Selecting the best vehicle for Overlanding can be a confusing process. We’re here to help you understand what qualities make a vehicle better for Overlanding as opposed to one that would not.
Read below for the features to look for in an overland vehicle and at the end we list 41 potential candidates for your next off-road adventure. These vehicles are separated further into five price ranges to fit almost any budget.
The first quality to look for is capability. Can you get from point A to point B without any setbacks. Let’s first look at what makes an Overland vehicle perform like a champ off-road. It takes a combination of mechanics, math and mobility.
Why do some Overland vehicles manage to cruise through trouble where others struggle? The answer lies in a question.
What Does an Overland Vehicle Need for Off-road Success?
Traction, clearance and power:
- Traction is the ability of the tires to move you forward.
- Clearance is making sure the only things touching the ground are the four tires.
- Power is having enough horsepower to turn those tires.
It’s possible to have sufficient traction and clearance, but not enough power to get up a hill. It’s possible to get traction, and power to turn the wheels, but be hung up due to a lack of clearance. And power and clearance won’t do you any good in slippery conditions where the tires can’t get enough traction on the ground and spin uselessly.
Off-Road Features of Overland Vehicles
The makers of vehicles that can go off-road design unique features into their trucks and SUVs which directly affect traction, clearance and power.
- Power delivery – having 300 horsepower is great, but if it all comes in between 1000 and 1020 rpm that’s hardly controllable and you’re likely to spin your wheels.
- Front-rear torque split – ideally you’d split this 50/50 front and rear, but many vehicles have on-demand systems, which automatically distributes torque between the front and rear axles depending on the situation and often that’s noticeably less effective than a fixed distribution.
- Tire tread makes a huge difference to traction. Open treads are best for mud and rocks, road-style tread works best in the sand.
- Engine output – low range multiplies torque so you can drive up steep hills, but you still need a decent output to begin with and for obstacles like sand dunes, raw power is what gets you over the top.
- Gearing – try driving up a steep, rocky hill or inching across a steep rock ledge and you’ll see why gearing – low gearing – is important as it lets the engine develop useful amounts of torque yet the vehicle moves slowly. Low gearing also helps with safe descents.
- Articulation is the ability of the suspension to flex all four wheels onto the ground firmly, even when negotiating uneven terrain. If all wheels are on the ground then you’ll have more traction than if the weight is shifting from wheel to wheel, and a wheel in the air doesn’t do a lot for forward momentum. The importance of good articulation cannot be underestimated. It’s quite possible for a vehicle with good articulation to easily go where one with less articulation struggles, especially if it also has the benefit of aids like traction control.
- Traction aids – no matter how much articulation you have, eventually you’ll run out of it and at that point traction aids like locking differentials, limited slip differentials and electronic traction control help prevent the differential from sending drive to the wheel with least traction, thus keeping momentum going. Even articulation won’t help in flat slippery situations, whereas traction aids will.
- Angles and tire size are important because they are directly related to clearance. Tall tires give plenty of room under the chassis, and the further away the body is from the terrain the less likely it is to be hung up and restrict progress. The larger the tire, the easier it is to climb over things like rocks and fallen trees, the greater the clearance under the axles, and the greater your approach, departure and breakover (or ramp over) angles.
So those are some of the features directly important for Overlanding capability, but there are a couple more factors, which indirectly influence ability on the trail.
- Maneuverability is how nimble and agile a vehicle is. The more maneuverable it is, the better it is able to pick different, easier lines and so it perhaps doesn’t need to get in positions where large amounts of articulation or clearance are needed.
- Robustness is important as eventually you’ll run out of clearance and something will bump the terrain, and that something is preferably a robust chassis frame rail, skid plate, rock slider or rocker guard. You don’t want to be leaving a trail of plastic trim around the trail. Similarly, engine air intakes and vulnerable engine components like alternators should be high up out of harm’s way. And solid recovery points in the front and rear are a must.
Overland Vehicle Modifications
Every vehicle has limitations, and being human we’re likely to want to raise those limits.
The single most important modification to any Overland vehicle is the off-road tires. All-terrain, or mud tires give far better off-road traction than road-biased tires, and extreme off-road tires can turn even mild-mannered daily drivers into off-road legends.
