OZ Racing Wheels Australia

Best 4X4 Under $10k?

Best 4X4 Under 10k Australia

Hi chaps,

There are some real bargains to be had on 4X4s in Australia with only 10 grand to spend, and you can pretty much guarantee a resale value for as much as you paid for it.

Whether you’re looking for a serious off-road beast or a 4X4 capable of touring around Australia properly, then the cars listed below will give you ideas you’ve probably never thought of.

Most Aussies only buy Toyota, sometimes Nissan, but mostly Toyota. If you have $20k to spend you would likely opt for a Toyota yourself – as that’s budget Land Cruiser money.

But if you only have $10k to spend on a 4X4 then don’t worry. You can definitely pick up Land Cruisers for under $10k, even the legendary 80 series, but look a little further and you may find something better.

So here you are, below are what we consider the best 4X4s in Australia on a $10k budget (or less!).

I’ve owned or driven most of these cars, so can speak from experience!

Mitsubishi Delica

Mitsubishi Delica Chamonix 4X4 Under $10k
Mitsubishi Delica Chamonix 4X4

With almost all Mitsubishi Delica’s being priced under $10k second hand they’re one of your best options. This iconic van is not only capable off-road, it’s also a capable camper.

Personally I love the look of the 4X4 Delis, and I’ve owed one myself – a Delica Chamonix (always mispronounced “ix” when the real French pronunciation is “ee” at the end). Being built on a Mitsubishi Pajero chasis it’s more than capable on Aussie dirt tracks and dunes, to a point, and also offers you loads of space in the back for a mattress, your dog, and your wife if you’ve got a proper Aussie one.

Here’s a few pros of a Mitsubishi Delica as a 4X4 easily under $10k:

Decent Off-Road Capability

The Delica’s four-wheel-drive system is more capable than you may think, especially combined with a good set of AT tyres and some off-road prowess.

The chasis is sturdy with pretty good ground clearance, and most come with a factory fitted bull bar (alright then, roo bar).

Spacious Interior

Out of the budget 4X4s in this guide the Delica wins hands down on interior space. It’s basically a van built on a 4X4 chassis. It’s a design so perfect for Aussie life it’s amazing how few car manufacturers have capitalised on it. Yes, you can get a Troopie if you want space, but at what cost?

Camper Potential

You may be lucky and find a Delica already converted to a camper, and assuming you’re not planning any hardcore off roading this can be a fantastic benefit.

Imagine driving up the coast and camping on a peaceful beach with the luxury of a rock-and-roll bed and home-from-home kitchen? You won’t get that in a Hilux.

Reliability on a Budget

The reason you still see the 4X4 Delicas around is testament to (1) their reliability, but also (2) the love people have for these cars.

Parts are easy to get thanks to their commonality with the mass-produced Pajero, so it’s easy to get OEM and pattern parts anywhere in Australia.

The diesel engines are rock solid, and if looked after a high odometer reading shouldn’t put you off. Given the age of these cars, you’ll be very lucky to find one with under 200k on the clock.

For reference, the Delica I owned had 260km on the clock when I bought it, and I racked up 10s of thousands of km on numerous trips around Western Australia. No issues until I stupidly left the rad cap off and blew the engine on a 45 degree day.

Community and Support

As a cult classic, the Mitsubishi Delica has a strong enthusiast community and loads of aftermarket parts available.

A good community should never be ignored as it’s a valuable source of help and inspiration. Got a problem with your Delica, you’ll find help easy peasy, and most problems are easy and cheap to solve.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee - Great Budget 4X4 in Australia
2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee – Great Budget 4X4

Wait a minute before you click that “X” button in the top right corner of your browser. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a lot of car for your money in Australia, and they’re not as bad as you think – if you choose wisely.


Most Aussies would prefer to pay double or even triple the price for a Land Cruiser Troopy or Wagon. That means, combined with a slightly negative reputation in Australia, means Jeeps drop in value far more than Toyota counterparts. If you want the best 4X4 under $20k in Australia, then yes, opt for one of those Land Cruisers. But if you only have $10k to spend, the Grand Cherokee might be a fantastic option.

