LWB or SWB 4WD? ~ Cars and Bikes
Cars and Bikes

Tuesday, 15 July 2008


After 20 years using various 4WD vehicles in various terrain, a basic question arise; which one better, short wheel base (SWB) or long wheel base (LWB) 4WD?

1. In muddy road:
A light weight short wheel base vehicle like Suzuki SJ410 is the best for this kind of terrain. The Suzuki will “float” above the mud. Some times a medium weight long wheel base vehicles like Defender 110 or Daihatsu Taft Hiline LWB are also good for this road. The muddy road condition is always not homogen, the opportunity to get hard ground is better with a long wheel base 4x4. The full size 4x4 likes Toyota Land Cruiser and Nissan Patrol will become the first vehicle stuck in the mud.

2. Gravel road.
LWB vehicles will give a better ride in this condition as long as the rocky road is not to rough. Riding a SWB 4x4 in this terrain will make your back pain getting worst.

3. Sandy dessert.
Both LWB and SWB are ok for this terrain. If you driving fast, LWB is better, more stable compare to the SWB vehicles

4. Rocky road
In this condition, a SWB vehicles with high departure and overhang angle will give an advantage to pass a rough rocky road. Suzuki SJ410, Wrangler Jeep and Toyota FJ40 will meet this qualification.

5. Steep hilly road.
The stability of LWB vehicles will take an advantage in this condition, especially when downhill.

For myself currently I choose a 4x4 to compromised all terrain above, Jeep Cherokee XJ. The wheel base is not short like Wrangler or SJ410, but still shorter than Land Cruiser or Nissan Patrol. With 32” tire, I can manage almost all obstacles and still feel comfortable while driving.
So, what 4wd vehicles wheel base is good for you?

More articles in 4wd tips are available in my other blog: 4WD-fourbyfour

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