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Zoe ASKED THE GUIDE

Should we replace our Holden Commodore with a Subaru Outback?

We have loved our old Holden Commodore V6 executive wagon. It was old (around 2004) but very dependable. It's finally time for a new (used) car. We absolutely love the size of the boot (for camping gear for the whole family) but would like something with a higher ground clearance. We've been looking at the Subaru Outback (2013/14 models) but are feeling a bit daunted by the servicing costs. The all-wheel-drive is appealing for gravel roads. Any advice would be appreciated!

A car with a little extra ground clearance is great for camping as it often allows you to get a little farther away from the masses in their caravans who tend to huddle around the shower block at bush campsites.

The Subaru Outback is a good, solid choice and if you can find an independent workshop to service it, you’ll avoid the cost of dealership prices. And you’re right, the all-wheel-drive would be great for gravel roads. Another vehicle to look at would be a late-model Ford territory diesel which is big and clever inside and has the option of all-wheel-drive. The diesel engine is a plus on the bush where that fuel is more readily available (in really remote areas) and gives you more range for big holidays in the mulga.

Don’t rule out things like the Mitsubishi Pajero, either, which won’t be as around-town friendly, but is a proven quantity and is absolutely tremendous off-road. The same goes for a Toyota Prado or Nissan Pathfinder prior to the current model (which is a bit less hard-core adventure).

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