4WD suggestions

I think my 11 year old Commodore is about to give up the ghost, so I am planning to get a 4wd.
Any recommendations?
I will be chasing a new or near new auto model.

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Landcruiser

Fri, 2008-12-12 15:46

you know you want to

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Colin Hay's picture

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I like the Landcruisers Huggy. Are the new models as

Fri, 2008-12-12 15:51

reliable as the old ones?
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4x4

Fri, 2008-12-12 20:06

I spoke to a guy today about his 200 series he has a couple of minor grips 1 it uses 10 liters of oil every 10000 km 2 he needs to take a whole pile of fuses if one goes then the car she a NO GO.I have the non turbo 100 series with 340000 km just about to replace the original clutch injectors and repair the power steer pump apart from that has not cost me a cent.Mates have the turbo ones and get worse fuel economy because of the constant 4x4.They also had a few probs with the harmonic balancer not easy to fix on the beach speaking from exp.Hope that helps.

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You can not go passed the Navara Colin

Fri, 2008-12-12 15:53

Can be a family car a ute or a four wheel drive , Cheap to run if you get the diesel plus convert it to gas and you get better towing torque and ecomomy .

Our navara is an older one 04 but heard the newer ones are even better just have to watch the towing weight some of the new ones are only rated to 2.8 tonne were as our DX is rated to 3 tonne

 

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Col - just bought a new

Fri, 2008-12-12 16:08

Col - just bought a new Prado diesel, pick it up next week. Some sharp deals at the moment on new. Was tossing up between the Prado and Pajero but the 80lt tank on the Pajero put me off it.

Mate has the new Navara and loves it as well, in petrol. ONly issue again is the tank, only 70lt. I am bloody sure it would not cost a lot more to put a decent size one on at the factory and cannot believe that especially the pajero comes with such a poxy size tank.

Unless you need the tray back I can't see much point in buying it over a wagon. Most people seem to put a hard cover on them anyway which probably leaves you less room than taking the back seats out of a wagon and making it a comfortable 5 seater.

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If it was me Colin

Fri, 2008-12-12 16:12

I would get a low kilometre good condition turbo diesel 100 series. Reliable and proven with plenty of good after-market accessories. And me personally, I'd be happy modifying a 2nd hand car rather than a new one.

 

The 200 series aint a cheap piece of machinery. The rents where pricing one up and you can kiss goodbye to $100k pretty easily.

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pajero

Fri, 2008-12-12 16:21

if you want a mid size 4WDrive look seriously at the Pajero.

you loose the long range tank that the Prado has pick up advantages such as cheaper to buy and maintain and much better and stronger Drive train than the Prado. better cargo space in back also. 

all work vechiles are Pajero (unless specifically need long range tanks) and better out bush.

once again won best 4WD medium car of the year award (3rd year running)

the triptronic semi auto is fantastic 

 

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agreed, 200 series way too

Fri, 2008-12-12 16:21

agreed, 200 series way too much coin. Sadly there just aren't a lot of goon low klm 100 series around. I put that down to the fact that someone who bought a 100 series knew what they wanted, and are hardly going to be trading up, given that the 200 series is very expensive, and mine sites won't approve them says that people question how tuff they are.

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100

Fri, 2008-12-12 16:40

i bought a 100 series cruiser from auction 2004 model deisel not turbo for my workers they tow a two ton trailor five days a week got it at 42000 kms now done 189000 kms seviced every 10000kms only money i have spent on it other than tyres payed $27500.00 at manheims fowles auto auction in whelshpool they one every wed plenty of ex mine 4wd if you want a family 4wd probally not the one for you most of them are all standard. but they do have a few nice 4wd come through there check out there webpage. google manheimfowles
good luck

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Jeep

Fri, 2008-12-12 16:42

Jeep

 

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if you go for a 100 series

Fri, 2008-12-12 16:52

if you go for a 100 series try and get a turbo diesel one, lot more power than a non turbo, if not you can bolt a turbo onto a standard diesel. 

i pull 3.5t around with mine no worries.

 

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bugger the family 4wd.....

Fri, 2008-12-12 17:08

bugger the family 4wd..... go the f250...... i think 4ton towing heaps of space in cab even for an engel..... 7.2turbo diesel... better on fuel when towing..... i dont htink much comfort but boy you got grunt....lol

but iagree with russ, navara..... in law had an 03 turbo diesel and loved it..... traded it for the new model and loves it more..... so now has a second one but tray back for work and farm..... i drove the new dual cab he has and man that thing goes like the clappers, beat the pants of a new v8 cruiser even..... hehe

oh, and he has his f250 for sale....lol

 

cheers Jes

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the jeep's are nicereally

Fri, 2008-12-12 17:14

FORD F250!!!

haha nah bit big ey 

 

 

the jeep's are nice

really depends on how much you wanna spend though

you have lots to choose from

 

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    go a wrx , you know

Fri, 2008-12-12 17:38

 

 

go a wrx , you know tou want to , and its a 4wd

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What are you wanting to do

Fri, 2008-12-12 18:28

What are you wanting to do with it?

