It is difficult to watch video or look at pictures of upgraded off-road 4x4s tearing across streams or dunes and not become enamoured with the idea of owning one of these adaptable and long-lasting machines.
Unfortunately, diving headfirst into the world of four-wheel drive vehicles and off-roading can be an intimidating prospect, especially for those who have not previously participated in either activity.
Because there is such a wide variety of makes, models, and styles available, both new and used, things can quickly become overwhelming. This issue is made even more difficult by the countless aftermarket component options that can be found on the market today.
As a result, in order to alleviate some of the stress that is associated with the process of looking for your first off-roader, we have compiled this guide on how to purchase your first 4x4.
In this article, we will discuss the various types of four-wheel-drive vehicles, what to look for when shopping for one, what terrains to take into consideration, and where to buy one, along with a few general pointers that will help you make sure you leave the lot with the right side and not a rusty old lemon.
You will have a lot to think about when you set out to find your next used car, from the price range you are comfortable with to the essential features that are required for your day-to-day activities.
Nevertheless, in addition to a navigation system, one of the aspects that will significantly impact the quality of your time spent behind the wheel is whether or not you go with a four-wheel drive or a four-wheel drive vehicle.
It is not the case that only pickup trucks and utes can be classified as 4x4s; these vehicles can be any shape or size and come with a wide range of capabilities to handle the most difficult driving conditions.
Obtaining a car history report will help you make an educated choice, regardless of whether or not you decide to purchase a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
Inside, you will find any and all information pertaining to your prospective vehicle that you could possibly want to know, such as previous insurance claims, indications of odometer rollback, and outstanding finance.
The Right Tool For The Job
You should ask yourself, "what am I going to use it for?" before making any rash decisions about buying your first four-wheel drive vehicle. Each 4x4 model has its own set of pros and cons that make it better or worse suited to certain conditions.
Before you go out and buy a four-wheel drive vehicle, you should decide whether it will be used for extreme off-roading and rock crawling, camping and Overlanding, fire road duties and some light exploring, or something else entirely. You could get by just fine with a daily commuter vehicle that has been outfitted in an off-road style, and you wouldn't even need an off-road vehicle. Hopefully, the response to this enquiry will aid you in narrowing in on the precise make and model that will best serve your needs.
The answer to this question should also indicate whether or not you need to make any modifications to the truck for the intended purpose.
Do Your Homework
Do some research on the off-roading opportunities in your area if you haven't decided how you'll put your four-wheel drive vehicle to use.
It may be worthwhile to invest in a desert-ready vehicle if you happen to live within a half-drive hour's of a sizable area of sand dunes. In contrast, a rock crawler may be the better choice if you happen to reside in a region with abundant boulder deposits. Determine the type of four-wheeling you'll be doing, and then proceed with your preparations based on that.
New Or Used
Both investing in a used classic off-road vehicle and buying a new one have their pros and cons, depending on your perspective.
A new car will be more expensive than a used one, but it will have the latest and greatest safety, design, and comfort features.
For those who are willing to spend more on a brand-new four-wheel-drive vehicle, one of the perks is the option to tailor the vehicle to your specific needs by installing any aftermarket or bespoke parts you think will improve its performance.
In addition to getting a unique off-road vehicle, you get to take part in the building process, which is, to be honest, a lot of exciting.
However, even the most highly priced aftermarket parts add very little to the market value of your car if you choose to go this route. For this and other reasons, many have abandoned the traditional approach.
While this is bad news for the industry as a whole, it does give those with less money the chance to buy a four-wheel drive vehicle that has already been deemed a failure at a fraction of the price.
It's not that you can't begin building your custom 4x4 with a used truck or SUV; it's just that it might need some work done on it first.
When purchasing a used item, you should expect the possibility of some issues. Used models almost always require more upkeep than their brand-new counterparts because of the greater likelihood of cosmetic and mechanical flaws. An identical 4x4 in pristine condition would cost you $50k new. In most cases, you can buy used items with confidence if you just make sure to pay attention to a few key details (which we'll discuss below).
