In this edition of Ask Nathan:
- Replacing off-roading Honda Accord?
- Is Datsun coming to the United States?
- Visiting Moab, UT – suggestions?
Today’s first question comes from a viewer who is replacing his Honda Accord for an off-road vehicle.
My name is Peter L. I have a 2005 Honda Accord and have always taken it places off road It should never go on. This is primarily because I like exploring and camping in the wilderness but don’t have a vehicle that can handle it. I have lived in both Bend, Oregon and now in Tucson, Arizona; two places in which I wished/wish for an off road capable vehicle. Anyway, I am looking to buy a 4 wheel drive vehicle. I like early 2000’s 4runner but I would love all of your opinions; Roman, Nathan and Andre, if this is a good buy, and or, what is a good reliable, fairly cheap to own and maintain off road worthy vehicle for around 6,000$?
Also, keep up the good work. You guys are awesome. Please do more off road reviews. See what an ’05 Accord will do. (more than most people think)
A: That’s awesome! I truly enjoy folks who like to trail-blaze in a vehicle that are decidedly not off-road worthy.
Taking your parameters into account, Roman and I agree that the Toyota 4Runner is a smart buy. Despite recommending the Lada Niva, Andre finally came around and agreed with our choice. The Nissan Xterra is a good buy for off-road folk too. They are rugged and very capable, you can get a fairly recent Xterra for around 6K.
You could look at an older Wrangler, but they tend to require more maintenance, especially if they are “well used.”
Bottom line: the 4Runner is a good bet.
Thanks for the email!
If you have any snap shots of your Honda Accord in the dirt, send them our way!
This next question is from a fan who wants to know if Nissan is considering bringing their discount brand Datsun to the USA.
Q: Hi Nathan,
You’ve mentioned that you like small, inexpensive cars. Me too! I know that Nissan makes some of the cheapest cars in the states, but they lack character and fun. I like what I am seeing in India with Datsun. Small, affordable and fun! How cool would it be to get a new car that’s fun and economical for under $7,000? I think they would sell well. What do you think?
You guys are awesome!
Todd (Mr. Hinky-dink Jr) in Chicago
A: Thanks for that email Todd!
I’ve mentioned Datsun to a few of the higher ups at Nissan and not a single one was dismissive of the idea, which is encouraging. Usually, they say that if there is a business case to bringing Datsun to the USA, they will look into it.
A friend of mine in Mumbai drove the Datsun Go and truly enjoyed it. He said it was the art of simplicity, a car that is honest and simple yet fun to drive. Some consumers like a vehicle that has returned to the basics.
I think it would be a challenge to build and federalize their Datsuns for North America. Consumers in the U.S demand comfort features like power windows, automatic transmissions (or Nissan’s CVTs), air-conditioning, and electronics, which would be cost prohibitive.
The last question comes from a fan who is considering a visit to Moab, Utah.
Q: Hey guys!
Firstly, I love everything about TFLCar.com, and enjoy every video adventure you guys go on. Secondly, I was trying to think of places to go for a 4-5 day automotive adventure / road trip. Pacific Coast Highway or Blue Ridge Parkway, maybe, but didn’t fit my timeframe too well. But then I thought, why not Moab, because you guys are always out there testing off-road rigs!
So here’s my question: what kind of things would I do in Moab to get a good experience, as a first time visitor, and a would-like-to-be off roader? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for everything!
– Shazar K
Watching from Long Island, NY
A: Hi Shazar!
I highly recommend visiting Moab. Not just for the outstanding access to some of the best off-road trails you can find, but it’s a great place to have other adventures too! I also recommend avoiding Moab in the spring. The Easter Jeep Safari and several other events tend to crowd the small town and push prices way up.
I suggest starting small and working your way up day-by-day. Maybe hit a mountain bike trail day one, recover day two with a guided off-road tour and rent an ATV day three. Day four: rent a Jeep and follow an off-road convoy or tour group. It depends on your personal preferences.
Visiting early in the winter or late fall is thew way to go. I recommend using http://www.discovermoab.com for housing and vacation ideas.
In Moab, Utah you can:
- Explore Arches National Park
- Go whitewater rafting/canoe/kayak
- Explore trails, caves and canyons
- Rent ATVs
- Join a Jeep/Hummer tour group
- Go zip-lining
- Join a horseback expedition
- Bike ride (both trails and smooth asphalt for road bike) rental are available too
- Sky-jump (there is an airport north of town)
- Join paleontology (zooarchaeology), archaeological and photographic expeditions.
… and more, and more, and more…
Vacations to Moab can easily be tailored to a family or solitary visitor. I know folks who book a flight into Grand Junction, Colorado, rent a car (it’s only a few hours out of Grand Junction) and stay in Moab for three or four days, finding it an affordable adventure destination.
Keep in mind: some places and activities are closed off season.
Have a great trip and keep us in the loop!
Speaking of Moab, lookie’ here!
Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.
From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.
Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org