A change of tune
I need to replace my old Toyota 4Runner. I do a lot of serious off-roading — not the dainty little dirt tracks you use. Cargo capacity needs to be considered, so that rules out the new Toyota Fortuner, and the Toyota Prado is too tall. The 4Runners in the US are ideal but we can’t get them here. The Mazda BT-50 doesn’t have suitable underbody protection and, where I go, Mitsubishi Pajeros fall over due to their high centre of gravity. Brian Dungey, email You haven’t given us much to choose from, Brian, but we’ll have a go.
Toyota Fortuner, from $47,990 You rule it out but the new Fortuner diesel is one of the closest vehicles to the concept you’re after. It’s based on HiLux underpinnings and has rugged off-road ability with good wheel articulation. Need space? Remove the third-row seats and stow the second row, which folds flat.
Toyota FJ Cruiser, from $46,990
The Toyota FJ Cruiser is, in effect, a modern version of the original 4Runner design (but with retro looks). You better be quick. The petrol-only FJ Cruiser is now out of production and the only examples are in dealer stock.
Isuzu M-UX, from $45,600
The Isuzu is due to get a minor facelift and engine tune-up before the year is out because the current 3.0-litre turbo diesel won’t meet Australian emissions requirements from November 1. It has a slightly lower roof than the Holden Trailblazer and Toyota Fortuner and has a roomy cargo bay (once the seats are stowed) and might meet your needs.
Jeep Wrangler two-door, from $38,500 It might not be as reliable as the Japanese branded vehicles but the Wrangler has impressive go-anywhere wheel articulation and the centre of gravity is quite low when the roof is off. Consider the fourdoor if you need more space. But be warned: despite the hype, Jeeps are still unreliable and their customer service and parts back-up are found wanting.
Run the tape over a Toyota Fortuner. It’s more capable and more roomy than you think.
TOYOTA FJ CRUISER