While 4×4 utes are well suited to bush touring adventures, they don’t offer the comfort, cabin space or luggage security of a 4×4 wagon, so it’s little wonder adventuring families often opt for the latter. Here are the top-sellers so far this year (up until October).

Here are the five best-selling, bush-capable 4×4 wagons on the Aussie market.

  1. Toyota Prado – 15,627 sales Year To Date, October 2018

The Toyota Prado is Australia’s best-selling 4×4 wagon by a huge margin, outselling its slightly smaller and much more affordable sibling, the Fortuner, to the tune of more than five to one.

The Prado is a large 4×4 wagon offered in four model grades, ranging in price from $53,490 to $84,119, with seating for up to seven occupants. It has a traditional body-on-chassis structure with a live-axle rear end with coil springs and an independent front suspension (IFS) by way of double wishbones and coil struts.

Toyota Prado Range

Prado is exclusively powered by Toyota’s 1GD-FTV 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, which is the same unit used in Fortuner and HiLux. It makes a claimed 130kW of power at 3400rpm and 450Nm of torque at 1600-2400rpm when mated to a six-speed auto, or 420Nm at 1400-2600rpm when mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.

Regardless of transmission, all Prados feature a full-time 4×4 system with a lockable centre differential and two-speed transfer case. Maximum rated towing capacity is 2500kg with the manual gearbox or 3000kg with the auto.

The base-spec five-seat Prado GX comes standard with the six-speed manual transmission for $53,490 (the optional auto adds $3000). Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels with a full-size spare, 150L fuel capacity, power mirrors, front and rear mud flaps, keyless entry and start, air conditioning, Standard safety features include ABS, EBD, BA, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRC), Trailer Sway Control (TSC), seven SRS air bags, reversing camera, engine immobiliser, air conditioned cool box, eight-inch colour touchscreen, satnav and Bluetooth connectivity. The optional auto variant is also equipped with a 4.2-inch Multi-Information Display, Toyota Safety Sense (Lane Departure Alert, Pre-Collision Safety System with pedestrian detection, Automatic High Beam and Active Cruise Control), Downhill Assist Control (DAC) and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC).

Toyota Prado Kakadu interior

The seven-seat Prado GXL starts at $59,990, or $62,990 with the six-speed auto and all the extras that entails. In addition to the equipment on the GX, the Prado GXL has auto-levelling Bi-LED headlamps with LED DRLs, LED fog lamps, privacy glass, premium steering wheel with phone and audio controls, three-zone climate-control air conditioning, rear parking sensors, rear diff lock (auto only) and an alarm system.

The $73,619 auto-only seven-seat Prado VX adds 18-inch alloy wheels, leather seat trim with power-adjustable heated and vented front seats, heated outer rear seats, Panoramic and Multi-Terrain Monitor, Auto-Dimming rear-view mirror, front parking sensors, blind-spot monitor, rear-cross traffic alert, refrigerated cool box and digital radio (DAB).

The top-spec $84,119 Prado Kakadu adds a tilt and slide moonroof, woodgrain-look steering wheel, Drive Mode Select, five-speed crawl control, Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), Multi-Terrain Select system (MTS), Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) and rear-seat entertainment.

While the Prado might not offer the on-road performance to match many of its rivals, it’s a comfortable and refined package that’s well suited to long-distance touring. It also offers strong off-road capability and, importantly for outback travellers, is backed by one of the most comprehensive dealer networks in Australia. There are also plenty of genuine and aftermarket accessories for the Prado to further enhance its bush-touring capabilities.

  1. Toyota LandCruiser 200 – 11,562 sales Year To Date, October 2018

The LandCrusier was once the undisputed King of 4x4s in Australia, and while that title may no longer be reflected in top-dog sales status, it’s still one of the most capable and trusted 4×4 wagons on the market. The LandCrusier 200 is available with either a 4.6-litre petrol V8 engine or a 4.5-litre twin-turbo-diesel V8 engine, and prices range from $78,190 to $120,330 depending on model grade.

LandCruiser 200 Series

There’s no doubt that TDV8 is the pick of the powertrains for those who want to travel long distances in the bush, and it’s certainly a pearler of an engine, producing a claimed 200kW of power at 3600rpm and 650Nm of torque from 1600-2600rpm. The LC200 comes with a six-speed automatic transmission and all variants have a full-time 4×4 system with a Torsen limited-slip-centre differential.

The LandCruiser has separate body-on-chassis construction with an IFS with double wishbones and coil struts and a four-link live-axle rear with coil springs. The Cruiser is a big wagon, measuring five-metres in length, and with the TDV8 engine its kerb weight ranges from 2640-2740kg depending on grade. The base-spec GX TDV8 is a five-seater, the GXL TDV8 is an eight-seater and the VX and Sahara TDV8 models are seven-seaters. All models have a 3500kg maximum braked towing capacity and handy 138L fuel capacity.

The $78,190 LandCruiser GX is a basic bit of kit with 17-inch steel wheels, barn-door rear-end, vinyl floor covering, cloth-covered seats, raised air intake with pre-cleaner, air conditioning, power windows, 12V plug up front, cruise control, satnav, four-speaker sound system with Bluetooth connectivity, Crawl control (Incorporating Off-road Turn Assist), Multi-Terrain ABS, VSC, Active Traction Control  (A-TRC), HAC, a full suite of SRS air bags and an engine immobiliser.