Ie:

Do you want to tow? What weight?

Are you using it for a family? How many? Age?

Are you wanting economy? Or would you prefer take-over speed on the highway?

Is off-road ability a priority? Or would you prefer touring comfort?

Mod-cons? Budget?

All of these answers will narrow it down pretty quickly. As you can see, you have gotten a lot of answers and all of them could be right- it just depends what fits your particular needs.

For instance, it is generally accepted that a Patrol is more suited to heavy offroad work than a Pajero, but the Pajero is the more comfortable onroad tourer. Again, it all depends on your priorities.

David.

P.S. a forum like Australian 4wd action, perth4x4.net, outer limits 4x4 et al are a good source for information on 4wd choices.

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only prob with a second hand

Fri, 2008-12-12 19:16

only prob with a second hand 4x4 is you dont know what sort of punnishment it has been through,our navara had to get a new clutch after only95k but thats all the probs weve had now done 125k .sometimes you can get a good deal on the new ones ,eg, navara 2.5 ltr commonrail turbo diesel with all the fruit around $38k other makes i have seen for around the 40k , it all depends if you want new or 2nd hand and yes there is some good deals out there 2nd hand ,just be carefull as some get realy punnished off road

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Wow Some great information there guys

Fri, 2008-12-12 18:37

Thank you very much. It seems like there are some really good options and some really good deals going.

David, it will mainly be used as a family car, and for trips to various fishing spots that I can't reach now without a 4WD. At this stage I don't have a boat, so towing is not an issue and I am a tent man, so I am not worried about a caravan.
Jes, I have always wanted an F250, but I am not sure the missus and the kids (and my new bosses - hopefully) would go for it. Besides I don't have any horse floats to pull around (Lol).

Has anyone tried Pickles auctions? They have some ok looking 4wd's going up for auction next week.
Thanks everyone, Colin
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Colin 1

Fri, 2008-12-12 19:06

just saw the new Hummer at the BP petrol station, god it looked mean real brutish, lovely, but one power ball F250 7litre turbo deisel.  The only thing with a turbo you have to change the oil every 5,000klms or less, so we have been told. We love our Toyota Hilux, never ever been bogged on the beach, have pulled a few so called expensive 4x4's, never let us down 4door ute with firebglass canopy, tows the old boat just under a ton and its manual, we've had it ten yrs just got the a/c serviced, not bad, my little sludge bucket, would never go back to a sedan or petrol.

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pathfinder

Fri, 2008-12-12 19:29

i have a 2007 pathfinder td 6speed does about 10lit to the 100ks tows my 5.7 westy easy do not know fuel on trip yet will no in about 3 weeks have had 4 Nissan 4+4 all have been super good for price +reliable one thing the new common rail diesel has no lag time on take off this is a really agood thing

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the economy on the 3ltr

Fri, 2008-12-12 19:49

the economy on the 3ltr diesel is quite good in the navara

towing my boat loaded up aprox weight 3 tonne with a big wind drag factor as the boat has a large windscreen , we got 5 to 6km to the ltr sitting on 95 to 100 kph

not bad imo for a 4 cylinder but downside it does struggle on some of the larger hills going up north

RUSS & SANDY

 

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I was quite impressed with your wagon Russ

Sat, 2008-12-13 07:10

I won;t be towing anything, so power is not a major issue for me.
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Patrol

Fri, 2008-12-12 19:59

Col I have an 04 patrol.  I have towed a 22ft caravan around Aus twice and up the west coast a few times.  Now the missus just uses it for a shopping trolly and I use it to put the boat in if I HAVE to take them with me.  I cant speek highly enough of it and I used to be a toyota man through and through.  There is no-one that can dispute that toyota are better gear but they have priced themselves out of the market.  I used to run 4wd tours up the west coast full of backpackers and got 1.3 million kms out of an extended troopy.  Toyota is the shit.  Our nissan has done 300 thousand kms and is only just now starting to get a few things going wrong.  I have found that nissans dont have a lot of after market parts so are dear to fix whereas toyotas are everywhere and have just about everything available non genuine.  Nissans drive like a car and come as Auto with all the bells and whistles standard.  They are good and have all the power you need.  Best of all they are the right price.  Dont buy a 3ltr that was made in 01 as they had trouble with the sump not holding enough oil and were doing pistons.  They sorted it out in 02 models and I havent heard any bad reports since.

