The recent floods have really got the public looking at the prospect of owning a 4WD. While it has to be said that a 4WD is in no way impervious to floods, it does give you a better chance of surviving it, because after all, they are the vehicle of choice for those who take roads that are less travelled.
While some are under the impression that 4WDs are expensive, there are some used options out there that are affordable. With that being said, we look at some of the best 4WDs on the used car market for around the RM35,000 mark.
We're not saying that these recommended vehicles are in perfect condition to face challenging terrain, but with a little bit of maintenance, repairs, and modifications, they should fare well.
It is still advisable to avoid crossing floods at all costs if the water depth is unknown, plus who knows what is underneath the water.
If you're looking for a no-fuss 4WD with basic but reliable engineering, then the Suzuki Jimny is the one to go for. We're not talking about the new one here obviously, but the classic, particularly the second generation Jimny, built between 1981 and 1997.
Yes, it might not have the biggest engine for a 4WD, but the Jimny is loved for its bulletproof build and robust 4WD system, which can handle pretty much anything you throw at it. Prices of old Jimny's are creeping up, so it can also be considered a sound investment.
Before the Ford Ranger became all fancy, the second generation was a rugged pickup truck ready to face the harshest of terrains. Yes, it might be a bit agricultural compared to the fancy trucks of recent years, but it will go the distance thanks to its ethos of being tough.
Second-generation Ford Rangers can be had from as low as RM25k, and it still looks handsome, in our opinion. Most 2nd gen Rangers came with fabric seats, but the interior is well built and easy to clean.
If power is what you want, then the second generation Navara with its 400Nm of torque should suffice. Not only is it still a handsome-looking truck, but it also has a reliable 4WD system that took its owners wherever it was pointed to.
A fan favourite of Malaysians and Australians, it's common to see these trucks roaming around the harsh terrain of the Outback as well as the tropical jungles of Borneo. When kitted up with off-road gear, the Navara does look pretty mean.
If you need something with a bit more seats, then the Ford Everest SUV based on the Ranger is ideally your choice. Used by Petronas as their expedition vehicles for many years, the Ford Everest is one of the toughest SUVs ever built and has even reached the rarest of places, such as the Imbak Canyon reservation in Sabah.
It has the same 4WD capabilities as the 2nd-gen Ranger and its robust TDCI engine. But not all is the same as the Ranger, as the Everest was engineered to have better levels of ride comfort and handling. Couple this with seven seats, and you've got one rugged family vehicle that can be bought without breaking the bank.
Who remembers SsangYong? Well, if you don't, we don't blame you because the brand pretty much died in Malaysia in the early noughties. However, the SsangYong legacy remains as the South Korean manufacturer actually sold some pretty decent 4WDs back in the day, including the Rexton, an SUV that sported a 2.7-litre common-rail turbodiesel engine developed together with Mercedes-Benz.
The Rexton is the cheapest 4WD on our list, but don't let that fool you as it is one capable vehicle. The problem with SsangYong cars was not its engineering, but rather its looks as it was not the prettiest cars around - even if they did design their cars with the help of ItalDesign of Italy. But if you're looking for a sub RM10k 4WD, then the Rexton should be on your radar. Parts however will be hard to come by, so think hard here.
For those of you who do not know, the J80 Land Cruiser is one of the toughest vehicles the world has ever seen, evident by its presence worldwide, from the dusty and harsh terrains of the Outback to the wettest parts of Borneo.
It is also one of the first choices of vehicles for those who want to do some serious off-roading, as it is just built tough mechanically. Unfortunately, just like the Jimny, prices of the J80 are starting to creep up, so you should get your hands on one before they are entirely out of reach.
According to urban legends, the Land Cruiser was nicknamed Ninja due to its roof's turtleback shape while some have said it was nicknamed Ninja due to its headlights looking like a ninja turtle's headband slit eyes.
Okay, Land Cruisers and Pajeros are much more desirable, but the prices for those vehicles are also much much higher. If you need an old school seven-seater 4x4 that can probably take you off the beaten path while at the same time serving as a family bus, the Isuzu Trooper can do that. We're not talking about the first generation, but the second, also known as the Bighorn.
They were so good, many other companies like Honda, Holden, Vauxhall and Opel decided to rebadge them and call them their own. The Bighorn has a lot of space inside and comes with good engines. Yes, they are big and bulky, but they provide this tank-like sensation that modern 4x4s do not have.
Twenty plus years on, the Mitsubishi Pajero still combines SUV practicality, and brutish bad boy looks in one superb package. The cabin featured foldable third-row seats, which were almost unheard of at the time, and its go-anywhere credentials ensure it is still a highly valued workhorse.
As a result, Mitsubishi has garnered respect and heritage for its vehicles where it matters most – in motorsport. Like the Lancer Evolution models, which dominated rally stages across the globe, the Pajero has enjoyed great success on the gruelling trail of the Dakar, winning 12 Dakars out of 26 starts— making the Pajero among the most successful platforms ever to take part in the event.