Our three vehicle fleet is causing us some consternation. Some retail therapy might fix it but what do we get?
We have two utes. A 2001 VW Transporter with nearly 300,000 km on the clock and a 2002 Nissan Patrol with just 70,000 km on it.
The VW carries the three of us and all our camping gear like the camp kitchen, fridge and big tent - we’ve lived for months at a time out of this car. However, due to the tray overhang, we can’t fit a usable towbar. It’s also not much of an off road vehicle and due to its age isnt exactly trustworthy in remote camping situations.
The Patrol is our farm ute, is fitted with a tipping tray, a crane and a towbar. However, three people in the cabin is extremely snug. And the tray is smaller than that on the VW and sits much higher too. So no long distances in that for the full family.
Tow capacity is important because we have access to both a trailer but also this...
This little camper trailer that belongs to my mother. Basically a box with a kitchen, power, storage, water and a queen size bed. All up weight is in the order of 2000 kg.
The third vehicle in our fleet is a 2000 Subaru SF Forester with 275,000 km on the clock. We’ve fitted a bullbar and a lift kit to it and use it as our town car and overnight travel or glamping car. These days, the engine is tired (though the clutch is original) and the Lad is getting a little long for the 2nd row.
We think we need to replace something. The Nissan is a keeper... that’s not going anywhere. However, the VW and the Subaru are up for discussion.
Unfortunately, we aren’t sure which one we are replacing (or are we replacing both) and with what...and we’ve been talking about it for the last three years.
Here’s our options so far...
Isuzu MU-X in mid LS-U trim. 3.0 litre TDI engine, 6 speed manual, body on frame 4x4. 5 year unlimited km warranty. Probably around AU$58,000 driveaway once it has the tow kit on it plus a few other doodads. This vehicle would give us the space for three, the 4x4 capability and the ability to tow the camper with ease. It could easily replace the Forester as daily drive but also the VW if we used a trailer for the tent based camping we predominantly do. We would lose the big tray of the VW.
SsangYong Musso XLV in EX trim. 2.2L TDi, 6 speed manual, body on frame with 4x4 driveline, 3000 kg tow rating, 7 year unlimited km warranty, 7 years free breakdown assistance. Expected to be around AU$38,000 driveaway in this trim. This option would give us the required seating space for three but in a dual cab format (most 2nd row seats in this class don’t have much legroom). It can tow and has the longest tray of any of the mid size dual cabs at 1.6m (5"4'). Probably more of a replacement for the VW given the size of the thing. The tub tray is not my preference but it may be possible to swap it out for a flat bed. Either way...still not a big tray.
Ford Transit 470e dual cab chassis. 2.0 litre TDi motor, 6 speed manual, 3500 kg towing. Three year limited km warranty. About AU$60,000. Rear wheel drive though AWD may be available on the new model. This would seat us all very comfortably and take us almost anywhere in the country with all our gear with ease, even towing the camper. Tray is even bigger than that of the VW. Downsides include the sheer size of the thing and its lack of off road capability compared to the others. Would only be a feasible replacement for the VW.
So that’s three options. No doubt there are many more but these are the ones we’ve listed to date. If you have any alternate suggestions based on the Australian vehicle market...I'm all ears!
So what would Oppo do? Replace one car? Replace both cars? With one car or two? We can’t decide...can you?