SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES
Note that there are two types of used 4X4s you’re likely to encounter: part-time and full-time four-wheel drive. Part-time four-wheel drive should be engaged when road conditions are wet and muddy or if roads are snow covered. The four wheels are locked together to turn at the same rate of speed. On dry pavement, driving in 4X4 mode will strain the drivetrain and damage the driveline components.
Full-time four-wheel drive (also called all-wheel drive) is a more sophisticated system that permits driving on any surface. A centre differential lets all four wheels turn at different speeds.

Also, keep in mind that safe off-roading requires suspension, engine, and drivetrain packages and other components, such as off-road tires and a skid plate, that may not have come with your vehicle. Check your equipment before attempting any risky driving.

Recommended
Honda CR-V (2002)
Lexus LX 450, LX 470 (1998-2002)
Lexus RX 300 (2001-02)
Nissan Xterra (2001-02)
Subaru Forester (2001-02)
Toyota 4Runner (1996-2002)
Toyota Highlander (2001-02)
Toyota RAV4 (2001-02)
Toyota Sequoia (2001-02)

Above Average
Acura MDX (2001-02)
BMW X5 (2000-02)
DaimlerChrysler Dodge Durango (1999-2002)
DaimlerChrysler Jeep TJ Wrangler,YJ Wrangler (1997-2000)
Ford Explorer (2002)
General Motors Blazer, Envoy, Jimmy (1999-2002)
General Motors Suburban, Yukon XL (2001-02)
General Motors Tahoe, Yukon (2001-02)
General Motors Tracker (V6)/Suzuki Grand Vitara (2000-02)
Honda CR-V (1997-2001)
Honda Passport/Isuzu Rodeo,Trooper (1998-2002)
Infiniti QX4 (1997-2002)
Lexus LX 450, LX 470 (1997)
Lexus RX 300 (1999-2000)
Nissan Pathfinder (2000-02)
Nissan Xterra (2000)
Subaru Forester (1998-2000)
Subaru Impreza (1997-2002)
Subaru Legacy, Outback (1997-2002)
Toyota 4Runner (1986-95)
Toyota RAV4 (1997-2000)

Average
DaimlerChrysler Dodge Durango (1998)
DaimlerChrysler Jeep Cherokee,Grand Cherokee (1995-2002)
DaimlerChrysler Jeep TJ Wrangler, YJ Wrangler (1987-96; 2001-02)
Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute (2001-02)
Ford Excursion (2000-02)
General Motors Blazer, Envoy, Jimmy (1998)
General Motors Suburban,Yukon XL (2000)
General Motors Tahoe, Yukon (1995-2000)
General Motors Tracker/Suzuki Sidekick, Vitara (1994-2002)
Honda Passport/Isuzu Rodeo,Trooper (1993-97)
Hyundai Santa Fe (2001-02)
Nissan Pathfinder (1997-99)
Subaru Forester (1994-96)
Subaru Legacy, Outback (1991-96 AWD; 1989-96 front-drive)

Below Average
Ford Expedition, Navigator (1997-2002)
General Motors Aztek, Rendezvous (2001-02)
General Motors Blazer, Envoy, Jimmy (1995-97)
General Motors Suburban,Yukon XL (1995-99)
General Motors Tahoe, Yukon (1990-94)
General Motors Tracker/Suzuki Trooper Sidekick (1989-93)
Honda Passport/Isuzu Rodeo, (1986-92)
Kia Sportage (2000-02)
Nissan Pathfinder (1987-96)

Not Recommended
DaimlerChrysler Jeep Cherokee, Grand Cherokee (1985-94)
DaimlerChrysler Jeep Liberty (2002)
Ford Explorer, Mountaineer (1991-2001)
General Motors Avalanche (2002)
General Motors TrailBlazer, Envoy, Bravada (2002)
General Motors Blazer, Envoy, Jimmy (1983-94)
General Motors Cadillac Escalade (1999-2002)
General Motors Suburban, Yukon XL (1985-94)
General Motors Tahoe, Yukon (1985-89)
Isuzu Axiom (2002)
Suzuki XL-7 (2002)

MINIVANS
Minivan ownership costs are quite reasonable, according to the American management consulting firm Runzheimer International, which has concluded that it costs less to operate a minivan than it does many compact cars. Still, most minivans are overpriced, and motorists needing a vehicle with large cargo- and passenger-carrying capacity should consider a cheaper GM Vandura or Chevy Van, even if it means sacrificing some fuel economy and convenience features (they can be added by most conversion shops at competitive prices). You just can’t beat the excellent forward vision and easy-to-customize interiors that these large vans provide.

