Advise me 4x4

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Need to get a 2nd hand car, in Europe. Was settled on a Mitsubishi Pajero 3-door, but the semiconductor shortage has driven prices up and availability down, so I'm widening the search again.

Use is: live in a rural area with some bad metalled roads, and do climbing etc and so want a proper 4x4 that can get up the last 1-5km of mountain roads thus save lots of walk-in time. Decent clearance is important. Also a requirement for a short-ish car because there isn't much room in parking spaces here. 4 or even 2/3 seater ok. Finally, would like it to be reasonably modern and comfortable for longer journeys: an old Defender is mildly appealing to me but not going to pass with my wife. I've driven Pajeros before and they fit all of the above, but not much else seems to (without getting into the super-expensive bracket).

Can anyone advise on makes/models that would fit that bill and experiences with them? I've looked through quite a few but want to throw the net out there again. I assume ARRSE has plenty of people with 4x4 experience.

In your own time...
 

philc

LE
Subaru Forester, love mine, comfortable drive, good 4x4, I will replace it with another one.
 
Second hand Dacia Duster.

Generally been by old giffers who have never abused them and cheap as chips - anything else in a similar price bracket will have been either trashed like a rental or driven halfway to the moon and back
 
and do climbing etc and so want a proper 4x4 that can get up the last 1-5km of mountain roads thus save lots of walk-in time

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Climb in climb out, sorted.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Skoda Yeti 4x4 with decent mud and snow tyres.

Ground clearance is only 2cm less than a Landy Freelander, but the shorter wheelbase makes up for that.

Doesn’t feel like a 4x4 on the road, feels like a Golf, but will embarrass bigger 4x4s in the mud.

Back seats take seconds to remove so you can use it as a van if you wish.

Realistic 40-50mpg and surprisingly rapid if you go for the 180bhp version (the 4x4s are also available with 140bhp which is more than adequate unless you plan on towing something massive).

Decent spec ones (SE and above) have heated seats, the brightest xenon lights in the world and pretty much every other toy you could want.

Unless you really really need a massive car with tons of space, there is no reason a Yeti shouldn’t be top of your list.
 
How about J’s Bedford?
 
Toyota Landcruiser Prado. Utterly indestructible and a proper 4x4 with a transfer box and diff locks. Three door if size is really an issue, but you’ll probably find that, like 3-door Pajeros, they’re like rocking horse shit.

If you’re going proper off-road where you have to be self-reliant, don’t go near Yetis, Dusters, Forresters or any other other jacked up 4wd cars. They’re fine on muddy lanes, but don’t try them on a proper mountain water crossing or anywhere near a boulder track. On the other hand, if you’re not going proper off-road, they’re a far better option than a Prado or Pajero for daily driving.

Jeep Wranglers are great off-road; even the 5-doors are relatively small (about the same as a 3-door Paj or Prado. Only problem; the current series is pricey for what you get. Suzuki Jimnys are tiny and horrible on road.

Left field option; second generation Mitsubishi Outlander, so pre-2012. But finding one without the CVT gearbox will be a challenge. Almost a proper 4x4 (we took ours to some pretty remote inaccessible places) but quite car like too. Unfortunately, the current versions of mid-size 4x4s like this (Outlander, Vitara, Forrester etc etc) have all morphed into SUVs.

Budget no issue, Defender 90. Preferably a V8......
 

Waldeck

War Hero
The Swiss Army are selling off there Puch 230GE's, which are Merc G Wagons. The wife may not like the color though, also the seats are a bit on the hard side and not heated. Just tell her its a Merc G spot.

Nice tyres, bit noisy. 8 kids in the back.



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Mercedes G-wagon , I had the 3.0l diesel from new and it was the best car I ever owned, never got stuck anywhere and we really tried on occasion … utterly bomb-proof
 
Subaru Forester, love mine, comfortable drive, good 4x4, I will replace it with another one.

I’d second that. I replaced my Chevy Diesel crew cab truck (we weren’t towing a toy hauler any more and didn’t need something that big) with a Forester. Apart from the great fuel mileage, comfort, quietness and agility, the all round vision is superb. The vision is what sold me on the car, I felt that I was in something far bigger than a small SUV. It’s far superior to Mrs Carbon’s Honda CRV.
 

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Thanks for all the replies. As @bobthebuilder said above I'm really looking for a proper 4x4 drivetrain. I've done a fair bit of offroad previously, and the issue with mountains is that when the roads get bad, they get really bad - steep, uneven, loose rocks and with big humps. IMO that requires a manual difflock and gearing, as well as good clearance etc. It might only be used 0.1% of the time, but if it goes wrong then it goes really wrong, and I don't fancy me, my car or both falling off a cliff.

So in order:
  • Forester - looked at but not 4x4 enough.
  • Jimny - looked at and seems good, but they are limited availability and super expensive around here.
  • Dacia Duster - driven one, quite liked it, but not proper 4x4. Also the 4WD models are very expensive.
  • Skoda Yeti - same as Forester above.
  • Wrangler - an option, but as expensive as Pajeros.
  • Prado - no availability. Looked at Landcruisers which are obviously the gold standard, but they are 20 years older than Wranglers / Pajero for the same price.
  • Outlander - will look into, reasonable prices but seems a bit long.
  • New Defender - I wish, have you seen what the prices are now? They've more than doubled since launch.
  • G-wagon - even more expensive than the new Defenders (even 2nd hand are upwards of 30k).
If I was going down the more expensive route, I'd get one of these - Toyota FJ Cruiser - some of which are miraculously on sale in Europe (they were primarily sold in the middle east) at around 20k. But as they are rare and discontinued, the parts would be mentally expensive so I'm assuming the hidden costs would be significant.

