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Taking dual cabs off-road; what to know before you buy


On June 11,2020  Share
If you’ve ever spent time off-road, you’ll know a guy who won’t stop raving about how he “dragged you up that hill” or “winched you up out of that hole”. If you don’t know this guy, I’ve got some bad news, it’s probably you!

 

In this article I’ll break down what to look out for when purchasing your next ‘rig’, so that it’s more than capable of going off the beaten path and tearing up the tracks.

Big engine, big difference?

First thing’s first, that crazy loud, "thong slapping", 4.5L turbo diesel V8 ‘Cruiser bouncing its way up the hill, yeah it sounds cool, but if you’re not keen on re-mortgaging the house for the sake of your next car, you can still make it up that same hill at a fraction of the price. Ultimately, a big engine does not equal a bigger difference in capability.

Although it makes things a bit easier, simply selecting ‘low range’ in any current model 4WD will give you all the power you need to climb up most steep hills, rocky tracks or river beds. It isn’t the power under the right boot, it’s how it’s delivered.

For example, the zippy 2.8L Hilux is definitely not the fastest dual cab on the road but guaranteed it will get you where you need to go.

The importance of a rear differential lock

If you’re new to four-wheel driving, those three words may mean nothing to you, but trust me, any ute without it isn’t getting far.

What the lockers do is engage the ‘diff’ so that both rear wheels receive equal power and continue spinning. This means if one wheel lifts off the ground, the ‘rear diff lock’ will keep the grounded wheel spinning so you can keep moving, saving you from what could’ve been a sticky situation.

Make sure you enquire about rear differential locks before driving off in your next dual cab. The current model Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux both come with rear differential lockers which are primed and ready to hit the tracks.

What about comfort?

Often overlooked, comfort is something I don’t have a whole lot of in my ‘Cruiser and constantly envy when test driving current model dual cabs.

If you’re a camper, you’ll know that after 2-5 hours on the road your backside is going to be well-acquainted with the front seat and you’ll want to pray it’s comfortable one. So, do yourself a favour and test drive the vehicle a couple times prior to purchase.

From experience, Toyota’s aren’t the greatest for taller fellas and the Navara’s bonnet sits pretty high in your eye-line. Additionally, I’d be looking for a dual cab with Apple Car Play/Android Auto, a decent head unit, some cup holders (Patrol or ‘Cruiser owners know the pain) and finally, some storage room in both centre console and glove box.

All in all, decisions around comfort are a personal decision and every driver will know what he/she wants from their vehicle.

Finally, affordability

The range of dual cabs on the market means a range of prices, some friendly and some not. The top of the list sits the ‘79 Series dual cab with the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux just in tow. Personally, I think the Mazda BT50 presents excellent “bang for buck” and is just as capable as the previously mentioned utes for nearly half the price.

In summary, owning a dual cab is essential (in my eyes) but it’s also a very personal thing. My ute gets me places that most people will never see, and through places most cars never will which forms a bond with you and your machine that is quite unexplainable.

So, when purchasing your next ute, make sure it’s the ute you look back at after rolling into camp and thinking “that’s tough”. Head on over to the Eziway Novated Lease Calculator to get yourself a quote on the dual cab of your choice.

 

AUTHOR

James Gozzo | Car Club Content Writer

T 03 8768 5777

E james@eziway.net.au