Increasing tire diameter improves clearance and angles, but that’s another topic entirely because there are considerations like roadworthiness, increased stress on the drivetrain, wheel well clearance and so on.
After tires, a set of locking differentials make a massive difference off-road. With lockers, you don’t have the problem of the differential sending traction where you least want it.
When a vehicle turns a corner the inside wheels travel less distance than the outside. A differential permits drive to go to both, yet the wheels to turn at different speeds. What’s not good is that differentials send drive to the wheel that’s easiest to turn. So if only one is on the ground, the differential sends most of the drive to the wheel in the air. This is why articulation is important, as it keeps wheels firmly on the ground. Traction aids like locking differentials, limited slip differentials and traction control divert drive from the uselessly spinning wheel to the wheel that has traction.
The third major modification you could make is a suspension lift, which improves angles but unless you have a vehicle with independent suspension, it won’t improve ground clearance.
After those three mods, further work tends to be more expensive for a limited return. You could rework the suspension for more flex, but you wouldn’t see the gains you’d get out of mud tires and locking differentials and the same goes for improving the engine and gearing.
However, that rule is dependent on how limited your vehicle is and your travel plans. If, for example, you have a Jeep with large tires, and you’ll be traveling over rocky terrain, then lowering the gearing is a good idea as the Jeep’s standard low range isn’t very low and will be made worse by the large-diameter tires. Similarly, if you’ll be traveling over sand with an old Tacoma, more horsepower will make all the difference.
AWD or 4WD for Overlanding?
The AWD crossover (also called a soft-roader) vs 4WD comparison is an interesting one. Why are crossovers less capable off-road?
The answer often begins with the front/rear torque split:
- 4WDs can lock center differentials or can be part-time 4WD like most Toyotas.
- Crossovers often can’t lock the center differential and rely on mechanisms, which detect axle speed differences then send torque to the spinning axle.
Waiting until a problem occurs and then fixing it is never as effective as not waiting for the problem to occur in the first place. Vehicles like the LandRover Range Rover and Toyota 4Runner, which can lock the center differential, are at a distinct advantage in the wild over those that can’t, like the Honda CR-V.
Some, like the Subaru Forester use viscous couplings which lock up so quickly it’s nearly the same thing, but in our view, we’d rather just permanently lock it when off-road.
The next problem is articulation. Independent suspension is better on-road than live axles, so crossovers use independent, and don’t have very much articulation. That means the weight is constantly being shifted from wheel to wheel over uneven terrain, and hence traction is quickly lost. Combine that with the “detect-wheelspin and-then-transfer-torque” engineering strategy and you’ve got a recipe for going nowhere quickly.
Then there’s the gearing. Most crossovers don’t have low range. That means they can’t easily crawl, even if it’s an automatic, and smooth power delivery at low speeds is difficult. It also stresses the gearbox and makes hill descents less safe.
Crossovers often don’t have great ground clearance or angles, and they don’t have particularly large tires so rolling along in the ruts is often a problem. While crossovers often have a good power to weight ratio, the power is usually fairly high up the rev band with not much torque down low where we need it. Crossovers often don’t rate well in the robustness stakes, lacking decent skid plates and recovery points.
That’s all the negatives, and now the positives. Crossovers often do well in the maneuverability category, as they are often smaller and lighter than 4WDs. If you’re driving a Land Cruiser up a hill it almost doesn’t matter where you point it, it’ll still do the job, whereas you need to take a lot more care in a RAV4. However, the RAV4 has a far wider choice of lines than the Land Cruiser, being much smaller and lighter. Of course, with the relatively new breed of large crossovers weighing two-plus tons, we have a crossover that isn’t inherently capable and doesn’t have the maneuverability to compensate.
Crossovers also often have features like traction control, and while that doesn’t fully compensate for a proper torque split, articulation and clearance, it does delay the inevitable. If a vehicle is low-slung it is less likely to roll so you can go further on the side angles giving you more flexibility in your line options.
The question is not “can my vehicle get there” because it probably can if you throw it at the problem. You need to ask yourself “can I get there safely without damaging my vehicle, myself or other people?” In many situations you’ll experience in Overlanding, the difference between the capable and less capable vehicles is not whether they make it, but what safety margin they made it with.
From the Driver’s Seat
What does all this mean as a driver? It means every vehicle has strengths and weaknesses, and drivers need to drive in such a way the strengths compensate for the weaknesses.
