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.
There are several different 4WD drive systems in the marketplace and many 4WD buyers are confused about the relative merits of each type.
Every vehicle maker is now committed to electrification in some form on all new models. For Australian-market 4WDs it’s a certainty that we’ll see ‘real’ 4WDs – vehicles with true off-road capability – in increasing numbers in the next two years.
The success of the Peugeot 2008 DKR race machine in two Dakar events has prompted some off-road enthusiasts to suggest that there may be a place for a 2WD to challenge the accepted ability of a 4WD for off-road touring. It’s not that simple.
The ATO has released draft guidelines, outlining that utes will no longer be Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) exempt and employers will need to have their drivers keep logbooks to ensure private usage stays within new, capped limits.
Fuel getting into petrol and diesel engine sumps isn’t a new problem, but it’s now being seen in brand new, not worn, engines. Manufacturers keep capped price servicing as cheap as possible by extending oil drain periods, but fuel-diluted engine oil can destroy your engine.
A used 4WD can save you thousands, but there are some tricks of the trade you need to be aware of.
Every ute maker claims at least a nominal one-tonne payload figure and more than three tonnes trailer towing capacity for several 4WD utes in its range, but you need to check spec sheets and real-world tare weights for the true position.
Nearly all European soft-roaders now come with temporary spare wheels, run-flat tyres or no spare and a can of tyre inflation gas and sealant. In Australia, that’s dangerous we believe.
Don’t take any notice of TV ads showing soft-roaders tearing through beach-front salt water. Do it and you’re certain to void your warranty and you could be on the path to an expensive recovery or total loss.
Although today’s utes and tray-backs look similar in configuration to those of the early 2000s there have been a dramatic changes under the skin. Yesterday’s ute-purchasing criteria no longer apply.
There are contesting claims as to the origin of the first ‘ute’ and some people reckon it’s an Aussie invention.
Most people are confused about vehicle finance packages, so we’ve done our best to clarify and simplify the situation.
It’s all very well loading your vehicle up with accessories, but it’s not so easy getting their value correctly assessed and insured. Only two companies we found stand out from the crowd.
Outback Travel Australia’s Comprehensive 4WD BUYERS GUIDE is updated regularly, you’ll find shortcuts to our updates here in Recent Articles. New and previous models – 4WD wagons, utes, cab-chassis, heavy duty off-road vehicles, motorhomes, campervans and soft-roaders are covered here.
So you’ve decided to get into the 4WD scene, or you’re upgrading and you’re wondering what you should buy. Get what you need, not necessarily what you want.
If you shop around the used vehicle sites you’ll find that it’s possible to pick up a pre-loved luxury 4WD wagon for the same money you’d shell out for a new base or mid-spec machine.
We’re so used to living with the internal combustion engine, be it petrol, diesel or gas-fuelled, that we’ve come to accept its shortcomings without much thought.
Until diesel climbed above the $2/litre mark in some bush servos there wasn’t a huge amount of interest in the LPG alternative, but now, for those diesel-savvy readers who don’t know much about LPG, here’s a brief history.