My old folks live in Queensland and reckon that the dealers cant get rid of the petrol 100 series cruisers.  There is apparently some REALLY good deals going on over there on them where they will hook them up to gas and almost pay you to take them away.  I,m not a petrol man but if it is a really good deal then you cant help but think.  I dont think transport would be a problem if you got it at the right price.  Dad just got a new V8 turbo diesel 200 series and it goes like the wind.  He traded in his 100series diesel wagon on gas, 100k on the clock and the most he could get for it over there was 28k. 

Hope this helps     

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We averaged 5.5 kms/ltr

Fri, 2008-12-12 20:03

We averaged 5.5 kms/ltr towing 3ton caravan.  With a head wind we were down to 4.5.  With a tail wind we were up to about 6.5.  I came across from Kunanurra with the wind up my bum and was cruising at 120.

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Allrounder

Fri, 2008-12-12 20:20

 

if you have trouble with seals leaking put a cap full of brake fluid in the oil and it stops them from going hard.  Trust me I used to do it religiously.  If you change the seals dont put grease on them as it goes hard and burns the seals out, you are better to put a smear of oil on them.  Dont buy non genuin seals as they only last 30 000k's before you they leak again. 

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Blowing seals

Fri, 2008-12-12 20:37

I havent blown a seal yet been told it tastes rely rely badCoolOldy but a goody.Are you talking about the steering pump?I think the poor old pump got a flogging from the wide wheels wont go big again.Might do the fuel pump too $$$$$$$$She has been a great truck i think she is due for a birthday

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Thansk for all the great info Mick

Sat, 2008-12-13 07:09

I know car prices have come right down in Sydney as well.
So going over east to buy a car may be an option. I could take my time driving it back and the money I would save would pay for the holiday.
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found a 4wd for ya colin

Fri, 2008-12-12 22:10

 

cheers Jes

Save the whales. Collect the whole set.
 

 

Colin Hay's picture

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That's a crack-up Jes. I could see the look on my missus' face

Sat, 2008-12-13 07:07

if I came home with that. And my daughters would never want me taking them anywhere in case their friends saw them (now that could save me quite a few bucks on fuel). Looks pretty good though mate.
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Col - transport for a car is

Sat, 2008-12-13 07:44

Col - transport for a car is only about $1000 from anywhere over east, so no doubt some big coin to be saved. I still reckon ATM you could be better off buying new. There are a lot of car dealers out there who are not going to be around if they don't sell cars.

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4x4 magic

Sat, 2008-12-13 08:04

There is nothing like the proformance and comfort of the Landrover discovery.

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HI Col,   I am a toyota

Sat, 2008-12-13 08:19

HI Col,

 

I am a toyota mechanic and now sell cars. I have worked for Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Mazda and now am with holden. The new 200 L/C is an awesome vehicle but there will be some hitches with it as it is a new model. I always say not to buy a new model in the first year for that reason. The Patrol is a good option but last time i towed my boat to exmouth with it, it struggled big time and i could see the fuel cage moving. The last trip to Exy was with a petrol Navara. I could only get 270kms out of a tank towing the boat. But it towed it with ease and was a comfy drive (manual). The Prado's for me are prob one of the best vehicles on the market for all round use. Great offroad, towing and family car.

 If you would like any help with making sure you get a good deal and so on feel free to PM me and i will help you out.

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I have the 2000 glx

Sat, 2008-12-13 10:28

I have the 2000 glx landcruiser, on gas .Great 4x4 i use it for work and tow a trailer all day fully loaded with tools .I get 360km per tank of gas which is pretty good.I will say towing on petrol would be an expensive exercise as you can watch the gauge move,but i am very happy with the car and have a mobil mechanic he has spent 20 years working for toyota and is tops. $250 for full service at your house or work . I picked mine up for $22,000 with 180,000 km on the clock. hope that helps a bit..

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Colin Hay's picture

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Some more great info there, thanks guys

Sat, 2008-12-13 14:15

I had a look in the paper this morning and there are some pretty good deals going. I think I will hit a few of the yards this week and have a first hand look.
Thanks again for the input everyone.
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Does anyone have any good or bad things to say about

Sat, 2008-12-13 15:08

these cars - Subaru Forester, Mitsubishi Outlander or Suzuki Grand Vitara.
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The forester is pretty

Sat, 2008-12-13 17:29

The forester is pretty popular and reliable, but the new ones have really broken the mould and grown, much like all those other smaller 4WDs.

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Look at my sig..What more

Sat, 2008-12-13 17:35

Look at my sig..What more can I say.

I haven't done any series off roading with it yet but as a tow rig..:) WOW.

