MEDIUM 4WDS - your advice please

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MEDIUM 4WDS - your advice please

Postby travelrock » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:58 am

We are looking at buying a 4wd and need some advice.

No hardcore stuff just the beach and some dirt roads.

Looking at these:

Suzuki Grand Vitara
Hyundai Santa Fe
Isuzu? smallish 4wd
Mitsub Triton GLS
Nissan Pathfinder
Kia Sportage
Subaru Forester

which are the most reliable and inexpensive with repairs and economical with fuel?

Also looked at some Land Rover Freelanders but saw a website that said head gasket problems were a concern of this car.
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Postby cokebottle » Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:38 am

Can't really tell you too much about maintenance costs, but I had a 2001 Vitara 5 door manual as a company car for a couple of years, then a 2004 Vitara XL7 Auto for a further 2 years.

I took the 2001 model onto Samurai beach & I thought it did not too bad on the sand, there was the smaller 3 door model on the beach as well & I noticed when he hid the rough patches of sand he bounced around a fair bit whereas I just glided over the rough stuff.

The XL7 did never get to the beach :( but I did take it on a few slippery sections of firetrails in the Blue Mountains & it did feel a lot heavier to get through sand.

Fuel economy was not too bad on the 01 Vitara, being a manual helped 8)

Fuel economy on the XL7 was shocking ::() it was costing me $20 per day going up & down the mountains to work & back (even with a company fuel card it was killing me), so I asked for a smaller cheaper car (work gave me a 98 Hyundai :shock: ) now I am in a diesel van :?#

I took a 3.0L diesel Patrol on Holidays a few years ago, great vehicle fuel econmy was good on a trip 10L/100km I think?

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Postby Komodo » Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:39 pm

What sort of dollars and any reason why in your list you have stayed away from the likes of the tuscan or the terracan?
If I was buying a mid sized 4x4 today it would be a hard toss up between the Terracan and the X-Trail and I think I'd probably be swayed toward the terry in all honesty (and im a nissan man generally when it comes to 4x4's)
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Postby Blue Bravo » Tue Jan 29, 2008 7:20 pm

Gotta go for a dual cab :?#
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Re: MEDIUM 4WDS - your advice please

Postby Ozzycamperboy » Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:38 pm

travelrock wrote:
Also looked at some Land Rover Freelanders but saw a website that said head gasket problems were a concern of this car.

Stay away. Their a laughing stock even within Rover dealerships.

Out of those what you listed, I'd go a Vitara or Sportage. Vitara is a bit cramped for leg room in the back.

Would also recommend the Xtrail, my Uncle had one before he got an X5 and it was a great little car.

Haven't been offroad or even seen any in action, but the key with beach driving is power/weight ratio and low tire pressures. So if you get something sluggish in general its probably going to be crap on the beach.
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Postby Cruzin » Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:08 am


Are you after a 4WD or a SUV All WD?
edit (SUV = Adopted American Slang for a make believe 4wd ie Sports Utility Vehicle)

The New Vitara, Suby and Santa Fe are all wheel drives with no real Low Range 4WD.

The Terracan has been getting rave reviews on it's towing prowess and economy on other carravan forums.

There was also a recent test write up on the 4WD Kia Sorrento in 4WD Action volume 114 (Jan 2008) worth noting

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Re: MEDIUM 4WDS - your advice please

Postby Vega » Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:40 pm

I'd say go a Dual Cab 4x4 if your after a medium to smallish 4x4

I'm a bit biased as I have a 92 TD Triton....I love it to bits....does everything i'm comfortable in doing offorad and a bit more by more experienced drivers
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Re: MEDIUM 4WDS - your advice please

Postby GypsyLady » Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:25 pm

travelrock wrote:We are looking at buying a 4wd and need some advice.

No hardcore stuff just the beach and some dirt roads.

Hi travelrock

Did you ever decide which vehicle you wanted??
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Re: MEDIUM 4WDS - your advice please

Postby mrsbanksy » Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:52 pm

Hi TravelRock,

My husbands a mechanic and he has had all sorts of 4wd's. He also worked for a Landrover specialist. The freelanders are a nice car to drive but the 4cyl blow up thier more a soccer mums car, although the brand new ones are improved. I've had a vitara softop gutless ended up nearly killing it just on the road never mind 4wdriving and very costly on fuel. Love subaru's great cars no matter what they make but a forrester is really all wheel drive not 4wd. Also have you condsiderd that you might have intentions on little bit of beach work and small dirt roads but then you limit yourself to where you can go, you might end up loving it and want to do more with it especially if you have friends with 4wd's.

Toyota's are another great brand in just about everything they make like my dream car supra's but thats another forum haha. The problem with landcruisers is they hold their value so well and you didn't mention money you want to spend.
The defender's have been used for years by armies in desert's as fire engines, ambulances they are great for 4wdriving.
We have a v8 Landrover discovery nice to drive on the road and great 4wdrives haven't been bogged yet. Range rover's are great too. We picked up 15 months ago a 98 Discovery for $8000,00 even though thier pricey brand new because they are the luxury 4wd they don't hold their value very well like the Landcruiser's. We put a gas system on ours so were on duel fuel, we took the large tank out put smaller one in and put scuba tanks under the car, and the government gives you a rebate for installing gas. Or we did see some about with gas when we were shopping about.

But your best bet if your still insisting on medium I'd go the rav 4, cheaper to run not bad for 4wdriving and made by toyaota. Hope this helps. LIz
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