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Old 15th May 2017, 00:14   #1
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Default Japanese Import SUVs - Which one to buy?

The second hand market is flooded with old imported SUV's. The Pajeros and Land Cruisers being the most popular.

Photos taken from the net of 2003 models. These were quite common imports. The Pajero was also manufactured in India but there are many imports still in the second hand market. Some were also available with Petrol engines. I'm guessing these would be available really cheap. Are there any other alternatives? Please don't suggest an Endeavor, Safari or Scorpio. Would a Grand Vitara or Nissan X-Trail fit the bill as alternatives even though they are not Body on Frame models?

Which of these would you say is the best to pick up second hand at a cheap price.

1. Isuzu Trooper.
2. Nissan Patrol.
3. Toyota Land Cruiser.
4. Mitsubishi Pajero.

Factors to take into consideration:
1. Price: It's a weekend car for mild off-roading so has to be cheap (compared to it's original price).
2. Availibility of service and spares: I'm guessing the Pajero and Land Cruiser will be top choices here.
3. Reliability.
4. Fuel - Petrol / Diesel: It's a weekend fun vehicle so I don't mind Petrol.
5. Transmission: Most of these were available with auto boxes. Since I intend doing some off-roading I would prefer a manual.
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Last edited by pedrolourenco : 15th May 2017 at 00:20.
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Old 15th May 2017, 00:23   #2
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Default re: Japanese Import SUVs - Which one to buy?

I would say the Pajero and the Land cruiser would be the top options considering the large numbers they were sold in / imported.i think spares for these also can be procured very easily. Pajero and LCs are available dime a dozen in the used car market.

I haven't seen many Isuzu Trooper and Patrols - probably they also could be a good choice.

A decently maintained Pajero / Landcruissr / LX470 will easily cost you in the range of 10-15 lakhs. And mind you, all these would be 10+ year old vehicles and you would have to spend a couple of lakhs more in doing then up. If you have that kind of a budget, you could go for a brand new vehicle like the Isuzu D Max V Cross.

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Old 15th May 2017, 01:47   #3
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Default re: Japanese Import SUVs - Which one to buy?

Pajero would be the obvious choice IMO, simply because it sold in large numbers and it will be easier to get parts everywhere. A pajero will also be cheaper than say a LC or a Patrol.
Don't pick the X trail as its neither here, nor there kind of car. Vitara is good off road, but again the spares are very expensive, but at least available. Check it out, and consider it if you can get a good deal on it(which is possible since it was a Petrol only)

P.S. Please mention the budget as well. If its anywhere close to 10 lacs, just close your eyes and get a Fortuner. The early models were 4x4 MT, so will be well suited
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Old 15th May 2017, 10:46   #4
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Default re: Japanese Import SUVs - Which one to buy?

In the Middle East, the "off-road experts" choose a short wheelbase petrol Pajero as the best off-road car because it is nimble, doesn't get stuck on sand dunes, has a very good power/weight ratio and has high reliability.

The Land Cruiser is a bit too big. Of course, the old straight six 4.5 liter petrol engine has tremendous low end torque to haul the heavy car up any slope. If you don't mind the size (e.g. if you plan on carrying several people) it is a good choice, too.

Yes, I had a Nissan X-Trail for seven years. It can go off-road, but is is not really an off-road car. As agambhandari said, it is a "neither here nor there" car.
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Old 15th May 2017, 11:04   #5
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Default re: Japanese Import SUVs - Which one to buy?

For mild off-roading the Grand Vitara ought to be more than adequate. It is far more capable than a mere X-Trail and is extremely reliable, easy and cheap to maintain so don't disclude it from your list of options. Try to get a 2.4L
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Old 15th May 2017, 11:17   #6
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Default Re: Japanese Import SUVs - Which one to buy?

Honestly, the options among India-built cars are so good now that I wouldn't consider a grey-market import (dodgy papers, ownership, rolled-back odometers, no service history etc.).

What's your budget? If you're looking at 2003 models, do keep in mind that you must have an appetite for risk and the time for finding spares + repairs. End of the day, you're talking about buying a 15 year old well-worn car.

If tight on budget, I'd recommend holding the purchase, increasing the $$$ after saving up and buying a newer Fortuner, Pajero (Indian CKD), Endeavour or similar. If due diligence isn't followed, a 5 lakh used car can quickly become a 9 lakh one (with repairs), and a 10 lakh import can quickly become a 15 lakh car.

