New Ute. Budget $30k. Should I up It to $35k?

I have said I’d keep my current ute until electric is viable. But no, it’s got other ideas. It is starting to cause grief in maintenance. Still drives ok but recently the door handle, AC fan and clock spring have all failed. Has 200k on it.

I have a budget of $30k, May stretch it a bit to $35k if it’s worth it. Want a manual dual cab 4wd - because I use 4wd, cart kids, use the tray almost weekly and just want to drive a manual (yeah, I know it’s not rational). I’m also aware it’s not a great time to buy, but finances are in a good position.

Was hoping to get into a 2016+ Navara, 2nd gen Dmax or similar. Triton is butt ugly, but is a bit cheaper. Hilux probably too many $, maybe a BT50. Something preferably 2015+ and under 150km.

Have started looking online, will go test driving soon. Thoughts appreciated.

Poll Options

  • 0
    Navara 2016+
  • 29
  • 14
    D-max 2nd gen.
  • 6
  • 6
  • 2
  • 0
    Colorado (not my fav)
  • 18


  • Have you had a look at Pickles?

    • +2

      I’m a bit old school. I want to actually drive it before I buy.

      • +4

        If you get it from an auction house you may not be able to drive it after you buy it either!!!!

  • +5

    This is OzB… Mercedes X-class or nothing.

    Good luck with the search. You didn't mention engine size/fuel preference.

    $35k should get you a brand new manual Hilux Workmate if basic trim is an option.

    • +2

      My current Navara is 2.5td. It’s powerful enough.

      New Poverty pack might work, but one thing I quite like about my current ute is it’s a bit rough looking so bush pinstriping doesn’t matter at all not does bouncing it off rocks or dropping a bit of timber on it. New car I’ll feel like it needs washing too.

    • +1

      $35k should get you a brand new manual Hilux Workmate if basic trim is an option.

      Not in 4x4 tho…

  • +2

    Np300 sucks. Bt50/ranger 3.2 ok. Dmax great. Hilux meh.

    • I’ve driven a work ranger a few times. Not that fussed on it but will test a BT50.

      No Navara? Got some reasons to avoid them?

      • +1

        Bt50 and ranger are the same, until bt50 and dmax are the same later on.

        Navara is gutless, have some motor issues, boost pipe sealing and oil leak issues. I also think they don't drive very well, we have one as a work car.

        I would personally go for an Amarok, a V6 one at that. Though I'm pretty sure the V6 is auto only, and ozbargain hates VW. The little 2l in manual actually goes quite well though.

        • Amorok V6 manual might be nice but there aren’t any. Have driven the 2l and found it Good to drive, not sure on interior but will have another look.

          • @Euphemistic: I would just get the auto, the aisin 8 speed is nice. Only thing with Amarok is no curtain airbags.

            • @brendanm: Nice or not, I just don’t enjoy driving autos. while the option is there I’ll be sticking with 3 pedals.

              • @Euphemistic: All good. You are going to hate electric cars though 😂

                • @brendanm: I reckon I’ll learn to like them based on instant torque instead.

                  • +1

                    @Euphemistic: I've owned an electric car, and I reckon it is more like a 1 speed manual than an auto. OK there is no clutch and no gears to change, but you get the same direct connection as with a manual. Its just always in the right gear.

                    • @md333: It’s that direct connection that I like. No hesitation in deciding what gear it wants to be in. Less slurring of the drivetrain etc.

                      I’ll admit I prefer our automatic when it comes to reversing a trailer up the driveway or when (very occasionally) I get stuck in heavy traffic but rest of the time i prefer manual, hands down.

    • +2

      thanks. I’m not convinced of the resale of these. Pretty sure the majors will hold value longer.

      • +1

        Meh. Who cares about resale. You're getting a brand new, high quality car with 7 years warranty for a reasonable price. Reviews say it drives like a car, with excellent noise suppression and the interior is far nicer than most of the utes on the market. I wouldn't touch the Chinese utes, they will be the resale and ownership nightmare once they're out of warranty.. not this.

        • +1

          you can lead a horse to water..

          • @Alasdair: Haven’t ruled it out completely. Just one of the cons it has.

        • If it was a everyday highway ute maybe but its going to get bush bashed so you want something that can take hard ruts without snapping and has a decent 4wd system which it does not.

          It's very much a nice good value on-road vehicle.

