the right vehicle

Submitted: Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 18:01
ThreadID: 6793 Views:2002 Replies:14 FollowUps:18
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My wife and I spend most of our lives driving around Sydney. But from now on, for about 4 to 6 weeks a year, we'll be on Fraser Island. Here's an impossible challenge: a comfortable 5-passenger town car most of the time but a vehicle that can easily handle the sand on the island. I don't want to come down to a little Subaru AWD, nor do I want to go up to a top of the range 4WD. I've had a Land Cruiser and a Patrol and I don't want to have to pedal something like that around city traffic for 48 weeks of the year - but I want to spend winter time getting around the island. Suggestions, please?
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Reply By: Old Jack - Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 18:54

Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 18:54
Mitsubishi Pajero, Holden Jackaroo, Toyota Prado not in any particular order all in petrol / auto or turbo diesel / auto will be very easy to live in the traffic, all would perform ok on frazer. There are of course others like the Jeep's cherokee's (v6) grand cherokee(V8), mitsubishi challenger, holden frontera(v6 auto),landrover discovery, nissan pathfinder in V6 is a treat around town as well all would depend on budget.

would test drive at least the prado, jackaroo, pajero & pathfinder around town to get an idea of what suits your needs, in standard form they will all perform resonably well off road some beter than othrs but all are reasonable performers on sand.
happy car hunting!
AnswerID: 28932

Reply By: marcus - Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 19:02

Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 19:02
Hi Hammo,Sounds like to get adequate ground clearance for Fraser you need to look at a good medium size 4x4.The prado,pajero,discovery and jackaroo are all available in petrol and diesel and are not so heavy and truck like as the full sized cruiser or patrol.Each of these are fine vehicles and will have no problems with conditions on Fraser.Manual or auto petrol or diesel the choice is yours but the diesel is the choice for the heavy sand on the island. good luck mark.
AnswerID: 28933

Reply By: Mad Dog Morgan (Vic) - Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 19:02

Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 19:02
If you can wait another 10 months Fords new AWD Territory will be released. Featuring the powerful 6 cylinder engine from the Falcon with lots of creature comforts standard. If thats not enough the extensive options list from floor mats to sat navigation will bring a smile to your face if not lighten your wallet. Very comfortable, powerful, smooth and a breeze to drive around town and whats more a home grown product with no issues about parts etc. The Territory has already had extensive testing done on Fraser and the reports say "bloodly brilliant".
Yes I have driven one and yes I do work for Ford.
AnswerID: 28934

Follow Up By: Hammo - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 16:14

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 16:14
Thanks Mad Dog. Yes, can wait 10 months. We take delivery of a Winnebago early next year, sell it late next year - then I'll take a look at the Ford Territory. Sounds ideal.
Thanks again,
FollowupID: 20252

Follow Up By: -OzyGuy- - Saturday, Aug 30, 2003 at 16:26

Saturday, Aug 30, 2003 at 16:26
been there done that!!!!!! convince me i need a Ford then i will wait!!
FollowupID: 20761

Follow Up By: -OzyGuy- - Saturday, Aug 30, 2003 at 16:55

Saturday, Aug 30, 2003 at 16:55
been there done that!!!!!! convince me i need a Ford then i will wait!!
FollowupID: 20762

Follow Up By: Mad Dog Morgan (Vic) - Saturday, Aug 30, 2003 at 17:33

Saturday, Aug 30, 2003 at 17:33
Ozy, If you need/want someone to try and convince you I suggest you visit your local showroom. They get paid to do that.Hooroo
FollowupID: 20766

Reply By: Murfa - Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 19:14

Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 19:14
Dear hammo,
I purchased a September 2002 Mitsubishi Challenger. It is a 5 speed manual, but the auto is just as capable. I have been to frazer 3 times, and double Island point 2 times since i have had it. I have never been able to bogg it. It was extremely capable in any beach situation I have have been in, and travels extreemly well with the rear fully loaded. It also has the largest rear space compared to the parthy and frontera. It also has superb fuel economy, fully loaded rear, fuel tank and 5 adults on Frazer about 11ltrs to Km and as low as 8ltrs to Km in normal driving conditions. It has never let me down so far, but is sextreemly capable, as the last time I was on frazer, I pulled 3 troopies out and an older patrol from trouble. Pretty impressive for a 3ltr petrol. So i would advise a Challenger as the best option, as a friend of mine owns a parthy, and hilux. No where near as capable, towed them out of trouble plenty of times. Hope this helps you choose the right 4wd for you.
AnswerID: 28937

