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Best compact SUV when "it" happens?

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by OLDNEWBIE, Apr 26, 2014.

  1. OLDNEWBIE

    OLDNEWBIE State of Flux Well-Known Member

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    Been looking at newer used compact SUVs with an eye towards offroad capabilities in the event of a temporary WROL situation.

    Saw a review of a Nissan Rogue AWD that did pretty O.K. on a rougher trail and another on soft sand. I think it has around 8.5" ground clearance but not so good approach and departure angles.
    I like the Rogue because it gets pretty good gas mileage as well.

    Subaru would be another costlier choice as well as the Escape on the cheaper end.

    Again looking for a mostly daily driver that could leave the road if I need to take an "ALTERNATE" route when the SHTF and maybe handle a level worse than a forest service road without tearing the underside apart.
    Any experience with these vehicle types off the beaten path?
     
  2. accurateone

    accurateone Eastern Washington Member

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    My Daughters 2001 Honda Cr-V has almost 250K miles on it. Still doesn't burn Oil or smoke... Took a lot of looking to find one with Manual trans, and All wheel drive though. SO impressed we now have a 2014.. sadly an auto, but VERY capable. I was looking at the Rogue as a relative sells them. Two things swayed though... the Honda gave more features on the Mid level model for about $2,600.00 LESS, BUT THE HONDA RATES DOUBLE THE TOW CAPACITY. Sounds like a better drive train to me.
    YMMV.
    :) Accurateone.
     
  3. thewhitebuffalo83

    thewhitebuffalo83 Gresham/Boring Well-Known Member

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    My wife's 2014 forester is awesome. She won't let me really test it out to much but I did take it up Memaloose road when there was snow starting just past the main query, with the whole family and we drove all the way through service Rd 45 to 211 or 213(I forgot which is which.). We have 9 inches of travel and the snow was deeper than that several times and we just kept right on going. It handled the steepish inclines, with pot holes and gravel just fine.

    When we had that snow / ice storm this year I tried within reason to make the Subaru slip and slide and it was almost impossible. My 92 Cherokee, 84 suburban, 01 and 02 awd Durango, father in law 2013 pilot, sitters 94 Blazer, dad's 95 grand Cherokee would have been all over the place if I pushed them the same as the Subaru.

    I don't know if this helps or not but I would trust my wife's Subaru off road and it gets 27 plus mpg average.
     
  4. WashCoDad

    WashCoDad Beanerton Active Member

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    If godzilla happens and i had to bug out, i would need an excursion with a trailer for all my crap.
    I dont get the tiny suv line of thought.
    Any 4 wheel drive with a locker option AND good tires, will get you down any forest service road. I cant stress good tires enough.
     
  5. OLDNEWBIE

    OLDNEWBIE State of Flux Well-Known Member

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    MPGs will be important when Godzilla is chasing you too.
    I'm on a budget that started out at $11,00 and has quickly creeped up to 17,00! and want something under 40,000 miles. Big 4wds are great but are thirsty and way out of budget unless It has high mileage.
    Plus as a daily driver parking/wife driving etc.
     
  6. EZLivin

    EZLivin SW of PDX Well-Known Member

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    +1
    We have taken my wife's 6cyl RAV4 down horribly muddy/rutted/washed out dirt roads, and through plenty of snow. No complaints whatsoever on what it can handle, but yes, we run good tires, and snow tires (not studs)in winter. But I hate the throttle response on it (momentary hesitation on heavy acceleration), and personally would not buy another one unless Toyota has changed that.
     
  7. FourTeeFive

    FourTeeFive PNW Washington State Active Member

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    Suzuki Grand Vitara is a surprisingly capable 4X4. Unfortunately Isuzu are out of the USA 4X4 game.

    Would be really nice if we could get diesel vehicles the rest of the world gets like the Nissan Patrol and Toyota Hilux.
     
  8. geometro

    geometro PDX Active Member

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  9. OLDNEWBIE

    OLDNEWBIE State of Flux Well-Known Member

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    They must be good as used ones are hard to find. They look like they have a good approach/departure angle.

    Jeep Patriot AWD was on end of this list. I haven't ruled these out yet. Trail rated ones are pricey though.
     
  10. FourTeeFive

    FourTeeFive PNW Washington State Active Member

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    Yes, and are a true ladder-frame construction. You do see them used from time to time in the big cities, owned by people who likely never took them offroad.
     
  11. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Generally speaking, nearly every vehicle that's made it to the US market has a range of 250-350 miles on one tank of gas. The gas tanks are sized this way, so a rav 4 that may do 22-26mpg highway usually has about a 10-12gal tank. My cherokee that typically gets about 16-20mpg has a 16 gal tank, and my truck that does 12-16mpg has a 22gal tank.

    Some time ago, I modded the tank in my cherokee (rerouted hoses) so it will top out at 20gal, after a recent tune-up, I'm now getting about 20-22 hwy mpg, which boosts me up to 400 miles+ on the highway. I've tested this in the past, where I can get gas at Frazier park, CA (driving north) and not stop for gas again until Dunnigan, CA (last truckstop before getting to the ranch). A 350 mile drive, and it only took 17.5 gallons when I filled up again in dunnigan.

    I will admit, I'm rather biased when it comes to certain vehicles, generally I want a pre-2006 vehicle, depending on manufacturer, I'm not too picky about mileage, and a personal favorite of mine are the early 1990's cherokees (specifically the renix build years of 1988-1991), the inline 6 engine regularly does half a million miles before needing significant overhaul. The renix years still had an all steel head, and the biggest issues with these vehicles is replacing sensors and chasing down wiring problems.

