Time to buy a new ride, need some help with possibly overlooked models

Submitted: Friday, Feb 20, 2015 at 20:59
ThreadID: 111183 Views:2981 Replies:11 FollowUps:34
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Hey guys,

My names Danny and I'm sort of new here, I did have an account many years ago but dropped out of the scene for a few reasons and now I want to get back into it which is where you guys come in, I have no idea what my old account name was though so I'm starting fresh.

Ok so here we go... A little over 5 years or 6 years ago I sold my last ride which was a GQ Patrol with Straight gas rb30, high flow t3, 2 inch spring, 2 inch body and 1 inch guard chop with some 37 creepys for good measure. It was a pretty reasonable combo and with 2 gas tanks was cheap to run and good on range some of you may have seen the build thread or YouTube videos back in the day. Anyway since then I've suffered a double spinal injury at work and after 3+ years it's still a cause of complaints so building a similar rides not an option, I couldn't tolerate the ride nor the tracks and trails for that setup. With that said I'm very very keen to travel Oz starting a little this year and possibly going all out next year.

I've been researching cars for months and months and know what I would like but I'm restricted a little at the second financially.

What I'd like ideally:

Station Wagon
Low range
Reasonable ride on dirt roads.
High levels of safety, dual frontal airbags and side/thorax airbags as a minimum even better if it has curtains, stability, traction, abs etc are all preferable as some of the driving will be by an inexperienced other half. Also looking for cars with 4 or 5 star ancap or equivalent ratings so tin cans like patrols and pajero are out.
Prefer diesel but in my price range petrol with lpg is a more likely option.
I'd like automatic climate control, electric Windows and leather (dog furs a nightmare to remove from cloth), I would sacrifice all these for an otherwise suitable car though.
Live axles would be best but only one car comes close and it's currently out of reach.

I was hoping to spend up to 30k and buy around November or December but my current cars dying and I mean in a hurry, it's got a $200 market value so repairing it's a non option and it already owes me 5k for 3 years of drama, it was basically all I could afford when I ended up injured and off work. I can afford to buy now up to about 15 or 16k but the suitable cars seem limited.

Currently the only car I can think of is an R51 pathfinder TI which would probably do most of what I want and fits the budget but is thirsty as hell, known for lots of issues and is not great offroad but it would probably do for the stuff I can cope with.

On the other end of the scale I'm also considering a Ford Territory ghia in either SY or SY2, whilst useless offroad it would probably do most road and gravel sections without too much fuss and it truly fits the budget and comfort requirements for my busted up spine, so far for ride comfort and seating position it's been the best.

Ideally a Discovery 3 would be perfect for me but dropping 30k+ on a 10 year old cars a gamble for me as I'm not earning a wage anymore and my mechanic days are over. Option 2 is a Wrangler but since I want the safety I'd need a 2012 model onwards and a 4 door will cost a good 35k, and then it still needs to be set up (rooftop tent or camper), new equipment, recovery etc) so it will eat up far more than I want. I've considered a Freelander 2 and have had both an fj cruiser and h3 hummer on overnight loan to see how they work for driving position and ride comfort. Neither has reach on the steering and I'm 6'2 so it was completely impossible to be comfortable in my seating position and the hummer on road was a jiggly truck, surprising after all the reviews said it drove great.

What are the thoughts around here? Would the pathfinder do for a touring car, sand, gravel, shallow creeks etc? Should I waste more money on my current heap and wait until the end of the year and look at a wrangler? Are there other models I've overlooked for sub 20k that would be as good or better?

Sorry for the massive post but I appreciate any suggestions and or comments/questions regarding my needs.

Cheers Danny

Picture of my old baby for those who might be interested https://www.dropbox.com/s/7ic08gqw6762as5/1934583_125877266778_3922232_n.jpg?dl=0
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Reply By: TheCaptainsHere - Friday, Feb 20, 2015 at 21:05

Reply By: Rangiephil - Friday, Feb 20, 2015 at 21:26

Friday, Feb 20, 2015 at 21:26
I know they are ugly but have you thought about an FJ Cruiser.

Really a cut price Prado but quite capable and reliable.