80 & 100 Series Landcruisers and Nissan Patrols are only for fans of the model. If you have no such affinity, buy newer, locally built ones for peace of the mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pedrolourenco View Post
Fuel - Petrol / Diesel: It's a weekend fun vehicle so I don't mind Petrol.
Diesel is still better due to the torque.
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Old 15th May 2017, 15:06   #7
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Default Re: Japanese Import SUVs - Which one to buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Honestly, the options among India-built cars are so good now that I wouldn't consider a grey-market import (dodgy papers, ownership, rolled-back odometers, no service history etc.).

80 & 100 Series Landcruisers and Nissan Patrols are only for fans of the model. If you have no such affinity, buy newer, locally built ones for peace of the mind.
I am surprised you haven't recommended your favourite Montero!

I think a well maintained Montero would be a good bet as they were all officially imported by HM/Mitsubhishi India unlike the rest of the models that were imported under very shady paper work.
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Old 15th May 2017, 15:24   #8
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Default Re: Japanese Import SUVs - Which one to buy?

Quote:
The second hand market is flooded with old imported SUV's
Can you share some links where I can check available options, I have been trying to find an LC myself for many Years but haven't seen a single which has a proper service history or correct ODO. If you were in the market to find any Germans, I would have agreed with you. There are examples including one of mine X6- which is late 2009 and run just 37000 Km with the service record of every single work BMW carried. Can someone get a similar Toyota LC or LC Prado - I don't think so.

Last edited by Turbanator : 15th May 2017 at 15:25.
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Old 15th May 2017, 17:12   #9
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Default Re: Japanese Import SUVs - Which one to buy?

I think it would be difficult to get a LC with proper history - since most of these were grey imports. And most out of those grey imports come with shoddy paperwork. Getting a clean one is next to impossible unless they are company owned, consulate owned, TR vehicles or those which were impounded and released. I keep seeing a couple of 80 & 100 series lying around with a couple of car dealers - if you are interested, I can check and post details here.

Surprisingly, no one mentioned the Toyota Prado, RAV-4.
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Old 15th May 2017, 22:25   #10
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Default Re: Japanese Import SUVs - Which one to buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by v12 View Post
I would say the Pajero and the Land cruiser would be the top options considering the large numbers they were sold in / imported.i think spares for these also can be procured very easily. Pajero and LCs are available dime a dozen in the used car market.
That's what I noticed while searching.

Quote:
I haven't seen many Isuzu Trooper and Patrols - probably they also could be a good choice.
Well they do come up once in a while.

Quote:
A decently maintained Pajero / Landcruissr / LX470 will easily cost you in the range of 10-15 lakhs. And mind you, all these would be 10+ year old vehicles and you would have to spend a couple of lakhs more in doing then up.
I was looking for older vehicles more in the region of 4-5 L. Just basically running vehicles. Not looking to do up or modify but more like Buy Cheap - Use/Abuse - Sell/Scrap.

Quote:
If you have that kind of a budget, you could go for a brand new vehicle like the Isuzu D Max V Cross.
Actually I just picked up an X1. It can't do the things the above SUV's or a V Cross can. Well even if it can I don't intend taking the risk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by agambhandari View Post
Pajero would be the obvious choice IMO, simply because it sold in large numbers and it will be easier to get parts everywhere. A pajero will also be cheaper than say a LC or a Patrol.
Correct. The idea actually came up after reading Tejus' Pajero thread. Also checked out Harjeev's and Khan Sultan's LC threads.

Quote:
Don't pick the X trail as its neither here, nor there kind of car. Vitara is good off road, but again the spares are very expensive, but at least available.
These only came into the picture because of the prices I saw them being sold at.

Quote:
P.S. Please mention the budget as well. If its anywhere close to 10 lacs, just close your eyes and get a Fortuner. The early models were 4x4 MT, so will be well suited
Well as mentioned earlier the budget is 4-5. Basically cars that have already taken the max depriciation hit. Something that I can easily sell at a throwaway price and still not make much of a loss.

Quote:
Originally Posted by benu9714 View Post
In the Middle East, the "off-road experts" choose a short wheelbase petrol Pajero as the best off-road car because it is nimble, doesn't get stuck on sand dunes, has a very good power/weight ratio and has high reliability.
This model will be almost impossible to find in India.

