vikings who settled here in the early days were very good at plundering, killing and exploring, and it was for this reason that they were expelled by the King of Norway and came here. The early Icelanders, like the current Icelanders, were very irritable. They could not stand being verbally attacked. Respect was their top priority. The story of the 10th-century Icelandic hero Egil Skallagrímsson is an example: During a ball game, Egil found himself cheated by a boy. Feeling disrespected, he slashed the boy’s skull with an ax in a rage. Egil was only 7 years old at the time. These Icelanders like Egil put up with the harsh and unforgiving landscape, occasional volcanic eruptions and extreme weather, and call this place home. So the island became their base for exploring the world and gave birth to Leif Ericson, the first European to discover North America (sorry, Columbus, not you).
A lot of land in Iceland is covered with ice and snow, and there are large farms everywhere, and there are far more non-paved roads than paved roads. It feels like returning to a scene in a Norse mythology. The unique climatic conditions and living environment in Iceland have also given the locals a different concept in terms of car use, which the locals call “Super Jeep”. At the earliest time, the Icelandic people used the military Jeep models during World War II to carry out targeted transformations, replacing them with long-stroke suspensions and larger-sized rims. In addition, there were some modified designs for icy and snowy roads. Jeep is a model that can better adapt to the local living environment. Now, Icelanders are more likely to transform Ford Econnoline or Toyota Hilux. The reason is simple. What they need is not only an SUV, but also some pickup trucks for work, so there is a company called “Arctic Trucks” company.
The company was first noticed by car fans in 2007 when it cooperated with the British BBC. As early as 2007, the BBC’s Top Gear program group took a modified Toyota Hilux to the North Pole to record a program. Yes, It is the “Polar Special” that you saw Jeremy Clarkson and the three of them participated in. The modified Toyota Hilux model driven by the gorilla and the captain (these two friends who don’t know the code name can be Baidu by themselves) is from Arctic Trucks. Mr. Emil Grimsson, the owner of the company, told us that as early as the 1980s, everyone found that using larger tires and using lower tire pressure could make the car safer on icy and snowy roads, so this company came into being pregnancy.
Mr. Grimsson has been working for Toyota Iceland since 1989. He was assigned to study how to improve the performance and reliability of the car to adapt to the living environment in Iceland. Then in 1990, Arctic Trucks was established. Fifteen years later Mr Grimsson bought out Arctic Trucks outright from Toyota and it has since become an independent company. Now the company has entered the market in nine countries, and also accepts modification orders from more companies, from Ford F-350 to Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, they can handle it, of course, the most classic and legendary is their modified Toyota Hilux.
Americans are also very fond of off-road vehicles. Not to mention pickup trucks, Jeep alone sold 203,000 Wranglers last year. For American players, the daily road conditions are good enough, and off-road vehicles are just a hobby and a pastime for them. Most consumers will never fully realize the potential of the Wrangler. For Icelanders, ice and snow cross-country is simply an ordinary daily traffic situation, especially for those families living outside the city, they may have to go out to buy a hot dog (Icelandic people love hot dogs) Deep snow or across rivers.
As Americans living in Iceland, my new wife and I wanted to make our honeymoon more interesting, so we decided to drive along the south coast of Iceland, which is very beautiful and one of the must-see places for tourists from all over the world. one. Considering that we chose to drive by ourselves, only having a reliable car can ensure the smooth implementation of our plan. Elsewhere, perhaps a Suzuki Jimny from a rental car company would have sufficed, but this is Iceland and we dare not be careless, so we opted for a Toyota Hilux AT38 from Arctic Trucks.
Arctic Trucks has created several versions of Hilux models, including the 6×6 version with 44-inch wheels, which is similar to the Mercedes-Benz AMG G63 6×6; the most famous one is the AT38 (the number represents the wheel size) , this model is the one that Gorilla and the captain drove in the North Pole. The AT38 model is based on the two-row version of the Hilux model. The original model is equipped with a 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine with a power output of 148 horsepower and 360N m, and is equipped with a four-wheel drive system.
If it weren’t for Iceland, Toyota’s original Hulix model would be good enough, but this is Iceland, so Arctic Trucks also made a drastic upgrade to this car, basically retaining a very reliable powertrain. The appearance of the body and the chassis have been redesigned, the most obvious is the 405/70R15 tires. In addition, the front end uses Fox Racing suspension, and the rear wheel uses Fox Racing shock absorbers and Arctic Trucks self-developed shock absorbers. Shock springs, the vehicle as a whole has been raised by 3.5 inches. In addition to providing enough space for the tires, the chassis upgrade also increases the ground clearance of this Hulix model to 322mm. The Arctic Trucks team also installed an ARB pneumatic differential lock on the front axle of this car to match the mechanical differential lock on the rear axle; in addition, it also replaced a 100-liter fuel tank, wading hose, front and rear trailer bars and electric air compressor etc.
Before the official trip, we plan to get acquainted with this car first. After all, this trip is not an easy task. We want to see what this Hulix can do. I don’t want our honeymoon Become an endless trap, trailer, or the new wife is likely to become an ex-wife. So the first day of our honeymoon was just a drive around the neighborhood to see the limits of the Hulix AT38.
