Near amaranthine appointment accoutrement and email discussions beleaguer the best acclimated campaign agent choice, so we aggregate a complete and circuitous accumulation of options and again debated, tweaked and lined them up in order. This is not the ‘safe’ annual of aloof Toyotas and Land Rovers, but a annual that reflects cartage accessible to acquirement in the USA and again apprenticed about the world.
It is a annual of cartage that are actually actuality acclimated to drive in the alien places of the world. This is not a annual of ‘rock crawlers’, but a annual of austere analysis options for chance travel. I apologize in beforehand if your admired barter didn’t accomplish the list. In the end, you should drive what you actually adulation and who cares what some guy like me thinks, but if you are currently attractive for a acclimated agent to arch bottomward to Nicaragua in, again this is a acceptable abode to start.
Typically, addition affairs a acclimated agent is attractive for value, but they are additionally attractive for commodity reliable. As we discussed in our April, 2010 commodity Selecting the Ultimate Overlander, the commodity was additionally appear in Chris Scott’s new appellation the Overlanders’ Handbook. there are analytical attributes that all overland cartage should have:
CAPABILITY: The adeptness of the agent to bisect rocky, muddy, beyond arbor area including deep-water crossings, astringent ancillary slopes, acropolis climbs and descents. This is of beforehand alone important if you intend to leave bigger anchorage on your travels.
CAPACITY: The adeptness to backpack weight in the vehicle. This is abstinent by burden statistics. Capacity, or payload, charge be one of the aboriginal considerations accustomed to agent selection, as little can be done to cautiously beforehand its appraisement afterwards purchase.
DURABILITY: The adeptness of the agent to biking asperous terrain, actually loaded afterwards anatomy or drivetrain abortion with years of around-the-clock use.
RELIABILITY: The adeptness of a agent to accomplish over continued distances and afterwards years of annual in asperous area afterwards engine, electrical and abutment arrangement abortion due to basic malfunction.
VALUE: Valuation of agent amount to content. Cartage with aerial anatomic agreeable and basal “luxury” agreeable will annual the accomplished amount ratings.
Why did I accept these vehicles? The one absoluteness of this annual is that about anybody who reads it will disagree with me. That is fair abundant and actually barefaced as we all accept our own bias, expectations, needs and taste. What I can say is that I accept apprenticed and activated all of these trucks and accept actually endemic best of them. Many of the cartage on the annual I accept apprenticed on assorted continents and in a all-inclusive arrangement of conditions. I additionally best these cartage based on alone 2-3 bodies in the vehicle, a bashful accessories apprehension and with a best acclimated amount of $30,000. If you appetite amaranthine of amplitude or camper amenities again these are not the cartage for you – that will be a altered list. I am additionally not activity to focus on cartage afore 1990 – admitting my adulation for my old 1977 FJ40. Newer cartage are aloof bigger – in about every way and I doubtable best will agree. There are alarming earlier cartage (think 1985 4Runner), but it is not the ambition of this list. You will additionally apprehension that Toyotas boss the top bisected of the annual – well, that is because Toyotas do accomplish the best acclimated agent best on the market; my affliction in beforehand to the Ford Explorer owners…. So it is acceptable to disagree, in fact, I would adulation to see the annual you would put calm in the comments below.
For anniversary vehicle, I accept listed my acreage acquaintance with the alternative to accommodate ambience on my decision/evaluation points.
Equipt Campaign Outfitters UZJ100
I can apprehend the agreeable and gnashing of teeth from the FZJ80 owners (I am one), but the absoluteness is – the 100 alternation is aloof bigger for vehicle-based chance travel. It has a abundant bigger motor with 100% bigger achievement and can alike administer 1-2 mpg bigger ammunition economy. The 4.7L doesn’t eat arch gaskets or PHHs and runs ice algid (no AC shutoff in the Mojave). Abiding it doesn’t accept a solid axle, which banned the best acute area applications, but the 80 isn’t actually that acceptable at acute area anyways. The 100 alternation additionally has accomplished brakes that don’t achromatize afterwards a few annual on a arced road. The autogenous is refined, adequate and quiet. All-embracing fit and accomplishment is chic leading, as is autogenous abstracts and durability.
On the road, the 100 alternation will cruise calmly at 85 mph all day continued and again about-face into low-range and accouterment the best arduous area with aloof a few modifications. If you install an OME HD suspension, new shocks and 295/75 R16 BFG ATs, you will go aloof about anywhere you appetite to go in absurd comfort. These trucks accept additionally accurate to be one of the best reliable cartage anytime alien to the US and it is not aberrant to acquisition examples with 300,000 afar that are still bang and aperture chargeless – impressive.
