Small efficient overlander

ZMagic97

Explorer
I'm a huge fan of Cherokees and Grand Cherokees. Not sure fuel efficient, but very reliable and easy to get parts for. The XJs certainly still have a massive amount of inexpensive aftermarket support. The WJs don't have a lot, but are pretty capable in stock form and ride very nicely on the road. The ZJs are pretty nice on the road but have more aftermarket support than the WJ.
 

PSea

Active member
3rd gen 4runner sr5 w/ 5spd manual, 16"rims (not as important if staying domestic) with factory locking diff. 200k is mid-life.

I figure my truck makes me $1000/mo. It's paid for itself 6x over since buying new ('98). They just go and go and go with no electronics that can fail (resulting in you being stranded; unlike some of the newer stuff). Easy to work on and there's a ROBUST user community when you need to make repairs/improvements.

Good luck
 
Did you end up buying the Subaru?

I second the Jeep Renegade. I have oversized tires and roof rack on mine but still average 23.3mph in brutal city traffic. Mine is the Sport 4x4 model so no low range which hasn’t slowed me down on any of my trail rides with it. I’m going to add a small (1in) lift and winch to mine. The Trailhawk model gives you low range and a lot of other perks. It’s proven itself extremely comfortable and capable. So much so I may sell my older Range Rover overland rig and devote myself entirely to the Renegade for overlanding.

The photo attached is before my BF Goodrich KO2 tires were installed. It impressed on crappy eco street tires off-road and absolutely crushed it off-road when I got the KO2 tires.


Couple draw backs are lack of good recovery points on the non-Trailhawk models, it isn’t the most luxurious and it doesn’t have any wheel articulation. All things the Subaru will suffer from as well.

 

crossed-up

Observer
Another vote for the BU Renegade if you are looking for small, economical, comfortable, capable and fun. No need to go mad on the mods, just sensible tyres and whatever your need to suit your particular travelling and camping needs.











 
I'm a huge fan of Cherokees and Grand Cherokees. Not sure fuel efficient, but very reliable and easy to get parts for. The XJs certainly still have a massive amount of inexpensive aftermarket support. The WJs don't have a lot, but are pretty capable in stock form and ride very nicely on the road. The ZJs are pretty nice on the road but have more aftermarket support than the WJ.
Another vote for the Cherokee/Grand Cherokee family of Jeeps here. XJs are simple and functional ZJs are just as functional with coil sprung suspension and a few more creature comforts. WJs are the most comfortable of the 3, still very capable. I'd say for most mild to moderate overland builds the WJ has mroe than enough aftermarket support as well. Just don't expect to find too many bumper options.
 

Todd n Natalie

Observer
Another vote for the Cherokee/Grand Cherokee family of Jeeps here. XJs are simple and functional ZJs are just as functional with coil sprung suspension and a few more creature comforts. WJs are the most comfortable of the 3, still very capable. I'd say for most mild to moderate overland builds the WJ has mroe than enough aftermarket support as well. Just don't expect to find too many bumper options.
I agree with this. The seats in my '99 Grand were to this day some of the most comfy seats I've sat in. GMT-800 leather seats are a close 2nd for me.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
I'm hoping for some direction on the best small, reliable, fuel efficient overlandable vehicles. So, 4wd but no mud tires. And it has to do well on pavement too.

I've been thinking a suzuki samurai might be fun, but I wonder what else is out there.

All thoughts are welcome.
For a reliability I'd lean to something less than 20 years old like a Subaru Forester. You could find a reliable nice Samurai too but I'd bet to be as reliable it would cost 4 times what a Forester, or Rav4 would cost. An older 4 cylinder or diesel Ford Ranger might be a good cheap choice too.
 

Buddha.

Lurker
I liked my ‘17 Forrester with the 6spd it was almost fun, but it burned a lot of oil which is pretty lame.
I also didn’t like how the rear seats didn’t fold flat like my old ‘01 s10 Blazer 4 door. You could sleep two people in the back of the blazer, not the forrester. The forrester also doesn’t have any front recovery point(could add a hitch for the rear) but it would get twice the mileage of the Chevy and had a nicer ride.
 

ZMagic97

Explorer
'99-'04 Grand Cherokee I found were the most comfy.
The seat comfort between my 06 Sierra 1500 and 04 WJ are pretty close. I drove the WJ home from Washington state doing about 700 miles a day and was pretty comfortable the whole way: much more so than I expected. The Sierra seats seem a little larger which is nice, but that may just be the width between the door panel and console overall.
 

Todd n Natalie

Observer
The seat comfort between my 06 Sierra 1500 and 04 WJ are pretty close. I drove the WJ home from Washington state doing about 700 miles a day and was pretty comfortable the whole way: much more so than I expected. The Sierra seats seem a little larger which is nice, but that may just be the width between the door panel and console overall.
Could be. I think they are wider though? I loved the seats in my GMT-800's. Just hated that I didn't sit center to the steering wheel. It drove my OCD through the roof....
 
Top