Jungle 4 WD

I live in Nicaragua half the year where the roads to my beach front condo are frequently flooded, or there is a lot of mud. Looking for a 4 wheel drive diesel SUV that is strong, dependable, has high road clearance and where I can rotate the 16 or 17 inch wheels to 18 inch mud tires. Suggestions? Should be small enough for city traffic as well. Not many european or US cars here. Mostly Izusu, Toyota, Nissan, Hunddai, Honda, Daewoo, Great Wall, Mitsubishi, Kia, Suzuki.

Since this is a mostly US-based board and none of those trucks are sold here (well, we have gasoline versions of the Toyota and Nissan, but even those aren’t exactly the same), I don’t know if any of us can give a good recommendation. The best bet would probably be to just see what the locals drive and what the local mechanics can work on and get parts for.

The Toyota Hiluxes certainly have a good reputation and would have the advantage of sharing many components with the US Tacomas so you could probably shop for aftermarket stuff in the States.

Thanks for your response.

Here the Hilux, made in Brazil, has a mixed reputation.

I guess I’m mostly concerned about what trucks can take a larger wheel with it interfering with turning, etc. It won’t matter if its diesel or gasoline provided the body style is the same in the US and here.

Any ideas about wheels?

The biggest problem you’ll run into is if the vehicle has a different bolt pattern than the mud tires you currently have.
On another forum I frequent a poster lives in Panama and it floods pretty badly with just a tiny amount of rain. He just bought a Toyota 4runner and still owns a Mazda CX-7. He said his CX-7 made it through about 18 inches of water.
However, the CX-7 isn’t really an offroad vehicle, the 4runner is. If you plan to drive in flooded areas often, you might want to invest in a snorkel for the vehicle.

Thanks. The 4 runner is very popular here and it does come in diesel. I’m just wondering if the wheel well is large enough for larger tires (assuming I can get same bolt pattern). Yes, a snorkel is a very good idea.

A brand new Limited 4Runner comes from the factory with 18s, 265/65-18 it looks like. And since 4Runners are popular down there, you know you should be able to find someone who can work on it, unlike say a Ford F-350 dually, or something like that.


A Diesel automatic 4Runner with a snorkel it is! Great input. Now I just need to find the right tires for both mud and highway driving … contradiction?

Lots of great and very cheap mechanics here. During the Civil War 20 years ago, the US boycotted NIcaragua so folks here had to learn to do things without replacing black boxes :slight_smile:

I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but you’re also too hung up on the rim diameter-- pay more attention to overall tire size. The 265/65- 18 tires that come on the 4runner are only 31.5 inches tall, which is not a particularly large off-road tire. For the vehicles you’re looking at, you should be able to get pretty much any tire size on 16 or 17 inches (or even 15-- my neighbor’s Toyota has 35 inch mudders on 15 inch rims).

Also, having big open 18" alloy rims is going to be counterproductive-- the tires will be more prone to sidewall punctures, more debris will get onto the brakes and CV axles and plus your expensive pretty rims will get trashed. You’re probably better off getting 33-35" diameter tires on 16 inch steel wheels.