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4wd for commuting and lite off-road

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4wd for commuting and lite off-road

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Old 03-03-2013, 08:56 PM
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4wd for commuting and lite off-road

My 03 has been my only vehicle and I'm getting a little tired of a dually 6 spd tree stump puller for errands and commuting. I know very little about 4x4s and I been reading up. The 4x4s that I've been around were 60-70s and had 2spd cases and lockout hubs. It's sad that not too many 4x4s get much better mpg than my 03. I work with several serious hunters and guys who grew up in the mtns and I'm trying to learn all I can. I don't care about crawling but I might want to hit some rough/steep trails. Jeep wranglers go for a kings ransom around here and I don't want to spend that much when it will only get 5k miles a yr - 99.9% hiway and only a few days in the desert. I'd like to keep it small and with a small engine for better mpg, in case I start driving it to work - 70 miles round trip. I hear old 4L cherokees are a good choice and also geo trackers. What about Libertys? What about all the fu-fu 4x4s like fore runner, crv, s-10 size GMs, montero, rodeo, rav 4, samarai, etc? I don't care if it will win any races. A 4 cyl auto would be fine with me. Any input, welcome! Craig
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Old 03-06-2013, 07:03 PM
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I've personally run a '91 cherokee around off road and a '02ish 4runner. They were both surprisingly capable for very little mods. I'm a fan of the Cherokee because of the solid front axle but it will ride/drive worse when you're on road because of it. You could try to find a diesel Liberty as it should get better mileage and still be good off road. I can't comment on how they do as I've never driven them but I know they're out there.
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:40 AM
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if you were just doing errands and some off road i would say you cant go wrong with a Jeep XJ ( cherokee) they have room for gear or groceries very reliable and can be had cheap, and are small enough to manauver easily, i am a big fan of front straight axle rigs for reliability and ease of maintaince, but that 4.0 isnt a gas miser, maybe 15-18 on the road depending on gearing..
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Old 03-08-2013, 08:17 PM
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Use your truck for the .1% of off roading you plan to do and buy dare I say it.. a Honda civic. I have my 4X4 truck for hauling and a Landrover for crawling but my wife and I drive Honda civics around town, the kids did too when they lived at home. Good on fuel and extremely reliable. My daughter bought a new Jeep patriot 2 years ago and sold her 1993 civic with over 400000 km 250000ml she was inundated with calls about the car even though she pulled the ad off line after only 2 hours, sold it to the first person to show up for $1500 what she asked.
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:45 PM
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I also had the same issue last year....Was tired of driving Cummins for short trips around town and in the salty mess of Michigan roads....I picked up a 99 XJ sport for 2500 bucks and truely love it. I drive 80 miles round trip to work mostly backroads and rural highways and its a little tank, short trips are excellent and the dog loves the room, only rough part I see is the 18-19 mpgs, but other than that I am now a huge fan.
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:21 AM
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No such thing as a $2500 cherokee around here. It tough to find one with less than 150k miles for under $5000. It's the same way with all the 4wds. How are the Libertys for offroad? I rented one about 5 yrs ago and really liked it. Were there any smaller v6s in the cherokees? Craig
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:23 PM
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The only smaller engine offered in the XJs was the 2.5l 4 cylinder, I think.....I had one in my wrangler and wasnt a terrible motor, but I hated that Wrangler....
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:18 AM
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If you're looking at old(er) 4x4s then you can't beat the Cherokees, 4 runners.
If you can find a late 80s early 90s GM S-10 they are pretty capable off road and the 4.3l is bulletproof. Can be had for less than the above vehicles.
Wife, gf at the time had a 91 S15 Jimmy 2 dr 4 wd. Put a ton of miles on it with no issue and ran some of the tougher trails in CO with it.
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:02 AM
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If you can find and unmolested Cherokee buy it. I would stay away from the Liberty unless it were a diesel. In reality neither of these rigs will get you much better mileage than your truck.
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Busboy View Post
Use your truck for the .1% of off roading you plan to do and buy dare I say it.. a Honda civic. I have my 4X4 truck for hauling and a Landrover for crawling but my wife and I drive Honda civics around town, the kids did too when they lived at home. Good on fuel and extremely reliable. My daughter bought a new Jeep patriot 2 years ago and sold her 1993 civic with over 400000 km 250000ml she was inundated with calls about the car even though she pulled the ad off line after only 2 hours, sold it to the first person to show up for $1500 what she asked.
This. Get a small car for running around town and commuting... I've got a diesel Jetta. Awesome little car, rides nice and gets 42mpg to boot (50+ if I do 55mph and stick to mostly the highway)
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Old 06-26-2013, 12:43 AM
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I think a Cummins Ramcharger makes a good all purpose vehicle. Of course you'd probably have to make one.

Originally Posted by TJAR66 View Post
I would stay away from the Liberty unless it were a diesel. In reality neither of these rigs will get you much better mileage than your truck.
I wouldn't touch Jeep's CRD - or any other electronic diesel. Wife has a gas/6spd Liberty with a small lift and it is surprisingly capable for what it is. The mileage is comparable to my 1st-gen cummins, maybe a tad worse even lol!

I'm debating picking up a Mercedes 190D (NA diesel 5spd) for a DD
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Old 05-14-2014, 04:12 AM
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I will most likely not make any friends with this but here goes anyway,stay away from the liberty's, I know of 5 folks who have them in various years and trim levels and they are all suffering major driveline and suspension issues,and none of them have been offroad,and I would not advise any wheeling other than possibly a few un maintained dirt roads,I have helped a few of the 5 friends work on there rigs and see no real potential for real off road survival. Same for all the silly little rav's and crv's and trackers and samuri's ect. I know there are some exceptions but these vehicles were not ment for the trails,yes even if jeep puts trail rated badges on. I agree with others that you can't go wrong with older xj's or wrangler yj's for occasional trail use. I know here in N.E p.a. They are a dime a dozen for late 80's early 90's models, cheap to get,simple to wrench on and huge aftermarket support.
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