Buying a 4wd ute.... which one?

Submitted: Monday, Oct 12, 2015 at 22:37
ThreadID: 130577 Views:3119 Replies:12 FollowUps:12
This Thread has been Archived
Looking to buy a 4WD ute, but unsure which is the best. I tow a 2.5t light off road van and are going to do the Gibb River road next year and travel down the West coast for 3 months. Wanting to fit roof racks to carry a second spare and Oz tent. I've been advised to get an auto. Not sure about a Ranger, BT50, Hilux or a DMax?

Help... Leigh
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Notso - Monday, Oct 12, 2015 at 22:41

Monday, Oct 12, 2015 at 22:41
Put a new Mitsubishi Triton on the list as well! Not biased at all, own a BT50.
AnswerID: 591519

Follow Up By: Member - Rambo Ambo - Monday, Oct 12, 2015 at 22:44

Monday, Oct 12, 2015 at 22:44
One a my friends has one and loves it.. he too tows a van.
FollowupID: 859556

Follow Up By: Notso - Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 07:45

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 07:45
Yeah, I had the 2006 model, the first of the new shape. Loved it. Saw the new model the other day and it's certainly got more style than any of the others around. Not too sure about this trend towards smaller and smaller engine size though?
FollowupID: 859562

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 10:02

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 10:02
Check the fuel consumption figures. The last Triton's pretty thirsty in practice; the 2.5 l engine has to work pretty hard when towing.
The D-Max diesel is simple, strong and frugal.Well proven.
FollowupID: 859566

Follow Up By: Jackolux - Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 16:28

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 16:28
Are you getting a Dual Cab , if do a web search for broken / bent chassis , especially Tritons .
FollowupID: 859577

Reply By: Member - Chooky and Wobble - Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 00:08

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 00:08
Doesnt matter which one you get if its auto look at transmission cooler option. Ive seen a few dead auto ones if towing heavy loads especially in hard going or hills. Ive been happy with BT50 but its a personal choice.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 591522

Reply By: cruiser 3 - Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 07:55

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 07:55
To tow 2.5 tonnes there is only one choice in my opinion and that is a Toyota Landcruiser. I have owned an 80 series auto and towed 2.5 tonnes easily with no problems in heavy going like deep sand or rough tracks even with the van on. I currently own a new dual cab of the Colorado, Isuzu, triton type but only tow 2 tonnes. This vehicle is great on the highway but once bogged in sand it had difficulties, I worried that I might burn out the clutch another time when I had to stop on a steep section of road it was hard to take off again. The small turbo diesels are great but nothing beats bigger motors.
Unfortunately I couldn't afford my choice of vehicle a Toyota 70 series.
Why pay $57000 for a Ranger when for not much more you could get a 70 series.(about $68000)
Tritons are great value for money at $30000. BT 50 auto at about $50000 would most probably be good middle of the road IE biggest motor of the range and a fair bit less than the Toyota if like me the budget won't allow buying the best.
AnswerID: 591530

Follow Up By: Member - Rosco from way back - Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 10:03

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 10:03
Gotta agree with you there. Having owned a smaller capacity unit in the past, you certainly have to drive them hard with the revs up and stirring through the gears to get through any sticky spots, on or off road. Drop your revs and loose boost and you're buggered. They suit a lot of people for various reasons and good for them, but for my money the larger capacity makes for far more effortless driving if you're towing anything over 1 tonne.
FollowupID: 859567

Follow Up By: Whirlwinder - Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 12:55

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 12:55
I agree with the Landcruiser suggestion. I had an 80 series diesel but when I got the Kimberely I bought a 76 series V8 diesel. More grunt than I need and heavy going sand is nothing to worry about BUT only manual box available.
I don't like revving the daylights out of a small engine trying to make it do what a big engine does easily.
I can't see too many 2.5l diesels doing 500000 kms.
"Ain't no substitute for cubes" as the saying goes.
FollowupID: 859570

Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 17:59

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 17:59
Have you had a look at the thickness of the springs and chassis under the Toyota 70 series – chalk and cheese when compared to the lighter utes – I’m not mentioning manufacturers as some may take offence.
I have seen examples where people compensate for these lighter suspensions, for towing, by adding air bags and subsequently crack their chassis.
That puts a lot of stress on a chassis in offroad situations - Better off paying the extra for a 70 series.
FollowupID: 859582

Follow Up By: Nutta - Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 19:11

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 19:11
I dont know why people persist with manual tds when an auto is what is really needed in the small engines, especially when towing.

