Workhorses for all seasons
Published 20/01/2016 | 02:30
As with every profession, having the right tool for the job is crucial. Sure, there are times that call for making do with what you have and exerting a little more elbow grease completes the job but when it comes to driving on a farm, there is no room for shortcuts.
Having a four-wheel-drive capable of effortlessly traversing tricky, uneven, off-camber terrain is essential.
However, every farmer's needs are different. Some require commercial two-seaters in either a short or long wheel base body. Others need more seats and less carrying space. Then there are those that can make-do with a passenger vehicle (as we report elsewhere today).
The following are some of the options on offer in 2016.
Hyundai Santa Fe
With prices for 4WD commercial models starting at €41,995, the Santa Fe is punching at the same weight as some of the market's better established players. It is available with manual or automatic transmission and is perhaps best suited to occasional off-road use for those with small or scattered landholdings who require better on-road behaviour.
Rather than labour on the politics and intricacies of the price list here, it is best to speak with your nearest Jeep dealer about how one might go about purchasing a 5-seat "business" model Grand Cherokee.
There is a new two seater Business model Outlander listed on Mitsubishi's price list at €31,250. Despite this representing a small price increase on the old model, it is still eminently good value for money considering the robustness of the Outlander package. The 2.2 diesel engine has 150bhp and 380Nms of torque, which is capable of pulling two tonnes. The Pajero SWB and LWB commercials are as competent as ever and their design is testament to the old adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". All Mitsubishi commercials come with a five-year warranty.
Would you believe it that the Qashqai and X-Trail have four wheel drive commercial equivalents? Prices for the Qashqai commercial with 4WD (pictured above) start at €29,925 while the X-Trail begins at €37,150. Both have cheaper 2WD commercial versions also.
Keen not to be left out of the crossover commercial market, the Yeti Sherpa has a four-wheel- drive model with a 2.0 TDi engine priced at €22,595. The range topping Outdoor model with 150bhp and an automatic DSG gearbox costs €35,150.
There is no commercial equivalent here of the Range Rover but it's worthy of a mention because of its rich heritage in farmland use. The latest Range Rover is huge, comfortable and pricier than before but its lightweight chassis and four-wheel-drive system make it a formidable off-roader. As an aside, its worth noting that values of used Range Rovers are rebounding in light of the retail prices for this latest model starting at €124,300.
The Forester commercial prices start at €34,725 and stretch all the way up to €38,938. The Forester is appropriately named. It is capable of tackling really tough terrain.
For many farmers, the Land Cruiser is the pinnacle of commercial four wheel drives. The short wheel base (SWB) version is preferred because it is easier to reverse when towing a trailer. Toyota has moved to a new 2.8 litre diesel engine but the 3.0 litre is still shown on their price list so make your inquiries sharpish if the bigger engine is preferred. Prices for the 2016 model year 2.8 D4-D SWB commercial GX model starts at €40395, The LWB model costs €42,450.
The prevalence of commercial five-seaters means they get special mention. The criteria for qualifying for the commercial rate of motor tax (€333) on any N1 classified model has been covered in previous supplements but as a succinct reminder; if a vehicle is used for social, domestic, and pleasure purposes then it must be taxed accordingly. It's as simple as that. What is not quite so straightforward is which one to choose.
Here are your options.
The Discovery 4 enjoyed sole dominion over the five seat commercial segment for a couple of years and, despite getting on a bit, is still a firm favourite. Land Rover's ability to marry luxury with rugged off-road qualities makes the Disco a fine proposition for any farmer. The 5 seater retails at €57,460 and performs strongly on the used market. The smooth 3.0 litre V6 diesel engine devours long motorway cruises and comfort levels in this category are unsurpassed. It's great for towing, too.
A Pajero five-seat business model is available at €50, 950, which is hugely competitive in this segment. It's a surefooted, well built, rock solid, go-anywhere machine with back seats.
Although available with two seats, the five-seat business model is so keenly priced at €41,995 that it probably makes for a better purchase with broader appeal on the used market. It's not quite as refined as the class leaders but it is tastefully designed nonetheless.
Not to be outdone by its competitors, the Land Cruiser also comes as a 5 -seat business model costing €55,995. It is still a little fresh for any consistent activity on the used market but thus far its residuals are holding a firm position, just like its short wheel base commercial cousin. If the 'Cruiser can tackle the dunes in Dubai, it can certainly hack the going in a boreen in Ballinasloe.
The Touareg was revised in late 2014 for the 2015 market. Initially it arrived as a five-seat passenger vehicle but there is now a business model qualifying for the lower commercial tax rate. The latter is priced at €60,495. Stylistically, it is potentially the most modern commercial.