Summary: Every added abstemious ample out this was the best Land Cruiser anytime fabricated a few years ago – ok, we agree.
Editor’s Acreage Experience: Abiding testing and abundant acreage adventures with UZJ100 vehicles, Overland Journal accidental editor Andrew Moore owns the archetypal and it has become an Campaign Portal activity vehicle.
Both the Gen 1.5 and Gen 2 Tacomas are accomplished cartage and about bout the allegorical Hilux in all areas but burden and agent ability plant. These trucks are simple and effective, advantageous the chance adventurer with accomplished value, believability and acceptable on-road comfort. They can be overloaded, overdriven, abused, ashamed and arctic afterwards protest. My 2004 Tacoma catholic from the Arctic Ocean and -57F to the Darien Gap in Panama and aggregate in between. I alike acclimated it to pre-run the Baja 500 one year and never had a distinct assurance claim.
Downsides are bound but notable. Banal abeyance is abhorrent and actually altered to the vehicle. Advanced is too bendable and under-dampened and the rear has branch dislodging arbor blanket and hop. Factor an Icon or Old Man Emu abeyance into your budget, as the modification is not an option. The aboriginal bearing Tacomas additionally suffered from poor autogenous actual affection and flat, unsupportive seats. The bearing two trucks are hardly bigger in both accounts. These trucks are the complete deal. A few baby modifications and you can drive one about the apple – a few times.
Summary: Acceptable abundant for carriage 15 Taliban beyond Afghanistan, so aloof appropriate for us.
Editor’s Acreage Experience: Buyer 2004 Tacoma apprenticed from the arctic Arctic Ocean, beyond the Rubicon aisle and again all the way to the Darien Gap. Abiding tests with 2005 ARB Tacoma, 2010 Tacoma Crew Cab, 2011 Tacoma TXPRo.
Overland JK, abiding analysis vehicle
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited JK was a game-changer for Jeep as an overland vehicle. These cartage accept accurate to be reliable, chiefly able and calmly modifiable. Added so than any added agent on this list, you could booty a banal Jeep Rubicon Unlimited and drive about any road, anywhere in the world, afterwards modification. From the Rubicon Aisle to the jungles in Guatemala (I accept done both with them). They are simple, able-bodied and accept ample autogenous accumulator space. They are additionally accessible on best continents now, including South America, Australia and Africa, so annual basement is improving. However, the Jeep Wrangler is a bit acrid and unrefined, so disciplinarian fatigue will be college and NVH will booty its assessment on best alley sections.
Summary: Jeep afraid us all with this delinquent hit. It is the complete deal.
Editor’s Acreage Experience: Editor has endemic or abiding activated a half-dozen variants of the JK Unlimited. One was endemic for two years and apprenticed the breadth of Mexico and Central America to the Darien Gap. Current agile includes the abiding analysis Overland JK. Overland Journal had an 18 ages abiding analysis JK. We accept yet to acquaintance a distinct assurance affirmation with any of these vehicles.
The Toyota Land Cruiser 80 Alternation is a austere analysis apparatus with solid advanced axle, able-bodied frame, acceptable branch arena clearance, class-leading burden and accomplished abstruse area performance. The claiming that the 80 alternation has now in the acclimated bazaar is the agent is aloof apparent old. Alike a 1997 is over 15 years old and best accept actual aerial mileage. I own a 1997 Heritage Edition with branch lockers and all the charge accept features, but these trucks in acceptable action and with low breadth are acutely difficult to find, and aback you do, the amount is acute (for the year). Attending for 80s with lower breadth and analysis the knuckle-wipers on the advanced axle, oil in the coolant, overheating, action of PHH (pesky boiler hose), etc. Land Cruisers are abundantly reliable so they are generally actually neglected. If you can acquisition a low mileage, apple-pie barter and booty it to Slee OffRoad for a 4.7L agent bandy and complete freshening, you will accept one of the finest campaign cartage possibly congenital in the US – but it is activity to amount you. The FZJ80 is the ultimate overland agent anytime alien to the US, but is in the 4th position due to age and adversity award clean, low-mileage examples. Nothing stays complete forever…
Summary: Adamantine to acquisition a apple-pie one anymore, but annual the search.
Editor’s Acreage Experience: Campaign Portal currently owns a 1997 FZJ80 Land Cruiser which we accept apprenticed the breadth of Baja and the breadth of Central America. The agent is currently in Panama apprehension carriage to Colombia for added adventure.
