4wd for my daughter

Submitted: Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 16:51
ThreadID: 19035 Views:2707 Replies:14 FollowUps:7
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my daughter wants a new 4wdin the $30k-$40k to do beach work as well as onroad looking at the rav 4 could you please give me the fors and against as well as what other vehicles to look at safety a main feature as will be carrying a baby thanks.
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Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 18:04

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 18:04
Suzuki Vitara.
Millions of accessories available off the shelf, places know them inside out, good offroad... good onroad... Heaps of Zook specialists THEY HAVE LOW RANGE..
AnswerID: 91126

Follow Up By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 18:55

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 18:55
...not to mention an air intake that is more than 1 cm off the ground. I would suggest steering away from Rav4, CRV, X-Trail, Tribute/Escape and the likes. As Bruce said SHOULD HAVE LOW RANGE you've only got to need it once (if you need a reminder of that there is a pub near/on Fraser with photos of what beach driving can do, even when you do have low range...not a pretty sight by all accounts)

Of course I have to say it, you could also consider a s/h 2000+ Kia Sportage if youneed a little more room in the rear, the $ change will give you 2 first class tickets overseas + spending money.

XL-7 not really too good for beach work, too low with a very long wheelbase.
FollowupID: 349705

Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 18:50

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 18:50
As Truckster says the Suzuki would fit the bill perfectly, theres even a 4door jobbie available now in that price range, and its got low range too. The Rav4 looks good on the road but with the sand work I wouldnt venture too far in it, and if theres some small arms and legs in there I would like to have a better than even chance of getting to the other end of the sand like the Zook provides.
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AnswerID: 91138

Reply By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 19:02

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 19:02
Safety is more about HOW you drive, rather than WHAT you drive.

If she intends on getting off the bitumen, get her to take some form of 4WD driver training.
AnswerID: 91142

Reply By: The Explorer - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 19:15

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 19:15
Hello - I use a RAV4 (older model) for work and occasionally "play" if need be. Beach work/sand tracks are generally not be a problem but of course there are some situations that will catch you out due to vehicle limitations, mainly ground clearance and no low range. Main problem is probably lack of low range as you can be tempted to give the clutch a bit of a workout (not only in sand). Can be solved partially by lowering tyre pressures (standard procedure anyway..though you can get lazy with light car) and some extra momentum, but if a lot of very soft sand is expected in the long term take it easy especially with any sort of a load on board.

The older RAV model also came standard with centre diff lock (ie same as “proper” high range) – I think the newer models lack this as standard and maybe it’s not even an option?...With out it, when any single wheel leaves the ground you stop.

When the time comes I probably get a small 4WD with low range. Haven’t done any research into what is best/available so cant help you there. Do Landrover Freelanders have low range?

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AnswerID: 91144

Reply By: Member - Jimbo (VIC) - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 21:27

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 21:27
At this money there are a couple of "smokeys" to include on your list.

Kia Sorento and Hyundai Terracan. Both 3.5L V6 and chew juice accordingly.

Both ladder frame chassis and low range gearing.

Both far more competent off road than Rav, X Trail, Freelander etc.

Sorento 3 year warranty, Terracan 5 year warranty.

Sorento 5 seat, Terracan 7 seat.

Sorento very modern stylish look, Terracan a bit "boxy" and boring to look at.

Both have lots of standard features.

As for safety they are both built in the traditional 4wd style and will win a "head on" with a sedan if this is your concern.

Hope to have been of some help.



AnswerID: 91174

Follow Up By: guy (sydney) - Friday, Jan 28, 2005 at 09:26

Friday, Jan 28, 2005 at 09:26
hey jimbo
were in the market for a new fourby and are looking at the terracan (not the highlander) how is it 4wdriving ability and also have you needed any dealings with hyundais warranty at all i was told thats its great no crappy exceptions and theyre quick to respond to claims. other than that it looks a good vehicle and suits our needs exactly.
FollowupID: 354082

Reply By: green man - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 21:33

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 21:33
don't forget the Mitsubishi Challenger

Seperate chassis
low range
its basicaly a Triton with a coil strung rear end
AnswerID: 91175

Follow Up By: slyonnet - Wednesday, Jan 05, 2005 at 17:24

Wednesday, Jan 05, 2005 at 17:24
I was gonna say the same thing but Green Man was on the ball.

