Would You Bolt Tank Treads to Your Overlanding Van?

Earlier this year, Man Truck, a division of Volkswagen Group, revealed the TGE 3.180 4×4 combi. It’s a full-size van with what the brand calls “caterpillar drive.”

It got me thinking that this go-virtually-anywhere drivetrain tech is precisely what overlanding vans need.

Man created the TGE 3.180 4×4 combi with the help of TrackSystems, the manufacturer of the conversion kit, to demonstrate the go-anywhere prowess of the van. Specifically, Man envisions the TGE 3.180 4×4 combi climbing snow-covered mountains and across muddy alpine fields, which is cute.

Photo: Man Truck

Photo: Man Truck

I just imagine it trudging along anywhere I damn well point it.
See, I love this thing because it solves what I perceive as the biggest downfall of overlanding vans, which is limited tire sizes, ground clearance, and wheelbase length.


The tracks get the van way up in the air and bless it with a far bigger contact patch than any van would ever enjoy — even on 35-inch tires.

Photo: Man Truck

Photo: Man Truck

Sure, the treads can only be driven up to 31 miles per hour and they make the van 7.8-feet wider, 661 pounds heavier, and way taller. But whatever. These are niggling issues in the long run, I wager. The treads bolt on like wheels, so you could just pull over and swap them out, if they really pose an imposition.

I guess my exuberance for the TGE 3.180 4×4 combi is for naught because such treads aren’t exactly street legal.

Just imagine the adventures you could have in a luxury overlanding van with treads, though. It’d be pretty incredible.

Header photo: Man Truck

Photo by Brett Willhelm


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