And guess what – I know, because I’ve owned one. The V8 petrol to be precise.

Not only was the Jeep more economical than my mates Prado on a trip all the way from Perth to Exmouth and back, it was also a higher spec.

The flip up rear hatch is a really nice bonus on the jeep – park on the beach, mattress in the back, and soak up the sunset.

I bought mine off a civilised older couple, and even though they racked up 200,000km, lots of it towing a boat or caravan, the car was still in great mechanical condition other than a small oil leak which was so minor I never bothered to get it fixed.

If you can find a decent Jeep Grand Cherokee, here are some of the benefits:

Decent Off-Road Ability

Jeep are known for their off-road capability, although more so in America than Australia where they’re often overlooked. A decent set of tyres combined with a powerful engine means most off-road needs will be a breeze.

Ground clearance of the Grand Cherokee isn’t as good as the Jeep Wrangler, but it’s still good, and in return you get a much more executive cabin – more on that later.

The Grand Cherokee as stock comes with a reliable 4X4 system and solid suspension, for far less money than other popular 4X4s.

Luxury Features

The cabin feels very refined, and not far off a Range Rover. I think it’s fair to say the Grand Cherokee has the most executive cabin out of all budget 4X4s on this page – it’s simply more refined, more thought out, with better materials.

The box shape and boot offer a very spacious and practical interior with loads of storage space. That makes it a great option for long Aussie road trips, and you can sleep in the back if you remove the middle seats first.

Powerful Engines

If you opt for the V8 version you’ll even feel posh as you roar around city streets. Turning the key gives you that lovely V8 roar, reminding you how much power these Jeeps have.

Other engine options – diesels – are more economical, but on long trips the V8 isn’t as bad as you think as the engine barely ticks over at freeway speeds.

Given you can buy a Grand Cherokee well under $10k with money to spare, and the option of a beautiful planet-killing V8, it might be worth overlooking what your mate says about Jeeps being inferior to Land Cruisers.

Toyota Land Cruiser 80 Series

Best 4X4 in Australia under 10k - Land Cruiser 80 Series
Land Cruiser 80 Series

The 80 is, in my opinion and probably yours, the coolest Land Cruiser bar the classic FJ40s.

The angular, square-shaped headlights on the 80 series are bad ass, and give the vehicle a timeless retro look. They’s as cool, if not cooler, than the pop-up headlights of the 1980s.

Being a Land Cruiser means off-road capability is 2nd to none, and although most in good nick are upwards of $10k there are still bargains to be had. Just do your research, and give the car a thorough look over before buying.

I’ve never owned an 80, but for a year practically lived in an ex-mine 76. I drove that car through rivers up to the windows and it never skipped a beat. There’s a reason Land Cruisers are so well respected in Australia, Africa, and around the world – they’re Off-Road Daddys.

Let’s take a look at the reasons why a Land Cruiser 80 Series is a great 4X4 for under $10k:

Off-Road Dominance

The Land Cruiser 80 series is a force to be reckoned with off-road.

It doesn’t have the wizardry of modern 4X4s with all their gimmicks, but you should consider that a plus because these cars are raw off-roaders in their most enjoyable form.

The 80 has a robust body-on-frame construction, powerful engine, and all the grunt you need both on-road and off-road.

If you find a Land Cruiser 80 for under $10k, or any Land Cruiser for that matter, then you’re onto a winner.

Reliability and Availability of Parts

As soon as you drive into the outback – the proper outback – you’re realise almost every car is a Land Cruiser.

What that means to you is roadside support will be second to none. If you breakdown in the bush you won’t be far from spare Land Cruiser parts.

You won’t get that with any other make of 4X4, under $10k or otherwise.

All Land Cruisers are known for their legendary reliability, and the 80 has proven it’s reliability over decades. When you buy an 80 you’re buying a robust drivetrain, solid axles, and a car you can take anywhere and do anything with (as long as it’s not X rated).

Community and Customisation

The Land Cruiser 80 is another cult classic loved by Australians for decades. That means buying one will allow you to join a community of like minded people ready and willing to support your love for this off-road gem.