          • +1

            @jaimex2: from what i've seen, it's a pretty sturdy ute. the 4wd isn't the best, but it's not bad, unless you are into serious bush bashing (in which case you wouldn't want any of the ones listed, anyway..)


            watch from 15:40 if you're interested in the offroad capability.

            • +1

              @Alasdair: Cheers! Had a watch and it looks decent. The problem with these reviews are they are a bit soft on the vehicles for 4wd ( which is understandable, they're loan vehicles )

              You only get a real sense of where its at after a few years unfortunately. A day with a 4wd doesn't show

              How the transmission goes after days burning hot in the sand or how it reacts to hours on larger tyres
              How the chassis/CVs hold banging about ruts while loaded to near GVM
              How well the electronics hold up to water crossings ( especially alternators )

              Then again not everyone takes their new ute down stupid tracks so it might not even be relevant.

              I'm keen to see how they go as people report back. I expect good things, hopefully not too many teething issues as it is their first go at a 4wd ute.

              • @jaimex2: you're right about the time period needed for real testing, but for light to medium off-roading, i suspect the musso is more than capable, though it is a lot nicer on the inside than most other utes so you probably wouldn't want to take it off-road too much.

                i actually ordered one myself, so i am a bit biased towards it, but i only did so because i am confident that it is a good vehicle.

    • +2

      Another Musso owner here. I've had an ELX for about 3 months now and have been quite impressed. Currently working my way through a few mods, but am still running stock tyres and suspension. We have hit up the Wilbinga trails (relatively challenging 4WD tracks north of Perth, WA) with a number of lifted Navara's/Rangers/Landcruisers and it went everywhere they did without getting stuck. We've done the Pine plantantion climbs (where the big boys like to play) and we just finished around 150km of of road mud and corrugated roads in Harris State Forest over the weekend. I've only bottomed the tow bar, and am yet to hit the undersides. 4WD system is ok, our previous Jeep GC Overland had more 'modes' but this seems to work pretty well. Just make sure you turn the TC off in the sand.

      Resale is definitely a concern of mine, but at the end of the day, you're spending $20k less than a Navarangerlux so you can afford to be around the $15k mark after 5 years. And that's a pretty safe bet IMO.

  • +1

    I’d have to vote hilux as first choice and Navarra all the way last. Last navarra had literally nothing but troubles from day 1 and Nissan were absolutely painful to deal with.

  • +3

    Good luck with 4x4 manual in the current market…

  • +3

    I'll throw a vote in for the Triton. I've got a 2018 MQ Triton GLS Auto - it won't win any beauty contests but Tritons are pretty good value for what you get. The Super Select II is handy for engaging 4WD (open centre diff) when more traction is needed (wet bitumen, dirt roads, etc). Probably worth considering and a test drive if you can get over the looks.

    Good luck with the search.

    • +1

      I’ll definitely look at tritons. I just did a carsales search limited to 2015 or newer and under 150k and lots of tritons in the mix, probably a majority.

  • +1

    Triton looks fine with a bull bar and you can get AWD with Super Select which is great as I've had rwd utes and a bit of rain and they'd slide out. If I go another ute I'll definitely consider a Triton, I think they work out great value for money. Also I know manual is fun (my suby is manual) but for 4wding auto really is best.

    Good luck with your search.

    • +1

      I'm ok with you copying my work… and thanks for making it a bit different. 😉

      • +1

        haha great minds mate. I've got a Pajero and it's one of the best, most reliable cars I've owned.

        • 👍

    • I hear you on RWD drift. My last set of tyres got really bad and on any form of hill in the wet I’d put it in 4wd to take off. Still legal tyres, just old.

      • Just wait until you go through a roundabout in what would be a safe speed in a regular car during a little rain… lol

        • -1

          Been there, done that … and sometimes not deliberately.

    • Just to be clear to the OP, the base model Tritons don't have Superselect - they just have the regular 2WD/4High/4Low.

      Agreed that it's a great feature. I had a NL Pajero and a Pajero Sport, and running AWD on bitumen was definitely a boon in adverse conditions. If I had to buy a dual cab, a Triton would be on the short list for that feature too.

  • GWM Cannon has reviewed really well for 35k, but believe due to popularity, also got a long waiting list.