For example, the Nissan Pathfinder has great power, excellent brakes and low gearing, so you can easily control speed in any situation. However, it lacks articulation and has indifferent traction control so you end up using carefully controlled momentum in a lot of places to get you through.
A Land Rover Defender has very low gearing, fantastic visibility, good clearance and great articulation, which sees it gliding up trails that other vehicles need launching at. On the other hand, it lacks power and the turning circle is wide, so tight, twisty trails need careful planning and it needs to work harder in the sand.
A Jeep Wrangler is even more capable, but it’s narrow and tall so the driver needs to be very careful on side slopes to avoid tipping over. But as the Wrangler is a smaller vehicle, the driver can pick whatever line he likes and avoid side slopes entirely.
The Toyota Highlander looks like it’s reasonably competent offroad, but you can’t switch the traction control off and that often literally puts a brake on forward progress, so slippery situations are best avoided entirely. The Land Rover Range Rover doesn’t have great articulation, but it is maneuverable and has good traction control.
A large part of effective progress when Overlanding is about understanding what allows a vehicle to continue moving, what your vehicle is good at and modifying your driving style accordingly. And remember, eventually everyone finds a situation beyond their vehicle or their ability, and it’s then time to us your recovery gear or consider another vehicle.
We covered capability, next on the list is comfort. You will be spending a lot of time in your vehicle while Overlanding so you will have a much better experience if you’re comfortable while doing it. Related to this are usability and ergonomics. You need to feel comfortable if you’re going to enjoy your adventure to the fullest. Are the seats comfortable, is it roomy enough for your passengers? How is the headroom? Is it noisy inside or is it quiet enough for a conversation? Does it have amenities like a nice entertainment system, USB ports and 12v power plugs? All of these things go into the area of comfort when traveling on your next adventure.
A vehicle with a history of breaking down should never be considered as an option to use for Overlanding. In our chart below we have a column with the recommended years for those particular makes and models. Our recommendations are based on research collected from owners of those vehicles. It’s based on data from real people, not car companies or magazines. Trusting that your vehicle will make it to your destination is a huge stress reliever. If you’ve narrowed it down to two vehicles and the remaining factors are between price and reliability, spend a little more and get the reliable vehicle as opposed to the cheaper one. If the vehicle is in the repair shop, you’re not going anywhere soon.
Ask to see maintenance records or repair receipts. If you’re looking at a vehicle that hasn’t received regularly scheduled maintenance such as oil changes and new filters it’s probably not going to be very reliable. If you have the VIN number you can get a CarFax report which indicates when and where the vehicle was serviced.
Your Overland vehicle should be able to take whatever punishment the trail delivers and bounce right back. This feature may require a few upgrades because in general, vehicles are designed for the highway, not for driving off-road. However, more recently, car and truck manufacturers are catching on and designing off-road models or you can buy a standard vehicle an “off-road package”.
If you’re buying an older vehicle look under the vehicle at the frame, the steering and suspension components, the axles the muffler etc. It’s a very good idea to have a professional mechanic put it up on a lift and give it a thorough inspection. Rust is your enemy. Trucks and SUVs from the north have more trouble in this area due to road salt eating away at the steel. If you see rust on the body of the vehicle it’s probably going to be worse underneath. If you’re able to get a vehicle history report, avoid those that have been in an accident or come with a “salvage” title.
One final bit of advice on this topic of durability, it probably goes without saying but you shouldn’t go Overlanding in a brand new vehicle or one that is leased or rented. Especially if your off-road travels bring you through very rough terrain. Stuff happens. It’s best to keep your losses to a minimum by using a vehicle that can be broken without breaking your bank.
Overlanding Vehicles for Every Budget
The best used Overland vehicle for you depends on what your current financial situation is. We have listed Overland trucks and SUVs for every income level. Low, high and average price information was obtained using CarGurus.com. Low year is which year is the least expensive model year available. Low Avg. is the average price of the cars from that low year. Best and worst year(s) information was obtained through CarComplaints.com.
