It took me a long time to find a vehicle that would suit my varying needs for life in Andalucia. I needed a car that could handle the rough terrain of the mountains, a car that could pull my 2 ton caravan when needed, something economical, easy to maintain with no diagnostic testing that only the dealer can sort, and above all inexpensive to purchase. After reading the reviews of many vehicles it was narrowed down to three vehicles. And quickly down to one when the prices were shown. The vehicle turned out to be one I had never even heard of let alone consider owning. I doubt many of you have heard of it either as it has certainly been the victim of many double takes as I drive it around. So if I say Daihatsu Fourtrak, has that confirmed my doubts regarding its fame?

However if you were to drive along any country lane in Britain you would certainly find one. It is undoubtedly the country dwellers first choice, or in another sense the Farmers favourite 4x4. This is due to its competitive pricing, its practicality and its ability to get through that mud. It really could be described as a Japanese Land Rover, matching it like for like in many ways. Almost everything on the Fourtrak is repairable. Good basic engineering and a bullet proof engine keeps you out of garages and a little mechanical knowledge would see most repairs done at the roadside. Not that they ever break down. They are serious off roaders and would out do most competitors in this area. If you went for the torquey 2.8 litre intercooled turbo diesel you would also inherit a massive 3,500kg towing capacity.

The production period is 1984 – 2002 so you would not be purchasing a particularly new vehicle. The post 1993 cars are better on road, even though you don’t get the ride quality of some higher or newer 4x4s. They can be a little bouncy and the engine does sound like a lorry engine if you get over 80kph. One of the most appealing attributes is its ability to do all the above and still turn in 35mpg. Coupled with inexpensive parts, that makes it a winner for me above all others. Oh and one more bonus with mine; it has two legal fold down seats in the back which gives it the carrying capacity of 7 people. Albeit you may not wish to drive the length of the country in one of the occasional seats, the option is there to cram everyone in. And when the seats are all folded down there is a really usable space, which I have carried the seemingly too large to go in, in. The Fourtrak wasn’t made in Spain so you would have to import from Britain as I did. The Spanish equivalent of the Fourtrak is the Daihatsu Rocky, basically exactly the same. And if you can find one of these you would be purchasing a rust free beast of a 4x4.

The Fourtrak has given me a new hobby in off roading. It doesn’t just go well in the mud, its capable of all a Land Rover can do, and I have been able to access some of the incredible beauty spots of Andalucia that would otherwise be out of bounds.