How to choose the right 'real' 4WD - the first time
Ditching the soft SUV and going 100 per cent hardcore, with the fam. Getting gut there - beyond the range of public WiFi
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Here’s a question from Valerie. I currently drive a Subaru XV and love it. However, we are planning on getting a trailer yacht. I have been researching a tow vehicle. I'm allowing 2.5T GTM for the boat, trailer and extras. (It’s quoted at around 1.8T, so I’m being conservative.) I'm considering Mitsubishi Triton GSR, with roll top tonneau, or possibly a Pajero. Because we also use canoes and kayaks, and have kids with bikes, the ute looks the most logical. However, given the what is to be towed, and the gear, I wonder if I should look to a higher towing safety margin - eg. a Landcruiser 200? - Valerie OK - I think you’re on the right track. (I actually own a Triton GSR with the roll-top.) It’s great for that kind of thing but if you plan on carrying those kayaks on racks, I’d want to know how the racks integrate with the roll-top (like, the rear rack). Exactly how do we make that work without interfering with the rolltop? Triton is excellent value among utes. I’d really like it to come with adaptive cruise, but hey - there’s no such thing as the perfect ute. Super Select II (the transfer case in Triton) is excellent. I really like the way 4H is available with the centre diff unlocked. This means you can drive in 4H on a high traction surface, which is excellent on a steep driveway, or in the wet, or on a good dirt road. And then, if things get really slippery, you just turn the knob and lock the centre diff. This is a brilliant differentiating feature that most competing utes cannot match. And let’s not forget Triton is $12k - or thereabouts - cheaper than a Ranger Wildtrak. However, like all utes, Triton does feel somewhat tractor-like in comparison to a nice, smooth, nimble Subaru XV, and the footprint is considerably larger - longer. But utes often are not as practical as the pre-purchase fantasy might suggest. Like, for normal domestic duties, such as grocery shopping … where exactly do the groceries go, with the kids and hubby on board? Ute trays - very hard on the eggs. Unless you want them pre-scrambled. The roll-top is great for added security, but the height limitation is absolute. Bikes can of course go in the tray, or on a towball-mounted carrier. It’s dead easy to fit a roof rack on a dual cab, and mount the kayaks on that. Still, despite the default Shitsville ute infatuation, a Pajero Sport might be better as a family all-rounder. Certainly I’d get a Pajero Sport over a Pajero - given Pajero is as old as me, from a geriatric point of view. (An’d I’m pretty fuckin’ old.) Pajero Sport is - essentially - a Triton ute, re-engineered with a wagon body, plus an eight-speed auto and a coil-sprung rear (both for added refinement). To me, Landcruiser 200 is not that much of an upgrade, in practical terms. Valerie has already built in more than enough operational safety margin for towing with either Bits-o-shitty. Twenty-something per cent (worst case) is an adequate safety margin. To me, buying a Landcruiser 200 means spending double the cash for 400 kilos of extra tow capacity which will never be needed.