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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.

Ute payloads aren’t what they seem

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.

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Hybrid 4WDs are the future in Australia

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 few years.

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No OTA 4WD or camper of the year awards

Years ago we used to be involved in 4WD of the year and camper trailer of the year award testing and judging for several different magazines and that experience is why we don’t make any such awards these days.

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Warranties can be useless in the real world

All vehicle makers offer much longer warranties than the once-common 12-month, limited-mileage offerings of the past. However, getting warranties honoured may not be as simple as ACCC legislation or dealer sales pitches would suggest.

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Extended cab or dual cab ute

One of OTA’s trusted contributors and truck tragic, Matt W has just bought an extended cab ute, rather than the far more popular dual cab type. His reasoning makes interesting reading, we think.

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A fit-all electric powertrain

Magna International Inc already supplies major vehicle makers – including Mercedes-Benz – with powertrain components and has developed electrification capabilities to help automakers achieve a zero-emission future. The latest initiative is  Magna’s new EtelligentForce technology.

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4WD insurance issues

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.

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2WD or 4WD

The success of the Peugeot 2008 DKR race machine in two Dakar events 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.

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Capped price servicing could mask a serious problem

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.

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Soft-roaders aren’t ‘real’ 4WDs

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.

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Buy the 4WD You Really Need

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.

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Used Luxury vs New Mid-Spec

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.

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Transmission Types Examined

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.

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