The $89,580 LandCruiser GXL TDV8 adds 17-inch alloys, a horizontally-split tailgate, privacy glass, side steps, keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control air conditioning, reversing camera, 6.1-inch touchscreen display, satnav, six-speaker sound system, LED headlamps with auto levelling and LED clearance lamps.

LandCruiser 200 Series

There’s a significant price jump to the $99,990 LandCruiser VX, but on top of GXL features it comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) system, rain-sensing wipers, four-zone climate control air conditioning, a 9-inch Electro Multi Vision touchscreen, bi-LED headlamps with dynamic auto levelling, daytime running lamps, moon roof, leather accented interior and faux woodgrain trim, power adjustable front seats and front and rear parking sensors.

The top-spec $120,330 LandCruiser Sahara TDV8 adds luxury and convenience features such as automatic high beam, front- and second-row seat heaters, rear-seat entertainment system, cool box, driver’s seat memory function, power tailgate, four-camera multi-terrain monitor, and active cruise control.

There’s no doubt that the LandCruiser 200 is one of the most comfortable and capable long-distance bush tourers on the market, and this is reflected in its still-impressive sales tally, despite its premium price tag. Like Prado, you can get just about any aftermarket accessory you can think of to improve the LC200’s bush suitability, from protection equipment to upgraded suspension systems and even GVM upgrades.

  1. Isuzu MU-X – 7230 sales Year To Date, October 2018

Whoever thinks Aussies don’t like a bargain has never been stuck in an Aldi queue on sale day, but great value is only part of the reason the Isuzu MU-X continues to sell so well despite only minimal updates early in 2018.

In fact, MU-X sales are up a significant 12 per cent over this time last year (to the end of October 2018), and Isuzu Ute Australia has reckons it will continue to grow its footprint in Australia over the next couple of years despite only having a two-vehicle line-up.

Isuzu MU-X

The MU-X is based on the D-MAX ute platform and as such this seven-seat wagon has a separate chassis with an IFS with double wishbones and coil struts, and a live-axle rear-end with coil springs (instead of the D-MAX’s leaf springs).

In 4×4 guise, the MU-X is available in three trim levels. The base-spec LS-M costs $50,200 with a standard six-speed automatic transmission, the mid-spec is LS-U is $50,400 with a six-speed manual gearbox or $52,500 with an optional six-speed auto, and the top-spec LS-T is $56,200 with a standard six-speed auto.

All variants are powered by a 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that makes a claimed 130kW of power at 3600rpm and 430Nm of torque from 2000-2200rpm. Regardless of transmission, the MU-X runs a shift-on-the-fly part-time 4×4 system and a two-speed transfer case. The engine certainly isn’t the most powerful in class, but it makes good low-rpm torque and the MU-X has found favour with those who like to tow caravans thanks to its relatively large 3.0-litre capacity and frugal nature. It has a maximum 3000kg braked towing capacity.

Off-road performance is decent, but again is not a match for some competitors due to the absence of a rear diff lock, but the 4×4 aftermarket can supply lockers to those who want to head off the beaten track, as well as plenty of other equipment to suit the MU-X.

Even in base-spec trim the MU-X is well appointed, and standard equipment on the LS-M includes 16-inch alloy wheels, self-levelling LED headlights, DRLs, 7-inch touchscreen, eight-speaker sound system with Bluetooth connectivity, remote central locking, cruise control, air conditioning, ABS, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), EBD, Traction Control System (TCS), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Hill Descent Control (HDC), Hill Start Assist (HAS), Trailer Sway Control (TSC), six airbags, reversing camera and rear parking sensors.

The LS-U adds 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome grille, mirrors and door handles, alarm, fog lights, side steps, privacy glass, climate control air conditioning, rear vents, 8-inch touchscreen and satnav, while the top-spec LS-T also gets roof rails, tailgate spoiler, keyless entry and start, leather accented seats, power adjustable driver’s seat and a roof-mounted DVD monitor.

Sure, the MU-X is not be the last word in on-road or off-road performance, nor is it packed with the latest technology and active safety features, but it’s well-appointed and represents good value for money, making it a favourite with Aussie bush tourers.

  1. Mitsubishi Pajero Sport – 5343 sales Year To Date, October 2018

Starting at just $46,000, the Pajero Sport is arguably even better value for money than the Isuzu MU-X, but it’s slightly smaller, with a smaller capacity engine, and has some polarising styling features, particularly the taillights that fall down the sides of the rear-end like teardrops.

In some respects, however, the Pajero Sport has it all over the MU-X, such as its better active safety package, standard fitment eight-speed automatic transmission and Mitsubishi’s excellent Super Select II selectable full-time 4×4 system. It also pips the MU-X for peak power output and matches it for peak torque.

