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Best Mid Size Rv/suv


john cooper
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Thinking of buying a temporary RV/SUV for the summer vacation, got a list of small to mid size SUV’s but bit confused which one to select,

My Main concerns as below:

  1. Capable of doing most of the adventure task (Not the hardcore 4WD)
  2. Full time 4WD OR 4WD with Hi and Lo gears
  3. Fuel consumption (Should be easy on the pocket)
  4. DIFF lock (If Any)

All of the below vehicles done 200,000km or 3000,000km as my allocated budget for the car is $2000 Most of the below SUV’s are well-maintained and no problem of driving 1000km’s or so in 1 shot (fingers crossed)

  1. Toyota RAV4 1996 5Door Wagon 5 speed manual 310+km on the clock
  2. Toyota RAV4 1995 5Door 4AUTO
  3. Honda CRV 1996 5Door Auto
  4. Nissan Terrano 1992 2.7 Diesel Auto
  5. Toyota RAV4 1994 3Door Auto
  6. Suzuki Vitara 1992 3Door manual 1.6
  7. Daihatsu Terrious 1997 5Door Manual 1.3

I.e. Diesel vehicle is not that cheap to run as we need to pay a tax based on the Km that we travel

Please give you guy’s advice/ share your past experience so it may easy for me to decide which one to buy.

Many Thanks

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These are all softroaders dude (barring the Terrano). It depends what exactly is "most of the adventure task" you are referring to. If you want to go through a few puddles and feel proud of your achievement, then any of these will do.

If you are in to even a little bit of adventure, get an LN106 or something similar.

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Most of the adventure task are: Few river crossings (2.5 to 3 feet) water and lots of gravel roads with mud ponds, hope those are not too big and lots of bush driving as per the plan, This is more of a fun drive which we done mind of wracking over cars and that is the reason to not to spen too much money on it, I don’t wana take my 08 PRADO for this experience which will ended up lots of cosmetic damages at the end of the day.

Last part of the plan is to sell them back and recover some money back (If possible) B) , LN's are way too far from budget

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I have used #1,2,3,4:

The CR-V and the Automatic RAV4 will handle gravel roads and shallow sand/mud tracks but anything more than that or trying to climb a slippery slope would be a losing battle. The RAV4 manual (at least the JDM version, i know some didn't come with it and some even came with an optional LSD) came with a center diff lock (the switch is located close to the hazard light switches).

The Terrano is probably the closest on your list that is somewhat capable of handling moderately rougher terrain than the RAV4 and CR-V. Depending on the model some comes with Hi-Lo range as well as a center diff lock, whilst some (particularly the last generation of the Terrano) came with just an automatic AWD system that can be locked or put on auto.

I have also used a 1996 and 1999 and 2003 Hilux Surf...pretty much like the Terrano...comes with Hi-Lo range, some particularly the 1998 on wards facelift came with a lockable center diff. But it is usually a lot more expensive than the Terrano

Also a few friends of mine had Vitaras (5-door units) those had Hi-Lor ange as well as center diff lock and they chucked those things all over the damn place.I have driven one only on the road and the gear box kind of felt like it was from a tractor though.

I guess another option would be a Pajero/Montero iO ?

EDIT : After reading what you will be using it for...personally I would go for the Terrano with a proper some what controllable transfer case/hi-lo range...or at least the manual RAV4 (if it is the model with the center diff lock).

Edited by iRage
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iRage, Tks for the Info mate, i had very bad experience with a PAJERO IO with 1.8 Single cam engine (NZ NEW), I have seen the sign of 4 wheels on a button next to the hazard switch so that might be the one you pointed as center diff lock,

Terrano is a good one but still guy didn't agree with me for 2k, :o but all the others are 2 or less than 2k, I had a test drive on a Escudo/Vitara and they are gutless and i agree with you about the gear box also

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iRage, Tks for the Info mate, i had very bad experience with a PAJERO IO with 1.8 Single cam engine (NZ NEW), I have seen the sign of 4 wheels on a button next to the hazard switch so that might be the one you pointed as center diff lock,

Terrano is a good one but still guy didn't agree with me for 2k, :o but all the others are 2 or less than 2k, I had a test drive on a Escudo/Vitara and they are gutless and i agree with you about the gear box also

Yes that would be the button. The JDM version has a 50/50 permanent power split between the front and the rear and as far as I know all RAV4s, export and JDM, were the same; so the button with the 4 wheels, for whatever version you are looking at in NZ "SHOULD" be for the c.diff lock

Forgot to mention the Vitara I drove was a V6 3.0ltr so was not too bad power wise...but still felt like a freakin' tractor. As for the Pajero iO overall it has been okay except for the usual GDI niggles.

