Choosing a 4wd to match my needs

Submitted: Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 14:01
ThreadID: 53347 Views:2406 Replies:9 FollowUps:1
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Hi, I am looking at buying my first serious 4wd to complete a series of camping and road trips within Australia. There are a lot of cars on the market, and a lot of opinions. I currently have a Nissan Xtrail, and the word is I would be fine in going to something like Frazier Island etc, but I would like to drive the Birdsville Track, go to the rock, I am also looking st some thing like cape york. Potentially we would be relatively inexpirenced, and possibly travelling as a single car in some of the easier trips.
I have done a trip down the track already, and know for sure my Xtrail could not have managed any of the muddy tracks we encountered. I am looking around the $25k mark a little less and more. Plus I do want something that would midrange economical if driven day to day. I would appreciate any assistance or information. Diesel Petrol? Nissan, Toyota, Mitsub, Ute ?
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Reply By: Kumunara (NT) - Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 14:18

Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 14:18

You would be surprised where your Xtrail would go. I have seen one driving on wet clay and I was surprised.
The Birdsville Track is a dirt road - the Xtrail would do it.
The rock is all bitumen - any car would do it.
Cape York (Depends on the route)

Most makes these days are good - there is such a variety of vehicles on the market that they have to in order to be competetive.

I like my Patrol. Another person will dislike the Patrol. It is up to your own taste and what you require. I am a fairly large person and find a Patrol comfortable.

Are you going to tow? For towing I prefer a diesel.

Do you want a wagon or a ute?

For $25k you should be able to find a reasonable vehicle.
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AnswerID: 280984

Reply By: Willem - Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 14:21

Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 14:21
Your Xtrail will get to Birdsville (BVT good gravel road) and the Rock...bitumen all the way. Fraser Island might have problems as Xtrail has low clearance and some trackes have deep ruts.

Look around for a last model diesel Toyota 80 series or Nissan GQ series or a petrol Pajero ( all late 1990's) for around $15,000 to $20,000.

Alternatively there are smaller vehicles such as Toyota 4Runner, Holden Rodeo, Holden Jackaroo(now discontinued), Nissan Pathfinder etc

AnswerID: 280985

Reply By: Member - Troll 81 (QLD) - Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 14:49

Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 14:49
Everyone is going to talk up their own cars. But I guess you need to work out how long are you going to be on the road for? how long are you going to stay at one spot? Do you need fridges etc etc there are so many things to think about. I like the 4.5 Patrols, they have plenty of grunt but they are not the most economical car out there. You have heaps of space inside the cabin to do pretty much what ever you want. We went to Stradbroke Island last year and a mate took his extrail over and I was very impressed with it's 4x4 off-road capabilities in soft sand.

Good luck
AnswerID: 280993

Reply By: Stephen M (NSW) - Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 15:59

Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 15:59
As mentioned above your xtrail would be quit capable of going to the places you have mentioned. If not after as some thing as big as the patrols and cruisers mentioned and looking for some thing a little bit bigger then the xtrail dont forget the 95 series prado. If fuel usage is a major concern then go the diesel. Steve M
AnswerID: 281010

Reply By: Crackles - Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 17:11

Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 17:11
A late model diesel 90 series Prado may possibly fit your bill. Quite a capable vehicle offroad for trips like the Cape but still reasonably economical & handles well on both dirt roads & the tar. They have respectable ground clearance, a reasonable storage area and are a reliable car that spare parts can easily be sourced in remote areas.
Although others have suggested you could take your Xtrail to places like the Cape there's no doubt when loaded up it would struggle & most likely sustain damage. Now sounds like the right time to upgrade.
Something like this KZJ95R GXL Wagon 8st 4dr Man 5sp 4x4 3.0DT is in your price range.
In case you are not familiar this is the 90 series Landcruiser
Cheers Craig.............
AnswerID: 281024

Reply By: Member - Linda M (VIC) - Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 18:27

Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 18:27
Did the Birdsville Track and Fraser Is in August and based on conditions then the X-trail would be fine for Birdsville. Conditions do change of course. It was like a highway when I went. Ground clearance could be an issue on Fraser so maybe just a suspension lift on the x-trail will get you the right compromise for both day to day and trip use.
AnswerID: 281045

Follow Up By: Member - Linda M (VIC) - Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 18:43

Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 18:43
By the way, I have a rodeo 4x4 and it goes everywhere and I'm really happy with it. Re: inexperience: I would recommend the 4x4 driving courses, especially if you are travelling just with one vehicle. You could do the course in the x-trail just to find out a bit more about the capabilities and limitations of the vehicle. It was a good investment for me.
FollowupID: 545369

Reply By: Member - Barnesy (SA) - Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 20:03

Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 20:03
If economy is an issue then the 4 cylinder turbo diesels are good. Things like hilux, navara, courier etc.

Just be aware of their limitations and aren't as tough in extreme situations as Cruisers or Patrols. But they definitely have more off road ability than what you have now.

AnswerID: 281063

Reply By: REV'S - Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 21:10

Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 21:10
Hi wheelinchek,
I suggest you join a local 4x4 club, members have a lot of knowledge and experience on the various points you have brought up. They also conduct driver training courses all included in your joining fee. You may even be lucky enough to tag along on a trip or two into the outback. Good luck and happy travelling.
AnswerID: 281079

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian (SA) - Saturday, Jan 12, 2008 at 10:01

Saturday, Jan 12, 2008 at 10:01
We've had 3 fourbies to date (Mazda Bravo 4 door ute - Jackaroo - LC100) - my pick for your budget would be a common rail diesel 4WD ute - stay with the mainstream brands - pick a good one and look after it, and it can take you just about anywhere (driven well that is :-o).
AnswerID: 281160

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