Subaru's XV has evolved, with the popular, AWD compact SUV reimagined and re-christened as the Crosstrek.
Far from a nod to Harry Potter, the Warlock is described by importer Ateco as "coming with some extra menace". For this, read darker shades of grey and black on the front grille, front and rear bumpers, fender flares and semi-gloss black wheels - rounded off with smoked headlight lenses.
The suspension gets a 25mm lift, not enough to increase ground clearance, but said to improve entry and departure angles, and making for a higher climb into the cabin - so thank goodness for the side-steps and grab handles.
As usual, the 5.7 litre V8 Hemi engine is a peach, pumping out 291kW and 556 Nm of torque, and mated to an 8-speed auto.
It has an 820kg payload in the tray and a tow capacity of up to 4,500kg.
The Warlock comes standard with the RamBox set-up - integrated lockers built into the side walls of the wellside. Offering 210 litres of watertight, lockable storage, these proved ideal for a "horsey" event in the North Waikato.
Also brought into play was the storage delivered by the tray itself, with everything kept secure and dry under a trifold tonneau cover.
Interestingly, a 200km round trip to said horse show really brought home just what the RAM 1500 series is all about. With the dark blue brute tipping the scales at close to three tonnes, pulling a horse float of around a tonne and shifting two nags weighing around 1.6 tonnes, the whole entourage weighed in at about 6 tonnes. One also needs "a lot of gear" to show horses, so I'm told.
Running solo, the big RAM delivered consumption figures of 12.8 litres/100km. However, adding the equine caravan - and taking on rural A roads and the Waikato expressway - the numbers only climed to 141/100km.
By contrast our large SUV delivers 10.2l/100km in solo format and 19l/100km towing the float.
What really makes the Warlock so endearing is the relaxed manner in which it deals with big loads. Be that trailer, float or boat, it lopes along at low engine revs, eating up the kilometres in armchair comfort. And, of course, there is that addictive V8 burble.