Good morning,

So – GF got a DD, which means I get to play the hypothetical game in which I spend 6 months sifting through options then spend my money on the first thing I looked at. I need a vehicle for adventures and mountain bike trips, something that is DD capable, and something that has a bit of panache. Here's them rules:

Requirements:

- Must be able to haul four people and their gear several hundred miles if necessary – gear includes mountain bikes

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- Must be able to negotiate questionable terrain – not looking for serious off-road prowess, but something that can get itself out of the mud

- Must have A/C and a stereo – I live in Texas, which has a comparable climate to Mercury in springtime

- Must be reasonably reliable since it will serve some time as a DD

- Must be below $6,000

Optional, but would win brownie points:

- I'd love to get more than 15mpg on the highway, so we don't have to stop every 30 minutes for fuel

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- 4-wheel-drive or All-wheel-drive capability would be great, just so I don't have to worry too much about traction when I'm in the bush

- Towing capacity over 5,000lbs would be quite nice as well, I've got a Corvette that I'd like to be able to haul to racetracks and having a tow vehicle would be splendid

Already considered, but nope:

- Suzuki Samurais and Jeep Wranglers are phenomenal vehicles, and capable of many things. Hauling 4 people is not one of those things. Yes, I'm aware they make the 4-door Rubicon. Also aware it costs significantly more than $6,000 to find one

- V10 Ford Excursions are also phenomenally capable vehicles, and also have some serious reliability issues and consume gas at a rate that would merit re-invading the gulf

- Land Rovers, Range Rovers, ML320s and X5s: do you hate me? I think you hate me. Why do you hate me?

Already considered, maybe?:

- 1980-something through 1990 Suburbans: terrible, terrible resale value means a deal for me. Would be able to haul people, gear, building supplies, an entire self-sustaining economy, and maybe coolers full of beer anywhere while being serviceable by anyone who has been born

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- Series 70 and Series 80 Land Cruisers and LX450s: if these can operate in regions best known for unexploded ordinance, I think Texas might be survivable

- Full-size pickups: Silverados, F-150s, Rams: Quad-cabs are more than plentiful down here, they seem to simply spawn from nothingness to show up on our highways and parking lots. The miracle of life is truly inspiring.

Any other input or suggestions would be delightful, and most appreciated!