Total noob, help me pick a off road vehicle

aleks001

New Member
Hi Everyone,

I thought it would be a good idea to get some peoples experienced opinions on what I actually need for the type of 4x4 driving I plan to do. My biggest issue is that I don't know what's out there and I would hate to have spend top dollar on a ute when I could have gotten around in a forester :p

Budget: Up to $60K
Where I plan to go. I have small children (under 5) so for the near future nothing too far, but I care a lot about on road comfort, that doesn't mean I wouldn't sacrifice some for off road performance, but it is important to me. Eventually though I do plan to take it across Australia. So reliability and durability is very important as I plan to keep it till it's ready for the scrap yard.

Initially my main trips will be to beach and bush camping spots, I have no intention of taking on 4wd tracks just for the fun of it, basically If I don't have a reason to take a track I wont take it. If there is a difficult track to get a to a good camp site I'm all up for it, but I'm not into challenging myself or the car, mainly because of my high budget and I would cringe every time I would scratch or scrape the car. I don't have issues if this happens on my way somewhere, just making a point that if it can be avoided easily, I will avoid it.

The vehicle will also be used as daily i.e shopping, dropping kids of etc but I don't have to do a lot of driving to and from work, thanks to COVID my workplace will let me work from home indefinitely. I plan to regularly go camping, fishing, hit up nice picnic areas etc Eventually probably will need to tow a small trailer for dirt bikes, jet skis and potentially a boat at some time (Nothing to huge, one of those 6-8 people ones).

What's really got me thinking is the new D-MAX, but this is more of a want than a need vehicle. Prices have been released and at $59K driveaway for the top of the range, that is going to be hard to beat, it also comes with and LSD this time round and diff lockers, so it will be more than capable. However, you can get a pretty solid Triton for $40K that I'm certain will go everywhere the D-MAX will and plus it wont hurt as much when I scratch it or destroy it haha Plus it leaves a lot of budget for future upgrades. From everything I've also seen its a fantastic cruiser and really quite great off road. I've also seen the current BT-50, the looks dont bother me and it seems to be extremely reliable and capable and comfortable. At 38K driveaway my cheapness is kicking in real hard.

So based on that my questions I guess are, how much damage will I potentially be putting on my vehicle body work with the type of 4x4 Driving I plan on doing, what vehicles do you recommend and what accessories should I get for the above. I also have no issues with buying used vehicles either, Manual or Auto is fine (I prefer manual, but hear auto is better for noobs, although I have no issues with paying for a new clutch so doesn't really bother me either).

Initially I was leaning towards the Pajero tank, but then thought it might get a bit annoying to dirty the rear of it, where in a ute I can just pressure clean it out, but I like the security of SUV's over Dual Cab utes (For the crap in the back). So feel free to sway me if I should go down the ute or the SUV route based on your experience as well.

Thanks everyone :)
 

TYNO87

Active Member
Don’t buy a mitsubishi.

An auto hilux, dmax or bt50 will handle everything you’ve mentioned above.

Beach work and a few fire trails en route to a camp ground won’t hurt the body at all provided you flush it out thoroughly after the beach.

If you plan to cross Australia I’d choose a ute over a wagon purely for the payload. You’ll struggle to keep a ute under gvm, you’ll almost definitely go over in a wagon. Throw a canopy on to keep your gear in.

First mods are a long handled shovel, air compressor, tyre deflator, snatch strap and some rated recovery points.

Get out and enjoy it and decide what to do next after that.
 

Lost1?

Well-Known Member
BT50 is well priced these days. You could have a new dual cab BT50 and fund a lot of your mods for the budget you are talking. DMAX would be second choice unless you want to wait for the update that is coming soon. If you have young kids fitting out the tub properly will be very important. You need to use space efficiently. Check out how others have done this for ideas. Towing a bike trailer or jet ski will be fine off road. You could buy a Ranger. Hilux, Prado. The Ford and Hilux are overpriced. A second hand Prado plus the cost for extra for mods with limited if any warranty doesn't add up for mine. Not when you can have a car that is close to set up and has new car warranty for the same coin. Good Luck with your choice
 

Bomber2012

Well-Known Member
Reading the OP's post suggests to me he won't be taking it down any tracks that will require the $$$$ spent on mods Lost is suggesting , why mod up a vehicle when a set of A/T's will get him where he wants to go ? . If your new to 4 wheel driving recovery gear and a set of good rubber will get you where you want in any modern 4WD (even the overpriced ones that have a 30 year record of reliability and huge resale value).
 
