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Yes it’s possible to sleep inside. And also you can very easily take the back seats offand use them outside the car. It’s a powerful and very reliable car, very capable off-roader, but not the most comfortable. 

You can have a look at this previous discussion on Carnity

https://carnity.com/topic/13309-any-tips-on-buying-a-used-xterra?tab=comments#comment-46886

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Welcome to Carnity and thanks for asking an educated question than just - I need a car.

All your reference and background give me enough idea to make a perfect recommendation, but before I get on to that I like to get few tricky things clear based on my experience of owning and driving offroad for over a decade.

  • 7 seater and a capable offroader can't go together in one sentence. For offroad - car power to weight ratio is king (google this to understand what I am saying). Higher the power to weight ratio you will enjoy that 4x4 more for offroad.
  • Focus on buying a daily commuter + capable 4x4 than putting the Africa road trip into an equation to limit your option. You can (or should) always rent 4x4 for such special requirement than pushing your daily driver way too far, as it's just a one-off expedition you are planning (If I'm not wrong).
  • For offroad category, sand and mountain are TWO DIFFERENT WORLD. Excellent mountain climber can be a waste in sand and vice versa, so here you need to decide which is most needed and if you need both then you will limit your choices for handful 4x4.

Prado's are much better than Land Cruiser as it's tad lighter and less in size. LC is a boat and good for everything except hardcore dune bashing, if you limit to beach sand and newbie level drives you are fine with LC. Converting LC gearbox are way too out of the league to even talk about.

Nissan Patrol falls in the same category of LC - heavy and reasonably good for everything except hard-core dune bashing unless you do some crazy mods and then get in trouble with RTA.

Land Rover LR3, LR4, Discovery can be awesome for daily commute + mountain + beach sand but not for dune bashing.

Jeep Wrangler has it all, but too small for sleeping, even unlimited one too.

Xterra and FJ Cruiser are the only actual all-rounder 4x4 that you can do mountain + Sand + hardcore dune bashing + daily commute + sleep in a car.

Pajero's are third best due to their limited approach and departure angle if you go this route only buy 3.8 liter and get the rear bumper metal plate to kill the sand scoop (will explain if you go this route). Once you get to the hard-core dune bashing, you can look into lifting it a two inch for better ground clearance.

Now here is the tricky part, you choose what you want:

  • Prado will give you much comfy ride for daily commute and also do whatever you want but in a long run slightly more expensive to maintain considering regular offroading.
  • Xterra and FJC little less comfortable for the daily commute, but less maintenance in the long run with regular offroading as they are made for such use in first place.
  • Toyota (Prado and FJC) will hold better resale value than Nissan Xterra.
  • Xterra already discontinued and you may get spare parts for another 5-10 years or google how long Nissan committed to supporting Xterra parts.
  • FJC is smallest of all suggested to not to best fit sleeping in car criteria. Xterra is slightly bigger than FJC and Prado is the biggest among these 3 choices.

Best is to view a few cars and see how rear seats fold, to visualize if you can comfortably fit along with your offroad gears. How nice and comfortable it drives, as every person has a different definition of comfy.

Hope you got enough food for thought, good luck.

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Fj I get it but Prado of which era are you suggesting..? Fj and Prado from 04 onwards and Lc after 07 share the same engine gear...? V6 1gr and they too are strong cars but lc100 has this curde ready for all vibe to it...parts availability side of all the cars you have mentioned more votes should go to Lc 100 

 

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Sleeping inside the car has some pros and cons imho. During colder winter seasons it keeps you warm, but you need proper ventilation and that means keeping some windows open. If you don't have mosquito nets you will be attacked the whole night by those little buggers. On the other hand during warmer months the lack of real ventilation will make your car too hot to sleep in. 

I completely understand that it's a safety choice for you. You can maybe compromise on that part with a few things:

* Bring a dog with you (if you have one or maybe one from a friend). It will be a perfect companion on all your trips and dogs will alert you if something is wrong (wild animals, strangers, etc..) 

* Get yourself a tazer or some tear gas. If you're planning to do Africa it might come in handy.

Looking at your budget of 40k i would consider a Pajero (i know i am biased :) ). They are reliable, not too expensive, and made for the stuff you mentioned. That budget will get you one with some miles on the clock but as there are so many available on the market that have just been used as school dropoff SUV it should be very easy to find a decent one with acceptable milage. Agree with @Gaurav on the 3.8 if you have the option of choosing. 

Welcome to Carnity !

 

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Thank you all so much for your advice, it has been invaluable.

I'm considering the Prado, however what option should I consider in terms of year, model etc? V6 4l LTR? It's a minefield out there haha

Also would you recommend that I buy direct from the owner or via a dealer? I'm wary of both options to be honest.

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1 hour ago, Jamy B. said:

Thank you all so much for your advice, it has been invaluable.

I'm considering the Prado, however what option should I consider in terms of year, model etc? V6 4l LTR? It's a minefield out there haha

Also would you recommend that I buy direct from the owner or via a dealer? I'm wary of both options to be honest.

Don't take a Prado into Africa- I have extensive experience of African overland expeditions, and I have never seen Prado's (or SUV's in general) do well there. Best thing to do is follow Gaurav's advice; if you want to do Africa, rent a vehicle from a reputable operator. 

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11 minutes ago, desertdude said:

Yes and that doesn't help.

Aren’t we all at some point ? After all, our opinions are based on experiences and mistakes we made in the past... The FACT is that a Pajero is a viable option here.

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30 minutes ago, Frederic Nuyttens said:

Aren’t we all at some point ? After all, our opinions are based on experiences and mistakes we made in the past... The FACT is that a Pajero is a viable option here.

And by your own words its not, a single woman on her own should get a dog and some tazers and teargas just so she can get a Pajero! 😂 😂

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34 minutes ago, treks said:

Don't take a Prado into Africa- I have extensive experience of African overland expeditions, and I have never seen Prado's (or SUV's in general) do well there. Best thing to do is follow Gaurav's advice; if you want to do Africa, rent a vehicle from a reputable operator. 

Strange. I know many, ok a few who have taken their SUVs for long African overland trips without issues they would have faced if they had taken any car. And how does one expect to do a overland trip in a sedan anyways? Btw the post says road trip not overland, but by seeing how bad road conditions in many African countries is a sedan even for a road trip doesn't sound too suitable.

I've nothing but SUVs or Trucks do over landing trips in Africa, or anywhere else for that matter

Only issue I can even think of is it being a petrol instead of Diesel.

Love to hear why SUVs arn't a good choice for an overlanding vehicle for Africa

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