Apologies - choosing a 4wd


New Member
Hi all,

Apologies for what must be a very frequent thread. We’re trying to work out which way to go for a new 4wd, and having been a long-time lurker on here I thought i’d put my head above the parapet...

We currently have a Freelander 2 (don’t all laugh at once!). It’s served us well (Googs, Flinders, high country, tas) but we’ve simply outgrown it, both in terms of size and frankly its capability. Though we’ve had it places others at campsites have been surprised by, realistically we want to do more than its capable of, and a couple of costly repairs to its underside have highlighted this. We also now have a kid and another on the way, so even if it was the most capable vehicle on the planet, its now simply too small. This means we need an upgrade.

We’re in a fortunate enough position to be able to afford to buy new, and possibly the lower tiers of the LC200 world. Natural upgrade from the Freelander is of course a Disco, but LR seem to have removed any ability to add armour, bars, or useful tyres, so that’s out. The plan is that we will own this car for at least the next 10 years, and most of its life it will either be a freeway commuter or be used touring. So, I have 2 questions:

1) Is the LC200 that good to justify its price tag, particularly over a Prado, or a well kitted dual cab? What aspects (beyond payload) need addressing in an LC200 for serious off road touring use?

2) Just how comfy is the back of a modern dual cab for a teenager or two? The reason I ask is that of ourse you could buy an SR5 and fit most of ARB to it before you get to LC200 prices.

I have driven most modern 4wds off road for work at one time or another over the past few years, and the LC200 was the stand-out, but the price is definitely a downer.

Happy to hear thoughts, especially comfort in the back of a ute, and weaknesses other than price of the LC200.




Well-Known Member
Do you need a 200? Maybe a midsize like prado or fajero might suit?
Why have you outgrown the freelander? Physical size? Engine size? Just bored of it? Plenty of people speak well of discos, y62 patrols and so on. Is anything anyone on here says really going to influence you when it comes time to sign the papers?


Well-Known Member
2) Just how comfy is the back of a modern dual cab for a teenager or two? The reason I ask is that of ourse you could buy an SR5 and fit most of ARB to it before you get to LC200 prices.
Who really cares mate , how comfy it is in the back while your driving in the front ;)
If your Champagne shopping on a Beer budget then the answer is clear :D


Active Member
If you can afford lower tiers of 200, then look at the new patrols?
Or even the MU-X and the money you save on fuel etc, spend on mods and your next trip, most things these days are as good as the next all comes down tp what traction aids it has and how the drivers use them 90% of the time.


Well-Known Member
Mate, I've got a 10 year old Freelander 2 with 300k on the clock and it does punch way above its weight. I know what you mean about the underside, mine looks like its been attacked with sledge hammers. If you want capable and a bit larger a Prado ticks a lot of boxes. You go from an FL2 to a 200 and the fuel bill will skyrocket. Prados are excellent off road, nice to drive and have good fuel economy, not to mention a gigantic fuel tank. Also, having the spare on the back door instead of in or under the car is good when you are stuck in crap and need to change a tyre. There's not a lot wrong with Pajeros either but not as good off road.


New Member
Thanks for the reply. First and foremost it’s the physical size of the Freelander. Huge load space with the seats down, but now with kids that’s not an option, and believe it or not the front seats can’t even go back where I need them now our kid is in a forward facing seat.

Ultimately, yes, there’s quite a lot i’d like to take on board from the advice I know inhabits this forum. The new disco rules itself out due to absence of sensible tyres and protection, but the new patrol looks very good value and I am yet to drive one (though I don’t yet own my own refinery, so perhaps it’s thirst for 95 makes it an unlikely choice for me). Pajeros I quite like, but was under the impression they were a little underdone relative to the other brands both in terms of ability and aftermarket support, and also soon to exit production.

Which I suppose leaves me for a similar budget at ute or low spec Prado+ lots of after market work vs high spec Prado or low spec 200 and little after market work at least to start with. I was always under the impression that a wagon like the 200 would be better out of the box than a ute off road (clearance, approach/departure, etc), but of course the difference in price between a GXL 200 and a top spec ute is huge which leaves a lot of extra out of the same budget for aftermarket work. The killer is whether or not the back seats would be comfortable for teenagers on long trips. I have to say I’ve not found our works Hilux or Navara particularly comfy in the back.

Never having had a ute or teenagers before, any and all advice is appreciated
You can buy an SR5 hilux dual cab fit it out with ARB BP 51 suspension , bull bar bash plates & whatever else for less than a cruiser :rolleyes:
Old mans got hilux with said gear , we take adults out to my land shooting in the back seat , on dirt roads & no complaints :D
Oh what a feeling :)


New Member
$80ish plus what we get for the Freelander. I don’t intend to change this car for at least 10 years, so I want to do it right. Being a Pom (again, apologies) I’ve never really “got” utes, hence why I’m a bit cold on them. But I also know you could buy two of them for the price of a mid spec 200, which does make me whince a little, even though I’m comfortable with spending that much.


Active Member
Yes, the initial cost is one thing..

But what are your are the long term plans? If you turn over cars every two or three years then whatever, get a dual cab or anything you can get a deal on.

On the other hand, if you’re going to keep it for 10 or more years, customise with accessories and take lots of trips then the wisdom of choosing a good foundation will make sense in the long run.

Get the 200, you know you want it


New Member
Long term plan is keep, customise, and enjoy for as long as its a viable proposition.

