Re: Merits of 4WD vehicles

From: James Rogers (
Date: Thu Jun 15 2000 - 14:05:57 MDT

On Tue, 13 Jun 2000, Terry Egan wrote:
> I'm not familiar with your experiences with Jeeps, but your
> statement is congruent with my experiences with them.
> - One of my uncles came from a ranching background, went into
> the Marines in the early-to-mid fifties, and came back with a profound
> respect and desire for Jeep products. For the rest of his life, he
> bought Jeeps of all kinds and types. His profession was realtor in
> some pretty rugged territory in NE California and he was constantly
> bemoaning how his Jeeps would crumble under the strain ( except for
> the early versions). The rest of the family tried for years to get
> him to try something, anything, else, but he never would.

Me and my friends have thoroughly abused many vehicles in our frequent
offroad excursions across the moutains and deserts of the western U.S.
We've put most popular makes of 4WD vehicles across some of the harshest
terrain around here. Most of the vehicles are only mildly modified for
offroad usage e.g. improved suspensions, extra clearance, better tires.

Our collective experience:

Jeeps: We've had numerous problems with both the Wranglers and Grand
Cherokees. Transmission failures seem to be common, and in general they
have not lived up to their reputation as the ultimate offroad vehicles.

Nissan/Toyota/etc: While decent and reliable for light offroad usage,
they really suffer under more adverse conditions. After destroying a few
of these vehicles, no one I know actually has theirs any more. Generally
speaking, they are not rugged enough for our usage.

Classic American SUVs (full-size Bronco and similar): These have become
the predominant vehicles of my offroading friends, although none of
us started with them. These are some of the toughest, most indestructible
vehicles ever created IMO. We've never lost one in the field and never
done significant damage to one. Full-size American trucks are as good.
It is probably no coincidence that these are *the* most popular vehicles
in the deep outback.

Modern American SUVs: These aren't what they used to be. The newer ones
are more like 4WD Minivans than offroad capable vehicles. We've never
really put any of these through the paces, but offhand they do not look
nearly as rugged or as capable as their predecessors. And don't get me
started on the luxury SUVs <shudder>.

BTW, Landcruisers are a good choice. Definitely among the best of the


-James Rogers

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:13:20 MDT