Four-wheel drive – or 4WD – vehicles offer a motoring experience unlike any other. The four-wheel drive capabilities provide freedom that no standard vehicle can match; you can explore a variety of terrain as you see fit, safe in the knowledge that your trusty 4WD is up to the task. In addition, 4WDs can also function as reliable, everyday vehicles that can withstand a variety of weather events. Essentially, a 4WD offers the very best all-around experience any vehicle can provide.
However, if you’re considering buying your first ever 4WD, it can be helpful to see the purchase as very different from buying a two-wheel drive (2WD) vehicle. Below, we’ve listed the key questions you will need to ask yourself to ensure you can find the right vehicle for you.
What everyday needs do I need to meet?
When buying a 4WD, it’s often tempting to focus on the additional, off-roading capabilities that these vehicles can offer. Focusing on these niche areas is perfectly acceptable if you will only be using your vehicle for offroad adventures only, but this is generally rare; most 4WD drivers use their vehicle for both everyday driving and offroading. If you will also be using your 4WD for standard daily driving, then it’s important to ascertain what you need from your 4WD to meet these needs first and foremost, with off-roading capabilities a secondary consideration – after all, you’ll likely be driving your 4WD on standard roads more frequently than you will be driving offroad.
What type of offroading do I want to do?
With the – admittedly rather dry – everyday driving requirements satisfied, you can move to considering your non-standard driving needs. In doing so, it’s important to note that “offroad” can mean many different things. For example, are you looking to drive primarily on sand dunes or beaches? Or will you be more likely to seek adventures in the wilderness, crossing rivers and exploring rough undergrowth on muddy tracks? Or are you more likely to be tacking dusty, uneven roads? While many 4WDs will perform relatively well in all of the aforementioned environments, most vehicles suit one more than the others, so you’ll need to narrow down your priorities and ensure you find a vehicle that suits your intended purposes.
What is my total budget for this vehicle?
Establishing a budget when you begin to browse 4WD models is crucial, helping to shape the buying experience and ensuring you find the right vehicle for your specific circumstances. However, it’s easy to see the budget for your purchase as the upfront cost, which can be limiting – while the upfront cost is important, it’s not the sole financial aspect of running a 4WD. As a result, it’s also helpful to consider the running costs – especially in terms of gas – as well as how much you may spend on 4WD accessories in the future, so you can be sure the vehicle you choose is fully compatible with your finances.
When you can confidently answer the three questions above, you should be well on your way to finding a 4WD vehicle that is more than capable of meeting your needs entirely – enjoy!