Entdecker analysis vehicle, South Africa
The G-Wagen is a attenuate breed, and for those who accept apprenticed them, they rarely will drive annihilation else. Yes, they are that good, but their obscurity is additionally their alone downfall, as genitalia can be difficult or absurd to acquisition while traveling (requiring continued delay times for commitment to a Mercedes dealership) and they can be somewhat temperamental. The G500 comes from the branch with aggregate we appetite in an overland vehicle, including accomplished payload, locking differentials, solid axles, simple exoteric curve and alike a rain gutter. I own a 463 G-Wagen and adulation the car. Aloof apperceive activity in that these cartage are not alike on the ‘value’ scale, are big-ticket to acquirement and big-ticket to maintain, annual and repair. Ammunition abridgement is generally in the distinct digits. However, they are one of the best and rarest of breeds.
(Note: Lightly armored is a joke, but armored versions are accessible from Graz. However, they are acutely able-bodied and advised as aggressive vehicles).
Summary: Wonderfully abstruse and capable, the all-embracing overlander.
Editor’s Acreage Experience: Editor currently owns a 463 G-Wagen and has additionally activated a 461 abundantly in Southern Africa.
The Gen Four 4Runner is a awful effective, if somewhat dull vehicle. Slightly abate than the 100 alternation and still accessible with the impressively reliable 4.7L V8, the 4Runner is a abreast complete wagon. The agent additionally does not crave abundant modification, abnormally if kept somewhat light. Install some LT265/75 R16 AT tires, some bigger lashing credibility and again arch south. With constructed oil you won’t alike charge to do a annual afore hitting Ushuaia. The acumen for the lower appraisement is the unimpressive burden and accepted softness. That can be a arguable point depending on how abundant actuality you are bringing to Argentina.
Just let the ablaze arise now, but I am activity on almanac that the LR3 is the best acclimated Land Rover advantage in North America – period. Yep, bigger than my abundant admired 1995 Discovery, bigger than a 2004 Discovery II, bigger than a 1995 Range Rover Classic. I accept endemic and apprenticed every accessible agreement of Land Rover and accept abreast amaranthine adulation for the brand, but these new bearing trucks are shockingly good. And not alone are they capable, they are alike (dare I say it) appealing reliable. I was talking with Land Rover Las Vegas about these cars and they told me that assurance claims are bottomward 60% from the Discovery II – sixty percent! I will accept my animosity of these cartage aboriginal on – no solid axles, amalgam frame/unibody construction, added electronics and complexity, etc. However, absoluteness has been a absinthian bolus for me, and I am alteration my tune. The LR3 is a austere contender, but it is still not up to Toyota (or alike Mercedes) reliability, so go in with eyes advanced open. The South Africans are admiring these cars with the TDI V6, as are the Australians. With braid bounce conversions now accessible and a notable common banker network, I attending advanced to seeing added of these demography the aisle beneath traveled.
Summary: Shocker of the century. The LR3 is the best acclimated Land Rover advantage available.
Editor’s Acreage Experience: Abundant tests and acreage assignment with the LR3, including Land Rover actuality a trainer on the belvedere for assorted LR dealerships. Abiding analysis of the LR4 in 2011.
Overland Journal accidental editor’s Grand Vitara
Suzuki makes alarming little 4wd vehicles. They are the ultimate stealth, economical and reliable little chance wagons. I accept apprenticed a Suzuki Jimny (think Samurai) through 23 countries and for 17,800 kms beyond Europe, Central Asia and Asia, catastrophe with bridge arctic Mongolia, the adamantine way. Not a distinct automated failure, not alike a collapsed tire. These cartage are all-around platforms and will accord mid to aerial 20s on MPG. They are additionally acutely boxy and abiding and will go best places you ambition to appointment with aloof an Old Man Emu suspension, rear bound blooper or locking cogwheel and one admeasurement beyond LT all-terrain tires. Feel the Suzuki love!
Summary: If you can leave your vanity at the door, this little apparatus will booty you about the world.
Editor’s Acreage Experience: Abundant analysis of Suzuki Grand Vitara, including a contempo analysis in Iceland. Editor collection a Suzuki Jimny through 23 countries, about half-way about the world.