Quote:
The Land Cruiser is a bit too big. Of course, the old straight six 4.5 liter petrol engine has tremendous low end torque to haul the heavy car up any slope. If you don't mind the size (e.g. if you plan on carrying several people) it is a good choice, too.
I know size is a problem but then it's not going to be my daily drive. Just going to be driving it around the countryside, hills and maybe crossing a few streams (not the extreme stuff seen in some of the OTR threads here). Other things would be hauling around stuff (my new house is under construction) and the regular coconut plucking trips.

Quote:
Yes, I had a Nissan X-Trail for seven years. It can go off-road, but is is not really an off-road car. As agambhandari said, it is a "neither here nor there" car.
I came close to buying one. The Leela Hotel was selling 4 and 4 of us friends went and made an offer for all 4. Didn't manage to get them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
For mild off-roading the Grand Vitara ought to be more than adequate. It is far more capable than a mere X-Trail and is extremely reliable, easy and cheap to maintain so don't disclude it from your list of options. Try to get a 2.4L
I'm looking out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Honestly, the options among India-built cars are so good now that I wouldn't consider a grey-market import (dodgy papers, ownership, rolled-back odometers, no service history etc.).
The grey import idea was basically to have something that was not available. Indian built are good now but then resale is also quite high. Dodgy papers are a concern. Can you elaborate what exactly is dodgy about the papers of these imports? Rolled back odometers and no service history is also a big problem not only for these but most cars in the market. However I assumed these vehicle were built to withstand such abuse.

Quote:
What's your budget?
4-5 L

Quote:
If you're looking at 2003 models, do keep in mind that you must have an appetite for risk and the time for finding spares + repairs. End of the day, you're talking about buying a 15 year old well-worn car.
I am aware of that but 2 factors tempted me to explore this option.
- The 4 SUV's here are know to take a lot of abuse.
- Some of the threads by people of went this route have managed to get spares quite easily.

Quote:
If tight on budget, I'd recommend holding the purchase, increasing the $$$ after saving up and buying a newer Fortuner, Pajero (Indian CKD), Endeavour or similar.
This is option 2 though I'd probably skip the Fortuner due to the high resale.

Quote:
If due diligence isn't followed, a 5 lakh used car can quickly become a 9 lakh one (with repairs), and a 10 lakh import can quickly become a 15 lakh car.
Well posting on Team BHP, reading the advise of guys here and only attempting to do something that someone has already done before taking the plunge is my idea of Due Diligence. That's the reason I'm posting this thread rather than an ownership thread with all the problems I'm facing after the impulsive buy.

Quote:
80 & 100 Series Landcruisers and Nissan Patrols are only for fans of the model. If you have no such affinity, buy newer, locally built ones for peace of the mind.
No such affinity. Just trying to apply the funda of Ajmats thread on Luxo Barges to these SUV's which were really expensive when new.

Quote:
Diesel is still better due to the torque.
Petrol was only considered due to the low resale value.

BTW, a bit OT but got to mention it. I had read your thread on the 530 D. Initial plans were for a new 320 D but your thread tempted me to check the 5 Series. Also purchase plans were not urgent but the thread accelerated that. Finally after much debate, research and calculations settled for a new X1.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sahil View Post
I am surprised you haven't recommended your favourite Montero!
The Montero is newer Pajero.

Quote:
I think a well maintained Montero would be a good bet as they were all officially imported by HM/Mitsubhishi India unlike the rest of the models that were imported under very shady paper work.
Unfortunately very few in the market and prices haven't exactly crashed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbanator View Post
Can you share some links where I can check available options, I have been trying to find an LC myself for many Years but haven't seen a single which has a proper service history or correct ODO.
My search is primarily on OLX and Facebook groups. Delhi and Mumbai are the places where most of the vehicles are found.


Quote:
Originally Posted by v12 View Post
I keep seeing a couple of 80 & 100 series lying around with a couple of car dealers - if you are interested, I can check and post details here.
Please do.

Quote:
Surprisingly, no one mentioned the Toyota Prado, RAV-4.
There are a few Petrol LC Prado's in the price range of 16-20 L which is a steal considering that the price of the new ones is close to a crore.

Thanks a lot for the tips guys. Will be compiling my personal checklist from your points. Couple of years ago I was going through the Safari Pic thread and TSk's ownership thread. I set out looking for a Safari 4x4 and kept my budget 2L. I said I will not buy anything more than that no matter how good the car is. Took me a while but finally found a 3.0 Dicor 4x4. Mechanically sound with full service history but cosmetically not so good. Spent 25 K on doing it up (cleaning, paint touch up, polishing and basic service) and it was totally transformed. Had fun with it and sold it at a decent profit. Thought that was not the intention as I would have been happy to just recover my money or incur a bit of loss.
Same with this purchase. Not in any hurry to buy. Will wait for the right vehicle (including the newer alternatives suggested) to show up for sale. When it does I will be armed with all the information on this thread when I go to check it out.

