There’s a common misconception that you need to spend a ton of money to get into overlanding. This is no longer true, thanks to the booming used overlanding vehicle market.
We picked out the most affordable overlanding vehicles you can buy now. Our selections are based on personal experience and user reviews of each vehicle’s ability to tackle technical terrain, its weight capacity, overall reliability and overall value.
Suggested Model Year Range: 2009-2016
Estimated Cost: $15,000-$30,000
Why We Picked it: When Toyota redesigned the 4Runner in 2010, it birthed a competent adventure vehicle that continues to serve as an epitome of the company’s hallmark reliability. The fifth-generation model has a 4.0 liter V6 standard engine featuring Dual VVTi capable of producing 270 hp and 278 pound-feet of torque.
The SR5 4×4 model boasts a 1,625-pound payload. In addition, the 4Runner tops this list for its nearly universal aftermarket gadget support — meaning you can personalize your rig how you like. Our experience with a 2012 model finds it a capable vehicle on technical terrain with plenty of cabin space, high marks in terms of reliability, and a quiet, comfortable ride.
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
Suggested Model Year Range: 2007-2017
Estimated Cost: $10,000-$30,000
Why We Picked it: Named after the Rubicon Trail in the Sierra Nevada, this version of the Jeep Wrangler is one of the most popular adventure-ready stock vehicles you can buy. The Rubicon was introduced in 2002 and features locking differentials, rock sliders and long-travel coil suspension designed specifically for those who enjoy leaving the beaten path.
Because the Wrangler has long been a coveted adventure vehicle, tons of options are available for aftermarket components. Rhino Rack’s rugged Backbone roof rack is ideal for hauling outdoor gear, while the Smittybuilt Overlander functions as an ideal rooftop tent option. The only downsides? The vehicle’s 1,050-pound payload and a lack of interior space — but after a couple days driving the Wrangler in Colorado, we can attest to its class-leading abilities on technical terrain.
Suggested Model Year Range: 2005-2015
Estimated Cost: $10,000-$30,000
Why We Picked it: The Tacoma is a testament to how well trucks can perform as overlanding vehicles. It’s regarded as a “tank” by many owners and coveted for its long lifespan and reliability. It’s not outrageously expensive brand new, which means it shouldn’t be hard to score a used one on a budget. While any second-generation Tacoma can handle the road less traveled, the TRD variant is especially capable, with a locking rear differential and downhill assist control.
The Tacoma’s new V6b engine features 236 horsepower. The vehicle’s 1,2000-pound payload isn’t great for a truck but can be forgiven on account of endless aftermarket options. Although it’s no HiLux, the Toyota Tacoma is a capable overlanding vehicle for those on a limited budget.
Toyota UZJ 100 Series Land Cruiser
Suggested Model Year Range: 2005-2007
Estimated Cost: $15,000-$25,000
Why We Picked it: The number of Toyotas on this list is a testament to the brand’s reliability in the used-vehicle marketplace. Most Toyota owners account for exceptional vehicle performance, even after hundreds of thousands of miles. The Land Cruiser is the company’s longest running series of models, dating back to 1951. The 100 series was previewed in 1997 and includes two different versions of the series — the 100 and the 105.
The 2006 and 2007 models received the VVTi motor change, which increased the horsepower to 271, making for an ideal overlanding vehicle. The 4.7 liter V8 engine proved a huge upgrade from the 80 series I6. The 100 Series Land Cruiser offers a good balance of comfort, competency on technical terrain, reliability and aftermarket options. The biggest downside is trying to find one of these with low mileage.