What would I want in a vehicle if Toyota or Ford or Chevy would build it for me? Here's a list, and I'd appreciate any suggestions like the one Zach made in a comment on a recent post regarding a metal interior on a prior 4x4 he owned.
I want to use my ride for fishing and shooting and camping and those kind of outdoorsey activities. I'll drive it to work, and as a family ride as well.
THE VEHICLE ITELF
I want an SUV with some cargo space behind the 2nd row seat . I don't want third row seats, but I'd like the rear to be large enough to hold third row seats if it did have them.
I don't want a sunroof.
I'd like about as much storage room behind the second seat as the 1980's Toyota Landcruiser FJ-60 had, which was quite a bit more than 4-Runners have and A LOT more than what the current Toyota FJ Cruiser offers.
Nice buckets in the front, with an armrest and storage unit between the front seats. A nice bench in the back that can fold down in some manner (50/50 or 60/40 as well as fully fold down) to expand the cargo area.
An option I'd pay for is nice leather seating, and waterproof seat covers to go over them. Nice tough leather is far more comfortable and will wear far better than any cloth seat. And will smell nice as well.
Another option I'd pay for is a steel heavy duty safe type set of drawers situated on the floor of the rear cargo area. I mean, heavy duty construction and welded to the vehicle. For transporting weapons, fishing gear, computer or photo gear or any kind of expensive gear you wouldn't want a vehicle burglar to steal in a smash and grab.
As options I'd pay for, I'd like a real roof rack with a basket attachment on two thirds and one of the Thule type storage containers on the other third. Like a Land Rover, I'd like a ladder in the rear to access the roof rack and a wide enough bumper to stand on. A step folding down from the bumber to access the ladder and bumper would be nice.
A heavy duty front bumper that was also a cattle guard type of guard around the radiator and the lights with a winch attachment/mount would be another feature I'd like to have.
The spare tire should be mounted on a swing away carrier behind the swing up rear cargo door. An extended jack and shovel could be mounted and locked on the lower portion of the rack.
Another option I'd pay for is super duper insulation all around the passenger compartment to keep the road noise factor as low as possible. Carpet should be removeable with well constructed insulation under the thick carpet with both hook and velcro attachment. Drain plugs in the floor under the carpet please.
Perhaps some kind of rubberized or paint coated flooring (like the truck bed coatings) but hopefully with a layer of some kind of foam or other noise reducing material under the flooring. Then when insulated carpet was added, the sound reduction would be serious.
I don't want tons of electronic devices. I'd like a great anti-theft and keyless entry system. A decent stereo system. Multiple A/C and D/C outlets in front seat, rear seat and cargo areas please.
As an option in this catagory, I'd like two fold down TV screens for the rear seat passengers with a dvd and with gaming interface.
Electric windows and door locks are the only way cars are built these days.
ENGINE AND MECHANICALS
I'd like the engine to have as many heavy duty components available as possible. I'd like to have dual batteries, which makes sense on any ride really. Heavy duty everything, including but not limted to the alternator, generator, water pump, braking systems, radiator and cooling systems and fans and of course the suspension system.
It should have a really big air conditioner compressor that cranks out the A/C and heat. I'd like to have dual zone A/C in the front of the vehicle, with rear seat A/C as well.
The engine should be a V-8. There are so many well designed classic V-8 engines with tons of torque out there. Moderate horsepower and tons of torque.
It should have a really trick six speed transmission and some high performance brakes as standard. Likewise, as mentioned below, the drive train and 4x4 components and transfer case should all be heavy duty.
The 4x4 should use one of the classic and very serious four wheel drive systems, and again, the classic FJ-60 is hard to beat just as the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and Wrangler Rubicon series is hard to beat as far as VERY serious off roading is concerned.
It needs to be a 4x4 that has a shift lever on the floor, not some kind of quadratrac type deal with a knob on the dashboard.
BODY, SUSPENSION, SAFETY AND UNDERCARRIAGE
The body should be solidly made and designed without protruding tail lights and should be made with durability in mind.
It would be nice if there were an interior six point frame mounted roll cage system, like a Defender has. It would be nice to have a shoulder strap safety system coming off of the roll bar as well as a detachable conventional shoulder strap so that one could choose between the two torso securing systems.
Since it's a tough outdoors vehicle, it needs a full skid plate underneath. A separate skid plate over the exhaust system and gas tank is also a feature I'd like. I'd like two gas tanks or one large one. Bigger than the average vehicle of it's size.
It needs good ground clearance and the ability to ford high water. A snorkle air system, while looking silly and out of place on a yuppie owned Land Rover that never ventures off pavement, is a good feature on an outdoors truck that might see water to drive through.
Of course, it needs tow hooks fore and aft. It needs some kind of tube side step or tube sort of running board to assist entry into the vehicle.
Trailer hitch receivers front and rear could be used to mount a metal baskets that hook into hitches and provide storage for ice chests or anything what will fit into and can be lashed to the basket.
So what I'm talking about here begins to sound to me like a Land Rover, again sadly, some of those that are currently made in and for other countries that fit this description are not available in America.
I REALLY don't want to spend the money for a Land Rover, primarily due to the experiences of friends with problems with their more luxurious American versions of the Defenders and Range Rovers.
If they would make a more basic and thus trouble free (i.e. no tricky electronics) vehicle likely to give good service like the bare bones Defenders or the Toyota Landcruisers of the days of old, it'd be worth what they ask for it. As it is, American Land Rovers are luxury vehicles.
Gone are the days of the all steel interiors and great rides like International Scouts and other such vehicles like the old Broncos and Blazers and Landcruisers. True serious off roading vehicles.
Why can't Toyota, or more importantly Ford or Chevy, create a vehicle for the outdoorsman that is something other than one of their current line modified?
All of these car makers used to make heavy duty outdoorsman vehicles and Toyota still does in other countries. I had high hopes for the FJ Cruiser, and it and the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicons are close approximations to what I'd like to have, but they are not what I really want, or what I think other sportsman and normal working family guys would buy. Almost but not quite.
Chevy and Ford both make throwback references in their Mustang and Camaro lineups, so why not the same thing for new versions of the Blazer and Bronco, built heavy duty with some cargo room and a wide cabin as I've described above.
In my opinion, Jeep and Toyota have no competition for their serious 4wd vehicles, and although Ford, Chevy, Dodge and others have very capable and sometimes exceptional 4wd vehicles in their lineups, none are unfortunately what I want.
So now we just gotta figure out how we're gonna settle when it comes to a new ride.