Overland Vehicles Average Price Under $10,000
|Vehicle||From||Best||Worst||Low||High||Avg. Price||Low Year||Low Avg.|
|Isuzu Trooper||1981-2002||1991-2002||1994, 2000||$1,195||$7,495||$4,046||2000||$1,595|
|Land Rover LR3||2004-2009||2005-2008||None||$3,789||$15,999||$7,967||2005||$7,013|
Suzuki Vitara – $3,500
Also goes by several other names such as the Sidekick, Grand Vitara, Geo Tracker. The second generation (1998–2005) is a competent low-budget overland vehicle. There are plenty of these available. Very reliable. Not very roomy or comfortable.
Mitsubishi Montero – $3,690
aka Pajero. Second generation (1991–1999) Monteros are still widely available and cheap. Plenty of space, great off-road capability. Not a lot of horsepower and rust is common.
Isuzu Trooper – $4,046
Massive cargo room and interior height. It’s an older car so don’t count on modern amenities. The second generation Troopers are better than the first. Good clearance. Not the easiest car to work on if it breaks down. Short on reliability.
Land Rover LR3 – $7,967
Also called the Discovery 3. Reliable and capable. Quiet and comfortable. Expensive to maintain and fix. Not as much ground clearance as we would like so suspension upgrades would help. Solid engineering. Well made.
Nissan XTerra – $8,832
Good ground clearance. Solid ladder frame. Locking differential is available in most models. Reliable. Comfortable and a strong performer off-road. Stable and scores high marks in maneuverability. A little on the light side in interior quality. Needs a good front bumper and skid plates to protect the fragile front end.
Suzuki Samurai – $9,534
Agile and nimble but prone to rolling over. About as comfortable as a golf cart. Will pretty much go anywhere and quite capable off-road. On-road is another story. Keep it under 40 and avoid sharp turns and you’ll be fine. Great rock crawler. Easy to work on. Fun to drive. Getting harder to find due to age. It was last available in the US in 1995.
Overland Vehicles Average Price Under $20,000
|Vehicle||Produced||Best Years||Worst||Low||High||Avg. Price||Low Year||Low Avg.|
|Lexus GX 470||2002-2009||2005, 2007-2009||2004, 2006||$4,500||$24,900||$10,944||2004||$8,603|
|Ford Excursion||1999-2005||2002, 2004-2005||2000-2001, 2004||$2,795||$47,800||$12,763||2000||$9,370|
|Jeep Wrangler YJ||1987-1995||1991-1995||1987-1990||$1,795||$24,950||$14,500||1992||$6,843|
|Ford Ranger XLT||1983-2012, 2019-Present||1983-1996, 2009-2020||1997-2008||$1,000||$42,475||$15,440||1993||$3,170|
|Jeep Cherokee XJ||1983-2001||1984-1996||2014-2016||$999||$24,900||$18,209||1998||$4,702|
|Nissan Pathfinder||1985-Present||1985-2004, 2009-2012, 2015-2020||2005-2008, 2013-2014||$995||$45,680||$18,068||2000||$3,393|
|Toyota FJ Cruiser||2007-2014||2008-2014||2007||$6,795||$49,990||$18,208||2007||$12,763|
|Jeep Grand Wagoneer||1984–1991||1987-1991||1984||$3,995||$49,900||$19,542||1986||$4,500|
Lexus GX 470 – $10,944
Very reliable, capable and durable. Scores points in comfort and capacity as well. You can find these at bargain prices and if you do, this one is a great SUV to get. The GX 470 is built on the Land Cruiser chassis so it’s built for Overlanding. It has a strong frame and an AWD transfer-case with low range. Look for one with the 4.7L V8. It’s one of the best engines ever made.
Ford Excursion – $12,763
Comes with the very powerful and dependable 7.3L Powerstroke diesel engine. Solid axles and a ton of room for your gear and passengers. Not the most nimble vehicle for complicated terrain and would require an upgrade to the suspension and tires to handle off-road conditions.
Jeep Wrangler YJ – $14,500
The first of three Wranglers on our list. Made between ’87 and ’96. A capable low-budget Overlander. Very nimble and sturdy. ’91 to ’96 models have a more powerful, fuel-injected 4.0L engine. The ’94 got the external master/slave clutch setup so that’s a plus. Plenty of off-road aftermarket parts and accessories are available to improve anywhere it’s lacking. There isn’t a lot of space for extras so pack wisely get an off-road trailer.