Expedition Portal’s Director of Photography’s claimed vehicle
The XTerra is a simple, purpose-built 4wd with a acceptable ladder anatomy construction, acceptable arena clearance, accessible locking cogwheel and acceptable reliability. I actually annual this agent and acquisition its chaste agreeableness and blueprint to accomplish it a austere best for chance travel. While unrefined, the agent is still adequate to drive and it’s a acceptable aerialist in the dirt. The wheelbase is abbreviate abundant to be nimble, yet continued abundant to accommodate adherence and abundant burden space. Approach and abandonment are acceptable and you can fit an LT265/75 R16 stock. The Xterra additionally represents a 18-carat arrangement for this list.
Summary: The best all-embracing amount on the list, but accomplish abiding you don’t leave the country afterwards a DHL annual and the cardinal to your Nissan dealership. (Note: Not because the Xterra is unreliable, but because all-embracing genitalia abutment is bound so you will charge to address in replacements from the US).
Editor’s Acreage Experience: Xterra is currently in the analysis and abutment agile and apprenticed by our Director of Photography.
Why a car on this list? Well, you will acquisition a Mercedes Sedan on about any alley in any country of the world. Chris Scott has apprenticed a Merc Saloon beyond big chunks of arctic Africa too. The 4wd arrangement is advised and congenital by Steyr in Graz, Austria (where the G-Wagen is made). Mercedes sedans are boxy and abounding and are the best of bounded business owners, thugs and politicians (often the aforementioned person) in every burghal I accept visited. You will biking able-bodied beneath the alarm and in style. Genitalia and automated abutment will be accessible to find. Unfortunately, the US did not get the agent variant, although Canada has a few. Install a set of HD Eibach springs (in banal throughout New Jersey), Bilstein HD shocks, LT225/70 R16 Michelin LTX M/S tires and a abounding underbody drift plate. Remove the rear bench and do a aphotic window tint. You can beddy-bye in the back, cruise in comfort, booty awful cavern hits, bad roads, snow, ablaze mud and alike drive out on the beach. You apperceive it would be fun…
Summary: Guido’s best for overland biking and added activities
Editor’s Acreage Experience: Bound active acquaintance (though I accept endemic a few Mercedes products), but these cartage are everywhere in the world, and for acceptable reason.
Editor’s Claimed Discovery II, Sold 2004
The 2004 Land Rover Discovery is the acme of refinement, achievement and believability for the NAS Discovery. Having endemic a 2001 and now owning a 1995, I accept a half-decade of active time in these trucks and I actually adulation them, but am alert about advising them as an overland vehicle. The acumen for this is simple: aback they work, they are an complete joy, but the botheration is, they don’t assignment generally enough. The alone cartage to abort on me in the acreage accept been my Discovery(s). So, accustomed that, the afterimage is wonderful, the active position superb, the aisle achievement in banal anatomy abreast the top of its class. It has accomplished burden and a anxious layout. It additionally has a 4.6L motor and a locking centermost differential. If you adulation them and still appetite to buy one, its ok – I understand.
Summary: Accessible to abatement in adulation with, not so accessible to alive with.
Editor’s Acreage Experience: I currently own a 1995 and accept endemic a 2001. About a decade of buying in total, and the 1995 is one of my best admired cartage of all time, but I apperceive that I am aberrant about my affinity. Sometimes what you drive is not what you should acclaim others drive, too…
(NOTE: The Patriot is alone listed for those buyers accurately attractive for a cross-over or ammunition able option)
Patriot testing, Arizona
We did not accommodate an AWD SUV on the list, but they can accomplish a accepted band-aid for RTW alley travel. The Jeep Patriot has accurate reliable and absolutely durable, and will alike accolade the buyer with about 30mpg economy. They are accessible with a Aisle Rated ‘badge’ amalgamation that includes drift plates, locking centermost differential, lower gearing, beyond tires and added agressive absorption control. They are decidedly adequate and fun to drive and a abundant all-embracing value.
3. Bound aftermarket support
Summary: Low amount of buying and best-in-class clay achievement makes this Jeep a austere value.
Editors Experience: I was the advance affidavit of achievement disciplinarian for the Patriot launch, amenable for active it up the aback alley to Crown King for testing- in the snow. Over a ages of clay testing with this platform.
Why didn’t __________ accomplish the list?
Sorry, but there were alone 10 slots and a few atonement mentions, and these represent a nice array of capabilities and budgets. Don’t accede with my list? Accord us a bigger one in the comments beneath or in the forum!
This adventure originally appeared on Campaign Portal on November 5, 2012 and was republished with permission.
Email us with the accountable band “Syndication” if you would like to see your own adventure amalgamated actuality on Jalopnik.
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