Too bad the Terrano didn't work out...but the manual tranny with a c.diff lock could work out for the same net effect.

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I also noticed that you owned a Bighorn in the past. Wouldn't something like that be within your reach and requirement? True that a trooper is nothing more than a tractor but hey, where's that spirit of adventure?

Hmmm Had a BIGHORN Palsir, its a noise of a ELF with 4WD never tested that on a sand or mud but BOGHORN/TROOPER is out of the budget

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Yes that would be the button. The JDM version has a 50/50 permanent power split between the front and the rear and as far as I know all RAV4s, export and JDM, were the same; so the button with the 4 wheels, for whatever version you are looking at in NZ "SHOULD" be for the c.diff lock

Forgot to mention the Vitara I drove was a V6 3.0ltr so was not too bad power wise...but still felt like a freakin' tractor. As for the Pajero iO overall it has been okay except for the usual GDI niggles.

Too bad the Terrano didn't work out...but the manual tranny with a c.diff lock could work out for the same net effect.

I Hope the RAV4 manual model is cheap to run too rite, The manual rav is with 3S-FE, how about the gas on AUTO and MANUAL, Any idea?

With PAJERO IO, i had the coil pack issue which is very common on this but on mine its not sorted by changing just the coil packs, coz it got a faulty ECU too, HAD a wonderful time fixing it :speechless-smiley-004:

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I Hope the RAV4 manual model is cheap to run too rite, The manual rav is with 3S-FE, how about the gas on AUTO and MANUAL, Any idea?

With PAJERO IO, i had the coil pack issue which is very common on this but on mine its not sorted by changing just the coil packs, coz it got a faulty ECU too, HAD a wonderful time fixing it :speechless-smiley-004:

If I remember right there was not much difference between the M/T and A/T was somewhere around 7-8 ?..But if i plan to do anything more than just drive on a gravel road and a beach and small mud puddle I would prefer the MT over the A/T.

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I'd go for the Suzuki in a heart beat. Reasons;

1. 1.6 engine is a gem, its one of the best engines by Suzuki.

2. Capability; don't forget the Vitara was conceived after the Santana days, so you have LR knowledge and engineering packed into it.

3. Good approach departure angles in the 3 door.

4. Power to weight should be ideal.

5. Since you wont use it for long you can do away with others since it will be used for the purpose of running around in the summer.

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I'd go for the Suzuki in a heart beat. Reasons;

I second this, the Zooker all the way for me as well, based on your requirements and budget. Though the Terrano is a strong contender, I would be cautious about the condition of engine and drive-train in a 2000 dollar diesel. Just forget about the rest if you really want to play off-the-road. :)

It`s great if you can get hold of a V6 Vitara, I would look for one which is rough around the edges but with relatively low km`s on the clock. Do check whether 4WD is engaging properly (I am quite sure that the front hubs are vacuum operated and auto locked) and check for leaks/wear in the drive train (transfer case seals, drive shaft play, drive train backlash etc…)

Tires do play a major role off road, so if you can find a car with a decent set of All Terrain tires, that will be a bonus..!

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I'd go for the Suzuki in a heart beat. Reasons;

1. 1.6 engine is a gem, its one of the best engines by Suzuki.

2. Capability; don't forget the Vitara was conceived after the Santana days, so you have LR knowledge and engineering packed into it.

3. Good approach departure angles in the 3 door.

4. Power to weight should be ideal.

5. Since you wont use it for long you can do away with others since it will be used for the purpose of running around in the summer.

Bro you are a Suzuki fan ha? i can see that

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I second this, the Zooker all the way for me as well, based on your requirements and budget. Though the Terrano is a strong contender, I would be cautious about the condition of engine and drive-train in a 2000 dollar diesel. Just forget about the rest if you really want to play off-the-road. :)

It`s great if you can get hold of a V6 Vitara, I would look for one which is rough around the edges but with relatively low km`s on the clock. Do check whether 4WD is engaging properly (I am quite sure that the front hubs are vacuum operated and auto locked) and check for leaks/wear in the drive train (transfer case seals, drive shaft play, drive train backlash etc…)

Tires do play a major role off road, so if you can find a car with a decent set of All Terrain tires, that will be a bonus..!