So that's more or less confirmed what I thought, which is the options are basically Pajero / Wrangler / Jimny, or get very lucky and catch a good deal.
 
Thanks for all the replies. As @bobthebuilder said above I'm really looking for a proper 4x4 drivetrain. I've done a fair bit of offroad previously, and the issue with mountains is that when the roads get bad, they get really bad - steep, uneven, loose rocks and with big humps. IMO that requires a manual difflock and gearing, as well as good clearance etc. It might only be used 0.1% of the time, but if it goes wrong then it goes really wrong, and I don't fancy me, my car or both falling off a cliff.

So in order:
  • Forester - looked at but not 4x4 enough.
  • Jimny - looked at and seems good, but they are limited availability and super expensive around here.
  • Dacia Duster - driven one, quite liked it, but not proper 4x4. Also the 4WD models are very expensive.
  • Skoda Yeti - same as Forester above.
  • Wrangler - an option, but as expensive as Pajeros.
  • Prado - no availability. Looked at Landcruisers which are obviously the gold standard, but they are 20 years older than Wranglers / Pajero for the same price.
  • Outlander - will look into, reasonable prices but seems a bit long.
  • New Defender - I wish, have you seen what the prices are now? They've more than doubled since launch.
  • G-wagon - even more expensive than the new Defenders (even 2nd hand are upwards of 30k).
If I was going down the more expensive route, I'd get one of these - Toyota FJ Cruiser - some of which are miraculously on sale in Europe (they were primarily sold in the middle east) at around 20k. But as they are rare and discontinued, the parts would be mentally expensive so I'm assuming the hidden costs would be significant.

So that's more or less confirmed what I thought, which is the options are basically Pajero / Wrangler / Jimny, or get very lucky and catch a good deal.
That’s a bit more clarity. A few thoughts.

1) don’t be afraid of a high mileage or older Prado. Mine is 20 years old and has 470,000 km on the clock. I’ve done 275,000 of those. I’ve spent next to **** all on it but would take it anywhere and not get too bothered about denting it.

2) the FJ Cruiser is
off the shelf Toyota parts in a retro body. They’re cheap to run if you know the parts interchangeability. Great off-road, but very claustrophobic.

3) have you thought about a twincab with a canopy. Hilux or L200? Or maybe one of the SUVs on a ute chassis. Big though.

4) If you have to go old and cheap, a Daihatsu Feroza is the muts. They never break.

5) how about buying from Japan if you can do RHD? Great deals on Pajeros.
 
Finally, would like it to be reasonably modern and comfortable for longer journeys: an old Defender is mildly appealing to me but not going to pass with my wife.

Not even an old 90 CSW

To be honest i find the engine and road noise of great benefit on a long journey


I cant hear the wife whining
 

FrosteeMARIA

LE
Gallery Guru
3) have you thought about a twincab with a canopy. Hilux or L200? Or maybe one of the SUVs on a ute chassis. Big though.

BIG? You're not kidding. I need a stepladder to get into the L200 and I'd never be able to drive it. Feet don't touch the pedals. (I am only 5'4" though)
 
Thanks for all the replies. As @bobthebuilder said above I'm really looking for a proper 4x4 drivetrain. I've done a fair bit of offroad previously, and the issue with mountains is that when the roads get bad, they get really bad - steep, uneven, loose rocks and with big humps. IMO that requires a manual difflock and gearing, as well as good clearance etc. It might only be used 0.1% of the time, but if it goes wrong then it goes really wrong, and I don't fancy me, my car or both falling off a cliff.

So in order:
  • Forester - looked at but not 4x4 enough.
  • Jimny - looked at and seems good, but they are limited availability and super expensive around here.
  • Dacia Duster - driven one, quite liked it, but not proper 4x4. Also the 4WD models are very expensive.
  • Skoda Yeti - same as Forester above.
  • Wrangler - an option, but as expensive as Pajeros.
  • Prado - no availability. Looked at Landcruisers which are obviously the gold standard, but they are 20 years older than Wranglers / Pajero for the same price.
  • Outlander - will look into, reasonable prices but seems a bit long.
  • New Defender - I wish, have you seen what the prices are now? They've more than doubled since launch.
  • G-wagon - even more expensive than the new Defenders (even 2nd hand are upwards of 30k).
If I was going down the more expensive route, I'd get one of these - Toyota FJ Cruiser - some of which are miraculously on sale in Europe (they were primarily sold in the middle east) at around 20k. But as they are rare and discontinued, the parts would be mentally expensive so I'm assuming the hidden costs would be significant.

So that's more or less confirmed what I thought, which is the options are basically Pajero / Wrangler / Jimny, or get very lucky and catch a good deal.

Does it have to be one car to do it all?

How about one car for the 99% option, and one car for the 1% option?
 

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