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Lost1?

Well-Known Member
Reading the OP's post suggests to me he won't be taking it down any tracks that will require the $$$$ spent on mods Lost is suggesting , why mod up a vehicle when a set of A/T's will get him where he wants to go ? . If your new to 4 wheel driving recovery gear and a set of good rubber will get you where you want in any modern 4WD (even the overpriced ones that have a 30 year record of reliability and huge resale value).

2 young Kids and plans for trips across Australia later. He found a BT50 for good coin. Having an organised storage set up when camping with kids makes life easier and keeps the better half happy. So canopy and drawers or storage of some type. This adds weight. The extra weight for me equals suspension upgrade plus some LT rated all terrains. So canopy, storage of some sort, medium duty standard height suspension and LT rated all terrains is around $7-8k retail prices. On the road ready to go for the next 10 years with the BT50 is about $50k total. That leaves him with some cash to buy camping gear and a fridge if he is going away for longer than a weekend. A new Ranger or Hilux are north of $50K. A 3 year old base model Prado with under 60,000km on the clock starts at $48K. Plus stamps, storage system, and a medium duty suspension solution with airbags for when he plans to tow later plus LT rated AT tyres comes out at around $55K. He will have to live with reduced storage capacity than the BT50 with a canopy and limited new car warranty. All of the above meets the posters requirements and adds a safety factor by setting up the suspension to safely carry his family and their load around our great country. For mine the BT50 wins and the need to make some mods are valid.
 

aleks001

New Member
Thanks everyone for the input, I'm happy to hear from more people. What I gathered so far is that based on what I plan on doing I don't need to start with any upgrades and the body of the vehicle should come out fine in most situations. I will also be going on a lot of of these trips with a friend so for a start I think I will just get some recovery gear and recovery points on both our vehicles so we can help each other or others out if we get stuck. I might also get some decent A/T tyres after I see how my first off road trip goes. The reason I mentioned the triton was because of this video:


I think a lot of people are allergic to Mitsubishi which seems to be a shame because everyone I've known that's had a Triton or Pajero, they have all had almost no issues with their vehicles. I'll probably let the test drive decide in the end what I really want, it's nice having a nice vehicle to and since I plan to keep it forever it might be worth spending a bit more.

Also what's up with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, I know about Jeeps reputation, which as far as I'm concerned they have rightfully earned themselves, but the Cherokee seems really capable and that engine seems like a rocket. From some owner reviews I've seen most people haven't had any dramas.
 

2luxes

Well-Known Member
You mentioned used cars. My wife and I bought an ex Navy defence industries 2003 Hilux single cab at a Pickles auction in Sydney in 2007. It had 42,000 ks on it and looked like new. The price was $19,900 and the NRMA had it valued at 25,000. You could do the same with any of the popular utes.

We have driven it over many thousands of k's of unsealed desert roads and tracks with sand hills and two wheel tracks to follow. It has also been on many mountain tracks, not the extreme type but the popular but still sometimes challenging ones that lead to something worth seeing.

In contrast to so many 4wds, it's suspension is stock standard with standard size 205 x 16 tyres inflated to the recommended pressures in the car's handbook.

Our accommodation is a fully contained pop top ply wood home made camping body that bolts directly onto the chassis. It weighs 220 kg empty. The aluminium tray that it replaced weighs 130 kg so when it came off and the camper went on, the car's weight increases by only 90 kg.

It has no bull bar. The tow bar is removed for desert trips. Total weight when travelling is 200 kg under maximum.

A single cab would not suit you but a dual cab or SUV would but both of then can result in incorrect weight distribution problems even if both are under their their maximums.

