Finding our Vehicle

I’ll try to explain how our decision process went. My girlfriend and I love to explore countries with a car, be outdoors and enjoy the beautiful nature. We try to go out of town for camping, hiking and all kinds of other activities as often as possible. For this reason we came up with a list of requirements for a new car:

  • Maximum interior dimensions, minimum exterior
  • Comfortable bed incl. seat area
  • Carry all our gear (at least 800kg payload)
  • Able to go off the beaten path on 4×4 trails
  • Older, reliable Diesel
  • As less electric as possible
  • Be able to convert in to run on WVO
  • Possibility to travel in it for an extended period (6 to 12 month)
  • Reasonable priced parts available locally and in the countries we want to visit
  • Meet the budget (fully equipped under $30.000)
  • Should fit in a cargo container (not higher then 7’9″)
  • Needs to work without problems in high altitude (turbocharged)
  • With hot water (outdoor) shower and Diesel interior heater

Over the last six month I did a lot of research and read tons of information about all kinds of vehicles. Lucky, our list is actually not that unique. Many overland travelers with an “expedition” vehicle had similar requirements at the beginning.
At first I had about 15 different vehicles which would meet most of our needs. After more research and talking to experienced people and owners I reduced it down to about four models. A Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota Hiace, MAN truck, Unimog, VW Westfalia syncro, Land Rover Defender and of course the Mitsubishi Delica l300.
I went back to Germany for a visit and used the opportunity to look at a few of this cars/trucks. Some of them were actually really nice. For example this MAN 8.136 FAE or this Toyota Land Cruiser HZJ 75 had my full attention for sure. I know you can not really compare both, but they met most of our requirements. It’s always a trade of. Comfortable living area vs. vehicle dimension. Fancy dancy overland expedition vehicle vs. your budget. etc.
After my time in Germany, I had a way better understanding what we want and which car fits the best our style of traveling . More research had to be done. In the end it was a neck-and-neck race between the Toyota Land Cruiser HZJ75 and the Mitsubishi Delica l300. As you imagine we made our decision for the Delica for several reasons:

  • Nicer driving position with the Cab-over design
  • Larger interior space (Land Cruiser 75 vs. Delica l300)
  • The base model is way cheaper ($8.000 vs. $20.000)
  • Spare parts are considerable cheaper as well
  • Large community with very good knowledge/experience in Vancouver, BC
  • Proven as very reliable (as well as the Land Cruiser)
  • Great conditions if you import them from Japan (no rust, low mileage)

To be fair there are some drawbacks as well.

  • Less powerful
  • Less payload (~700kg vs. 1000kg)
  • Probably more difficult to get parts abroad
  • Longer fuel range
  • Less rugged

A few of the drawbacks can be addressed (at least a little bit) which makes it now to our favorite vehicle for our needs. Now it’s time to find the right Mitsubishi Delica l300.