So far I have been offered a Land Cruiser 2002 Automatic for 5.75 L. Odo is 123000. Also just received a FB message of another Land Cruiser. Let's see what that is.

Last edited by pedrolourenco : 15th May 2017 at 22:33. Reason: Fixing quote
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Old 15th May 2017, 23:02   #11
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Default Re: Japanese Import SUVs - Which one to buy?

Quote:
My search is primarily on OLX and Facebook groups. Delhi and Mumbai are the places where most of the vehicles are found.
I have been offered a Land Cruiser 2002 Automatic for 5.75 L. Odo is 123000. Also just received a FB message of another Land Cruiser

Can you share some examples? I can't see any LC 2002 Auto for so low amount.

Last edited by Turbanator : 15th May 2017 at 23:05.
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Old 16th May 2017, 00:35   #12
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Default Re: Japanese Import SUVs - Which one to buy?

Quote:
Can you elaborate what exactly is dodgy about the papers of these imports?
Some details on the Jhol involving the Toyota Landcruiser / Lexus LX470.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...of-pg-3-a.html (Beware: Fake registration numbers on Imported Cars (proof on Pg 3))

Option 1. A new 2002 Landcruiser was imported and unloaded at the ports. The car would then be driven out and an old Landcruiser was taken in and duty calculated on the older model. The old car would be registered at the local RTO and the number would be used by the 2002 LC. This way they would avoid duties on imported cars.

Option 2 : Using Transfer or Residence. In most instances, agents would use the TR option to register a brand new LC/LX under a poor south Indian labourer returning to India from the Gulf. The car would be shown as a couple of years older to fit the TR criteria of an Indian owning a car for a certain period if years before returning for good. The car would then be sold to Bollywood actors and politicians without the transfer being done. Most famous case being Sushmita Sens Landcruiser and Salman Khans Landcruiser.

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/repor...t-case-1207234

Last edited by GTO : 16th May 2017 at 09:40. Reason: wud = would :)
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Old 16th May 2017, 07:52   #13
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Default Re: Japanese Import SUVs - Which one to buy?

If you get a mint Pajero SFX, I don't think, you would want/need to sell it.

The best thing about Pajero is, it was available till few years ago and spares are available as well. The GV 2.4 too makes a strong case for itself as a depreciation disaster. If i were in your shoes, I wouldn't look beyond these two options.
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Old 16th May 2017, 09:45   #14
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Default Re: Japanese Import SUVs - Which one to buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sahil View Post
I am surprised you haven't recommended your favourite Montero!
Hahaha! Yes, yes - that's still my favourite SUV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pedrolourenco View Post
Just going to be driving it around the countryside, hills and maybe crossing a few streams (not the extreme stuff seen in some of the OTR threads here). Other things would be hauling around stuff (my new house is under construction) and the regular coconut plucking trips.
Since you already have an X1 and are looking for a weekend toy, why not buy a used Thar / Gypsy for 5 lakhs? It'll be a lot more hassle-free to own & you'll enjoy offroading in one. Goa is anyway Thar country .

Buying a 15 year old import SUV for 5 lakhs is just asking for trouble. These cars are way past their prime & have multiple owners + cheap maintenance under their belt. Of course, it's a different matter if you find a pristine example, but these are incredibly hard to locate. Owners who've kept them well for all these years aren't willing to part with their ride either (or they quote a ridiculous amount).
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Old 16th May 2017, 10:04   #15
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Default Re: Japanese Import SUVs - Which one to buy?

I think I understand what you are looking for. My advice for you would be to put in a couple of lacks more and get a used Fortuner. Amazing offroad potential, reliability, serviceability and availability of parts. Also the benefit that its a newer model, with less hassles and better (newer) interiors.

Or if you still want an import SUV, of which the snob value, the Fortuner will not match, go ahead and buy the 80 series LC. Even in Auto form, its a monster, and great for casual offroading, or rather trail driving. Just be prepared to go offline for a week if you are broken down, due to parts availability.

If you really want to enjoy offroading, get a Thar at go full on.

Ah.. also be sure to fit a winch onto these heavy SUV's, since if you get stuck, you dont want to get recovered by others. All the tugging and pulling will have a toll on the vehicle.
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