 

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  colin if your  after a

Sat, 2008-12-13 17:57

 

colin if your  after a forester , im in know

 

I wish I had an emo lawn so it would cut it self

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WARNING: BIG POST

Sat, 2008-12-13 20:56

WARNING: BIG POST AHEAD

 

Colin,

Please realise I am not an expert by any means; so the following is mere advice based on all the research I did (and do) when I was purchasing a 4wd.

A few things. 

1) For towing you need to look at the future. You may not need to tow anything now but are you planning a boat/caravan in the future? This may not be a concern now but if you go with a Forester/Rav4/Xtrail/any other small car on stilts (because that is all those are- they are based on the respective manufacturer's small car platform with some "all-terrain" traction control (4wd) thrown in) and you want to buy a boat, will you be happy to sell your reliable vehicle you have had for a few years, losing considerable money in order to upgrade to a vehicle that can tow?

2) I would be careful about buying second hand anything you can't get to yourself (ie Eastern States). You may save some dollars up-front buying sight-unseen, but internet photographs often hide many, many faults. I used to buy in Japanese grey imports for a business and you quickly learn this. Combined with the fact (as another member pointed out) that a 4wd vehicle can often have a very hard life in a very short time you get a very large potential of disaster. Much better to purchase a thoroughly inspected vehicle (yourself or a mechanic who knows the vehicle type in question) or purchase a vehicle with a service history. It may be more expensive but parts for the larger 4wds can be expensive. It only requires a couple of issues for the $$$ to mount.

3) A great deal of the capabilities and traits of a 4wd vehicle is due to the engine and the suspension. I will deal with the suspension briefly. You have two common suspension types: solid axle and independant. Solid axle is what you see if you look under a 4wd and see the diff "pumpkin" (the roundish bit in the centre with the solid extensions either side to the wheels). Both wheels are connected physically together. Independant suspension is when each wheel has it's own suspension assembly, operating independantly of each other. 

Why is this important? 

Generally speaking, solid axle vehicles are better off-road due to greater articulation but independant suspended vehicles perform better on-road. There are exceptions (the Prado is one of the better front independant suspension, for example) but in standard mass-manufactured vehicles this holds true, generally. This is the reason why you see so many Patrols and Landcruisers (solid axles) at extreme 4wd competitions, and not so many Prados or Pajeros.

4) As for diesel vs petrol, I am not a mechanic. However, diesels seem to have a limited rev band but usually have a lot of torque (great for towing) but not a lot of power. The petrols rev much better and feel better on-road but use more fuel. Although with diesel so overpriced there is not much in it in pure dollar terms, according to a test run by Australian 4wd Action magazine.

With that out of the way, here are some thoughts on particular types and then specific models.

 

1) Dual-cab utes.

Very good all-round vehicles. They are generally more nimble/fuel economical than a full-size wagon with almost the same livability. I say almost, because anyone who has sat in the rear of a dual-cab for any length of time can tell you how uncomfortable they can be on long trips. Apparently the latest Triton is an exception to this, having a very car-like rear seat area. 

They generally have decent towing capacities (generally) and having the tray (which you can canopy) is in some ways more practical than a wagon cargo bay (ie wet clothes, stinky bait, etc). The suspension set up, again generally, is independant front) and load capacity (leaves). The trade-off is that the rear leaves are either heavy duty for load ability but skittish and prone to oversteer on gravel, or more compliant light-duty leaves which can not handle heavy loads. There are also concerns that safety features do not equal equavalent wagons.

2) Small cars on stilts (Rav4, Forester, XTrail, etc). 

These are very good for the vehicle that does not get offroad too often but is used mainly around town with the occasional trip to the dirt or sand. They are often decently economical, reliable, relatively safe, easy to drive; they share these attributes with the small cars they are based on (ie the Honda CRV is based on the Civic). Really for what most people need a family vehicle for they work well. But please do not expect them to last too long on rough roads and do not expect them to tow. I used to sell caravans so if you need more explanation on the towing, let me know. If you wouldn't tow it with a Civic/Corolla/Impreza, don't tow it with a CRV/Rav4/Forester.

3) Medium Touring Wagons (Pajero, Pathfinder, Prado, Discovery, etc)

These are good all-round vehicles. They usually have independant front with solid axle (coil) rear or are all-independant. They normally have large six cylinder petrol or mid-sized turbo diesels. They are usually the best all-round compromise between on-road comfort and moderate offroad ability, with some obviously being better than others. They generally have good safety features, decent towing ability and a good amount of mod-cons. A great deal of families opt for these vehicles and you will probably find that they are the best-selling 4wds which have not had their sales numbers inflated by fleet sales (like I would imagine many dual-cabs have).

