How did you select your car for your trip?

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#1 Wed, 01/07/2009 - 11:20

How did you select your car for your trip?

My husband and I spent quite a while investigating different car, truck, or van options for our trip across the Americas. At first we looked at the Volkswagon camper vans, as we saw that people had done this trip in their campers. However, we were shocked at how expensive even older models could be, and we also are not mechanics, so we were a little worried about their reliability. We had also discussed previously how the Honda Element seems like pretty functional, rugged, and inexpensive vans-SUV type vehicle. Following this idea, we found the Ursa Minor folks in San Diego, who take Elements and install a camper on top the roof. Overall this was less expensive than buying a Volkswagon camper van. Our car does definitely stick out here however. Our friends Kelsey and Tom who we met on the road, selected an older model Volkswagon hatchback they knew to be popular in Mexico. They definitely blend in more easily here, it�s easy to find mechanics who can fix their car, and the car and insurance we even less expensive than our Element. That said, they already have had to get some repairs for their car, so it�s a trade-off. Other thoughts on your car selection would be welcomed.

Fri, 05/01/2009 - 18:23

Durability, parts availability, liveability, and range would be what I'd look for!

I chose my old diesel landcruiser because parts are available in most countries in the Americas, it has an 800km stock range, is big enough to sleep in, and is (has proven to be) very hard to kill.

With all the experience I've had now and every vehicle I've seen on the road and gone through in my head, I would have to say my absolute first choice if I were to start again from scratch with what I know now would be a 4x4 diesel Toyota Hiace van. They are tough, ALL OVER latin america, have the living comfort of a van, tiny small for parking and navigating city streets, diesel, and 4 wheel drive. The only thing they sacrifice in my mind is accident safety compared to my cruiser, as they don't have 3 feet of steel between the driver and the road ahead. Also, not easy to purchase in my home country before leaving is the one major caveate.

Sun, 07/12/2009 - 18:59

I chose a toyota 4runner because I thought that in Mex and CA there are a lot of toyota pick up trucks, and that I could find similar parts and repearing easily.

After hitting the road (I am in Nicaragua now) I am so happy to choose Toyota.
Almost every 2 out of 3 cars here are Toyota, and a lot of 4-runner as well.
Mexico was the only country in which Nissan was the king of the road - all the rest of CA Toyota is the ruler.
Very easy to find Toyota dealership, certified mechanics and parts.
in Honduras there are huge HUGE signs that says:"Teritorio Toyota" (Toyota land) and that is true for all CA.

Wed, 12/29/2010 - 12:34

From our facebook page

Hi Gang,
Glad to have found you on Facebook. My husband and I are taking a 6 month honeymoon and driving to Brazil via may turn out that we only drive to Panama and fly to Brazil but that is a story for another day.
We have done some preliminary planning but seem to get stuck in the vehicle conversation. Can anyone put us on the right path for choosing a vehicle? I say Toyota, he says Ford, I say truck, he says SUV, van, something where the front and back are connected for safety. We are at an impasse. Thoughts?