As a Land Rover owner I can't believe I am posting this!
I have had a bit to do with them and driven them and they are OK. Driving position a bit low and you have to be OK with the rear door opening the wrong way.
Regards Philip A
AnswerID: 546282

Follow Up By: 857 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 10:21

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 10:21
The ugliness is of zero concern but the lack of steering reach adjustment and ridiculously low seat meant it was a non option, shame really as it's my first choice otherwise.

Prado as with most Toyota products will cost me my entire budget and be older and lower spec than almost every other comparable make and model, honestly I'd rather buy a newer model Jeep than an old base model Prado... I just don't see the value in most Toyota products.

I probably need to drive a Freelander 2 and see what it's like, I know it's missing low range but could otherwise be a reasonable ride.
FollowupID: 834029

Reply By: Michael H9 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 01:05

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 01:05
I've got a diesel Grand Cherokee that is very capable, very comfortable and gets less than 10litres per 100. The diesel Grands (WG, WH) were built in Austria with Mercedes motors and gearboxes out of the ML 270, ML 300, Sprinter and Vito vans. I wouldn't touch a petrol one, built in the US and the build quality is noticeably better on the Euro built models. I traded a Pathfinder with 350,000 kms on my Grand which now has 210,000 kms. It's been a good car and never let me down.
AnswerID: 546284

Follow Up By: 857 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 10:30

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 10:30
Jeeps were a consideration but I've never been a fan of the build quality and Interior fitment on older models plus they took a long time to join the safety band wagon. Even some of their newest efforts are less than spectacular and as I've gotten a little older and wiser this has become probably the most important aspect of buying a new car, I've just had too many close calls in recent times so I'd like a little extra protection as you never know when you need it.

With that said I notice the 2008/2009 Cherokee is affordable and has most of what I'd like including diesel but suffers worse ground clearance than most soft roaders which is an issue as I don't want to spend money raising a car too much, increasing spring rates and loosing all the ride comfort not mention affecting centre of gravity which becomes an issue if I load it up and have rooftop tent etc.

Also it's untested by any safety body so I have zero idea how it fares, also when you consider it has frontal and curtain airbags with no thorax airbags (like the hummer) it feels like safety again took a low priority.
FollowupID: 834030

Reply By: Bigfish - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 08:45

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 08:45
Plenty of good Mitsubishi Challengers and Pajeros out there. Good quality, economical and reliable....
AnswerID: 546290

Follow Up By: 857 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 10:36

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 10:36
I used to work as a mechanic with a little panel work on the side, not only do I have zero confidence in their motors and gearboxes in general but their safety and body structures are atrocious in all but the newest models, even the pajero has massive issue maintaining survival space in moderate speed crash testing. They're A pillars are so thin on some models the door stop bsr/slide literally tears a square of the a pillar out... Hardly screams well built, further more the amount of their petrol engines I've worked on and auto failures I've seen just screams stay away... It's just not a model I'm comfortable with, I'd rather a Ford with oil leaks every year to be honest than risk a mitsi. Keep in mind I'm buying used with the intention to keep at least 5 years but hopefully more so a warranty is unlikely.
FollowupID: 834031

Reply By: vk1dx - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 08:48

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 08:48
We have a 4.2TD auto 100 series and took my sister in law to Lake Eyre when it was full. She has a very bad hip and back. She has to have one of those lifts for the stairs at home. She is also selling the Aurion sedan as it's too hard to get in and out of. Basically too low and looking for an SUV.

To get back to my point, when we got home she was surprised that she felt excellent. Spent all the time in the back seats which are standard. She was impressed with the comfort. As are we. We chose the 100 over the patrol for two reasons. The rear has a tad more room and the ride was better.

I may be a bit biased when it comes to the Toyota's comfort but it may be worthwhile looking at. We are yet to be stopped on any track or crossing or desert. CSR last year without any damages and been to most deserts and lots (live in ACT area) of high country stuff. The Bilstein shocks worked wonders on the corrugations. Expensive - but just the thing. Just minor lift and 285 x 16 rubber. Water lapping the windscreen on the Balfour Track and up at Nolans on the Cape.

Best of luck as I know how hard it can be buying for comfort but still want capability. Don't rule out the 100's. The FJ (ugly), as said above, may be okay if the ride is as good as the 100. I know very little about them.