  • With a combination of when Covid stopped overseas travel and the general shortages of new vehicles the price of decent second hand 4x4's has gone through the roof.. my old Landcruiser has substantially increased in value, which is unusual for a second hand car.
    So now is not a good time to buy a 4x4… :(

    I got my current 4x4 sight unseen from a dealer auction sight unseen by using a car broker.. at the time the price I paid was about 30 percent less than retail. I mitigated the risk by getting a second hand vehicle that was still under manufacturers warranty …

    Brand wise.. get something that is common, avoid low selling or unusual vehicles .. will make it easier to get parts and maintenance down the track…

    As for EV utes.. closest coming to Australia are Plugin Hybrid Ford rangers and Hilux's sometime in the next couple of years… (Real soon now :) )

    That being said..
    Suitable vehicles on Pickles

    Manheim Cab Chassis

    Manheim Dual Cab


  • Triton or bt-50.

  • Go test drive a few of them, including with the kids, even if you go and annoy a few car yards to make up your mind. The kids will thank you for buying a Ranger/BT-50 as we found them the most comfortable and spacious in the rear seats of all the utes 2012-2016 era, which is where your budget will put you.

  • Interesting poll results. Lots of Hilux votes but not many comments about them.

    New ‘cheap ute’ might be OK but I know one of things I like about an old beat up ute is Im not scared to give it a work out on bush tracks or load it up with all sorts of junk. Washing is simply hosing off the dirt most of the time.

    Another consideration is that the ‘major brands’ will have good aftermarket support and availability of cheap second hand upgrades. I’ve bought aftermarket wheels, ladder rack, steel side steps etc for well below market value. There were plenty of options for suspension lifts too. Parts aren’t hard to come by either.

  • While I'm not sure that the Hilux represents most bang for your buck, but I will say this. I have a group of friends who are serious 4 wheel drive enthusiasts. Most of them drive 4WD Hiluxes. I've travelled with them on a couple of trips, the most remarkable was in the Victorian High Country. There are some really rough and precarious tracks and a lot of stone filled streams that the Hiluxes would scrape over. Those vehicles took an absolute hammering yet they are still reliable daily drivers. If you are serious about doing bush tracks perhaps it's worth stumping up the extra money for a Hilux..

  • +2

    Triton gets you more value for $$.
    Triton has better cabin for rear passengers if it's a family car with occasional use as a utility.
    Triton has the best 4wd system on the market.

    Plus you can't see what it looks like from the drivers seat.

    • -2

      Musso is better value with more spacious cabin and rear seat room, more luxuries and a more refined ride for less $

      • Better value is subjective. More kit for less $ isn’t.

        How’s the accessories availability for a Musso?

        • They have quite a good range, have a look on their website under ‘build your own’

          • @nubzy: What about aftermarket stuff like bullbar, lift, heavy duty springs etc?

      • Musso is also less supported by dealer network, ssangyong has left Australia multiple times and is currently broke looking for a buyer.
        I don't see that as good value.

  • Still drives ok but recently the door handle, AC fan and clock spring have all failed. Has 200k on it.

    I voted "other", why not just fix those issues? a handy DIYer could do that in a day, a mechanic even faster.

    • I can fix them, and have installed a diy cable brace to the door handle at no cost instead of $100ish for a new handle. However, being time poor means I’ve been driving with some faults for a while. I’m beginning to wonder what’s next and wondering if it’ll let me down ‘properly’ at the wrong time.

  • Check out this ute comparison video by 4WD 24-7:

    It compares most of the major car makers in all aspects - except for the appearance

    • Just started watching that a few mins ago. Will finish it later.

  • It’s been a while, but I managed to get out and sit in a few different models. It’s important the back seat is comfy for passengers.

    Have ruled out Tritons, sides plenty roomy, but the centre back seat feels like you are sitting on a bike seat and the armrest sits proud so only supported half my back.

    Ruled out Hilux, side back seats weren’t roomy, less headroom but the centre seat was very cramped and my head was on the roof.

    Navara, Dmax were OK, Ranger, BT50 were the roomiest.

    New car wait times (and prices) mean I’ll stick with used. Budget creep has also set in :(. Edging toward $40k now.

  • Just test drove a 2017 Navara. Underwhelming performance. Engine very sluggish up to around 2500rpm, per brendanm comment above. Seating position was a bit weird too. I wanted to like it as I have some skin in the nissan game, but no. Maybe the twin turbo version would be better.

  • Maybe this would be useful?

    • Thanks, but I refuse to watch Cabogan.

  • +2

    I went full YOLO and will need to hand in my ozbargain licence.

    Just purchased a late model low km Dmax. Paid too much.

    For anyone else: 4wd 24/7 Utes under $30k

    • Good choice mate, can't go wrong with a dmax.

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