A recent magazine article, purporting to be a comparison test between the Grand Cherokee and Touareg, has left me bothered. Apparently, the Jeep failed to ascend a slippery hill that the Volkswagen romped up, leaving the impression that the American was, well, a dumb-ass off-roader. I have no idea whether the Grand Cherokee is hopeless on slippery hills compared to the German, but I do know that there is a widespread willingness among motoring writers to rubbish a vehicle's off-road performance because it failed a particular task in their hands. However, this failure might say more about the driver than the vehicle. Did the Grand Cherokee, in the case in point, not make it because its tyre pressures were too high, or because it had too much or too little momentum, or because the line was slightly different compared to the Volkswagen's? I'd hope that the driver considered these factors and that maybe he called over a colleague to have a go. but I'll bet he didn't. Over the years, I've failed to coax a vehicle to perform on a particular obstacle only to watch someone else get in the same vehicle and, doing something slightly differently, get it through. Many claims you read in media worldwide about a vehicle's off-road performance need to be regarded with scepticism – so shoot the messenger, not the vehicle.