Topping Mt Pinnibar
AnswerID: 546291

Follow Up By: 857 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 10:42

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 10:42
High purchase price as per most toyos, poor safety expecially for its size and weight although still better than a Gu, would mean a big chunk of budget gone on a high mile car and no options or features other than maybe basic air conditioning.

Really wanted an Fj but low seating position and no steering reach ruled it out, I'll never understand why with so much headroom the seats are basically sedan height and worse yet a modern car still comes with no reach (looking at you too Jeep!) I had it on loan for a couple days but my back died with my arms out in front of me like a zombie...I really wanted it and tried to convince myself it would be ok but it won't.
FollowupID: 834032

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 14:51

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 14:51
The only thing that we did to the mechanics of the car was reinforce the lower wish bone arms (IFS), shocks and larger springs at rear. You really didn't have to do much to ours. Sure you can lift them, change all the suspension and put wider tyres on them and god knows what else and tto such a height that you would need a pilots licence to drive them (joking) but do you really want to climb Mt Walker. Not me. Two of the five cars with us broke things on that climb. As said we are yet to be stopped. But then again we aren't interested in extreme stuff. Been there and in some very interesting trials of military vehicles.

Plus 50 years off road driving etc. It does help.

The cost:Well as they say - you get what you paid for. Air con was standard.

But I do agree the cost for an auto etc 4.2TD is not to be sneezed at.

Sounds a bit rough in the FJ. Wouldn't the seat slide forward enough? Hate the old VeeDubs, with the steering wheel in your lap. I like a comfortable 100 degrees with the elbows at the 2-10 position.
FollowupID: 834053

Follow Up By: 857 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 14:57

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 14:57
Im 6'2 so with the seat being as low as it is the seats unfortunately pushed back a bit too far and I can't reach the bloody wheel, a few cars have been like this. I just had a quick look around, seems a few 4 year old Prado gxls are sub 30k including diesels, could be an option if I can get the current car to hold out until November, also going to look a little harder at disco 3 petrol models.
FollowupID: 834055

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 15:04

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 15:04
You are a bit tall aren't you! Understood
FollowupID: 834057

Follow Up By: 857 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 15:10

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 15:10
I was a bit taller prior to my spine having bent nearly 40 degrees
, if I was a little shorter and a lot less broken I'd be able to buy a car tomorrow.
FollowupID: 834059

Follow Up By: 857 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 15:11

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 15:11
Bent and broken.
FollowupID: 834060

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 16:03

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 16:03
Ouch That had to hurt.
FollowupID: 834065

Follow Up By: 857 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 16:06

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 16:06
That's not all of it, below that I have 3 compresses discs 2 of which are split 1 enough so that it leaks spinal fluid... How goods that! I'm sure the desire for a comfortable tourer makes more sense with that all said and done.
FollowupID: 834066

Reply By: 857 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 10:47

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 10:47
Thanks for all the suggestions so far I know it's difficult with my criteria, this is why only a couple cars made the list so far. Has anyone got first hand experience with its a Freelander 2 or Jeep Cherokee from 08/09 era? How it looks is all but irrelevant.

I'm happy to stay with a medium size model as I still do a lot of city and suburban driving.
AnswerID: 546311

Follow Up By: Member - Kelvo - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 11:38

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 11:38
For more feedback on the Freelander 2 have a look on www.aulro.com
FollowupID: 834039

Follow Up By: 857 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 14:58

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 14:58
Have done, not lots positive, the disco is the better option for similar money.
FollowupID: 834056

Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 00:44

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 00:44
Beside my diesel Jeep, I've had a Freelander 2 since new for the last 7 years. It's been a great car and taken me on some tough tracks like Billy Goat and Mt Pinnibar in the Vic High Country and into the Simpson Desert. My wife has a bad back and it is the only car she can travel in, the ride is very good. You need 17" rims for comfort and better off road performance. Mine has over 200,000 kms on it.
FollowupID: 834089

Follow Up By: 857 - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 11:11

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 11:11
I'm going to look at the Freelander but it's pretty small (perfect for my day to day needs) but it would probably mean a camper trailer is needed and I'm not sure the limited wheel travel plus no low range and no winch option would be a good idea, the cost would be in disco 3 Territory by the time I got a camper and the ability isn't there... Heavily leaning towards a disco at the second.
FollowupID: 834103

Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 13:46

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 13:46
My Jeep is locked with a little lift and a solid front axle but surprisingly I've taken the Freelander 2 too most of the places I thought only the Jeep could get to. The LR terrain response is the best in the business but you do have to learn how to best use it. The Freelander 2 diesel has more grunt than a 3 litre Patrol but you are correct about the size. It is interesting that while shorter in length, the Freelander 2 is actually wider than a Disco 3 or 4. I can't stress to look for 17" rims enough though.
FollowupID: 834110

Follow Up By: 857 - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 14:56

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 14:56
Most of the travel would be 2 adults + 2 Dalmatians, I was originally hoping to get away with a rooftop tent and equipment on board rather than a trailer to try and keep setup cost lower and without having looked at a Freelander properly I'm pretty sure based on external dimensions it will fall short plus the lack of protection and recovery options are prohibitive. I feel if it as to decide on a soft roader the territory would fit best for me.
FollowupID: 834115

Reply By: 857 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 10:48

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 10:48
Can any mods tell me what happened to my username?
AnswerID: 546312

Follow Up By: ModSquad - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 12:01

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 12:01
Your user name changed because you changed what email address you are using to access the forum.

The ModSquad
Moderation is just rules

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FollowupID: 834041

Follow Up By: 857 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 12:17

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 12:17
I changed it to comply with the no "free email" rule, I didn't think it would generate a random name though, is this fixable?
FollowupID: 834042

Follow Up By: ModSquad - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 14:55

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 14:55
You are currently using a gmail account, You started the thread with an internode account.

I would suggest you log off and log back in using the internode account.

The ModSquad

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FollowupID: 834054

Follow Up By: 857 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 15:17

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 15:17
Actually I signed up with the Gmail then switched to internode when it said I'd have to wait 48 hours to use it, now it only let's me login with Gmail and under this random user name. I'm not fussed enough to bother working it out though, thanks anyway.
FollowupID: 834062

Reply By: Member - mark D18 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 12:21

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 12:21
If you cant afford the Toyota you want go for one of the other Jap 4x4,s out there. Toyotas are pricey for a reason.
At least you will stand a chance with reliability and resale value.
My brother crossed the Simpson desert in a AWD Territory and it did it easy , much to my surprise , Territories tend to have suspension problems( Rubber bushes) and they are difficult and costly to repair, but they do drive really well. They are really only a soft road option.
Give a miss to the other brands you mentioned .

Good luck with your purchase.

AnswerID: 546319

Follow Up By: 857 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 12:40

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 12:40
Territorys main issue is ball joints which was rectified in SY2 models, also diff bushes are an issue but again there are inexpensive ways to change these, of course running mostly falcon parts pretty much everything is cheap to fix. My main staple when I was fixing cars was ford's so I'm fairly comfortable with their build and reliability vs their cost and depreciation but it really is limited as a soft roader. I already though the territory could probably do a bit of sand driving but the concern is getting it on and off barges and other steep access points.

As a Dailey driver for around town it is the single best car for me as it ticks every single box but offroad ability, worst of all I can't even fit a winch or use standard recovery techniques to be rescued so it would really limit off the map trips.

I don't want to bag out toyos because they have their strengths for sure but I can't justify a really old toyo for the price of a much newer and better specd car, the fj cruiser is a great car for the money and ideal for me but I just can't sit in the thing.

Will try to get my hands on a Freelander for a couple of days.
FollowupID: 834043

Follow Up By: Bigfish - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 12:47

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 12:47
Your wasting your time on here. It seems you know all there is about various models and makes. Naturally I,m assuming you have owned and driven these vehicles...
FollowupID: 834044

Follow Up By: 857 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 12:56

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 12:56
I've owned and driven several of these but the majority were on road and for short periods. The patrols I know extremely well, the fj cruiser and hummer h3 I've just recently had for extended test drives but the rest I haven't. The on road manners and capabilities of most I'm well aware of but I haven't had the opportunity to offroad any of the others which plays a largish part of the purchase, I've had zero response regarding the poor old pathfinder but will continue looking into it as on paper at least it could do the trick, I can't discount the territory right now either even if it's only an interim car. I do get the impression though I've probably covered just about all the bases though and will probably need to spend more money to get the compromise I want.
FollowupID: 834045

Follow Up By: Member - mark D18 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 14:35

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 14:35

Yes the ball joints are cheap , but the front diff bushes are a time consuming job , there are no easy fixes with them. but otherwise they are not a bad vehicle . My brother put on higher profile off road tyres and lifted it a bit with after market suspension. He also found a used bull bar and installed that before we crossed the Simpson.
They are a very comfortable car.

