Car/SUV Suggestions

I am going to be getting a new car but really indecisive and unsure of what I should get and would love some suggestions and reasons!

I am looking for something with 4wd, good for off roading, and preferably good mpg since I do a lot of cross country road trips. I’d like something that is reliable, will last a long time, and not overly expensive with repairs.

I’ve been really wanting a 4 door jeep wrangler, but they are awful with gas and seem expensive with repairs. I’ve also looked into the toyota 4 runner and subaru outback, but didn’t totally love either of those (the 4runner seemed a bit big for me, the subaru didn’t seem great for off road adventures)

Would love any input and suggestions!

First of all, how many miles do you put on 1) in city driving, 2) “Cross country on highways”, and 3) cross country on no roads.

All off road type 4WDs have less than excellent gas mileage and you have to plan for $6 per gallon at least over the life of the vehicle.

A Wrangler is brutally uncomfortable on long distance drives; I would not wish it on my worst enemy. It also has a not so great repair record. So you could rent one for a weekend and prove me right or wrong. For really roughing it and still have a good highway vehicle the Toyota 4Runner is one of the best. It’s standard equipment in the Australian Outback. It’s also very reliable. Our familiy doctor is an outdoors type and he has a Toyota Highlander, a very capable vehicle as well.

You are right about the Subaru; they are great in snow but don’t go roughing it in woods with one.

Your wish list has some mutually exclusive items; decent gas milage, yes, good gas mileage NO, in what you are looking for.

The Honda CRV and Toyota RAV4 are good AWD vehicles. You should at least drive them as they are smaller that the others mentioned. My son is an outdoors type and he is shoppping for the same type of vehicle. He will buy a RAV4 or a Hoda CRV.

Car based SUVs are the best for gas mileage but the worse for true off roading. If you mean just dirt road travel, any economical CRV, RAV or Forrester / Outback type will work. Highlanders are no better then the basic Rav and is, like an Outback, just a raised, reinforced car and are not in the same class off road with a 4 Runner. None except the 4Runner and Wrangler you mentioned will work for true off roading as you need slid plates, full frames (with a few exceptions) and low range gearing. No exception here ! All Jeeps tend to have problems I could not put up with.

If you mean true off road, the cheapest and most reliable is a 4 cyl Tacoma short bed 4wd standard transmission and is fairly economical for what it will do that can really go anywhere with the best of them. They will last a long time, are ultra reliable, but need a good back for long trips. True off road is stream fording and rock crimbing and knee high mud driving… Anything less then purpose built vehicles like 4Runners, FJ Cruisers and the Nissan Xterra and Frontier truck and the like are wannabes. The cheapest problematic SUV is the previous generation Liberty.
I would not recommend one. The last economical off roader was the Suzuki made, Suzuki Sidekick, Grand Vitara, Geo Tracker of several years ago. That could be a used option but they are horrendous at speed on the open road, and they don’t make them anymore, and the maker, Suzuki is moving out of town( out of country).

Good Mileage and off road are seldom found in the same sentence. So, you need to rethink your priorities as you can’t have it all.

You need two vehicles. Definitely.

What you asking for will inevitably result in a compromise at one end or the other, probably large ones. No good long distance vehicle will also be capable of off roading, and vice versa, as already explained.

I’d suggest you start with the Toyota pickup mentioned by dagosa. See if you can find a good used one, owned by someone who didn’t bash it around. Don’t overlook a used one with a good body but engine problem. It may be a bargain to buy cheap and then have the engine professionally rebuilt if the physical condition is good.

Then start honing in on the freeway flyer you need. It may take a while to figure out which cars might suit your comfort, cost, style, and fuel economy requirements.