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Discussion Starter #1
I spend a good amount of time on less than ideal road surfaces. I've got a 2018 GTI, 2011 Ranger fur by fur, and a 2017 BMW R1200GS. The GTI is a blast and overall a really good car. The Ranger is for really isht snow days and for Depot runs. The GS has gotten me from Baja Mexico to the Tail of the Dragon in North Carolina.

I'm done building cars to daily drive. As I get old and bitter I want to spend more time on other things than wrenching. I'm also trying not to giveup on fun enthusiast biased vehicles.

The GTI is about as fast as I need to go, but needs about $5k in rally type suspension to make it fast on the roads I drive.
The Ranger is comfortable enough just cruising around, but is an appliance and not much fun. Nor does it like to be hustled. It would need about 100 more HP and about $10k in longtravel baja grade suspension to be entertaining.
The GS is great all around. Does smooth, does rough, does fast, does slow, does comfortable. BUT...it's a motorcycle.

I'd really like to shrink the fleet, but do admit that having multiple vehicles for multiple purposes is probably better than a one vehicle solution.

Whachoo think? Raptor F150's are just too damn big, but otherwise check the right boxes for suspension/power/comfort

Colorado ZR2 has a lot going for it, except the powertrain is a let down.

New Bronco with 2.7T looks interesting; ergo eventual Raptor Ranger maybe.

What about CARS that could work?

I'm not a huge Subaru fan, but an STI Crosstrek could be interesting if it existed.

What am I missing (besides sanity)?
 

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Overland VW Atlas, obviously.
 

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If you would have to add long-travel suspension to the Ranger in order for it to do what you want it to do, there is absolutely no way a stock Subaru of any sort is going to work, because they have less suspension travel and less ground clearance than your Ranger does stock! A Subaru, no matter the Crosstrek pretensions, is a "car". The other vehicles that you are discussing (GTI with suspension mods excepted) are "trucks". (And the GTI will have the same issue, lack of suspension travel).

Obviously, folks turn Subaru cars into rally cars - but they're generally not starting with a Crosstrek, they're starting with an Impreza bare shell and installing stuff with little resemblance to stock components except the rulebook-mandated attachment points to the shell.

https://www.specialstage.com/forums/showthread.php?36814-Suspension-Travel-How-Much

The Raptor F150 front suspension uses different control arms from the standard F150 ... longer, to get more travel.

I know Ram has a new TRX version of the 1500 pickups coming out, but if a Ford Raptor is too big for you, that's going to be the same size.

Flying over rough terrain requires softly-sprung, long-travel suspension. Period. Not having that result in excessive pitch and roll ... is a challenge. See Citroen 2CV. (Or Renault 4.)

Raptor Ranger already exists (and is pretty cool) but not in North America. I don't think they will do that within this vehicle generation. The next one (in another year or two), who knows.

It's known that there is going to be a Raptor-ish (may not be called that) version of the Bronco, but it doesn't look like it will be available at launch. How long can you wait?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Honestly, long travel is really overkill BUT the problem with most truck suspension is it's meant for hauling stuff and not really meant for hoonage. My ranger can do the pace, but is not happy about it and quite the handful.

I'm really leaning towards more GTI like but with clearance/suspension composure over crap surface. Not in a rush either, don't NEED to replace anything, I'm exploring options. Seeing if I overlooked something. How are Cherokee SRT8's? Audi SQ something or anothers?

I had a 4runner and it was OK, but similar to my Ranger...underpowered. I really wish TRD kept doing the superchargers for 4.0L's like they did for the 3.4L's.

A friend's wife has an Alfa Stelvio Quadrifoglio. He let me ride and it's an absolute rocket, but still a little too road biased in suspension tuning. Expansion joints, uneven pavment, crap asphalt patching all were quite jarring.

Like I said before, a swiss army knife/jack of all trades probably doesn't exist off the shelf. I'm open to bolt on mods/upgrades and some forms of aftermarket forced induction/suspension/brakes are low hanging fruit and I wouldn't mind working with my GTI a little more. I just don't want a year long build taking up my garage.
 

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The F150 Raptor obviously but like you said, too big.

Get an older Taco, supercharge and do a long travel Baja-style suspension?

 

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I would have to say a Colorado zr2 with an aftermarket supercharger is the best mini raptor. They're supposed to be really good over rough stuff with the multimatic dampers.
 

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The OP sounds a bit like me. I have a 2007 Ram 2500 for doing truck stuff (mainly moving snowmobiles to the mountains in the winter) and a KTM 1290 SAR that is mostly a commuter plus it's fun for exploring. My wife drives an Alltrack which is actually the best on the forest service roads around here but if I were daily driving it I'd want to swap the turbo for the Golf R hardware and tune to match.

I've lusted after an Ariel Nomad but that's not really practical. I've thought about running around in a side by side UTV but I don't live in rural Idaho (I wish!). I have friends with F150 Raptors (one of them also happens to have a purpose built rally car that started as a Crosstrek) and they make great trucks for shuttling mountain bikes but they aren't very good at any other trucks stuff. When the Bronco was announced I was tempted to get the Wildcat but the wife actually said that we should wait and get the Raptor/Warthog version when it's available. We can wait, we have vehicles to do what we need them to do, an addition to the fleet would just be nice to have.
 

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Put rally suspension on something and maybe slightly larger tires. Even a rally tire if you can handle the noise they make. Subaru alternatives:

Mitsubishi Evo

Ford Fiesta ST

BMW e36

Most of these are older so if you bang them up a little you will not really care. And they all have top shelf rally suspension systems available for them.
 

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I agree that you’re going to need at least some moderate suspension travel, plus ground clearance.

Have you considered 2WD pickups? They run them in the Baja 1000 and their lighter suspension affords better handling. They will be lost in deep silt or mud, and they have a harder time with loose gravel on hills, but they are superior to drive.

Do they have a good Halfway prepped version of the Colorado/Canyon? That may be a good starting point.
 

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If you are dead set on leaving it stock(because you said you're "done building cars to daily drive") have Raptor level of budget and want close to that performance but don't want something that big then a TRD Pro Tacoma or TRD Pro 4Runner is the only answer.
 

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In that situation, I'd just get an STi and add a bit of ground clearence/travel. The WRX unfortunately lacks the adjustable center-diff it's bigger brother has.


Something like an Alltrack would be fun with mods, but if you don't want to do any mods then it's out. I'd look at the new Bronco which is at the top of my list for 4x4s.
 

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The GTI is about as fast as I need to go.
Macans are pretty capable. My fathers S with a Cobb tune was way more fun than I thought it would be. He lives in Ocean County and the woods by his house aren't trail rated or anything but it was definitely fun off road. Just a thought.

 

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Midsize truck like zr2 or taco with a King setup.

Suspension is key here and no one does dirt racing like King does. Tons of options for custom valving and a lot of companies like accutune offer that.

I’ve a set of accutune-tuned Kings on my 4runner and while the suspension isn’t set up for whoops and high speed desert racing (it’s a daily) it rips backroads. Even over badly proven pavement at high speed there is a marked difference in composure and stability.
 

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If you are dead set on leaving it stock(because you said you're "done building cars to daily drive") have Raptor level of budget and want close to that performance but don't want something that big then a TRD Pro Tacoma or TRD Pro 4Runner is the only answer.
No, it is not.

I mean, this particular one is over-the-top/cartoonish, but the idea is sound. The link above is from GM's cache of parts which should be able to be installed on a new vehicle without affecting warranty. There's some stuff there that's serious enough for what he's talking about.

 
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