Off the beaten path: best new 4WDs
It can’t be easy being a hardcore 4WD nut in today’s SUV-obsessed world. Every day, it seems, some new SUV comes into view looking like it can climb every mountain and ford every stream, except it can’t because it’s been specifically designed not to. What a tease.
But there are still car makers out there who like to fettle properly heavy-duty 4WDs, and they haven’t been idle. If you’re planning to take on some serious off-road action in 2019, these fresh and impending newcomers will help you do it.
Ford Ranger Raptor
This new derivative of Ford’s recently updated twin-cab ute is made for playing in the dirt – and playing hard – with its raised, widened stance, Fox Racing suspension, chunky BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres and multi-mode Terrain Management System, which allows you to alter the throttle response, transmission and traction/stability-control systems to suit the conditions. A gutsy new 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine/10-speed auto drivetrain provides the motivation, while a host of wild body mods ensure it’ll never be mistaken for its more restrained Ranger siblings. From $74,990.
The first all-new version of Jeep’s definitive off-roader in a decade won’t upset the formula when it goes on sale in Australia in the first quarter of 2019 – it still looks like a Wrangler, still allows you to unbolt the windscreen and doors for a uniquely open off-road experience and it’ll still clamber over just about anything that gets in its way. But this new one is lighter, more efficient, more practical, better to drive and introduces a raft of new technology to the franchise, including an all-new diesel drivetrain and mandatory driver aids such as auto emergency braking. Price TBA.
After almost 40 years on the market without fundamental change, Mercedes-Benz’s hard-as-nails off-roader has finally come in for regeneration. Don’t expect to easily pick it – Benz has intentionally styled it to look pretty much exactly like the old one – but nearly all of it is brand new, from its lighter, stiffer body and luxurious, to-the-minute cabin treatment to its chassis, suspension and safety/technology offerings. For now, it’s available only in wild, V8-powered AMG G 63 form but a cooking diesel model with a more attainable price tag is coming in early 2019. From $247,000.
Can’t afford a G-Class or even a Wrangler? Then this pint-sized Suzuki – coming in the first quarter of 2019 – is likely to pique your interest with its hard-core off-road abilities, chunky good looks and likely sub-$30k starter. Those who remember the old Jimny’s many failings away from bush tracks will welcome the new model’s many advances, from an all-new 1.5-litre petrol engine, more faithful on-road handling and more practical cabin to the addition of safety technology such as auto emergency braking. Price TBA.
Getting the best new car price: if you do it yourself, you’ll pay too much
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