Your Trip Right presents
The Great Central Rd Guide
Top 5 Cars for the Great Central Rd
The Cars I want to Drive
What’s best for out here? I take the Toyota WorkMate...that is... when I'm going off-track with the locals. It is simply the best, put it in 3rd gear and go all day. It's bare, it's simple and it's not that smooth but I love it. Drive the Workmate to Woolies (1400km return) and it's loud, expensive and uncomfortable. The question I'm answering here is... what are my top 5 cars for comfort and stability on the Great Central Road? These cars are very close to stock with only simple upgrades such as driving lights, bull bars and roof racks. All are under 80,000km.
- Toyota Hilux Ute - Yep a ute! I can't give you a logical answer to why the ute with limited load has given me the most pleasure driving. It is also the oldest car in the list. It has coil front end and leaf rear. It revs low and hardly moves on the road. Perhaps it’s the low centre of gravity when compared to the bigger cars mentioned in this list. All round feels like you could drive it forever.
- 200 Series Toyota LandCruiser - With all its technology in traction control, vehicle stability control and the big V8, it still got piped at the post by the Hilux. It is a great car to drive. In the cockpit it is a far more comfortable car. It moved a bit more on the road than the Hilux and I just felt as if things could go pear shaped quicker then in the Hilux.
- 150 Series Toyota Prado - From this point down in the list there is not much between the cars. Toyota Prado whilst not as nice to drive as the LandCruiser, is smaller and can make it easier to avoid those bad spots in the road. It has all the creature comforts as its big brother however I think the big V8 is a noticeable difference when you put your foot down.
- Isuzu Dmax - Not only did this ute take me by surprise in how well it handled the road, it was also really cheap on fuel. Now the Dmax I drove did have aftermarket shocks on it so I’m not sure if these improved the handling greatly. The Dmax also had a few rattles in it at only 30,000km.
- Nissan Patrol - The Nissan could have rated higher in my list. The running gear on the Nissans I believe is great. I personally just feel the car built around the running gear lacks some polish. For example the doors shake a lot the windows rattle in the doors all the way down to the clip that holds the centre console lid down. Interior could be refined.
Toyota dominate the top three in this list for two reasons. Firstly our work fleet is made up predominantly of Toyota’s we have 6 models of Toyota in our fleet compared to Nissan where we only have 2 models. Secondly I have grown up with Toyota since a kid I have rode in Toyota’s I learnt to drive in Toyota’s so ofcourse, out on these roads I am much more comfortable in them.
I feel it is necessary to talk about why the Toyota WorkMate and Troop Carrier did not make the list. When I considered these cars I was looking at comfort and stability. In my opinion the WorkMate and Troopy are nowhere near class leaders in these categories. If I were buying a new car tomorrow for use in this region and longevity, I would consider buying a WorkMate.