It is no secret that SUVs have swept the entire car industry and have become best-selling models globally. From compact and affordable models to full-size and luxury SUVs, there are over 140 different models currently on sale. However, the vast array of different versions, options, and engine choices make choosing the right one to go off-roading very difficult. Gone are the days when there were just a couple of SUVs on the market; nowadays, the variety is nothing but overwhelming.
If you’d like to benefit from the comfort and convenience of an SUV while still being able to drive it off the beaten path on weekends, we’ve got you covered. We have compiled a list of capable off-road models equipped with competent four-wheel-drive powertrains while still offering a lot of cargo space and even some luxury features. From very affordable to very expensive, here are ten best off-road SUVs for you to buy.
Land Rover Discovery
Designed to be a more comfortable and more civilized cousin of the famous Defender, Land Rover Discovery was introduced in 1989 and immediately became a sales success. Currently, in its third generation, it never abandoned the original concept of capable but still elegant SUV. There were many versions and models over the years, and if you want classic ones, you can buy them very cheaply. We suggest going for V8 versions, of course.
One of the best yet the most affordable cars on our list is the 1999 to 2015 Nissan Xterra. Although it might look and feel a bit outdated compared to more modern models, Xterra is very capable when the asphalt stops and will not disappoint when you take it off-road. Owners looking for a dependable and cheap all-terrain SUV will love Xterra, but those looking for modern features and infotainment systems should look elsewhere.
Honda Pilot is a mid-size SUV that is designed primarily as a comfy highway family express. However, with an optional all-wheel-drive train and powerful V6 engine, it is capable enough to provide you with additional safety and traction in difficult driving conditions. If you are looking for earlier models, you can get them pretty cheap, and for around $16,000, you will be able to buy well-kept and low mileage, 2013-14 model.
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
One of the most distinctive models in this segment is definitely the Wrangler Unlimited. Combining the off-road authority of regular two-door Wrangler but adding more space and extra two doors, Unlimited has been a sales success ever since it was introduced in 2008. The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is always the right choice since it is inexpensive to maintain, reasonably comfortable, and you can find decent used examples for just around $17,000.
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Apart from just affordable prices, the 2006 to 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser has a lot in its favor. Not only is it one of the rare, retro-futuristic off-roaders on the market, but it has a very capable drive train, powerful V6 engine, and a surprising amount of space in the interior. It is also easy to modify and often seen at rock-crawling events and off-road racers. Well-preserved examples may be expensive, but you can find great deals at just under $20k.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
The current, fourth generation of Grand Cherokee has been around since 2011, and it still is one of the best deals in this class, whether you are buying it new or used. For approximately $20,000 (average price of the used example), you will get plenty of luxury, up-to-date features, as well as a wide range of engines all the way to the mighty 707 hp Trackhawk model. Even though Grand Cherokee is a well-mannered SUV, it still can prove itself on rough terrain.
Even though the Lexus GX460 is just Toyota Land Cruiser with a higher price tag, it is still a relevant SUV class model. Mainly because it offers high levels of luxury and comfort as well as famous off-road capabilities, a powerful V8 engine, and high built quality; if you are looking to buy it new, it is reasonably costly. Still, you can find it for $35k, which is significantly less.
The brand new Mercedes G550 is a six-figure SUV, but you can get the boxy, luxury, and competent Benz for around $40,000 if you are willing to go for 2010-11 models. Even though those are 10-year old cars, they look almost identical, go very well, thanks to 391 hp V8 engine, and are a blast to drive off-road. Yes, the maintenance can be pricey, but this is a premium product that demands investment.
Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO
Incredibly, the current 4Runner has been around for over ten years. In 2015, Toyota introduced a more off-road focused TRD PRO package with upgraded suspension, brakes, and drive train. It remained popular since because it represents the perfect balance between hardcore off-road warrior and family SUV. It is not as comfortable as some other models, but it will be a valuable asset when you go off the grid.
East Coast Defender Project Viper
There are not many SUVs that are more expensive than this crazy Land Rover, designed and built in Florida by a company called East Coast. Powered by GM’s LS3 V8 engine and delivering 430 hp, it is equipped by state-of-the-art suspension components, brakes, and massive off-road tires. However, the creators didn’t forget the interior, so customers have perfect bespoke experience and comfort. If you want to have an all-in-one SUV, this is the one. Unfortunately, it costs close to $300k, and that is the price without the options.