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All-Terrain, For Real: 16 of the World's Most Capable Adventure Vehicles

Car and Driver Logo By John Pearley Huffman of Car and Driver | Slide 1 of 17: Mercedes builds the Zetros 6x6 as a commercial vehicle that can do any job despite insane conditions. It’s the sort of truck you just don’t see often unless you happen to work in a copper mine or laying pipeline over the Urals, places where the huge ability of the Zetros chassis and drive system pays off in completed tasks and profits. But the Zetros doesn’t have to be a dump truck or mobile crane. It can also become a fantastic mobile hunting lodge.This particular Zetros supercruiser was built for a pair of businessmen in Mongolia, and has been finished with an ordinary-looking aluminum box into which is stashed an opulent adventure base. Think of it as every dream every member of Ducks Unlimited has ever had, powered by a 7.2-liter turbocharged diesel inline-six that muscles out 959-pound feet of peak torque. And all that power is distributed among all six wheels.Designed and built by Hartmann in Alsfeld, Germany, and finished by RV interior specialists Huenerkopf, the walls are thickly insulated against the heat of the Gobi desert or the cold of wherever it is that it gets really cold in Mongolia.Of course, there’s a kitchen. Naturally there’s a media center built around an Apple Mac Mini that links up via satellite. And the bathroom’s marble floors are heated. And there’s a garage for a quad ATV dinghy.It can go anywhere. And wherever it goes, it’s the nicest lodge in the neighborhood.

All-Terrain, For Real: 16 of the World's Most Capable Adventure Vehicles

Travel is one thing. Adventure is something else.

Humanity loves to roam, but only recently has it become easy to do so over long distances. Walking speed is about 3 mph, so, for most of history, getting from, say, Toledo in Spain to Syracuse in Italy was a virtually impossible, treacherous 1800-mile journey that would take months with no certainty of survival. Today, that’s a 4.5-hour plane trip that costs about $200. To get from Toledo, Ohio, to Syracuse, New York, takes about 13 hours and costs less than $100 by Greyhound bus. Almost everyone is certain to survive. As common as complaints about arduous travel experiences have become (“We had to wait 20 minutes for a gate to open, the idiots lost my bag, and a sandwich was $9.75!”), it’s really just travel.

Adventure is the leap beyond mere travel. Maybe it’s impossible to go where no one has gone before on Earth, but to get to places where only a few have been means crossing rugged terrain, surviving brutal elements, and beating a few new paths. Adventure takes effort, skill, risk, and tools. If adventure were easy, everyone would do it. It’s for the daring, the prepared, and, to our point, the well equipped.

So here are 16 of the best vehicles for going places where only the few would dare. Whether that’s across a glacier or through a mud bog, along a tight trail, or over several continents, the right tool should suit the job.

© John Pearley Huffman

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