General Question

zenzen's avatar

Best small second hand 4x4 - and what is the oldest model you'd get and why?

Asked by zenzen (4077points) September 4th, 2013

Jimny? Terios? Vitara?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

18 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

I’d consider a CRV. Hondas last, and you can go as far back as 2004 (I drive a ‘99) and get a pretty reliable car.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’d go with Jimny and would stay above 1995. The earlier versions late 80’s early 90’s had a reputation for rolling over. Suzuki worked hard to fix the vehicle and gain back consumer confidence. That means they had to work doubly hard – the “we try harder.” syndrome.
What are your plans for this vehicle – dunes? Certainly not for maneuvering in snow.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Subaru Baja for a Auto / Truck cross. They were made from 2002 to 2006. Good for sand on beaches or easy off-roading. Not for loose sand on dunes.

LuckyGuy's avatar

And used Jimnys are low cost…. almost disposable.

rojo's avatar

Go with the Toyota Tacoma dated somewhere between 2000 – 2007. If you search, you can still get low milage ones and they are extremely well made and dependable.

Personally I like the size and shape of earlier models (say pre 1995) but it is hard to find one that has not been rode hard and put away wet too many times.

jerv's avatar


@rojo Toyotas from the early/mid-80s don’t care if you ride them hard and hang them wet. I could tell you a few stories about my ‘85–87 Corollas and other people’s trucks of the same vintage, but suffice it to say that the only one that actually died was the one that drove under the rear end of an SUV on the interstate; something no car handles well. Any abuse short of that is shrugged off.

rojo's avatar

Yeah. Mine gave up the ghost in a head-on collision with an F-250 but she took out the Ford as well. And, the best part of it was I walked away from it with minor injuries, not as injury free as the drunk chick in the Ford, but she had that distinct advantage of being in that totally relaxed state that come from too much alcohol.

No, my only problem is the HUGE amount of mileage these old trucks rack up before they are finally sold.

jerv's avatar

@rojo My stepfather’s ‘95 Celica had just over 350k miles when he traded it in a couple of years ago, and still ran like the day he bought it new. The one I smashed up had 257k and was likewise running great until the radiator hit the engine block. Mileage means nothing to an old ‘yota.

antimatter's avatar

I had a Jimmy by the time I sold it most of it was pop riveted.

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

Another vote for Toyota, specifically the Hilux. This vehicle is notoriously tough to the point where it is displacing the venerable Land Rover as the vehicle of choice for outbackers, low-rent militias and backwoods hoons worldwide. It’s light, reliable, comfortable for large drivers, and not especially top-heavy.

One of my particular “dream cars” is a turbo-diesel 4×4 Hilux.
The disadvantage is that small Toyota pickups are becoming increasingly difficult to find. The diesel versions are especially rare and can fetch over $10k for a runner in poor condition. The gassers are nowhere near as bad, but since Toyota doesn’t make small trucks in the US anymore they are slowly disappearing (and climbing in price when you can find one.) Also OEM parts are expensive and sometimes hard to find for any Toyota, but fortunately there’s a large and healthy aftermarket out there.

WestRiverrat's avatar

46 Willys Jeep CJ2. Easy to work on 4 cylinder engine with 3 speed manual transmission. Not much for comfort as it has no cabin, but it will run forever and get you anywhere you need to go.

rojo's avatar

Ohhh, I had a chance for a 1955 Volvo 4wd army truck and a let it pass. I have regretted it ever since.

zenzen's avatar

Thanks guys. Can’t be a truck. Small Jeep-like suv only, like the jimny or hinda crv.

jerv's avatar

In that case, an old 4Runner. Same chassis, different body.

However, the only reason I can see to go SUV over truck is if you must have the back seat… but if you need moth a back seat and cargo space, there are certain station wagons that have more room than many SUVs. I know the Rav4 was smaller than my old Saturn wagon, and had less ground clearance than my Subaru.

I also know that I’ve had better luck on the roads in a New England winter and mud season in FWD than in 4WD/AWD. I only ever got stuck in my driveway 3 times due to snow; two of those were in 4WD vehicles and could’ve been avoided if I were 500–700 pounds lighter (the typical weight difference between 2WD and 4/AWD). The added weight makes them more dangerous on ice too, so I know you don’t want this thing for winter driving unless you’ve never driven in the winter before and somehow think 4WD will magically protect you.

Regardless, I would avoid any SUV-like thing built after 1988 except for 2nd-gen 4Runners. After that point, they stated going after frou-frou-ness than anything resembling reliability or utility. I’ve seen too many Fords with blown main seals and GMs with bad transmissions to trust the American stuff after the first-gen Blazers and old Broncos. And the Import stuff is basically larger, heavier, less safe cars with nothing really added (and, usually, quite a bit subtracted) in the way of practicality.

rojo's avatar

Look for an H2 hummer. Brick on wheels. You can get a mid 2000 model pretty loaded for about 15k and it will take you anywhere your heart desires.

jerv's avatar

@rojo Not quite. I thought it was funny that my ‘98 Mazda 626 with four bald tires made it up my driveway while the milspec HMMWV the National Guard had out there could not follow me.

rojo's avatar

except into @jervs’ driveway. Don’t try to go there.

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

If you can afford $15k for an H2, then you can probably get a Unimog and really go anywhere (not just places wide enough to drive a semi!). The Mog is an unstoppable legend- frequent conqueror of the Paris-Dakar rally, beloved of various Western European militaries, it’s basically a funky implementation of road-legal heavy equipment. Some of them are hinged in the middle and have a PTO at each end!

Back when I lived in Vermont the guy who plowed my driveway drove a Unimog with a PTO snow-blower. The eighth-mile-long, two-lane driveway took him about 30 seconds to clear.

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