When I first arrived in Sydney I bought a Mazda Tribute. I half had it in mind at the time that it could be the car we could travel Australia in. It was also my first foray into the world of four wheel driving, as it was an all wheel drive. The Tribute served us well, as a good car to get me to and from work and also fit all of our camping gear for weekends away. However, we both had some doubts about it, both in its reliability and its suitability for our adventures next year.
So I started some research into what second hand 4×4 might be suitable at a reasonable price. I quickly found that it’s a bit of a minefield! There are so many things to consider when buying a used 4×4!
And then there was the diesel v’s petrol debate! I did some research, and given that I’m more familiar with a petrol engine, and that a diesel would push my budget a bit beyond what I was comfortable with, I decided to stick with what I know.
So I started reading forums for 4×4 enthusiasts and also various car review websites, to narrow down the minefield of manufacturers and models. It seemed the main recommendations were the Toyota Landcruiser, Nissan Patrol and Mitsubishi Pajero. These are all BIG vehicles! I had to keep in mind that this car would need to get me to and from work (i.e. be manoeuvrable enough for Sydney’s roads) but also get us and our gear around Australia! I kept seeing the Landcruiser Prado popping up in my used car searches, so I decided to investigate the difference between a Landcruiser and the Prado edition.
I found that it was a slightly smaller version of the Landcruiser, but with all the same capabilities (and the bonus of a huge 180L fuel tank!). The reviews that I read were very positive and it ticked all of the boxes. I also found that I know several people who own them and they all rave about them.
So decision made on which car and roughly how much, I arranged some finance then it was time to go shopping! As I’d been reviewing about 5 different used car sales websites for a couple of weeks prior, I had a good idea about what was out there and what I’d get for my money. I was obviously trying to get the most bang for my buck, so was targeting the youngest cars with the least number of kilometres on the clock. Any extras, like roof rack and bull bar, would be a bonus. I was able to test drive a couple during the week that were in dealerships near work, and then had a list of four to check out on the Saturday.
Priscilla was the last one we saw that day! The ad had appealed to me, mainly because she’s blue (I have a long history with blue cars!) ☺ But where the other three cars we’d seen during the day hadn’t overwhelmed us, both Susan and I immediately took to this one and we had a good “gut feeling”. She’s in great condition, paintwork, upholstery, carpets, etc, and drives well. I put a deposit down and got the MTA (Motor Traders Association) to give her the once over on the Monday morning.
The (very detailed!) report from the MTA was positive, confirming that the vehicle was in good condition for its age and mechanically all was fine. The dealer had agreed to give her a service so I had to wait DAYS (well, 1 day…) until I could pick her up. As I was trading in the Tribute with them, I dropped in the old and drove away in the new!
I must say that the sales guy at the dealership, Gerry at Apex Auto Auctions, was excellent. An older gentleman, he obviously had a love for all things 4WD (Apex specialise in them) and was just keen to chat rather than to do the hard sell! I would definitely recommend them if you’re in the market.
So as Pricilla is pretty much factory standard, there are several modifications I want to make, including a roof rack, bull bar and new suspension. Well, that’s at this stage, anyway! I’ll keep you updated with the progress! Any hint, tips or recommendations you can make on these mods, or anything 4×4 related you can share with a newbie, then please let me know!
Some sites and information I found of use: