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10 Vehicles For The Coming Zombie Apocalypse

Posted in Featured, Lists by Kurt Ernst | January 12th, 2011 | 44 Responses |

The power’s out, the phone is dead, you haven’t seen the cat in days and there are bodies stacked like cord wood in front of your sandbag-and-plywood reinforced house. The screams from neighboring houses died off a few days ago, and you’re down to your last room temperature Michelob Amber Bock. Time for a beer run, but the roads are blocked and your Toyota Camry just isn’t going to cut the mustard; if only you’d prepared for the zombie apocalypse like your neighbor Kurt did.

The real problem with the zombie apocalypse is that you won’t know when or where it begins. By the time you realize that a bombproof SUV would be a good thing to have; well, it’s a little late to go down to the dealer and buy one, isn’t it? You could try stealing one, but given the number of Americans with guns, that may not be the best solution.

While an M1 Abrams tank is probably the best vehicle for the apocalypse, they’re hard to find on the used market, especially with guns intact. Even if you do find a clean one on eBay, where are you going to put it? Do you really think that the neighbors will believe it’s your new lawn tractor? Think the missus is going to green light that purchase? You need a practical vehicle for the zombie apocalypse that doesn’t raise the suspicions of your neighbors or local law enforcement. Something that you can drive the kids to soccer practice with, yet still run down those flesh eating bastards like you’re playing a video game.

So here’s the deal: below is a list of vehicles, across a broad price spectrum, that will get you ready for the end of days. Most of them will be a relatively easy sell to the significant other (compared to an M1 Abrams tank, at least) and all are comercially available to civilian buyers. Here’s my criteria:

• They have to be production vehicles, available within 6 months
• They need to be street legal, licensable and drivable on a daily basis
• Four wheeled vehicles must be able to hold two go bags, two rifles and a thousand rounds of ammo. SCORE Trophy trucks and buggys are therefore excluded.

We’ll start on the low end of the price scale and work our way up:

• Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor

Ford Crown Vic

Crown Vic: two tons of bad attitude.

Cheap, plentiful and easy to work on, you’ll have no problem keeping this baby running for years after civilization collapses. No, it isn’t four wheel drive, but Crown Vics aren’t averse to driving over the occasional curb, median or zombie. Since you’re going to be buying one at auction, take your time and find one with push bars already installed on the front; bonus points if you can find one with a shotgun rack and limited slip differential. Depending upon condition, expect to pay anywhere from $4k to $10k for a used but serviceable example.

• BMW R1200 GS

2006 BMW R1200 GS

Sure it's a motorcycle, but it's a damn big motorcycle.

Yes, this is a motorcycle. No, it offers no intrusion protection from flesh eating zombies (although a full face helmet and an Aerostich riding suit will slow them down a while). Why is it on the list? Because a properly ridden BMW GS will get you anywhere you need to go, on road or off. Ford streams, jump curbs, ride over dead zombies – the big GS doesn’t care, as long as you keep it upright. Sure there are faster motorcycles and there are more agile motorcycles, but the GS is built like a panzer and relatively easy to keep running with a handful of tools and a shop manual. The twin opposed cylinders give the bike some width, not a bad thing when you need to pin the throttle WFO and ride through a horde of zombies. Expect to pay around $12k for decent used R1100/1150 GS; new R1200 GS Adventure models with all the farkles will set you back somewhat north of $20k.

• Nissan Xterra 4wd

Nissan Xterra

See? They do go off road.

Think of this as the entry level anti-zombie SUV. Xterras aren’t bad trucks, but they’re just that – trucks. Buyers expecting “cute ute”, Toyota RAV ride quality are generally put off by the Xterras harsh ride, top heavy feel and brutish road manners, so used examples are plentiful. Off road, Xterras are capable if equipped with the right tires and suspension components, and a good front bumper and winch should get you unstuck from nearly anything you get yourself into. Aftermarket parts are plentiful, so you can build up a ride as stout as your budget allows. Used 4wd versions can be had for around $15k and up; new Xterras can top $30k if you get option package crazy.

• Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

2007 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Wrangler Rubicon. Hard top STRONGLY recommended.

Sure it’s small, sure it’s harsh to drive everyday, but a Jeep Wrangler will get you into places almost no other vehicle on the planet can. Why the Rubicon? Because it gives you heavy duty front and rear axles, Jeep’s Rock-Trac 4wd system, electronic locking front and rear differentials and includes parts you’d need to add anyway (like rock rails). Do I need to tell you to order it with the hard top? Used Jeeps are plentiful, though used Rubicons (which were introduced in 2003) may be harder to find. If you’re the do it yourself type, clean used Jeeps start at around $10k. If you really need a Rubicon, used examples start at around $20k, while new ones push $30k.

• Toyota FJ Cruiser 4wd

2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser

FJ, not mine, meat plow attached.

Toyota FJ Cruiser interior

Plenty of room for go bags and guns.

I own one, so forgive my bias: the Toyota FJ Cruiser may be the most under-rated truck ever sold under the Toyota name. Manufactured by Hino, not Toyota, the FJ Cruiser is equally comfortable driving at 75 mph on the highway or rock crawling at 2 mph in 4wd low. It will get you anywhere you ever need to go, limited only by tires and the amount of testosterone in your bloodstream. Stock, it will ford 27 inches of water, has nearly 10 inches of ground clearance and will hit 60 mph in under 9 seconds. Throw on an ARB front bumper, reinforce the front skid plates and watch zombies explode like meat grenades when you hit ‘em. Although FJ Cruisers haven’t sold particularly well, they do retain their value better than other trucks in their class. Expect to pay north of $20k for a clean used 4wd FJ, and new ones can top $30k if you opt for a special edition.

• Mercedes Benz Unimog

The Maximog - the ultimate Unimog.

1972 Mercedes Benz Unimog

Needs a camper shell with cab access. Nice project truck.

I struggled with adding this one to the list for several reasons. First, most of the ‘mogs you find in the US are soft top, ex-NATO troop carriers completely unsuitable for the zombie apocalypse. Second, unless you buy a radio truck, ambulance or crew cab, there’s no access to the back from the cab, which isn’t that big to begin with. Finally, a lot of used ‘mogs (1984 and up) are difficult or impossible to license for road use in the United States. None of that matters, because the Unimog is the cockroach of all purpose vehicles. When the last H1 Hummer has turned to dust, when the final Land Rover has rotted into topsoil, there will still be Unimogs roaming the planet. You can’t kill them, they go anywhere and you can fix ‘em with a hammer and a screwdriver. Sure, parts can be hard to find, but you can always make your own. Sure, most ‘mogs won’t hit 60 miles per hour downhill with a strong tail wind, but who cares? It’s about getting from point A to point B when nothing else can. Pricing is a tough call; you can find Unimog “works in progress” for under $10k, but buyer beware; if someone else hasn’t done the paperwork to license it for road use in the U.S., that becomes your responsibility. Better to go for one already refurbed and federalized, which will set you back $25k and up. Expedition ‘mogs, with camper backs and all the toys, sell in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

• Land Rover Defender 90

Land Rover Defender 90

Defender 90, shown with optional seat cover.

Sold in the United States form 1993 to 1997, Land Rover Defenders are perhaps THE icon of a rugged, go anywhere four wheel drive. Built primarily as a utility vehicle for agriculture, industry and the military, Defenders were never designed to be driven by trend-humping-fashion-lemmings, one upping their buddy’s Range Rover at the country club. Ride quality is primitive and occupant comfort in non-US versions is an afterthought. Air conditioning? Why would a farmer in the UK need A/C? Designed to be serviced in the field, under harsh conditions, Defenders can be taken down to their ladder frame with hand tools. Like the Unimog, Defenders can survive the harshest of off road challenges; unfortunately, all this capability and snob appeal comes at a price. Unable to meet side impact and airbag regulations established in 1998, Land Rover stopped importing Defenders in 1997. Demand remains high, so prices for clean used vehicles haven’t budged. Want a Defender 90 hard top? The going price starts at around $35k and quickly goes up from there.

