Not sure where to put this, but I thought I put it here. So it seems the expedition bug has hit me and I want a semi-compact expedition rig. I probably won't be getting it for a good while, but it would be nice to start planing for what to get. My budget goal for now would be around 4k depending on factors. For now I think I want to explore the Americas(all the way up to Alaska and down to Amazon).
The better rig options would be getting a Disco1(maybe II) or LC80 and pretty much call it a day. However, I feel those maybe a bit large for my taste, not to mention the fact no diesel option available, which means MPG that's not the best. Not sure about the LC, but I would think maintenance on the Disco may get a bit pricey? Never been in the Disco, but I have been in a few RR and thought they were a bit large. I would have thought the Disco would be about the same size seeing as it can hold 7
I really do like Land Rovers, but the Range Rover is a bit large, and I the Disco maybe also. That lead me to taking a look at the Freelander. I really like the size, but it lacks a low range, which is a downside, but for a person new to expeditions and what not it could be okay? Then there is also the fact the motor and tranny(at least in the N.A. models) are the weak point, so I thought maybe do a engine swap with something that has a lower gear(at least lower vs stock) while still giving me decent MPG and power. I have seen a few local Freelander sans motors in great shape going for under $4k, and I thought could be a good project?
The next option would be the Nissan Xterra, I have seen in on a few lists as a recommended choice, and I like them. My parents for almost 16 years had Pathfinder(got a 93 new in 93), that I really like. The first gen Xterra seems more the same, and I am a bit familiar with the VG33 motor as the Pathfinder had the VG30, which I felt could be taken to hell and back(plus the VG series was their go to V6 for all their cars globally for years). If the Xterra is anything like the Pathfinder it would be just as much fun on road as it was off-road(though our Pathfinder was a 4x2, so I was limited to what I could do off-road). I kind of want to get the 4cylinder model(unless 4x4 can't be paired with it) as I MPG would be pretty solid, and with a few tweaks give it decent power(after all the KA was also used in the NA 240sx). Would this be a good car for a first timer, I know Nissan kind of markets it as a do everything car, but is it really that, or do I have to do a bit of a work to do it as one of the list Scott Brady made said the front portion was kind of it's weak link. On a related note would a Frontier be a better model to start with vs xterra?
The other option I thought of was the Jeep Cherokee. Not to fond of the interior, but it seems like its a good base to start it. I am also not sure if the 2dr or 4dr would be better to start with as I have read mix reviews on that. Not sure how good the 4.0 is fuel wise, but I do know they are also built fairly well. I know these should be easy to build and there should be a good amount of parts available. The only downside I see is the fact they were offered with a few 4x4 options, and finding the model with the full time 4wd maybe a bit hard to find in my local. Not really a downside, but I feel if I want to go Jeep, I should be looking at the Wrangler. I do like the Wrangler, but I do like the idea of sleeping in the bed, and only the unlimited models really offer that, but that's out of my budget.
Is there any other suvs in that class/size I should be looking at? Thank you.
btw I do like how there is a huge community, events and support for both Jeep and Land Rover, which is pretty cool. Not sure how the Xterra is in that regard, I would think there would be some, no?