Regardless if you’ve owned a 4WD before, buying a new rig is always an exciting time. Whether you want a 4WD for off-roading, the additional safety features, towing capacity, or you just want to fit more people in your vehicle, 4WD’s have a plethora of advantages over 2WD’s. With so many 4WD’s on the market with differing features, styles, and purposes, choosing the right 4WD that suits your needs can be a complicated process.
While there are a myriad of aftermarket 4WD products and accessories that you add to your vehicle, the following guide aims to provide you with a basic overview of the primary factors you should consider when purchasing a 4WD.
The best place to start in your hunt for a 4WD is to determine your budget. This will play a key role in the type of 4WD you can afford, along with the additional products and accessories you wish to add to your vehicle. Keep in mind that there’s a significant difference between the listing price and the drive-away price. Factors such as registration, stamp duty, dealer charges, and insurance should be factored into the listing price to give you an accurate indication of how much the vehicle will end up costing you. It’s strongly advised to speak with your dealer and ask that they quote you on the drive-away price. Many people have blown their budget simply because they didn’t factor in hidden costs and other essential accessories.
The size of your engine is another crucial factor in your decision-making process. Don’t forget that bigger engines with various power options will significantly increase the costs of insurance premiums and fuel consumption. Most modern 4WDs on the market today are only available in diesel, however there are still a number of models available in petrol such as the Toyota Hilux. Petrol 4WDs cost roughly $2,000 less than diesel 4WDs but you should also consider factors such as servicing costs and fuel consumption. In general, petrol engines consume more fuel than diesel engines, but servicing costs are less frequent and typically cheaper. It’s always recommended to check your vehicle’s fuel consumption by reviewing the government label on the windscreen of all new vehicles.
An essential factor which has a significant bearing on the style and price of your 4WD is the size of the vehicle. Do you only need a small 4WD for you and your partner or do you want to take a family of 7 on a weekend camping trip? If you’re looking for plenty of space, then a Nissan Patrol or Toyota Landcruiser would be appropriate, however the majority of 4WD’s on the market are much smaller. If you’re looking for a compact vehicle for urban use and occasional weekend off-roading, then the 4-seat Jeep Wrangler would be better suited to your needs. You’ll also need to consider how much cargo space you’ll need to ensure that your vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Mass (the maximum operating weight of the vehicle) is adequate.
The last factor we’ll be discussing today is the type of transmission – manual or automatic? If you have your heart set on a specific vehicle then you may not have to make this decision as certain models are only available in either one or the other. On the other hand, choosing the transmission of your vehicle really boils down to individual preferences. There is a common misunderstanding that manual vehicles have better off-road performance, however automatic vehicles that have a torque converter in conjunction with smooth power delivery and driver-selectable gears can sometimes outperform manuals in off-road environments. Generally speaking, however, automatic 4WDs perform better with higher torque engines.
Of course, everyone has unique preferences and buys a 4WD for different reasons, but it’s important to stick to your budget and purchase a vehicle that suits your needs. Buying a 4WD for city driving will be very different to purchasing a 4WD for a cattle property, but in any case, getting professional advice is always a wise idea. If you’ve got any questions about a particular 4WD you’re interested in, or you have any queries regarding 4WD products or accessories, get in contact with the specialists at TJM Dandenong by phoning 03 9792 1116.