• Hummer H2

2008 Hummer H2

First mod? The stoutest bumper and brush guard you can find.

They’re big, they’re heavy and they’re not particularly good off road, so why include them in this list? Because with the right push bar on the front and the airbags deactivated, they’d be a fine “plow your way through trouble” vehicle. Not as huge and ungainly as the H1 and more serious than the H3, the H2 strikes just the right amount of compromise between utility and practicality in the apocalypse. It’s not like you’re going to be paying for the gas you use, so why not drive something large enough to have it’s own gravity? Plenty of room in the back for guns and ammo and enough ground clearance that you don’t have to move those rotting corpses out of the way; just stick to paved or gravel roads and you should do fine. Used H2s can be had at around $40k, but good luck finding one that hasn’t been pimped out. Dubs may look cool, but trust me – you want more tire than wheel when the fertilizer hits the fan. New ones can be had for $60k or or so, but GM is anxious to get rid of remaining inventory; Hummer dealers may be the only ones looking to take used Camrys on trade.

• TLC Icon FJ40

TLC Icon FJ40

You'll want TLC to build you a custom hard top.

Imagine a Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser built with absolutely no compromises, using the best available modern components and technology. Want a V8? No problem. Prefer the fuel economy of a diesel? They’re good with that, too. In fact, Icon’s can be ordered in just about any configuration you’d want; just don’t forget to bring your checkbook. Icons start at about $105k and quickly go north from there. Loaded, they’re pushing $150k, and that’s before you tell them you’re going to need a custom, all steel body (since Icons are currently built with soft tops only). Think of it this way: when you’ve emptied your bank account of $200 large, you’ll have the only zombie apocalypse ride built to your exact specifications. You won’t be worrying about whether it’s good enough, either, and isn’t peace of mind worth an extra few dollars?

• Earthroamer XV-LT

2007 Earthroamer XV-LT

The motor home from hell. Photo: Earthroamer

Earthroamer XV-LT

Closet can easily be replaced by gun safe. Photo: Earthroamer

Take a Ford F550 Super Duty, cross it with a Winnebago and leave it parked in Frankenstein’s lab for a few weeks, and you wind up with an Earthroamer XV-LT. At a gross vehicle weight of nearly 9 tons, this baby is going over or through anything that gets in its way. The best part? Even during the zombie apocalypse, you can still use it to enjoy a nice merlot on vacation at the Grand Canyon, while appreciating your granite countertops and leather seating. No electricity? No problem, this rig relies on solar power and diesel fuel for all of its needs. Just in case the going gets tough, it’ll ford 24 inches of water and gives you a minimum ground clearance of about ten inches. All this care-free living comes with a hefty price tag; XV-LTs start at $215k and top out around $280k with all the option boxes checked. Better get your order in soon – build time is about four to six months.

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44 Responses

  1. I love the list, especially the Icon. It’s probably the most badass vehicle you can buy right now.

    We should do another feature about the Unicat (http://www.unicatamericas.com/), for when you need to leave civilization altogether and want a mobile, zombie-proof base camp.

  2. Eddie Vallee says:

    The best car for this would be one that can navigate out of a DEAD END the easiest!

    (forgive me)

  3. Digital Dave says:

    My vote would be on the Unimog or a g-wagon. More and More I hear about zombie, I like this guys theory on them. http://bit.ly/98ntkQ

  4. nephilim says:

    Glaring omission – the Pinzgauer!

  5. Kurt says:

    The Pinzgauer is even more obscure than the Unimog on this side of the pond. Back in the 80s, Car and Driver did an article on a Pinzgauer converted into the RV from hell – funny stuff.