Why Buy A 4×4?
They Are Safe
It cannot be denied that these automobiles adhere to all safety standards. They are built to withstand the most demanding environments and survive in the harshest terrains, so they are robust in design. Automobiles with four-wheel drive and high ground clearance, like Nissan's X-Trail, are built to handle the aftermath of natural disasters such as mudslides, rock falls, flooding, and more.
Therefore, they are not overly concerned about the possibility of rain, frost, or snow. In addition, the designers and manufacturers of the vehicle place equal emphasis on the safety of the passengers as they do on the vehicle itself.
The typical four-wheel-drive vehicle provides a significantly better ride for the driver than the vast majority of other types of vehicles, in addition to its extensive list of standard safety features.
This naturally means that as an occupant, you have a much better level of visibility, which allows you to see more of the road than other drivers can. This gives you an advantage over them.
This gives you a greater opportunity to observe the actions of other drivers and the opportunity to adapt your driving much earlier and in a much more secure manner. In many cases, this can function similarly to an advanced warning system.
4×4 Vehicles Are Practical
Automobiles such as the Hyundai Sante Fe are examples of vehicles that are HUGE!! This ensures that there will always be sufficient room for you as well as a large group of other passengers. Because many 4x4s have seven seats, it is simple for them to accommodate large groups of people.
The additional space ensures that everyone is able to travel in comfort without having to worry about crowding other passengers or sacrificing legroom. Therefore, travelling with friends or coworkers over long distances, as well as going on vacation with the whole family, is a breeze.
In addition to that, there is always a vast amount of space in the trunk for everyone's things to put in there. In addition, there will be sufficient space for you to clean out your garage or other storage area using only one or two trips to the neighbourhood dump. There's a good reason why all of the people who have the most inventory at your weekend car boot sale drive four-wheel drive vehicles.
They Are Economical
Oh, they most certainly are! It is a widespread misconception that all of them are monstrous gas-guzzlers that are piloted by diesel-fueled invaders hell-bent on obliterating the planet. There are well-known four-wheel drive vehicles that can achieve up to 56 miles per gallon, such as the Range Rover.
That is even more fuel efficient than the typical station waggon used by families. And many compact four-wheel-drive sport utility vehicles (SUVs) use the same fuel-efficient engines as compact cars; therefore, if you drive them with economy in mind, they can be just as kind to your wallet.
They Are Environmentally Friendly
No, we haven't completely lost our minds about this. Not only does it have a better fuel economy than so-called "greener" vehicles, but it also has a lower carbon footprint.
Emissions are no longer necessarily the Achilles heel of the four-wheel drive vehicle. Some have emission levels that are even better for the environment than those of family hatchbacks, and thanks to manufacturers like Range Rover that run CO2 offset schemes, others are able to be significantly more environmentally friendly. That certainly comes as a shock, doesn't it?!
4x4s Are Adaptable
We have already touched on this topic a little bit, but cars like the Jeep Renegade and Grand Cherokee are designed to be able to cope with pretty much anything that is thrown at them. This includes conditions brought on by the weather, such as heavy rain, ice, snow, and wind.
In addition, they are able to handle any challenge that the roads of the United Kingdom throw at them, including challenging hill climbs, winding mountain passes, roads riddled with potholes, and exposed rural dirt tracks.
Keep in mind that when the going gets tough, these vehicles get even tougher, so if you need to venture off-road for work or pleasure, or find yourself parked besides a muddy sports field, you'll want to be behind the wheel of one of these; after all, that's what they were made for!
They Are Versatile
Oh, but these aren't your typical city cars. Right? WRONG! The typical four-wheel-drive vehicle is able to handle any kind of road surface and any kind of road with ease. Since they are machines that have been precision-engineered, manoeuvring through tight spaces and sharp turns is not difficult for a 4x4.