    I have a strong preference for the NP-242 transfer case, as it is a four-mode case with a center differential, so you can get 2WD, 4WD "full time" which is an all-wheel drive mode, 4wd "part time" which locks the center diff and will handle mud and sand, then a 4-lo "part time". Generally, these vehicles are quite bulletproof, but one issue is the AW4 transmission is a little weak in reverse, and there is a shear pin that can be broken if you try to push it too hard in reverse (I did this, backing up a very steep hill in 2WD), forward still worked fine, but reverse was useless pretty quickly. Also, the NP-242 is of the conventional "big handle" variety for shifting, no need to press a button and hope you're in 4W. Also, the NP-231 (the other common TC) has a vacuum disconnect on the front axle, so if you do end up with something like this, you will have to remove the VDA and lock it into an always on, state. This doesn't cause any problems, the NP242 the front axle is always connected, so you could do an axle swap if you were serious.

    As I said earlier, 2006 and newer vehicles are required to have built in electronic vehicle stabilization, which while it may make the vehicle safer for soccer moms who have no idea how to drive, generally has a very detrimental effect on handling, ride quality, and offroad capability. My truck has VS, and seriously a golf-cart handles better in soft sand. The stability system tends to set up a rear-end death wobble, caused by it "sensing" the wheel slipping (duh, it's SAND!) and applying the brake to it. If you push it, this leads to a jarring side-to side rocking. I swear, if I had known this was going to be such an issue I never would have bought this vehicle, and consequently I really want to stab: The engineer that came up with this, the politicians that mandated it. As frankly, it doesn't belong on a 3/4 ton work truck.

    Getting back to the cute-utes that you were originally looking at, I've seen the rav-4 do some pretty impressive stuff, however in all cases, every one of these vehicles I've looked at is a full-time "AWD" system, which means, if you have a single tire off the ground, all the power goes there, which depending on your terrain, this could be a debilitating stick.

    Regardless, if you're looking at any of the AWD systems, you might instead want to look at a used pickup instead, I've seen 2wd toyota tacomas with a rear locker do things I never would have expected especially if some decently aggressive tires are put on it (many run the Goodyear Wrangler Radial 235/75R15, this is what I run on my jeeps, it performs very well in sand and mud, to the point that I rarely need to use 4wd unless it involves snow and steep inclines). If you took the $$ you saved and went with a setup like this, along with an electric winch and a hi-lift jack, you will probably end up with a more capable rig for less $.

    Anyways, hopefully I havn't convoluted the issue too much with my own personal biases... I did check that list someone posted, and it's a decent list. Generally, I would remove any mention of Range Rover, if this was anywhere but north america, that would be the vehicle to choose, but parts availability is atrocious here. For me, I will likely be replacing my jeeps some time in the next 10-15 years with toyota tacoma crew cabs. More than a few of my friends have already done this, to great effect.
     
  12. 7SFCW4

    7SFCW4 Out and About, Oregon Active Member

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    We are standardized on Manual Trans Toyota FJ60. Ease of sourcing parts, torque, gas mileage with properly rebuilt carb and option to burn alcohol for fuel
     
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  13. Joe Link

    Joe Link Portland, OR Well-Known Member Staff Member Lifetime Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    When the 1FZ-FE in my 1996 Land Cruiser dies I'm considering a 6.2 diesel conversion. That engine certainly won't win any races, but they're known to go 300k+ easily and achieve around 22-28mpg. With the factory 25 gallon tank, that'd give me a 625 mile range at 25mpg, and multiple fueling options. All things considered, I don't think you'll find a better modern platform than the Toyota FJ80.
     
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  14. cascadianliberty2012

    cascadianliberty2012 DPR Portland Well-Known Member

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    Suzuki Sidekick. I never thought such a goofy, slow, cheap vehicle could be so capable off-road. I went in my friend's last year up in the Saddle Mountain unit for Elk hunting. That stupid thing was like some kind of alien planet rover. It never slipped, never got stuck, never sputtered, and is narrow enough that it could fit down all those overgrown roads that the trucks couldn't. It ain't fast or super powerful, but it is efficient and has a great grip on various types of terrain.
     
  15. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Most of the suzukis are great little ORV's because they're light... buddy used to have a samurai that was part mountain goat. Main reason for this is it's a glorified quad, I think curb weight on his was around 1200lbs.

    I've looked at doing diesel conversion, problem generally is the expense. It's really not an option for the cherokee, but is becoming a common retrofit for the toyota pickups, land cruisers, and 4runner, at the same time it's usually about $8000 just for the parts (engine, computer, exhaust, etc).

    One of the things I've toyed with in the past is looking for the 4wd version of the hyundai box trucks, stripping the box off the back, and fitting it with a cabin.
     
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  16. Joe Link

    Joe Link Portland, OR Well-Known Member Staff Member Lifetime Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Cost is one of the main reasons to go with the 6.2 versus a more modern/powerful engine. You can get everything you need, in good shape, for $2500 or so.
     
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  17. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    Probably a rental but when der stank haps, every car is a rental.. that's code for when you rent a car, practice.
     
  18. cookie

    cookie THE SOCIALIST STATE OF KALI - FORNIA Well-Known Member

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    Probably the biggest threat will be from the government and its uniformed forces. Think about, Reality check here.
     
  19. OLDNEWBIE

    OLDNEWBIE State of Flux Well-Known Member

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    Is that code for, "rent what you think you're going to buy and see if the bottom gets tore out of it testing it in the woods first" then buy? lol
     
  20. Hawaiian

    Hawaiian Tigard Oregon Well-Known Member

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    My wives Rav4 will go almost anywhere. I have had it in deep snow with stud less snow tires and it plows through it. Also very capable off road on the back roads. But don't tell her! No, it is not quite as capable as my 4Runner, but for what you are looking for, the Rav is very capable.