Seats are the big problem when a car is fully loaded. It is no use designing them to carry no more than mum, dad and three children under 10 when some will be expected to carry five average weight men. The average weight of an Australian male is 87 kg plus clothes. This means a fully loaded dual cab with a carrying capacity of 1000 kgs needs over 450 kg in the cabin, a full tank of fuel which would be about 100 kg and the remaining 450 kg in the back with the heaviest items as far forward as possible.

Very few cars get loaded like this so the result is more often than not an overloaded rear end resulting in aftermarket suspension alterations. That can result in car damage like bent chassis, broken wheel studs, cracked wheels, broken axle housings.

There is also the risk of accidents caused by changing the handling of the car from the factory designed understeer to oversteer. You can.find a lot of information on the net by entering " understeer oversteer photos " Scroll down through the photos to the charts showing how easy it is to unknowingly change the way a car handles.
 

SirDrinksalott

Active Member
I had a Pajero, was pretty happy with it until it reached 250km and the head gasket went and cost more to fix than the car was worth. Now I am not saying other cars are not like that, but I had head gaskets re-done a few times before the Pajero and was never told to scrap them by numerous mechanics.

Also, I do prefer the look of the Triton over the HiLux but my mate got an absolute lemon of a Triton from brand new and it was not easy for him to write off the contract despite it being in the garage pretty much from the day he bought it.

I actually chose an older model hilux that was the same price as a <1 year old Triton after the Pajero and I love it. Drives well on the roads and off the roads (and I am like you, I dont have the skills or support to do any serious off roading) so its as rough as it gets to a camp site.

$60k though, wouldnt touch a Mitsubishi with that budget, for what its worth.
 

discomatt

Well-Known Member
Think about when the kids are older, you say you want to keep it for years so the rug rats need to be able to fit in the back when they are bigger and arguing with each other. For this reason alone it will write off most twin cab utes. That leaves wagons, you want something good around town, a daily drive, comfortable and yet capable. Around town the patrol and 200 are to big, that leaves Isuzu mux, Toyota Prado or Discovery.
Don't know what the new model Prado will be like the old ones are bland, no good for towing due to sluggish engine capacity Isuzu are built cheap and reflect that in the car but people seem to be happy with them then that leaves the Disco 4.
I hummed and hared for about 12 months after binning my original idea of the next touring 4wd build and after much reseach bought a late model Disco 4, in the last 4 years I have done 70,000 km without a single issue, it took us to the top end where it got hammered on some very harsh roads taht saw many cars , trailer and caravans break, some of the roads were so bad our traveling friends with ius refused to take their Ranger down them. We have had not one rattle, squeak, electrical or mechanical fault. They without question have the best safety features and the best 3rd row seating design that folds totally flat into the floor.
The Disco 4 is cheaper to buy but more expensive to maintain than the other options without question, it is more comfortable bigger without being to big, and is an absolute pleasure to drive. information is readily available on aulro with plenty of LR gurus all to happy to share information about the cars.
They do have some issues but so does every car, early Disco 4 with the 2.7TD is very reliable with very few issues as is the V8 but they are a bit thirsty, the super charged petrol V6 is also an excellent option but very hard to find as not many were sold in Australia.
I have the 3l SD 8 speed, an awesome combination but do have a crank failure issue for those that have been cooked or not maintained to a high standard
 

megamung

Active Member
I pretty much do the same as you described as the type of driving you are planning.
I had a dual cab (D40) for over 8 years but could never get the ride where my wife was happy and still do all the stuff I needed (towing, 4wding, occasional heavy load) on long trips she would complain of a sore neck or sometimes a migraine. I loved it for its functionality and ability to carry heaps of stuff. It was getting a bit long in the tooth so when I upgraded this year I went for a Fortuner and am very happy with it, its comfortable (happy wife) and so far has been extremely capable. I have towed my 2t camper twice and have done a couple of 4wd day trips with it (nothing too hard) and it does it all with ease. The best bit was because they are not a big seller I was able to screw my dealer down on a good price $38k drive away for a GX with towbar and brake controller fitted. I am planning on modding it over time but I am hopeful it will last me until I retire in 10-15.
Any of the Ute based wagons are great value with more comfort than the utes if you can compromise on the load space.
IMG_5956.jpg
 

shanegtr

Well-Known Member
Think about when the kids are older, you say you want to keep it for years so the rug rats need to be able to fit in the back when they are bigger and arguing with each other. For this reason alone it will write off most twin cab utes.
I've found the ranger isnt too bad in the rear leg room department, certainly a hell of a lot better than the hiluxes we have a work. No idea how these two compare to what else is on the market as they are the only 2 I've actually sat in the backseat of (apart from a D22 navara and that was plain torture).
 

