When it comes to convenience and practicality, nothing beats a 4x4. You can carry your entire family, have your dog or work equipment in the back, and even tow a boat or a caravan. And it goes without saying that 4WDs are the best for off-road driving.
Let’s look at some of the best second-hand 4WDs that’ll give you the best value for money. Most of them aren’t far off from their latest models in terms of specs and performance, so you can get some really good deals.
1. 2020 Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior
The 2020 Nissan Navara was released in February 2020. It’s a ute that has a 2.3-liter 4-cyl bi-turbo diesel engine which puts out 450Nm of torque. The Navara is powerful but it’s light. The 9.0L/100Km fuel economy isn’t bad for a 4WD either.
From the outside, the Nissan Navara looks powerful and masculine. Inside it’s a simple cabin with a nice design. A trim leather upholstery, smart key entry and start, heated seats, and a modern infotainment system that connects to Android and iPhone.
The Navara has a rear diff lock that can be engaged to navigate challenging off-road conditions, steep hills, loose sand, and whatever else the great outdoors can throw at you.
In most 4WDs, engaging the rear diff lock turns off traction control. The 2020 Navara however, keeps traction control active while engaging the rear diff lock; we like this system. It’s controlled power when it’s needed.
2. Isuzu MU-X LS-T 2017
The 2017 Isuzu Mu-X series was ahead of its time. This was a car that had everything performance-wise. The MU-X LS-T 4WD series has a 3.0L turbo engine, a surprising fuel efficiency of 7.9L/100Km, and a very practical 7-seater cabin.
It was also one of the first Isuzu cars to have Adaptive Logic Control. The auto transmission detects your driving pattern and seamlessly adjusts its shift pattern to suit.
The 4WD system also includes low and high-range transfer gearing and ‘Terrain Command’ control. At speeds up to 100km/h, it can shift between two 4WD ranges in real time.
Inside there’s an 8-inch infotainment display with ample storage space in a no-thrills, sensible cabin. Overall, it’s a very compact 4WD. You can find really good deals on the second-hand Isuzu MU-X LS-T 2017 series in the $25k-$30k price range.
3. Ford Ranger XLT 2019
The 2019 version of Ford Ranger XLT is still considered one of the best models of the Ranger series. The new engine and transmission had ‘desert racer’ chassis tuning, which made the car faster and more performance-driven across all terrains.
The 2019 Ranger XLT has very good acceleration compared to other 4WDs even in 2021. It comes with a smaller 2.0L engine, but the chassis tuning and transmission allow this engine to provide a power output of 157kW with 500Nm. It also has a fuel economy of 7.4L/100KM.
The 2019 Ranger XLT has a ‘smart’ interior layout. Most 4WDs don’t focus on adding the most robust technical features or a premium cabin experience. However, the Ranger XLT provides a very polished cabin experience.
There’s a six-speaker multimedia system with voice control features, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen, leather-appointed gearstick and steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and push-button start, six-way adjustable driver’s seat, and so much more.
Overall, the advanced features of the 2019 Ford Ranger XLT still make it a great choice in 2021. You can get a very good second-hand deal around the 30k-32k price range.
4. Volkswagen Amarok 2014
If you’re looking for a 4x4 that champions fuel economy, then the 2014 Volkswagen Amarok is a perfect choice. It comes with a 2.0L Diesel engine capable of 134Kw of power and 420Nm torque, at an economical 7.8L/100Km.
The most outstanding feature of the 2014 Amarok is its build quality. It’s built like a vault. Even the doors are so solid that you can literally hang off them without cracking or bending the part.
Even though it’s a seven-year-old model, the Volkswagen Amarok still offers a great off-road experience. It even has a unique “offroad” button, which sets up the car’s electronics for downhill driving, especially on rubble and muddy terrains.
At the time of launch, the Volkswagen Amarok 2014 was more than $60,000 AUD, but now you can find some great second-hand deals within the $20k range.
5. Toyota Landcruiser Prado Kakadu 2013
The 2013 version of Toyota Landcruiser Prado has aged very nicely. In terms of performance, it can still go head to head with most 4WDs in 2021. Under the hood, the Prado Kakadu had a massive DT4 3.0L engine with 410Nm torque. This large engine puts out 120 kW of power and manages an economical 8.5L/100km fuel consumption.
Being a 7-seater there’s no shortage of space inside the Prado, and the large premium feel of the interior with its classic brown leather highlights is what drove so many to buy this car when it was new. For the time, the Prado stood out for its tech and features. It’s got lots of useful tricks up its shelves; 12 Volt Power Outlets, Dusk Sensing Headlights, a Multi-Camera System, a 17 Speakers sound system, Adaptive Damping Control and so much more.
Its massive 18-inch alloy wheels. 8.6-inch ground clearance and self-leveling suspensions make the Prado one of the best 4WD for both on and off-road driving. As it’s almost hitting that 8-year mark, you can get some really good deals on the Prado in 2020.
Are Second-hand Cars Worth it?
Cars are built to last a long time. It’s very rare to change your car every year or two as a new model comes out. As long as you’re not buying a car that’s almost two decades old or has clocked over 200,000kms, a second-hand car can perform as well as a new one that just drove out of the showroom.
If you pick your model and brand correctly, a second-hand car can give you almost the same benefits as a new one. It's also very cost-effective. You can get a good second-hand car at almost half the price of a new one.
Most of the time, the money you can spend on a new car will get you a second-hand car with higher specs. So, as long as you're choosing the right model and the right dealer, a second-hand car can give you great value for money, often more than a brand-new model.