Hilux 4x4


Some other things to think of
If you want to do serious off-road trips also consider:
The possibility of fitting things like a roof rack, high lift jack, jacking points, winch and recovery points. Some vehicles nowadays have so many tupperware on it that you cannot fit anything on the outside. Most new SUV do not have a gutter above the doors anymore. So if you want to fit a roof rack you have to fit a rail on your roof first by drilling holes in your roof. (Eina)

Packing space – If you do a long trip you need some packing space inside the car. Some of the smaller SUVs are so narrow that there are no space for maps, cameras, etc inside the car when you have four people in the car.

Ground clearance – BIG PROBLEM. You just do not get new 4x4 vehicles with sufficient ground clearance anymore. You will have to spend some money on an aftermarket suspension

I hope that above will give you a basic idea. One can write a whole book on this topic and it is not easy to determine what to include and what to leave out. Before you buy a 4x4 do proper research. When I bought my vehicle I was seriously considering a Honda CRV because I did not know of better. Luckily the deal did not go through and I looked further. Afterwards I realized that the Honda CRV would have been 100% the wrong type of vehicle for me because we like serious off-roading. When it says 4x4 it does not mean that it can do everything. If you want to do serious off-roading, it must have at least a low range.

But if you use your vehicle 99% of the time to go to work and back and only some game viewing twice a year, it is not worth buying a serious 4x4 with low range. It is much heavier than a soft roader and the fuel consumption and wear and tear are higher than a soft roader. In some cases even a "High Ride" 2x4 vehicle will do.

From my experience my personal choice would be:

Soft Roaders – Nissan X-trail, Honda CRV or Toyota RAV4. The Honda and Toyota has the best second hand value. The Nissan performs best off-road but the parts are expensive and second hand value not as good.
Value for money – CRV, RAV, X-Trail
Off-road – X-Trail,

Real 4x4
Toyota Land Cruiser, Nissan Patrol, Toyota Prado, Nissan Terrano
You must realise that the Land Cruiser and Patrol is in a total different league than the others. They are much bigger than other SUVs.

Toyota offers the best second hand value in the range although they might be totally over priced. If you want to go anywhere in a very reliable vehicle, get yourself a Land Cruiser 100VX. If you do not need such a big vehicle, get a Land Cruiser 70 or Prado. The 70 might not be as comfortable as the Prado but it is more robust and capable.

The Patrol is also a very good option since the Land Cruisers are so over priced.

Unfortunately Nissan screwed up big time with the new Pathfinder with its low ground clearance. One of the old Nissan products, the Nissan Terrano is a very good option if you want to go for a cheap second hand SUV. The Terrano offers the best off-road ability vs price.

I personally dislike Landies. I might get shot for this but from my experience with friends and relatives, Land Rovers are not very reliable, they are noisy, leaks oil and are uncomfortable. Some people like this because it gives you the "real Africa experience". The new landies now even have heated rear windows so that you can heat your hands while pushing it. Some people might prefer them but not for me. They are very capable off-road. But that is about it. Common sense tells me that the last Defenders that was built by Ford befre Tata took over must be a Landy worth looking at. It has a Ford engine and is tied to a reliable Getrag-Ford gearbox. If somebody hold me at gun point and force me to buy a Landy, this would be the one.This must be the late 2007 models.

I do not have enough experience about the Pajeros. They seems to be rather robust and reliable especially the older models.

The KIA? I know of people who had tremendous problems with the first Sorentos and then again I know about people who just love their Sorentos. It is very much personal taste but if you are into serious off-roading the Sorento will not last you as long as one of the others.

Tata ma chance. No second hand value on Tata, low power, still have to prove itself. Same goes to all the chinese makes available in South Africa. Rather buy yourself a second hand Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Mazda or Mitshibishi before you buy a chinese brand.

Mahindra. I kind of liked the Scorpio when they came onto the market. It seems like a proper vehicle but it lacks the refinement of the bigger brands. On the forums I do not see too many complaints. But again I would rather go for the big brands.


There is no right or wrong 4x4. It totally depend on what you want to do with it and what your budget will allow. If you do not know what to get, start with a Hilux, you might end up nether buying something else again.

Always have a look at the second hand value. Go to a second hand car dealer and ask him to take out his little book. Look at the various models, about 4 years old. The little book lists its price new, current trade value and current resale value. You will get a good idea how much value did it loose over 4 years. Then go to the Auto Trader and see what the vehicles actually sells for. Old Land Cruisers and Hiluxes sells for about 10% to 20% more than what the little book say they supposed to sell for. That is because they are popular and reliable. On the other hand the little book might say you can resell a Sorento for R240,000, but if you shop around you realise that you can pick it up for R180,000, big problem somewhere. Another good way to test is to make a phony phone call to a dealer. Tell him you have a 2005 Sorento and you would like to sell it, see what his reaction is or what he wants to offer you.

Look at the availability and price of spares. Visit the forums, you learn a lot on forums. You see what people complain about.

If you still need help, you can buy this book "Ultimate Guide to SUVs and Off Road Vehicles" , click here for details

Ultimate Guide to Suvs and Off Road Vehicles

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