Today's entry has me looking for a vehicle to go camping in. I don't have much of a preference for SUVs, crossovers, or wagons, I just need something that meets my need to go camping for a reasonable price. Here's the situation: I have a medium-sized trailed I will be towing, which will require my vehicle to have a tow rating of at least 3,000 lbs. I also have some kids I'm bringing camping with me (and a wife), so I'll have a voracious need for cargo space. Beyond that, while I won't be doing a whole lot of off-roading with my trailer hitched, I will definitely want all wheel drive and a high ground clearance, as well as highly available torque at low RPMs. My price limit for this is $40,000. Some other features I need are fog lights and traction control.
OK there are a ton options in this category, including wagons, SUVs, crossovers, and even a minivan! Options range from a Dodge Journey at $26K to Ford Expedition at $39K. So to get down to a more reasonable number of vehicles to choose from, I've set a minimum horsepower of 200hp. You can see my filter list here. On the priorities page, I've set cargo space, ground clearance, total passenger volume, tow rating, torque, and power to weight ratio as my priorities.
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So let's look at some of the runners up, of which there are plenty. There are four options that come within 25 points of each other (out of over 3,000!), and those are the 2014 Kia Sorrento SX V6 AWD, 2013 Nissan Xterra PRO-4X 4x4, 2013 Toyota 4Runner Trail 4x4 V6, and 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T AWD. And of those four, the Nissan Xterra and Hyundai Santa Fe are the clear value winners, with the Nissan doing better in cargo space and clearance, and the Hyundai focusing on power-to-weight and fuel economy. Both of these can be gotten for around $30,000, which is significantly lower than the Ford Expedition.
Finishing in the middle of the pack are our outliers, the minivan 2013 Toyota Sienna XLE AWD 7-Passenger V6, and the wagon 2013 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited. The former obviously focuses more on total passenger volume, sporting a mind blowing 164 cubic feet in that department, and also includes seating for seven, the only entry in this comparison to do so. The Subaru is the smallest and lightest vehicle of the bunch, and is the more economical, winning the top spot in highway fuel economy (though it comes in behind the Hyundai Santa Fe in city mpg). These are each great options if you need either more room for your kids, or would like a smaller footprint.
1st - 2012 Ford Expedition XL 4x4
2nd - 2013 Nissan Xterra PRO-4X 4x4
3rd - 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T AWD
Last Notes: I also have a soft spot for the Subaru because I personally prefer smaller vehicles, so I wanted to give it a shout out here. Maybe a future post will look for the most economical camping vehicle?