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  1. #1
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    Good camping/biking/outdoors vehicle?

    Looking for a new(er) car or truck. I drive a 2 door sportscar and its useless for 90% of my life. Im keeping it, but I want a second vehicle for outdoor adventures.

    I have no desire to own a rock crawler or any real serious 4wd truck. I do need it to be able to handle fire road trails. Some trails are far too rough for a car, but a friend made it across in a stock 2wd F150 (albeit slowly) so it needs to be at least as capable as as that! Id like awd/4wd however.

    Better fuel economy and acceptable power would be nice. Right now Im considering a mazda tribute/ford escape... sort of loosely considering an older 4runner. After driving a few jeeps, Im pretty turned off by leaks and quality issues.

    Im kind of planning on being rough on it, so Id prefer something not too expensive.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    I Crash Often
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    Budget?
    I just bought a 2005 Toyota Tacoma Prerunner TRD

    I would look into the 4Runner.

  3. #3
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    Id prefer to spend less... If there was something just amazing out there I wouldnt mind spending around 20k. I dont mind an older car or repairing it though.

    The tribute has much more power and handles much nicer than the 4runner. The 4runners are just SO cheap (they all have blown head gaskets, which isnt an issue for me) I was considering one. They're very down on power and get bad mileage though, but again.. so cheap. A 4runner is a much more capable truck than what I need, that'd be more of a toy if I picked one up.

  4. #4
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    Subaru Outback? FJ Cruiser? Xterra? Not sure if you want car platform or truck platform.
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  5. #5
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    AWD minivan
    Come on dude it is perfect even if you have to lift it a bit that will just make it cooler. My minivan was the best bike vehicle I've owned. Take the seats out and you have a great place to sleep. Bikes fit inside wheels on too. They are less lame now than the cute utes you are looking at anyway.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    Id prefer to spend less... If there was something just amazing out there I wouldnt mind spending around 20k. I dont mind an older car or repairing it though.

    The tribute has much more power and handles much nicer than the 4runner. The 4runners are just SO cheap (they all have blown head gaskets, which isnt an issue for me) I was considering one. They're very down on power and get bad mileage though, but again.. so cheap. A 4runner is a much more capable truck than what I need, that'd be more of a toy if I picked one up.
    If you have 20k to spend I think that would get you something a little better than a Tribute or Escape. Maybe a few year old Honda Pilot or F-150 4wd crew cab. Both can be had in great shape for under 20.

  7. #7
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    Xterra? they have a smooth riding suspension, really nice cargo area. bikes can easly fit inside with the seats folded down and used they are going for 9-15K in the 05-08 range. Plus they did come with a stick
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  8. #8
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    I can't say enough great things about the Honda Element!
    Last edited by rti27; 03-09-2013 at 01:11 PM.

  9. #9
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    Having owned a Jeep 2007 JK hard top I will agree they can be noisy I never had reliability issues with though but it was heavily moded out. But woul pretty much go anywhere off road I ventured on. I did also own a Xterra and can not knock it either. It served me well as a camping and hauling my bikes and gear. I did have a T2 bike rack for it so the bikes got carried on the hitch receiver rack.

    I currently have a Outback and really like it. Plenty of room. AWD. No complaints on it so far. I have hauled my bikes and gear over several states and it has been down fire roads and such with no problems. But I did really like my Xterra as well. The Jeep was cool at first but became a beat down as it was my daily driver also. Still have a heart for them though.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    Id prefer to spend less... If there was something just amazing out there I wouldnt mind spending around 20k. I dont mind an older car or repairing it though.

    The tribute has much more power and handles much nicer than the 4runner. The 4runners are just SO cheap (they all have blown head gaskets, which isnt an issue for me) I was considering one. They're very down on power and get bad mileage though, but again.. so cheap. A 4runner is a much more capable truck than what I need, that'd be more of a toy if I picked one up.
    I think it depends on which 4Runner you're looking at. The 2nd gen models from the early 90s were notorious for blown head gaskets and being painfully slow. The 4th gen models (03-09) are far better and, assuming you leave them stock, have an extremely smooth and quiet ride and are solidly built. My '04 has 100K on it and the interior is squeak/rattle free, even after beating it up on rocks and washboard roads in Death Valley. These models are also not underpowered and you can even find some of them with the same 4.7L V8 they put in Tundras/Sequoias/Land Cruisers of that vintage. They aren't great on gas but if it's going to be used as a second vehicle, who cares? I'm very satisfied with mine.


  11. #11
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    I dont mind spending more, but it would have to be something perfect... I really want something much smaller than a 4th gen 4runner. For the price they ask (lots of overlap with the GX470 for the 4th gens!) its just not for me. Great vehicles, just not for me.

    If there was something out there like a jeep wrangler, but reliable with good mileage, that'd be perfect! Looking more towards small, but still has ground clearance. A subaru car like an impreza would be fine 7/10 times... the other times too low, but that sort of "offroad capability" is acceptable. A real truck with lockers and true 4wd is overkill.

