Soft Roader

Submitted: Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 12:59
ThreadID: 32737 Views:2617 Replies:9 FollowUps:3
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Hi All

Am looking at selling or trading my Jackaroo TD (now live in City and don't really do much "real" 4wding since moving down from Broome).

I would still like something I could take down the odd bush track and on the beach. Have been looking at a number of soft-roaders, and have so far narrowed it down to the Hyudai Santa Fe, the KIA Sorento or the Mazda Tribute. Anyone had much experience with these models? What are they like for servicing, reliability, driveability?

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Reply By: stevesub - Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 13:11

Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 13:11
Any would do the job. We have a V6 Freelander that will shortly be up for sale that will do the job as it has done so many many times and if you have a problem, we have a winch fitted - also a skid plate to get you over those high bits withour expensive damage.

The Freelander has been replaced with a Rangie and we also have a Troopy so it is now redundant.

We are in Brisbane (well will be when we get back from overseas around the end of the month).

AnswerID: 166149

Reply By: AdlelaideGeorge - Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 13:17

Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 13:17
I wrote off a Tribute. I walked a beach before driving onto it- drove carefully onto the beach - the car's front wheels sunk into the sand either side of a 'submerged' (under sand) strip of sedimentay rock - the rock just hit the front engine mount (it's a transverse engine and it has a front mount to stop any 'flexing' under power) - that mount broke off the engine block - the piece of rock that the engine mount broke off then tumble under the vehicle eventually doing $15,000 (yes $15K) PARTS ONLY damage to underneath the engine.
My opinion: they are great vehicles but be very very careful if you ever take it truly off-road. It's not designed for it - there is vitually no underbody protection and the most vulnerable parts are easily damaged.
AnswerID: 166151

Reply By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 14:38

Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 14:38
Go the Kia Sorento, only one of the ones you nominated with full chassis and decent (any!!!) low range.

Wait a few months until the new model comes out, going with a 3.3 litre DOHC v6 motor similar (from?) to the motor used in the Hyundai Sonata, also possibly T-diesel too. Current model uses old tech 3.5 litre from the last of the non-IRS Mitsubishi Pajeros (ie old!) which is reknown for drinking like a fish.
AnswerID: 166166

Follow Up By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 14:53

Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 14:53
You've only got to need low range once for it to be a worthwhile investment...

Also has everything tucked up nice and high, with real metal bashplates, not "appearance only" plastic.
FollowupID: 421089

Follow Up By: The Explorer - Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 16:49

Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 16:49
Yes I would get something with low range as well - currently I (sometimes) run a RAV 4 (with centre diff same as high range 4WD in a "real" 4WD) - it goes well in relatively smooth country where ground clearance/wheel articulation is not an issue but without low range clutch can get a bit smelly when going gets tuff
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FollowupID: 421107

Reply By: Mark T - Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 18:00

Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 18:00
Well, aftermany years (over 30) of owning "real 4wds" like Suzukis, Daihatsus and Land Rovers etc I now have a Hyundai Tucson. I have had a small likft kit fitted 30mm front and 50mm rear and also slightly larger Tyres. (Cooper ATR).

I have just come back from a week on Fraser island where everybody I met asked me how on earth I got it there. It was fine on the inland tracks and didn't scrape its belly once. (As a matter of fact, if you look at hyundai's Australian web site it shows (possibly incorrectly) that the Tucson has a higher ground clearance than a Terracan!)

While I like "real 4wds" the Tucson for me is good value for money with all the fruit for around 35K and is great around town too. My only gripe is poor fuel economy if you drive it hard. (I seem to all the time!) While it will not go everywhere a "real 4wd" can go, it goes most places I want to go and the auto goes some way towards offsetting the lack of low range.

I would recommend you look at a Tucson, I chose mine over a BMW X3.