Follow Up By: Hammo - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 16:21

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 16:21
Thanks Murfa, sounds ideal for Fraser and I'll take a look at it - but how is it in the kind of idiot traffic we get in Sydney?
FollowupID: 20254

Follow Up By: Murfa - Friday, Aug 29, 2003 at 20:11

Friday, Aug 29, 2003 at 20:11
I think you will find it is ideal for traffic - even the idiot type in Sydney and found in all the main cities. The challenger is great for this, because it has the greatest cargo area in the medium size 4wd range, comfy for 5 adults, and being smaller then the landcruisers and patrols, has better power to size ratio. It's great pickup is zippy and will take on most v6's at the ights, but compact enough to fit into any parking spaces no matter how tight a squeaze it is.And the advantage is extremely fuel economical. Contact me at and ill talk to you further about them. The other advantage, is they come in manual and auto.........No like the pathy's that only come in auto.
FollowupID: 20704

Reply By: CirclingVulture - Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 19:37

Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 19:37
If you don't have to tow anything or cart the kitchen sink with you go a Suzuki they're cheap on gas and if you lift them they go anywhere, see for yourself. Why buy a bus if you need a min van ?

Suzuki test
AnswerID: 28940

Follow Up By: Hammo - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 16:26

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 16:26
Thanks CirclingVulture. Suzuki's got a fairly short wheelbase doesn't it, or am I wrong? I had a short wheelbase LandCruiser 20 years ago and on a slick road you could accidentally spin it in the blink of an eye. My ex wife did it regularly until I traded up to the longer wheelbase. What do you say (about the Suzuki, not the ex wife)?
FollowupID: 20255

Follow Up By: CirclingVulture - Tuesday, Aug 26, 2003 at 15:21

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2003 at 15:21
Yea I guess they must have a short wheel base, I only gave them the nod because their must cheaper in gas than the average 4x4 and they get the job you want to do done. It didn't sound like you were going hard core, and if you buy a newish one, there a cheap truck. Try to find a car a woman owned probably be less wear and tear.
FollowupID: 20332

Reply By: Hammo - Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 20:32

Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 20:32
thanks guys, appreciate your help.
AnswerID: 28954

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 20:58

Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 20:58
Your best bet would be hire a 4wd for the 4 weeks a year and have a comfortable car for the other 48 weeks.
AnswerID: 28962

Follow Up By: Hammo - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 16:32

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 16:32
Yeah Truckster that's still an option. My problem is at around $150 a day times 4 to 6 weeks I'm looking down the barrel of four or five grand of dead money every year. I'd rather spend a bit more than that for one vehicle for both purposes over (hopefully) several years. I hate paying somebody else rent. But you could be right, maybe it's just a problem I have with paying out for something I don't get to keep at least a piece of.
FollowupID: 20256

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 18:03

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 18:03
If your talkin 4-6 weeks at once you can get deals..

but I know what your saying.
FollowupID: 20260

Reply By: Lyds - Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 21:27

Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 21:27
I had an NM Pajero which was a very nice City vehicle. Quite capable off road too and drove well on sand; but... in the sand the plastic rear bumper acted like a scoop and came to grief - not uncommon from what I can tell.

