The Australian 4WD market is well supplied with bush-suitable vehicle choices. In this section we provide general information for those who are shopping in the new and used 4WD markets.
4WD BUYERS GUIDE UPDATES
Latest: Isuzu D-Max 2017
The 4WD Buyers Guide and Working 4WDs sections are updated on a regular basis, shortcuts to our updates are on this page.
If you're after information about 4WDs and Soft-roaders, new models and previous models, you'll find it here. 4WD Wagons, Utes, Campervans, Motor-homes and Trucks.
2WD OR 4WD
Under some circumstances a 2WD can outperform a 4WD.
The success of the Peugeot 2008 DKR race machine in the 2016 Dakar event has prompted some off-road enthusiasts to suggest that there may be a place for a 2WD to challenge the accepted ability of a 4WD for off-road touring. It’s not that simple.
4WD MARKET IN 2016 - WINNERS AND LOSERS
SUVs and real 4WD wagons and utes increased market share in 2016.
According to VFACTS the 2016 record year marked a continued shift in buyer preference, with a light commercial vehicle, the Toyota Hilux, topping the national vehicle sales charts over a 12-month period for the first time in Australian automotive history.
4WD INSURANCE ISSUES
Make sure your vehicle and accessories are really insured. - updated December 2016
It’s all very well loading your vehicle up with accessories, but it’s not so easy getting their value correctly assessed and insured. Only two companies we found stand out from the crowd.
BUY THE 4WD YOU REALLY NEED
Most people ‘over-vehicle’ themselves.
So you’ve decided to get into the 4WD scene, or you’re upgrading and you’re wondering what you should buy. Get what you need, not necessarily what you want.
UTE PAYLOADS AREN'T WHAT THEY SEEM
Utes have claimed payloads and towing ratings that can't be realised in the real world.
Every ute maker claims at least a nominal one-tonne payload figure and more than three tonnes trailer towing capacity for several 4WD utes in its range, but you need to check spec sheets and real-world tare weights for the true position.
DON'T BUY A EUROPEAN SOFTROADER - January 2016
We won't test them any more and here's why you shouldn't buy one.
Nearly all European soft-roaders now come with temporary spare wheels, run-flat tyres or no spare and a can of tyre inflation gas and sealant. In Australia, that's dangerous we believe.
FINANCE OPTIONS FOR NEW AND USED 4WDs
Money, money , money...
Most people are confused about vehicle finance packages, so we’ve done our best to clarify and simplify the situation.
HYBRIDS MAY BE A GREEN MYTH
An issue with hybrids is their claimed ‘green-ness’.
There’s no doubt that hybrid vehicles are much more complicated than existing machinery, so why are vehicle makers bothering with them? Emissions and economy are the main drivers.
IS LPG A BETTER BET THAN DIESEL
An around-Australia trip on LPG fuel is possible - on bitumen.
Until diesel climbed above the $2/litre mark in some bush servos there wasn’t a huge amount of interest in the LPG alternative, but now, for those diesel-savvy readers who don’t know much about LPG, here’s a brief intro.
MODERN UTES ARE GREAT PERFORMERS BUT AT A COST
Performance and handling come at the cost of complexity.
Although today’s utes and tray-backs look similar in configuration to those of the early 2000s there have been a dramatic changes under the skin. Yesterday’s ute-purchasing criteria no longer apply.
SOFT-ROADERS AREN'T REAL 4WDS
Don't expect bullet-proof attributes from car-based all-wheel-drive vehicles.
Don’t take any notice of TV ads showing soft-roaders tearing through beach-front salt water. Do it and you're certain to void your warranty and you could be on the path to an expensive recovery or total loss.
THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE UTE
Did the the ute originate in Australia - sadly, no.
There are contesting claims as to the origin of the first ‘ute’ and some people reckon it’s an Aussie invention.
TRANSMISSION TYPES EXAMINED
You don't see gearboxes hanging off Jumbo jet engines.
We're so used to living with the internal combustion engine, be it petrol, diesel or gas-fuelled, that we've come to accept its shortcomings without much thought.
USED LUXURY VS NEW MID-SPEC
Hunt around for a top-shelf used 4WD
If you shop around the used vehicle sites you’ll find that it's possible to pick up a pre-loved luxury 4WD wagon for the same money you’d shell out for a new base or mid-spec machine.