Which 4WD?

Submitted: Thursday, Oct 02, 2014 at 23:15
ThreadID: 109694 Views:2497 Replies:8 FollowUps:7
This Thread has been Archived
I have driven Toyota troopies and Landcruiser trays for many years and I am about to replace my existing vehicle with a new one. M y choice sadly excludes a replacement Land cruiser ( far too expensive and seeking a little more comfort) so I am looking at a BT50 Freestyle with tray, an Isuzu D Max Space Cab with tray or a Hilux extra cab Tray.

Problem is which one --- Hilux 10 K dearer than the other two, and I,m leaning towards the BT 50 which has some great features. I do a lot of off road driving on dirt roads desert tracks etc.. and will pull a small off road trailer/van.

I would appreciate feed back from any one with experience of these/this vehicle on how it would handle kms of corrugations etc.. often found in these conditions.

Back Expand Un-Read 1 Moderator

Reply By: Rick (S.A.) - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 07:50

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 07:50
I drive a BT 50 Dual cab & do ~ 25-30,000 km annually on some of our worst roads in the interior. e.g. CSR, Gunbarrel etc.. There are endless days of corrugates involved + all other surfaces.

The BT 50 is almost always fully laden at or near GVM & has done 77,000 km. It's now 2.5 years old. It has ARB suspension which copes well. Chassis & all other components going well. Heaps of power & torque. More comfortable than the Landcruiser 70 series dual cabs & easier to drive. The auto trans is great - would not have a manual again. I also tow a 1.5 t trailer for about 5 -10,000 km annually & the auto is a no brainer Vs manual.

I cannot see why a Hilux is worth driving with inferior performance and features - let alone the extra 10 K cost (recognising that you'll likely get more at trade in time with the Toyota, as they hold their value well)

Good luck - IMHO either the Isuzu or the Mazda would be OK.
AnswerID: 539837

Reply By: olcoolone - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 08:55

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 08:55
Have a look at the Ford Ranger, if doing dirt roads they have more under body protection then the Mazda BT50.

We have a current Ford Ranger and a 200 series landcruiser, the Ranger does most things as good and if not better then the Landcruiser, the Landcruiser is set up for long distance off road stuff and the Ranger is an every day drive for my partner.

We drove a Mazda first and did not like it, went to Ford for a test drive with the impression both would be much a muchness...... we were wrong, we could not live with the Mazda but could the Ford...... the tow even that they share the same DNA, it's like chalk and cheese.

Mazda markets there BT50 as a passenger vehicle and Ford with the Ranger as a truck, might have something to do with how they feel against one and other.

The only grip I have with the Ranger is the face vents are not very well designed for air flow onto the occupants where by the Mazda is...... funny Ha!

Everyone is different so the Mazda may suit you better then the Ford.

The Hilux is to old in it's design and is not in a different class the the Mazda and Ford but I still think the Hilux build quality is still a bit better.

AnswerID: 539843

Reply By: Jos - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 11:08

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 11:08
I have a newish Toyota Hilux - but the dual cab (previous vehicles were both Landcruisers). The Hilux spends a lot of time of some very rough roads, including a recent crossing of the Simpson. It also does some towing (1.2T). I have added some accessories, including an upgrade to the suspension.

I looked at other utes, including the BT50 and D-Max. Just a personal opinion, but I hated the interior feeling and fit-out of the D-Max. I will concede any day that the D-Max and BT50 out spec the Hilux and their purchase price is better.

My reasons for purchase of the Toyota were essentially their reliability and the availability of servicing and parts in very remote locations.

I'm very happy with my purchase. The ute has performed beautifully. My only gripe is the small fuel tank.
AnswerID: 539854

Reply By: Bosun Broome - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 13:05

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 13:05
I drive a L/C 200, but early this year I flew with my son from Broome to Darwin to drive his new Ranger dual cab tray back which he had just bought to replace his Hilux SR5 3L dual cab back to Broome. While not quite as comfortable as my VX, it certainly impressed me and the auto is brilliant. My brother in law and a good friend have recently bought the BT50 but after driving both I think the Mazda as standard is more for the "weekend warrior" and is a lot softer in the suspension. The Ranger certainly has more of a offroad feel about it. I have been told the main difference between the two is the suspension and apparently they have different turbos fitted but I have not had the turbo bit confirmed.
AnswerID: 539857

Follow Up By: Member - Michael John T (VIC) - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 23:00

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 23:00
Thanks Bosum,

More info to digest. Having always driven Nissans and three Toyotas I will have some adjustments and change of expectations to deal with. I appreciate the comment.


FollowupID: 825512

Reply By: tuck - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 14:11

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 14:11
Last year went to Cape york in my previous vehicle.When i left was going to get a Ranger mainly because of comment it looks better than the Dame Edna headlights. Up the Cape all I saw was BT50 s mainly because it was local holidays and the people I spoke to came from Weipa and were more than happy.Statistic say there are allot more Rangers sold than Rangers which I will agree because once we got down the coast ALL the fleet vehicles were Rangers. I was told ,could be wrong, that mazda dont compete with fleet .
Anyway I purchased a Mazda extra cab with Alum tray 3.2ltr. extras-ARB bull Bar/winch does not accentuate the (Dame Edna who gives a fig lights) snorkel ,ARB 100m lift with shocks and 700k springs.
The ride when empty - no problems. Certainly nice with slide on camper on back to about 1100 kls. Have done 35000ks including beaches and deserts with main trip mid year Adelaide-Birdsville - hay River -Borroloola - Limmen nat Pk -Nhulunbuy.Could not be more than happy with performance.Bottom line was cheaper than Ranger is manual as didnt have autos at that stage but probably would have taken auto on choice.When it comes to comparing vehicles and ride etc I wonder how many people go to the degree of checking tyre pressures from dealers or servicing etc as they can range anywhere from 30 to 50 which will make a huge difference to ride
If like some people you are down on the BT50 but like the Ranger make sure you remove all the bits and pieces marked Mazda off or vice versa take the Ford pieces off the Mazda
AnswerID: 539863