4) Heavy wagons (Patrol, Landcruiser, Defender)

These are the generally accepted pinnacle for locally available offroad performance. The landcruiser is now all-independant, I believe, while the Patrol is solid axle all round. The defender is a land-rover so be mindful of their reputation for mechanical gremlins, but in my research even the wagon is rated for a 1 tonne payload! A very good comparison between the GU Patrol and 200 series Landcruiser was made in a DVD of a recent 4wd Action magazine. The comparison was made by two reviewers who gave their own views but left it up to the magazine buyers to vote online as to which should be 4wd of the year. The Patrol won, with most comments I saw being cost, simplicity, offroad ability being the main factors.

I will follow with another post.

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you have done your homework

Sat, 2008-12-13 21:13

you have done your homework ,but

i have a dual cab navara 04 model 3ltr turbo diesel,you say they have good torque but lack in power,i beg to differ

my navara may only be 4 cylender but has as much take off power as a lot of 6 cylinder vehicles and can cruise verry comfortably on the 120 to 130 kph at 110 you dont even know your doing it and can tow 3 tonne at 90 kph no probs

i think most of the 3ltr turbo have around the same capabilities these days,

RUSS & SANDY

 

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Thanks for your

Sat, 2008-12-13 22:02

Thanks for your feedback.

There will always be exceptions, which is why I made most comments "in general..." or "Generally speaking...".

I was speaking about general diesel characteristics, not specific abilities. Diesels generally have a limited rev-band that they are happy in. Modern electronically-controlled and turbocharged diesels may mask the common diesel trait but they seem to still be inherent to even the latest diesels.

One thing to take note of is the difference between power and torque. Torque is the tractive ability of the engine; the ability of the engine to apply power.

Torque is the thing that "pushes you in the back" when you take off. It is also the force which enables you instantly tap power, for instance the first moments of a take-over manuever, or when accelerating from a constant speed. A turbocharger amplifies this effect, boosting the torque curve. In fact, the turbocharger is often used on smaller engines which would otherwise have quite little torque. So the fact that your Navara performs so well in those examples you offered is actually a pointer towards what I mentioned of the turbo diesels having excellent torque. This torque also makes the vehicle a more able towing vehicle, enabling the vehicle to pull a greater load at a lower rev range, which makes a vehicle with lesser power but greater torque lower in the rev range (ie turbo diesel) a better towing vehicle than a vehicle with higher power but lesser torque which is often higher in the rev range.

Power is another thing altogether. Sometimes people confuse the two; the power of an engine is not what pushes you in the back, that is the torque.

From this perspective, if you compare a vehicle available with both petrol and diesel, you will see that the petrol generally has more power (at a higher rev range). This does not mean the diesel does not have enough power just that the petrol has more.

An easy way to illustrate this is to drive the same model with either engine, accelerate all the way to the respective engine's redline. You will most probably find that the turbo-diesel has a big "rush" of back-pushing torque in the mid-rev ranges but runs out of puff in the upper zone. The petrol will not have the same push in the middle revs- less torque- but will rev cleaner and still have shove near the redline. Ie, more power in the upper revs.

I hope this made more sense? And of course, all of this is general. Some diesels are better, some petrols are worse.

Thanks again.

 

 

roberta's picture

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I know I'm a women

Sun, 2008-12-14 08:14

 but been around motors all my life and have to agree AbooAyesha.  Our Toyota Hilux, is fantastic towing the boat at 90klm 2.9litre but because it hasn't got turbo, bit slack on the hills, fuel wise extremely economical. Bob's done the sums on ours and we get 24miles to the gallon (city), towing (1 ton boat & supplies) 22miles to the gallon and naturally if you hit a head or side wind towing we go down to 19 miles to the gallon, sorry its in gallons but he does everything in imperial.  Bob's comments...it also depends how you drive your vehicle (retired truckie) gearing is very important.  

 

SPEWIE LEWIE

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I agree completely with the

Sun, 2008-12-14 19:58

I agree completely with the gearing, which would be much more important on the diesels due to their more narrow "happy" place in the rev range. Those figures you quote really show the benefit of the diesel with the torque in the right spot. They are great engines for lugging loads. That is one of the main reasons they are used for industrial engines.

I used to drive a school bus and now drive a diesel GQ Patrol after spending my earlier driving years in high-performance Japanese grey imports. I now have a much different driving style and am much more appreciative of a good solid torque curve rather than a highly-strung rev-machine. The latter is fun on the race track but the former is so much more practical for legal speeds, towing, etc.