The opportunities for modifying Land Cruisers is insane, with so many aftermarket parts available in Australia. The most common mod is a lift-kit, giving you even more on and off-road presence than the car has stock, but that’s just the beginning.

Subaru Forester

I’ll get grief for saying this, but most Foresters aren’t the best sub-$10k option if you want a 4X4.

That said, if you can pick up an older Forester with a low range manual gearbox, lift it, and fit a tasty set of AT or MT tyres, you’ll be laughing.

The Subaru Forester isn’t the biggest car, so you can’t live in it like you can with a Delica (or even a Land Cruiser 80), but this setup makes for a decent off-roader for very good money.

What you lose out on in power you can make up for in a lighter chassis. With your tyres at the right pressure, and enough speed where speed is needed, the Subaru Forester can be a great 4X4 candidate.

Want to go on a long trip?

Pack a tent.

4X4 On A Budget With Added Fuel Efficiency

Opting for a lighter 4X4 car like a Subaru Forester rather than a full-blown off-roader means much cheaper second hand options, more to choose from, and better fuel efficiency.

For example, a 2005 Forester might cover 8.6L/100km whereas a Land Cruiser might be 14L/100km – that’s a huge difference in thirst.

When looking for a Forester you’ll more likely find far less-abused examples, and many probably haven’t seen a speck of sand in their lifetime. You won’t find the same for Land Cruisers or Pajeros which are almost guaranteed to have a history of off-road abuse.


Despite being smaller than the other off-roaders under $10k mentioned above and below, the dimensions of the Forester make it very practical for long Aussie road trips. There’s plenty of room for all your gear and a decent tent even though there’s not much chance of sleeping in the back on a long trip.

Toyota Hilux

1991 Toyota Hilux Surf

You can look at the Hilux as the poor man’s Land Cruiser, but you shouldn’t.

The Hilux is a very capable 4X4, and I know that from experience. Like all Toyotas the engines are pretty much bullet proof.

There are downsides to owning a Hilux, especially an older budget Hilux – no airbags, traction control, ABS, and more road noise than more upmarket Land Cruisers – but you’ll see the benefits below.

A good tip, if it suits your needs, is to keep an eye out for a petrol engine with a single cab. These aren’t as sort after, which means you can get a better deal and a more reliable Hilux for under $10k.

Very Respectable Off-Road

The Toyota Hilux has earned its stripes as a robust and reliable off-roader.

Beach driving, dunes, or dirt tracks, you’ll often encounter numerous Hilux (Hiluxi if you’re Alan Partridge). This is because they’re more than capable off-road, but also affordable and reliable.

Just like Land Cruisers, the Hilux was designed for rugged terrain, with a solid chassis, capable suspension, and decent ground clearance (which you can easily upgrade with a lift-kit).

When Land Cruisers come with a premium price, even 2nd hand, the Hilux is a very good budget option. If your budget is $10k you’ll have better options looking for a Hilux as you would a Land Cruiser, with very few compromises.

Rugged Exterior, Decent Interior

I say “decent interior” loosely, because even some Land Cruisers don’t have a great interior. However, it does the job, and comfort and practicality boxes have been ticked.

What I love most about the Hilux is the rugged and bold exterior design, with the Hilux Surf being my personal favourite.

The look of the rugged Hilux really suits Australia. It’s bold, assertive, and also timeless.

Dependable Powertrain

When buying a 4X4 on a budget it’s worth investing in a car known for reliability, and you get that with any Toyota – more so with a Hilux or Land Cruiser.

Whether you buy a petrol or more fuel-efficient planet-murdering diesel, all are very capable when it comes to power and practicality on whatever road or dirt you choose to drive on in Australia.

Did I say planet-murdering?

Sorry, I don’t care about that.

Nissan X-Trail

Finding a Nissan Pathfinder in good condition under $10k might prove a challenge, but when it comes to the X-Trail you’ll find endless options.

10 years ago you would see X-Trails all over Aussie cities for the simple fact they hit the perfect target market. The rear seats would fold absolutely flat, and combined with the box shape of the car meant they were very practical for Australian life – both in the city and on jaunts along the coast.

What that means to you is you’ll easily find a Nissan X-Trail in decent condition under $10k wherever you are in Australia.

Going back 10 years ago, I was one of those owners, thanks to a company car scheme.

When I left the company I handed the car back, and they weren’t too happy about the condition I left it in. The reason being numerous off-road stints on dunes, beaches, and dirt tracks.

I have to say beaches were a bit too challenging for the X-Trail compared to the Land Cruiser 76 I had subsequently, but for most conditions it was perfectly fine. It was also very economical, which would mean your trip around Australia would cost you far less.

Modern Design and Refinements

Because the target market for the X-Trail was regular Aussies looking for a crossover between a practical daily drive and a weekend utilitarian vehicle for the Aussie lifestyle, it came with more mod-cons than pure off-roaders.

That means you’ll feel like you’re in a normal road car for when you want to use it on-road, and that may appeal to you.

The X-Trail may come with additions such as a nice sunroof, better safety features, ABS, and a more well-appointed cabin.

Fuel Efficiency

Like with the Subaru Forester mentioned above, being a lighter vehicle pays dividends in terms of fuel economy.

The off-road capability of the X-Trail is limited (but mostly acceptable), but you’ll pay far less in fuel getting to those far off off-road places.


The box shape of the older style Nissan X-Trail is very versatile. You can get a very comfortable bed setup in the back (trust me – super comfy), and with the rear hatch open you have a fantastic unobstructed view of the sunset.

The X-Trail is a smaller car, so you don’t have the interior room as a Mitsubish Delica, Land Cruiser Troopy, or 76 Wagon, but if you’re happy with the compromise then an X-Trail can get you around Australia, including off-road, cheaply and efficiently.

Suzuki Jimny

Suzuki Jimny Sierra

Because I’m writing about the Suzuki Jimny last, doesn’t mean it isn’t the best.

Often overlooked as an off-roader because most Aussies love big, loud 4X4s, but put that judgement aside for just a moment.

The Suzuki Jimny (or Jimny Sierra) is one of the most fun cars you can drive off-road. What is lacks in grunt it makes up for in being lightweight and agile.

If you’re lucky enough to pick up an older Jimny with a tea-towel roof then you’re all set for some serious fun, but don’t disregard the less exciting looking hardtop models either. Plenty have been lovingly cared for on the driveways of urbanites, meaning little to no abuse – there are bargains to be had!

So leave the Suzuki Vitara’s for the supermarket shoppers and school run mums, and pick up a Suzuki Jimny for way under $10k!

Here are a few benefits to wet your wiggle:

Compact and Versatile

The small footprint of the Suzuki Jimny makes it very maneuverable and versatile. It will get you through tight off-road spots and bushland which bigger 4WDs simply can’t.

Narrow trails – no problem!

Robust 4WD System

Not only is the 4WD system in the Jimny robust, it doesn’t suffer the strain of pulling around a heavy chassis.

Whether you’re tackling muddy tracks or rocky surfaces, the Jimny’s 4WD system provides enough traction to conquer most Australian terrain, and often a more exciting off-road experience than modern cyber-equipped do-it-all-for-you off-roaders


Being a smaller car means the Suzuki Jimny was much cheaper bought new, and much cheaper second hand than other 4X4 vehicles in Australia. They hold their value, but won’t cost you Land Cruiser money.

It’s not just the purchase price either, it’s maintenance and petrol.

The Jimny is so economical you’ll wonder if it’s running on air.


The Suzuki Jimny has a such a vibrant aftermarket community, and you’ll have endless accessories and modifications to make your Jimny suit both your personality and off-road desires.

From suspension kits to meaty off-road tires, as a Jimny owner you’ll have the flexibility to customise your car to the max without breaking the bank.

Resale Value

The older more classic Suzuki Jimny’s hold their value like nobody’s business.

Don’t worry, you can pick up an amazing Jimny for under $10k, but assuming you look after it you’ll easily get your money back when you sell it.

Have Your Say – Feedback Welcome!

We all have our opinions on cars, and I’m sure some of the above have left you questioning my knowledge. That’s fine, and I’ll take it on the chin.

So what do you think? What is the best 4X4 for under $10k in Australia, and WHY!?

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