Twenty years ago the tried and tested Toyota Landcruiser Troop carrier was the mainstay of budget orientated touring. Originally designed for the military (hence the name ‘troopy’) it is part of the reliable Toyota brand.
Over the years though, there has been development of other variations of vehicles designed to carry tourist in different locations. The driving force behind these designs has been to make them a bit more comfortable and ‘classy’ and improve the quality of touring.
With the current range of vehicles available, the only way of achieving this is to modify existing vehicles. The most popular way is to build pod style passenger modules that can be mounted onto a new range of 4WD trucks.
These modified vehicles are much larger and carry around 16 passengers. The purchase price is up around $170,000! (I can get three troopy’s for that price!)
Ok, so the main discerning aspect of the Troopy is that it has side facing seats in the back, meaning there is not as much legroom and you have to look at your travelling partners! Whilst many say that may be uncomfortable, many argue that it creates a much more sociable group than those that are just staring at the back of seats!
As we know, there are a number of factors that determine the ‘quality’ of a tour.
I mean, you can have a brand new comfortable vehicle, but if you end up with a dud group, an inexperienced guide, a crap itinerary and have paid an arm & a leg for the tour, not much quality there!
On the other hand, if you have a great guide, a fun group, an itinerary that isn’t just ticking boxes that was an affordable price but the vehicle was a bit uncomfortable, then I would suggest the ‘quality’ of the tour would be more than comparable.
As such, for the time being anyway, for most of our tours we will continue to use the trusty old troopy!