Good first/small 4x4?

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 07, 2015 at 22:14
ThreadID: 119110 Views:1845 Replies:10 FollowUps:13
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Hi all,

I'm in the market for my first car with off-road capabilities. I only recently have my licence, but I have done some beach driving and 'bush-bashing' in my Mum's Landcruiser workmate and went okay. I'm not needing anything too flash, so I have a reasonable budget of about $8,000.

Basically what I'm needing is a good onroad car that is able to handle itself in beach and other off-road situations. I will have to use it to drive to work, school, driving family members, etc on weekdays so it needs to go well on road. However on the weekend I'd like to be able to go to the beach with my dogs or my mates, and then on holidays do some camping. So nothing too serious but something that can handle these sort of conditions!

I have been looking at the Suzuki models such as the Sierra, Vitara and Jimny, as well as the Toyota RAV4, all 90's or early 2000s models, to give you a sort of idea, not fussed by manual/auto. I like the Sierra but apparently they don't go too well on-road, and they don't have a lot of backseat or boot space.

Just wanted to know what some of your more experienced 4x4 drivers thought. :)
Thanks for your help,
Vic
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Reply By: Member - Cuppa - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 00:08

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 00:08
Based on what a mate has, it’s size & it’s surprising capability with a 2 “ lift I suggest the Jackeroos are worth looking at. He got his in exceptional condition & low milege for $10k so I’m sure you’d get something decent for your budget. He has recently extended it’s off road capability by fitting a front diff lock, & takes it places whee many folk with more ‘capable’ vehicles fail.
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AnswerID: 554678

Follow Up By: CSeaJay - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 08:08

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 08:08
Just watch the runningcost on these. Specially the diesel, and the parts are expensive
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Follow Up By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 11:46

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 11:46
Ditto...being a sturdy, no frills fourbie (in general terms) the Jack is well worth scrutiny...seems to fit your requirements well. BUT avoid the turbo diesel introduced in 1998 ...the 4JX1 MOTOR....(had serious problems with it's uncommon injection system...various safety related recalls).....if you find a nice V6 petrol, you could be on a winner.
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Follow Up By: Member - Cuppa - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 12:59

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 12:59
Yep, the mates one I referred to is a V6 petrol.
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Follow Up By: madfisher - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 19:23

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 19:23
Having owned two 3.5 v6 Jacks I can vouch for them. Current one at 185000ks has only had brake pads and front shocks. Very comfy if you are not over 6foot.
Go for a manual as its much stronger then the auto and will do and extra 100ks per tank. My wife has only recently sold her auto jack, so speaking from experience here.
They will get down to just below 12l/100 on the open road if not flogged. And about 15 to 16 /100 around town.
Cheers Pete
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Reply By: Michael H9 - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 00:23

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 00:23
I've been on trips with Subaru Foresters that can handle most things thrown at them, from Stockton Beach to every track in Abercrombie River NP (including Little Bald Hill). I used to own a Vitara but would take a Forester over it. You need all terrain tyres, some training and practice.
AnswerID: 554679

Reply By: Crusier 91 - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 08:25

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 08:25
Regardless which way you go, as mentioned, a 2" lift will help if you're wanting to go off road and beach.
I had a 1998 Mitsubishi Challenger as a second car to my Landcruiser. They are reliable and cheap for parts and repairs and not to bad for off road work. Models after 1998 changed rear suspension from leaf spring/shocks to conventional springs/shocks. They have enough power, I used to get approx 10L/100km around town. One in good condition can be purchased for a couple of grand under your budget.
Cheers
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Follow Up By: Crusier 91 - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 08:27

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 08:27
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Petrol model
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Reply By: Rangiephil - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 08:26

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 08:26
If you can find a good late Vitara with injection it would be good off road and on road.
Although a bit bigger a Sorento should also be good.
Regards Philip A
AnswerID: 554684

Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 09:07

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 09:07
Agree with the Vitara
A 4 door version gives you plenty of room for passengers and camping gear but they are still a small nimble car to drive
They have plenty of power as well with the little V6.

Nice little car that would suit your needs IMO
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Follow Up By: Bigfish - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 10:24

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 10:24
I could be wrong (so crucify me if I am ) but wasn't the early Vitara one of the most dangerous cars on the road from the point of view of accidents?
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Follow Up By: Bigfish - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 10:29

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 10:29
Where is the edit button. Up to 2000 the vitara was poor for safety. The grand vitara is good.
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 17:03

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 17:03
Yeah I only have experience with the Grand Vitara and it is a great little car
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Reply By: Sigmund - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 09:14

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 09:14
Manual SG Forester. Has a LSD and low range. Add alloy sump guard and good AT tyres.