  6. Come on Kurt! says:

    Wow. That’s a pretty sorry line up right there.

    First of all, you list an H2, FJ and an Xtera. Kurt, you do understand the difference between an SUV based on a car or consumer grade pickup truck (IFS/IRS) and a real off-road vehicle right? At least you got the Rubicon in there I guess.

    But then you list TLC and Earthroamer both of which will run you 100k+ but fail to mention an AEV Wrangler or AEV Brute at all. Which would run you less than half a base TLC at 45k, yet run rings around it on or off-road. That’s pretty weak right there. AEV is like AMG (factory quality, reliability), where TLC is more like Overhaulin for FJs (very nice, but all custom creations).

    Failed. This looks more like the Consumer Reports Best Vehicles For Apocalypse than it does a specialty site called RideLust that damn well should know better.

    • GMan says:

      I dont see what the difference between an SUV based on a car or consumer grade pickup truck and a real off-road vehicle has to do with this. With the right mods Ive seen Chevy Trackers out perform military Humvee’s and highly modded deisel pickups. Ive seen just about any vehicle perform great off road with a few mods if done right. the point of this article was to come up with a list of vehicles this person felt were worth note and what they perfer for the apocolypse. P.S. I dont think they were to concerned about price, as you could aquire these vehicles with no cost. Zombie apocolypse no corporations money means nothing.

  7. Sigivald says:

    Hino is a subsidiary of Toyota, by the way.

    So the FJ is still “made by Toyota”.

  8. Ken says:

    Let’s just hope an EMP doesn’t hit before the Zombies or all those cars will be worthless.


  9. david says:

    I would think a custom made 4×4 semi-truck with a cattle bar on front would be good to go, like the ones they use in Austriala on those road trains, have upwards of 9 trailers hooked together mogating across the outback. If they can pull 9 trailers hooked together they could pull across anything.

  10. RJ says:

    If it were me, give me a Zero DS electric motorcycle- I don’t want a big noisy engine announcing where I am. Then again, I probably want something that I can refuel without a power grid…. so give me a windmill with a power outlet, too.

    • Alzuun says:

      Close: the road clearence notwithstanding, I would go with the Chevy Volt. The above list and all of these heavy vehicles (except that motorcycle) run out of gas fast and there’s only 1 reason there is an apocolypse…they outlast us. With a Volt, you can recharge in the manner you describe, not get pulled off your motorcycle and if you do scrounge gas YOU CAN USE IT! :)

  11. Kurt says:

    RJ, the Zero MC is too limited in range – at WOT, plan on around 20 miles or so. Do you really want to run out of amps while being chased by a horde of zombies?

  12. Don Omar says:

    Ive seen what a police interceptor can do while driven by a professional, the ways they have to take out of the road, and the ass kickin power there bad boys have to push ANY car and make it stop.

    (I saw these chase on the I95 a couplo of week ago, some idiot was trying to get away from the police, and his weapon of choice was a 98 Corolla, which is no match for a Vic, it was like watching a lion chasing Bamby)

    I drive a 94 Lincol TownCar Cartier, and still gotta give to the police weapon of choice. 2 tons of bad attitute. Awesome.

    C ya!

  13. skeezix says:

    My vote is for the diesel Toyota HiLux (Tacoma in US). If the psychos on Top Gear can’t kill it, zombies won’t have a chance.

    • Kurt says:

      I wish we could get the diesel motored Tacoma in the States. I really wish the diesel motor was optional on the FJ: that would have been my motor of choice.

  14. kellstat says:

    What about, (zombies or not) stock trucks and custom? Stock, toyota. TLC fj80, hilux(which is not a tacoma, just the US comparison). Tacoma 4door long bed. But better would have the 4bt diesels in them! Icons are hard to beat, except wallet. But who’s pay’n?!

  15. New Cars says:

    Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is really cool with a great sportier look !
    And the interiors of Toyota FJ Cruiser 4wd is really nice and impressive..