- To err is human, to moo bovine -
AnswerID: 28966

Follow Up By: Rodney - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 21:32

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 21:32
That was he case in the NM pajero, however the new NP pajero has corrected this problem.
FollowupID: 20279

Reply By: Martyn (WA) - Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 22:39

Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 22:39
I open myself up for a hammering here, I don't know how much you want to spend or what age of vehicle you are looking at but you may consider Rangie, if your looking for comfort etc Offroad ability you might consider one, they depreciate pretty quickly so you can pick up a fairly recent model for a reasonable price, the fuel economy has got better over time. Things are still expensive as are most fourbys, worth a look. My opinion as usual. Keep the shiny side up
AnswerID: 28978

Reply By: Member - Bill- Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 08:14

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 08:14
Hammo, no-one has yet said Mazda Tribute or Ford Explorer. Very popular around town and very good in sand etc, and bigger than Subie. Failing that, Pathfinder is hard to go past in this sector, more compact than Paj/Prado/Jack but as capable.

I 'aint driven a Tribute but I live in Sydney and six have appeared in my street in the last 12 mths and it's not a very long street!Regds

AnswerID: 28997

Follow Up By: Hammo - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 16:17

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 16:17
Can't say I know the Tribute but I'll definitely take a look at it. Thanks, Hammo
FollowupID: 20253

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 18:24

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 18:24
Wife krashed her kar the other night, we took it to mazda dealer..

While she was working out the details with the service bloke, I looked at a Tribute.. He threw me the keys and said take it for a run!

She had to drive, I cant.

V6, COLUMN AUTO.. First dislike.

Very quiet, SMOOooooth, Gutless as they come, but it only had 6000klms on it.

VERY SMOOTH, AND QUIET, did I mention that, fair wack of room in it, again would suit the wife if it came in a manual and had some neddies.
Our old 94 Mod V6 626 would flog it for power. Well it would now it has 4 round wheels again.
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Reply By: Member - Bob - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 08:28

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 08:28
If buying new the two I'd look at would be the TDi auto Pajero, and the TD5 auto series 3 Discovery. Both are very economical to run, great to drive on the bitumen (esp the TD5 with ACE), have all the comforts of a luxury car, and more than capable for the occasional trip. Lets face it, anyhthing you get will do the job, but it comes down to style and personal taste. Both the above cars dress up well, compared with say a Challenger ot Pathfinder.Bob
AnswerID: 28999

Reply By: Prado Boy - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 15:27

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 15:27
There's only one to consider really - the TD Prado. Buy a new one - 180 tank means you won't even have to fill up again until you reach Rainbow Beach just prior to going over the the island. Will handle anything on Fraser really easy and both the GX & GXL versions are a joy to drive in the 'burbs.

I have the 2001 RV Prado TD manual - and it goes like a charm. Visit Fraser regularly and it just eats it up. Plenty of room inside for gear and real frugal on fuel too. Can spend a week on Fraser and not have to fill her up.

Toyota build quality means the Prado is the go...

Prado Boy
AnswerID: 29041

Follow Up By: Hammo - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 16:06

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 16:06
Thanks Prado boy. Agree with you on Toyota, I've had various Toyotas over the past 15 years and they're all good. Will check out the Prado.
Thanks again,
FollowupID: 20250

Follow Up By: Prado Boy - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 20:32

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 20:32
Hammo - don't know if you caught my recent discussions on Electronic Rust Prevention/Protection Systems in this forum - but if visiting Fraser - even if only once a year - do yourself a BIG BIG BIG favour and by one. I use ERPS - got it from ARB - it's got 6 connection points on the Prado - and it works like a charm so long as the Battery is good.

I also use Lanotec - spray on lanolin extract that protects the underbody from salt ingress. good stuff available from Mitre 10 stores at about $22/23 per litre. 2 litres will do the underbody of the and last the entire trip.