I took mine on 3 outback trips inc. the standard tracks when classed as 4WD only and it went well. Has 20cm clearance and it can be lifted.
AnswerID: 554685

Reply By: Alloy c/t - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 09:37

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 09:37
Highlux dualcab ,,,,
AnswerID: 554687

Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 16:03

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 16:03
Agree - nothing too much wrong with something like this:

http://www.carsales.com.au/private/details/Toyota-Hilux-2002/SSE-AD-3401074/?Cr=2

or pay a bit more if you prefer Diesel:

http://www.carsales.com.au/private/details/Toyota-Hilux-2000/SSE-AD-3381700/?Cr=13
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 16:06

Reply By: Grumblebum and the Dragon - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 10:23

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 10:23
I can vote for the ruggedness of the little Suzuki Sierra's we had eight or nine that were used mainly for mustering cattle on a large outback station in WA. Cheap to buy for use and spares and can really take a hammering - either from the pro Jackeroos or Jillaroo's or the less knowledgeable backpackers who worked on the station.

Whilst not brilliant on the road they are certainly tough - bouncing out of deep ruts due to their light weight. Maybe you should have a look at the more recent models that may be a bit refined on the road.

John
AnswerID: 554690

Reply By: Dingojim - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 11:19

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 11:19
We have a 2011 Suzuki Jimny, aka Chook Chaser, that follows us around on a trailer. I will admit that they are on the small side but when it comes to a bit of bush bashing they are real nut busters. We have taken ours, and this will upset a few on the forum, where Tojos, Pajeros, Jackalose,etc did not make it. An early model Nissan was the only one which was still behind us when we got to Ruby Gap via the back way. Their lack of weight means losing traction occasionally and with the narrow tyres they do not perform well in sand but other than that and a dray like suspension system They are a real offroader. When I was researching vehicles to suit our needs I came across an article where a remote NW Qld mail contractor had used one for many years, clocking up over 65k clicks and had only replaced the front steering tie rod ends in all that time, no other repairs. This vehicle had never seen a sealed road. Ours has one bad habit, it's a magnet for grasshoppers which keeps my insurance company on the ball. Now I'll duck for cover while the big guns loose off.
AnswerID: 554692

Reply By: Member - Nutta - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 22:03

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 22:03
Hyundai terracan diesel, not sure on the money though, cheers.
AnswerID: 554768

Reply By: Fab72 - Friday, Jun 12, 2015 at 06:08

Friday, Jun 12, 2015 at 06:08
Hello Vicky,
Check out the Pajero "io". It's about the size of a 4 door Rav4. Plenty around that are cheap with low kms. They drive like a car on road, but off road they are a little weapon. 1.8 or 2.0 4 cylinder .. go the 2.0 ZR if you can find one.
Basically they run a Lancer engine with Triton running gear making them very reliable. I've had mine for some 5 years now and have been across the Simpson, along Googs track, through Dangalli conservation park, numerous trips through the Flinders, Saunders Gorge and Bendelbly ranges. Next year I hope to take on the Canning Stock Route.
Don't be mistaken thinking "Oh Pajero, I don't want one that big". It's not. They are NOT a grey import, just weren't very popular at the time because of their rugged-ness that people didn't like in smaller 4x4's. I guess hairdressers prefer Rav 4's.
The five door is the way to go (3 door is a bit small) which means you get the rear LSD, and they all have Mitsi's famous Super Select locking centre diff.
Check out a small clip of mine on the attached link. Plenty of info on the forum too.
Mitsi Pajero io ..... love that car.
My Pajero io taking on Big Red

Pajero io forum (still sold in Brazil, Europe and UK as a Pinin, TR4 and Montero)

Fab.
AnswerID: 555842

Follow Up By: Fab72 - Friday, Jun 12, 2015 at 06:22

Friday, Jun 12, 2015 at 06:22
See here for some examples of Pajero io's for sale.
My recommendation would be to get the 2.0L engine.

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Follow Up By: Fab72 - Friday, Jun 12, 2015 at 06:26

Friday, Jun 12, 2015 at 06:26
Try again with the links (it's 5am here!)

Car Sales

Gumby Tree

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