  16. cody says:

    Actually all the vehicles are bad. Almost all are completely fuel inefficient. You will not have the luxury of hitting a gas station every time you see the gas light come on. Because honestly if you do, your in the city….possibly the worst place to be. Also the electricity will probably be off, so you can no longer pump it. And if you have your own pump? Well thats good. You’ll probably get lucky a few times but there will be zombies nearby that will sometimes get to you before you can start to refuel. And if your in the country you’d better pray there is a Citgo nearby. On top of that as badass and strong as these vehicles are, zombies will not simply gather in groups of 10 or 12. They can mass into thousands, hundred thousands depending on circumstances. And if you ram them with your car? Well lets just say your gonna be hitting the equivalent of a small deer every second and none of those vehicles could take that forever, plus the “deer” grab and fight. Also Noise. All these vehicles make very loud noise and get louder the bigger they are. Do you realize you will have zombies coming toward you the moment you stop driving? You will almost have no rest, even out in the wilderness because even though you drove pass that one zombie an hour ago, he’ll be going the direction he saw you last and may find you if you stop for the night. Your best bet is by foot, off-road motorcyle or bicycle. Feet and man powered tires are incredibly quiet and the bicycle doesnt need to be refueled. As for the OR motorcyle, it is the speed that you’d want for a quick getaway. And one last thing. Those big vehicles….yeah good luck getting those through all those abandoned cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles, buses, dumptrucks, police cars, tanks, military vehicles, tractors, taxis, mail cars, delivery trucks, crashed planes, debris, bodies and god knows what else. That big ass vehicle wouldnt even make it past the first pile up. And if you did by some miracle? All the sudden you have to back track and now your almost stuck…by the way I see 50 zombies coming from all sides. Good Luck!!!

    • Kurt says:

      Cody, I can see you’ve given this some serious thought, and I can appreciate that. Right or wrong, I’m sticking with my FJ Cruiser, M1A, Remington 870 and a very keen survival instinct.

    • James says:

      Your right about the fuel problem and noise. But I really don’t think going by foot anywhere is the right decision. I know I’d rather take my chances with the Earthroamer.

  17. sumhi peedoosh says:

    So let me get this straight, even when the apocalypse happens u jerks are still goin to be trying to kill the environment by driving those pollutant machines. Get with the times rednecks, drive a hybrid.

    • Kurt says:

      Hell yes! I’ll be eating baby spotted owls, too!

      And “drive” and “hybrid” are two words I have a hard time using in the same sentence.

    • Alzuun says:

      I drive a hybrid and it is a horrible choice for the apocalypse. Now you’re probably a troll trying to get a rise out of someone but why the heck not analyze hybrids: bad idea. Horrible ground clearance all, and cannot go fast under electricity. So even if you had that elusive Prius 3 with the solar panels you can’t get away when you need to.

  18. From this above list i like Earth roamer XV-LT cause this is the less expensive RV type truck and it require less maintenance cost. The one more reason is. this is the best option for camping for my family.

  19. chase allen says:

    id have a deuce and a half they may be big and very slow but no zombie could get in the truck and it would not matter if there where 100,000s zombies nothing could stop a deuce and a half…i use to work on the trucks when i was in the army i have to say there is nothing easier to work on…there good on gas(for there size)and have huge gas tanks and if it burns you can use it as gas.you have all the room in the world for food,guns,and water.deuce and a halfs are all time 6×6 with lockers(makes all the wheels spin) as soon as you put the deuce in 6x5low dont matter if there is plane in the road…and the tires on the deuce are 12 ply so you can run over just about anything and be fine…and there only about 45k for a low miles one…just better know how to drive a manual

  20. Kurt Ernst says:

    chase, doesn’t a deuce and a half have a canvas back? With flaps that zip or tie closed?

    I’m not sure I want to take my chances in a rolling canvas tent, mobbed by thousands of hungry zombies. Maybe I’d feel better in the cab, but I’m not riding in the back of one when the fertilizer hits the fan.

