Working 4WDs - Vehicles
Most 4WDs are used for pleasure by their owners, but many vehicles have to work hard for their living, serving the community in off-road tasks, such as power and communication equipment maintenance and bush-fire fighting. Others pay their way in the Outback in agricultural, mining and construction work.
Many 4WDs which are used at work are covered in our 4WD Buyers Guide section, but specific working vehicles and related equipment are covered here.
BRAHMAN TRAVELLER AWD BUS
Chinese-built to Australian specifications with a global-brand powertrain.
The Brahman Traveller all-wheel-drive bus has been accepted in the Australian and New Guinea markets since early 2013 and 34 examples are now in service.
BUS4X4 MINE VEHICLES - FEBRUARY 2014
OTA checked out the Bus4x4 range of mine transportation vehicles.
Bus4x4 is a Brisbane-based secondary manufacturer of 4WD and 6WD mine transport vehicles. The company's principal product lines are Toyota HiAce and Coaster 2WD buses that are professionally converted to 4WD. OTA checked out the current range and tested the new HLT project.
EXTENDED-CAB UTES ON TEST - December 2015
Allan Whiting and Glenn Torrens compare the current model Isuzu Ute D-Max with four 2016 model year upgraded utes: Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux, Mitsubishi Triton and Nissan Navara. OTA chose extended-cab versions to test.
FUSO CANTER 4X4
The truck that started the Japanese off-road invasion has been improved.
The latest Canter 4x4 performs better than its predecessors and has more interior refinements, but the suspension still needs some work.
HINO'S AUTOMATIC CREW-CAB GT - includes video
Hino's GT crew-cab combines a hot-shift PTO with an automatic transmisison.
The latest Hino GT variant is unashamedly targeting rural fire fighting fleets, but this versatile truck could have other applications.
ISUZU FSS and FTS 4X4 RANGE
Heavy Isuzu 4x4s now come with a choice of engines - March 2016
The Australian 4WD truck market leader has extended the appeal of its 8-9-tonnes-payload capacity 4x4 truck models with the addition of two new diesel engine variants. A new, powerful four complements a variant of the proved six that's purpose-designed for off-road operation.
ISUZU NLS 200
A traction truck from the market leader.
Isuzu Australia hasn’t dominated the local truck scene by accident, but by carefully analysing every possible market segment. The latest release is a ‘softer’ 4WD than the go-anywhere NPS, targetting customers who need a traction truck, not an expedition vehicle.
ISUZU'S UPGRADED NPS 300
The market-leading light 4x4 truck scores some creature comforts.
We check out the 2013 NPS 300 crew cab model and find many improvements over the original.
IVECO DAILY 4X4
This semi-bonnetted 4WD light truck is more refined for 2017.
The Iveco Daily 4WD range was released in 2013. Brilliant off road credentials and more than twice the payload of a ute ensured good business for this capable machine.
IVECO EUROCARGO 4X4
This medium truck combines bushability and comfort - August 2016
Iveco is one of the world’s largest producers of off road vehicles, for civilian and military customers. The Eurocargo 4x4 is an all-terrain development of the 4x2 road-oriented medium truck range.
IVECO TRAKKER 4X4
The Trakker sits between the Eurocargo 4x4 and the Trakker 6x6 - February 2016
Iveco's Daily has given the Japanese 4x4 truck makers a fright and the new Trakker 4x4 might do the same at the heavy end of the 4x4 market.
A tad prettier than the Pik Up, the Genio might have more volume appeal.
The Mahindra Pik Up looks a bit too agricultural for some buyers: enter the Genio. This much more handsome ute comes as a short cab and a crew cab and is attractively priced. We asked for a road test vehicle, but Mahindra won't give us one.
MERCEDES-BENZ SPRINTER 4x4
For those who need more payload than a ute can provide - updated March 2016.
Mercedes-Benz Australia hasn’t realised the potential in the Sprinter 4x4 range. Our testing showed this vehicle has good bush credentials and is worthy of consideration by anyone wanting payload capacity and cargo volume in an off-road machine.
The latest 'Mog makes the best even better - April 2016
The new Unimog has just been released in Australia and, while it looks familiar, hides significant powertrain changes behind that rugged façade. Allan Whiting was the first Aussie journo to give the new beast a workout.
A bonnetted off-road truck series in 4x4 and 6x6 configurations - January 2016
Unashamedly military in appearance the civilian version of the Mercedes-Benz Zetros range is aimed at the Australian mining, exploration and fire-fighting sectors. Allan Whiting had some fun slip-slidin’ away on bush tracks around a damp Anglesea.
MODERN UTES ARE COMPLEX CREATURES
Performance and handling come through complexity that fleets may not like.
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.
NINE-SEAT TROOPY - July 2015
Bus4x4's back door conversion makes this a legal nine-seater.
Bus4x4's third door conversion looks very much like a factory design and fitment, and solves the problem of legal access to three rows of seats. The front, second and third rows all have easy entry and exit.
RENAULT MASTER 4X4 IS COMING
A van and cab chassis alternative is being evaluated - April 2016
Renault LCV is evaluating the Master 4x4 van and cab/chassis for Australian release.
TRAVELTRUCKS' MODIFIED IVECO DAILY WORKHORSES
Experienced off-road vehicle builder gets to work on the Daily 4x4 platform.
TravelTrucks is operated by Kym Bolton, one of Australia's most successful off-road competition vehicle builders and one-time founder of the Earthcruiser business. His ScrubMaster range benefits from many years' experience working and competing in demanding conditions.
WORKING SINGLE-CAB UTE SURVEY
There's more variety than you might think at the base end of the market - June 2014.
Single-cab utes and tray-backs are the most popular working utes, but the game has changed, with the introduction of Chinese models and more up-market Thai and European made variants. Here's our assessment of the principal 2014 models.