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Car buying Advice- looking for family and off road vehicle in 70K


Immortal

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Dears Carnitys,

My self Chiran from India living in dubai for 2017. make this community a great place car enthusiasts.

Experienced driver but don’t won a car as I’m living close to office also I travelled a lot. However, I need to buy a car for both family and as well learn off road/ desert drive for next couple of years. My budget is 70K, occasional 7 seater and X4. I hardly travel 35KM in a week for work sometimes it’s zero due to WFH. This car is mostly for weekend and for family.
Consider pajero and Prados. I tested drive one Pajero from CARS24 it was ok but I feel steering was hard may be due to never drive such heavy vehicle. But is it good for family? they enjoy road trips and city rides in pajero? One kid is 6 yrs and other one is less than 2 yrs. I heard Prado is great for family and off road as well. 

I like Pajero & Prado. Only thing keeping me away from these vehicles not come with is panoramic roof. But my wife thinking if Panoramic roof is  the one feature kids might enjoy a lot. So she requested. Do you think how well kids can enjoy Panoramic roofs? And how often car owners use it in city and road trips. Is it good feature to have? 

For Panoramic roof itself I also look through other 4X4 SUVs / crossovers like Ford Explorer, JGC, Pathfinder(tested one full option 2015 model was feeling shaking between 20km -30km speed), CX9 etc. is it good combine both family car and off roader? One friend advices to have a good family car and separate off roader in budget. What do you advice ?

however, didn’t yet decided on it. it’s like everyday I’m looking for a different car and story never comes to end?
 Please advice on this and drag me to a conclusion with your great experience.

What’s your opinion on MG RX8 one friend suggested if I look for new car. 

sorry for too many questions. 
meanwhile I will go through as many as posts & articles as possible in this forum to improve my knowledge. Appreciate your support always.

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Welcome @Immortal !

Indeed a lot of questions. 

Pajero and Prado are both capable off-roaders and excellent family cars. If you want to take them into the dunes, i would recommend the Prado's 4.0 V6 engine, and the Pajero 3.8 Engine. But we have plenty off-roaders doing great with the Pajero 3.5 model as well. Both can do wonders off-road with only some minor skid-plate or bashplate installation to protect the bumpers/radiator.

The Prado, being a Toyota, is more expensive, so it mostly comes down to your budget of 70k to see if you would find a Prado that's not too very old and well maintained. For a Pajero, 70k will be a decent budget that will allow you to find plenty models for sale. The Prado drives more civilized on-road and feels less outdated than the Pajero. But the Pajero is very reliable too and there are so many around which will make spare-part availability a big plus as well.

The Panoramic roof is not something i am a big fan of in this country. For most of the year the sun is sitting high and is hitting hard, and, you would want to close the cover to avoid being blinded by it. The same applies with a sunroof where i am also not a fan of. But this is just personal taste. On the other hand i do not really see the enjoyment kids would have from a panoramic roof. Nowadays they might be more in favor to have screens in the rear seats :) 

With regards to the Crossover SUV's like Ford Explorer, CX9, and Pathfinder, they have very little ground clearance and you won't be able to take those into the dunes. The Jeep Grand Cherokee however is very capable but would need some bumper trimming.

A dedicated offroad toy is never a bad thing, but do consider the extra costs involved for maintenance, insurance, and if you have extra parking space.  

Did you look at the Mitsubishi Montero Sport ? They are not expensive, are excellent family cars, and do great in off-roading as well. After all, the production on the Pajero has stopped and eyes are focused on the Montero Sport to take over the reigns. The 3.0 engine is powerful enough, it has a brilliant 8 speed gearbox, and the interior looks comfy and modern.

In the same scenario, even the Toyota Fortuner is a good contender. Again the Prado is better and more powerful, but that all depends your definition of off-roading.

The MG RX8, i think we've only seen one in the dunes, @mikaeel shaik. He is doing great. Recently installed a small lift kit for it. He can probably give you the pros and cons of this lesser known 4x4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"Go as far as you can see; once you get there, you'll be able to see further."