Thanks for your comments, by the way.

roberta's picture

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Also forgot to mention

Mon, 2008-12-15 08:47

 when we started looking for 4x4 the most important one was no computers, Bobs reckoning was what if we are stuck miles from anywhere and the computer sh...ts itself help, if & when the diesel motor needs replacing, we'll rebuilt + bore it out and that will do us (maybe put turbo on the motor?), till we push up daisies. We bought her with 98 thousand klms, replaced the clutch (don't know other peoples driving habits), timing chain (every 100 thousand k's), just got the a/c serviced, pump good, seals needed replaceing, after ten yrs, plus your normal tyres, services etc.  No rust (electronic what ever its called rust proofing) Haven't touched the brakes since we bought her in 1998. I was taught to change with your gears not your brakes.

 ps, yes this would be a good column to keep up the top for queries etc?

 

SPEWIE LEWIE

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For particular vehicles in

Mon, 2008-12-15 06:17

For particular vehicles in the major categories, a by no means exhaustive list; just a few that come to mind:

1) Dual-cab utes.

Navara- Firstly keep in mind that there are two types. The D22 and D40. The D22 is based on an older, smaller platform (solid rear axle, independant front) whereas the D40 is larger (also solid rear, independant front). The D40 I believe is based on an American Nissan "truck". The D40 and D22 now have the same turbo-diesel engine, but the engine is derated in the D22 (less power and torque). The petrol engine in the D40 is very powerful- power-drift on gravel ahoy!. The D40 recently won a comparison of dual-cab utes in Australian 4WD Action.

Rodeo/Colorado- Holden's entry. The Colorado is the latest incarnation of the Rodeo ie the Rodeo has been re-branded. In my research they are generally well-regarded, never the best but never the worst. No-one talks about them much whenever someone asks for opinions on 4wds. I don't know why, my research suggests they are a good vehicle.

Triton- The new Triton is meant to be very comfortable inside, with the rear seat much more comfortable then most dual-cabs. The trade off is a less-useable rear tray, apparently.

Hilux- Seems to be good reviews. Strong engines, good build quality $$$$$$$$. Did I mention $$$$$$? That seems to be the main complaint, as with the 200 series landcruiser. They also have a TRD supercharged version, just in case you could not get a standard dual cab sideways on the gravel. 

Bravo/Ranger: Same vehicle, different badges. My research says they are a pretty good vehicle. In fact in one comparison they were looking to win except they swallowed some water from a low air intake and both the Bravo and Ranger engine computers shut down the engines. !!! 

Defender- Good points: It is a Land Rover. Bad points: It is a Land Rover. If you need more information, best research. If I mention too many bad points about, lets say, mechanical reliability, interior ergonomics, etc, the Land Rover fans will probably track down my IP address and do nasty things to my Patrol. But you won't find any vehicle that can do what it can, stock. The armies use them for a reason.

 

2) Small cars on stilts.

Out of all of them, the Suzukis are probably the closest to an actual off-road vehicle. And when I say off-road, I don't mean occasional beach run or gravel track with potholes. However, if that is all you use it for, these are great. My research says that the Rav4, Forester and XTrail are among the better ones. The Suzukis have a decent dual-range transfer worth noting but are apparently smaller inside than a RAV. My father has a RAV and he really likes it for around town and the beach.

I would suggest further research in magazines like Wheels, etc.

3) Medium Touring Wagons.

Pajero- often under-rated, these seem to be very good for the price. They are always near the top in comparisons I have seen. All independant suspensions, good turbo diesel and good petrol engines. I have seen one person have a serious problem on heavy offroad tracks: the bonnet catch broke on heavy corrugations at high speed and smashed the windscreen and roof. So please do not expect your standard Pajero to handle roads that the Paris-Dakar specially prepped race Pajeros that you see on the ads can. 

Prado- these often win the comparisons. Excellent turbo-diesel with a HUUUUUGE fuel tank (180 litres!!!!! Way bigger than anything else, let alone the class), one of the better independant suspensions for off-road, reliable, Toyota build quality. All of this adds up to the negative, though: $$$$$. Seems to be a common thread with the Toyotas. This does not stop at new, either; if you can even find a good late model secong hand example you will not be paying too much less than new! They hold their value. But really, from what I have researched, they are one of the better allround 4wd vehicles. This would be my recommendation for you, Colin.

Jeep Wrangler 4 door- these are a little small compared to the others but they have some of the best factory offroad options, including rock slider (from the factory!), diff locks front and rear, light guards, etc, etc. I have not seen these in too many comparisons but the research says they are excellent offroad but you do lose in the ergonomics, interior space and onroad refinement.

Discovery- I don't want to say too much because I have not researched too much, however I have heard of very high fuel consumption and your normal British... err.... "character". Sorry I could not add more but I do not want to speak about something I am not confident to have researched enough.

