KT Desert Drive: 9 SUV modification tips to help you go harder, faster and stronger

The annual drive kicks off at the Al Hamra Golf Club in Ras Al Khaimah on November 26

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By George Kuruvilla

Published: Fri 18 Nov 2022, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 18 Nov 2022, 3:01 PM

The Middle East’s love for large high-riding vehicles and desert excursions has enabled automakers to bring to the GCC a wide variety of off-roaders without overthinking profitability. And you are bound to see many of these SUVs, in the hundreds even, at the latest edition of the KT Desert Drive which kicks off at the Al Hamra Golf Club in Ras Al Khaimah on November 26, 2022.

Some of you might like to keep your SUVs stock i.e., just the way they rolled out of the showrooms while some others, those who wish to project a more distinctive identity and greater off-road capability may choose to customise their SUVs, front to back and top to bottom. Now, modifying your vehicle isn’t a cheap affair by any measure, but if you’ve got the dough here are some of the top suggestions to soup up your ride:

1. Lift kits & suspension kits: One of the more popular first steps to modding, is to add a few inches to the ground clearance of your vehicle by equipping it with a lift kit. This also improves approach, departure, and break-over angles, the basic ingredients to better off-roading. And very often, it also lends a meaner outlook. You can also add a suitable set of adjustable shocks to smoothen out the ride as well.

2. Sidestep: With the increase in ride height comes the added trouble of climbing on and off the vehicles. So, equipping your ride with a sidestep may be advisable. Some have a minimalist steel structure, while others are fixed board types extending from wheel arch to wheel arch. Also available are electrically retractable ones that automatically pop out when the door is opened.

3. Wheels & tyres: A good set of alloys and off-road tyres with heavy-duty rubber not only lend a more aggressive stance but also give the needed floatability and traction apt for the terrain. Choose a set that is suitable for the activity, be it rock crawling or dune bashing. Also, keep in mind that a less-aggressive tyre thread may be suitable for everyday city and highway driving as well, serving as the best of both worlds.

4. Bash/skid plates: Jagged rocks and vegetation can damage the radiator, engine pan, etc that lay exposed, but adding reinforced plates to the underbelly of the vehicle - front and rear - can ensure that your SUV can take a little beating.

5. A bull bar or grille: Equipping the front fascia with a robust guard will protect the vehicle’s aesthetics as well as the headlamps.

6. Auxiliary lights: By installing these you have an easy way to support the headlamps with extra illumination. They usually come in the form of a horizontal arrangement called a light bar (or row lights) or smaller square/round units; both are usually powered by LEDs.

7. Roof rack: This is a convenient way to carry equipment and accessories, especially those that don’t fit in the boot. Alternatively, you can also choose to install a tent on the roof.

8. High-performance air filter: A model-specific filter not only adds a small number of horses to the output but also keeps the engine performing at a high level consistently in an environment that is stricken with dust and debris. They also prevent contaminants from entering the combustion chamber, thereby maintaining the longevity of the engine.

9. High-performance engine oil: You can also choose to go with an engine oil with better textural consistency and higher viscosity that will work better in demanding operating conditions. The Castrol Magnatec: SUV is one such example.

A large number of these off-road specific parts and accessories mentioned above are available on https://jeepers.ae/. You can either choose to go with one of their 3-stages of tune or check out their a la carte menu of parts, whichever suits your budget and need.

Also, keep in mind that whatever modifications you make, ensure sure that they comply with RTA regulations, especially if you wish to drive it on public roads…or simply, get a trailer!

Have a stock SUV or a supremely modded one? One and all are welcome to sign up for the KT Desert Drive 2022. Online tickets have been on sale since November 15, 2022, and are available at https://www.ktdesertdrive.com/online-booking/tickets.php. For more details check out https://www.ktdesertdrive.com/index.html

The KT Desert Drive is also supported by:

Jeep and Trading Enterprises (Lead sponsor); Goodyear (Strategic sponsor); Castrol Magnatec: SUV (Exclusive lubricant sponsor); Nature Valley (Nutrition sponsor); Baskin Robbins (Gold Sponsor); Al Hamra Golf Club (Hospitality partner); Jeepers Edition (Support); Cafu (Mobile fuelling partner); Al Ain (Water partner); Abela & Co. (Lunch sponsor).


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