What is the true cost of 4×4 Ownership

We get it, you love the look of that shiny new 4×4 just sitting there in the showroom.

All bright and gleaming, sparkling under the fluorescent tubes of the dealership, with about 18 layers of wax on it from the detailer. The smell of the leather and upholstery, that new car smell, wafting into your nostrils as you sit inside the car.

Tempting right?

Well, yes and no.

With 4×4 sales in Australia reaching all time highs, a lot of new people are getting into the 4×4 game, lots of people are getting into their first 4×4, and in some cases, their first diesel powered vehicle, and with this, a lot of people don’t appreciate the added costs of owning such a purpose built vehicle.

So we are going to compare the following vehicles, and we are going to compare them over a 5 year lifespan, with no added extras (at the start) and look at how they stack up against each other.

Now, looking at Redbook data, the average mileage (kilometerage?) of a vehicle is 20,000-25,000km per year over the course of its life, as such, we are going to go with a middle value of 22,500 for all calculations.

So this means that the cars will have all done ‭112,500‬km at the end of the 5 years, and on average, had ‭7.5‬ services assuming 15,000km servicing.

Anyway, onto some numbers.

Purchase Price

So here is where the purchase price comes into play, with such a vast array of options on the market, we are going to compare the top 4 vehicles on the market.

Noting that most Australians will finance vehicles, they will be paying them off in Monthly or Fortnightly chunks, but we’ll also include a daily value for your benefit. All models are base models with no options.

VehiclePurchase PriceMonthly CostFortnightly CostDaily Cost
Ford Ranger$52,893$‭881.55‬$‭440.78$31.48
Toyota Hilux$53,442$‭890.7‬0$‭445.35‬$‭31.81
Nissan Navara$37,990$633.17$316.58$22.61
Mitsubishi Triton$35,990$599.83$291.92$20.85

Ok, so here you can easily see roughly how much the purchase price will cost you per day on these vehicles. Let’s move on.

Fuel Costs

Ahh fuel, the blessing and the bain of modern existence. Can’t live with it, and I’ll be stuffed if I’m gonna ride a pushbike to work in the rain.

Now, we are going to take our mileage per year (22,500km) and work out, based on the fuel economy of these vehicles, how much fuel, and therefore, how much money, they are going to cost to run each year.

Once again we will break it down into Monthly, Fortnightly, and Daily Figures to make some of the numbers easier to digest. We will be using combined fuel economy on all models.

VehicleEconomy (l/100km)Litres used per yearMonthly CostFortnightly CostDaily Cost
Ford Ranger6.5 1,462.5‬ $‭176.72 $‭88.36 $‭6.31
Toyota Hilux8.3‭1,867.5‬$‭225.66$‭112.83$‭8.06
Nissan Navara6.5‭1,462.5‬$‭176.72$‭88.36$‭6.31
Mitsubishi Triton8.3 ‭1,867.5‬ $‭225.66 $‭112.83 $‭8.06

Interesting point, the Navara and the Ranger both have identical fuel consumption values, just like the Hilux and the Triton.

Now, onto the next cost!

Servicing

Now, servicing data is a bit iffy here, as we understand that some people don’t care for warranty, some people do, we’re going to assume you all care about warranty, and that none of you are mechanics that can sign off the books at home, and that with all these whizz bang fancy electronic gadgets in the car, you will be going to the dealer for services and updates on your flash new rig.

Vehicle15k30k45k60k75k90k105k120k
Ford Ranger$400$575$500$575N/A*N/A*N/A*N/A*
Toyota Hilux
(10k Services)
$250$250$250$250$250$250N/A^N/A^
Nissan Navara#$532$569N/A$733$592N/A$576$805
Mitsubishi Triton~$379.50$859$814$884.50$404.50$1294$404.50$884.50

*We were unable to find service costs for the Ford Ranger past the 60,000km mark
^Toyota Service Information only showed average cost for capped price services for 3 years, with an interval of 6 months, meaning this is 10,000kms, 20,000kms, 30,000kms, 40,000kms, 50,000kms, and 60,000kms, not the 90,000kms as indicated in the table above
#Nissan Australia recommends 20,000km service intervals for the Navara, meaning that in deference to the table above, some services may be shorter or longer.
~Mitsubishi also has an included 100,000km Timing Belt Service which sources indicate will cost approximately $397.50

So, averaging those costs out, assuming we hit 22,500km per year (112,500km over 5 years), we get the following table:

VehicleNumber of ServicesAvg Service CostTotal CostMonthlyFortnightlyDaily
Ford Ranger7.5$512.50$‭3,587.5‬0$59.79$59.90$4.27
Toyota Hilux11.25$250$2,750$45.83$29.92$2.14
Nissan Navara5.625$634.50$3,172.50$52.88$26.44$1.89
Mitsubishi Triton8$702.44$‭5,619.52‬$93.66$46.83$3.34

Now I’ll be honest, when I started writing this article, I did not expect some of those numbers.

Therefore…

Summary

With all those numbers above, keep in mind that these are using averages (22,500km per year, average fuel price of $1.45/l for Diesel, and manufacturers rated fuel economies).

What does this mean for you? This means that your actual results may vary, if you drive like Nanna along the open highway then you may get better fuel economy, whereas if you tow your 40ft caravan around the city and drive like Peter Brock, you may get exceptionally worse fuel economy, and those alone will skew the numbers.

You also need to remember that if you do lots of towing or heavy off road use, then that means that you may run afoul of the notes in the service books under arduous conditions driving. This means that you may in fact have shorter service intervals (Toyota suggests 7,500km or 5,000km depending on the conditions) and this may in fact put the prices up, if you halve the service interval, you may effectively double the price, or void your Capped Price Service Agreement and end up paying a lot more for your servicing.

The figures quoted above also do not include Registration, Insurance, Accessories, or anything else like that. Depending on the state you live in and your rego category, you may pay more or less for Rego, likewise if you are 22 and have a poor driving history you will probably pay more than someone who is 55 and has a spotless record. We have not factored these numbers into this calculation as they are too hard to average.

Ok, so the table, combined Daily, Fortnightly, Monthly, and Total Costs for these vehicles:

VehicleDailyFortnightlyMonthlyTotal
Ford Ranger$42.06$588.84$1,177.68$‭70,660.8‬0
Toyota Hilux$42.01$588.14$1,176.28$‭70,576.8‬0
Nissan Navara$30.81$431.34$862.68$‭51,760.8‬0
MItsubishi Triton$32.25$451.50$903$‭54,180‬

Now, the hardest part of all this is that you need to calculate the depreciation and stuff too, so as of 2019, we can see the following on Redbook:

VehicleOriginal Price2019 ValueLoss
2014 Ford Ranger$42,890$21,40051%
2014 Toyota Hilux$40,990$24,95040%
2014 Nissan Navara$39,890$19,00053%
2014 Mitsubishi Triton$40,990$17,75057%

So if we want to use those values as an indication, the average loss is around the 50% mark, so if you are the type of person that uses that kind of depreciation number as a loss/cost, then your numbers look like:

VehicleDepreciationActual Cost
Ford Ranger$‭26,446.5‬0$‭97,107.3‬0
Toyota Hilux$26,721.00$‭97,297.8‬0
Nissan Navara$18,995$‭70,755.8‬0
Mitsubishi Triton$17,995$‭72,175‬

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