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What 4WD should I buy?

This is the most common enquiry we get and it's not an easy question to answer, because people have different requirements and expectations from their 4WDs. Some want only mild off-road ability, while others want a vehicle capable of going seriously bush for prolonged periods.

Before deciding on a vehicle we suggest you assess your real needs. Then read through the information on this site - should take you  a while! When budgeting, allow for the cost of accessories you'll need to convert a standard vehicle to a bush-touring one: light truck rated tyres, better suspension and improved lights are obvious ad-ons.

If you need some advice, send us an email - we receive many buying advice requests and we're always happy to help. Here are some examples:

Q: Hi Allan, I'm thinking of buying a 4WD and I've looked at Pajero, Prado and 'Cruisers. My budget is 35-40 grand. I think the Disco 3 is the only one that gives me the technology, comfort and 4WD capabilities, but my mechanic insists that they are very unreliable and I should buy a 'Cruiser. Please advise me - Chamil W, Windsor, Qld.

A: We did advise him that his mechanic was right!


Q: I have a Ssangyong Musso Sports twin cab that's done 140,000km and in good condition. Had it from new and never missed a beat. Is this vehicle suitable for outback travel and is the old tech Mercedes motor well enough known for outback mechanics to fix if need be? - Glenn F, Bowen Mountain, NSW.

A: We told him to take some obvious spares and go for it.


Q: Hi, I was just wondering whether it is best to buy a Toyota LandCruiser Troop Carrier running on diesel or LPG/Petrol. I know that costs of LPG are a lot lower than diesel, but apart from that, power-wise and in areas with high temperature conditions, which one is best? We will also be travelling in the most remote areas of Australia, such as Tanami, Cape York, Carpentaria Gulf, is LPG supplied in those areas? We are undecided between a 2000 4.2L turbo diesel and a 1995 4.5L LPG/Petrol Landcruiser. What do you recommend? - Nick O.

A: We recommended diesel, because LPG isn't available at gravel-road servos.


Q: Hi, my wife and I are looking at purchasing an FJ Cruiser. We have read your review on the FJ and were concerned about the 20+ litres per hundred fuel consumption while towing - Paul B.

A: Sadly we confirmed this and the fact that Toyota won't ever put a diesel in the FJ.


Q: Hi Allan. This site continues to be an outstanding source of relevant information. I was exposed to a mate's Grand Cherokee on the weekend and I'm wondering if Jeep has done any enhancements that might allow a second battery to be installed? Finally, is there a good range of after-market accessories available? - Mark A.

A: We suggested not.


Q: Dear Allan, I want to congratulate and thank you on your amazing website. I am American so please excuse me if my vocabulary might be different from that in Australia. I am new to 4X4, off-roading, expedition, overlanding. I currently live in the United Arab Emirates, but not sure where I will live next. My question is as follows: I have been saving and planning on purchasing a true full-time 4X4 large wagon and then modifying it with roof tent, lift bigger wheels, refrigerator, etc. My question is in your experience, what is the most capable off-road large wagon out there. I would most probably need the driver on the left hand side, since most of the countries drive on the right hand side. I tend to think diesel is better than petrol and automatic better than manual. I am not interested in extreme rock climbing but rather a very capable true 4X4 large wagon. I am open to purchase the vehicle anywhere worldwide. Thank you for your time and attention - Jorge M, UAE

A: We suggested a diesel 200 Series LandCruiser.


Q: Looking at buying a dual cab chassis ute. Have got it down to Isuzu D-Max SX and VW Amarok Trendline. Will do a bit of everything, price not the main issue but rather servicability if and when required. Which would you choose and why? - David S.

A: We suggested the D-Max, for its better pricing, proved reliability and relative simplicity.


Q: Really confused about which 4WD to purchase for short trips around WA. Mostly city driving, but do want a reliable 4WD to go bush occasionally. Been considering Jeep Grand Cherokee, Landrover Freelander 2, but now reading good things about Mercedes ML class. Can you help out? - Stephen B, WA.

A: We suggested avoiding Euro vehicles with 'toy'  or no spare wheels.


Q: Hi there. I've really appreciated your site and its great info. We're looking for our first 4WD at the moment and will be heading off to spend 12 - 24 months camping around Australia. We have $35,000 to spend on a 4WD. We have no preference as we've never had one before. We are fine with S/H vehicles. What would you recommend we purchase as we plan to get well off the beaten track? Our other question is, who do you recommend as an insurer for an enclosed trailer plus associated equipment? We have a fair value of computer equipment along for the ride as I will be doing App Development on the road. Looking forward to any advice you can give - Matt C.

A: We suggested a used wagon and insurance through Club 4x4 Insurance.


Q: Hi, I'm new to 4wdriving and I just want to get an idea of how capable my crossover SUV is. I have a 2014 Jeep Cherokee KL Limited - Petrol, Active-Drive 1(no low range) I am very keen to take it off-roading but want to know your advice on the vehicle's limits. So far I've taken it sand driving and I was stuck on a small hill and couldn't go forward but it reversed out OK. I aired-down to 16psi for sand driving, do I need to air-down that much for other terrains like dirt, gravel sand, rock etc? Any help would be appreciated! - Bill Z.

A: We don't recommend any soft-roader – a wagon without low range - be taken onto a beach, because we've seen many get stuck and damaged as a result. Also, they lack the clearance and underbody protection for trail driving.


Q: G'day folks. Found your site while researching a suitable 4WD to replace my existing one. In the time that I have been reading articles on your site I have been impressed with the content and currency of the information provided. As such, I'm hoping you might be able to provide me with a bit of advice for my next purchase. I am sorely tempted to buy a Landcruiser 70 Series dual-cab ute. The ute will be fitted with a tray and canopy, and used as a work vehicle the majority of the time. However, I want a vehicle with serious off-road capability and one with the grunt to tow an off-road camper trailer. I have a few misgivings about the 70 Series Cruiser though and am also seeking suitable alternatives. The price of the Cruiser is crippling to start with and it seems that ride comfort is average at best. It is quite a dated beast technologically as well so there is a fair bit on the debit side. In its defence I'm sure that it is an extremely capable and tough performer, and this is what's keeping me interested. Are there any real alternatives to the Cruiser? I'm looking at the Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50, and the Hilux. I do question the power output and performance of these vehicles when compared with the 'Cruiser so would welcome any advice you can provide - Steve O.

A: We suggested he buy the 'Cruiser if he had the budget.


Q: I just wanted to say you guys do a great job on your 4WD reviews and videos. I love reading and watching your new bits and pieces as they pop up. Just wanted to say I bought a Foton Tunland after reading and watching your review and I've had it for a year now. It's lifted for mild off-roading and I've done 40,000km with no major issues to report. Thanks again for doing a great job. - Paul S.


Q: Hi and thank you for your great site. I am considering buying a new Range Rover, but am concerned about LR reliability. I don't know if it has improved with the newer generation products, or if it is still woeful - Salmaan Q.

A: Our experience with owning a LR was very poor, so we don't recommend anyone buys one.


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