boobook

Well-Known Member
It's a very personal decision between a dual cab and wagon. A Pajero would serve you well with 7 year warranty and a good track record of reliability and running costs. It has a nice auto too. As someone said, dual caps can be pokey in the back for long trips when the kids get a bit older.

Rent a dual cab and go for a long trip, maybe overnight and fill the cabin with clothes etc to make it cramped, and like a long trip. I m sure they are cheaper on a weekend to hire.

Also allow a minimum of $5K and probably $8K - and up to 12- 15K for the add on junk you need to go away.

Eg a fridge can be had for $500 plus, and preferably $1000, but it will cost another $600 -$800 to get the wiring and battery add-ons you need to support it properly.

Plus tyres, you need to get rid of road tyres if you want to 4wd safely and with fun.
 

Toddyh

Well-Known Member
Bit of Mitsubishi hate out there. Just to tell the alternate side. My 2010 Challenger is nearing 300,000km and it's been all over the country. Bought it for $30K with 43,000km on it and spent around $20K on mods. The bulk of the next 250,000km were on trips with a significant chunk of that off-road. I've taken that thing to some of the most remote places in the country (walcott inlet, Tanami Track etc) and it's always brought me back. It's only recently been retired to daily driver duties but it's still just ticking along. I serviced it myself from 100,000km every 7,500km.
Bit more info here if you're interested.
https://magazine.unsealed4x4.com.au/unsealed-4x4-issue-065/australia_s_most_forgotten_4wd
 

aleks001

New Member
I had a Pajero, was pretty happy with it until it reached 250km and the head gasket went and cost more to fix than the car was worth. Now I am not saying other cars are not like that, but I had head gaskets re-done a few times before the Pajero and was never told to scrap them by numerous mechanics.

Also, I do prefer the look of the Triton over the HiLux but my mate got an absolute lemon of a Triton from brand new and it was not easy for him to write off the contract despite it being in the garage pretty much from the day he bought it.

I actually chose an older model hilux that was the same price as a <1 year old Triton after the Pajero and I love it. Drives well on the roads and off the roads (and I am like you, I dont have the skills or support to do any serious off roading) so its as rough as it gets to a camp site.

$60k though, wouldnt touch a Mitsubishi with that budget, for what its worth.

The $60K is my budget, doesn't mean I will spend it. If I went the Triton route I wouldn't spend more than $40K.
 

aleks001

New Member
Th
Think about when the kids are older, you say you want to keep it for years so the rug rats need to be able to fit in the back when they are bigger and arguing with each other. For this reason alone it will write off most twin cab utes. That leaves wagons, you want something good around town, a daily drive, comfortable and yet capable. Around town the patrol and 200 are to big, that leaves Isuzu mux, Toyota Prado or Discovery.
Don't know what the new model Prado will be like the old ones are bland, no good for towing due to sluggish engine capacity Isuzu are built cheap and reflect that in the car but people seem to be happy with them then that leaves the Disco 4.
I hummed and hared for about 12 months after binning my original idea of the next touring 4wd build and after much reseach bought a late model Disco 4, in the last 4 years I have done 70,000 km without a single issue, it took us to the top end where it got hammered on some very harsh roads taht saw many cars , trailer and caravans break, some of the roads were so bad our traveling friends with ius refused to take their Ranger down them. We have had not one rattle, squeak, electrical or mechanical fault. They without question have the best safety features and the best 3rd row seating design that folds totally flat into the floor.
The Disco 4 is cheaper to buy but more expensive to maintain than the other options without question, it is more comfortable bigger without being to big, and is an absolute pleasure to drive. information is readily available on aulro with plenty of LR gurus all to happy to share information about the cars.
They do have some issues but so does every car, early Disco 4 with the 2.7TD is very reliable with very few issues as is the V8 but they are a bit thirsty, the super charged petrol V6 is also an excellent option but very hard to find as not many were sold in Australia.
I have the 3l SD 8 speed, an awesome combination but do have a crank failure issue for those that have been cooked or not maintained to a high standard

Thanks for that, that Is the kind of information I'm after. I'm also not scared of maintenance costs as I'm pretty handy on the tools and can get most parts from overseas. Will definetly keep the Disco 4 in mind.

