DUE SOUTH
4LOW Offroad Magazine|October/November 2020
The new Ford F150 Arctic truck goes for a shakedown run in Iceland
Robb Pritchard
“What is the world’s ultimate 4x4?” is, of course, far too subjective a question. If there is a shortlist, though, then Arctic Trucks should be on it. They might not have won the King of the Hammers or the Dakar, but their modified creations are routinely driven in some of the harshest environments on earth, the vast, frozen wastes of Antarctica.

The design necessary for such unbelievably harsh conditions, where temperatures can drop to -76°, and the wind can whip up to 100 mph, obviously needs to include ultimate reliability. Beginning nearly 30 years ago, Arctic Trucks have worked almost exclusively with Toyota. One of the vital parts of the equation for the weeks’ long expeditions are fuel efficiency and comfort. AT founder Emil Grimsson spent the long Icelandic winter developing a brand new vehicle that will soon be heading to the frozen continent. And it’s almost ready. For one of the last tests, before the Ford F150 is released, 4Low Magazine was invited to Iceland to see how it performs on snowy slide slopes on its new 44 inch tires, something Emil was slightly less than confident about.

You don’t need to go too far out of Reykjavik to realize Iceland is unlike most countries. Near the coast, the brooding mountains, a few with plumes of steam venting from their slopes, are tinged green with grasses and mosses. Long past the last stunted bushes into the barren interior, nature only has a tremulous presence in the volcanic scree. The tarmac runs out, and we cruise on a dusty track through a surreal backdrop of black rocks and alluvial plains of volcanic spoil, crisscrossed with grey, sediment-filled streams. It was another breath-taking view at every rise, but Arctic Trucks don’t make trucks simply to see places; they are designed to conquer them. And to find the conditions Emil wants to test the Ford in, we needed to drive on a glacier!

Although Iceland’s landscape looks brutal, it’s very fragile. In the middle of seemingly nowhere, we parked at a marker with 1980 on it; Emil explained that it indicated the edge of the glacier 80 years ago. It was still a drive of a few miles to get to where the ice’s edge is today. The melting rate is so quick now that the glacier’s last fingers have receded quite a few yards beyond the marker for 2020 already. Nearby, locals and climate activists recently held a ceremony to mourn the loss of a glacier that has completely gone.

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