  12. #12
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    I've got the same question. I've got a 91 Jeep Wrangler right now which is nice, unfortunately it's a 2.5L. I'm going off to school in the fall and I want something that's a little nicer on the highway.

    You mentioned an impreza, the only downside in my eyes are it really looks like a kids car unless you go '06 or newer. Plus you're guaranteed to go through a clutch, the whole AWD part burns through them even if you're gentle. Currently I'm thinking about buying a newer Jeep (TJ 1997-2005). Also I think an AWD Audi A4 would be perfect. They look really clean. I've read the upkeep is rough.

    Edit: I didn't fully read through the post, a hard top with hard doors is fairly quiet. The newer Jeeps have awful leaking problems but from the multiple TJs my friends have they have no complaints.

  13. #13
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    If the impreza is too low then get a forester.

  14. #14
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    Another vote for a Subaru Forester.

    We've had our Impreza wagon loaded down and still managed to hit the "High Clearance Vehicle Required" trails in Nevada, Colorado, etc. Not ideal, but extra ground clearance that the Forester brings is pretty much ideal.
    Oh noes. I'm going to drink the Kool-Aid.

  15. #15
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    Go to a busy trailhead and take a look around what others are driving, that's a good way to get a few ideas.

    A riding buddy loves his Nissan Juke with AWD, check it out, as well as other crossover SUVs. Sounds like something you'd like, with good gas mileage.

  16. #16
    POG
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    Ford Transit Connect

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by POG View Post
    Ford Transit Connect
    If the Transit Connect were available with a manual transmission I would be all over it. Even more so if it were available with AWD...

  18. #18
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    How about a 4x4 f150? With the v6 it'll get better mileage than just about any smaller body on frame suv. Get the cheapest stripped down trim and beat the h*ll out of it.

    Since you're keeping the sports car for daily driving/fun it makes sense to get something that'll haul as much crap as you can. Not many better outdoor adventure vehicles than a full sized truck. Except maybe a full sized van.

    A subaru seems like too much of a compromise for what you are wanting. They're really sweet 'one car to do everything' kind of cars, but just like a bike that attempts to do everything, they end up not doing anything particularly well. With the sporty end already covered, I'd forget about handling. Since you're probably looking at using it for long trips I would keep power as a priority though. Driving an underpowered vehicle that's loaded down with people and gear gets old quick.

    I'd look at either a full sized truck/van or a newer (2005+) xterra if you're really set on something smallish.
    Those who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither. - Ben Franklin

  19. #19
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    A full sized diesel van would be pretty sweet if you can find one. If you can they are usually pretty cheap. One of the dodge/mercedes sprinters would be the ultimate bike vehicle and you can find them with AWD. They aren't exactly cheap though.

  20. #20
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    For reference, I had a mazda3 hatchback before and it was perfect for almost everything. Had no offroad capability at all, but size-wise that was perfect. Full sized trucks are far larger than what I need. Everything bigger is kind just dead space I have to tote around, but I know ill end up with that anyway, just trying to keep it to a minimum.

    Kinda digging the xterra. Im going to go find one to test drive. I dont think you could pay me to drive a van

  21. #21
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    double cab tacoma with a camper shell. The good thing about an actual truck is that when your bike is really dirty it doesnt make a mess in the cab. You can just hose the mud out. You will get decent gas mileage, have plenty of space in the cab, can sleep in the bed if you want. I also transport my bikes with the front wheel hanging over a bed extender for every day riding. This is by far the easiest way - no roof racking, no taking a front wheel off, dont even need to get into the bed.

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  22. #22
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    You like the Mazda 3, then go for a Forester,Impreza, or WRX. Off-road worthy and reliable. My 04 WRX wagon is my ATV. I've passed 4x4's stuck up to the axles in sugar sand at the beach and driven to Michigan from Georgia. Drives through the mountains were very fun, and when we hit the snow it was no big deal. Only time I ever got worried was going through a puddle that turned out to be a pond! This was on the road and the water went over the hood and onto the windshield! Made it through and learned a lesson, too.

  23. #23
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    Try looking at a honda ridgeline. Mid sized quad cab pick up with AWD. The rear seats fold up and it has a waterproof in bed trunk to store gear. It is by no means a 4x4 workhorse, but it does go right through some gnarly stuff and drives like a car

  24. #24
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    Re: Good camping/biking/outdoors vehicle?

    I have a 2012 Jeep Liberty just bought used with 28000 miles for $17000. Jeep would be the best if you go on any fireroad that can get muddy if you don't want a truck. Any sport utility like the Liberty, Xterra or Toyota FJ are the only trail capable vehicles available.

    For some a Jeep is overkill but they get 20mpg, have plenty of room and great ground clearance. A bounus is you can get rubber mats for the back for your wet/muddy riding gear.



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  25. #25
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    Dude, you're all over the place with your thought process...

    Just pick a car, seems like you have the knowledge base to make an informed decision.

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