The Best Off-Roading Vehicles You Can Buy Right Now
As SUV and truck manufacturers continue to prioritize fuel efficiency, American consumers are driving them off dealership lots faster than ever. While compact car and sedan sales are falling across the nation, manufacturers are seeing increases in their larger-vehicle lines. SUV sales are up by 15% from the previous quarter, and crossovers are peaking up to 21% higher according to CNBC’s quarterly report.
With many Americans preferring additional comfort and control that doesn’t come with regular sedans, and many manufacturers enhancing SUVs’ innovation and capabilities, these vehicles are highly desired across the board. However, this improved technology is leaving many truck lovers feeling that their favorite vehicles have gone “soft,” with little attention paid to the sport of trucking and off-roading.
All is not lost if you’re planning on hitting the backcountry. There are still several great off-roaders on the market, including a handful designed specifically to excel when the going gets tough. Not sure where to start? Consider these 5 top-rated options.
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock Edition
For more than a decade, the Wrangler Rubicon has been the industry standard for 4WD SUVs. The hardcore off-road-duty vehicle has since upped its game with hardware such as Dana 44 axles, a 4:1 transfer case for easy slow-speed crawling, and a swaybar disconnect system to free up the suspension on the toughest trails. The newer Hard Rock version of the Rubicon includes blacked-out trim, tough bumpers with removable end caps, and rock rails to protect the sides.
Land Rover Range Rover
Given their prevalence in flashy cities such as Los Angeles, the Range Rover often gets misclassified as just another luxury vehicle. Don’t let its sexy profile fool you; as the premier choice among the Land Rover family, the Range Rover includes some serious off-road capabilities. Its adjustable and long travel air suspension (10.2 inches up front and 12.2 inches in the rear) and its computer-controlled Terrain Response four-wheel drive system work in concert to perform incredible feats in the dirt. For serious trail work, the Rover can rise up on its springs and provide a foot of ground clearance. Priced around $85,000, Range Rovers are not cheap, but its ability to clear obstacles leaves competing off-road models spinning in the dust.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland
If you’re looking to combine off-road prowess with excellent drivability and comfort without the hefty price tag of the Range Rover, this truck might be your best bet. Jeep is one of the most respected off-road brands on the market, and the Grand Cherokee is the premiere vehicle in their lineup. The Overland model was designed to maintain this reputation while taking the style points up a notch. The interior is packed with all the basics, and is gussied up with a leather-covered dashboard, ventilated/heated seats, and an Alpine sound system. The Active Drive II four-wheel drive system allows for selectable terrain which adjusts to the slick, sticky, or deep earth you might find yourself in. Base priced at just $35,000, it’ll be hard to find more bang for your buck.
One of the heavier-duty vehicles on this list, the Ram Rebel features air suspension at all four corners to provide a ride that’s great for off-road clearance and gas mileage for everyday rides. It packages sensible weekend warrior gear with some of the boldest styling you’ll find on the market. The dials, vents, door handles, and center console feature bright red accents, while the front bucket seats have red fabric on the sides and the centers of the cushions have a tire-tread pattern. The Ram Rebel’s big tires don’t take much away from its aesthetic while soaking up big bumps in the road. It’ll cost you around $45,000 for a base model.
Toyota Land Cruiser
Anyone familiar with off-roading has probably heard of the Land Cruiser. But Toyota doesn’t just rely on its name – its flagship SUV has grown in amenities over the years while maintaining its knack for chugging through the rough terrain. To float over the worst trails, the Land Cruiser uses plush-riding independent front and coil-long solid axle rear suspension engineered for increased articulation. The basis of that system comes from Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension, which automatically allows for more suspension movement in slow-speed, off-road conditions, then tighten up as it senses lean at higher road speeds. It makes sense why the price tag is $80,000, as this is no basic off-roading vehicle. The technology combined with its proven, luxurious name presents a serious case for being the very best on the market.
Yes, off-roading is still in style, and as you can see, there’s inventory to prove it. Whether you’re interested in luxury, power, or affordability, the options above should provide the perfect head start in deciding which off-roading vehicle is the best fit for your needs.