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I’m planning to travel up through west aus and all around for quite a while. New to 4wd... not sure of what to buy (new, used, make) any tips would be greatly appreciated of what to look out for, or what to avoid. Looking to buy dual cab with ally canopy.
I don't think that there's a current dual cab ute that you could call a dog. Every one of them would do the job well. It's up to you to drive them all and choose the one you like driving that is the right price. If you're going to hang a lot of weight off the rear then a Dmax is probably the safest option because chassis bending is a thing. Go for low kms as a priority and you'll get more mod options on a car that's a few years old. It's a waste of money to buy new and have to throw out 5 tyres plus a second hand car may already have some mods installed.
Work out a budget for the vehicle, any mods you want and any gear you need. You may find something second hand that fits your budget that already has a few mods. Modifications can start adding up (solar, batteries, suspension, storage etc) particularly if you are paying someone to do the work.
Main thing is function over form. So many canopies are sporty, but shit to to use. Big side windows are gold, and don't sacrifice carrying capacity with a severely sloped rear window.
Buying new means you get to set up the vehicle how *you* want it, so it can be cost effective. I got the value out of my HTs as I swapped them for summer work commuting. But new is not the cheapest solution.
I am often amazed at just how much I can fit in my tradie canopy - weight considerations always - but things like guitars, self inflating mattresses, sleeping bags, pillows, portapottie, etc don't weigh a lot but take up plenty of space.
I made my own drawers based on this and drop slide for a fridge based on this which saved cash and a bit of weight, but importantly allows me to make it suit the way we want to camp/travel.
I did have a laugh at Snowys today, vehicle with 2 x 9" ARB spotties, with light bar between them, then another light bar on the roof tray. Clearly the aim is to burn any roos to a crisp before you hit em. Point being that adding gear to the vehicle seems to get a little addictive.
Any of the utes from the major manufacturers are more than good enough. The two biggest sellers are Toyota and Ford. They have dealers just about everywhere. Mitsubishi, Isuzu and Nissan are not far behind.
All of them will take you around the country and through the central deserts in standard form unless you go looking for the most difficult conditions imaginable.
Can you give us some more information like what do you intend carrying in the car, the number of people in it and will you be towing anything?