Why are other full size SUV's not used in overlanding/offroading as often as Forerunner/Landcruiser?

Jnich77

Director of Adventure Management Operations
... it’s a heavily neglected mid ‘90s Honda Civic... think about how many you’ve seen at the ends of bad roads where you engaged your 4-by and maybe even a locker or two...

I rest my case... 🤣

I bought a 1996 Civic DX brand new...put ~480k on it before I gave it to my nephew who put another 100k on it.
 
Last edited:

phsycle

Adventurer
I bought a 1996 Civic DX brand new...put ~480k on it before I gave it to my nephew who puy another 100k on it.
One of my favorite cars was a 97 Civic sedan, 5-sp. I’ve had nicer cars. But this car was so fun. Had eibach sportline springs. 205/50/15 tires. Like a go kart. Had 240k when I gave it to a neighbor single mom who wrecked her car. Was running like a top. Started every time.
 

Jnich77

Director of Adventure Management Operations
One of my favorite cars was a 97 Civic sedan, 5-sp. I’ve had nicer cars. But this car was so fun. Had eibach sportline springs. 205/50/15 tires. Like a go kart. Had 240k when I gave it to a neighbor single mom who wrecked her car. Was running like a top. Started every time.

Oh, I beat the unholy crap out of mine doing Solo II. I went through a set of axels every year for about 5 years...haha.
 

Recommended books for Overlanding

Don't Go There. It's Not Safe. You'll Die.: And other mor...
by Jared McCaffree, Jessica Mans, Kobus Mans
From $19.99
Drive Nacho Drive: A Journey from the American Dream to t...
by Brad Van Orden, Sheena Van Orden
From $15.95
First Overland: London-Singapore by Land Rover
by Tim Slessor
From $13.4
Motorcycle Messengers: Tales from the Road by Writers who...
by Lois Pryce, Mark Richardson, Carla King, Sam Manic...
From $9.99

TwinDuro

Active member
Well this turned into a bullshit thread quickly.
I'll take the blame @4BT... I usually have that effect on things...nice Civics guys! 🤣

What I was getting at with the Honda Civic mention is that for me, any given person has to be very specific in what their definition of overlanding/off-roading/expedition-travel/camping is to make this conversation relevant...

At this point, we’ve heard from folks from around the world and folks that have witnessed different vehicles (SUVs for lack of a better term), domestic or otherwise, used in their own locale or in a place where most would never have thought to see them. The reality is that in many of these places (including my own backyard), other then those there purposely for work or recreational wheeling/off-roading, you see the locals (regular people) who can pick good lines, have decent throttle control and are somewhat creative (and maybe a little callus to underbody damage) take normal passenger cars, vans and 2wd trucks to places, on a daily basis, that some folks seek out with their built 4WD trucks and SUVs, no matter the badge or country of origin. I’ve seen it in all parts of Mexico, the US, Canada and Europe, especially Russia and Siberia. You ought to see and hear stories of what people have done with Ladas. The fact that they’re not FJ-70s doesn’t stop these folks from doing what they need to do, so they use the vehicles they have. Of course I'm not talking rock crawling necessarily, again refer back to line 2 of this post.

It’s the idea of what “overlanding” or “expedition travel” is "supposed" to be that quickly devolves into what we expect a vehicle to be.

I think one of the reasons we don’t see other full size SUVs (domestic) "used" in overlanding as much is because our “tribe” of “overlanders” isn’t that big in the scheme of things, even across all of these different vehicle types and makes. The types of folks that do the stuff we all do (at different degrees of intensity of course) and then actually write articles/content about their adventures and publish those articles/content is pretty minuscule compared to the mainstream automotive press and the more exotic stuff is what we see more articles and photos of to reflect that. "Exotic" stuff has more eye appeal and let’s face it, a lot of those vehicles are pretty damn cool. Its the same reason I had a poster of a Lamborghini Diablo on my wall as kid... it’s not that the Camaro or Mustang wasn’t cool, it’s just that what catches your attention. Depending on where you are, a 1990 K-5 Blazer might be better then a 1990 FJ-70, or vice versa.

Hate to say it, it’s not usually the late model Bronco or GMT800 Tahoe that catches peoples eyes. The beauty is, is that many of us have experienced what makes these vehicles excellent for this purpose and that’s all that really matters.

Also, domestic SUVs have always had comfortable seats... that’s pretty damn important in my book! 😉
 
Last edited:

calicamper

Expedition Leader
I bought a 1996 Civic DX brand new...put ~480k on it before I gave it to my nephew who put another 100k on it.
My room mate in college had a 85 CRX? Two door hatch civic? Till he ended up on the front porch of a corner Frat house after getting hit by a drunk frat dude in a Ford Ranger running a stop sign.
That honda literally flew up on to the porch and the rescue crew had to pry the door off to get him out. Yeah Honda made light basic reliable cars not worth a damn in even a 25mph wreck back then.
 