I was in a similar situation last year looking at a new 4wd for $30 to $40k for the arrival of the baby. I got a challenger for several reasons:

1- could not fit the baby seat in the old ford courier extra cab ute.
2- comparing with vehicles in the same categoy (suzuky L7, Ford Explorer, Jeep Cherockee, Toyota Prado,...) it looked to me like the best deal when considering 4wd capacity for money.
3- the specs looked pretty good for the type of 4wdriving I do (beach/sand in soft area sometimes and rock/hill): low range, V6 engine, LSD at teh rear, good clearance and departure/attack angles.
4- Leg room at the back is good. Some of the competitors were pretty poor on that point and when looking at the 7 seater Suzuky L7, the second and 3rd row of seats are not offering much room. Unless you need 7 seats I don't see the point of getting squashed in the back and lose some space in the cargo area. Try to put your prom in there and then do a bit of shopping and you will quickly regret you had 7 seats.
5- The wife liked it and she would not have let me buy a 4by that would not have got good looks for her. Lucky I had come to the conclusion the Challenger was the best option for us for the budget we had!

I haven't regretted that choice (apart from the fact that I couldn't afford the Patrol I was dreaming about) and have taken it to the beach several times without any trouble even in the soft where I would have struggled before witht the Courier. On the road it handles very well and I am quite happy with the fuel consumption.
The only drawback is that this vehicle is not very well known, probably because it doesn't get much advertised by Mitsubishi (don't know why because it deserves it) and as such there is fewer choices for aftermarket accessories, but it is the same for some of the cars mentioned in that post and from what you're looking at doing with it it should be OK.

Hope that helps and good luck with your selection.

FollowupID: 350014

Reply By: cj - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 21:35

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 21:35
If she's in no rush I believe the new Suzuki Grand Vitara should be out later in the year and its styling is a little like a Rav 4.
AnswerID: 91176

Follow Up By: cj - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 21:36

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 21:36
And with the 2.7 V6 from the XL-7.
FollowupID: 349751

Reply By: drivesafe - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 23:16

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 23:16
Hi rum pig, have you entered a mine field. I have been doing exactly the same search for the same reason.
My daughter had her heart set on a Rav 4, so we took a new one for a test drive. We won’t be back. The Rav and the CRV are really poorly finished and the CRV was not the most comfortably handling vehicle I have ever driven.
I’m a Landy fan so we had a test drive of a new Freelander. They are well finished, handling was great but you would want to be a midget. They are just to small inside. There reliability is a bit of a wary too.
With out a doubt, the classiest soft roader we came across BY FAR, was the Forester.
The best thing you can do is what we have been doing for months. Go and test drive everything you can get your hans on and then do some research on things like resale value, long term reliability and so on.
The best 2 we have found, after lots of snooping, are the Rav 4 and the Forester and as the Forester is the best finished, in all the research I have done so far the Forester is in front by a mile.
A word of warning, if you are intending to keep the vehicle for a while, as we are planning to, the cheaper soft roaders are just that.
But this is just my opinion.
Cheers and have fun.
AnswerID: 91197

Follow Up By: drivesafe - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 00:24

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 00:24
A foot note to my earlier posting.

A mate of mine use to test drive for one of the 4X4 mags and about 4 or 5 years ago, he and 9 other drivers took 5 soft roaders away for a weekend. They managed to break the Forester but what they did would have broken any of the other 4x4s if put in the same situation.

ALL 10 DRIVERS voted the Forester as the best on and off road vehicle and most preferred the interior of the Forester.

Funny thing though, when the article came out, the drivers opinions had been ignored and the vehicle with the most adds was voted number one out of the 5.

Before anyone says anything, the article was 4 or 5 years ago so thing may have changed.
FollowupID: 349768

Reply By: Extreme RAVer - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 23:28

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 23:28
Hi there,

Just thought I'd throw my 2 cents worth in regarding the suitability of a RAV as I own one and use it offroad.

I've found the RAV to be great for me as I was after a daily driver for city driving with occasional freeway jaunts as well as something that could get me away from it all of a weekend. When I was looking for a vehicle, I looked at both the Grand Vitara and the RAV. I decided on the RAV as I felt it was a newer design and had a far more versatile, comfortable and roomy interior than the GV (I'm 6 foot 1) as well as being more fun to drive.