The annoyance of the 200 is needing to get the GVM upgrade before registration to avoid issues if we move or wish to sell interstate later. Obviously to upgrade the GVM it’s also ideal to get the other heavy stuff on there at the same time, which then adds up very quickly. So, that does make the buy it and upgrade later task a bit tougher (unless I’ve misread the nuance of vehicle mod regulations).
Dual cab you got room for the family , cage for the dog & box for the guns & recovery gear , what more could a person want ;)
Need more crap tow a trailer :rolleyes:
I gave a bloke a hand to do a full service on his cruiser wagon the other weekend , whats the good of the thing o_O it's a big box :rolleyes:
Depends on what you're going to do with it? If you're going to be towing, go the 200. If not have a look at a Prado. I drive a hilux, and before you write utes off completely, have a look at some of the custom canopy setups you can get built for them.


Well-Known Member
I say have a good look at the back seats of whatever you are considering
The 200 series and similar are far more comfortable in the back to any of the dual cab utes on offer if that is a big issue but the dual cabs are far superior for load carrying space
We were in a similar situation to you. We out grew our Suzuki Grand Vitara after having two kids -- it was bursting at seams when we went camping -- and I'd wanted something more capable for a while.

Like you, I had a preference for a wagon for similar reasons.

Ended up getting a new 2018 Prado GX (the base model) -- $56.5K on the road with tow bar and reverse sensor options. Bought new because we intend to keep for 10+ years and then we know exactly what we are getting. Base model because I reckon that is the best value, and most of the extras from the higher specs I don't even want, let alone need, and it leaves money for better after market stuff.

- Prado GX (auto, diesel) has a 750 Kg payload (GVM 2990 Kg, Kerb 2240 Kg).
- LC200 GX (auto, diesel) has a 710 Kg payload (GVM 3350 Kg, Kerb 2640 Kg).
- Hilux SR/SR5 (auto, diesel) has a 955 Kg payload (GVM 3000 Kg, Kerb 2045 Kg).
- Higher spec models have smaller payloads (the gizmos weigh a bit).

The Hilux has 205 Kg more payload than the Prado, but it only has an 80 L tank (versus Prado's 150 L) and you probably want to add a canopy too. So add a bit of weight for a long range tank (~20 Kg -- a guess), 70 L extra fuel (~60 Kg), plastic/fibre glass canopy (~50 Kg -- a guess), and the difference in payload shrinks to 75 Kg.

Hilux is a bit cheaper than Prado, but not by much, and you need to factor in the costs for a long range fuel tank and a canopy for the Hilux. Prado is made in Japan. Hilux in Thailand (I think).

Other benefits of Prado versus a ute (not everyone will think these are benefits): full-time 4x4, wheel mounted on rear door.

Anyway, that was the thinking that went into us buying a Prado. Very happy with our purchase so far. Only had it for two months though.


Active Member
Im a fan of wagons over utes, but thats more to do with personal preference and individual vehicle uses. And for me any ute other than an Iveco daily 4x4 is out as I cant fit enough bodies in them (too many kids....) Any of the wagons are going to be far more comfortable in the back seat than a ute and have plenty more leg room = less whinging from the back seat on long trips.
I understand where your thoughts are with the new disco (I'd be waiting until the replacement defender option appears before making any call getting a new LR), the Prado is a solid unit, but Im not a fan of the driving position in them and the view out of the front windscreen is terrible IMHO. Patrol is a good value for money option, but petrol only which seems to put many off (but with modern emission standards on current diesels it may actually be a benefit for long term ownership), LC200 is a popular choice with all the aftermarket options availble, but load them up and the fuel economony from the diesel is nothing special and like you mentioned they are fairly exxy for what you get.
My thoughts, go for a few test drives and see what you like the best


Well-Known Member
From personal experience I'd rather sit in the back seat of my ranger (loaded for touring) than the rear seat of either the prado or a pajero. Wagons aren't that big inside unless they are the big ones. A ranger/hilux in touring trim is as comfortable as any of the mid sized wagons - a cruiser with kdss is another thing and the patrol with independent hydraulic is better again. I'm 6'1 and I can comfortably sit behind another 6'1 driver in my ute all day and drink beer while 4wding out west - in fact it is my preferred position ;) My kids have been all over the country in it. You don't need to buy top of the range utes - rangers are mid $40k's drive away with the big motor in auto. That leaves a hell of a lot of breathing room before you are competing with anything much else.


Active Member
Why not just buy a D4. There are still a few ex demo and low Kms ones for sale in dealers. Plenty of mods available and in my opinion in stock form leave a LC200 for dead (or at least an auto 76 wagon for dead). I bought both brand new in 2016, thinking the D4 for mild trips and comfort and the 76 for long tours. Needless to say the 76 is now in my sons hands and the D4 is my main weapon. If you buy one make sure it has the rear locker not just the central locker. They are around if you look carefully. And most have been the school bus, so little offroad done in them.


Well-Known Member
I'd buy something cheaper like a hilux or prado or whatever brand or model takes your fancy an get a good fit out done. That way you will have plenty left for mods and quality gear. Make a plan and get it set up right first time.


Well-Known Member
Why don't you try something like the Pajero Sport? You'll pick up a top spec model for cheaper than the base Prado leaving dollars for accessories, factory diff lock, big boot and far nicer (although smaller) interior than a prado.