Your Choice: 2012 Overland SUV of the Year?

2012 Overland SUV of the Year: Members Choice

  • Chevrolet Tahoe

    Votes: 6 2.9%
  • Ford Expedition

    Votes: 1 0.5%
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland

    Votes: 6 2.9%
  • Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon

    Votes: 63 30.0%
  • Land Rover LR4 (Discovery 4)

    Votes: 26 12.4%
  • Land Rover Range Rover MKIII

    Votes: 2 1.0%
  • Lexus GX460

    Votes: 4 1.9%
  • Mercedes G-Wagon Gelandewagen

    Votes: 17 8.1%
  • Nissan Xterra

    Votes: 11 5.2%
  • Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition

    Votes: 45 21.4%
  • Toyota FJ Cruiser

    Votes: 8 3.8%
  • Toyota Land Cruiser 200

    Votes: 21 10.0%
  • Toyota Sequoia

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .

Scott Brady

As an editorial staff, we have picked a 2012 overland SUV of the Year, but we are also interested in what the community would choose.

When making your choice, try to set aside personal brand bias (as much as possible ;) ) and pick the SUV that best encompasses the attributes needed for long-distance overland travel.

Things like:
1. Reliability
2. Capacity (Payload)
3. Range (both MPG and tank size)
4. Capability (trail performance)
5. Durability

What is the list criteria? It must be a 4wd with low range and be generally appropriate for overland adventure travel. Some models were excluded for space/appropriateness. We apologize in advance that the Infiniti QX didn't make the cut :ylsmoke:

These are just SUVs currently available for sale in the US. We will do another poll for trucks and another for global SUV offerings.

Thanks for your thoughts and vote!

Here are the finalists:

Chevrolet Tahoe

Ford Expedition

Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (early 2013 model release)

Land Rover LR4

Land Rover Range Rover MKIII

Lexus GX460

Mercedes G63 Gelandewagen

Nissan Xterra

Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition
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If it were up to me, I would choose a very boring option from that list...

The Nissan Xterra.

It is not a vehicle I have owned but I have seen plenty of them out on the trails. They do well with very few modifications and are very reliable. Parts and service is pretty well supported on a global scale. The Xterra is a great on-road performer as well and comes in at a very attractive price point, especially when compared to some of the other options. You get a lot for your dollar in the Xterra. It meets the requirements of the list but is certainly not exotic.

The FJ Cruiser is a close second for me. Pretty run-of-the-mill at this point, but the A-Trac makes it a solid off road performer. The downside is the size, visibility, and interior space.
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I Leak Oil

Expedition Leader
To me the Mercedes seems to have the best overall blend of all the requirements. The Rubicon would be a close second. The others have stock independent suspensions which don't scream durable or all that capable to me.


It should be more reliable and durable than most others.
Its not (as) gimmicky as its primary competitor, the FJC.
Its pretty good on the trail in stock Pro4X form, but can be made more capable and durable with an ARB in the front.
Aftermarket is good.
Its about as simple as vehicles get these days and its got an easy to clean interior.
MPG could be better and payload could be better, but both are in line with most.
If price is a factor, its one of the best new values.
It also has a good worldwide dealer network and related vehicles are sold all over (especially the chassis-mate Navara/Frontier).

In contrast to the leaders of the poll, the X is less expensive than the T4R and Rubi.
Has a greater payload and better reliability than the Rubi.
Also the X is far less complicated than the T4R.
All these are tenants of ExPo, which is why its strange its overlooked so often.


Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland vs. Chevrolet Tahoe

These two were the front-runners for me. I had to give it to the Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland.

1. Reliability As good as any on the list, IMO. Any brand new vehicle should be quite reliable if you take care of it. Large dealer network in US and Canada if you did break something.
2. Capacity (Payload) I didn't assign too much weighting to this. Pack according to your particular GVWR, not based on what you think is supposed to be in/hanging off an overland vehicle.
3. Range (both MPG and tank size) I weighted this quite heavily. The GC is second only to the Tahoe in range, based on a 50/50 Hwy/City(off-road) balance. The goal here is to eliminate, if possible, having to carry extra gas. Except for maybe the Arctic, gas is rarely more than 420mi. apart in US/Canada.
4. Capability (trail performance) The Jeep took this over the Tahoe, due to better overall off-pavement design.
5. Durability see #1. Take care of your rig. It has to get you home. It's great to challenge your rig's capabilities, but I'm not interested in breaking things on the trail. Example, if I need an on-board welder, I'm probably somewhere I shouldn't be in a vehicle.



New member
OK, I'll take a run at this. I'd buy the LR4. With the seats down, almost a perfectly level Queen Size Bed if you have to sleep out. With the GVWR over 6,000 lbs, it qualifies as a capital expense for business. Very easy daily driver. It can take one to any social event. Stripped with just the HD Package, it's just over $50K MSRP.

My bet is on the LR4 as Overland's pick too, but maybe because LR is winning awards these days for reliability, or maybe because I saw a video on YT with there badging all over it...


Perpetual Transient
I picked the Rubicon since it best seems to meet the criteria listed plus if you add in value it's hard to beat. For anyone who has been in a new Wrangler these days, most issues I ever had against Jeeps have been addressed and they are a nice place to spend time as well as the most capable of any of the listed vehicles by a large margin.

Now, if I had to pick a vehicle on here that I want the most it would be a toss up between the LR4 and the Land Cruiser. The LR4 blew me away and changed my perception of modern Lamd Rovers at the Overland Expo after running one through the training course. What a great machine. The Land Cruiser appeals to my Land Cruiser predisposition and because there aren't many people building and using them, the rarity of them is appealing.


Dream it build it
No none of the above checky box? Not sure you can find Overlander of the Year being sold in North America......Picking one just supports this junk we get in this market...


This is an interesting group to choose from. Ultimately it would depend upon budget for me. But if the sky was the limit I'd probably go with the G wagon or Land Cruiser. If I had to live closer to my budget I'd probably go with the 4Runner over the Jeep but I'd give strong contention to the Jeep especially if my travel plans included some time in the rocks. If I was on a tight budget the Xterra provides a lot of bang for the buck. I built one a few years ago for a mine company to haul executives to the mine. I was really impressed with how it turned out especially for the price. The Tahoe and the Sequoia would be nice for some things but a lot of the places I travel they are too large. That might even be a problem for the Land Cruiser. I know my 100 series does not squeeze as many places as my 80 series did. I love the IFS of my 100 for high speed washboard roads and quick trips in the desert, but as I stated earlier a solid front axle would be beneficial if there was going to be time spent in the rocks.


Expedition Leader
I had the pleasure of taking a GX 460 on a long road trip, of those listed it would be my choice.

Scott Brady

Lol stop voting for the jeeps, they have been around forever and havent changed a thing. Plus they are not very "overland" friendly. You pack your dog and its full.
The four-door has a longer wheelbase and more payload capacity then your Trooper. . . ;)


Expedition Leader
:sombrero:Well, even though it's hard for me to believe that the 2012 JKUR is improved over mine--

I'll vote for the Jeep Unlimited Rubicon as the tops, I can't think of anything she would have trouble doing and could still do easier than the other choices-plus several things that couldn't be done by the others !

:costumed-smiley-007:bike_rider: JIMBO


I like getting lost...
From this list and the offerings we have stateside by vote goes to the G63. If I could vote for a second it'd be the Jeep... Do you hear that Toyota! I love my 80 series but Toyota's 200 doesn't fit the bill. Now a 70 series wagon... hmmm.