In a small underground parking lot, the Hulix is so big that even a Toyota Land Cruiser is three points below this car, let alone those small Skodas. For me, who is 183 in height, I have to use a “climbing” posture to get into this car. Entering the car, everything is very familiar. The typical interior of the previous Toyota Tacoma (the American version of the Tacoma is Hulix), except that there are more wireless communication devices and additional control systems than the civilian version – two control differentials locks, a control compressor, etc.
Pulling the car out of the parking lot and onto the streets of downtown, I get the impression that this Arctic Trucks Hilux is very similar in many ways to the Tacoma I tested earlier, except for the diesel engine. The Tacoma I recently tested has a V6 gasoline engine, and the best power range of the engine is after 4000rpm, while the diesel engine used by the diesel-powered Hulix in front of me is already at the redline speed at 4000rpm, this engine is better at Power is developed between 1100rpm and 3500rpm. In addition, the feeling of the tires touching the ground will be different from that of ordinary models. Although this large 38-inch tire is driving on a flat paved road, it feels like driving an ordinary model on a gravel country road.
On the highway, this Hulix has enough power to get the car up to 90km/h (speed limit), but if you say acceleration, this car is not faster than the original car, after all with such a large size Tires and suspension tuned for off-road. Some readers may think that the speed limit is so low, but in fact, the speed of 90km/h is probably the fastest speed that the driver of this Hulix can bear. As the speed increased, the steering wheel in the hand began to vibrate, and it became more and more severe. This is also an unavoidable problem brought about by chassis modification. I believe that those Jeep players in the United States will also face these problems after heavy modification.
Soon we drove off the highway and came to a snow-covered field. The terrain here is very suitable for testing the off-road performance of this Hulix AT38. First of all, the ice and snow road here is already a big challenge, and it is rough The terrain is also very suitable. Driving this modified Hulix on this kind of road is relatively easy, at least the comfort is better than we expected, a bit like driving a Ford F-150 Raptor. While I was “playing” wildly in the snow, the car got stuck in a snow pit and after we got our car out we decided to lower the tire pressure even further.
To be honest, I really felt that there was no need to lower the tire pressure. After all, I was also a person who drove in winter in New York all the year round, and I also experienced ice and snow off-roading in Colorado, the best winter off-road resort in the United States. At that time I have never felt the need to adjust tire pressure, so this time it seemed that our guide was a little too cautious. After communication, the guide Jon introduced to us a “black technology” equipment of this car. These four rims have two valves, the outer one is used to deflate, and the inner one is used to connect The compressor is used to inflate, so the process becomes much more efficient. That being the case, low tire pressure brings better snow performance without being troublesome, so why not do it?
Got the tire pressure fixed (down from 25psi to 10psi), I started the car again, and the transfer case switched to high-speed 4WD, and then drove the car on the snow that hadn’t been run over, that feeling It was really amazing, like I was on top of the world. But soon I was pulled back to the reality, because I found that our car slowed down, the power of the diesel engine was enough, but the tires were slipping, and the thick snow was really too difficult.
The increase in temperature has caused the snow to melt, but it has not completely melted. This is not a good thing for the tires. It is very common for the people of Iceland to get stuck in this road condition, so the roads in some parts of Iceland It won’t be open even in summer – too many rescue teams may be needed.
This car trap also made me have to be serious. It seems that I have some unrealistic expectations for this Hulix. So then we lowered the tire pressure to 5psi and switched the transfer case to low-range AWD mode.
With the back-up car as a guarantee, the test drive experience was much easier this time, and the problem of getting stuck was easily solved by the back-up car again, but we continued to drive on this inaccessible ice and snow road. The torque performance of this Hulix in the low-speed four-wheel drive mode is still very good, especially when the tires are almost completely flat, the power output and the grip performance of the tires give me the confidence to continue to challenge the snowy road. Occasionally, when you get stuck, lock the rear differential and you can move on. If that doesn’t work, then lock the front differential.
As we continued to move forward, we realized that we were in a valley, and the white snow still covered most of the road, but we could already see the snow-free ground in the distance. This piece of land is too wide to see the end at a glance, but we saw the river in the distance, and the other side of the river is the way we need to go back to the city.
We were still carefully crushing the snow, and suddenly Jon’s voice came from the radio: “Stop!” I stepped on the brake pedal immediately, and I felt the car sinking. Jon asked me to back up slowly, the terrain ahead needs to be surveyed before I can move forward. After I backed up a bit, he got out of the car and went to investigate. “Look!” Jon shouted at us, and I found that there was a small river under the 60cm thick snow where I was just now. If I hadn’t stopped in time and kept going, our story might have ended just now.
We had to make a detour and find a relatively flat, snow-free section of road to wade across the river. But the road ahead was not easy, and the car remained in the low-speed four-wheel drive mode. The difficulty of the road conditions is somewhat beyond our imagination. It can be said that every two steps forward requires a step back, and car traps occur frequently, but the low-speed four-wheel drive system can still deal with these problems. Looking at the distance, it still took us more than an hour to pass.
Compared with ice and snow roads, this Hilux AT38 performed very well on the gravel road in the second half of the journey. Although it will encounter some difficulties, it can also deal with it calmly. In the face of some deep rivers, the advantage of the high chassis of this Hulix is revealed. Coupled with the high air intake, deeper rivers are not a problem for it. After this day’s experience, we have a deeper understanding of the performance of this Hulix AT38. Back on the road, inflated the tires, and we started the return flight. Next, my fiancée and I will start writing our own myths.