Patrol or Cruiser under 20K??

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 18:29
ThreadID: 56243 Views:3830 Replies:11 FollowUps:19
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Can anyone help me pick which one to buy? I want to spend up to $20k though less would be nice, prob at auction. There seem to be so many different Landcruisers around, 80 series, 100 series, Prado, what does it all mean??? And the Patrols, are they better or cheaper? How many kms on the clock is too many?
Planning to drive around Australia from Sydney, anticlockwise, this July and be back for October

I am iinterested in the following attributes:

Able to handle going up to Cape York, doing Kimberleys, Kakadu, crossing rivers, Pilbara, Fraser island (not in that order, obviously!)lots of km, though not the super-super adventurous stuff
Easy to get parts in case of breakdown in middle of nowhere, and easy to fix/familiar to local mechanics
As unlikely as possible to breakdown in middle of nowhere(!)
Does not need to tow anything as we will have a roof-top tent
Must be reasonably economical
Comfortable to drive for average female (I'm 5ft 6) - just me and my 8 year-old son on the trip
Prefer manual diesel, but not essential

Would be extremely grateful for all advice!
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Reply By: Smudger - Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 18:54

Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 18:54
By going anti-clockwise you're travelling the inside circle, which is, I'm sure you realised, the shortest route. So you'll save a heap on juice. Which in turn means, you can probably afford to buy any one takes your fancy.
AnswerID: 296435

Reply By: Member - Littleborgy (SA) - Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 18:58

Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 18:58
Hi DoJa,

IMHO, both vehicles once set up right, are capable for the type of trip u describe.

80 series, 100 series, Prado, etc are all different models of Toyota's...

Personally, i would stay away from the 3.0 litre T/D Patrol, as you may have read on here, they are notorious for going BANG (motor blowing up)... Go for the 4.2 litre.

Can't comment on the comfortability of a L/C, but the Patrols are pretty comfortable... My dad has a broken back & has never complained about the comfortability in the 3 Patrols he has owned (1 GQ & 2 GU's).

Hope this helps.

Cheers, Brad
AnswerID: 296436

Follow Up By: stefan P (Penrith NSW) - Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 19:16

Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 19:16
problem with your rig pic Brad..........there is no air between the tyres and the sand!!!

Pick ya game up son.......LOL

Stefan
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Follow Up By: DoJa - Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 19:26

Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 19:26
Thanks Brad. Is a Prado still a "real" 4wd, ie not one for dropping the kids off to school and blocking up the road? And of the 80 and 100 series, is one more reliable than the other, or easier to get, or better in any important way? Cheers
Dori
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Follow Up By: Member - Littleborgy (SA) - Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 20:09

Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 20:09
Stefan... I'm working on it mate, but the missus was pregnant (still is) at the time the pic was taken... Hopefully soon though LOL.

Dori, AFAIK the Prado is as capable as a Patrol or L/C... I don't really have much knowledge on these, hopefully someone else will be able to help u further with this one.

Cheers, Brad
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Reply By: Smudger - Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 19:24

Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 19:24
80 Series fans claim they are the last TRUE 4WD. I've got one, and I understand what they're saying. No computers, just an On/Off switch and Stop & Go pedals. I traded "up" from a '96 Disco to a '93 Cruiser. The Disco was a V8 on LPG, the Cruiser is a 4.2 diesel with an after market turbo. My son bought the Disco from me. We've just done a 2,800 round trip together. He spent $320 on LPG, I spent $560 on diesel. I want to buy my Disco back!
There are some things I can do to improve economy on the Cruiser, but frankly, I reckon LPG is the way to go.
I am a huge fan of Series 1 Disco's, series 2's have a reputation for unreliability ..mainly related to their electronics. But, I think that probably applies to most fourbies with ECU's.
At some point in history we will all have no choice but to accept cars operated by computers, hopefully they will get more and more reliable.
Avoid 3.0 litre diesel Patrols, especially pre-2003 models.
AnswerID: 296440

Follow Up By: DoJa - Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 19:51

Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 19:51
What's a disco? Is it true LPG is unavailable up Cape York, and if so what do you do? I like the idea of no computer.
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Follow Up By: Smudger - Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 00:16

Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 00:16
Sorry DoJa,
Disco 1 ..short for Series 1 LandRover Discovery.
Not sure if LPG is available on the Cape. You could not rely soley on LPG in the remote regions.
For remote touring you would need to have at least standard petrol tanks as well as your LPG. Disco's have a standard 90 litre tank and that would probably be adequate, but you might need to carry extra for a trip up the Cape, or across the Canning Stock Route. Mine was set up with 120 litres of petrol and 80 litres of LPG, all underneath.
The only place we ran out of LPG was across the Top End between Kakadu and Normanton, but a 90 litre petrol tank would have been all we needed.
As for computers, Disco 1 has a basic computer, but the Disco 2 has more reliance on electronics and is more prone to stuff up.
I love the simplicity of the 80 series, maybe you should do some research on LPG on a Toyota 80 or 100 series petrol. Petrol trucks seem to be cheaper than diesels, and maybe you could justify spending the money on installing one of the latest types of LPG injection systems. After the government rebate it would probably cost you about $2K
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Reply By: On Patrol (East Coast) - Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 19:47

Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 19:47
For 20k you will not be looking at a post 2003 of anything.

DoJa you will be looking at an 80 sr Land-Crusher pre 1999
or
a Patrol 4.2 six cyl diesel around 1998-9 or a 2.8 six cyl diesel pre 1999
All capable vehicles.

Patrol 3ltrs will go around that money but you will have to be sure they are the modified pre 2003 and that is difficult to tell. Post modification (late 2002) they will fetch more money and be a good reliable vehicle, possibly out of your price bracket!!! I know many people with later 3ltrs that have a great car, I am one of them. 175000km and still as good as new. Good luck. Colin.
AnswerID: 296446

Follow Up By: DoJa - Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 19:56

Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 19:56
Colin, thanks a lot for that - helps me narrow down my search nicely. Too many different cars out there for us know-nothings!
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Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 21:45

Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 21:45
For the money you have, find a nice GQ Diesel with all accessories fitted ready to travel.

like this
http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Nissan-Patrol-GQ-Turbo-Diesel-4-2-LT-1994_W0QQitemZ270225135386QQihZ017QQcategoryZ35227QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem.
AnswerID: 296489

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 21:46

Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 21:46
and the accessories... Looks like a nice unit.

The seat covers, carpet in the back and mats are only for protection so nothing gets damaged.

This is just a list of extras on the car.

High Mount wastegated Garrett GT28 Turbocharger http://www.turboglide.com.au/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=83

2.5 inch sports exhaust with high flow muffler

Arb side rails and bulbar

Roof rack

15x8 rims with 32'x11.5 tyres

dual batter system

Power steering

Air conditioning

Air horns

roof console with uhf and side band cb radio

boost gage

turbo timer

kmar hilift jack holder and hilift jack

Kenwood sound system with sub

driving lights

full moulded carpet through out the car

reverse lights

tow bar

alarm system

4inch suspension lift

King spring

Explorer Pro comp ES 9000 shocks

OME steering damper

Caster correction bushes

Adjustable panhard rods

12 volt outlet in the back of the car to run fridge

12 volt Anderson plug at tow bar point to power camper or van

Safari snorkel

Head light and bonnet protectors

Seat covers

All accessories are ran of the deep cycle battery to make sure the main battery always has power to start the car.

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Reply By: A J - Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 22:06

Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 22:06
Doja - being 5"6" you are about the same height as my wife and she loves the drive the Prado of which we have had two - she has done many trips with our two children and the camper as I have had to work. She does not like the bigger vehicles as they feel too big for her. Other women may feel different. A prado would do the trip for you and be more economical on fuel.

In the area in which I live most of the Prados are driven by women.

They are a good reliable vehicle big enough for you and your son.

Models after 2000 came in diesel - prior to that they were only petrol and heavey on fuel.

Recommend that you test drive one.

A J
AnswerID: 296497

Follow Up By: kym111 - Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 02:00

Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 02:00
Doja
I'm 5'4" and driving a 4.2 turbo diesel Patrol. It is a 2004 model, so quite a bit dearer than $20K. But it has plenty of room, easy to use, lots of adjustment in the seat & belt area. My only complaint is the turning circle could be better (I'm used to a Toyota Camry), but apart from that, I have no probs with it. Can't say that I've driven it in 4WD yet, but we plan to do all the places you've talked about.

We got the 4.2 because we'll be towing a largish van, and it's apparently more powerful than the 3.0ltr, and more economical than the petrol version (4.8?).

