Australia’s best 4WDs revealed

It’s a fantastic haven for four-wheel expostulate enthusiasts, a integrate of hours west of Sydney.

Photo for cover story on a Jeep Wrangler, Suzuki Jimny and LandCruiser 70 Series. Pics by Thomas Wielecki

Photo for cover story on a Jeep Wrangler, Suzuki Jimny and LandCruiser 70 Series. Pics by Thomas WieleckiSource:Supplied

The route to a monumental surveillance is slippery, deeply rutted and formidable to span though an suitable vehicle. Forget civic soft-roaders, this is domain for machines with high belligerent clearway and correct four-wheel expostulate — a likes of a Toyota LandCruiser, Jeep Wrangler and Suzuki Jimny.

Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series

This automobile is comparison than we am. Introduced in 1985, a LandCruiser 70 Series ranks alongside Slim Dusty, BS balls and a Country Women’s Association as an constituent partial of a outback.

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The LandCruiser is famous for a imperishable reliability. Pics by Thomas Wielecki

The LandCruiser is famous for a imperishable reliability. Pics by Thomas WieleckiSource:Supplied

Like a saltwater crocodile, a LandCruiser is somehow both a dinosaur from a lost epoch and a appurtenance ideally developed for present-day life in a niche.

The two-door, five-seat Troop Carrier tested here binds an considerable 180L of fuel, giving a cruising operation of roughly 2000km.

Priced from $67,990 and on-road costs in GXL trim, a Troopy brings 20th century luxuries such as a CD actor and powered windows. It’s unapologetically Spartan — accurately a proceed constant business like it.

At a core, a 4.5-litre V8 turbo diesel (151kW/430Nm) powers all 4 wheels around a dual-range send box and electronically locking differentials.

Toyota LandCruiser GXL Troop Carrier is as happy as a pig in mud.

Toyota LandCruiser GXL Troop Carrier is as happy as a pig in mud.Source:Supplied

You don’t need towering skirmish control or crafty pushing modes in a Troopy, usually bung it into low-range, collect adult a purchase (it usually comes with a five-speed primer transmission) and let it travel adult or down all demeanour of terrain.

Enormous torque double by super-low gearing lends unusual capability to a classical LandCruiser though we have to put a work in to get where we need to go.

Slow and heavy, a steering kicks in your hands as a front wheels quarrel a gradient, cove and obstacles of hilly trails. Thinly padded seats give stuff-all support as we rebound along a route on no-frills suspension.

The LandCruiser’s celebration tech consists of a CD player. Pics by Thomas Wielecki

The LandCruiser’s celebration tech consists of a CD player. Pics by Thomas WieleckiSource:Supplied

But it will get we there and behind with unmatched assent of mind.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Riding in a Wrangler is a partially lush experience.

Automatic transmission, large all-terrain tyres and crafty wiring mix to make light of wily trails that would have we sweating in obtuse machinery.

The Wrangler is one of a many able off-road vehicles on a market. Pics by Thomas Wielecki

The Wrangler is one of a many able off-road vehicles on a market. Pics by Thomas WieleckiSource:Supplied

This is adventure, American-style. Climate control, plush leather chairs, thumping audio and heating for a seats and steering circle cosset we while pulsation trails into submission.

We’re in a range-topping Rubicon, $63,950 and on-roads of go-anywhere Wrangler installed with heavy-duty axles, diff lockers, low-range 4WD and engaging toys such as off-road mapping and digital readouts for gaunt angles.

There are small Jeep silhouettes on a wheels and windscreen that remember a brand’s heritage, and oh-so-American names for facilities such as Rock-Trac (that’s a 4WD, not a Bon Jovi single) and removable “freedom panels” — a roof.

The Wrangler is as complicated as a LandCruiser is aged school. Pics by Thomas Wielecki

The Wrangler is as complicated as a LandCruiser is aged school. Pics by Thomas WieleckiSource:Supplied

We take off a panels, a improved to light a photos. Then 3 grown group cry in disappointment perplexing to combat them behind in place.

Taxing, noisy, parched and arguably reduction than protected on a road, a Wrangler sings in a elite environment.

It’s a usually contender here to give we full certainty to tackle a tough stuff, doing a marks that done a Jimny and Troopy postponement for a run-up or rethink.

The Wrangler is a partially oppulance space compared to a other here. Pics by Thomas Wielecki

The Wrangler is a partially oppulance space compared to a other here. Pics by Thomas WieleckiSource:Supplied

The Wrangler does it easy, portion adult higher traction and worldly circle accent to keep a tyres in hold with a ground. Its crafty eight-speed automobile effectively has 16 gears when we cause in low-range, creation a many of a absolute 209kW V6.

Suzuki Jimny

“Yeah, mate, you’ll be fine. Come on through.” Having ploughed by knee-deep H2O in a LandCruiser and Wrangler, a beam for a day pumps adult editor Blackburn during a circle of a Jimny.