Ford Ranger XLT – $15,440
The first compact pickup truck designed by Ford. There were a boatload of Rangers made so they’re easy to find but their condition suffers with the number of miles on them. Easy to find a reasonably priced pre-2000 model in the $4,000 to $6,000 range. They’re easy to find cheap parts for and easy to fix. Speaking of that, you’ll need to be good with a wrench if you own a Ranger. They aren’t the most reliable on the market.
Jeep Cherokee XJ – $17,500
Easy to find and easy to upgrade. Even though are average is $17,500, you can find a decent one for under 3k. Decent cargo space and very capable off-road. Add a lift kit and off-road tires and you have a cheap Overlander. You may have a few repairs to do but it’s pretty solid old Jeep. Avoid the ’98 to ’01 XJs.
Nissan Pathfinder – $18,068
Powerful, comfortable and handles well the Pathfinder would make an excellent SUV to take Overlanding. It’s also capable off-road with some 4×4 models offering 12 inches of ground clearance, skid plates and downhill traction control. Upgrades should be done to the suspension and lighting to make it complete but overall, it’s a very good Overland vehicle.
Toyota FJ Cruiser – $18,208
The FJ Cruiser was around for only 7 years but it has a large fanbase. These are reasonably priced, capable and are fun to drive. They have good ground clearance and the optional roof rack comes in handy for cargo or a roof top tent. It’s a Toyota so you can count on its reliability. As long as you avoid the 2007 model you have a winner.
Subaru Outback – $18,903
Our one and only crossover on the list. It has Symmetrical AWD giving it plenty of traction and stability. It lacks cargo space and improvements should be made to give it more clearance. All-terrain tires will help as well. With the lack of clearance, a skid plate is also a great investment to prevent damage to the radiator, oil pan and undercarriage.
Jeep Grand Wagoneer – $19,542
The original SUV. These old-timers are roomy, capable off-road machines. With a huge 6.6L V8 plan on bringing plenty of Jerry cans full of extra fuel. Being an older model they’re easy to maintain and repair. If you have a large family this might be the Overland vehicle for you. (ignore the ’93 model like we did)
Overland Vehicles Average Price Under $30,000
|Vehicle||Produced||Best Years||Worst Years||Low||High||Avg. Price||Low Year||Low Avg.|
|Toyota Land Cruiser 100 Series||1998-2007||2005-2007||1998-1999||$4,884||$37,100||$20,000||1998||$5,800|
|Ram 2500 Power Wagon||2005-Present||2016-2020||2005-2008||$8,337||$58,730||$20,267||2011||$23,108|
|Jeep Grand Cherokee||1993-Present||2011-2014||2005-2010||$900||$99,995||$22,653||1994||$2,879|
|Toyota Land Cruiser 60 Series||1980-1990||1980-1987||None||$11,989||$54,750||$23,500||1985||$16,500|
|Toyota Tacoma||1995-Present||1998-2015||2009, 2016, 2017||$2,490||$49,938||$23,574||1997||$5,812|
|Jeep Cherokee SJ||1974-1983||1974-1983||None||$9,900||$39,900||$24,089||1978||$9,900|
|Land Rover LR4 (Discovery 4)||2009-2016||2009-2015||2016||$8,795||$52,988||$24,683||2010||$12,575|
|Nissan Armada||2004-Present||2012-2020||2006-2008, 2011||$2,250||$63,910||$25,120||2004||$5,529|
|Toyota 4Runner||1984-Present||1984-1989, 1989-1995, 2007-Present||2003 to 2006, 2013-2016||$4,995||$55,942||$25,622||1997||$4,997|
|Jeep Wrangler Unlimited JK||2007-Present||2014-2020||2007-2008, 2012||$6,500||$125,000||$27,450||2007||$13,789|
Toyota Land Cruiser 100 Series – $20,000
Arguably the best Land Cruiser ever made. Very reliable, capable, comfortable, roomy and powerful. Extremely solid 4.7L V8 engine. Easily goes over 300,000 miles without any leaks or rattles. The first Land Cruiser with independent front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering improved its on-road handling but limited its off-road capability and durability. Front suspension failures, cracking wishbones and broken front differential centers occurred in the ’98 and ’99 models which led to improvements in later models.