Hope this helps - enjoy Fraser - what a magic place...
Prado Boy
FollowupID: 20273

Reply By: Rodney - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 22:07

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 22:07
Personally I would go for the new Diesel Pajero NP, it drives like a petrol engine, gets great fuel economy, and the only down turn is a little noisy when first turn over in the morning. I personally own a 1995 V6 Pajero and have found it to be incredibly reliable, having virtually no problem with the car until it hit 215 000 k's, suprised the car lasted this long without requiring a little TLC, manily due the the fact that I have belted this car to the bleep house,its been offroad more than most 4wd, raced along beaches, caried heavy weights for kilometres on end and still proving good fuel economy without any complaints. As you may or may not be aware the Pajero has also earnt it name in the international arean, winning the Paris to Dakar rally this year and many other year scoring 1st 2nd and 3rd, it has been the only four wheel drive in the history of the race to be able to pull this placing more than once, and has taken home the most victories. If your after safety it kicks the Prado, and Jackeroo, having a lower centre of gravity, with a very nice 235mm of ground clearance, which cannot be found any four wheel drive these days unless you go for the new Range Rover, it offers great resistance to rollovers, and with a ridgid monocoque body it has perfored just like a normal car in the crash tests. If you are not fussed on diesel, then go for the new toyota Prado in favour of the V6 3.5 pajero as this engine is outdated, and a new 3.8L V6 is due towards the end of this year, or early next year, there isn't anything wrong with the engine very reliable, just Toyota has it at the moment with there new 4Litre Prado. In summary the Pajero might not be all that great at rock climbing, but if your after a 4wd which will go great on the sand dunes,deserts, mud and be a very worthy onroad vechile the Pajero is the pick of the pack.
Sorry if i have gone over board, just bored waiting for dinner.
AnswerID: 29112

Follow Up By: Lyds - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 22:24

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 22:24
Hey Rodney do you work for Mitsubishi? :-)

I too read about the Paris to Dakar stuff in the brochures, but for the life of me there musn't be any sand between Paris and Dakar. They may have well fixed the rear bumper problem in the NP, but the only suggestion they gave me for my NM was to get a lift!

Also, if you have any pointers/info on how/why the Pajero offers resistance to rollovers I'd like to see it.

- To err is human, to moo bovine -
FollowupID: 20292

Follow Up By: Rodney - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 23:00

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 23:00
With the introduction of the rigid monocoque body it has allowed Mitsubishi to lower the engine in the engine bay, and make the body of the car sit lower to the ground, hence the car is not as top heavy in comparison to toyota, nissan, etc. Meaning there is less weight up high, and more weight down low, giving the vechicle a better centre of gravity than most four wheel drives offering better resistance to body roll, thus rollovers. For Toyota or Nissan which sit on a ladder frame chassis the car and all its components sit higher giving there car a higher centre of gravity.
I can't speak for the manufacture itself in responce to your problem, but as from personal experience with the service centre, I have found them to be hopeless on more than one occassion, not to say they won't replace a fault when I pointed it out to them. I now get my paj serviced outside of Mitsubishi, so your not alone expericing difficulties with the manufacture. I find there cars to be very reliable and hardwaring, based ONLY on personal experience, however i would also be lying if there success in the paris to dakar rally hadn't helped me to form my opinion. I am sure Mitsubishi isn't the golden manufacture I had made it out to be in the first responce, however name me one honest and fair going car manufacture?
FollowupID: 20295

Reply By: the real mccoy - Tuesday, Aug 26, 2003 at 20:07

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2003 at 20:07
Depends on your budget. If money okay, Prado - if not Pathfinder - if still not, Suzuki!
AnswerID: 29249

Follow Up By: -OzyGuy- - Saturday, Aug 30, 2003 at 17:15

Saturday, Aug 30, 2003 at 17:15
i mlooking to buy something that will do the job!! We went across in toyata Hiace cross but managed to get there despite opposition telling us we wouldnt make it!! that it would be impossible. Apart from the difference in cost the only problem we had to content with was tyrre pressure. Full credit to Toyata !!
Acting on good at advice we decided to increase tyre pressure to acccommodate t his.. Despite the fact that we had two flat tyres on the trip we are (still) of the belief that raising the tyre pressure gave us some advantage on the rough track conditions. So much so that in future expeditions we would consider tyre pressure as a major factor regardless of the the type of vehicle being driven.
It need to be said that full credit is due to a hiace vehicle that truly was not designed for the trip in question but made it easily.
We believe that tyre pressure more so than the type of vehicle dictates who or what will get through.?????
FollowupID: 20765

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