Toy 4WD recommendations

Submitted: Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 11:26
ThreadID: 11452 Views:2525 Replies:9 FollowUps:2
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Hi all. First post here. Hope I'm in the right place.

I don't really want a proper 4WD, but I thought you guys might have the experience to set me on the right track with a toy one. My thing is bird photography, so I need to get around a bit. Up to now, I've done all my travelling in a Holden Barina - a little 1.4 litre toy car designed for the city. And in most respects it's perfect: cheap to buy, quiet enough on the highway, fantastic fuel consumption, a 600km range on a 43 litre tank, and all the room I need. I sometimes take it places people say you need 4WD for, and as long as I take it gently it does surprisingly well - but the bottom line is that it really isn't built for bad roads.

So what I really want is something the same as the Barina *except* with more ability off the bitumen. I don't want to go off-road, but I *do* want to be able to take on long stretches of bad road (corrugated gravel, potholes, and the like) without too much fear.

I'll almost certainly buy new, and I don't want to spend more than 20 - 30,000. I looked at the Holden Cruze first, because it's well-priced, reasonably economical, and because my credit card gives me a $2500 discount if I get a Holden. The Cruze, however, has several drawbacks: tiny fuel tank (41 litres - the range might be no more than 400k!) means poor range; too much wind noise on the highway (= arriving tired and stressed); decent ground clearance (180mm) given that I'm not planning any serious off-road stuff, but the lowest item is the exhaust manifold, which scares me - if I *do* hit a rock, I could be in major trouble.

What about a Rav 4? They are a bit more than I really want to spend, but is a Rav a more practical proposition for the outback roads I want to use?

Or should I look at something else entirely?
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Reply By: Roachie - Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 11:39

Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 11:39
The RAV would certainly be a much better proposition than the Cruze.
What about the Suzuki range? What I know about these smaller soft-roaders, you could write on the back of a half-sucked Aspro; however, I have often read that the Suzi's (or "ZOOK" as they're known) are a great, reliable and capable vehicle.
AnswerID: 51367

Reply By: flappan - Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 11:48

Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 11:48
Forget the Cruze . . . what a POS . . .

RAV4 will do want you want. Here's some others.

Nissan X Trail , about $32
Subaru Forester X $33
Mazda Tribute $34
Zuk Grand Vitara $31
Kia Sportage $25

Of those , the Forester, GV, and Kia all have Low range. May not be really necessary , but handy.

All have semi decent clearance , and all with a certain amount of offroad ability.

My favourites would be either the GV or Forester , but I must say , The Kia Sportage, especially at that price , would be well worth looking at anyway.

Your Barina and the Cruze, would be about Par on offroad ability.
AnswerID: 51369

Reply By: Tannin - Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 12:09

Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 12:09
Thanks Roachie.

The Cruze *is* a Suzuki! It's a rebadge job. But I guess you are talking about the little Jimny, which is a completely different thing. For some reason I didn't consider that one. I think I better slip down the road to the local Suzi dealer and take a look at one in the flesh. I like the idea of a real ladder-frame. To me, that implies an all-round toughness which is exactly what i need.
AnswerID: 51379

Follow Up By: Member - StevenL - Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 18:13

Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 18:13
By my recollection, the Cuze IS based on a Suzuki but it was the Ignis which is a car (direct competitor to the Barina). They just whacked in some all wheel drive and jacked it up a bit!!!!

Much better to go for a Jimny or base model Vitara.

FollowupID: 313157

Reply By: Tannin - Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 12:16

Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 12:16
And thanks Flappan too. I don't want to spend more than $30,000 if I can help it. (The more I spend on cars the less I have left to spend on cameras!)

On paper, the Cruze seems like a good thing. But in the flesh and taking it for a drive ... it just left me feeling uneasy, wondering if this would be a purchase I'd regret.

I'll slip down the street now to see if a Jimny looks like a realistic possibility. If it is, great. If not, then I guess I'll have to look at spending 30 or 30+ after all. Thanks!
AnswerID: 51383

Follow Up By: flappan - Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 12:50

Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 12:50
A guy I work with has a Cruze . . . . My statement still stands ;D

Jimny would be OK. I have seen a few tricked up , and yeah , would be worth looking at.

Does it have to be brand new. Something 2 or 3 yo , still with Factory warranty , and probably 2/3 of the original price.
FollowupID: 313094

Reply By: Davoe - Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 13:08

Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 13:08
From memory the zooks (besides being a fave with girls) are a real 4wd not a softie and are used in 4wd comps with heeps of mods available
AnswerID: 51391

Reply By: Viola - Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 17:50

Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 17:50
Darling what a lovely little Daihatsu Terios
Dear the little man across the way and up the road from me goes bird watching and collects data on birds. Darling the little man has just bought another new Terios as he absolutely loves them. Darling he would like to love me to but darling my old man is to rich and cannot leave the dear old bit.
AnswerID: 51437

Reply By: SimonA - Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 20:31

Monday, Mar 22, 2004 at 20:31
I've had a Sportage for 7 years njow, and taken it both soft roading and off road (Yalwal, Forestry tracks north of Coffs Harbour) It's an extremely capable mini-truck, with a good power to weight ration, and strong sure-footed traction.

I had a problem with height, but simply went from 205 to 215 tyres, which gave me an added 30mm of clearance - just what I needed.

By the way, my other car's a 3 litre Patrol!
AnswerID: 51461

Reply By: Jools - Tuesday, Mar 23, 2004 at 10:32

Tuesday, Mar 23, 2004 at 10:32
Hi Tannin, I'm also looking for my first 4b at the moment - check out the Vitara 3 door if the Jimny is Too small - it retail around 26k I think so just find a dealer who wont charge you a couple of grand to wash it and you'll be set - I'm seriously considering one. You always think you won't need low range - I've also taken my lowered road car down some pretty bad roads - including some where a low range would have been a lot safer - better to have it and nevwer use it than not have it and want it a year down the track. Also having low range will improve resale as people who do more serious 4wding alway look for a good condition 2nd hand car with a low range and then modify it to suit their needs.
Good Luck
AnswerID: 51548

Reply By: Tannin - Thursday, Mar 25, 2004 at 09:33

Thursday, Mar 25, 2004 at 09:33
I looked at a Forester yesterday. More than I want to spend, but for the first time I had the sense that this was a machine that would do what I want it to do: i.e., eat up the bitumen quietly and safely, but still cope gracefully with bad roads. A diff lock would be nice, but I can live with that I guess. A bit bigger than I want, but a jacked-up Impreza (the RV) doesn't save enough fuel to be worth talking about, costs only about $3000 less, and does not have such good rear quarter visibility. Even the bbase model Forester has an excellent equipment level. ABS, cruise control, extra 12v outlets, lots of nooks and crannies to put things in. Maybe I should look harder at the RAV and one or two others, but this seems like the way to go.

AnswerID: 51899

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