He afterwards turns to a rest of a celebration to contend “this should be interesting”.

The Jimny is a small off-roader that could, rebellious each plea that came a proceed with ease. Pics by Thomas Wielecki

The Jimny is a small off-roader that could, rebellious each plea that came a proceed with ease. Pics by Thomas WieleckiSource:Supplied

The Jimny promises go-anywhere motoring on a budget. And it delivers.

It romps by a H2O crossing, promulgation chocolate-coloured potion striking over a carp like a demoniac child defeat adult an arvo potion of Milo.

The indeterminate target of a World Urban Car of a Year trophy, a Jimny will go flattering most anywhere we can conduct in machines that cost 3 times a $23,990 starting point. Ours isn’t utterly that cheap, as it’s optioned with a $2000 four-speed involuntary and $1250 paint job, two-tone black over kinetic yellow.

The Jimny will go flattering most anywhere and won’t assign we most for a privilege. Pics by Thomas Wielecki

The Jimny will go flattering most anywhere and won’t assign we most for a privilege. Pics by Thomas WieleckiSource:Supplied

Its common 1.5-litre engine produces a small 75kW and isn’t helped by ratios set a small serve detached than buyers should design in 2019.

But it’s about half a Troopy’s 2.3-tonne mass and that miss of sluggishness helps a quattro Suzi hasten adult hills like a towering goat full of Red Bull.

Much some-more interactive than a Wrangler’s point-and-squirt approach, a slight Jimny requires a grade of creativity as we mount opposite ruts combined by most incomparable vehicles.

There’s talent in a atmosphere intake mounted as high as probable off a ground. Its boxy figure helps we place a automobile with certainty — we know where a corners are.

The Jimny has a bustling interior. Pics by Thomas Wielecki

The Jimny has a bustling interior. Pics by Thomas WieleckiSource:Supplied

It’s a usually one here though locking differentials, relying instead on traction control to splash a brakes on free-spinning wheels to send energy to a wheels with some-more grip. That works pretty good in a wild, proof we don’t need costly hardware and dirt-digging tyres to find adventure.

The rinse up

Each is a duty to expostulate on a road, compromised by a need to do some-more than your normal car. But they all feel like winners here. Suzuki blew divided a expectations by gripping adult with a best off-roaders we can buy for reduction than $100,000. Endearing and enduring, a Troopy still has what it takes to hoop a bush. And a Jeep shows what’s probable when we mix complicated record with clever fundamentals such as lofty belligerent clearway and dedicated all-terrain tyres. Buy any of them — though usually if we guarantee to go exploring from time to time.

All 3 are glorious off-roaders that cover a far-reaching cost range. Pics by Thomas Wielecki

All 3 are glorious off-roaders that cover a far-reaching cost range. Pics by Thomas WieleckiSource:Supplied

Safety worst

The Wrangler was crushed with a one-star ANCAP reserve rating following European contrast that suggested constructional flaws in a pile-up performance. Suzuki fared small better, holding home a three-star measure after an airbag could not forestall a driver’s conduct from slamming into a steering wheel. The Jimny’s physique also misshapen excessively in a EuroNCAP pile-up test, that a management described as an “unstable collapse”. ANCAP gave a 70 Series two-door ute a five-star rating following a consummate re-engineering module to keep it on safety-conscious mining association fleets. But a beefed-up chassis, new side and knee airbags and thicker dashboard stuffing are usually on a ute — a Troopy couldn’t come within cooee of 5 stars.

These 3 aren’t famous for their reserve or on-road pushing ability. Pics by Thomas Wielecki

These 3 aren’t famous for their reserve or on-road pushing ability. Pics by Thomas WieleckiSource:Supplied

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Price: $63,950 and on-road costs

Warranty/servicing: 5 years/100,000km, $1495 for 5 years

Engine: 3.6-litre V6, 209kW/347Nm

Safety: 1 star, 4 airbags, AEB, adaptive cruise, blind mark monitor, fortitude control

Thirst: 10.3L/100km

Spare: Full-size

Toyota LandCruiser GXL Troop Carrier

Price: From $67,990 and on-roads

Warranty/servicing: 5 years/unlimited km, $1700 for 5 years

Safety: Not rated, 2 airbags, fortitude control, ABS

Engine: 4.5-litre V8 turbo diesel, 151kW/430Nm

Thirst: 10.7L/100km

Spare: Full-size

Suzuki Jimny

Price: From $23,990 and on-roads

Warranty/servicing: 3 years/100,000km, $2292 for 5 years

Safety: 3 stars, 6 airbags, AEB, line depart warning

Engine: 1.5-litre 4-cyl, 75kW/130Nm

Thirst: 6.4L/100km

Spare: Full-size