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Hey y'all.
First things first, I'm new to the forum.
I live in Southern Alberta and have been getting into a lot of offroading in the area.
My current vehicle is just a stock 2009 Subaru Outback manual.

I originally wanted to modify my Subaru to make it more capable offroad. I had plans for a 2" lift, big tires, and then maybe some other things to help, like a rear locker.
Though recently I was looking at the cost of doing all of this VS the cost of just buying a 3rd Gen 4Runner that comes factory with a lot of this.

The Subaru would be sitting at about 11" of ground clearance with the lift and tires, plus the rear locker will help with up hills, but being manual means I can't install a center diff lock (Possible on auto Subarus). Its still a 50/50 full time split, that can be improvedwith beefed up center diffs.
The 4Runner comes factory with 10" of ground clearance and a true 4WD system. And I'd only put 31's on it.

I'd be into both vehicles for roughly the same amount of money, but my 2 worries are:
With the Subaru, even after all the mods would a stock 4Runner still perform better
With the 4Runner, gas mileage. With gas being at 1.919/L, and only going up, it's hard to give up the Subarus good fuel economy, especially because I have to drive about an hour to get out to any trails.

Not sure if this is posted in the right section, but any points would be great or other vehicle recommendations would be great.

Thanks,
Ben
 

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Welcome! Better to visit a Subaru specialized forum if you want to learn more about modding. 4Runner is well-known for its off-road capabilities. My friend got a 2009 and it has been very capable on-road and off-road. He recently installed new brake pads and toyo tires last month. He's impressed with the traction and smoothness on the road. Never heard him complained about mpg.
 

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The most important feature of a good off-road vehicle is a two speed gear box. With even a Suzuki wagon I could go up the roughest trails by having it in compound low and crawling at less than 1 mph through the rocks. With a 2.75:1 change in gearing the 3rd gear in compound low as roughly equal to 1st gear in high range. Virtually impossible to crawl through stuff without a low range option.

In terms of a locking rear differential this is an option with the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 4WD pickups but with Toyota it needs to be added later with a third party locker. Toyota and GM have resorted to a bit of a fraud by selling trucks with limited slip differntials that are really limited spin differentials. The limited slip is provided by applying the brake on the wheel that is spinning too fast. This has been sold on vehicles for many years as "traction control" which is OK for a BMW on wet pavement but not applicable to improved traction off the road.

Modifying a vehicle should be limited to adding accessories like a winch or different tires and going beyond that makes a vehicle less reliable. Not a problem if you have support vehicles and a trailer to take your broken car or truck to a garage but not wise otherwise. I never want to break down 30 miles from the nearest well traveled road and need to walk out and if I do get a ride to a town to convince someone with a 4WD tow truck to go rescue my vehicle. It is prudent to be self-sufficient and not rely on using your cell phone (if there is service0 to call for others to bail you out. Even more important if there are other people who are relying on you to get them safely home.

For off-road use I would go with a Tacoma pickup and add a fiberglass cap to be able to carry more provisions, including extra water, when exploring off the pavement. The 4Runner is OK but it have very limited cargo space, more than a Wrangler but that is still not saying much.
 

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Hey y'all.
First things first, I'm new to the forum.
I live in Southern Alberta and have been getting into a lot of offroading in the area.
My current vehicle is just a stock 2009 Subaru Outback manual.

I originally wanted to modify my Subaru to make it more capable offroad. I had plans for a 2" lift, big tires, and then maybe some other things to help, like a rear locker.
Though recently I was looking at the cost of doing all of this VS the cost of just buying a 3rd Gen 4Runner that comes factory with a lot of this.

The Subaru would be sitting at about 11" of ground clearance with the lift and tires, plus the rear locker will help with up hills, but being manual means I can't install a center diff lock (Possible on auto Subarus). Its still a 50/50 full time split, that can be improvedwith beefed up center diffs.
The 4Runner comes factory with 10" of ground clearance and a true 4WD system. And I'd only put 31's on it.

I'd be into both vehicles for roughly the same amount of money, but my 2 worries are:
With the Subaru, even after all the mods would a stock 4Runner still perform better
With the 4Runner, gas mileage. With gas being at 1.919/L, and only going up, it's hard to give up the Subarus good fuel economy, especially because I have to drive about an hour to get out to any trails.

Not sure if this is posted in the right section, but any points would be great or other vehicle recommendations would be great.

Thanks,
Ben
Ben- Welcome to the forum! I have a '16 Outback that I've put off road tires and skid plates on and it does very well on MOST off road trails. However, like ElkHornSun2 recommended, check out the Subaru forums for better information on modifying your Outback for your needs.

I've recently picked up a first generation Toyota Tundra as I wanted more elbow room and towing capacity than a Tacoma, but wanted it at a fair price. Subaru's are very capable off road--depending on your goal. If you're just doing logging roads, and some steep semi rough roads, and endless dirt, they're great for that. However, you want to do more technical trails that require climbing over larger rocks, a truck or SUV that is equipped for heavier terrain is your best bet.

I am running a semi stock '05 Tundra Double Cab 4x4. I have added some niceties like larger tires, after market rims, step up suspension, on board air (for airing down/up tires on rough terrain), a second battery to run my fridge, additional skid plates, and auxiliary lighting. Not EVERY vehicle has to be lifted. It's personal preference and what your plans are for your off roading adventures.

Good luck on your decision!
 
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