So, the lease on my 09 Outback has about a year left in it and I am starting to weigh my options for my next vehicle. Im an avid cyclist and need the interior room for all the related crap I need (both mountain and TT racing) and am starting to look more seriously into expanding my back country exploring with more difficult off road driving and camping. Ive done a lot with my Outback but I look at some of these Adventure reports and a lot of the ones that appeal to me and make me drool are beyond the capabilities of a wagon.
So, with that being said, I began thinking about what vehicle to get next. I have a pretty short vehicle attention span but I chock that up to never really getting a vehicle that can meet ALL of my needs. The closest so far has been the Outback. I would love something with the room of the Outback, more capability and build options but (!) keep the mpg the Outback affords. The only way I can do that is by going the diesel route. I test drove a 6MT XTerra Off Road package and the dealer was very keen to knock off quite a bit off the price tag but I can not relegate myself to the 15 mpg club again (truck history: 1991 Isuzu Rodeo with 3" lift and 33's, 1990 XJ on 33's with 4.7 I6, 1998 Ford Explorer on 31's).
As you know, there really arent too many options available in diesel guise. Theres older, harder to find but still desirable options like the G Wagen ($$$), an H/BJ in some form ($$$), then modern examples like the Grand Cherokee ($$$ with higher mileage) and the Liberty which can be gotten with reasonable mileage and not too outrageous in the price department. The only other option is to build my own vehicle which is not out of the question but there again, the USDM hits again with not very many diesels available to us (and NO, the 4BT is not an option as I dont want 800 lbs hanging off the front end).
So, the CRD Liberty is becoming more and more of an attractive option. Ive read great things about the motor, iffy things about the transmission, transfer case is good (same as NP 231 in XJ?), okay things about the rear end and okay things about the front. My GF used to have a Liberty 3.7 and I fit pretty well behind the wheel (6'4") and know what they are like inside, room wise. I guess what I am looking for are some owners opinions. I have peppered randomly throughout various threads in pursuit of answers. The aftermarket is pretty good with a couple of lift options to clear 32's, bumpers, etc... available but what is it like to own and live with one over long trips. Any drawbacks? Any advantages, besides the motor? My GF hated hers but it truly led a hard life. Example, they cursed it for having crappy headlights claiming they were criminally dim. Upon inspection, they had been driving with only the passenger side as the drivers side was out.
So, hit me with some opinions! Thanks.