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Author Topic: High clearance vehicle options?  (Read 13124 times)  

Offline leigh

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High clearance vehicle options?
« on: December 29, 2010, 04:51:45 AM »
My Matrix is a great car, but has its limitations, which have become more apparent as I travel into wilderness areas of Arkansas, and of course, BiBe. I'm not sure I want the added maintenance issues of a 4x4, or the gas mileage, but high clearance is becoming more important.  I loathe SUV's, (a personal thing) really thinking truck. I realize high clearance vehicles by engineering aren't designed to  get good gas mileage, from an aerodynamic point of view, but if you were looking for a used second vehicle just for semi off road, with as good a gas mileage as possible, what would you look at?

Thanks,
Leigh

Offline dkerr24

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Re: High clearance vehicle options?
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2010, 07:17:57 AM »
That's interesting, I also own a Matrix.  Mine is a '03 model with the ground effects which even further reduces ground clearance.  I have to park a foot away from any curbs to keep from scraping up the front spoiler.  I'd trade it off, but it's paid for, and nets over 30mpg in daily driving.

You might take a look at a 4x4 Nissan Frontier pickup.  The 4.0L V6 should net you around 19-22mpg on the highway if driven with a light foot.   The V6 is the only engine choice in a 4x4 model.

A Toyota Tacoma would be another safe bet, although the resale value of those are still pretty high compared to the same model year Nissan.

I can't recommend a Ford Ranger.  They are about 20 years overdue for a overhaul and have really gutless engine choices.  Transmission issues abound on the 4 cylinder model.

A Jeep Wrangler would seem to be a good choice, but be aware they get awful gas mileage.  My Dad's '05 can barely get 18 mpg on the highway with the 4.0L inline 6 cylinder.  In 2006, Chrysler started using a gutless 3.8L V6, which is even worse.  Chrysler is reported to be considering the Wrangler for the impressive Pentastar V6 for next years' model which should really improve performance and gas mileage.

Darin
« Last Edit: December 29, 2010, 07:24:08 AM by dkerr24 »

Offline Verduretiger

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Re: High clearance vehicle options?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2010, 07:36:31 AM »
I would look at the Toyota Tacoma TRD with a camper top on the back.  They have high resale value for a reason and that is they are great little trucks.  I think this will be my next vehicle. 

Offline sleepy

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Re: High clearance vehicle options?
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2010, 07:42:29 AM »
I've got a 2001 Tacoma Pre-Runner with a camper shell and I am very happy with all the places it's taken me.  Only a couple of times I wished I had 4WD, but I was able to get out of the situations.  I can get up to 20 mpg (my only real witch) but that's better than most trucks.  I actually had a park ranger in Death Valley said he'd prefer my vehicle to his low profile 4WD truck.
It's never too late to be what you might have been-Geroge Elliot

Offline Al

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Re: High clearance vehicle options?
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2010, 09:38:38 AM »
In stark contrast to other posters I would consider a well used Mazda truck or Ford Ranger and since you don't want to pay a lot you really don't want a vehicle with a high resale value.  I have a couple of friends with Rangers and they just keep on running without a problem.  Not the most exciting truck to drive but the 4 cylinder gets 23 to 25 mpg on the highway which is about as good as truck mileage gets.

Al

Offline Owl

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Re: High clearance vehicle options?
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2010, 09:53:52 AM »
I'm an Arkansasyer also and just got back from a week in BB doing mostly backroad tent camping out of my full-size 4x4 Chevy pickup.  After seeing a number of 4x4 Toyota Tacomas down there with camper shells I'm convinced that's the way to go.


Offline trtlrock

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Re: High clearance vehicle options?
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2010, 10:01:11 AM »
After seeing a number of 4x4 Toyota Tacomas down there with camper shells I'm convinced that's the way to go.

This is what we own, purchased at least partially for BiBe-related stuff -- works like a charm, so far.

Also, the truck bed is a perfect size for side-by-side ridgerests & air mattresses!
John & Tess

"...and I'll face each day with a smile, for the time that I've been given's such a little while..." - Arthur Lee

Offline Reece

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Re: High clearance vehicle options?
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2010, 10:06:45 AM »
I've been down this road before (play on words intended).
I traded off my '96 Grand Cherokee, 6 cylinder, 2WD because of it's lousy mileage. I researched all the small 4 cylinder trucks. I wanted for my daily driver an extended cab, 2WD, manual transmission, crank windows, manual seats etc.

I intended to get a used Toyota Tacoma and even researched the traction options for 2WD (locking rear differential) whereby you can go almost anywhere a 4X4 can go so long as you are in the dry desert and not trying to rock-crawl.

I thought I had it all figured out - good gas mileage of the 4 banger with manual transmission and the versatility of high enough ground clearance coupled with torque to both rear wheels for traction in sand or in the event that one rear wheel happens to loose it's grip. I was ready to go!

Then I went shopping and found that the Tacomas with low mileage were out of my price range. Then I happened on to a Nissan Frontier that met all my qualifications. I bought it, thinking the same aftermarket traction upgrades would be available for it as were available for the Tacomas. Wrong!

The only thing I've done to it has been to lift it about 1-1/2" and put slightly larger tires on it. That helps in the ground clearance department but costs me a few MPG. Truth is, we aged soloists probably don't need to be going that far out on the 4X4 roads in the first place. You can get plenty far out in a 2WD stock pickup in the desert and walk the rest of the way. If you can't walk out in the event of a breakdown, you probably shouldn't drive in either.