Good luck and I hope you find something suitable.
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Reply By: Stephen M (NSW) - Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 22:27

Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 22:27
Hi there DoJa, As AJ has mentioned diesel not available till 2000 but I doubt very much you will find a diesel prado for under 20k. Even with high klms they are still in the 20+ range even the base model. Heaps of petrol ones around, yes bit thirsty but not excessive. Over the last 12 months since owning mine I'm averaging around the 16L per 100 running around town. The best I've had on the freeway towing camper was 12.8L per 100 but that was all sealed roads. Stockton (beach work) jumps it up to the 20 per 100. Are they as tuff as say a patrol or cruiser I would say no. Are they capable to do the trips you have described yes. I picked my Grande up for $16k 150 on the clock. Added the usual epuipment and so far still under 20K. There isnt as much room in the back as a patrol or cruiser but for two of you should be fine. All the best on what you chose and hope you have a great/safe trip when your son and yourself head off. Regards Steve M
AnswerID: 296503

Reply By: Stephen M (NSW) - Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 22:30

Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 22:30
Hi there DoJa, As AJ has mentioned diesel not available till 2000 but I doubt very much you will find a diesel prado for under 20k. Even with high klms they are still in the 20+ range even the base model. Heaps of petrol ones around, yes bit thirsty but not excessive. Over the last 12 months since owning mine I'm averaging around the 16L per 100 running around town. The best I've had on the freeway towing camper was 12.8L per 100 but that was all sealed roads. Stockton (beach work) jumps it up to the 20 per 100. Are they as tuff as say a patrol or cruiser I would say no. Are they capable to do the trips you have described yes. I picked my Grande up for $16k 150 on the clock. Added the usual epuipment and so far still under 20K. There isnt as much room in the back as a patrol or cruiser but for two of you should be fine. All the best on what you chose and hope you have a great/safe trip when your son and yourself head off. Regards Steve M
AnswerID: 296505

Follow Up By: Stephen M (NSW) - Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 22:31

Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 22:31
WHAT THA ???? Twice
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Reply By: Member - Barnesy - Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 03:08

Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 03:08
DoJa,

Lancruiser 80 series: 1991-around 1997. Full sized 4wd. Excellent touring 4wd, every local mechanic would have worked on one. Would do the job that you are after without any worries. Could get a nice one of these in your price range.

Landcruiser 100 series: around 1998-2007. Model after 80 series and would also go wherever you want it to. May be out of your price range.

Prado: around 1997-current. Smaller version of the Landcruiser. It's a mid sized 4wd and favoured by city people and women. But don't let that turn you off. With some good suspension and tyres you have a very capable, tough and reliable off road vehicle. Independent front suspension makes it handle well on road and dirt roads but does limit it in extreme tracks.

Avaliable in manual/diesel but as most are city cars, many examples are petrol/auto. Would handle most things you throw at it and feel comfortable at the same time. Would probably be the most suitable for you after the trip as well if you decide to keep it. I would recommend the Prado if you were a friend of mine.

Patrol: GQ 1989-1997. Excellent vehicle and great value for money. I have one and love it. Full sized but interior slightly smaller than it should be. Reliable, tough, go anywhere in the 4.2 diesel format. A good GQ would leave left over money. Cheaper than an 80 series cruiser of same year and is just as good in my opinion. Gearboxes are bulletproof and many people get 600 000km out of the 4.2.

Patrol: GU 1997-current. Similar engine and chassis to GQ and in most other respects except for upgraded, bigger body and interior. Great vehicles but like the Landcruiser are big and "truck-like" to drive. Also cheaper than landcruiser of same year, better value for money.

Others have already mentioned about the Patrol 3.0 diesel. The 4.2 diesel Patrols are excellent and will go forever.

I would also recommend not getting at auction. I believe in having 4wds checked over thoroughly by a reputable, specialist 4wd mechanic prior to purchase. You can't get auctioned sales checked prior to purchase. Auctions can save you money if you know exactly what to look for which it seems like you don't. Get at a car yard or private sale.

Do a 4wd training course prior to leaving and enjoy the trip with your son.

Barnesy
AnswerID: 296540

Follow Up By: Member - Barnesy - Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 03:27

Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 03:27
Just noticed that you plan to do that whole trip in around 12 weeks? That's a lot of driving around. Have you considered taking it slower and leaving parts of the trip out to have a better look around in the areas you do go to?
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 09:17

Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 09:17
I missed the 12 weeks part too...

Agree on the dont try it.. 12 weeks try and do the East coast at a leisurely pace.

12 weeks to dothe big lap taking in everything, would be like Canonball run, or Lampoons Vacation to Wally World. You would miss way too much.
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Follow Up By: DoJa - Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 09:30

Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 09:30
Barnesy and Truckster, thanks so much, lots of very valuable info. Yes, I know 12 weeks is a bit short, definately want to do Cape York and Centre, might cut it short after that if running out of time. Might have to do a second trip next year.The ebay Nissan you showed, Truckster, would those roof-racks be ok for the roof-top tent? Also, does anyone know a good 4wd mechanic in Sydney, I live in Lane Cove, but happy to go anywhere if he's good. Thanks for the tip re auctions.
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 09:40

Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 09:40
Rooftop tents come with their own roofrack.

