Best choice for daily driver & off-road?

Messages
34,215
Location
NJ
I'm looking for the perfect "all arounder" for my needs which consist of hauling things when need be (house/landscaping etc), as well as weekend off-road trips. I've narrowed it down to the following vehicles. I'm in no rush, and a lot can happen between now and when I'm ready (chip shortages are creating supply issues). *should be noted that I actually use 4WD when I have one. This won't be just a mall crawler.

Colorado ZR2
Ford Ranger FX4/Tremor
Jeep Rubicon/Gladiator
Tacoma TRD OR
4Runner TRD OR

What I like about each:

Colorado ZR2 - pros: is very capable with front locker and good on road. The more I see this truck in action and read the reviews (8.5 from Car & Driver), the more I'm impressed. con's: that iffy 8 speed automatic. However the DMAX fixes that bc it uses the 6speed.

Ranger FX4/Tremor - pros: Good all around truck with a good powertrain. Highest towing/payload in class. Quick. con's: FX-4 is a somewhat dated off road package. Interior is average. Ride is average. Tremor model fixes all those issues. No front locker but terrain management systems using brakes are getting quite good at emulating a true locker. Would have to build it up a bit on my own if I got the FX-4.

4Runner TRD OR- pros: reliable, capable off-road/rear locker. cons - dated across the board, and expensive considering the fact.

Tacoma TRD OR - pros: reliable and capable off-road. con's: small interior, doesn't ride that well and engine/AT is clumsy.

Jeep Rubicon/Gladiator - pros: unmatched off road ability, looks. Gladiator trim has a bed. cons: questionable reliability, price due to insane demand.
 
Messages
199
Location
Georgia
Subaru Crosstrek.

Otherwise, I'd be getting the ZR2. Interior isn't remotely impressive but it's the best small pickup out of the bunch. Closely followed by the Tacoma TRD but you can't get a dealer to drop a dime off of those. Easy to get $10K off of the ZR2 or find a used one with low miles for pennies.

But I wouldn't daily drive ANYTHING up there... they all get garbage gas mileage. Maybe the Ranger is better, but I hate those. Bouncy suspension and interior is cost cut (seats don't fold flat up or down in rear... wasted space).
 
Messages
1,033
Location
California
I wonder if GM ever really solved the transmission problems? I was looking seriously at a GMC Canyon, but just found the web littered with horror stories.

  • "The GM 8-Speed Transmission Needs To Go Away ASAP: Opinion" - https://bit.ly/33gKAxm
  • GM faces possible class action lawsuit over 8-speed transmission - https://bit.ly/2VmYjS4
  • GM 8L90 and 8L45 Transmission Problems Cause Lawsuit - https://bit.ly/2VelttR "the V8 Camaros, Silverados and Suburban/Tahoe use the 8L90, not the 8L45 but they have the same problems."
I have a stock 2019 Tacoma 4WD SR5 with the 3.5L V6 which gets, according to the dash display, about 20MPG around town and 25MPG on the highway.

Ed
 

buster

Thread starter
Messages
34,215
Location
NJ
Subaru Crosstrek.

Otherwise, I'd be getting the ZR2. Interior isn't remotely impressive but it's the best small pickup out of the bunch. Closely followed by the Tacoma TRD but you can't get a dealer to drop a dime off of those. Easy to get $10K off of the ZR2 or find a used one with low miles for pennies.

But I wouldn't daily drive ANYTHING up there... they all get garbage gas mileage. Maybe the Ranger is better, but I hate those. Bouncy suspension and interior is cost cut (seats don't fold flat up or down in rear... wasted space).

ZR2's are so nice. Everything but that interior that is....lol. Ford Ranger I think rides well enough. Body on frame truck. If you upgrade the shocks to Fox, it solves the ride complaints.

Crosstrek doesn't cut it for my needs.
 

buster

Thread starter
Messages
34,215
Location
NJ
I wonder if GM ever really solved the transmission problems? I was looking seriously at a GMC Canyon, but just found the web littered with horror stories.

  • "The GM 8-Speed Transmission Needs To Go Away ASAP: Opinion" - https://bit.ly/33gKAxm
  • GM faces possible class action lawsuit over 8-speed transmission - https://bit.ly/2VmYjS4
  • GM 8L90 and 8L45 Transmission Problems Cause Lawsuit - https://bit.ly/2VelttR "the V8 Camaros, Silverados and Suburban/Tahoe use the 8L90, not the 8L45 but they have the same problems."
I have a stock 2019 Tacoma 4WD SR5 with the 3.5L V6 which gets, according to the dash display, about 20MPG around town and 25MPG on the highway.

Ed

Yeah that's the one thing about the ZR2. You're taking a big risk with that transmission.
 

buster

Thread starter
Messages
34,215
Location
NJ
No price limit? G-wagon. They don't really depreciate that much once you're beyond the first few years.
LOL mid $40's is my limit.

I could build up a Ranger FX-4 which can be had under $40k. I don't want a full size truck. Mid size despite overpaying for less space.
 
You left out the new Frontier! :oops:

A neighbor traded a newer 4Runner for a Gladiator when they came out, had it 3 months and hated it. Said nothing about it was Toyota level quality. He traded it back in on a new Tacoma. Had that 6-8 months and traded it back in on a new 4Runner. Been wondering what it cost him to make that circle.

Spend some time in a Gladiator before you pull the trigger, it's a Jeep thing and you have to be all in or you probably won't like it. Be sure to check real world mileage and turning radius.;)
 
Messages
199
Location
Georgia
Most owners - the vast, vast, vast, vast, vast, vast majority - of owners are having zero issues with their GM 8-speed. A few people have had bad experiences. I know 10 people personally who have had issues with Ford and Toyota transmissions who think it's a rampant issue... it ain't.

