We are going to mainly focus on 4 wheeled vehicles that are road legal. Jeeps, SUVs, cars and trucks. Yes I know in some places SXS can be made legal but we’re not looking there.
So your ready to start looking at what vehicle will take you on your adventure. Before you even start brainstorming I’d advice set a budget for purchase. Than from there start your looking.
In doing this I tend to break the vehicles into 5 main categories:
- AWD cars
Cross-Overs: This would be any car with higher than average ground clearance (6″+) and is typically a hatchback. They can be 2 and AWD drive. Think lifted 80’s station wagon. So in this I would consider Chevy Equinox, Chevy Traverse, Ford Edge and Dodge Journey. Those and there are many more.
AWD cars: This to me is those companies that simply have near perfect AWD systems. And really only one manufacturer comes to mind here, Subaru. About any of their all wheel drive cars fit here.
SUVs: This is your typical “body on frame” vehicles. Chevy Tahoe, Ford Explorer (older models), Dodge Durango (older models) those types. Most of these can be had in both 2 or 4 wheel drive models. And will in most cases have a Low Range option.
Trucks: This would be any vehicle with a bed, body on frame, 2wd, 4wd and low range options.
Jeeps: All Jeeps. Why you ask when nowadays Jeep makes something that fits in all the above does Jeep stand out? Cause from the very beginning Jeep has both been a bench mark for OverLanding and Adventure.
Now that you see there are many types of 4 wheeled vehicles there is more. Start thinking of the kind of adventure you want to go on. Are you just doing 2 tracks, mountain roads, deep woods, solo, Long distances or short, freeway or back roads. challenging or simple. Will there be a chance of mud, water crossing, high clearance needed. Do you plan to use it as it ome new or make it more personal to you. So when you get here you start thinking about the “bones of the vehicle”. So from here the following are things I personally start to consider.
- Solid axle front or IFS
- Solid axle rear or IRS
- T-case Range options -High, Low, 2wd or 4wd
- Lift kits
- Aftermarket support
Solid or IFS front end: Solid front axle is like your older Jeeps and only now available on limited newer vehicles. They are simple, strong and work. Than you have IFS-Independent front suspension, all modern cars will have this style. It will lead to a smoother ride and better ground clearance in most cases. There is a lot in the way of personal choice here.
Solid axle rear or IRS: IRS stands for Independent rear suspension. Much like the above but now on about 50% of modern SUVs.
T-case Range options -High, Low, 2wd or 4wd: This one is for me getting harder to understand in newer vehicles. Jeep Wranglers will have a 2wd, 4wd, and Low Range option. Many modern vehicles such as the new Jeep Cherokee will have a Computer driven “range” option. To be perfectly up front here about this I have no idea on the newer stuff. I’m old school.
Lift kits: Do you plan to mode your vehicle. Add ground clearance or bigger tires.
Aftermarket support: Do you plan to mode your vehicle. Want simple bolt ons or are you OK with building it all yourself.
Now you can see there is a bunch to take in when your planning this kind of build. Sometimes you’ll even find that your starting with a base already. But the above will get you looking at what you have in terms of will it work for you over the long haul. Or is it simply a placeholder while you shop for what really fits.
So while you let this all sink in. Stay blessed and by all means keep on A.G.E.ing