I got bogged on sand in my Colorado and pulled out my 2 tonne van no problems, auto of course.

Have to agree though, "there aint no substitute for cubic inches"!!
FollowupID: 859583

Follow Up By: gbc - Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015 at 08:07

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015 at 08:07
For the real humans out there, we are putting twin 3.2 auto xl rangers on the road with bulbar, winch, canopy, towbar, tinting, seat covers, h.d. Roof racks front and rear, and floor mats for $52k all done and registered. We get silver fleet discount so that's about $7k from recommended retail. An xlt is $6k more. It isn't a small hop to a twin cab cruiser with the same options, it's a gaping maw. Add to that they have pretty much identical power/torque (ranger stronger by a tiny margin) and an auto box and you start to see why they are so popular.
FollowupID: 859597

Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015 at 11:23

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015 at 11:23
There is nothing wrong with the Ranger – my mates got one and loves it.
He drives a 70 series on a mine site and his company won’t touch the lighter 4WD’s.
His opinion is that they cost them more in repairs and maintenance under hazardous conditions.
But not everyone needs something as durable as the cruiser.
Being a real human you might prefer the comfort of the Ranger for your purpose.
FollowupID: 859610

Reply By: Sigmund - Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 10:03

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 10:03
Autos are very good these days IMO. Make long drives easy and the torque converter gives you a bit of extra grunt.
AnswerID: 591533

Reply By: Dennis Ellery - Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 10:45

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 10:45
You can’t beat a large diesel with high torque at low revs, if you are towing a heavy van through the hills or other heavy going. The Toyota 70 series is pretty good and has a flat torque curve reaching maximum torque at 1200 revs.
AnswerID: 591536

Reply By: 671 - Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 10:54

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 10:54

I agree with those who have suggested a bigger ute for 2.5 tons off road. The lighter ones may do it do it but it will not be easy in some conditions.

Before you buy anything, check with the manufacturer (not a dealer) about any restrictions on off road towing capacities or the use of a WDH. Some say a WDH is essential above a certain ball weight but they are not suitable in all off road conditions.

I know for certain that Land Rover restricts their off road towing capacity to 1500 kg for the Defender. That is down from 3500 kg on road.

As a general rule, in the interests of safety and vehicle reliability, both towing and carrying capacities should be reduced as road conditions deteriorate. Few people take any notice of this but a lot more than just a few have had major mechanical and vehicle structural problems in the bush.
AnswerID: 591537

Reply By: Ron N - Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 12:07

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 12:07
Leigh - IMO, the D-Max would provide adequate ability, for the monetary outlay, to tow 2.5 tonnes regularly, with some modest off-roading thrown in.
However, if you're planning trips through country where the "road" is really only a track, with deep sand patches and boggy conditions, then a larger outfit is going to be needed.

Despite agreeing with the others above who reckon a Landcruiser is needed, the major problem for many people is trying to swallow the major difference in pricing between a Landcruiser, and the other brands that have 4 cyl engines.
The biggest single problem is that a straight 6 cylinder diesel engine of around 4 litres is ideal for the stated task, but straight 6 cylinder 4L diesel engines are now non-existent in new 4WD's, and the jump to a 4.5L V8 diesel only means higher fuel costs when lightly loaded.

Also, be aware that every manufacturer has jumped on the 3500kg towing ability bandwagon.
There are many caveats that apply to this maximum towing capacity - and the all-up weight of the tow vehicle when loaded, is crucial to finding out exactly what a manufacturers maximum towing recommendation actually is, for the particular scenario.

IMO, all the current 4 cyl 4WD's really should be limited to around a 2500kg tow, because there's a big difference between towing 2500kg and towing 3500kg.
The important factor is just how much you are carrying in your tow vehicle - and many 4WD's towing heavy trailers/vans on the road today, are loaded to the max, as regards the actual vehicle.