Pajero Sport

Based on the Triton ute platform, the Pajero Sport has a separate body-on-chassis construction, with a double wishbone, coil strut IFS and a live-axle rear with coil springs. It’s powered by a 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that makes a claimed 133kW of power at 3500rpm and 430Nm of torque at 2500rpm.

The Pajero Sport’s on-road performance is good and it’s a comfortable and refined long-distance tourer, with relatively dynamic handling and good off-road capability.

The base-spec five-seat GLX model is well appointed and standard gear includes 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome grille and door mirrors, side steps, fog lights, LED headlights and DRLs, roof rails, climate control air conditioning, 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, steering wheel audio controls, keyless entry and start, cruise control, three 12V power outlets, a 220V outlet and engine immobiliser.

On the safety front the $46,000 Pajero Sport GLX packs a lot of gear, including Forward Collision Mitigation system (FCM), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Speed limiter, Emergency Stop Signal function (ESS), Emergency Brake Assist system (EBA), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Hill Descent Control (HDC), Active Stability Control (ASC), Trailer Stability Assist (TSA), Active Traction Control (ATC), ABS, EBD, Brake Override System (BOS) and a full suite of SRS air bags.

Additional equipment on the $49,000 Pajero Sport GLS includes a rear differential lock, two-zone climate control air conditioning, dusk sensing headlights, front fog lights, electrochromatic rear-view mirror, leather seat trim, power adjustable front seats and a rear spoiler. Third-row seats are a $1000 option.

The top-spec $65,990 Pajero Sport Exceed also scores Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and Ultrasonic misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS), as well as a Multi Around Monitor (MAM), front parking sensors, headlight washers and heated front seats.

There’s no doubt the well-appointed Pajero Sport represents excellent value for money, regardless of the trim level, and you can’t help but wonder how many more units Mitsubishi would move if it weren’t for the unfortunate rear-end stying. Nevertheless, look past that and the Pajero Sport is a more than capable bush tourer, although it’s not as well catered to by the 4×4 aftermarket as the other vehicles on this list.

  1. Ford Everest – 4473 sales Year To Date, October 2018

Despite its humble Ranger-ute-based origins, Ford pitches the Everest 4×4 wagon at the Toyota Prado rather than the HiLux-based Fortuner… and while sales of Everest may fall well short of Prado, they have gained momentum of late and are up 20.1 per cent compared with the same time last year.

The Everest has undergone a recent revamp which sees the introduction of a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder bi-turbo-diesel engine and a 10-speed automatic transmission, as well as the retention (for the time being) of the 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine and its six-speed auto.

Ford Everest

The new smaller-capacity high-tech donk pumps out a claimed 157kW of power at 3750rpm and 500Nm of torque at 1750-2000rpm, which compares favourably with the five-pot’s still-more-than-adequate 143kW of power at 3000rpm and 470Nm of torque from 1750-2500rpm. Regardless of the powertrain chosen, the Everest offers strong on-road performance and arguably class-leading off-road capability thanks to its effective traction control system that remains active when the rear diff lock is engaged. It also offers good ground clearance, good off-road angles and an impressive 800mm wading depth, and is well supported by the 4×4 aftermarket.

The base-spec Everest Ambiente 4×4 comes standard with the 3.2L engine and costs $54,190. Standard equipment includes including 17-inch alloy wheels, side steps, auto headlights, fog lights, LED taillights, roof rails, keyless entry and start, six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, instrumentation cluster with dual 4.2-inch TFT screens, eight-inch colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, rear-view camera, rear parking sensors, cruise control with adjustable speed limiter and steering-wheel mounted controls, dual-zone climate control air conditioning, rear HVAC controls, laminated acoustic windscreen, active noise cancellation system, 10-speaker audio with DAB+, alarm system, and numerous power outlets including two USB ports, three 12V sockets and a 230V outlet.

The mid-spec Trend 4×4 costs $59,990 with the 3.2L engine and $61,190 with the new 2.0L engine. In addition to features on the Ambiente, the Trend adds HID headlights, LED daytime running lamps, hands-free power tailgate, 18-inch alloy wheels, auto high beam, rain-sensing wipers, heated power-fold exterior mirrors with puddle lamps, leather accented seat trim (excluding the third row), eight-way power driver’s seat, rear privacy glass, front parking sensors, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control with forward collision alert and heads-up display warning, lane keeping system and Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection (Autonomous Emergency Braking).

The top-spec Titanium costs $73,990 and is only available with the 2.0L engine/10-speed auto combination. As well as equipment fitted to Trend, the Titanium scores 20-inch alloy wheels, a standard tow bar, semi-auto parallel park assist (Active Park Assist), dual glass panel power sunroof with power blind, eight-way power front passenger’s seat with manual lumbar, heated front seats, power fold third-row seat, ambient lighting and illuminated stainless steel front scuff plates. For those who want to travel to the bush in style, Ford offers 18-inch wheels as a no-cost option on the Everest Titanium, allowing for the fitment of more off-road suitable tyres.

The Everest has a long way to go to catch up to Prado in the sales stakes, but it trumps its nemesis in many respects, including its superior engine and transmission combination, more dynamic handling and better interior packaging. Ford is certainly on a roll with Everest sales and it will be interesting to see the numbers 12 months down the track.


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