Adventure comes in all shapes and sizes, from exhilarating speedboat chases around the bay to rock-climbing in the Andes, but they all share one thing in common: You need the right gear to get to where the action is. Your little commuter sedan might be fine for getting the kids to soccer practice or heading off to punch the clock, but it isn’t going to have the mettle to go off-roading at the salt flats or climb the switchbacks of Kilimanjaro. That’s when you need an expedition vehicle with the tires, gears, and the stones to do the job.
With the rise of adventure tourism, there’s been several big names in the automotive industry that have kicked out some very impressive campers and extreme survival automobiles which are capable of dealing with the most dire of terrain while keeping those inside completely comfortable. These aren’t your average snowcats or unrefined, off-the-lot four-wheelers. These are the 10 most badass expedition vehicles for graduates from Hard-Knocks U.
Green Dream: Big as a house and sporting a construction-grade diesel engine, this is a sweet beast of a machine that is kind to the environment and truly technologically advanced. The heavy-duty exterior hides a loft-like inside complete with showers, WiFi, and all the comforts of home. Outfitted with a NASA-created water purifying system, this will go the distance and keep you knee deep in crystal clear H2O.
Action Mobil Atacama 7900
Take Your Pick: With a whole line of various luxurious vehicles to choose from, Action Mobil has created a whole industry unto themselves. The Atacamas are their most successful, built with loads of lounging areas that feel like uptown apartments. Using a 540hp inline 6 diesel, it isn’t as overpowered as it looks, allowing for a smoother ride. Lots of adjustments and customizations on the inside let you create a refined rolling command center that any Bond villain would envy.
Domesticated: Built around good-old American know-how, the XV-LT starts off with a Ford F-550 truck and builds it up to look deceptively like a nice shell camper, yet it is so very much more. Launched in the Motor City in 2003, this is an expedition vehicle that is at home on ordinary streets or tackling freeway traffic as it is offering comfort to 8 adventurers at the ends of the earth. Tough off-roading capabilities, acres of torque, and anything you could want from your home sweet home is included.
Mercedes Benz Zetros 2733
APC: The story here is sweet German engineering. While any kind of Zetros from Mercedes is going to be special, what matters most in a vehicle meant to go to hell and back as part of its daily commute is reliability. This model was made for wolf hunters near Ulan Bator, where it’s below freezing nearly every day. Equipped with a Bose sound system, ATV garage, and dual big screen TV’s, it’s a work of ground-pounding art.
Sportsmobile 4WD Vehicle
Switch Up: Rather than creating a brand new adventure machine from scratch, the people at Sportsmobile are going to convert your existing truck or van into a mean trail-stomping machine. They’ll take a stock Ford, Dodge, or Mercedes – among other models – and put their 50+ years of experience to work making it into your ideal rolling home on wheels. The loadout varies by vehicle, but they’re able to do everything you need and more, from electrical to plumbing, to engine tweaks.
UniCat MXXL 24 AH
Complete Comfort: Custom made to your specifications, UniCats are some of the most glorious vehicles anywhere thanks to their high powered engines and ability to keep passengers in the lap of luxury wherever they go. German engineered with 8×8 capability, huge seating arrangements, fully equipped kitchens and bathrooms, computer stations, multimedia outlets, and expandable fold-out parts that extend whenever you stop for even more elbow room, one of these is the best millions you’ll ever spend.
Applied Minds KiraVan
Girl’s Best Friend: Made by mad genius Bran Ferren for his daughter Kira, this huge vehicle began as a MaxiMog, a badass in its own right. Including a massive command center, there’s actually levels built into the interior, a floating rear end that can move independently of the front for better movement across broken landscape, satellite broadband, and multiple GNSS receivers. Oh, and it has a faucet with both hot and cold settings.
Into the Fray: Need an urban assault vehicle that can also help roust those lunatic militia members camped out on your lawn? Get the Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle, or L-ATV for short. It has independent suspension, a diesel electric hybrid drivetrain, armored sides for better crew protection, and a nice turret for your .50 cal should you find yourself vacationing on Fury Road. A true war pig, this is military might for the everyman.
Land Rover Defender Icarus by Alu-Cab
On Safari: Made in South Africa, a nation that is no stranger to strife or to tough terrain, this is a prime example of how good Land Rovers can be. Modified by Alu-Cab the Defender Icarus has an on-board rooftop tent for car camping, loads of lights inside and out, comfort seating for two, permanent 4-wheel drive, and all the ruggedness you’d expect from a Land Rover. Fun, breezy, and street legal, this could be your daily driver or long-distance pathfinder.
Avtoros Shaman 8×8
Little Nipper: Rather than going big and luxurious like some of its competition, the Shaman opted to reinvent the All-Terrain Vehicle into an 8×8 body with a distinctive sci-fi look. The reason for all the wheels is to handle swamps or severe sand where traction with anything less is nearly impossible. You’ll never want to drag this out on a road – thanks to its focus on force and power, not speed – but when you need to drive across quicksand, this is the car for you.
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