TwinDuro

Active member
So, back to a part of this conversation that I haven't seen mentioned (or may have missed)... body width. I have several good friends who's rig of choice are 2005-19 Nissan D40 Frontiers/Xterras. I've worked on these trucks quite a bit at this point with my buddies and can appreciate the platform because it reminds me a lot of the domestic Trucks/SUVs I've had or worked on: pretty strait forward, relatively durable and not over-complicated. At this point the platform is also slightly antiquated, which in my mind is a positive not a negative. They don't get the press that Tacomas, Colorados or Rangers get (similar to domestic full size SUVs).

With that said, this isn't a conversation about Nissans, it's about truck size. Here in the PNW (and other parts of North America), trails and logging roads can be tight and wider vehicles can be at a disadvantage. With that said, on my personal truck, a '92 K1500 RCSB, it seems like the first thing that always comes up in conversation is that the width will be a problem... I was curious about this, because it seemed to me on a casual glance that midsize trucks where now closer in size to my older full-size truck and that everything was getting larger...

I looked at the listed body widths of some common rigs and realized that I wasn't as far off as I thought:

1988-2000 GMT400 Blazer/Suburban/Tahoe Body Width: 76.8"
2000-2006 GMT800 Tahoe/Suburban Body width: 78.9
2007-2014 GMT900 Tahoe/Suburban body width: 79"
2015-up K2XX Thahoe/Suburban body width: 80.5"

2006-2012 Ford Ranger body width: 69.4"
2019-up Ford Ranger: 72.8"

2005-2019 Nissan D40 Frontier/Xterra Width: 72.8"

2015-up Chevrolet Colorado Width: 74.3"

1995-2001 Ford Explorer Width: 70.2"
2002-2005 Ford Explorer Width: 72.1"
1997-2002 Ford Expedition Width: 78.6"
2003-2017 Ford Expedition Width: 78.8"

1996-2002 4Runner Width (limited): 70.9"
2003-2005 4Runner Width: 73.8"
2006-2009 4Runner Width: 75.2"
2010-present 4Runner Width: 75.8"
1992-1997 Toyota Landcruiser FJ80 Width: 76.0"
1998-2007 Toyota J100 Landcruiser Width: 76.4"
2008-present Toyota J200 Landcruiser width: 78.0"

1996-2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ Width: 66.7"-68.3"
2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler JK width: 73.7"-73.9"
2019-Present Jeep Wrangler JL width: 73.9"

Of course theres a lot of vehicles I missed and these widths no doubt aren't 100% correct, but just something to think about... Of course, width is only one factor, but it's an interesting one.

It also makes me realize that a GMT400 is barley wider then an FJ80 Landcruiser or new 4Runner... interesting.
 

Tex68w

Beach Bum
Because the Toyota crowd needs emotional backing, justification, and enticing of all the pretty dongles bedazzeled on their rigs to go off-road. Full-size truck people have been doing it in their stock trucks for a long time. Only difference is, it's not called "Overlanding", but camping.

I jest, but seriously...
Marketing.

Tacoma/4Runners are marketed as Lifestyle trucks. This is very apparent in the ads, where you have millenials loading up the back with dirt bikes, camping gear, etc.

Tahoe/Expedition are family haulers. Targeted to families for daily errand and road trips. They can go offroad, but that's not what people use them for, typically (except the few yahoos on here! :D). Thus, not as much aftermarket support.

You can build whatever you'd like to do whatever you'd like. Just takes money and time.
End of story right there. I like my SUV's Japanese and my trucks domestic, I doubt that will ever change.
 

Dalko43

Explorer
I'll chime in again, you dont see 200 series, or prados very often, let alone tacoma or tundra which are us based only anywhere 3rd world. you see crusiers, proper cruisers. 76,78, and 79 series. you see the odd 200 series, you know who is driving it? the corrupt government officials for status.
Im pretty evenly biased I figure as I own only mitsubishis. but operate toyotas and such in DRC, there tough, but god damn im 2" shorter cause of it.

I will add that brake line is in a **** spot on the photo... jsut asking for issues.
You actually see 200 series Cruisers, LC Prado's (4runners) and Hilux's all over the place in Africa, Asia and Australia.
I think the real issue is that most "overlanders" on this forum have never been to those areas. I know from my trips to Africa, Asia and the Middle East, Toyota SUV's and 4x4's are all over the place....North American trucks, not so much.
 

rayra

Expedition Leader
So, back to a part of this conversation that I haven't seen mentioned (or may have missed)... body width. I have several good friends who's rig of choice are 2005-19 Nissan D40 Frontiers/Xterras. I've worked on these trucks quite a bit at this point with my buddies and can appreciate the platform because it reminds me a lot of the domestic Trucks/SUVs I've had or worked on: pretty strait forward, relatively durable and not over-complicated. At this point the platform is also slightly antiquated, which in my mind is a positive not a negative. They don't get the press that Tacomas, Colorados or Rangers get (similar to domestic full size SUVs).

With that said, this isn't a conversation about Nissans, it's about truck size. Here in the PNW (and other parts of North America), trails and logging roads can be tight and wider vehicles can be at a disadvantage. With that said, on my personal truck, a '92 K1500 RCSB, it seems like the first thing that always comes up in conversation is that the width will be a problem... I was curious about this, because it seemed to me on a casual glance that midsize trucks where now closer in size to my older full-size truck and that everything was getting larger...

