If you’re planning an overlanding trip for the family, you’ll likely want to opt for the market’s best family overland vehicle to transport your loved ones safely, securely, and comfortably. With so many options out there, it can be challenging to determine which one is right for you.
In this article, I’ll take you through 5 great vehicle options for overlanding with your family. Your budget is going to be a significant factor in choosing your family vehicle.
5 best family overland vehicles:
1. Toyota 4Runner
The Toyota 4Runner is an exceptional choice for a family overlanding vehicle. With its rugged design, standard 4-wheel-drive, and an engine that seems to run forever, it’s sure to take your family on plenty of exhilarating adventures!
With seating for 5, this vehicle is ideal for the small to midsize family. A family of four would sit comfortably while still having ample space for cargo.
The 4Runner is one of the most popular vehicle choices for overlanding, which means that it also has a great demand for off-road parts and accessories. You will have plenty of options for customizing your vehicle to fit your needs!
In addition to being a great off-road vehicle, the 4Runner makes an excellent daily driver. When you are not out on an adventure, take her on your commute to work, dropping the kids off at school, or running to the grocery store!
2. 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser
Midsize to large families will find plenty of seating for everyone in the Toyota Land Cruiser. This vehicle comes standard with two rows (5 seats), with the option of adding a 3rd row (8 seats).
With three rows, the cargo space is minimal. However, you will find plenty of room for all of your necessities behind the second row if you choose the 5-seat option. For those families that require the third row, storage options are available for the roof that can be added to fit your needs.
The 100 series Land Cruiser is a step above the 4runner and is known for comfort, reliability, and longevity. The V8 engine provides enough get-up-and-go to tackle almost any terrain!
3. Jeep Wrangler JK
The Jeep Wrangler JK comes in a 2-door or 4-door option. The 2-door seats 4, and the 4-door seats 5. For families, I would recommend the 4-door option. Whether you need the 5th seat or not, having four doors will create ease when entering and exiting the vehicle as well as increase legroom.
Of all five recommendations, this vehicle has the least amount of cargo space, and so it is recommended for smaller families or those who have mastered traveling lightly. There are additional accessories for storage available if necessary.
Featuring solid axles in both the front and the rear, the Jeep Wrangler JK is one of the most popular overlanding vehicles because of its capability to handle all kinds of terrains and obstacles.
4. 2021 Ford Bronco
The newly released 2nd Gen 2021 Ford Bronco was highly anticipated since they stopped production in 1996. It’s a dream for the overlanding adventurer with a ground clearance of 11.5 inches and strong off-road capabilities. You can even remove the doors and roof for the ultimate sightseeing experience!
This vehicle would be an excellent option for a family of 4. Like the Jeep Wrangler JK, the Ford Bronco offers a 2-door or 4-door option. Again, I recommend the 4-door option so that you can take advantage of the added space that the 5th seat provides.
Because the Bronco is newly released and is in high demand, it comes with a hefty price sticker, and it may be difficult to get your hands on one.
5. Ford Transit Passenger Van Wagon
The Ford Transit Passenger Van is mammoth in size with plenty of room for children, pets, cargo, food, water, supplies, you name it! With the capability of seating up to 15 passengers, you will definitely not run out of space.
This van comes standard with rear-wheel drive but has an upgrade option for intelligent all-wheel drive, which I highly recommend for anyone attempting to take this beast overlanding.
There are several different configurations for seating, offering space for 1-15 passengers. You can choose one, two, three, four, or even five rows! Because it is a new model, it is up-to-date with modern tech and safety features.
The Ford Transit Passenger Van would be a great fit for a large family (6+).
Here’s the specs for each family overland vehicle we covered above so you can compare side by side:
|Vehicle||Drivetrain||Ground Clearance||Cargo Space||Seats|
|Toyota 4Runner||4WD||9.6 inches||47 cubic ft||5|
|100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser||4WD||9.8 inches||20.8 cubic ft (3rd row) 55.4 cubic ft (2nd row)||5 – 8|
|Jeep Wrangler JK||4WD||10.2 inches||31.7 cubic ft||4 – 5|
|2021 Ford Bronco||AWD||11.5 inches||38 cubic ft||4 – 5|
|2022 Ford Transit Passenger Van Wagon||AWD||5.7 inches||15.3 – 138 cubic ft (depending on seat configuration)||Up to 15|
How To Choose The Best Family Overland Vehicle
There are several non-negotiables when it comes to an overlanding vehicle for families. You will find plenty of customizable options and “dream” modifications that can be added to most vehicles.
When choosing which overlanding vehicle you want for your family, be sure to consider these essential factors:
- 4×4 (4WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD): Having 4WD or AWD capability will give you peace of mind when you inevitably find yourself in difficult driving conditions. You could be facing snow, slush, mud, and more- and with your family onboard, you’ll want to make sure you have the ability to keep your vehicle moving.
- Adequate ground clearance: It’s important to consider what kind of obstacles you’ll be facing with your family. More challenging obstacles could require 8-15 inches of ground clearance, but if you plan on staying on well-maintained trails, 6-8 inches of clearance should be sufficient.
- Cargo space: Depending on how many people you will be traveling with, you will need to have enough room for all of your personal belongings, food, emergency supplies, camping gear, spare parts, tools, and water.
- Seating for 4+: How big is your family? Remember that you need adequate seating for each member of your household, space for cargo, as well as comfortable leg-room. If you plan on taking extended trips, you definitely do not want to sacrifice comfort!
As the overlanding community rapidly grows, more and more vehicles are being released, modified, and outfitted to accommodate these treacherous journeys. If overlanding with your family is your intention, you’ll need to find a vehicle that has enough space for cargo, children’s car seats, emergency equipment, and more!
The best family overland vehicle for most people is the Toyota 4Runner. It offers seating for four, space for cargo, and long-term reliability. It’s moderately priced and has plenty of horsepower to get you where you’re going. It also makes a great daily driver when you’re not out adventuring!
Before choosing your overlanding vehicle, be sure to consider your unique needs as a family. The best vehicle for one family may not be the right fit for another.
Considering off-road capabilities, ground clearance, seating capacity, and cargo space, the best overlanding vehicle for families is the Toyota 4Runner. When comparing the Toyota 4Runner to the other vehicles detailed in this article, it seems to be the best fit for a broad range of people.
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David is an accomplished mountain endurance athlete who has completed over 25 ultra marathon races (follow on Strava). He is most proud of his finish at The Drift 100 – a high elevation, 100 mile winter foot race that zigzags along the Continental Divide in Wyoming. In the future he hopes to compete in the ITI 350 and ultimately the full 1,000 mile Iditarod Trail Invitational that follows the same path as the historic dog sled race.