  21. chase allen says:

    not all of them do you can get some with steel tops but if the fertilizer hits the fan im not going to be in a big group made 2 or 3 people tops

  22. GMan says:

    Id just go for a military APC or a riot vehicle for protection. Or Id go with the Chevy Impala or Chevy Caprice Police Version with a few mods.

  23. Blade says:

    WTF! whats up with all these tiny or unpractical vehicles? why not a pick-up or SUV?

  24. bamboali says:

    Nice list, i think the Defender is the best of them all, but i prefer the Touareg W12 to be there aswell

  25. Hey Kurt! says:

    You forgot the Toyota Tacoma. Those lil bastards will run forever and survive anything!

  26. tim says:

    p4xl, look it up

  27. Robert says:

    Honestly I think any vehicle that is pre 1970’s will do you good being that they are made of steel not cheap sheet metal, I have a 1964 jeep j-200 with a Chevy 350 and 33″ tall tires that would demolish any median curb or zombie. Especially being the fact that I rear ended a expedition a while ago and no damage to my jeep ( besides a bent front license plate) and caused 5000$ in damage to the expedition

  28. popop says:

    the new nissan xterra would be my choice.

  29. NEIKA says:


  30. Anonymous Coward says:

    My apocalypse vehicle would be a rental truck. Not a huge 18 wheeler or such. Those are too difficult to maintain and are expensive to find tires, engine pieces, ect. A rental truck in the range of 20-26 feet long would be great. On the inside there are metal beams running horizontally along the back. You can bolt sheet steel or aluminum diamond plate to the outside. There is wooden beams running vertically on the inside of the back, you can screw in drywall if you want. Then you add a few more lights to the inside, Mount a generator on the exterior that you can activate from inside for electricity, modify the rear door to latch and lock from the inside, And using a sawzall or similar tools, cut an access hatch to the cab. Armor the engine block and cab, and armor the windows with horizontal beams. Furnish the back, and live in it. Make sure the truck is diesel for lots of pulling power. Install a bull bar on the front bumper, and put some sort of skid plate under it. Increase the gas tank capacity, and gather a tool set that has basic tools, like screwdrivers, and also more detalied tools, like a small air compressor, a oil or gas siphon, spark plug wrenches, and battery chargers. Make contact with a mechanic that can service your vehicle if it needs it (do basic maintenance like oil changes and tire changes and rotations yourself) and make sure you have a good supplier of tires and diesel fuel or gasoline.

  31. Robert says:

    how about the Royal Enfield 500. their fast durable gets 80+mpg and can weave in between burned out cars on the freeway no prob. you can mount dirt tires on it.also it has a longer range and wont kill your butt on long rides like a dirt bike will.

  32. i can’t write a zombie story not good at it but i am looking around for some hearty and safe land rover’s and land train car’s and truck’s and the crown vic is awesome bye

  33. I got my Wrangler. I’m ready.

  34. Glad to see four of our vehicles made the list!

  35. Peter says:

    The cars are very powerful, there maybe time that we will able to use this. I hope zombie apocalypse won’t happen.

  36. Nick says:

    I’ll take the jeep wrangler over any vehicle for the zombie apocalypse. Hard top of course!
    The newer JK’s ride better than any pickup I’ve owned and parts are easy to find.

  37. Kurt says:

    First off, if it truly were the “zombie apocalypse” as in The Walking Dead, – Who cares if your vehicle is “street legal” – especially if you’re going to be loading it with guns and ammo that may negate it’s “legality”?
    Second, (and under the above presumption that “legality” won’t matter in an apocalypse scenario) – My vote would go to one of those huge Case or Steiger 8-wheel tractors with tons of horsepower (like a 480, or something like that). The enclosed cab sits high enough off the ground that you should be safe (and you’d have good visibility), and instead of wasting ammo, you just crush any zombies in your path by simply driving over them. Install bullet-resistant glass for the cab windows and you should be good to go.