Buying a Suzuki for Gibb River Road

by Philippa

We're in the process of buying a new car, and we were interested in getting a medium sized 4WD like a Suzuki Grand Vitara, so we could get about the NT a bit without hauling a massive Landcruiser around with us. But I wanted to ask you if it would be suitable to drive the Gibb River Road, as well as drive down all the side roads to see everything on the way. Would it have enough clearance?
Thanks very much for your help,
Philippa and Darren

Related Reader Pages:
Do I really need a 4WD for the Gibb River Road?
Vehicle Suitability for Gibb River Road
Gibb River Road in Subaru Forester
4wd snorkel needed for Gibb River Road?

Comments for Buying a Suzuki for Gibb River Road

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Aug 24, 2008
Many mid sized 4x4s will be fine on the Gibb
by: Birgit

Hi Philippa,

Suzukis used to be good cars. They are a true 4x4, can handle a fair bit of abuse and go just about anywhere. However, the newer Grand Vitaras (after 2005) are rather low. Were you thinking of buying new?

For accessing any of the standard attractions on the Gibb you shouldn't have any problems. As I say many times on the site, it's nowhere near as wild as people make out.

(But then again, "everything on the way" is a vague term. Your and my definition of "everything" may vary somewhat...)

If you wanted to do some of the rougher tracks you have to be more careful about where you put your wheels. As long as you know what you are doing you will still get through. Basically, the less clearance you have the more experience you need and the more careful you need to drive.

Depending on the time of your trip you'll have to watch out for water crossings (unless you fit a snorkel). But that is the same for all vehicles without snorkel in the early dry season.

There are many smaller 4x4s that will do the job and be cheaper to buy and run than a Landcruiser (and several that offer more clearance than the new Grand Vitaras).

It's mainly a matter of what exactly you want to do, how many people in the car, will you be towing a trailer (I'd definitely go bigger then) etc.

Are you going to keep the car? What are your future plans? I'd get the vehicle that best suits your overall needs and the budget. No matter what you end up with, we have enough here for you to do to keep you entertained for a few weeks, even if you can't see truly "everything" (as in, my definiton of it :-).)

Also, this question keeps coming up in some form or other.

Here are some other posts that you may find useful:

Gibb River Road in Subaru Forester

Vehicle Suitability for Gibb River Road

Ford Territory to Bungle Bungles

Nissan Pathfinder for Kimberleys Camping Trip

Aug 25, 2008
by: Anonymous

Thanks heaps, useful info. We were looking at a 2003 model so it sounds like it might do the job.
Your site has got me all excited about the trip, and it won't be until next year! Cheers.

Oct 11, 2008
Cars on Gibb River Road
by: Terry Lynch

We saw the "Raid 2008" Citroen 2CV rally at Home Valley and then watched them ford the Pentecost
River. They traveled from Kalgoorlie to Kununurra and I believe 53 of the 56 that started completed the trip. This was early September 2008.

Any thing is possible.

Our Pajero lost one shock absorber near El Questro but was fixed there and we holed the radiator on the way to Mitchell Falls but this was repaired (excellently) at Drysdale River Staion. A new one was fitted at Broome. Also changed out steering idler arm. Pitman arm was O.K. I fitted new shocks before trip but nuts on top came loose and dropped off. Check them regularly.

One thing we found was that your should have the doors checked that they are adjusted properly as I had to adjust driver's door and rear door to stop them shaking themselves to bits.

Gibb River road 30% was pretty bad and Mitchell falls roar was twice as bad. (gave up after jump up after start of the pandana? forest.
One tourist bus just made it back to Drysdale Staion as well.

Wouln't have missed the trip for quids (2 dollars old money)
Birgit, your guide book was indispensable.

May 02, 2014
Suzuki grand Vitara
by: Phil

This is a bit late for the person who asked but to anyone in future considering a Suzuki Grand Vitara for the Gibb river road or Mitchell plateau. I did it in 2009 in an xl7 model with standard tyres towing a semi off rd camper trailer. Fuel consumption was ok and better than the similar sized Hyundai which another guy I met had with a similar setup. It handled the trip with ease crossed all river crossings ( including ) Ivanhoe. I would recommend a few things tho one is to fit off rd rims and tyres clearance wasn't a problem but a lift kit would be good as would a snorkel if water levels are high ( tho I had water 3/4 up the bonnet and it was fine even tho I thought I was a gonner. If it is a petrol carry at least one or two jerry cans and don't tow a caravan on the gibb or Mitchell only really heavy duty full independent suspension campers even then they will cop a hiding and best to leave it at a caravan park and tent it as it is a suspension and wheel bearing killer on those roads especially Mitchell.

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