I know this subject has been beat to death multiple times on MP, so forgive me. I have read some of the past posts on the subject but figured i could present my requirements and see if i can get a more tailored answer.
Looking for something with something with a decent amount of cargo and passenger space (will be hauling 4 big dudes with climbing+camping gear), somewhat comfortable to ride long distances in, some amount of off road capability and decent mpg. The car will probably see a good amount of gravel roads/washboards/snow with the handful of times a year on pretty rutted out roads in the shuteye ridge/eastern sierra/needles. I don't really have plans to take it rock crawling. I'm currently between the 4Runner or a Subaru. Some of my friends have Tacomas with camper shells and are happy with them. Obviously mpg on Tacoma/4Runner is a bit low. Some other friends have Outbacks, and most seem to have had generally poor experiences with them. Open to other suggestions as well.
If you're planning on fitting 4, I'd go with the 4Runner over the Tacoma or Subaru. Don't underestimate how good having leg and breathing room is for group morale. If the gas mileage is a downer, maybe check out a Honda Element as well? I've been driving an Element the past two years and although I'm about to sell it and get a truck, it's treated me really well. It's got the most interior room of any "car" I've ever had besides a straight-up minivan, the AWD does pretty well in the snow and mud especially with good tires, and it gets about 25-28 mpg on the highway. It isn't perfect though; I wish I had better low range torque, the trunk space with the back seats in is only average; and the clearance is about the same as an old Subaru Forester. Definitely pros and cons, like there are with any car.