They frequently come equipped with cutting-edge technology that can automatically assist with braking in the event that a pedestrian or cyclist comes a little too close to the vehicle. In addition, multiple cameras provide you with a perfect view in every direction, something that most so-called city cars are unable to match.
They Are Seriously Strong
Caravans are another type of vehicle that receives a lot of negative attention on the road, and one common criticism levelled at 4x4 drivers is that they use their vehicles to pull caravans. We have no grounds to contest this. To be fair, however, there is a very good reason why so many 4x4s are used for towing: these vehicles are powerful. And this ensures that they are protected.
Towing a heavy object such as a horsebox, caravan, or any other heavy vehicle is a serious business that involves more than just the driver. Even a momentary lapse in the driver's ability to maintain control of the vehicle increases the risk of an accident for everyone else on the road at the same time. Therefore, rather than opting for something more compact, it makes more sense to use a vehicle that is sizable, robust, and capable of handling the task at hand.
These four-wheel-drive vehicles have impressive pulling power, with the largest being able to haul up to 3,100 kilogrammes. On the other hand, if you see one of these large boys, such as a Kia Sorento or the Volvo XC90, connected to a caravan while driving on the highway or a country road, you can exhale a sigh of relief because everything is under control.
When shopping for a four-wheel drive vehicle, there are many different aspects of the vehicle that you should evaluate to determine which one meets your requirements the best. In this article, we provide an overview of the most important factors to think about when purchasing a four-wheel drive vehicle.
The size is one of the most important considerations to make. Some compact four-wheel drives are capable of outperforming larger models in terms of performance. Four-wheel drives designed for smaller vehicles typically have steeper approach angles, shorter rear overhangs, and more open space underneath.
Before you buy a 4x4, make sure you give some thought to its overall mass or weight. It is in your best interest to purchase a vehicle that weighs less rather than one that does. The lighter vehicle consumes less power and possesses superior traction as well as flotation due to its lower centre of gravity.
Take a look at the distance between the wheels. Your performance, balance, clearance, and ability to approach angles will all improve in direct proportion to the length of your vehicle's wheelbase. This level of stability is simple to achieve when the wheelbase of the vehicle in question is between 2,200 and 2,600 millimetres.
Is It Modifiable?
Examine the degree to which a vehicle can be easily customised. Some automobiles are more easily modified than others because of the way they were constructed. When it comes to modifications, certain automobiles that have too many advanced features can be problematic.
Lifting the rig, increasing its traction, changing the tyres and gears, and installing new components are just some of the many things that need to be done in a four-wheel drive vehicle. Look through a four-wheel-drive hardware catalogue or a shop that sells spare parts to see what products are suitable for your potential modification project.
Are Spare Parts Easy To Get?
You should investigate the availability of spare parts and select a vehicle for which spare parts are simple to locate and do not need to be imported from another country. If your choices are limited, you will be forced to rely on one-off, customised auto parts, which are not only expensive but also do not undergo any engineering or market testing by professionals in the automotive industry.
What's The Limit That Your Car Can Carry?
Find out the maximum amount of weight that the four-wheel drive can haul before you purchase it. Some people purchase automobiles with a limited capacity for the amount of luggage they can carry, and then proceed to overload them.
Because of this, the 4-wheel drive's performance and efficiency may be negatively impacted. Because driving an overloaded vehicle can cause it to sink into soft ground, you should look into purchasing a vehicle that has better traction abilities if you frequently travel with a lot of luggage.
4-wheel Drive Shocks
Always go for shocks that have the ability to be adjusted. Learn when to use a particular shock and when not to use it so that you don't cause damage to your vehicle.
These adjustments have to be made in accordance with the speed at which you are driving. For instance, softened settings and stretch are necessary for playing slow and steady rock. In addition, if your four-wheel drive is equipped with a soft-sprung coiler, changing the setting to one that is firmer can help reduce off-camber sway.
