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NZ’s 4 best adventure vehicles

Summer is well and truly here, and with heaps of long weekends coming up, we wouldn’t blame you for eyeing up a new car that can keep up with your need for adventure. 

We’ve narrowed down four of the best dirt-roading, river-fording, boat-hauling, 4×4 beasts that money can buy. Ready to get going?

1) Isuzu D-Max

The Isuzu D-Max is notorious in ute communities for being able to go anywhere you need it to. Beaches, mountains, hills, dirt roads – the D-MAX can handle it. And no surprise – packing a 3-litre turbo diesel engine with 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque, this bad boy has some serious grunt.

The D-Max comes especially recommended for those drivers who are fond of splashing their way through rivers. The latest off the factory line have had their wading depths increased to 800mm, and the 4×4 models have a new rear differential lock to keep those tyres gripping on slippery surfaces.

And if you like a safe & comfortable ride after you’re done your off-road adventures? The D-Max boasts all the flash and fancy you could need, with reversing cameras, park assist, keyless entry, traction control and more. 

2) Nissan Navara

Here’s one for the boat and camping trailer owners out there! Practically everybody will be familiar with the Nissan Navara – it’s easily one of Nissan’s most popular 4X4s, outperforming the Qashqai and X-Trail in sales by a significant margin. 

It wouldn’t be surprising to learn that that popularity is even higher among those with a load to tow. The Navara’s heavy-duty components and fully boxed ladder-frame combined with its high power and low-end torque means that these lads can pull even the heaviest of loads, boasting a 3,500kg braked tow rating.

The Navara also has the quality of life improvements that make it good for more than just tugging, including Bluetooth audio streaming, a reversing camera and cruise control (for those long trips).

3) Suzuki Vitara

These days, the Vitara is a modern, sophisticated beast – but it certainly hasn’t forgotten its roots as the ideal vehicle for off-road exploration and camping.

First, the basics. The Vitara has everything you need from a camping vehicle: 103kW of power and 220Nm of torque means you won’t be getting stuck in any potholes any time soon, and there’s heaps of space in the back for camping supplies (including a segmented cargo organiser). 

But what makes the Vitara really special is its ALLGRIP.  This handy piece of tech gives you the power to adjust to any terrain you need to conquer. Switch to Auto to head out of the city, then to Sport to handle those long twisting country roads, then over to Snow for slippery, unpaved surfaces – and if you do get stuck? Lock mode can get you out of snow, mud and sand with just the twist of a dial. Now every campground is within reach!

 

 4) Suzuki Jimny

Sometimes, you just need something rough and ready – something that won’t stress you out if it gets a little scratched during your drive through the bush. 

That ‘something’ is the Suzuki Jimny, an adventure in a box. The iconically square-profiled Jimny has a real pedigree for being an adventure car, with over 50 years of experience and a reputation for uncompromising off-road ability.

It’s a little on the smaller side, meaning you won’t get as much room in the back for your gear – or your mates – but that sacrifice in space means you can get a lightweight, powerful and durable vehicle for a much lower price tag than most other options.

 

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