The updated prado thats coming out is great, 150KW/500NM. However, I have zero faith that they have actually fixed the DPF issues or the dusting issues for that matter. The mere fact that they have a button to do a manual burn says to me that they didn't fix it properly and put a hack fix in there. Even on their corporate website, they say "We believe the issues is fixed" WTF Believe, there is no believe with engineering defects, it's either fixed of or it's not. So I'm really getting put of by the Prado.
 

aleks001

New Member
I pretty much do the same as you described as the type of driving you are planning.
I had a dual cab (D40) for over 8 years but could never get the ride where my wife was happy and still do all the stuff I needed (towing, 4wding, occasional heavy load) on long trips she would complain of a sore neck or sometimes a migraine. I loved it for its functionality and ability to carry heaps of stuff. It was getting a bit long in the tooth so when I upgraded this year I went for a Fortuner and am very happy with it, its comfortable (happy wife) and so far has been extremely capable. I have towed my 2t camper twice and have done a couple of 4wd day trips with it (nothing too hard) and it does it all with ease. The best bit was because they are not a big seller I was able to screw my dealer down on a good price $38k drive away for a GX with towbar and brake controller fitted. I am planning on modding it over time but I am hopeful it will last me until I retire in 10-15.
Any of the Ute based wagons are great value with more comfort than the utes if you can compromise on the load space.
View attachment 69106
I probably can compromise on the space, at the end of the day any serious long term camping will require a trailer of some sort to be able to carry everything an entire family needs. My only issues as I've just replied to another post is the questions around the DPF.
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
You mentioned used cars. My wife and I bought an ex Navy defence industries 2003 Hilux single cab at a Pickles auction in Sydney in 2007. It had 42,000 ks on it and looked like new. The price was $19,900 and the NRMA had it valued at 25,000. You could do the same with any of the popular utes.

We have driven it over many thousands of k's of unsealed desert roads and tracks with sand hills and two wheel tracks to follow. It has also been on many mountain tracks, not the extreme type but the popular but still sometimes challenging ones that lead to something worth seeing.

In contrast to so many 4wds, it's suspension is stock standard with standard size 205 x 16 tyres inflated to the recommended pressures in the car's handbook.

Our accommodation is a fully contained pop top ply wood home made camping body that bolts directly onto the chassis. It weighs 220 kg empty. The aluminium tray that it replaced weighs 130 kg so when it came off and the camper went on, the car's weight increases by only 90 kg.

It has no bull bar. The tow bar is removed for desert trips. Total weight when travelling is 200 kg under maximum.

A single cab would not suit you but a dual cab or SUV would but both of then can result in incorrect weight distribution problems even if both are under their their maximums.

Seats are the big problem when a car is fully loaded. It is no use designing them to carry no more than mum, dad and three children under 10 when some will be expected to carry five average weight men. The average weight of an Australian male is 87 kg plus clothes. This means a fully loaded dual cab with a carrying capacity of 1000 kgs needs over 450 kg in the cabin, a full tank of fuel which would be about 100 kg and the remaining 450 kg in the back with the heaviest items as far forward as possible.

Very few cars get loaded like this so the result is more often than not an overloaded rear end resulting in aftermarket suspension alterations. That can result in car damage like bent chassis, broken wheel studs, cracked wheels, broken axle housings.

There is also the risk of accidents caused by changing the handling of the car from the factory designed understeer to oversteer. You can.find a lot of information on the net by entering " understeer oversteer photos " Scroll down through the photos to the charts showing how easy it is to unknowingly change the way a car handles.
That argument may have been ok for older twin cabs but you'll find the current utes are all 1800 odd kg rear axle rated - rear capacity is pretty much all of the payload these days. The logic of keeping weight forward I agree with 100%.
 
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