I have a 3dr manual RAV which is very car-like to drive, ie; zippy around town but able to fly along the freeway easily at legal speeds. As for driving on sand, I take mine on the beach at least every second month and have found it to be both very capable and lots of fun. I have showed up many a so called real 4wd both on the beach and in the bush. I have found that dropping the tyre pressures to about 15 PSI on the beach alows me to go pretty much anywhere on the beach. I usually go to Stockton Beach (Newcastle, NSW) which can be very soft and I've only been stuck once. Key things I have done are to have a 40mm Old Man Emu lift kit put under the RAV along with slightly larger All Terrain tyres as the main problem I had was clearance. I've also taken the RAV bush and played in mud and on rocky tracks and have traversed tracks that other vehicles have had to be winched through. As others have said tho, it also has a lot to do with the nut behind the wheel and I have done 4wd courses and always go out with guys who have more experience than me - you're always learning.

Hope that my rant has helped from an owners perspective. Below are a few links to pics of the RAV in action.

Lifted RAV

Beach RAV 01

Beach RAV 02

RAV recovering Zook

Muddy RAV


AnswerID: 91200

Follow Up By: hoyks - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 09:49

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 09:49
I must agree with Extreme RAVer that the Rav is very capable on sand and a lot of other surfaces as well. And as others will testify, it is quite demoralising trying to make it up a dune while some clown in a Rav4 does cicles around you.
And thanks for not posting the pics of you towing me out too.
FollowupID: 349783

Reply By: Extreme RAVer - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 23:35

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 23:35
I too looked at the Forester but decided that the long front and rear overhangs were more likely to get hung-up for what I wanted to do.


AnswerID: 91202

Reply By: ev700 - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 00:19

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 00:19
I know you specified new however a number of females in my extended family swear by auto Pajeros. There are good secondhand ones around that never went off road and they seem bullet proof.

I'm into Cruisers so i hope I can claim some independence in the above advice ;-)
AnswerID: 91206

Reply By: kiss'n'dirt - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 10:13

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 10:13
The Vitara is a fantastic vehicle... however, it's a large sum of money and she needs to be happy with what she gets. If she likes the RAV4, then buy the RAV4. There's nothing wrong with the RAV 4.

I've been to Fraser 15 times now, 16th trip coming up very soon. There's plenty of Rav's on the island. no offense to the rest of you but some things are really over hyped. The Rav is a brilliant vehicle and better built than the Vitara. Worth more if she wants to sell it as well. She needs to drive both and see which one shes likes.

It doesn't have low range but when you consider the power to weight ratio of the vehicle, i don't think it needs low range. I've seen them power through the indian head track where the sand is knee deep. no probs because of the weight.
on many occassions i've needed to pull l/c's out because 1. too bloody heavy 2. tyres not let down and 3. drivers who think they can go anywhere because they drive a l/c...

If she runs proper tyre pressures, she shouldn't need low range. if she does get stuck, there's plenty of people that can help and snatch her out.

I personally would buy the RAV. i've driven both and the RAV is a nicer vehicle. but i own a patrol..
AnswerID: 91236

Reply By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 19:01

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 19:01
doesnt matter what tye of 4by she gets it will never be stuck long bogged chicks can cause fist fights frow guys wanting to tow them out. 3 of the girls from work (and 1 guy) got bogged and the nearest mine site sent a grader 60km to tow then out. Sad but true. We neede a radiator cleaned out at Norseman and the girl I worked with went to send me to the garage to get it done When I asked her how we were going to pay she looked at me funny and said nah they do it for free surely? only if you ask was the reply. She asked and the job was done for free
AnswerID: 91308

Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Victoria) - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 19:07

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 19:07
LOL....next time I'm putting on a short skirt, stockings and high heels
FollowupID: 349865

Reply By: BurnieM - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 19:33

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 19:33
Personally I would recommend a Grand Vitara but then I have one :)

I have seen RAV 4 perform well on a beach when driven appropriately.
The light weight is a real plus. Lack of low range is a minus but the light weight puts it ahead of some traditional 4WD such as Landcruiser and Patrol (on sand).

I believe the Tribute/Escape and Forester are also reasonable if driven appropriately (and tyre pressures lowered).

The only vehicle I would not recommend (on any offroad surface) is the CRV.
The front wheel drive with the rear only kicking in when the front slips will get you into a lot of trouble with the CRV.
You are literally better off with a (rear wheel drive) station wagon.
AnswerID: 91312

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