I looked at the listed body widths of some common rigs and realized that I wasn't as far off as I thought:

1988-2000 GMT400 Blazer/Suburban/Tahoe Body Width: 76.8"
2000-2006 GMT800 Tahoe/Suburban Body width: 78.9
2007-2014 GMT900 Tahoe/Suburban body width: 79"
2015-up K2XX Thahoe/Suburban body width: 80.5"

2006-2012 Ford Ranger body width: 69.4"
2019-up Ford Ranger: 72.8"

2005-2019 Nissan D40 Frontier/Xterra Width: 72.8"

2015-up Chevrolet Colorado Width: 74.3"

1995-2001 Ford Explorer Width: 70.2"
2002-2005 Ford Explorer Width: 72.1"
1997-2002 Ford Expedition Width: 78.6"
2003-2017 Ford Expedition Width: 78.8"

1996-2002 4Runner Width (limited): 70.9"
2003-2005 4Runner Width: 73.8"
2006-2009 4Runner Width: 75.2"
2010-present 4Runner Width: 75.8"
1992-1997 Toyota Landcruiser FJ80 Width: 76.0"
1998-2007 Toyota J100 Landcruiser Width: 76.4"
2008-present Toyota J200 Landcruiser width: 78.0"

1996-2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ Width: 66.7"-68.3"
2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler JK width: 73.7"-73.9"
2019-Present Jeep Wrangler JL width: 73.9"

Of course theres a lot of vehicles I missed and these widths no doubt aren't 100% correct, but just something to think about... Of course, width is only one factor, but it's an interesting one.

It also makes me realize that a GMT400 is barley wider then an FJ80 Landcruiser or new 4Runner... interesting.
good post / info. And you want to see fun stuff about tight clearances with a gmt800, go look @CrazyDrei 's build. Good times.
And that's another 'bonus' of older domestic full sizes, nobody should be too worried about beating them up a little. They don't cost a lot and they are still in their 'sweet spot' of common and affordable parts availability. If you can or don't mind doing your own wrench work, they're even more 'fun'.

The real potential 'downside' of these big beasts is their long wheelbases / high centering / approach and departure angles. But see above about damage and repairability ;)
 

CrazyDrei

Space Monkey
My two cents on body with of domestic trucks.

I have a 2000 Suburban 1500, 1.25" wheel spacers up front, 2" wheel spacers in rear, 45mm offset wheels, 37x12.5" tires on 8.5" rims. Not stock by any means. I have not measured my exact width but I know for a fact that my Ford Raptor bumper was sticking out 1.5" past the tires on both sides. So that would give me approximately 77" width. from outside to outside of tires.

These extra 6" are significant when compared to stock trucks like Ranger, Colorado, Explorer, grand Cherokee, Wrangler. However as my truck is setup none of those narrower vehicles are capable of getting to remote places I go in their stock form, aside from a Rubicon.

Once you start modifying say a Jeep JK or TJ, such as lift (wider control arms), wheels (wider wheels, tires, greater offset) you are at the same width if not wider than my 77" wide Suburban. As you continue building the Jeep more you will break that 80" width and will not be able to make it on the trails a narrower full size truck can.

It all comes down to what you have, where you are planning to take it and how much you want to modify it. Taking an X90 on Potato Salad is just as wise as running a Stewart and Stevenson on Moab Rim trail. Use common scene and improve your vehicle for trails that make you happy.
 

Recommended books for Overlanding

The Alchemist, 25th Anniversary: A Fable About Following ...
by Paulo Coelho
From $10.47
We Will Be Free: Overlanding In Africa and Around South A...
by Mr Graeme Robert Bell
From $20
Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World
by Ewan McGregor, Charley Boorman
From $14.59
The Total Approach of Getting Unstuck Off Road: 4WD Self-...
by Robert Wohlers
From $59.95

cpabbey

New member
Yes, I read all 17 pages.....and thanks forall those interesting opinions. Here’s mine- I own both Fords and Toyotas and they’re both good, but different. I like driving my 96’ LC and I love my 19’ F-150.

I think there are just as many domestic trucks used for “overlanding” as there are 4-runners and LC’s, but the domestics aren’t advertised that way. Perception becomes reality.

I’m not getting rid of any of my vehicles, but I am looking for a mid 90’s F-150 for on/off road travels here in Idaho. A dedicated trip-camping rig that’s cheap to keep up and big enough to carry all of my stuff.

I look forward to more opinions.......
 

XJLI

Adventurer
You actually see 200 series Cruisers, LC Prado's (4runners) and Hilux's all over the place in Africa, Asia and Australia.
I think the real issue is that most "overlanders" on this forum have never been to those areas. I know from my trips to Africa, Asia and the Middle East, Toyota SUV's and 4x4's are all over the place....North American trucks, not so much.
Parts availability and dealer networks. Period. Is a modern Corolla more reliable than a VW Golf? Definitely. But the Golf has been the #1 selling car in Europe for years. Why? Parts availability and dealer network.
 
Top