There's an excellent "write-up" in the article below about towing, maximum towing abilities, and numerous other conditions that need to be factored in, when buying a 4WD and setting it up for serious towing.

Cheers, Ron.

Why a 3500kg tow rating may not be a 3500kg tow rating
AnswerID: 591540

Follow Up By: Member - Blue M - Friday, Oct 16, 2015 at 04:49

Friday, Oct 16, 2015 at 04:49
Thanks for that link, some interesting reading in all that. Filled my night in Lol.

FollowupID: 859681

Reply By: Slow one - Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 12:16

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 12:16
From someone who tows a 2.5t van with a 3.2 ranger auto, it does it easy and has so for the last 60000K. It has plenty of power and is very capable off-road. These are not like the older smaller capacity engined utes and just cruises along. I would go for the auto as the gearing in the ranger is excellent and a lot of strain is taken from the driveline.

I have driven a lot of 70 series cruisers and while they are a great capable and strong unit, they are a workhorse. Base price is very high for what you get but they will last.

Rangers and BT50's are not $57000 as stated earlier unless you go to the top end units. Here is the pricing guide and review of the new one.
Mk2 Ranger price and review

Don't think you can go past a BT50/Ranger or D-max as an on or off-road tug at that tow weight.

All the best with choosing your new unit
AnswerID: 591541

Reply By: Grizzle - Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 13:49

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 13:49
The Ranger is 5 cyinder

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 591546

Reply By: Sigmund - Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 17:56

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 17:56
Does it have to be a ute?
There's some advantages in going for a wagon. Of course if you've got to carry trade gear a tub or tray may be the best way.
But if most of your driving isn't going to involve carrying half a tonne or more of stuff then you'll be living with a generally harsher ride, the hassle of dust proofing a canopy plus the business of always reaching in while leaning over.
Just a thought.
AnswerID: 591556

Reply By: Winner W - Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 19:18

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015 at 19:18
My Ranger Wildtrak auto has just done 100 000 km . Done Old Telegraph track and Simpson desert all on our own. Do heaps of off road and beach driving. My boys tow my 2.5 ton boat once a month 1200 km to dive the GBReef. Add their gear and 4 big guys and the Ranger gets 14 l/100km at 110 km/hr. That 3.2 motor is happy at 1700 refs and tows great.We love travelling on our own and trust the ute. No other ute has the drivers seat that I love. No dust in cabin from Cairns to Top and back. Original suspension only replaced now.No rattles inside.My son just got his Xlt as he has seen mine used. If I need a ute for a farm the Cruiser will be it. But weekdays I drive the city traffic and just love the comforts and even the wife loves driving it. The Dmax is a good second option. Enjoy the research and drive them all. In the end your needs and likes are different to mine or a Cruiser driver.
AnswerID: 591560

Reply By: swampy - Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015 at 10:48

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015 at 10:48
hi ,
Ford auto transmissions are like a lucky dip . There is definitely issues with Pj/Pk and Px autos
Ford warranty just plane sucks . Ford denies any issues HaHa joke cough rolling on floor .
Advice on tow capacity ,buy a vehicle that has a high towing capacity without the use of level bars ,then add as required .Always buy with the largest gross towing spec .
Try and avoid the small diesels as they have little bottom end [low rpm ] torque . Most makers are shrinking engine size and lifting the peak point of torque and hp .
Typically this results in an engine having to be revved more for the same acceleration .
The Toyota new lux is smaller engine but the peaks are up . So much for Toyota listening to there customers .ITS THE BIGGEST PIECE OF MARKETING B#####S..T
Still buy the yota over the ranger .
yotas get reversing cameras across the range [warm and fuzzy feeling ]
Toyota are forcing its cust to buy Lcruiser .


AnswerID: 591589

Follow Up By: Slow one - Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015 at 16:01

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015 at 16:01
There is a problem with PJ auto boxes but not the PX. Yes, people have broken PX boxes but then again people have broken everything in vehicles of all makes.

There are no known common faults with the PX rangers except the smart charge that can be disabled on the late 2011 to 1014 PX rangers. The latest ones have had the smart charge software modified.

FollowupID: 859624

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (11)