I'm a corporate stiff with a $4,000 budget. What rig should I buy?

So I got promoted and have a bit of extra money to spend. My new position provides a company car, so gone is the 4x4 DD. I just need a hoopdie for weekend and extended trips. I’ve already hid an extra $1,000 for tires in my dream journal, so take that expense out of the equation.

This is where I need your help! I’ve been all over the board, and now I’m in a round robin of really ridiculous rig rationalization. I’m typically a Toyota 4Runner guy, but I want something more interesting this time.

So I like Isuzu Troopers, but they’re IFS. So get a Land Rover Disco 1, but they’re too unreliable and rollover a lot. So get a FZJ80, but it’s too big. So get an XJ or WJ, but they’re too small. So get an Isuzu Trooper, but...

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I’m paralyzed in thought. Expanding my list to pickups didn’t help. Maybe you can.

Details:

Budget: $4,000 purchase price + initial upgrades/repairs

Purpose: Off road trips, transporting bulky items

Location: Orange County, CA and Western USA

Miles per year: 3-6k

Needs: To fit 31-33" tires (265/75R16 - 285/75R16); comfort level must be 3 out of 5 or higher, (otherwise wife won’t come with); to accommodate a RTT; to keep up with my brother’s unlocked LZJ80; decent cargo space; an airbag would be nice.

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Doesn’t want: Something uninteresting or with no aftermarket, something too big and heavy, carburetion.

Doesn’t care about: Brand community, gas mileage, country of origin unless it’s Korea.

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