The best off road vehicle usually ends up in a make and model argument as each make and model is arguably better than another.
Set aside the brand battle/argument each person will always like another off road vehicle more than another, this can be due to appearance, off road design, size and some are simply fanatic of a make, model or engine size.
However, the "Real" Best Off-Road Vehicle is any make and model modified (slightly or heavily) to your needs, this is the only true "best off road vehicle" for you.
It all depends on what type of 4 wheeling you mainly do, there is no point in having a hard core 4x4 setup with reduction gears, 37' tyres, 6 inch lift kit and all you do is touring!
Think about what you mainly do and tailor the off road design of your 4x4 to suit the best you can to your individual or family needs, perhaps the vehicle you have would cost more to modify than buying another 4x4.
Maybe you need a solid axle vehicle or you find
a bargain 4x4 for sale with all the touring fruit on it.
make the same mistake a lot of people do which is just adding mods
for short term use without thinking about the longer term, I have been there
before myself and finally on my third time build I had a plan tailored to my off
road needs and to me my 79 series cruiser is the best off road vehicle.
However it may not the best off road vehicle for many others.
There are many things to consider and there are many compromises.
There is no
perfect vehicle and there is always a compromise in something.
To name a few considerations and compromises to designing your "best off road vehicle":
Coil suspension is the best setup for maximum flex/wheel travel but struggles with heavy loads and will sag, leaf suspension on the other hand will accept heavy loads and handle them with ease however flex and wheel travel is not the best.
This is just one of many major considerations to make.
More on this here:Off Road Suspensions.
Wagons are ready from the word go for cargo however they have limited space.
other hand a Ute has loads of cargo space & do you need a single cab or
dual cab. Whatever ute suits your needs it may still require a canopy.
What is your true life style, do you need a ute setup for camping?
Perhaps you are a
trades man who can have a setup offering the best of both worlds (camping and toolbox
More on this here: Cargo & Storage.
Do you tow or need loads of torque?
Diesel is great for low torque and a V8 diesel is even better, the down side to the bigger motor is the increased fuel usage.
In some cases a V8 diesel will use less fuel than a 4-6 cylinder engine when towing as they must work harder.
Petrol vehicles do fine off road and don't suffer as bad as a Diesel engine when encountering bad fuel, however petrol is not available in every outback location.
More on this here: Engine.
Big wheels give you more clearance off road and do help a lot, however they also speed up your low range gearing which is not ideal on most vehicles (each vehicle will suffer or improve differently).
Mud terrain or all terrain? Well most will tell you mud terrain tires are no good on the sand, this is only true when you don't deflate them.
tyres are stronger (depending on brand of course).
More on this here: Off Road Tyres.
should now have a pretty good understanding on what we mean when we recommend to take your
time and plan ahead!
See this link and start an off road design for your own Best Off Road Vehicle whether it is now or you are planning a few years ahead. I was planning my cruiser for over a year before I got it.
Vehicle mods: Custom 4x4