FollowupID: 834050

Follow Up By: 857 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 15:05

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 15:05
Out of curiosity was it a petrol or diesel and what was the economy like crossing the desert?
FollowupID: 834058

Follow Up By: Member - mark D18 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 15:18

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 15:18

he got about the same as me on the whole trip of about 6000km
Crossing the Simo he used about 18lt/per hundred and apart from that he was averaging about 15,s , and he was really loaded up and he had a roof cage. I was driving a 4.2 litre troop carrier.
We got a lot of comments on how the Territory looked and they were not all that positive , but it made the trip no worries except we had to clean out the thermo fan 3 times on the desert, as it was sucking in sand.

FollowupID: 834063

Follow Up By: 857 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 15:28

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 15:28
Good on him for giving it a go, especially since it wasn't really their intended purpose, the fuel figures are better than expected considering the constant load.
FollowupID: 834064

Reply By: Drew - Karratha - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 13:24

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 13:24
I have a 2001 factory TD Landcruiser for sale for $23990 - with heaps of gear on it that may suit what you are looking for... As said above - very comfortable on long drives, and very economical......
AnswerID: 546325

Reply By: Robin Miller - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 14:00

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 14:00
Easy question Captain.

Simply buy a 4800 Patrol. ($10k - $30k) as built from 2002 to 2010 and it has dual live axles electric windows and all the junk (model dependant).

Because you don't want a lot of hard stuff , you would have to do nothing to it and its probably the most capable car around.

Many of our 4wds these days have real issues like poor old rollover ability to very complex parts that make them unservicable for most of us.

By the way, rollover ability is no1 saftey issue and is implicated in some 50% of serious accidents and none of the other wagons match the GU's 48 degree tip over angle.

The 4800 has issues to - well actually only 1 issue and that is petrol consumption of typically around 17lt/100km.

This however isn't a technical issue , its a budget issue only and typically has a cost of $1500 extra per year.

Not that I reccomend this , but that car can actually be cheaper to run than most others if on gas.

In our immediate family we still have an R51 but its quite frankly to soft.

You can even service the GU 4800 yourself - well every 100k you need to change the plugs - and so when you look at your critera there really is no other choice , as there is probably no other car that has the range of spares and accessories over the entire nation than the GU's.

Robin Miller

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AnswerID: 546329

Follow Up By: 857 - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 14:50

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 14:50
Gu has very poor crash safety worse than almost every other model of similar age and size, I really am putting a lot of weight into the safety aspect. For those who haven't seen a low speed offset test check http://www.howsafeisyourcar.com.au/2013/Nissan/Patrol/DX-GU-4D-Wagon-5sp-man-3_0L-4cyl-TDiesel/

A lot of older separate body on frame 4x4s are bad but the Gu is just more risk than I'm willing to take with people on board especially with the distances being covered, the r51 is definitely not gu capable but it's a hell of a lot better built for energy absorption and being a 2 tonne + vehicle would stand up well to other vehicles of similar weight.

I'm completely open to lpg and would prefer it if I get stuck with a petrol model but it all depends on install suitability, approx half of all the cars I've owned have been lpg and never faulted.

I'm going to look a little harder at disco 3s with the petrol engines as they're starting to appear sub 20k with reasonable kays and all the boxes ticked other than fuel use.
FollowupID: 834052

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 09:44

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 09:44
Actually the patrol 4800 is one of the safest Danny, secondary saftey is important for society overall but not for your indivdual survival

Safety has different aspects which are interesting to explore.

For example I fully accept that on frontal crash test etc it is very poor, however this does not translate into your safety on the road. What it means is that in an accident with a big block of concrete the Patrol will loose, however in the typical accident you will win and the other driver will lose.

You know the GQ's like RB30 were even worse. (by the way I had an RB30)

However the RACV did a massive survey of the real on the road results of 200,000 catalogued accidents.

