CHANGE OF PACE

Alan Boyd needs a tough re­place­ment for the Fal­con

Mercury (Hobart) - Motoring - - MOTORING - CRAIG DUFF

My Ford Fal­con FG does most of what I need. But af­ter re­tir­ing we are vis­it­ing many na­tional parks etc and the dirt tracks of­ten are too rough for the Fal­con. So I need a 4WD with at least 2500kg tow­ing ca­pac­ity — I’ve got a new van too. No need for seven seats (al­though that seems to be stan­dard now) and would like a ve­hi­cle that’s the most com­fort­able and eas­i­est to drive. My bud­get is up to $60,000 new and I’d also con­sider a used ve­hi­cle with war­ranty left. Maybe some­thing like Isuzu MU-X or Toy­ota For­tuner? I like the Kia Sorento but then the van would be right on the tow­ing limit.

AN­SWER

You’re haul­ing rea­son­ably heavy loads, so the op­tions are re­stricted if you need space and of­froad abil­ity. The Kia may strug­gle on slip­pery and steeper dirt in­clines. The other is­sue to con­sider is how much load each en­gine is go­ing to be un­der when tow­ing and try to cal­cu­late fuel use ac­cord­ingly, be­cause it won’t be close to the claimed con­sump­tion.

CHOICES ISUZU MU-X LS-T, FROM $52,990 DRIVE-AWAY

The MU-X packs a 3.0-litre turbo diesel good for 130kW/430Nm with a six-speed auto. The eight-inch touch­screen comes with sat­nav and there are leather-high­lighted seats, fog lights and 18-inch al­loys. De­spite the in­fo­tain­ment, the MU-X is at the durable rather than de­sir­able end of the mar­ket in terms of in­te­rior qual­ity but feels as if it was built to pull tree stumps, will tow 3000kg and has a fiveyear/130,000km war­ranty. Ser­vice in­ter­vals are ev­ery year or 10,000km and the first four vis­its will cost $1450.

TOY­OTA FOR­TUNER GXL, FROM $50,990 DRIVE-AWAY

Buy be­fore the end of July and save nearly $10,000 on the mid-spec For­tuner‘s reg­u­lar price. It still uses the same 2.8-litre turbo diesel (130kW/420Nm) paired with a six-speed auto with pad­dle shifters. De­fault kit in­cludes a seven-inch in­fo­tain­ment screen, 17-inch al­loy wheels, rear park­ing sen­sors, pri­vacy glass, rear diff lock and cruise con­trol. Build qual­ity is con­vinc­ing, backed by a three-year war­ranty. Servicing is ev­ery six months or 10,000km and the first six trips are capped at $1440.

MIT­SUBISHI PAJERO SPORT GLS, FROM $51,000 DRIVE-AWAY

The mid-spec GLS is on spe­cial and still packs plenty of fea­tures. Stan­dard equip­ment runs from a seven-inch screen with An­droid/Ap­ple smart­phone con­nec­tiv­ity to a lock­ing rear diff and 3100kg braked tow­ing ca­pac­ity. The 2.4litre turbo diesel is the small­est of the trio, still pro­duc­ing 133kW/430Nm, and is hooked up to a highly ca­pa­ble eight-speed auto. There’s a five-year war­ranty and ser­vice in­ter­vals are 12 months/15,000km with the first three trips capped at $1350. The in­te­rior is a step up from these ri­vals with pi­ano black fin­ishes, leather trimmed seats and an over­all pre­mium feel.

WILD­CARD FORD TER­RI­TORY, FROM $53,000 DRIVE-AWAY

There are still ex­am­ples of the 2016 Ter­ri­tory around at this price and it still rates as one of the best driv­ing cars for gravel roads, as op­posed to gen­uine bush trails. The 2.7-litre diesel — thirsty but will­ing with 140kW/440Nm — can haul 2700kg when fit­ted with the heavy duty tow pack, though that puts the Ford per­ilously close to your weight limit. The in­te­rior is dated but well-built and the Ti­ta­nium came with the roof-mounted 10.2-inch TV screen. Ser­vice in­ter­vals are 12 months/15,000km and the first three trips cost $1340.

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