4x4 of the Year 2016: Meet the Judges

best 4x4 of the year 2016 judges

With more than 245 years of four-wheel driving experience between them, our judges rate as some of the most experienced in Australia.

Dean Mellor
A past editor of 4x4 Australia magazine, Dean has worked on a number of four-wheel drive mags since 1994, when he first started at Overlander mag. While his daily driver these days is a D23 Navara, his love and passion belongs to Land Rover, the first 4WD vehicle he drove, back in 1984. His most memorable 4WD trip was across the Simpson Desert's Madigan Line in 2005.

Ron Moon
Moonie drove his first 4WD – a Series 1 Land Rover – in 1966, when he joined the Australian army, and has been driving 4WD vehicles ever since. He cracked his job-of-a-lifetime when he took over the editorship of 4x4 Australia in 1988, a role he had for nearly 15 years. Now, as 4x4 Au’s Editor-at-Large, he wanders the back blocks of Australia and the globe chasing stories.

Dave Morley
Dave Morley is one of the most respected motoring writers in Australia and has been a judge on Wheels magazine's Car of the Year for more than 20 years. He drove his first 4WD – an FJ45 – back in the early 1970s when living up in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales. He has since travelled much of Australia and the world by bike, car and 4WD.

Norm Needham
Norm was on the family farm way back in 1958 when he drove his first 4WD – a Series 1 Landie. Establishing Traction 4 (now ARB Artarmon) back when the 4WD industry was small and young, Norm is a Wikipedia of all things Toyota. With trips all over the country under his belt, his ground-breaking journey to Cape York in 1975 remains the most memorable.

Matt Raudonikis
Matt is the current Editor of 4x4 Australia magazine and came to the role in late 2013 after a long stint as the editor of Overlander magazine. His first experience with four-wheel drives was back in 1986, when he drove a G60 Patrol. He now owns a BJ73 mid-wheelbase Cruiser and his most memorable 4WD trip was a 10km, 18-hour-long journey in remote, icy Iceland.

John Rooth
‘Roothy’ is arguably the best-known four-wheel driver in Australia, having started behind the wheel of a WW2 Jeep on his family sheep property in the northern Flinders Ranges back in 1964. Now a regular to these hallowed pages, Roothy's Low Range television show keeps him travelling, while his three 1983 40 Series Cruisers, a 76 Cruiser, a 42 Jeep, a Suzi Sierra and an ex-army Series 2A Landie keep him busy when he's at home.

Simon Vella
Simon has 23 years’ experience at Tough Dog and is now head of research and development at the suspension specialist – when he talks about suspension, you'd better listen, as there will always be something to learn. His first four-wheel drive experience was on the fabled beaches of Newcastle back in the early 1990s and his most memorable trip was a testing and product-proving jaunt to the deserts of Botswana in 2015.

MORE 4X4 OF THE YEAR

4x4 Of The Year 2015 HOME: 4X4 OF THE YEAR 2016
On the shortlist for 4X4OTY 2016 were the Hilux, Triton, Fortuner, Prado, Navara and Everest.

best 4x4 of the year 2016 finalists THE FINALISTS
The six best 4x4 vehicles of 2015 battling it out to be crowned 4x4 Of The Year 2016.

best 4x4 of the year 2016 results THE RESULTS
Only one of the six best 4x4s from 2015 can be crowned 4x4 Of The Year 2016

best 4x4 of the year 4X4 OF THE YEAR HOME
Finding Australia's Best 4x4s

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