The GQ is down the bottom for saftey features but in this biggest ever survey came out 3rd , a completely counter- intuitve result.

The R51 is very capable - its just not a GU and like disco's and most of that sort , much harder to repair/maintain.

P.S. You might notice I differentiate the 4800 GU from the various diesels - this is because they have different chararteristics
like bigger brakes different weigh distribution , roll centres and suspension setups, even differnt air-bag setups.
Robin Miller

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FollowupID: 834096

Follow Up By: 857 - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 10:59

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 10:59
Hi Robin,

Thanks for the follow up.

I used to think like that too but not anymore, I've put considerable thought into why I would like these safety features including my already damaged back and relevant seating positions as well as my passengers.

A few points to consider regarding the facts and statistics and just a few of my own through 20 years in the auto industry and some of the cars and drivers I've seen come and go in various states.

Firstly I sold my GQ after a 3 inch diameter branch got caught in the front wheel arch, pushed through the power antenna and then between the door and A pillar causing the 2 to bend and allowing the stick to poke through and frighten my front seat passenger, this happened whilst crawling a ledge on Western track out in Gembrook (a fire trail) for those who know it. I pulled the A pillar, replaced the door, resprayed it and sold it for a massive massive loss, I mean I sold the car fully set up for the cost of the wheels and tires and the just installed lpg system I wanted it gone that bad, I'm definitely not a bigger is better believer.

You're correct in your comment about a big block of concrete, which of course also applies to trees, poles, trucks, lane dividers and cars of similar build and weight and of course also applies to cars coming toward you. Keep in mind standardised crash testing into those deformable barriers is at far far lower speed than your likely to encounter in real life, I for example live in a 4 lane highway along the beach, 70kph with no divider so even two cars coming together at legal and sensible speed would result in far worse damage than seen in ANCAP testing. Not long ago car crossed the lane a few houses from here, they clipped offset and instant death:


When this sort of thing happens infront of your house it's just another reason to really consider what you're driving.

The RACV survey as per Monash is for real-world accidents which is a little misleading as the numbers could be skewed by lots of patrols plowing barinas or simply by dumbing the results down to say "yes the 4x4 driver lived" when realistically he spent a year in hospital and could never walk again or worse. Measured crash testing and checking things like structure and ability to open doors without tools after minor bingles are important to me especially as I was already in a car that caught fire after impact once before, also things like pretensioning seatbelts, active headrests etc all help and are all available for cars from around 10k and up now.

Other considerations for example due to my height in the majority of 4 door cars my heads in line with the b pillar often in line with exposed upper seatbelt bracket, with no side airbags in my driving position this means a bolt and bracket cracking my skull open even in moderate impacts.

With standardised testing high riding cars like the patrols automatically score full points for side impact due to the head height relative to other cars irrespective of the use of side airbags or driver seating position but this doesn't allow for pole or tree strike.... Driving country roads of course means a few trees are around. With Gu patrols only the TI has side airbags, only thorax/head combined and only front seat, add to this ladder chassis that sits inboard someway and a tin can body and you'll find they won't fare well in side impacts with narrow objects regardless of their default score.

The Gu is a dinosaur, the chassis is almost unchanged from gq days (really other than the CV joints on the diff what's different underneath in terms of chassis/driveline? I think even the rear sprung seats were thinner on GU) which is not very different to MQ, it's not up to current standards or ability on road, it's also missing so many avoidance systems it'd not funny keep in mind l won't be the only one driving it. I notice you differentiate the 4.8 but it makes little difference as it will still roll before almost any modern 4x4 other than maybe the Grand Cherokee as it's missing the electronic programs to keep it planted in a high speed lane change situation.

The R51 has rubbish wheel travel, I mean really bad, watching videos at least puts it in Freelander Territory but it only missed out on 5 star safety rating by something like 0.3 of a point and even frontal offset had no deformation of the a pillar, not a single mm therefore the doors could be opened with normal force in that kind of impact... Big improvement and still a separate body/chassis construction and quite a heavy car so it would fare well against most medium to large cars, also in TI spec it has frontal, thorax and curtain airbags to go with this stronger structure.