Above Average
Ford Villager/Nissan Quest (1997-2002)
Toyota Sienna (1998-2002)
General Motors Astro, Safari (2001-02)
General Motors Montana, Silhouette,Trans Sport, Venture, (1997-2002)
Honda Odyssey (1999-2002)
Mazda MPV (2002)

Average
DaimlerChrysler PT Cruiser (2001-02)
DaimlerChrysler Caravan, Voyager,Grand Caravan, Grand Voyager, Town & Country (2001-02)
Ford Villager/Nissan Quest (1995-96)
General Motors Astro, Safari (1996-2000)
General Motors Lumina, Lumina APV, Trans Sport (1995-96)
Honda Odyssey (1996-98)
Mazda MPV (1996-01)
Toyota Previa (1991-97)

Below Average
Chrysler Caravan, Voyager, Grand Caravan, Grand Voyager, Town & Country (1998-2000)
Ford Windstar (2000-02)
Mazda MPV (1988-95; 2001-02)
Not Recommended
DaimlerChrysler Caravan, Voyager, Grand Caravan, Grand Voyager, Town & Country (1984-97)
Ford Villager/Nissan Quest (1993-94)
Ford Windstar (1995-99)
General Motors Astro, Safari (1985-95)
General Motors Lumina, Lumina APV, Trans Sport (1990-94)
Kia Sedona (2002)

FULL-SIZE VANS
From a reliability perspective, GM full-sized vans come out on top, again, with Ford and Chrysler tied for second place. Apparently, Chrysler’s last redesign has led to an overall improvement in component quality, while Ford’s quality control has slipped as of late. Some of the more common problems shared by all three automakers: engine problems, drivetrain breakdowns, ABS brake failures and premature brake and suspension wearout, AC failures, and electrical/computer module glitches.
Above Average
General Motors, Cargo Van, Chevy Van, Express, Savana, Vandura (1980-2002)

Average
DaimlerChrysler Ram Van, Ram Wagon (1980-90)
Ford Econoline Cargo Van, Club Wagon, (1980-90)

Not Recommended
DaimlerChrysler Ram Van, Ram Wagon (1991-2002)
Ford Econoline Cargo Van, Club Wagon, (1991-2002)

PICKUPS
In choosing a pickup, decide first what characteristics best correspond to your driving needs. Chevrolet’s full-sized C/K models (C1500, GMC Sierra, etc.) aren’t impressive, due to their poor quality control and sub-par performance. Still, I’d place them slightly ahead of Ford and Chrysler for dependable powertrain performance. The 1998 models had a limited production run and are now eclipsed by the better performing, more fully equipped 1999 Silverado and redesigned Sierra. The older C/Ks do have lots of power, a quiet interior, and a third door, but you also buy into a less comfortable ride, ponderous handling, and sub-par braking.

The post-1996 F-150’s advantage is its pleasant ride on bad roads, well-thought-out ergonomics, attractive styling, and good—though not exceptional—fit and finish. On the downside, the transmission shifts roughly and handling is vague. As well, reliability has fallen to average, mainly due to an increasing number of engine, fuel system, and automatic transmission complaints on low-mileage trucks.

Dodge full-sized pickups rate a third-place designation due to their emphasis on style over substance. Although they are aggressively styled, come with a fourth door, and are usually more reasonably priced than the competition, they aren’t as well equipped, use outdated mechanical components, and have quality-control deficiencies that are almost as extensive and expensive to correct as those found on GM’s C/K pickups.

Finally, can someone tell me this: What is the difference between GMC and Chevrolet full-sized trucks? I say, zilch. Apart from cannibalizing Chevrolet sales, the GMC nameplate only increases administrative costs and customer confusion.

Recommended
Nissan Frontier, Pickup (1985-2002)
Toyota Tacoma (1999-2002)

Above Average
DaimlerChrysler Ram 1500 (2002)
Ford Ranger/Mazda B-series (1994-2002)
General Motors C/K, Sierra, Silverado (1999-2002)
Toyota Tacoma (1987-98)
Toyota Tundra (2002)

Average
DaimlerChrysler Dakota (1993-2000)
DaimlerChrysler Ram 1500 (1986-2001); 2500, 3500 (1986-2002)
Ford Ranger/Mazda B-series (1984-93)
General Motors C/K, Sierra, Silverado (1994-98)
General Motors S-10, Sonoma, T-10 (1999-2002)
Isuzu Space Cab, Hombre (1997-2002)
Toyota Tundra (2000-01)

Below Average
DaimlerChrysler Dakota (1987-92)
Ford F-Series (1990-2002)
General Motors C/K, Sierra, Silverado (1988-93)
General Motors S-10, Sonoma, T-10 (1996-98)
Isuzu Space Cab, Hombre (1989-96)
Not Recommended
General Motors S-10, Sonoma, T-10 (1986-95)

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