Horses for Courses

IF OFF-ROAD ABILITY IS YOUR KEY CRITERIA THEN THE TRAILBLAZER IS THE PICK

THE VERDICT

WITH THE testing completed and the dust settled, how do these four family 4x4 wagons shape up? Well, very closely. So close that itís hard to pick a winner, even though the four are all very different and have contrasting pros and cons. What wins all depends on your priorities.

The Rexton offers the most kit for the least money by a good margin, as you can drive away in very well-equipped ELX for $46,990, which is what you pay for the base-spec five-seat Pajero Sport (the least expensive of the others) before stamp duty, registration and any dealer charges.

The Rexton is also the most spacious vehicle (it almost feels as if itís in a bigger class), offers competitive performance and has the most refined engine. On many roads itís also the most comfortable and the quietest. Not so good is its chassis performance on poor quality roads, or indeed the performance of the whole vehicle off-road. If you value 4x4 performance the Rexton is not what you want.

Nor would you buy the Pajero Sport for its off-road ability, for while itís notably better than the Rexton its off-road prowess is still modest. Countering is the fact that itís the sportiest drive on-road and comes with the convenience and safety of full-time 4x4, a game changer in mixed road and mixed weather touring conditions. If you donít want third-row seats, the Pajero Sport is the only option.

Youíll be better off again off-road in the MU-X as itís more than useful for general 4x4 recreational duties; although, it still isnít as off-road capable out of the box as it could be. Best of all the MU-X offers a well-proven powertrain with low service and fuel costs thatís also happy to take on towing duties.

IF OFF-ROAD ABILITY IS YOUR KEY CRITERIA THEN THE TRAILBLAZER IS THE PICK

If off-road ability is your key criteria then the Trailblazer is the pick. It also offers the best engine performance and the chassis works nicely on the road. Thatís probably enough to crown it the winner here, but thatís up to you.