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Hi all,

I'm looking to buy a new(ish) vehicle in the next 3 months as my older 1999 Subaru Outback is not something I'd be comfortable in to undertake the journey I'm planning.

The trip will take me from Melbourne (Australia) to Darwin via South Australia (Adelaide), and I plan on visiting the Alice (NT) and Kakdu along the way. Once in Darwin (NT) I will start my journey towards Broome (WA), making detours to Kununurra and a few other places as I leave the top end.

From Broome I'm thinking Karijini and Marble Bar, and maybe a few other places before heading towards Exmouth and Coral Bay. Eventually I'll probably drive back via Albany/Esperance, while visiting a few friends out west.

One of my main concerns is vehicle selection. I'm looking to spend no more than $60k AUD, and I'm open to potentially a second hand vehicle as long as it's been fully mechanically tested/certified and has full service history and is in excellent condition. This cost would be after all on road costs plus accessories, and I'll most likely sell the vehicle after my long trip.

I'm wondering if anyone here has done a similar trip, and whether they'd recommend a new(ish) MY17 outback for the journey, or if they'd suggest I buy a Hilux TDI or perhaps even a second hand Toyota Landcruiser instead, and have the ARB Frontier fuel tank (plus other accessories like Winch, flood lights) etc fitted?

I have concerns that a Subaru Outback - although a splendid vehicle in most aspects - might not be able to handle the outback as well as a larger 4WD like a Hilux/Landcruiser. That, and the lack of a long-range fuel tank and bull-bar (roo-bar?), plus low-ish clearance, is disconcerting. Then again, I don't think the 225mm clearance on the Hilux is much better (vs 213mm for SO), although the VW Amarok does have 230mm which is a significant improvement (although I'm not sure it's as comfortable a vehicle as the others).

Not sure which way to go to be honest. Renting a car for the trip would cost too much (~$200/day for a Landcruiser, so close to $6k/month, for 3 months = $15k inc. discount?), which is less than probably buying an ex-demo SO17 (~$40k?) or new VW Amarok ($42k?), accessorising, then selling (probably get 90% of cost price back) = ~$4k cost?
 

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2013 OB 3.6R (former)
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Please do yourself a favor and post this on Offroadsubarus.com which is full of highly experienced Australian members.

A Subaru should be ideal for your plans but they will be able to answer all possible questions- and then some!
 

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I haven't done a trip quite that extensive, but have done similar - just not all at one time.

How really off road do you intend to go? The Outback is a really capable car, but has longer front and rear overhangs, so the entry and departure angle is more limited in the really rough stuff. You can get after market bull bars that help with the front angle (replaces entire bumper) eg from Subaxtreme in NSW, but it is pricey.

You can get aftermarket nudge bars or roo bars (Subaxtreme, East Coast Bullbars) easily. If you plan on driving in the evenings and at night, then a decent pair of driving lights is essential.

If you are going to do diversions into the Kimberly or similar, are you planning on doing river crossings and at what time of year (are you going to need a snorkel)? You won't need the long range tank unless you plan on tackling the Canning Stock Route, the Gunbarrel highway or some equally really remote diversion. Even then a bit of planning with some spare fuel in a roof basket / roof pod will get you through.

Doing a lot of driving on unsealed roads? Get an extra spare and a set of good tough tires. An air compressor is a good thought as well.

Get a 20 liter jerry can for water. Always have it full with you. You may not need it, but it is essential if you are going off the main roads.

You are best off buying, fitting accessories to your needs and budget and then selling afterwards. Although you may change your mind and keep the car in the end after such an epic trip.....
 
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