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Choosing an Overlanding vehicle - 80 Series v 90(Colorado)
My first post!
OK, everything I have read and the advice I have been offered suggests that the LC80 is the vehicle of choice when undertaking a trans Africa overland expedition. I was hoping to buy one come June/July and spend the remainder of year getting it ready for a Jan 12 departure date (London to Cape Town). However my searches to date for a vehicle have not been going well, the cheap ones are in an awful condition and the good ones cost a small kings ransom. I have also noticed that there seems to be plenty of Colorados for sale, I ignored them at first such was my fixation on finding an 80. However, I started to think, whats wrong with a Colorado? There are plenty for sale, lots of choice, less demand, as a result you seem to get more bang for your bucks, I assume they are capable vehicles, can they be preped for overland use? Can the sages of this board offer some advice with regards to the pros and cons of each series given the overlanding task in hand.
It would just be me and the girlfriend travelling. We are heading to Cape Town via the West Africa route, sticking to roads with no real intention to be doing any dune bashing or seriously hardcore offroad stuff. Looking at preparing the vehicle with a basic spec of roof rack + tent, split charge system, OME suspension upgrade, snorkel, new tyres, extended fuel tanks and a basic storage system.
I used a Defender 110 for my West coast Trans-Africa trip and have owned a Colorado (90 / Prado) as my UK vehicle after returning from Africa. The Toyota would easily have managed the routes we took and would probably have performed better when exploring the desert. Ground clearance was never an issue except in muddy Gabon.
Personally I would suggest you go for the Colorado. The price point in the UK is making them very affordable and the equipment options are now readily available from many traders.
Talk to people who have done the trip in a Colorado. Here are links to a few trips that have / will be using the Colorado:
Whilst 80's are ideal in almost every way, the Colorado should be just fine.
I say almost, the only problem with them now is the price.
Shameless plug, but check our site, my wife and I are going from London to SA ... in a Colorado.... through the west coast!
We leave this Tuesday .
We have similar intentions - no heavy bundubashing, or far off-piste travels. But we will want to get to some remote places too. Timbuktu etc. Didnt do too much to the vehicle. Roof tent (after much deliberation), OME suspension, split charge with a fridge in the back. tinted the windows. thats the major things done.
If you go for the Colorado, try go for one with the D4D engine. better economy and the engine isnt prone to its head cracking... like mine did the KZTE.
No biggie though, if you get one, just change the radiator. about £100. good preventative measure.
In 3 or 4 months we'll report back and say if the idea was a good one or not
I've had similar dilemmas and with a bit of work you can equip the Colorado to be able to deal with most environments and terrains. Not sure I'd go with the snorkel and the extended fuel tanks just because of costs (3x20 liter jerries in a wooden/carpeted crate and cleaning your air filter from time to time should suffice)
Agree with DrKev regarding the 2000-2002 Colorado D4D engine, it's also got quite a bit more torque and horsepower, and as stated is more economical.
Have a look at the Nissan Patrol as well, they're a good alternative to the 80 and sturdier than the Colorado. The post-2002 3.0 is a safe bet, and the pre-2000 2.8 liter version (Y60 and Y61) are decent engines, just need regular oil and filter changes.
Have you had a chance to read Chris Scott's Overlanding Handbook? Pretty useful, and his Sahara Overland is a bible for the first part of your envisaged trip.
Is there enough space in the Colorado for a long over-landing trip though?
Not owned one, but they seem a bit tight for room when I've sat inside. I'm not super tall, but remember having no leg room in the back.
The Patrol is a good option, plenty of people in Aus rate them for expedition use and much roomier than a Colorado. Not many about in Africa though, so not sure how you'd go finding parts.
Obviously even better than all those, and even an 80, would be a Troopie.
Very hard to find one in the UK, but as an even more shameless plug than DrKev's, I'll be arriving from Africa in a couple of months and looking to sell my kitted out HZJ75. Bull bar, dual batteries, roof rack, awning, roof tent, fridge + assorted camping gear. You know it makes sense
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