Ram 2500 Power Wagon – $20,267
Off-road version of the Ram 2500. Equipped with a powerful 5.7L or 6.4L Hemi V8 beginning in 2014. 2014 also had an improved suspension with coil springs at all four corners. Transfer case includes a 2.64:1 low range. Newer models come standard with winch, lockers and electronic anti-sway bar disconnect. Gas mileage is not the greatest.
Jeep Grand Cherokee – $22,653
Capable off-road and comfortable on road with plenty of power. Look for one with a V8 for extra muscle when you need it. There have been a few recalls throughout the years so check that those have been taken care of before buying. As an Overland vehicle, the Trailhawk would be the preferred choice. Reliability is questionable so read up on what year has the most favorable reviews.
Toyota Land Cruiser 60 Series – $23,500
It’s tough to find a 60 Series under $10,000 but occasionally an FJ60 will come up for sale and that model is the one to look for. Even though the 60 series is an older vehicle, it still performs like a champ for Overlanding. Very rugged, dependable roomy and powerful, there isn’t much to say that isn’t good about this SUV. This was the first Land Cruiser that was designed with “comfort” features but retained its off-road capabilities like live axles on the front and rear.
Toyota Tacoma – $23,574
The first of three Tacomas on our list. This one is the most affordable. The average price above takes into account all years so if your a little low on funds look for an early 2000 model but make sure it has had the frame replaced under warranty. 1995 to 2004 Tacomas are covered. Very reliable, nimble and powerful. Many aftermarket upgrades available for this truck. A little on the small side so pack lightly. A great little truck and heavily favored in the Overlanding community.
Jeep Cherokee SJ – $24,089
This is a classic Jeep. Roomy, easy to fix and if you’re lucky, wood paneling! These are getting harder to find due to their age and the best ones are actually going up in price. Tons of room and built Jeep tough, these were born to go off-road. If you buy one you will need to know your way around a toolbox as these are mechanically unpredictable. You may need to do a few upgrades to make it more comfortable and add some modern amenities but this is a capable Overlander.
Chevy Silverado – $24,326
A resume of award-winning capability. It’s won Motor Trends Truck of the Year 4 years since the Silverado came about in 1999. A big strong truck that’s surprisingly comfortable. Many Overlanders add a camper shell, throw in a pickup bed air mattress and hit the road. It’s a gas guzzler so plan ahead for that. The newer they are the better but the older models are recommended for the budget-minded. Rust is a concern so check out the frame before you buy.
Land Rover LR4 – $24,683
Capable and very reliable, the LR4 (aka Discovery 4) is a comfortable and strong Overlanding vehicle. There aren’t a lot of aftermarket upgrades available but really you shouldn’t need them other than improvements to the suspension, all-terrain tires and a winch. The only negative other than the high price is its inability to be easily repaired if you break down on the trail.
Nissan Armada – $25,120
The classic SUV, the Nissan Patrol, eventually morphed into the present-day Armada. With seating for 8 it has a ton of room for gear or extra people. The Armada also has a strong towing capacity, excellent ground clearance and a very capable off-road suspension system. In addition to those qualities, it comes with modern amenities in the internal technology department, a high score in reliability and a standard roof rack.
Toyota 4Runner – $25,622
On everybody’s Overland vehicle list, the 4Runner has a proven reputation as one of the best available for Overlanding and at a price range that can fit anyone’s budget. The 4Runner ticks all the boxes for capability, reliability, roominess and comfort. There are countless aftermarket upgrades available so you can make it as unique as you want. The safety and technology features improve with every newer model so it’s best to get the newest one you can afford. Toyotas last forever so don’t let high mileage concern you.
Toyota Tundra – $25,796
The big brother of the Tacoma, the Tundra is larger in all areas. More powerful, more roomy and more durable. Older Tundras are easy to find but with age comes problems. They are all reliable but the better models were made after 2009 including the highly capable TRD Rock Warrior. The Tundra is not a truck for narrow trails and the gas mileage is usually around 15 mpg or lower. The suspension is beefy so the ride is bumpy compared to other vehicles.
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited JK – $27,450
The Jeep that changed opinions. They’re one of the most reliable and capable Jeeps ever made. Bonus: There’s a huge assortment of aftermarket modifications and accessories available. However, this is one of the few vehicles on our list that you can drive off the lot and go right onto the trail without any modifications. They’re sturdy, simple and offer a generous amount of cargo space. The only downside is they drive like a Jeep. Be prepared to be jostled around. Long spans off-road can be draining.