That one on there would be able to flog on Ebay for $200ish.

Cape York, couple of weeks, maybe take in Fraser Island on the way up for a week, then maybe contact Cape York Connections on here, he does tours of Cape, might be able to point you at some costs and time frames. but DONT RUSH.. ENJOY THE SCENERY AND TRIP :) :) :)

Down the center will be 3-4 weeks at least too

Try and plan the lap as 2 trips all up.

The only thing that GQ doesnt list is Long Range Tank, $1000 and your there. Any 4wd store will be abe to get...

But it looks like a very good unit from here...

Im in Melb, so not sure on GOOD 4b stores in S h i t n e y...
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Follow Up By: splits - Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 16:17

Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 16:17
DoJa

While reading through all of the replies I can't help but wonder how you will go in a Cruiser or Patrol or anything else that big on your own. Everything about them is big from the initial purchase price when new to the running and maintance cost to the sheer size and weight of them. Just a simple thing like lifting the spare wheel up onto a rear mounted carrier just about requires a crane. On top of that they have enough power and torque to drag a Manly ferry up George Street. Do you really need all of that to take you and a small child around the country while avoiding the really rough stuff like you said?

There are plenty of smaller cars that will do the job easily and reliably and if you go out to all of those areas you will see pleny of them already in use there. Cars the size of a Suzuki would be ok although they may not be big enough to carry all of your gear. The dual cab utes certainly would.

I just had a look at the Governmnet auction web sites and there is a stock looking 2002 Courier dual cab coming up for sale in Melbourne next Wednesday. It is a 2.5 turbo diesel manual with 90,000 ks and looks like new. It is expected to sell for between 12,000 and 14,000 dollars.

That car would take you and your son around the country for years without any problems and without big wheels and raised suspension. You can also be fairly sure it has not been stranded in the middle of a river with diffs and transmissions filling up with water. It has most likely not carried massive loads up the side of mountains. It has probably not been pounded over Outback tracks or driven in salt water along the edge of a beach. It may not be exactly what you had in mind but there are plenty more similar types of cars from other manufactures available for similar prices.

When you start looking at Cruisers and Patrols for $20,000 you are looking at cars with a few years on them and possibly up around 200,000ks. That is nothing for a well maintained one that has been driven sensibly by a good driver but there are some drivers out there who could break an anvil if given the chance and 200,000 is more than enough for them to turn anything into a wreck.

You must be so careful because major repairs on big cars like these are expensive.

Think about coming down a little in size and buying as late a model with as low a mileage as possible. You need something that will do the job, no more or no less, without needing major repairs for many years and it is possible to find something like that in your price range.

Brian

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Follow Up By: DoJa - Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 18:57

Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 18:57
Brian, soome very good points. The reason I thought LC or Patrol was simply because I wanted the easiest vehicle to get repaired in outback places, something that everybody drives and is familiar with. I didn't want to be stuck somewhere waiting for parts. Other than that, I do need it to be spacious enough for our gear, including bikes, able to support a roof-top tent comfortably, and accomodate the odd visitor that might join us on part of the journey. And obviously I need it to be capable of travelling around Australia and doing some semi-challenging stuff and crossing rivers and dunes without any difficulties. I'm certainly open to coming down in size, not keen on driving trucks. What smaller cars would you look at, aside from the one you mention?
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Follow Up By: Member - Barnesy - Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 21:29

Friday, Apr 04, 2008 at 21:29
As I suggested above I think a Prado would suit you well. But yes there are others that will also do well, and probably be a bit cheaper than a Toyota aswell.

Mitsubishi Pajero, Holden Jackaroo are two that come to mind. Find a good one, have it checked and it should be reliable enough for your trip. You would be unlucky to need major repairs out bush if a mechanic has given it a thorough pre-trip check. The things you are most likely to have problems with are tyres.

You won't be able to put a roof top tent on a dual cab other wise one of those would be perfect. A Mazda Bravo, Hilux, Navara are dual cabs that would all do well.

