Finding a vehicle with the right balance of reliability and durability is the key to picking the best vehicle for your trip. Members of the online question and answer community Quora.com have compiled a few suggestions for the journey, and the dream garage, as it were, is as diverse as the cultures a driver would experience along the way.
The obvious choice
Sometimes it’s best not to overthink it. That is the prescription of Quora user Mark Baker, who argues that the vehicle needs to be simple, capable of moving even when damaged and easily repaired when it comes to rest. Citing the Royal Geographical Society Expedition Handbook (yes, it’s a thing) Baker cautions against capable but massive vehicles such as Humvees or 6x6s because they can’t be unstuck with a good push or towed by local vehicles.
Instead, he defaults to a smaller vehicle with an outsize reputation. “The Land Rover Defender has been a leading expedition and military vehicle for many years and would be my first choice if going off road,” Baker writes. The latest Defenders can tackle hill gradients up to 45 degrees, have 250mm (10in) of clearance between the ground and the axles, and make short work of rugged terrain. And more often than not, with their 3,500lbs of towing capacity, they’re the ones helping motorists out of a jam.
The former owner of an Audi Q7 and a Toyota Land Cruiser, Baker notes the Land Rover would be best-suited to drive across the world. “High performance 4x4s will tend to be highly stressed and lack both ground clearance and suitable approach and exit angles – things that the Land Rover excels in.”
The Toyota lovers
But Toyota has a long history of tacking the planet’s toughest driving environments as well, and Philippines-based Quora user Webin Manzana thinks the latest version of the Land Cruiser is still up to the job. “If you are going to drive around the world in comfort and in a highly reliable vehicle that can go through any terrain, temperature, rain, flood, snow, ice, on-road or off-road... the best choice is none other than the Toyota Land Cruiser 200,” he writes, referencing the current model of the SUV available in the Asia-Pacific region. (A more luxurious version is sold in North America and Europe.)
While the 200 may not be as rough around the edges as its forebears – the latest Sahara version comes with a built-in drink cooler – Manzana says the balance of durability and comfort are what make it the best choice.
But that’s not the only Toyota in the running. Pradeep Amaresan says the Toyota Hilux – a pickup truck sold in most every corner of the world besides the US – would do the trick. He cited Top Gear’s infamous trek to the North Pole in 2007, and its excursion to an active volcano among the highlights on the truck’s CV. “Enough said!” he added.
The wild cards
Of course, there are many parts of the world where one doesn’t have to climb rocks or pick through shallow rivers. So for those looking to stick to the pavement, Quora users offered up a couple suggestions.
Baker says he’d ditch his Land Rover for a Dodge Challenger if there were enough paved roads along the journey. “If you just want something simple… this packs more fun per mile and per kilo than anything else around,” he argues.
And if muscle cars aren’t your cup of tea, there are other unconventional rides to choose from. “Let me present to you the Bentley Continental GT,” Kushal Shrinivas writes. “Nothing beats her majesty. It's a monster in terms of speed yet calm and comforting.”
He says its all-wheel-drive platform makes it perfect for all kinds of flat surfaces, with superior safety to boot – and as Top Gear’s James May proved in Series 19, it isn’t afraid of a bit of mud:
Most readers will stick to purpose-built off-road vehicles if a country-hopping expedition were on their calendar. In a pinch, however, the Bentley’s optional jewel fuel-filler cap would make a good bartering chip for an extra tank of gasoline.
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