A year or two ago my wife and I started researching 4×4 vehicles capable of taking us where ever we wanted to go, anywhere in Australia (if we were so inclined).
The priorities were that it had to have 4 doors (for us and our 2 boys – I can’t stand climbing into the back seat), diesel of course, and capable of a fair amount of bush bashing.
- For the cost & the care factor, we felt second hand would be best (branches scratching up brand new body work ain’t cool)
- It should be light, not too heavy as it will guzzle the fuel (you also get bogged easier)
- Easy to maintain (by home mechanic standards)
- Have a 4×4 drive train (center locking diff – rules out a few AWD models) & low gear
Should it be a Ute or a Wagon?
We already have a wagon (a 2008 Toyota Kluger/Highlander) which is spacious inside as it doesn’t have the heavy 4×4 chassis’s, is a perfect soccer mum car and is great for almost everything else – except off-roading.
I felt a Ute (Pickup truck) would likely be the best option for us, it’s also hard to say no to that huge flat tray on the back (bigger than any wagon’s boot) and great for a home handyman.
Being somewhat biased on owning Toyota’s (I know), I was looking at either the 76 series Dual Cab Landcruiser (fairly new to the market), the Hilux, or a custom 80/100 Landcruiser Ute conversion.
In the end, I felt an old style Dual Cab Hilux should provide us what we need, it doesn’t have the highest tow rating compared to others, but it’s light, has a narrow track & doesn’t guzzle too much fuel. Anyone interested in looking at Hilux’s as I was/am, I would recommend this site, lots of info about the different types of Hilux drive trains & their engines over the years.
We’re still yet to purchase the tow vehicle so far, but the research is done & decision has been made. When the time is right (& budgets allow), we’ll know exactly what we’re after.