Don't get me wrong I love patrols (my old YouTube channel was quite popular) and think nothing for the money comes close offroad but I live and drive with thousands of morons (including the drunk and drug affected) around often in cars they shouldn't be in and would just feel safer with my family and friends in something else, I miss my GQ to this day but will never own another even if it means trading offroad ability.

I appreciate your in depth response though and am sorry to ramble on but like I said a few close calls for me in recent times and a few nasty accidents in front of the house starting to make me reconsider options.

I'm not discounting the pathy yet as dollar wise it fits the bill but I need to drive one as it's also got no reach adjustment on the bloody wheel other than that I'm going to look a little harder at disco 3 se/hse in diesel and v8 models and see what the outcome is.
FollowupID: 834101

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 17:00

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 17:00
Hi Danny , your not rambling , its a great subject and shows how we can have such divergent views never the less I think we will still disagree so I'll kept this brief.

For yourself you believe that the control systems can make a car relatively safe and under some circumstances this can be both true and false.
Just last week (as an electronic engineering consultant) a case was brought to me relating to inadvertent application of brakes by a control system and the details were not nice).

But in the case of our cars it doesn't come down to differing views or experiences but to a straight out and universally accepted engineering test.

This is called SSF static stability factor test, its it now mandatory to do this in countries like USA (but not Australia).

This is actually rollover angle and has been decreed as the prime predictor.
Surprizingly this static test predicts rate of rollovers better than any other measure for both staic and dynamic situations.

Quite simply the GU is no 1 at 48 degrees (in type of mainstream cars we are talking about).

This fun reading explains why.

Robin Miller

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FollowupID: 834120

Reply By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 11:17

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 11:17
G'day Danny,
I was mentally going through all the models I know and ruling them out for various reasons. There was one that came to mind but was reluctant to suggest it due to your preference for a live front axle and low range, however I saw some suggestions about Territory's so thought this is still in line with them.

Sedan comfort in a wagon, AWD, plenty of grunt, great ride (not harsh) has all the creature comforts like climate control, ABS, air bags (seat, curtain and frontal), a good crash rating, second to none availability of spare parts and dealer support network, will leak oil long before it hand grenades, don't need a ladder to get into, reasonably newish, auto, etc. Ready....wait for it.....

Holden Adventura 6 or 8 cylinder. The 6 is probably the better engine for economy and LPG but still has heaps of grunt. The ride and seating position is something you'll struggle to find in any traditional 4x4 wagon.

I had one of these as a lease car and although it lacks in the lift department, it has heaps of grunt and electronic traction aids to get the job done. I'd suggest better tyres though. Yeah it's a little different but (no disrespect to you but) your requirements are a little different too and obviously compromises can not be made due to your past medical history.

Just a thought mate...... hadn't been mentioned so I thought what the hell.
AnswerID: 546387

Follow Up By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 11:23

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 11:23
....forgot to add..... the majority had leather seats, easy for even my 4' 8" missus to drive, changing a flat tyre won't require a forklift, roof rails standard (racks are easily accessible without climbing up a ladder), separate lifting rear window comes in handy rather than lifting the whole tailgate and handy if you have things on the back like a bike rack.

FollowupID: 834104

Follow Up By: 857 - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 12:58

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 12:58
Hi Fab,

Thanks for replying. The very first cars I considered were the territory and adventra, the territory is still a strong possibility. I'll cover a few pros and cons just for anyone else considering these cars as there's a lot of misinformation regarding our local products especially regarding reliability.

The territory is a solid all round proposition and so far has been the most comfortable of all. The SY/SY2 are cheap as chips even in full ghia trim and of course have the benefit of parts availability and reasonable poor weather ability even on mud and gravel with appropriate tyres. There's a 1 inch lift available and of course a couple of bullbar options but with both the plastic Ford one and the aluminum jobs there's no winch option not recovery points but they will take a little hit from a roo and hold driving lights.

The SY ball joint has a pull load applied to it causing constant issues with them chewing out (as with every Ford falcon built especially from XA onwards), the SY 2 has a redesign where the load is a push load and the ball joints are living much longer, a retro fit is easy.