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Thanks a lot Frederic,

For the excellent clarification & insights. also your used car buying guide cleared most of my doubts (that i feel like gold standard guide). I've looked at Montero sport in showroom when i visited a month ago. I like the car but kept it hold due to no sunroof. Now I've only 2 things in my mind. Either used Prado which is around 2012-2013 model which is in my budget. But please suggest a garage in Dubai that can test the vehicle thoroughly. is there any specific trim that i look for in Prado. seems a lot of trims are available. sorry again for too many questions. Thanks again for understanding.

option 2: stretch my budget for MG RX8 buy new one. I'm not sure if it's required modification for desert driving? if yes, not sure will the manufacturer warranty covered after modification.  Hi @mikaeel shaik appreciate your insights on this MG RX8.
 

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22 minutes ago, Immortal said:

Thanks a lot Frederic,

For the excellent clarification & insights. also your used car buying guide cleared most of my doubts (that i feel like gold standard guide). I've looked at Montero sport in showroom when i visited a month ago. I like the car but kept it hold due to no sunroof. Now I've only 2 things in my mind. Either used Prado which is around 2012-2013 model which is in my budget. But please suggest a garage in Dubai that can test the vehicle thoroughly. is there any specific trim that i look for in Prado. seems a lot of trims are available. sorry again for too many questions. Thanks again for understanding.

option 2: stretch my budget for MG RX8 buy new one. I'm not sure if it's required modification for desert driving? if yes, not sure will the manufacturer warranty covered after modification.  Hi @mikaeel shaik appreciate your insights on this MG RX8.
 

My pleasure. If you are looking for Prado, you can either check the Al Futtaim Pre-Owned cars online. They are a bit more expensive but come with warranty and receive a full inspection. If you buy from a private owner, you can take the vehicle to RTA if i remember correctly and get it inspected. If you happen to have a friend that's a mechanic you could take him instead.

If you look at 2012-2013 models, i think the GX-R are the medium equipped models, while the VX-R is the top range. Just double check that the Prado is indeed a 4.0 engine and not the 2.7 engine (not saying that's a bad engine but if offroading is on your wishlist, then the 4.0 is definitely much better).

Buying a brand new vehicle for off-roading can be painful once you hit the dunes the first time and go home with some scratches in the bumper.  It might remove the fun of offroading for you and create massive apprehension. I see many offroaders in the club with brand new 4x4's. Some are extremely cautious, while others find peace with the fact that off-roading comes with the occasional dents and scratches.

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"Go as far as you can see; once you get there, you'll be able to see further."

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50K - Prado for the road.

20K - Xterra for off-road.

Both will do full justice to the road comfort and off-road capability.

If you aren't ready for two cars yet, go for Prado for 70K and reach till FB or FB+ with minimal underbody protection or bumper trim. If off-roading grows on you then after 6 months of offroading you yourself would want a dedicated desert toy with enough ground clearance, stiffer suspension, off-road tires, lights etc. that you wouldn't be comfortable modifying your daily driver due to lesser road comfort, road noise, high fuel consumption, and off-road looks.

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Let's root for each other & watch each other grow.

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As a Toyota driver, I will advise you to buy the Prado. It is a great car that does both tasks perfectly on-road and off-road Driving.
Great engine, power, torque, and stability on the road.
The Pajero is a good car as well, but I noticed some flaws in it, 
Overheating for example especially in summer times, the car heats up constantly.
My friends have to turn off the AC in the summer while off-roading to avoid the engine overheating, and so as not to lose momentum. But in the end, you are the one who will see if this is a major flaw or something you can overlook.
But if you are ready to own two cars, I very much agree and encourage you to consider Gaurav's suggestion

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Thanks  Federica, Gaurav & Ahmad, 

@Frederic whatever you said true. bringing new car to off-roading is not surely a good idea at all. I discard that idea. Thanks for the very important insight.

