Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by Bert1568, Jul 18, 2006.
And there's a new one out, which is close to the same size as the old RR.
The ML looks pretty embarassing now. It's never been the toughest looking SUV, but it's latest iteration has just abandoned all pretense and is styled like a taller Honda Odyssey
My coworker replaced his 8 year old Honda Odyssey with a 2013 ML450. It's a nice family car.
Exactly...it's a car. "SUV's" like the Acura MDX and new ML and new Pathfinder, etc. are all just thinly disguised mini vans/station wagons nowadays. Which is fine for 95% of Americans who will never take them off the pavement.
It just amuses me to watch the Pathfinder commercials where they go on and on about the off-road heritage and imply that it's capable of going anywhere, when it's pretty obvious that they just turned it into a mini van. Any moderately difficult "path" would be littered with muffler and bumper parts if someone really wanted to take that thing off-road
You did not give price as a metric. And as far as "category" you said something about the "nicest out of the box off roader." We both seem to agree the LR4 is highly capable and nicer. Also, I'll put a stock LR4 up against a stock 4Runner Trail. I'll put it up on the trail and I'll put it up pulling up to a nice restaurant.
my God, i googled the Pathfinder, and that's what it looks like now?! the thing looks like it has the ground clearance of the Quest, and that front end looks like it might barely clear an anthill without scraping (slight exaggerations)
The funny thing about SUVs is that they market them as being tough and go anywhere, but there is genuine value for families in that the additional height makes them perfect for taking kids in and out of car seats. One of the biggest changes in American car usage in the last 20 years is that you now have to keep kids in some form of car seats until they're 7 or 8 years old. My wife is adamant that an SUV is going to be her vehicle of choice for that reason alone, even if we never needed the extra ground clearance for anything else.
The fact that you can take them off road is obviously generally ancillary except insofar as people enjoy projecting a certain image. And let's be honest using a vehicle off road for sport is a vanishingly small enterprise - certainly less than 5% of Americans do that on an annual basis. I've found the extra ground clearance helpful but not necessary for blowing over snow drifts in the mountains and getting to trailheads over dirt/gravel roads more quickly without having to worry about the wear and tear on the vehicle, but have friends who get around just fine in tahoe in mid-80's FWD sedans.
As for actual off-roading as a sport/leisure activity - have to say it seems odd to me when I think of people taking cars and doing rock crawls with spotters. I love hiking and mountain biking but offroading at low speed for sport as opposed to necessity is something I've never wrapped my head around. I certainly have enjoyed my time on safari and getting into some gnarly areas in order to see cool stuff, but there was always a goal in mind and offroading was necessary to achieve that goal. On the other hand - I get dirt biking and ATVs - both are a blast.
I'm not knocking in any way people who offroad for sport - I just don't see it as something I would pursue.
Most SUVs are as capable off road as a fish on land.
True. I was just subconsciously picking a vehicle that would cost about the same as a Raptor (which would be low $40's) but I didn't specify that.
For the sake of argument, I'd take the 4Runner Trail over the LR4 off-road for two reasons. Late model Rovers have excellent traction control systems, but with the 4Runner's rear locker, almost 1,000 lbs less weight, and wider tires (the 265/70/17 vs. 255/55/19 will offer a much bigger contact patch especially when aired down), I think the 4Runner has the edge on traction. The laws of physics almost demand it. Approach/departure/breakover angles are very similar so it's a draw there. The one place where I think the Rover is pretty weak is ground clearance through the length of the undercarriage, so for highly rocky terrain and/or ledge work it's at a disadvantage as the lack of a rear axle keeps the goodies closer to the ground. And again with a vehicle that heavy you can't bang the bottom up continuously or something's going to break. The LR4 might be better in water fording, but I don't drive off-road in water as our place is desert. The other stuff is very relevant to me.
I totally agree on this. We have really rough roads on our ranch and it's a necessity to drive on them if we want to check water tanks and get to certain areas, but as you say that's a necessity. When I want to have fun I'd much rather be in the Yamaha Rhino (which is a damned good little off roader as well).
how about the Touareg? i never took my 2005 offroad, but i would put its interior quality up against any luxury SUV out there, and onroad i think it can hang with all the others except for the Cayenne, X5M and AMG's. it also seems to be pretty well respected for its offroad abilities...
I think the 1st gen Touareg was a reasonably capable off-roader when equipped with that air suspension they had. Not sure if that suspension is still an option but I know the newer ones look closer to the ground than the 1st gen did. That said, it wasn't in the same class as the Rovers, Jeeps, 4Runner, Land Cruiser. They undercarriage and overhangs were not designed for abuse.
Good answer. FWIW, the Rapter is 50k. Also, you really think .2" ground clearance is that big of a difference? I'll leave someone else to talk about the laws of physics, weight, and traction but I always thought weight increased traction (Usable Traction = coefficient of Traction x Weight). Oh, and the LR4 has a rear locker available so you can get that out of the box with it too.
It's not the .2 inches as much as how the suspension is set up on a vehicle that doesn't have a solid rear axle. See this for a quick explanation: http://www.wittenburg.co.uk/offroading/Concepts/Suspension.html.
And this might be mostly anecdotal, but my LR experience is that there tend to be more low points than I have on my 4Runner...hence more banging around on rocks.
Good point on the traction...I should have clarified. Weight is going to give you more traction when driving on level ground in the rain or snow for instance. It will give you less traction when you are trying to navigate up or down hills (off-roading) because the heavier the vehicle, the more it wants to move downhill when you are either trying to go uphill or to stop it from going downhill at a high rate of speed. So for off-roading purposes weight is the enemy.
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