There were lawsuits about the 4L60E... yet in hindsight it is regarded, truthfully, as one of the best 4-speed transmissions ever made. They often go 200K miles without ever being serviced. GM did put it in cars that were too heavy for it, like the Tahoe and Suburban, but they even lasted there.

The ZR2 is the superior truck functionally. The interior isn't much better than a Chevy Cavalier, but... functionally, the best.

You're not actually considering the Ford. That truck looks good in Europe, not America. They could have spent a couple bucks on making that interior as good as the Toyota's but instead decided to spend more time on floofy blue paint jobs and FX4 stickers. Snooze fest.

In the end, you will get the Toyota. You know you will. It's the best looking. It's got the highest resale value.
 
Messages
199
Location
Georgia
Honestly, if I were to buy a mid-size truck, I'd get a Nissan PRO-4X. Ancient interior but equally as capable off-road and nothing to break.
 
Messages
10,754
Location
MA
gently used, 10 years old is right in OP’s budget.

they’re triple locked but have horrible flex for a solid front truck
Yeah, could probably drive a used G-wagon for 10 years and sell it for 3/4 of what you paid for it.
 

buster

Thread starter
Messages
34,215
Location
NJ
Most owners - the vast, vast, vast, vast, vast, vast majority - of owners are having zero issues with their GM 8-speed. A few people have had bad experiences. I know 10 people personally who have had issues with Ford and Toyota transmissions who think it's a rampant issue... it ain't.

There were lawsuits about the 4L60E... yet in hindsight it is regarded, truthfully, as one of the best 4-speed transmissions ever made. They often go 200K miles without ever being serviced. GM did put it in cars that were too heavy for it, like the Tahoe and Suburban, but they even lasted there.

The ZR2 is the superior truck functionally. The interior isn't much better than a Chevy Cavalier, but... functionally, the best.

You're not actually considering the Ford. That truck looks good in Europe, not America. They could have spent a couple bucks on making that interior as good as the Toyota's but instead decided to spend more time on floofy blue paint jobs and FX4 stickers. Snooze fest.

In the end, you will get the Toyota. You know you will. It's the best looking. It's got the highest resale value.

Agree on some points. The Ranger is a good truck IMO. Highest payload, towing and it's pretty quick. A Ford tune ups the hp by 50. The Tremor is on par with the ZR2. The ZR2 is fantastic other than the cheap interior/transmission, but no vehicle is perfect. I drove a Tacoma a few years ago and didn't like it. I'll drive one again soon to see if it has changed. The new Frontier is a consideration, but its so new I'm not sure yet.

Ford tested the new Ranger to the equivalent of 150,000 miles of a 90 percentile customer (really no one here on these forums are remotely close to 90 percentile) and should perform well for a long time.
 

4WD

Messages
16,814
Location
Texas
ZR2 DMax is an off-road marvel and runs the 6 speed … advanced suspension like no other …
Also think there is negative exaggeration here about the interior

8DC01579-3828-440B-90F4-3E1CF425E627.jpeg
 
Messages
1,102
Location
Virginia
I would go with the Ranger or the 4Runner. I’ve driven both and like them.

My Sierra had the 8 speed and I won’t make that mistake again. I also had a 2016 Tacoma and that power train is not a fun experience either. I have no experience with Jeeps, but I think something about the proportions of the Gladiator are off.
 

buster

Thread starter
Messages
34,215
Location
NJ
ZR2 DMax is an off-road marvel and runs the 6 speed … advanced suspension like no other …
Also think there is negative exaggeration here about the interior

View attachment 53042
I agree the interior isn't that bad at all IMO. Could be better, but you can say that about a lot of cars. Those MM shocks are awesome.
 
Messages
14,738
Location
Central NY
Out of that list above, I'd pick Ranger or 4 runner. Wish the Ranger had a front locker available, that really would set it ahead of the Canyonado in every way. Personally not a fan of emissions diesels, especially in lighter vehicles. Emissions diesels work in one situation and one situation only: Running 2000 miles a week under hard load dragging 50000 pounds of trailer behind them.

Subaru Crosstrek.

Otherwise, I'd be getting the ZR2. Interior isn't remotely impressive but it's the best small pickup out of the bunch. Closely followed by the Tacoma TRD but you can't get a dealer to drop a dime off of those. Easy to get $10K off of the ZR2 or find a used one with low miles for pennies.

But I wouldn't daily drive ANYTHING up there... they all get garbage gas mileage. Maybe the Ranger is better, but I hate those. Bouncy suspension and interior is cost cut (seats don't fold flat up or down in rear... wasted space).

Apart from ongoing AC problems, my forester is just about the perfect all-around commuter vehicle. I've had it on some of our Jeep trails and it's held its own for its size. It also has great road manners and is pretty fun to drive with the 6 speed and STi rear swaybar. If I really need to haul something like drywall , plywood or make dump runs, I have a homemade utility trailer I can tow behind it. I honestly prefer that over my F-350 for building supplies and dump runs.

If I didn't need to tow a vehicle around for hobbies, the Forester would be perfect for ALL of my driving.
 
Messages
49
Location
Formerly CARJ Olathe, KS
If you are willing to buy used, mid $40's will get you a nice 200 Series Land Cruiser. If new, I would vote 4Runner. It's a proven off-roader yet it is still civilized on-road. Resale has always been good on them. There is a ton of aftermarket support should you want to make it more off-road worthy. It might be an older design, but why does that matter? They have power options, a/c, Apple Car Play, navigation, cruise control, ect.
 
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