Hyundai Terracan: Essentially a last-generation Mitsubishi Pajero chassis (independant front, solid rear axle) in a Hyundai wrapper. That means cheap, with heaps of standard features for the money! Hyundai have been making large strides in terms of build quality and according to the Dog and Lemon Guide (a highly recommended book, available from newsagents) they are getting near to the Japanese in build quality now. Whether the Terracan is one of the the new Hyundais or the older design I am not too sure. I have driven the turbo diesel around as a hire vehicle and I was quite impressed with the driveline. Whether the interior quality holds up would be an interesting thing to see. I have also seen modified examples on the some 4x4 forums and they appear quite a capable tourer (as was the Pajero it is based on).  

4) Large Wagons:

Patrol- All solid axles, simple and strong mechanical setups (diffs are generally accepted as best in the local market, for instance), strong petrol motor, diesel is not as powerful as the Toyota and also had problems in the early years. Problems, as in engines grenading pistons, etc. These problems are now solved, apparently. They are cheaper than the Landcruiser. These vehicles are only available in Australia and the Middle East and are engineered to suit, hence the strong, truck-like drivelines and simple mechanics. They are behind the Landcruiser technologically but some people in my research prefer more simple machines in heavy offroad use as it means less to go wrong. They are much cheaper than the Toyota.

Landcruiser- My research suggests more comfortable interior, better quality fittings, more technology, much more powerful turbo diesel V8, all independant suspension. An arguably better tourer than the Patrol but it appears to be slightly behind in offroad ability (according to my research). Much more expensive than the Patrol, but a big step up in ergonomics and mod-cons. I have seen complaints of oil usage in the new turbo diesel V8s and teething problems. However, my uncle Mark who works for Toyota (and may therefore be quite biased) has told me they have only had I believe 2 V8s returned in all of WA. I would not say this is definitely true.

Defender- It is a Land Rover. They have recently upgraded the wagon's ergonomics. It has a 1 tonne load capacity! No other wagon I know has that ability. They are one of the best offroad vehicles. They are also British-built. Take that how you wish.

F-Series Trucks- I don't know too much other than they are really trucks. Huge powerful diesel engines, massive tow capacity and imagine trying to drive one in the city. Or more to the point, imagine your better half trying to drive it in the city. Or should that be: imagine trying to CONVINCE your better half to drive that in the city.

 

After all that, I would suggest a Toyota Prado, if you have the money. Versatile, comfortable, reliable, able to tow a decent load if you need to, family friendly, huge touring range (which means less stops when heading north), excellent ergonomics and comfort, not too large and very good offroad ability. The really seem to be an excellent family 4WD. The problem is, too many people agree as do Toyota, so they are expensive.

Other contenders: all of the better dual cabs, Pajero, Pathfinder, Patrol, Landcruiser and perhaps one or two others I have overlooked.

I may need to come back and edit this later but I hope it was of some help.

Further references: Australian 4WD Action (I reference this so much because it appears the magazine is less manufacturer-cushiness and more real-world reviews), Overlander 4WD forums, Outer Limits 4x4 forums, Australian 4wd Action forums.

 

damo6230's picture

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excellent review

Sun, 2008-12-14 08:12

throughly researched and informative. should help plenty of people.

my other half needed to upgrade the comodore to  a 4*4 to pull a horse float.

we chose the Pajero over the Prado one because of the $$ (least $3-5000 cheaper), two because (IMO) it think it has a better drive train and the triptronic auto is cruisie for her, three the rear cargo space is bigger and easier for her to load the saddles etc into, and four very comfortable around town with small car like handling(turning circle). the offroad work is nothing hard, just beach sand and the like and the car just eats it up.

very economical to run, 8-10ltr-100km and cheaper servicing than a toyota.

my car is a single cab turbo hilux so bases covered there. 

but my fav 4*4 is the troopy. spent years out bush working in them and never failed......just $$$$$

appreciate the information

regards

Posts: 38

Date Joined: 02/12/08

Yes, I like the Pajeros. The

Sun, 2008-12-14 20:21

Yes, I like the Pajeros. The older generations are great value on the used car market and make excellent tourers. The new ones are all independant suspension and moncoque body, much like a regular car (I think the new Pathfinder is the same). This will make them more comfortable and quieter onroad. The only concern is how a non separate-chassis will handle nasty road beatings in the long term.

Thanks for the information on the cargo space, that is good to know. Is your Pajero a 7 seater?

And the troopcarrier was my first 4WD I remember wanting when I was younger. I had drawn interior camping fitouts and everything. They really are the successors of the FJ40 series, which were also designed with the markets of Australia, the Mid-East, et al in mind, so they were simple, tough and long-lived. And now they have a TD V8!

