I am often amazed at what people will post in a forum, or say on the trail about another vehicle. Like "Jeeps suck" or "____ is a piece of junk", etc. What they are really saying is that the vehicle in reference does not meet their needs, or has a different design or value target.
The key is to understand the ENGINEERING behind a vehicle, and the criteria they satisfy. That is why there are over 100 different trucks and SUV's available.
As OHV travelers we have a basic set of requirements that are required for extended, vehicle dependent travel. We are looking for specific functionality that adds VALUE to the vehicle as an OHV choice.
WHAT DOES NOT ADD VALUE:
1. Luxury: Leather, heated seats, DVD players, power folding seats, etc. Luxury content reduces payload.
2. Big HP: Don't be fooled by this ploy... Big HP is not needed, and is in fact a liability. Reduced range, greater chance of broken parts, etc. However, torque is important, if matched with economy. That is to say, displacement without efficiency is not a value add. Excessive HP reduces efficiency and durability.
3. Capability by electronic intervention: Traction control, stability control, brake for distribution, etc. is not a substitute for locking differentials, long travel and big brakes. Complexity reduces reliability.
CRITICAL DECISION/EVALUATION POINTS
CAPACITY: The ability to carry weight in the vehicle. This is measured by payload statistics.
Capacity, or payload must be the first consideration given to vehicle selection, as little can be done to safely improve its rating after purchase.
The ability of the vehicle to travel rugged terrain, fully loaded without chassis or drivetrain failure with years of continual use.
The ability of a vehicle to perform over long distances and after years of service in rugged terrain without drivetrain, electrical and support system failure due to component malfunction.
The ability of the vehicle to traverse rocky, muddy, crossed axle terrain including deep water crossings, severe side slopes, hill climbs and descents.
Fuel efficiency as it relates to payload, which provides the greatest opportunity for range. Payload as a percentage of vehicle weight is a key indicator.
This is a persons budgetary constraints. Very few can afford a Unimog, despite its performance in the above categories.
So, even though a Hummer H2 might perform well in the Capability category, it performs less admirably in efficiency, value and reliability. A Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is probably the most capable high volume production vehicle available today, but it has minimal capacity, etc. The key is to strike a the best balance.
How does your vehicle rate?