Barnesy
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Follow Up By: Member - Doris H (NSW) - Saturday, Apr 05, 2008 at 10:32

Saturday, Apr 05, 2008 at 10:32
I used to drive a Jackaroo, and I know at least that I can change its tyres. Also I loved it and had no probs with it (it was pretty old and this was back in 1992). I just got the impression it wasn't considered rugged enough, and that it might be not universal enough "out there" to be easily fixable in case of need. If I'm wrong on those points, I'd love to own another one! The Patrol (4.2 Diesel GQ) that's on ebay (mentioned above) looks great though, but I wonder how I would go with changing tyres on that - are they a lot bigger/heavier than a Jackaroo? Can't go anywhere in something I can't change tyres on!
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FollowupID: 562837

Follow Up By: splits - Saturday, Apr 05, 2008 at 14:31

Saturday, Apr 05, 2008 at 14:31
DoJa
If you intend keeping the back seat clear so it can be used for passengers, then the rear section of even the larger cars like Cruisers and Patrols will start to look very small and it will be even worse if you put bikes in there. If you mount them on a carrier out the back, they will be a nuisance when you open the door and they will always be covered in a heavy layer of dust on unsealed roads.

In view of this I agree with Barnesy that a dual cab ute would be perfect for you. I noticed in the Shippshape tent company web site there is a photo of a tent on the roof of a late model Hilux so it looks like they are available for these types of bodies.

These vehicles have a lot going for them. First of all they smaller, lighter and usually easier to drive than the larger cars but they are not toys. They have been designed for serious work in forests, rural properties, building sites etc. They do not have heavy spare wheels mounted high on the back. They have a fair amount of ground clearance and in stock standard form will take you into some very rough areas. I could not imagine you wanting to go anywhere they would not go. This means you will not have to go to the expense of modifying them apart from fitting inexpensive high diff and transmission breathers for water crossings and maybe a screen to stop the fan touching the radiator in deep water. The standard size wheels and tyres will be fine. If they were not suitable for work in those areas, the manufacturer would have fitted something else.

The standard ute back with tail gate and canopy has a lot of storage space. The tray back version is about 1500 mm long and around 1800 wide and with a high canopy or even a basic home made wooden box with a couple of good fitting rubber sealed doors, it would hold more gear than you are ever likely to need. You have to carefully watch what you are putting into large spaces like that because it is easy to get carried away and overload it.

In very bad weather with high winds you could even transfer some of your gear into the car and sleep in the back where you won't have to worry about the tent getting damaged. Just make sure you have some air in there though.

There are plenty of these cars in Government auctions. They have usually been used in relatively easy conditions and have been properly serviced. You should have no trouble finding an excellent one in your price range.

Don't worry about repairs and parts in the bush. The mechanics should be familiar with any car from the major manufacturers. Dealers have work shop manuals on CDs these days and it would not surprise me if the major bush repair centres have access to information off them by email, that is if they don't already have their own copies.

Spare parts always seem to have a question mark hanging over them. The last car dealer I worked for was back in the early 1980s and they sold Toyota, Renault, Peugeot and Alfa Romeo cars. We had no problems with the European cars but the Toyotas nearly drove us crazy waiting for parts and we were always sending "Vehicle Off Road " reports to the State distributor in order to try and speed things up.

If you start with a good car and don't overload or abuse it, you would have to be unlucky to need parts anyway.

Brian
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Reply By: Member - bushfix - Saturday, Apr 05, 2008 at 10:52

Saturday, Apr 05, 2008 at 10:52
G'day,

well at the risk of sounding two-bummed, I will siuggest a 96-02 model Prado GXL, a smaller version of the landcruiser but still built well. You are in Sydney, heaps to choose from in petrol/auto that have never been off road and would leave you with spare change for tyres and other accessories. You have the spare on the back and a sub tank for starters. Believe these can be used with roof top tents no probs. Don't know what you are used to driving but you may prefer it to the feel of a Patrol, so good idea to try some if you have not already. Economy has a lot to do with the right foot too, the money you could save on getting a petrol could help you break even wrt fuel for the trip.

For a good 4wd mechanic in Sydney, and very close to you in fact, call Artarmon Automotive, very capable and very polite bunch of fellas.
AnswerID: 296773

Reply By: OzTroopy - Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 02:08

Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 02:08
G'day DoJa,

Just in case you haven't bought that GQ nissan - go get it (IMHO)

Not a nissan fan myself however they have an excellent reputation and are good value for money. Toyota for all its good points, loses out in my opinion because of its hyped up sales pitch resale value.

The mazda ute mentioned in one of the other posts is also well worth considering. Have owned hilux and Bravos in 2wd and the Mazda has always been the better vehicle.
AnswerID: 297501

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