Fuel range is limited as only Petrols are in my budget (currently) but the good news is being falcon motors reliable LPI conversions exist essentially giving you cheaper running plus extended range as needed, also available for the turbo variant which is a nice drive especially at higher altitudes with a big load. There are rumours of them bending rods when on gas and this can be partly true BUT this is on cars pre July 06 from memory as both falcon and Territory went to the larger E Gas rods after then, about the time the 6 speed ZF came in from memory, also cars post 2003 should be gas injected and not backfiring anyway so I'd say there's more to "all" these claims.

Whilst on the transmissions there is talk of low Kay failures but you'll probably find most had the shared transmission heat exchanger plate fail within the radiator and allow water to mix with trans fluid causing the paper based friction plates to dissolve. The smart thing to do on your falcon and Territory is to fit an external trans cooler, these can be had for $20 and some hose and pipe flaring or quick connect fittings (depends in series as some went to plastic pipe). This was an issue from BA, Ford knew but wouldn't change the design I assume to save cost.

Pcm reflash is available for all models for increased power and fuel economy but the trade off is switching to higher octane fuel due to more timing at lower rpm which is an issue in remote areas. The base motor is also happy on 91 octane so further savings compared to many high compression Japanese alternatives.

Being a falcon motor they'll leak oil at some point, front main, rear main, rocker cover, timing cover, sump, oil pressure switch, power steering etc it's all possible but they use top end priority oiling so if you were thick enough to miss the oil leaks and let it run that low the lifters tend to lose pressure and tick before the bottom suffers bearing damage. Turbo models use a filter on the oil feed to the turbo, many dealers and home mechanics didn't bother changing these causing turbo failures on otherwise very reliable Garrett units.

Intake manifold gaskets can perish causing a vacuum leak, cheap and easy to fix I'd suggest it as a preventative measure as new gaskets won't fail.

There's a few other bits but nothing I can think of worth mentioning right now.

The adventra...

I really liked the idea but too many cons for me. The v6 has a few issues, the alloytec was prone to stretch timing chains in early models so if you find a low Kay car this may still need addressing. The oil pickup is tiny and previous lack of maintenance or even poorly done maintenance (gasket material making it into the sump) will block them and seize them solid.

They're thirsty as a 6cyl and once loaded they drink like the 8 with none of the benefits, the advantage to the 6 is stability control and 5speed auto although not fantastic still more modern than the 4l60/4l65e.

The LS1 version is the better option but not without faults. It is thirsty, partly for using the base 225/235kw tunes and partly for having lean cruise completely disabled from factory. These engines with appropriate headers and catback exhaust can be flashed to 300kw on 98 octane and improving fuel use with the additional timing added but all benefit is lost in extra fuel cost. A 95 octane tune is a compromise and would improve economy by some 2 litres per 100 kays but this is still a lot especially when they're known to use close to 20L per 100 with no load, turning on lean cruise is not recommended due to the cars increased weight and expected operating conditions (hot weather, high load, poor fuel) vs a non awd variant.

The 4l60 auto is reasonable, it can suffer if abused but is usually pretty solid, the 1st to second gear rpm drop is big but this does allow it to get of the line reasonably quick and crawl quite slow if needed, it does feel a bit old fashioned in its shifts though due to this wide rstio and can hunt a bit for upper gears at highway speed due to the again wide spread between 3rd and 4th gears. Some VY2 and all VZ adventra I believe are fitted with the 4l65e as used by hsv, whilst having the same ratios and behavior it's more likely to hold up.

The adventra is big, it's on the LWB floor pan so it's ramp over and relative low ground clearance can be very limiting for some types of driving, it's overall length is also larger than the territory and even some full size suv/4x4s. I'm already driving a falcon this size and would prefer a downgrade in length.

Safety is so so, 4 star ancap but with a bit of body movement as per most vt-vz models, dual frontal airbags, combined side/head airbags for front seat only, abs, traction control active headrests I think, no stability control on v8 models.

The lx8 versions are fully loaded though and basically have caprice /grange interiors with comfortable SS seats, the ride like the territory is great and unlike all these big dollar jap cars it also has good seat and wheel adjustment.

Again winch, recovery, fuel are concerns, also low Kay examples are asking too much money compared to the better Territory, paying 12k for a cheap adventra plus 4.5k for lpg makes it a non option for me.

I'm sure I've missed lots but these are some of my observations with having worked on and driven them, I'm a little rusty on my info as I've been away from the game a few years but I'm confident most of that's right.

FollowupID: 834105

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