Which Ute should I buy?


New Member
Recently I've been looking for a 4wd ute to buy. I've set myself a budget of 40k, I don't need a loan as i am using savings. I could spend more within reason. I've narrowed it down to about 2 options, either a 79 series landcruiser or a bt50 single or extra cab. I've chosen the bt50 over all the other utes because of it's value for money and I personally think they look the best in their class and I love the cruiser because of the v8, looks and reputation for reliability. If i were to buy the cruiser I would be looking at something with about 180,000km and likely would be a 2011-2013ish workmate for 40k. If i got a bt50 it would probably have under 50,000km and be newer than a 2017 model. I estimate i'll drive about 10,000km a year and I would like either vehicle to last me 15 years (or trade it in a few years) and hopefully not have to do any major repairs (Are these expectations resonable?). My driving will be a mix of driving around a farm, a lot of highway driving and occasional 4wding. Probably no serious 4wding, just some easy bush driving and beach driving. If I had all the money in the world I would buy the cruiser but I think the running costs will be much higher and I'm not sure if it's worth it. I am 22 so insurance is pretty high for me.

Here are all the yearly costs for the 79
Rego - $1140
Insurance - $2700
Fuel - $1960 @ $1.4/L and 14L/per 100km for 10,000km
Servicing and Repairs - $1000 (got this figure from racq)
Total - $6800

Yearly costs for the Bt50
Rego - $930
Insurance - $1700
Fuel - $1400 @ $1.4/L and 10L/per 100km for 10,000km
Servicing and Repairs - $670 (racq figure)
Total - $4700

So the 79 will cost me about $2000 more per year to run than the bt50. I would love a cruiser but I'm not sure if the costs justify what it is. Also I am worried because the cruiser would already be 7 to 9 years old whereas the bt would be pretty new. Cruisers seem to last forever though whereas the bt's lifespan is a lot less.
I think the advice people will give me is if i'm that worried about paying more money I shouldn't get a cruiser but I'm willing to pay more in return for what is probably a better vehicle.
I also have to consider that the depreciation on the bt50 will be higher than the cruiser. In 15 years time I would excpect the bt50 to be worth $5,000 - $10,000 (150,000km - 200,000km) if i'm lucky, the 79 might be worth $15,000 - $20,000 (300,000km - 350,000km), hard to say though. $10,000 is a lot less in comparison to $30,000 more running costs over 15 years.

Overall I'm not sure which way to go. A few of my mates have 79 series cruisers and I think they're a great vehicle but I think the bt50 is a very good option which is more affordable. Any advice on which way to go would be appreciated. Please tell me if my reason and thought is also accurate and if i've missed anything I should be considering. Thanks!


Well-Known Member
I think you have summed up the situation pretty well
I am a 79 owner and love it but they are a different beast to all the other utes available and it won’t be as domesticated as the BT50 if that matters to you
With the age and kilometres the 79 will have in your price bracket there is potential for bigger maintenance cost items arising over a near new BT50
Both vehicles will do what you are wanting from it
So it comes down to higher running costs but with better resale over cheaper running costs with a poorish resale by comparison
The other aspect to consider is you want to enjoy the one you choose if you plan on keeping it for a while
There is no black and white answer really
Good luck


Active Member
For me its a no contest... BT50 for sure. For the use you have described all the advantages the 79 would have over the BT50 are meaningless.

And this is coming from a guy who just bought a 20 year old GU to replace a 7 year old Navara :rolleyes: so maybe just ignore what I am saying and buy what makes you happy....


Well-Known Member
You'll drive away a brand new BT50 extra cab for $40k and have 5 years warranty. Talk to a vehicle broker, dealer prices are only a guide. Don't believe the hype about cruisers going for ever - they do, but they cost a packet to keep going.


Well-Known Member
I've been around 'Çruisers all my life.... work and play..... Mind you the last one I owned personally was a HJ45.....;)
I would own a new one tomorrow..... except I just cant quite bring myself up to shelling out 80k new on a truck that can't pull a couple of trailers and a float. They are superb at what they do out bush, around the road gangs, construction sites, mines etc. But they are a truck ! And that V8 sound still gets the juices flowing...
But, but, but.... sigh...... they're a pig of a thing in town, at the shopping centre car park, the tavern bottlo, on a quick 1400klm run out to minesite breakdown they're bumpy bouncy unbloodycomefortable things.... but I would still have one....haha. Even my canopied Hilux with its limited vision ( or is it MY limited vision ? ) annoys me just heading into the city to check the mail box, multiple stop/starts through the gears at all the lights, lane changes etc....
The BT50 sounds a bit more user friendly ( and this coming from someone who has never owned anything but Tojo.


I just bought this MY19 4x4

I was on a budget and the only extra I got from mazda was a tow bar $38800 drive away with a 3 month rego 5 year warranty
I think staying under 40k this was the best bang for my bucks. I'd say go for the bt


Well-Known Member
From your intended use I would go the Mazda every day, the only reason a 79 would be better is for hard 4wding, extended remote outback touring, making you deaf and creating back ache. They are a great truck with definite good points BUT they are just that a truck.
Test drive both for a few hours and I think that will help you decide what you want to live with for the next 15 years or 150,000km


Well-Known Member
+1 Greysrigging. To live with a 79 cruiser on a daily basis would be hard work. If you don't intend doing hard tracks consistently I would stick with Mazda.