Am I perhaps the only reader who is pleased with himself for cracking some of the codes used to reflect the ‘gears’ in CAR Guide? What I don’t understand with certainty is how to discern which vehicles have low ratio gear-boxes? Would you confirm that 5×2/4 is permanently in 4 wheel drive, with a low ratio option and a 5×2/2-4 has the option of 2 or 4 wheel drive and a low ratio? And do the 4×4 (5×2/2-4) configurations offer better economy and sophistication than 5×2/4?
Why are some vehicles described as a 4×4 in the model name, when others are not if this can be discerned from the “gears” nomenclature?
PETER CROSOER – By email
You’ve certainly cracked the code. I suspect this was done without looking at our explanation on the introductory page to the guide which mentions that x2 refers to high and low range and 2-4 implies a part-time 4WD . We unfortunately do not give an example of a complete code in the Guide but will in future include the following sentence. For example, the code 5×2/2-4 refers to five forward speeds in a dual-range gearbox with 2WD or 4WD selectable.
Low-ratio gears are usually only selectable in 4WD because they’re only needed in extreme off-road conditions. A full-time 4WD vehicle is regarded as more sophisticated than a part-time 2/4WD because there are off-road situations where you suddenly need 4WD and you don’t get time to select it. The part-timer scores in fuel economy and less tyre wear, because you only engage 4WD when it is needed.