Mark T
AnswerID: 166209

Reply By: disco driver - Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 19:03

Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 19:03
Hi Baldivis Boy and all,

Just a thought, why hasn't anyone mentioned the Subaru Forester manual.
It's no where near as soft as you think, comes with a low range of sorts and is relatively fuel efficient (9-10km/litre)
AnswerID: 166220

Follow Up By: Baldivis Boy - Tuesday, Apr 18, 2006 at 13:28

Tuesday, Apr 18, 2006 at 13:28
Thanks Disco Driver

Has anyone out there had experiences with the Forester. Took a look on the weekend and liked what I saw.
FollowupID: 422752

Reply By: V8Diesel - Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 19:22

Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 19:22
Did a bit of 4x4'ing in a Kia Sorento last year. Surprisingly capable and well mannered vehicle IMHO. I had no problems with it at all.
AnswerID: 166221

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Apr 11, 2006 at 00:47

Tuesday, Apr 11, 2006 at 00:47
"Trade the Jack in on a Hyundai Santa Fe"

Not me!

You already have a capable 4WD and with the turbo diesel, an economical one.

I hired a Hyundai Santa Fe when I was up in FNQ, late last year. Drove the Bloomfield Track and it was OK, but I wouldn't compare its capabilities, or the build quality with that of the Jack.

I guess it depends on what you want out of a 4WD. The Hyundai for instance, doesn't have a low range. This will restrict 4WD capabilities somewhat.

Up to you, but you already have a good vehicle that will take you almost anywhere.


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AnswerID: 166332

Reply By: Member - Bradley- Tuesday, Apr 11, 2006 at 01:28

Tuesday, Apr 11, 2006 at 01:28
Keep the jack, the way the car market is at the moment you will lose a massive amount of cash changing over.

BUt if you must downgrade, go the kia, i hired a santa fe last year up in qld for a week and couldnt believe how gutless it was, an absolute slug, and it used heaps more juice than my v6 jackaroo, very dissapointing.

my tip - buy a second set of rims and some bridgestone road based tyres for the jack, so it will ride real nice around town, and enjoy the best of both worlds.
AnswerID: 166337

Reply By: SimonW - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 15:18

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 15:18
Hi Baldivis boy,
We have owned Fj40 / Fj75's / Jackaroo / Subi Outback over the last 20 years of 4wd & last year needed to start the research process for the next successor. We were at the time hell bent on getting a new Prado, until we drove a 05 Sorento & liked it's all around ability, & price.
We knew at the time of purchase that the suspension & tyres would need to be addressed from the start (like most 4wd). We enjoy getting away for regular weekend medium level track off road track work. We installed pedders springs front & rear (45mm lift) & approx $80 per corner & simple job, then we installed Koni from adjustable struts & BF-Goodrich AT next size up 255X70 (10mm lift), since then it has done 31,000km in 10months, including the oonadatta / merinie loop all parts of the Victoria high country & all this with a Kanga trailer behind it most of the time.

Overall this is the most civil 4wd we have owned to date, & at a cost to enjoy. We have LSD/leather/sunroof/6 stacker/climate/cruise & a sprited engine to make it a joy to drive.

Now that is the positive side.

All this comes at some compromise;
1). In 2wd the LDS is lively on dirt & wet roads, I guess we become use to the Subi in this respect for sure footedness, but this can be resolved with respect in these conditions, however the current crop of 4wd with all road mode would over come this, it just depends on your prioities & I like the simple approach.

2). Fuel comsumption. Forget the crap in the brochures or on web sites, in reality it is worse in our experiance.
city expect around 15/100km, highway 12-13/100km, highway & loaded camper trailer 16-18/100km, offroad 18-20/100km. This is in 5 speed auto format, i'm sure the manual 5 speed would knock a easy litre per 100 of these figures.

3). The only bug bear we have is the 5 speed auto has a hesitation on 2nd to 3rd gear on medium acceleration, this is something that Kia have acknowleged & working on finding a solution for in a proactive way.

At the time of purchase the new Pathie was not available as that would have be the perfect fit for us, however I have no regrets with the Sorento as it is a confortable car like 4wd with the ability to get away to the real world spots with the sacrific of city ability.

I hope this helps, regards Simon.

AnswerID: 170030

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