Thanks again for the comments. Although I have yet to hear back from Colin, yet?

sherbert's picture

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Colin my son sells new cars

Sun, 2008-12-14 20:03

And works for toyota

So if you want a real 4x4?? Toyota is the way to go, 

As for the toys you said about, You will not go to far off road will them

steve

 Born to fish forced to work

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Are you saying anything else

Sun, 2008-12-14 20:30

Sorry, I reread your post. Did you mean you think that Toyotas are the best 4WD, or that anything else is not a real 4WD?

I agree with your comments about the small cars on stilts, though. Although at least the Suzuki has a meaningful dual range transfer case. Suzuki have a great small 4WD building heritage. Rocky, Feroza, Sierra, SCAT!!!! (the last one is a Japanese Jeep clone. Apparently the body panels can be bolted straight onto a Jeep chassis!). 

 

UncutTriggerInWA's picture

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Move this post

Mon, 2008-12-15 05:05

This is a great read guys and gals. Can we perhaps create a special section easily accessible to members for the future? Once it scolls off the list I lose things in here.

Cheers, Vince

http://vinceholt.spaces.live.com/

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UncutTriggerInWA's picture

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Fishwrecked Tips column maybe??????

Mon, 2008-12-15 05:06

 

Cheers, Vince

http://vinceholt.spaces.live.com/

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Work Smart - Fish Often

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Work smart and fish often.
Member and die-hard supporter of the mighty West Coast Eagles.

Colin Hay's picture

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Many thanks Aboo and everyone else

Mon, 2008-12-15 07:37

Aboo, soory I didn't get back to you earlier, but I was out at sea all day yesterday.
Mate that's fantastic info. You have really hit the nail on the head and pointed me in the direction I want to head in.

Now it is time to have a look around and see what deals I can find.
(Colin 1 - Co-founding member of the prestigious Colin Club)

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damo6230's picture

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AbooAyesha

Mon, 2008-12-15 10:25

I have sent you a PM

cheers

damo

7739ian's picture

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Date Joined: 25/06/08

Try this

Mon, 2008-12-15 10:44

www.productreview.com.au - good series of 4WD reviews by all sorts of users.

7739ian's picture

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Date Joined: 25/06/08

No little gear stick?

Mon, 2008-12-15 10:51

if it has a dial on the dash - it is only a make believe 4WD. oNE One quick Pffft of electrical failure and it's good night nurse.

Colin Hay's picture

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Thanks Ian

Mon, 2008-12-15 11:03

(Colin 1 - Co-founding member of the prestigious Colin Club)

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Bodie's picture

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I drive a Jeep commander

Mon, 2008-12-15 16:14

I drive a Jeep commander limited 2008 model.

Never owned a Jeep before, nor anyone in my family, but we have had almost every other 4WD around.

Jeep is a 3ltr Twin Turbo Diesel, 3.5t towning capacity.
Fuel economy is at 11 ltrs per 100km city and off road driving.

Towing a 3t boat to Onslow we sat on 5ltrs per 100km

Full leather to keep the missus happy, and if there is 1 thing i cans ay about leather, so easy to clean!!!! i get in there after every fishing trip with dirty hands etc... just a quick wipe and its all clean!!!!

ps: they look pretty good too.

Grand Virtara are supposed to be quite heavy on Fuel.

Also depends on your budget too.

New 200 series top of the line will set you back over 100k.

New Prado will be between 60-80k

New Pajero is 60-80k

My Jeep was 83k.

So brand new for a non tray back you can see what price your looking at.

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Hi Colin

Wed, 2008-12-17 14:35

Some great info in this thread so yes, I think we might move it somewhere for posperity.
Personally I've had a Turbo DID Pajero 2003 model from new and its towed the boat fantastically and the missus drives it around as the troop carrier during the week with no problem.
Also had a Suzuki Grande Vitara and it actually towed the boat for a couple of years before I upgraded, great on the beach and offroad, and the perfect little get around car on the freeway. I loved it as a mini 4wd.
What ever you do, don't get a CRV as I have seen them overheat and blow up just running up a beach. Not exactly 4wd but.

Cheers

Andy Mac

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HuggyB's picture

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With Jeeps etc

Wed, 2008-12-17 19:05

they seem to be great cars and so on, but if you are bush and break down, parts are bloody hard to get - even in Perth its hard. Due to popularity of Landies and Patrols, particularly in remote centres, parts are way easier to get and in some cases stocked in towns in the middle of nothing.

 

Not sure what you are intending to do with your 4x4, but if you are heading bush a bit thats one thing to keep in mind.

 

And then the obvious question is (and I'm surprised it hasn't surfaced) - do you really need a 4WD?

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