Learn about the sway bars and the limitations of your four-wheel drive system so that you are aware of when and where you should not allow them to engage. If you dive on sidehills, you will need the balance provided by an anti-sway bar system that is capable of being modified.
Learn everything you can about the engine in your four-wheel drive vehicle so that you don't push it beyond its capabilities. Be aware that 4-wheel drive engines require clean air filters and active cooling systems in order to function properly.
Driving In Snow And On Ice
When driving on snow and ice, four-wheel drives with four-wheel drive are difficult to manoeuvre because the traction of the wheel requires greater control. If the roads you typically drive on are typically snowy or icy, you should steer clear of using a four-wheel drive vehicle because doing so is fraught with risk.
Expenses Related To 4wd
The initial purchase price, the cost of ongoing maintenance, and the cost of fuel for a four-wheel drive vehicle are all quite high. This is one of the primary disadvantages of four-wheel drive.
The additional hardware (differentials, transfer case, and other components, among others) not only adds weight to the vehicle but also makes it more complicated. This causes its initial market value to increase, as well as the wear on the tyres, as well as the cost of repairs and maintenance.
Due to the additional power and weight, 4WD systems require more fuel, which results in them having a lower fuel efficiency compared to their 2WD counterparts.
The advantage of carrying additional mass is that it improves traction and control, but the drawback is that it also makes it necessary to travel further before coming to a complete halt when applying the brakes. It is easier to avoid a collision with lighter vehicles than it is with heavier vehicles.
Why Choose Four-wheel-drive Over Front-wheel Drive?
Do You Need A Four-wheel Drive?
Rough-terrain capability is a major selling point for vehicles like these. That's because 4WD vehicles can send torque to all four wheels, which also makes them great for towing in case you get stuck and can't tell which ones need traction to get going again.
"It is an admitted fact that the large four-wheel drive is not an ideal car for driving a single person around the city," the Australian National Four Wheel Drive Council states.
"The vast majority of 4x4 owners, though, don't have one of their vehicles for weekday commutes. Someone may need a four-wheel drive vehicle because they frequently engage in recreational activities that necessitate the transportation of heavy loads."
Finally, if you want to go off-roading and need something stable and rugged, buying a four-wheel-drive vehicle is a good idea. Alternatively, if you need a dependable vehicle for commuting within the city, you might discover that one equipped with two-wheel drive is perfect for you.
It can be daunting to dive headfirst into the world of four-wheel drive vehicles. It's possible to choose from a huge selection of new and pre-owned models, designs, and brand names. Suggestions on where to purchase a 4x4 and what terrains to expect are provided as examples. There are advantages and disadvantages to driving a particular 4x4 model in various environments. Depending on your needs, you can achieve the same result with either a new or used classic off-road vehicle investment.
A brand-new four-wheel drive vehicle can cost upwards of $50,000. Maintenance costs for used vehicles are higher than for new ones because of the higher prevalence of cosmetic and mechanical flaws. They are constructed to last in extreme conditions and adapt to a variety of terrain types. Most of the people who bring the most stuff to the weekend car boot sale probably have four-wheel drive vehicles, and for good reason. Everyone can relax on their trip without having to worry about being too close to other people or having to squeeze into a cramped seat.
It doesn't matter what the road's like, a standard 4x4 vehicle will be able to drive on it with no problems. Most of the time, they are fitted with state-of-the-art technology that can help the driver automatically apply the brakes if a pedestrian or cyclist gets too close to the car. You can tow a caravan or horse trailer with one of these vehicles. There is a lot to think about when searching for a new four-wheel drive vehicle. In this article, we'll go over some of the most crucial considerations before buying a 4x4.
Check how easy it is to make changes to the car. Before you buy a four-wheel drive, you should find out how much weight it can tow. So that you don't wreck your car, you should know when to use each type of shock and when not to. Avoid using a 4WD vehicle if you have to drive on icy roads. Carrying more weight increases traction and control, but requires more distance to be covered before stopping completely when using the brakes.