Thanks @Gaurav for quick & clear advice. that's exciting to having 2 cars in the same budget. Even though i can afford 2 cars, my family looking for wagon/ crossover a car with bit techie features and look some what premium(Still I'm trying to convince them for Prado). I'm totally fine with Xterra in 20K, in fact,  i found many reliable off-road ready xterras in Facebook in 20K.

But I'm thinking to have a Prado in 70K for now and after i learn basics of off-roading &  once promoted to FB. If family still don't like to continue Prado then will go with their preferred car and then will buy a separate off-road toy after 1 year.

I'm not sure is it good idea but this is what I've in my mind. But for now i wanted to look for a decent Prado in my budget.  Please advice, where else i can found Prado in my budget of 70K. 

thanks @Ahmad Shakervalueable insights in Pajero & Prado. I like Prado.

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2 hours ago, Immortal said:

Even though i can afford 2 cars, my family looking for wagon/ crossover a car with bit techie features and look some what premium(Still I'm trying to convince them for Prado).

If you can or plan to split from the beginning, it's a way better approach so that you don't influence your car buying choices based on the wrong approach.

What I mean to say is that all features, gizmos, and cosmetics are practically useless for off-road.

All the power, torque, body-to-weight ratio is practically useless for road driving unless you hit an autodrome track.

If you decide to split from the beginning, you can actually put all your family wishlist and find a clear winner with a panoramic roof, rear screen, premium sound, navigation screen, camera, radar, adaptive cruise etc, with all the luxury you like and afford. Unfortunately, Toyota or most Japanese brands are light years behind much of advanced features and technology to keep their reliability USP alive.

So the bottom line is, if you plan to split the budget from now, your long-term buying decision will make you more happy and content than compromising what you really want because of family and road comfort vs what you cant due to off-road capability.

Also, one of the key advantages that why most off-roaders have two cars, is because if an off-road car is dirty (which it will be always) or damaged or need repair after the weekend drive, then you can still go to work and use your road car freely.

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21 hours ago, Gaurav said:

If you can or plan to split from the beginning, it's a way better approach so that you don't influence your car buying choices based on the wrong approach.

What I mean to say is that all features, gizmos, and cosmetics are practically useless for off-road.

All the power, torque, body-to-weight ratio is practically useless for road driving unless you hit an autodrome track.

If you decide to split from the beginning, you can actually put all your family wishlist and find a clear winner with a panoramic roof, rear screen, premium sound, navigation screen, camera, radar, adaptive cruise etc, with all the luxury you like and afford. Unfortunately, Toyota or most Japanese brands are light years behind much of advanced features and technology to keep their reliability USP alive.

So the bottom line is, if you plan to split the budget from now, your long-term buying decision will make you more happy and content than compromising what you really want because of family and road comfort vs what you cant due to off-road capability.

Also, one of the key advantages that why most off-roaders have two cars, is because if an off-road car is dirty (which it will be always) or damaged or need repair after the weekend drive, then you can still go to work and use your road car freely.

Thanks @Gauravi totally agree with you. I keep in mind your advice. But I wanted go with Prado. Because I wanted to take my family occasionally at least to low risky camping sites, small dune bashings.  I feel Prado is the good choice. 
can you advice on below vehicle I found in CarSwitch. They included inspection report. I feel it got accident. 
https://carswitch.com/dubai/used-car/toyota/prado/2011/257698-261425

 

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@Gaurav and @Fredericpls advise. It’s very difficult to find good Prado(GXR or VXR) in my budget. I searched FAcebook, Dubbizle,CarSwitch and CARS24, popular dealers like AWRostamani, al Futtaim & al naboodh automobiles. In 70K from 2011-2013. Should we wait until summer or Ramadan time? There are few decent Japanese specs Prados available. Is it safe to buy other than GCC specs ?
Also, if I choose Xterra as my off road car, can I ride in desert along with family occasionally in xterra? Do u recommend that ? If yes, I might think about a crossover as family car instead of Prado. Sorry for bothering you guys.  But I want to choose that way of off road life as you mentioned in your off-road basics guide. 

 

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