Follow Up By: Member - Michael John T (VIC) - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 22:44

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 22:44
Thanks Tuck,

I appeciate your input and agree with your last sentence

FollowupID: 825510

Reply By: Member DZ - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 19:25

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 19:25
I have a 2012 BT50 extra cab tray with a canopy, bull bar. etc. Have had troopies and my last 4x4 was a 2006 hilux diesel. When it came time to replace the hilux I looked at most light 4x4. Decided to take a punt on the BT50 due in part on price but also the extra bits like traction control, etc that are standard in the Mazda and not in the Hilux(have had only Toyota so a leap of faith). More than happy, heaps of power and torque, although given a chance I would now go for the auto. I have had no faults at all with mine and I am more than pleased with it. Time will be the judge but so far all is good. Good luck whichever way you go.
AnswerID: 539879

Follow Up By: Member - Michael John T (VIC) - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 22:48

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 22:48
Thanks DZ.

Looks like I should investigate the auto, my wife would appreciate an auto. ???

FollowupID: 825511

Reply By: Member - Michael John T (VIC) - Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 22:53

Friday, Oct 03, 2014 at 22:53
Thanks fellas.

You have all given me plenty of food for thought, will need to now look at the Ranger as well but am coming down on the side of the BT 50 ...well may be. Now I have the auto issue to consider.


AnswerID: 539883

Follow Up By: Bosun Broome - Saturday, Oct 04, 2014 at 09:41

Saturday, Oct 04, 2014 at 09:41
After my son bought the Ranger the West Australian paper in their auto section had a review on the Ranger and their closing comments were that the Mazda/Ranger had an excellent 6 speed auto but the manual was the worst in their class. When I drove my friends BT50 manual I kept missing 3rd gear and I agree they are a very ordinary manual gearbox.
FollowupID: 825533

Follow Up By: mikehzz - Saturday, Oct 04, 2014 at 11:27

Saturday, Oct 04, 2014 at 11:27
I've driven a variety of tiptronic 6 speed autos over the past few years and I reckon they are the ants pants. You can drive them like manuals if you want, the 6th gear gets great economy and the gear changes are smooth as. No more manuals for me. Trying to clutch start one is a problem :-)
FollowupID: 825544

Reply By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Saturday, Oct 04, 2014 at 13:37

Saturday, Oct 04, 2014 at 13:37
Hullo Mike

I am going through the same process as you and am looking at the Ranger/BT50 comparison. So your thread is timely for me - thanks.

Because I would only buy an auto, the uprated model is the only option - the one with more bells and whistles, many of which I would not normally bother about.

What you do need to watch, however, are any functions that you definitely don't want. For example, the Ranger has auto windscreen wipers - that's the last thing I would want on muddy roads. Secondly, I understand the alternator setup is different, with the Ranger having the system that cuts out charging once the starting battery reaches full charge - quite a PITA when you have a second battery set-up.

The BT50 also has a higher mounted factory 3500kg towbar.

Wrt the softness in the suspension, that wouldn't bother me as I would be getting an increased GVM set-up right from the start (so that it's on the initial reg papers)

There are a number of little things that are a pain - like very few places to mount a brake controller, place a decent UHF [one that doesn't have the controls on the mike].
And of course, $2500 less expense is a plus :-)


PS I can understand your feelings in the other thread about seeing the slide-on going out the drive. It is all a compromise/flexibility. Hang on the the swag and/or tent as you can always sling those in the back of the ute, together with a minimum of cooking gear and food and get back to basics.

AnswerID: 539909

Follow Up By: Slow one - Saturday, Oct 04, 2014 at 14:55

Saturday, Oct 04, 2014 at 14:55
With the uhf it will fit in the front of the console out of the way and I have just double sided taped the microphone mount to the top of the radio. Yes the brake controller is a bit of a pain and I have mounted mine on the left side in front of my knee, the only problem with this is you can't read it at a glance or activate the manual brake controller easily. I have mounted my gps on the dash by cutting a neat hole in the dash protector mat and lining the edge with rubber grommet material, the gps base is then secured to the dash with the 3m picture hanging tape that can be pulled to remove.

Yes the Ranger factory rear tow bar bull bar is annoying and even with my lift I have bumped it a few times, it has never hung the rear end and guess it does protect it.

The Ranger does come with extra protection underneath with a substantial cross member so it may pay to have a good look underneath and compare both.

The smart charge alternator is not a problem as Ford will software disable it free of charge. One annoying thing is the cigarette power outlets are live all the time. I have had mine changed so they only activate when the ignition is turned on.

Auto wipers aren't a problem as you still have full manual control, with the intermittent control you can set the wiping speed but the auto rain sensing takes over and wipes when it wants to.

The Ford and Mazda do share same engines/ boxes and drive line components and a few other things but that is where it ends.

I have had my Ranger for a couple of years now with no problems at all as would be expected.

Hope you both choose the best vehicles for your purpose.
FollowupID: 825553

Follow Up By: Member - Michael John T (VIC) - Saturday, Oct 04, 2014 at 20:51

Saturday, Oct 04, 2014 at 20:51
Thanks Andrew and Slow one (?). I will certainly take into account what you have both said, good advice is always helpful.



Ps I seem to have started a bit of controversy about Chinese made goods.
FollowupID: 825576

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (9)