MrCat

Thank you for the information and its a big cost with diesel pump to repair and that is the reason i am trying to avoide the diesel SUV, but it is not hard to find a SUV with all the paper works

I am not that interested with V6 Vitara coz hard for the resell coz its V6 and its gone hard on my pocket also

Going to check a RAV4 today looks like its a good one but need to nego the price coz he asking 3k

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Bro you are a Suzuki fan ha? i can see that

Yep, since I worked for Suzuki for about a year and I own one. But my comment is not because of that. I know what the Vitara is capable of, just check your communities in NZ they will vouch for it. That 1.6 lump is brilliant, I have the same engine underneath my bonnet but in a relatively modified spec with 13 years of hard use and over 250,000kms still works fine. The standard 97bhp can take you places in the small Vitara, you don't actually need the V6 grunt for your soft roading, more power will just bogg you down so the 1.6 is the best bet.

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Looks like worth try one vitara then Gummybr ha?

- Another question here, Is it possible to drive RAV4 manual model with C.DIFF on all the time? if yes upto which Speed

I believe it disengages at a certain speed not sure which speed though..but why would you want to drive around with your center diff "locked" all the time in the first place ? even if you are constantly driving on gravel or light mud unless you are really in a bind ?

Well now you have a vouch for the Vitara as well...like I said..my friends chucked those things all over the damn place (and once you are done with you 4x4 adventure you can do an awesome conversion to a Richard Hammond Police Car version !)

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Looks like worth try one vitara then Gummybr ha?

- Another question here, Is it possible to drive RAV4 manual model with C.DIFF on all the time? if yes upto which Speed

Can but don't on tarmac. The toyota line up (Rav4, Prado and Land Cruiser and if I'm correct even the Surf/4Runner) are full time 4WD (i.e. AWD) so they handle the usual wet roads, gravel and light mud quite well. The center diff lock is to handle more challenging slippery conditions.

why not consider an old Sportage or an AWD X-trail? Both come with center diff lock, old Sportages got a manual shift Hi-Lo range center diff lock and the Xtrail comes with a button operated only Hi range though

BTW, none in your list perhaps bar Terrano can handle 2-3ft of water. If you must wade, take the usual safety porecautions i.e.

1) ask your least favourire passenger to do a pilot wade across the water on foot to check depth, flow speed and hidden pot holes, etc.

2) drape a tarpoline or a sheet of plastic over the front grill and bumber to cover the air intakes

3) drive across in one continous motion with just enough speed that you maintain a bow wave at the front of your vehicle but not higher than the front end of your bonnet.

4) If you had to stop in the middle of water - pray

alternatively, find a rig which is fitted with a snorkle. You won't be able to go scuba diving but will give a bit more safety against that dreaded water-ingestion into the cylinders. However, considering the your budget the vehicle is most likely to be quite old and used and will leak through every door beading

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The reason for the question above one of the rainforest with 250-300km is just a gravel road and soil layer is not that good as i heard from a guy, most of the time you get fishtailing and no gard rails on that narrow road :speechless-smiley-003:

so manual model may not a good solution then?

- I just kidding about vitara Dude

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Can but don't on tarmac. The toyota line up (Rav4, Prado and Land Cruiser and if I'm correct even the Surf/4Runner) are full time 4WD (i.e. AWD) so they handle the usual wet roads, gravel and light mud quite well. The center diff lock is to handle more challenging slippery conditions.

Yes but no...

RAV4: Yes it is full time AWD with the M/Ts having a center diff lock

Hilux-Surf : For the 180 series and afterwards (internals are from the Prado) there were some models that came with full-time AWD but it didn't last long; so most of the ones out there are part-time 4WDs...most of them especially the early models of 180 series didn't even have a center diff lock (it was optional). C/D lock became standard only after the face-lift in 1998. Not 100% certain about the previous generations (based on the Hilux Pickups) but as far as i know that too was the same case.

LC+Prado : Again..same as the surf...some versions came with fulltime AWD, whilst the models intended for hard-core use were part-time 4WD. But then again, lines did get blurred with revisions, etc...

@JC: Uhh...as long as the road is not hard (like tarmac) and you are not driving really fast (RAV4 c.diff lock disengages at a certain speed) maybe having the diff lock engaged all the time would not hurt that bad...but do you really need to ?

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Guys check what i got

http://imageshack.us/a/img13/9153/7erf.jpg

1997 148,xxxKm on the clock 1st NZ owner and NZ New model

http://imageshack.us/a/img845/8646/etuw.jpg

http://imageshack.us/a/img109/9326/5czp.jpg

I had to change my margine price coz reluctant to walk away from this BUG, So i agreed for 3k

Bro iRage

Guys who been to this same root told me some area i had to use 4WD for 3-4 or 5km's that was the reason but not sure what is the speed that i can drive

Edited by john cooper
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You couldn’t stay away from the freaking Toyota badge…!! Hard coded in-to DNA no? :D

Anyways, have fun..! Thrash the thing.! Update here if you come across anything interesting during the trip. :)

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