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4WD BUYERS GUIDE

Buying the right 4WD is critical and in this Buyers Guide, we highlight the strengths and weaknesses of new and used wagons, utes and heavy duty off-road vehicles. Also in the Buyers Guide are motorhomes and campervans. Many of the vehicles tested have video reports to let you see how they perform on and off road; and some also include tow tests. There are also suggestions for desirable bush modifications.

LATEST ARTICLES

BUYING ADVICE

Reducing the cost of recreational vehicles

Many of us would like to have a flash off-road caravan, 4WD campervan or motorhome, but it does’t take much research to discover that a new, off the shelf vehicle will set you back between $150,000 and $500,000. There are ways to reduce that initial outlay or to offset the costs.

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4X4 CAMPERVANS

Jacana Hiker HiAce-based campervans

Taree-based Jacana Motorhomes is employing its 30-year motorhome expertise in smaller vehicles. The Hiker is based on Toyota’s HiAce van and can be ordered in 2WD, 2WD ‘X’ and 4WD configurations.

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Kimberley Kruiswagen

Kimberley Kampers is celebrating 30 years as one of Australia’s longest-standing RV manufacturers with the launch of the deluxe Kruiswagen, based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter AWD van.

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HEAVY DUTY OFF-ROAD VEHICLES

Iveco Daily 4×4

Brilliant off road credentials and more than twice the payload of a ute ensured good early business for this machine. But transfer case dramas meant it was sold only into specific low-speed operations after 2019. A supposedly rectified model was released in mid-2024.

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VW Crafter 4Motion

The all-Volkswagen Crafter is no longer a rebadged and repowered Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The post-2018 Crafter is designed and made by VW and 4Motion models are available.

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4X4 MOTORHOMES

Auriga

The Perth-designed and built Auriga motorhome is built on Iveco’s Eurocargo ML150 4×4 platform by specialist cabinetry makers.

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About as Extreme as Earthcruiser can get

Earthcruiser’s first Extreme XTR330 6×6 was exactly that: extreme. A true go-almost-anywhere motorhome, with the expected top-shelf Earthcruiser home comforts, it was built on a greatly modified LandCruiser 79 cab/chassis.

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SOFT-ROADERS

Nissan Pathfinder

The post-2014 Nissan Pathfinder models – including the 2023 version –  were definite softroaders, with a monocoque body temporary spare tyre and no low range gearing. They also came with V6 petrol power.

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UTES & CAB CHASSIS – LARGE

GMSV Silverado

The Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD LTZ Premium was upgraded for 2024, with a refreshed look and even more grunt from its Duramax V8 turbo-diesel engine.

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Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series

Since the first Land Cruisers came to Australia in the 1970s evolution, not revolution, has been the name of the game, but in 2022 the 70 Series became much more complex and added the HiLux diesel option for 2024.

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UTES & CAB CHASSIS – MEDIUM

LDV T60 Max and Max Plus

The 160kW LDV T60 Max is around 20 grand cheaper than the traditional opposition brands, but with more than comparable power and torque. Upgrades were added in late-2022 and the Plus model in mid-2024.

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Isuzu Ute D-MAX

The third-generation Isuzu Ute D-MAX retained the three-litre, turbocharged and intercooled diesel for 2021 and added upgrades for 2022, 2023 and 2024. The 1.9-litre diesel was made optional on the SX grade in 2023.

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WAGONS – LARGE

Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Mercedes-Benz G-Class

The Gelandewagen was originally planned as a German Army vehicle, but lost out to the VW Iltis and the first civilian version was produced way back in 1979. M-B has had three goes at selling the G-Wagon in Australia, with the post-2017 models showing the flag as a backdrop to the Australian Army’s purchase of 1200 4WD and 6WD G-Wagons. Retail pricing post-2023 is undisclosed.

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Land Rover Defender

The only carry-over signature from the original Defender in the post-2020 model was aluminium bodywork. However, it’s here to stay and was updated for 2024 and 2025.

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WAGONS – MEDIUM

Toyota Prado

The post-2010 Prado range scored upgraded diesel and petrol engines in September 2015, six-speed transmissions and additional improvements for 2018 and 2020. The next-generation is due in mid-2024 and RRPs are way up.

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Mitsubishi Pajero Sport

Mitsubishi Pajero Sport

With Super Select 4WD drivetrain and stability and traction control as standard, the Pajero Sport is one of the best specified and keenly-priced medium wagons. It was upgraded in 2018, in mid-2019, early 2022, early 2023.and mid-2024.

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WAGONS – SMALL

Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler owes its origins to warfare, but today is bought almost entirely by non-military users. Military Jeeps took a different design path in the 1960s, beginning with the M151 that featured monocoque construction and all-independent suspension. The 2024 range was previewed in mid-2023.

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Suzuki Jimny

The Suzuki Jimny was the replacement for the little Sierra and had more market appeal than its predecessor did. While being essentially as box-shaped as the Sierra the Jimny had much more style about it. The compact Suzuki Jimny three-door has been a marketing triumph and was joined by a more practical five-door version in 2023.

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