Should You Get a 4WD Vehicle for Your Adventure Trips

Should You Get a 4WD Vehicle for Your Adventure Trips ?

Many of you have been pondering on this question. Perhaps after watching videos of others going to beautiful places that the normal car can’t reach, you imagined yourself owning a 4WD and travelling to these spots. But before you run out and actually buy one, you need to be aware of certain facts.

What is the Difference Between a 4WD and a Car?

The biggest difference is that the 4WD (also referred to as a 4X4) vehicle has the capability of engaging drive to all 4 wheels when necessary to give better traction. The normal car usually only has drive to the front 2 wheels. Take note that 4WD mode should only be engaged on dirt trails and not on the road.


The next important difference is that the 4WD vehicle has a higher ground clearance to clear rocks, tree stumps, ruts and other obstacles on the trail. You can also add a lift kit so that bigger tires can be fitted. The bigger tires give added ground clearance.

Another advantage of a big 4X4 is that it allows you to carry more gear for your nature trips. If you decide on a pickup truck, you’ve got all that space in the bucket. Adding a canopy allows you to keep your gear dry, or makes for a great place to sleep in.

An average 4WD vehicle handles differently from a car. They are bigger and much heavier. Pickups are much longer and need getting used to especially when parking. Of course, there are the smaller 4X4s, but they only carry about as much gear as most cars. But they can be just as capable of handling tough trails as well as their bigger counterparts.

What are the Costs of Owning a 4WD?

The first cost is the actual purchase price of your 4X4 of choice. Depending on the make and year of manufacture, the costs can range from as little as RM10,000 to above RM200k. You have to decide it it’s going to be your dual-purpose work and play vehicle, or solely for your adventure trips.

An older vehicle may cost less, but chances of a breakdown are much higher as compared to a new vehicle. After purchase, it is best to have your engine and other parts checked by a mechanic. He should be able to tell you what needs replacement.

Road Tax and Insurance are also higher than a normal small car. For example, a 4WD with a 2.5L engine costs around RM800 for a year’s road tax, a 3.0L will cost you double at around RM1,600/yr.

Insurance is probably the highest cost for newer vehicles. The rate depends of the year model and market value.

The next costs involve fitting parts to make the 4X4 off road capable. These include tires, lift absorbers and springs. If you purchase a 4X4 that is already off road ready, then you would be able to save from RM3K upwards.

But if you are only planning to go to places that are relatively easy, you will not need these mods.

So, the modification costs involved depend on what you plan to do with an off-road vehicle, as well as the budget you have allocated. It can cost as little as the cost of 4 off road tires (the cheapest of which may set you back around RM1,400) or more than RM20K if you decide to add on more parts and accessories.

Safety and Comfort

As far as safety is concerned, you are safer in a big vehicle compared to being in a small car. 4WD vehicles have been built tough to last for ages. You can still see models that have been produced in the 1980’s and 90’s still running strong on the streets and off road. They look in much better condition than some of the smaller automobiles half their age.

The big 4X4s are high, allowing you to see above most vehicles and further up the road. This gives you more time to react in case of an emergency. And you do not see many people trying to bully a fully modified 4WD with its metal front bulbar, tough sidesteps and rear metal bumper.

In terms of comfort, the newer vehicles will give you a quality ride on the roads compared to the older rigs. But that does not mean that the old ones do not make up for it off road. Their suspension systems of some models were designed to take the punishment of rough driving and give you a better ride than their newer models.

Advantages of Cars Compared to 4X4s

Smaller cars are cheaper to maintain. Their road tax and insurance cost less. Fuel and repair costs are also much cheaper. These vehicles are easy to maneuver in traffic as well as when parking.


 If you want to get to places where there are hardly any people around, the air is cleaner, and you get to enjoy nature at it’s best, you should get a 4WD vehicle. But if you are just an occasional outdoors person who prefers easy to reach, paid campsites with the comforts of toilets and human company, you should just stick to a car. But if you do decide to change to a 4X4, you will find that your nature adventures just got more awesome!

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