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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For A rugged, no-nonsense, off-road workhorse which has a fine engine and tough mechanicals

Against It’s not nearly so good on-road

Verdict It’s the farmers’ favourite for good reason

Go for… 2.8 TDX

Avoid… 2.8 TDL

Daihatsu Fourtrak 4x4
  • 1. The Fourtrak is a poor drive on-road, but it's a dedicated and extremely capable off-road workhorse
  • 2. Shop around carefully. None of the models are well equipped, and some are particularly spartan
  • 3. Expect very little trouble if the car has been correctly serviced
  • 4. Space in the back is so tight it's best to treat the car as a two-seater
  • 5. All models suffer from a jarring ride on the road
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Daihatsu Fourtrak 4x4 full review with expert trade views

Scan through original road tests of the Fourtrak and one phrase appears more than any other: ‘farmers’ favourite’. With good reason.

In spirit at least, the Fourtrak is closest to cars like the Land Rover Defender and Jeep Wrangler, a dedicated and extremely capable off-road workhorse. If you need a car that can head off into the wilds, this should be near the top of your shopping list.

If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a dash of 4x4 style, but don’t need any real off-road ability, the Foutrak will strike you as positively agricultural – in all the wrong ways. None of the models are well equipped – some are particularly spartan – and they all suffer from a jarring ride, sloppy steering and a general lack of comfort and refinement. Performance, too, is very limited, as is practicality; it’s best to treat it as a two-seater.

Trade view

John Owen

Up hill and down dale with a trailer-load of sheep

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

Choosing an engine is easy: every Fourtrak comes with a 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine, and, very good it is, too. True, it’s not the quickest, but its strong, low-down pull and excellent flexibility are ideally suited to towing and off-roading. There’s also no choice of gearbox – it’s manual or nothing.

What’s more, from mid-2001 to the end of the car’s life, there was just one model available, the 2.8 TDX. All you might want to do is track down a model with the optional air-con fitted.

Before that there was also an SE version. You should avoid the entry-level TDL version, as it is simply too basic, with no central locking, electric windows or even a stereo.

Trade view

James Ruppert

It has rural appeal only but 2.8 TDX will sell to the right customer

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The limited supply and keen demand in certain parts of the country mean that prices for the Fourtrak are surprisingly high, especially when you consider how little standard equipment it has. It actually works out as more expensive than a Jeep Wrangler.

The Fourtrak’s running costs don’t look too bad, though. Its insurance groups match the Land Rover Defender’s, and are comfortably better than an Isuzu Trooper’s, while the 30mpg fuel economy is also pretty impressive. Likewise, servicing a Fourtrak is dear compared to a standard hatchback, but it’s no worse than any other genuine off-roader.

If you need to have work done on a Fourtrak, the bills shouldn’t be too dear. Warranty Direct tells us that average labour rates are among the very lowest and that repair costs are no worse than average.

Trade view

John Owen

Up hill and down dale with a trailer-load of sheep

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

Daihatsu may not be one of the most well known Japanese brands, but its cars are every bit as reliable as those from the likes of Honda and Toyota. Warranty Direct tell us that Daihatsus are among the most reliable cars on their books.

There have been no recalls on the Fourtak. And, if reader reviews online are anything to go by, you can expect very little trouble as long as the car has been, and continues to be, correctly serviced.

Last, but not least, if you are looking at a Fourtrak, check that it has not been abused off-road. If you’re in any doubt, consider paying for a professional check to spot any signs of trouble.

Trade view

James Ruppert

It has rural appeal only but 2.8 TDX will sell to the right customer

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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