The #vanlife looks good on the Instagram, but let’s face it, the hashtag sometimes looks better than reality—especially when your thirst for adventure doesn’t end where the pavement does.
Imagine, for a moment, trying to drive across soft beach to that perfect sandbar, muscling through Central American rivers, or getting up Teton Pass in a low clearance 2WD van? All the tapestry falling from the windows and the hemp milk spilling right out of the fridge… What a mess.
No, for the kind of adventure you’re looking for, you’ll need something a little more rugged. A sweet Mercedes G Class might do the trick. Picture your boards atop a ton of torque, three locking differentials and something called “G Mode.” Pretty sweet, right?
Yeah, and if you have $130k budgeted for your vehicle, you’re stoked. If not, you’re probably looking for an older model truck with some muscle, something you can afford that still has some pep.
So, we laid out some of the coolest old off-road vehicles out there for those thinking of upgrading to some 4-wheel-drive power. Now unfortunately, the vehicles of yesteryear didn’t always get the greatest gas mileage. Keep in mind, vehicles were heavier then, made mostly of steel. Today there’s more aluminum alloy and plastic.
A 1986 Dodge Ramcharger gets 11 mpg while a modern Toyota Highlander Hybrid boasts 28. That’s likely going to be an issue when you have to fill up. And these days, many of us have some kind of ethical dilemma with personally punching holes in the atmosphere.
So here’s the realistic gas mileage of some of the coolest old rigs out there. (And if you’re under 35, you better learn how to drive a stick.)