Five New Cars That Are Great for Overlanding
There’s something for everyone, whether your focus is on budget, #VanLife aspirations, or accommodating kids.
Choosing an overlanding vehicle can be very intimidating. You have to figure out where you want to roam, how many people will roam with you, and how much money roaming will take. Remember that payload—the weight of people and gear—is key when choosing an overlanding vehicle. Overload your vehicle and you’ll put extra stress on the chassis that it won’t be able to handle.
Here are five vehicles that might work for your next adventure, whether you’re taking a short trip with kids or a yearlong #VanLife sabbatical.
If you have kids and cash, look no further than the EarthRoamer LTi. Built on a Ford F-550 four-wheel-drive chassis with a 6.7L turbo diesel, this luxury, bulletproof camper can go pretty much anywhere. The LTi can carry 100 gallons of fresh water and comes with 1320 watts of solar power. The kicker? The price: A base EarthRoamer LTi starts at about $620,000.
2022 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
If you want to get into that #VanLife, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a solid option. We like the Crew Van 4x4, which starts around $57,000. However, if you want to build out the interior with a sleeping area and a small kitchen, you’ll want to upgrade the chassis to handle at least another 1550 lbs for an extra $5,500. Although the interior features don’t scream luxury, the Sprinter is still a comfy place to be for long periods of time.
2023 Toyota Tacoma
You don’t need to spend a bundle to get off-grid. We like the Taco for its reliability; also, you can get parts pretty much anywhere in the world if things go awry. For the best value, start with the SR5 trim in four-wheel drive with the V-6 plus a double cab with the Trail Edition package for about $42,000. This gets you a rear locking differential, a 1.1-inch lift in the front, a half-inch lift in the rear, skid plates, and more aggressive tires. Payload rating on this configuration is good for more than 1100 lbs.
2022 Jeep Gladiator
A convertible isn’t usually what you think of when you hear “overlanding,” but if you want the wind in your hair, the Jeep Gladiator is here for you. We like the Gladiator Rubicon for its bevy of off-road bits, starting around $51,000. The Gladiator gets that renowned Jeep capability—and if you snag the 3.0L diesel, you’ll get a manufacturer-claimed fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon combined. However, payload suffers on this trim at just a smidge over 1000 lbs. You can get 1535 lbs of payload on the less expensive Gladiator Sport with the 3.6L V-6 gas engine, but you’ll need to upgrade your tires and add a rear differential locker at the minimum.
2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness
Who says you need a big ol’ vehicle to get out in the wild? The Subaru Forester Wilderness is a pretty cool little ride with plenty of capability. Subaru doesn’t give a specific payload rating, but the roof can hold a dynamic load of 220 lbs while the static load is 800 lbs. That’s plenty to carry a rooftop tent for people to sleep in at night. With 74.2 cu. ft. of space, there’s lots of cargo room—almost as much as the larger Outback Wilderness. Plus, the Forester has 9.2 inches of ground clearance, all-wheel drive, and comes in around $34,000.