Overland Vehicles Average Price Under $50,000
|Vehicle||Produced||Best Years||Worst Years||Low||High||Avg. Price||Low Year||Low Avg.|
|Toyota Land Cruiser 80 Series||1990-2008||1995-1997||2008||$4,884||$11,250||$30,000||2000||$5,995|
|Jeep Wrangler JL||2018-Present||2018-2020||None||$19,999||$115,000||$30,996||2018||$28,029|
|Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road||1998-Present||1998-2004, 2010-2015, 2018-2020||2007, 2009, 2016-2017||$17,950||$49,990||$33,500||2016||$26,500|
|Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro||2015-Present||2018-2020||2016-2017||$13,900||$48,995||$36,500||2015||$22,500|
|Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series||2007-Present||2009-2015||2016, 2011||$15,488||$108,480||$38,972||2000||$10,736|
|Chevrolet Colorado ZR2||2017-Present||2017-2020||None||$23,997||$47,900||$41,500||2017||$37,500|
|Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro||2015-Present||2017-2020||2015-2016||$18,900||$53,900||$42,500||2015||$31,500|
|Jeep Gladiator (JT)||2020-Present||2019-2020||None||$32,900||$129,900||$45,255||2020||$37,008|
|Ford Expedition XLT FX4||2018-2020||2018-2020||None||$36,975||$72,790||$49,500||2018||$48,256|
Toyota Land Cruiser 80 Series – $30,000
They’re getting more and more difficult to find but the 80 series is worth the search. It’s built for exploration and adventure with a solid frame plenty of ground clearance and strong axles. This is the best Overland vehicle ever imported to the US. It’s super reliable and more than capable to handle any obstacles off road. It’s durability is legendary. These last forever but are often neglected and abused. Be sure to have it thoroughly inspected before purchasing one.
Jeep Wrangler JL – $30,996
Very capable Overlander straight out of the car lot. The average price is high for a Wrangler but that’s because they just introduced the JL in 2018. The 4th gen model is available as a 2-door Wrangler and 4-door Wrangler Unlimited. With body-on-frame construction and solid axles, as well as 3 different 4 wheel drive systems available, this is a sturdy and capable off-road machine. Obviously the Unlimited will have more space for your gear. The Rubicon and the Moab are the best trim levels for Overlanding.
Lexus GX460 – $33,157
Don’t let the Soccer Mom vibe fool you, this SUV is built for off-roading. Luxury, reliability and capability, the GX460 is an excellent choice for Overlanding. Power comes from a 4.6 liter V-8. Four-wheel drive with crawl control with an electronic differential lock will keep you moving through the tough stuff. You’ll most likely want to upgrade the suspension and invest in some all-terrain tires to make it the complete package.
Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road – $33,500
Always at the top of the list of trucks that hold their resale value, the Tacoma TRD Off-Road will be a trustworthy companion on your Overlanding adventures. With aluminum 16-in wheels, electronic locking rear differential, downhill assist control, skid plates and a Bilstein suspension, no upgrades are necessary before hitting the trail. The TRD Off-Road’s smaller-diameter sway bars give it more wheel articulation but also more body roll.
Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro – $36,500
The Pro version of the Tacoma TRD series is basically an upscale version of the TRD Off-Road above. When new, MSRP is about $9,000 more for the Pro. What’s different? A lot of the features are an upgrade from the Off-Road version. For example, for the suspension, the Pro is equipped with 2.5-inch FOX Internal Bypass coil-overs and rear remote reservoir shocks. There are also many interior and exterior upgrades. There are plenty of articles online breaking down the differences if you can’t decide between the two.
Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series – $38,972
Out of all the Land Cruisers Toyota has made, this one tops the list as the strongest ever produced. Durable and acclaimed reliability, its payload, towing strength and roof load are unmatched. The 200 series has all the comfort you could ask for so long routes won’t take a toll on your body. It’s roomy and big so that affects gas mileage and maneuverability but other than those matters, the new Land Cruiser is a highly capable Overland vehicle.
Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 – $41,500
The ZR2 package on the Colorado is designed for off-road capability. Starting in 2017, Chevy began production of this trim level after highly favorable reviews as a concept at the 2014 LA Auto Show. There is a long list of off-road upgrades including a 3.5″ wider track, 2″ lift, electronic locking front and rear differentials, skid plates, rock sliders and “off-road mode” which alters traction control, shift calibration and stability control among other off-road enhancements. A powerful 308-hp 3.6-liter V-6 or a 186-hp 2.8-liter turbodiesel I-4 adds to the capability of the ZR2 as an Overlander.
Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro – $42,500
We know, there are a lot of Toyotas on this list. They are honestly that good. The 4Runner is a favorite of Overlanders worldwide. The TRD Pro is built for off-road use but has the comfort and driveability as a daily commuter. It’s exceptionally reliable, capable, roomy and well made. With this model you’ll get Fox shocks, all-terrain tires, locking rear differential, a skid plate, and Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) system. They are all standard on the 4Runner TRD Pro.
Jeep Gladiator (JT) – $46,152
If you combine the capabilities of the Wrangler and the roominess of the Wrangler Unlimited, you might end up with the Gladiator. Introduced in 2020, the Gladiator JT has 4 trim levels. You would think that the Overland version would be the choice for Overlanding but that would be incorrect, you’ll want to chose the Rubicon for its off-road capabilities. The Rubicon has front and rear-axle electric lockers and an electronic disconnecting front sway-bar. Another cool off-road feature is the front camera system. With it you can see obstacles in the front and to the side.
Ford Expedition XLT FX4 – $49,500
In 2018 Ford introduced the off-road version of the Expedition, the FX4. Features include electronic locking limited-slip rear differential, off-road shocks, all-terrain tires and 7 different skid plates to protect critical areas. The FX4 is very spacious with room for all your gear. It’s also very comfortable inside. Equipped with Ford’s Terrain Management System™ it automatically selects the optimal power transfer and engine control when you’re off-road.
Overland Vehicles Average Price Over $50,000
|Vehicle||Produced||Best Years||Worst Years||Low||High||Avg. Price||Low Year||Low Avg.|
|Ford F-150 Raptor SVT||2010-Present||2014-2020||2010-2013||$14,950||$103,500||$56,500||2011||$34,500|
|Land Rover Defender series||1983-2016, 2020||1986-2011||2012-2016||$16,500||$269,950||$139,000||1984||$79,400|
|Mercedes Benz G550 4×4²||2000-2018||2000-2018||None||$73,599||$274,996||$172,500||2017||$168,500|
Ford F-150 Raptor SVT – $56,500
A little wide for narrow trails but great in the desert. Plenty of power with a twin turbo 450 hp V6. Off-road extras include electronically adjustable Fox shock absorbers, terrain-management system, BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires, rear electronic-locking differential with 4.10 gears. Optional beadlock wheels are available to improve off-road traction by allowing super low tire pressure. Limited cargo room is its downfall when it comes to Overlanding.
Mercedes G-Class – $94,830
The unequaled peak of Overlanding excellence. Superb approach/departure angles, ladder frame, coil-sprung solid axles front and rear and three locking differentials. Obviously you have to be well-off to afford one but little or nothing has to be done to these to blaze new trails or follow the well traveled highways and byways. Very comfortable, sturdy chassis and plenty of cargo space. If you can buy the best, this is the one.
Land Rover Defender series – $139,000
The icon of Overlanding. This SUV has been in production for over 67 years so don’t let the high average price scare you away. You can find these under 30,000 which still sounds high but these are highly capable Overlanders. They stopped production with the 2016 model but resumed in 2020. The roominess and squareness makes it perfect for maximizing the cargo area. It has excellent ride quality and excellent gear ratios for off-roading. The only negative is its reliability.
Mercedes Benz G550 4×4² – $172,500
The most expensive Overlander on our list. This is a special edition of the W-463 Mercedes-Benz G-Class (above). With a 416 HP 4.0 liter twin turbo V8 this has loads of power. It was built to be lightweight but strong. Aluminum alloy is used throughout the engine to keep the weight down which improves nimbleness and fuel economy. I has greatly increased ground clearance and is wider compared to the standard G-Class. More off-road features include a seven-speed automatic transmission, and three lockable differentials, generous approach, breakover and approach angles as well as portal gear axles.