Used 4x4 - Charles davies
Hi, looking for recommendations of a 4x4 for me to use when in forests following and photographing motorsport. Have around £1500 just wanting the most economical cheap ish to run. Anything I should be aware of if running it as a second vehicle? Litkerally for one or 2 weekends a month, will probably sell it come winter. Thinking of going 3rd party as most of its use is on private or forrestry commission land anyway. Was thinking of thZose little suzukis or even a panda 4x4. Just needs to be able to cope with gravelly forest tracks but ok on Normal roads getting there.
Used 4x4 - SLO76
The Suzuki Jimny is tough and cheap but horrid to drive on road, the Panda is surprisingly capable but tends to disintegrate around 80,000 miles. I'd be looking at a cheap petrol Honda CRV, Toyota RAV4 or Suzuki Grand Vitara. Subaru Forester would be tempting too but parts prices can be crippling. Look underneath for off-road damage and check there's no noise from rear diffs and watch for rot, especially on farmers wives runabouts. I'd tend to stick with petrol at this money but the Grand Vitara 2.0 diesel is an ancient Mazda unit and pretty robust, I'd avoid the later Fiat 1.9 though.

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Edited by SLO76 on 25/06/2017 at 01:22

Used 4x4 - gordonbennet

I agree with the above, you don't need hard core offroad capability from the sounds of it.

I'd avoid Freelanders because there's a possibility the centre diff system has failed and its now down to 2WD only which a seller may not know themselves nor wish to disclose if they do.

Subaru Forester/Outback are good, tougher than most and superb cars on the road, if you're handy with general spannering they are easy to work on (apart from spark plug changes), if you decide on one you might end up driving one permanently.

Edited by gordonbennet on 25/06/2017 at 07:14

Used 4x4 - nellyjak

I'd certainly consider an early (ish) Toyota Rav 4..reasonable off road capability with excellent on road manners and comfort too.

Used 4x4 - skidpan

Just needs to be able to cope with gravelly forest tracks but ok on Normal roads getting there.

You don't need a 4x4. A normal car with good tyres will do the job. Most rally cars are only 2wd and get hrough the forests fine. When I was younger and did a bit of rallying ALL the cars were 2wd. We originally used a 1200 Beetle which was totally unstoppable but incredibly slow. We used the cast off tyres from a fellow competitors Porche 911, 1/2 the tread left so the Porche with over 200 bhp was struggling but with about 40 bhp they were fine for us and free.

All a 4x4 will do is cost you loads of money and be less comfortable.

Look at getting a set of good all season or winter tyres and simply enjoy. The tyres will then benefit you during the winter months as well

Used 4x4 - Charles davies
Thanks for the input. Have added the Honda and grand vitaras to my list. I know a couple of guys who have got RAV4s for the same purpose - didn't know how they rated. Any specific winter tyre recommendations? Some of the tracks I've been on have high cambers so I reckon having a higher clearance would avoid damage.
Used 4x4 - badbusdriver

Look up pictures of the cars which take part in the 'Mongol rally' before deciding if you need a 4x4 for driving on forest roads!

Used 4x4 - skidpan

I reckon having a higher clearance would avoid damage.

Driving at sensible speeds avoids damage. Driving down the side slightly lessens the effect of the camber.

Used 4x4 - SLO76
The Forester is by far the nicest to drive followed by the RAV4 then the CRV. The Vitara is pretty awful on road but nowhere near as bad as the Jimny but I'd place condition and history over driver appeal at this money. I wouldn't walk by a tidy Vitara to buy a tatty RAV4 and it's not for pounding motorways anyway. No idea regarding winter tyres.
Used 4x4 - corax

Forester will be cheap to buy but expensive to run.

Do the running costs matter if you're only using it a couple of weekends a month?

Rav4 or CRV might be easier to sell afterwards.

Aren't CRV parts expensive too SLO?

Used 4x4 - SLO76
"Aren't CRV parts expensive too SLO?"

Service items aren't and because it was quite a big seller there's plenty of aftermarket suppliers but some manufacturer only bits are horrendous. Generally little goes wrong with them though, thus the reason why there's so many old CRV's still smoking around. Plus there's loads of well looked after examples with one or two longterm owners.

The Forester sold in relatively small numbers here and there's less in the way of used and aftermarket parts supply.
Used 4x4 - JohnX

This is slightly unrelated but I regularly rent cars on a long term basis and having done so for the last 15 odd years,I now gravitate to renting 4x4's if the cost differential is not too much compared to a normal saloon/estate/hatchback with a lower suspension and smaller wheels.

The difference is not obvious but very significant.

They are much more immune to general dings and trivial trauma and have a robust suspension.Note that I use this only in urban areas and dont even need the 4x4 capability but it is purely to do with having a larger SUV like vehicle with larger wheels and greater clearance and an almost non existent chance of kerbing the alloys.

Any trivial scratches etc and you loose out on about £1200 in the Uk, and about $2000 excess elsewhere depending on the rental outfit that is used so it can be a very costly affair.

Apply the same logic to a regular car and you are looking at a lesser long term bill in general, providing the brand is a reliable one and not prone to self disintegrating after a few years.

Edited by JohnX on 28/06/2017 at 03:34


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