Avoiding an accident becomes simpler when the vehicles involved are lighter. Since they are lighter and easier to produce, front-wheel drive vehicles may be cheaper to produce and use less fuel. Four-wheel drive vehicles are more stable and rugged because torque can be sent to all four wheels. Sending power to all of the wheels improves the driver's line of sight. If you get stuck and can't tell which wheels need traction, 4WD vehicles are also useful for towing.
- Unfortunately, diving headfirst into the world of four-wheel drive vehicles and off-roading can be an intimidating prospect, especially for those who have not previously participated in either activity.
- Obtaining a car history report will help you make an educated choice, regardless of whether or not you decide to purchase a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
- before making any rash decisions about buying your first four-wheel drive vehicle.
- When purchasing a used item, you should expect the possibility of some issues.
- The typical four-wheel-drive vehicle provides a significantly better ride for the driver than the vast majority of other types of vehicles, in addition to its extensive list of standard safety features.
- The typical four-wheel-drive vehicle is able to handle any kind of road surface and any kind of road with ease.
- When shopping for a four-wheel drive vehicle, there are many different aspects of the vehicle that you should evaluate to determine which one meets your requirements the best.
- In this article, we provide an overview of the most important factors to think about when purchasing a four-wheel drive vehicle.
- Your performance, balance, clearance, and ability to approach angles will all improve in direct proportion to the length of your vehicle's wheelbase.
- Find out the maximum amount of weight that the four-wheel drive can haul before you purchase it.
- The additional hardware (differentials, transfer case, and other components, among others) not only adds weight to the vehicle but also makes it more complicated.
- Due to the additional power and weight, 4WD systems require more fuel, which results in them having a lower fuel efficiency compared to their 2WD counterparts.
- Most automobile engines are placed in the front of the vehicle, so front-wheel drive is advantageous because it avoids transferring power to the rear wheels, which would cause a drop in output (as is the case with a rear-wheel-drive).
- Front-wheel drive vehicles have the potential to be less expensive and more fuel efficient because they are lighter but also simpler to generate than their rear-wheel drive counterparts.
- Because of this, the vehicle's stability suffers.
- Due to the driver's typically higher position in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, the driver benefits from increased visibility thanks to the engine power being sent to all of the vehicle's wheels.
- "It is an admitted fact that the large four-wheel drive is not an ideal car for driving a single person around the city," the Australian National Four Wheel Drive Council states.
- Alternatively, if you need a dependable vehicle for commuting within the city, you might discover that one equipped with two-wheel drive is perfect for you.
FAQs About 4X4 Vehicles
The first and foremost is that 4x4 vehicles have increased traction and stability, which makes them great at handling adverse weather conditions. You'll have a much easier time in rain, snow or ice with a 4x4 vehicle. 4x4 SUVs are also much more capable of off-roading conditions.
Best 4x4s to buy 2022
- Land Rover Defender.
- Dacia Duster.
- Toyota Land Cruiser.
- Ford Ranger.
- Fiat Panda 4x4.
- Land Rover Discovery.
- Mercedes G-Class.
- SsangYong Rexton.
The main disadvantage of 4WD is the added purchase, maintenance, and fuel cost. The extra equipment (differentials, transfer case, etc.) adds complexity and weight to the vehicle, increasing initial market value, tire wear, and the cost of repairs and maintenance.
Unfortunately, driving in 4WD uses more gas than in 2WD simply because more components are used within a 4WD system. More components mean more fuel to power the drivetrain, which leads to increased gas consumption.
The advantages of a four-wheel drive system include: 4×4 vehicles can drive all four wheels for increased traction when travelling over challenging terrain. 4×4 vehicles often have a higher towing and payload capacity than 4×2 vehicles. 4×4 vehicles generally have a higher resale value than 4×2 vehicles.