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Samuel ASKED THE GUIDE

What is a reliable daily driver and family car?

I’m looking for a comfortable daily driver/family car that can occasionally go off road and tow 2000kg in a budget range of $20-25k. I have been looking at the usual suspect SUVs and dual cab utes but am not sure which is the best bang for buck and is going to reliable for the mileage as most are approaching 100-120km. Any advice would be appreciated.

If daily driving and passenger comfort are priorities, I think you’d be better off with a station-wagon style SUV rather than a dual-cab ute. The latter can be pretty uncomfortable over a distance and the rear seat accommodation, in particular, can be fairly primitive.

Your budget gets you into a Toyota Prado from around 2008 to 2012 (the later the year, the more kilometres it will have travelled at your upper price limit) and these will tow 2500kg with a braked trailer. This model was also available as a V6 petrol in case you’re worried about the long-term reliability of modern turbo-diesel engines (which some people most definitely are).

A five or six-year-old Nissan Pathfinder is also in your price range and these had a good V6 petrol engine that provides plenty of performance. The CVT transmission puts some people off, though, but the Nissan is still rated to tow 2700kg. The Toyota is definitely the superior off-road machine, however.

Unfortunately, any SUV or dual-cab ute within you budget is likely to have travelled at least 100,000km or so, and, in that sense, experience has shown that some modern, common-rail injected diesel engines can be ready for some expensive work at that point.
 

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