Australians love going four-wheel driving: here is our list of the best new off-roaders for the least amount of money
Australians have a great love for off-roading. More and more local buyers are purchasing four-wheel-drive SUVs and utes, not just for the weekly grind but also to take up to the beaches, forestry trails and off-road camp sites scattered across the country.
But for those wanting to enter the off-road market, it can often be a daunting task to find a four-wheel-drive vehicle that is capable, practical and won’t break their budget.
While purchasing a four-wheel drive second-hand can be a good idea, prospective buyers won’t necessarily know the extent of how a used example has been driven, and in some cases older vehicles mightn’t come with a factory-backed warranty.
Here are Chasing Cars’ picks for the best bang-for-your-buck, brand-new four-wheel drives on sale in Australia.
We’ve broken the sections down into 4×4 SUVs and utes, and have listed them in order of cheapest to most expensive.
Please note that our list only includes those SUVs that sit below $50,000 and utes that sit below $40,000 before on-road costs.
All prices listed are before on-road costs, unless otherwise stated
Suzuki Jimny Lite, from $30,490
The Suzuki Jimny has become a beloved and iconic four-wheel drive in Australia. It’s also the most affordable SUV in this list. Don’t let its small outputs (75kW/130Nm) fool you, the Suzuki Jimny is a very capable car off the beaten track. It’s obviously cheapest in five-speed manual guise – autos are available at a $1500 upcharge – but this micro-sized off-roader is a real gem to drive, on and off road.
Why we pick it: Fun to drive nature and punches well above its weight off-road
Mahindra Scorpio, from $41,990 driveaway
Mahindra has just launched its Scorpio SUV in Australia and it promises to offer off-road ability and general livability for a fraction of the cost of some other midsize 4×4 SUVs. Standard kit includes a part-time ‘intelligent’ four-wheel drive system, an 8.0-inch centre touchscreen, LED headlights and tail lights and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Why we pick it: capable all-terrain vehicle, smooth auto and quiet diesel engine,
LDV D90, from $43,691
Is this the cheapest large off-road SUV in Australia? It may not have the overall badge appeal like Toyota and Ford, but the LDV D90 is a strong contender for the money. The D90 is powered by a 2.0-litre turbo petrol four-cylinder engine that produces 160kW/350Nm. It’s also backed by a five-year, 150,000km warranty.
Why we pick it: Powerful engine and solid factory warranty
Ssangyong Rexton, from $46,300
Another strong contender is the Ssangyong Rexton that uses a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine to produce total outputs of 148kW/441Nm. It also features an eight-speed automatic transmission, is capable of towing 3500kg and has a seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.
Why we pick it: Seven seats, long warranty, part-time four-wheel-drive system
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, from $49,940
Based on the same platform as the Triton ute, the Pajero Sport uses Mitsubishi’s tried-and-tested 2.4-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine that produces 133kW/430Nm and sends those outputs to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. A huge 10-year, 200,000km warranty comes with every Mitsubishi vehicle.
Why we pick it: Class-leading warranty, off-road prowess
It’s a stretch, and a bit over budget, but we would also consider:
GWM Tank 300 Lux, from $55,990 driveaway
Although deliveries are yet to begin down under, the GWM Tank 300 is set to be a cut-priced off-roading alternative to the Jeep Wrangler, and looks a lot like a mix between a Suzuki Jimny and a Jeep Renegade.
It’s powered by a hybrid 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 180kW/380Nm. It’ll also be backed by GWM’s seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty and will feature standard features such as 17-inch alloy wheels, a 12.3-inch multimedia touchscreen and a 360-degree camera.
Why we pick it: a capable and rugged-looking off-roader for much less money than a Jeep Wrangler.
It should be noted that some of these 4×4 utes are cab-chassis models – meaning they might need an alloy tray fitted at an extra expense. Prices listed are for a manual transmission option.
Mahindra PikUp, from $30,990 (auto option is $37,990)
Mahinda offers the cheapest four-wheel drive ute on the Australian market, the PikUp. It might be basic inside and only have the essential features like air conditioning, cloth seats and a 7.0-inch touchscreen, but the reality is the Mahindra PikUp can go to a lot of the same places as a much more expensive ute. It’s powered by a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine with 103kW/320Nm.
Why we pick it: it’s the cheapest way to get into the 4×4 ute market and is surprisingly capable for the money
Ssangyong Musso ELX ute, from $35,000 (auto option is $36,600)
Say hello to the Ssangyong Musso ute. It’s the best way for newcomers to the four-wheel drive community to get off-road experience and for not too much money, either.
Standard features include a part-time 4×4 system, an auto-locking differential, 18-inch alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.
The Musso is powered by a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine that produces 133kW/400Nm. It’s available in manual or automatic guise.
Why we pick it: It’s a great value ute, comes with plenty of standard features, long seven-year warranty
Mitsubishi Triton GLX 4×4 MR manual, from $37,490 (auto option is $39,740)
The Mitsubishi Triton is up there with the best of Toyota and Ford in the battle of the utes here in Australia. However, Tritons can be picked up for a relatively low cost of entry if you don’t mind having a lower-grade ute.
Standard specifications include a 133kW/430Nm 2.4-litre turbo-diesel engine, a 3.1-tonne towing capacity, Mitsubishi’s super select four-wheel-drive system and a 10-year factory warranty.
Why we pick it: a reliable ute for every day work or play
LDV T60 Max Pro 4×4 dual-cab utility, from $38,990 (auto option is $40,990)
LDV’s T60 ute offers the most power and torque for the money – 160kW/500Nm. It truly is bang-for your-buck motoring thanks to a 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel powertrain. It uses a part-time four-wheel-drive system.
A seven-year, 200,000-kilometre warranty is standard.
Why we pick it: Most powerful ute for the money, long warranty, plenty of standard kit
GWM Cannon 4×4 pick-up, from $38,990 driveaway
GWM offers a dual-cab pick-up truck for under $40,000 with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and a torquey 2.0-litre diesel engine with outputs of 120kW/400Nm.
Why we pick it: hard to beat feature value, surprisingly reliable and capable
Nissan Navara SL 4×4 cab chassis, from $39,300
The Navara SL 4×4 cab-chassis ute is a worthy mention in this field. Available as standard with a twin-turbo diesel four-cylinder engine that produces 140kW/450Nm, the Navara is one of the most torque-rich off-road vehicles in this list.
The Navara SL comes with a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, has a rear differential lock and can tow up to 3500kg.
Why we pick it: torquey twin-turbo diesel engine, five year warranty.
Toyota Hilux Workmate cab chassis 4×4, from $40,115
The Hilux name is as iconic as they come. While only the Workmate around (and a smidge over) our $40K price limit, fun can still be had with the 2.4-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine that makes 110kW/400Nm, however these are down when compared to some other off-road capable utes in this list.
Why we pick it: Proven Hilux reliability, solid standard kit and safety tech
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