Now, if for some bizarre reason you just have to go out into the woods on dirt roads in the rain, you need a 4X4.

Offline fartymarty

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Re: High clearance vehicle options?
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2010, 10:15:15 AM »
Leigh, for an adventurous person such as yourself, there is another option, which is cheaper and more
fuel efficient. Not for everyone, but maybe.....could be a whole new world opens up in front of you. Just a thought. :eusa_think:

 link one

 rental

more info

still more info

Our Voni

I still laugh at your DFW Bender remark about the little yippy dog on the trail.  :icon_lol: Thanks for that and also for your
wonderful trip report and pics.

 

 
« Last Edit: December 29, 2010, 10:22:52 AM by fartymarty »
Fort Worth

Offline homerboy2u

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Re: High clearance vehicle options?
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2010, 10:18:40 AM »
For some reasons impossible to explain as to why they stopped producing them, the best kept secret between 4x4 maniacs is the 1985 Toyota trucks. Choose any type: Tacomas,4Runners,Landcruisers...choose your mothergoose.

 Those are amazing 4x4 monsters that do not chew up a lot in gasoline or diesel (optional) i tell you. They have the best undercarriage i have seen for that size of a rig. Remember in the 4x4 world, LOOKS MEAN NOTHING UNDERCARRIAGE MEANS EVERYTHING.

  They are the only ones with frontal full bar axles and stupendous transfer cases that can be rigged, with special pakages, to handle a 4:1 ratio. This means that it can climb almost anything possible, with abilities gained thru experience in your 4wd. I strongly recommend them, plus other ammenities of course.
Stay thirsty, my friends.

Offline dkerr24

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Re: High clearance vehicle options?
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2010, 12:54:16 PM »
If a passenger car is what you are looking for, you could consider a Subaru.  The Outback AWD wagon has plenty of ground clearance for most anything you would drive in BIBE.

I drove a rental Outback in Phoenix a few years back, and it turned in an impressive 28mpg on the hwy.  It's all-wheel drive, nothing to switch on or off.  It's always on.

Offline dkerr24

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Re: High clearance vehicle options?
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2010, 12:57:56 PM »
Homer:  I don't think we could ever get Toyotas with Diesel engines in the US.  I never recall seeing any small trucks from Toyota in the mid 1980's with anything but the 4 cylinder gas engine.

I'd imagine trying to find a good condition 25+ year old Toyota truck would be about impossible.

Offline elhombre

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Re: High clearance vehicle options?
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2010, 01:45:33 PM »
If you buy a "high clearance" 2 wheel drive and intend to drive it much on trails, then you will quickly wear out the suspension.  They are not built to off road, only to look like they off road.  The size of the suspension parts (ball joints, tie rod ends, bushings) are the same size as street dedicated cars.  You will soon be spending money at a repair shop fixing the older used parts. 

You want to play, you got to pay.  Do you live to work, or work to live?  Do you want to be the richest person in the cemetery?  (Alright , I 'll stop).  If you want to drive faster than 5 mph off road, the truck needs to be beefed up like the 4 wheel drives usually are.  As for Subarus, I see those park along side the road all over Colorado on the way to the trailhead 2 miles further up!

I know it will be tough and you may loose friends if you start driving a gas guzzling 4x4.  Be strong, and invite them to go wheeling with you so you can show them what is beyond the pavement!

"If fences don't work, why is one around the White House?"

Can I get a hiking permit with a "Notice to Appear Form???

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-Texas/2014/08/22/TSA-Admits-Illegal-Aliens-Boarding-Planes-Using-Notice-to-Appear-Forms

Offline leigh

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Re: High clearance vehicle options?
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2010, 03:08:45 PM »
Al,
I had a Mazda B2200 for 16 years, paid about 6K and sold it for 2K. Never gave me a lick of trouble.

Homero,
An old boyfriend had an early 80ish 4x4  Tacoma, he put a ragtop on it and we drove that thing all over Colorado one summer.

Trtlrock and Owl,
I was definitely thinking camper top, had even though of having a raised floor put in to have a bed on top and storage underneath.

dkerr,
I had considered a Subbie, but not a lot of places to get them serviced where I live.  Seem a bit pricey to get worked on too.

FM,
Yeah, I thought about that this trip, even on the "tourist trails" I didn't run into any idiots!! I still have negative feelings about that dang dog, but more about his humans! I just realized I haven't opened the links you posted!

el hombre
LOL, you're right, if you're gonna play I guess you do have to pay!! I don't have an issue with vehicles that are actually used for what they were built for.

Reece, "we aged soloist" ...speak for yourself, I refuse to age, in fact I'm getting younger all the time, LOL!

Thanks guys for all your input...I'm gonna have a talk with my mechanic and see what he thinks as well.


Leigh

Offline Undertaker

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Re: High clearance vehicle options?
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2010, 03:20:27 PM »
Having owned several 4x4's in the past and driving an F-350 the key is go slow have adequate suspension and be willing to pinstripe your new paint job, most of all you can go almost anywhere in 2WD with exception of 20 minutes ago on slick mud road, had to lock hubs. :rolling:
Visiting BB since 1966, nothing like being lost and finding heaven.

 

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