7 of the Best Off-road Vehicles
Finding one the best off-road vehicles for you can be complicated. This list makes the process easier by breaking down the best into three categories
Finding some of the best off-road vehicles can be incredibly complicated. Where it will be driven, both on and off-road, can be a major factor, and what you'll be using it for (work, family, play, etc), can also dictate what the best off-road vehicles might be for you. To help you identify the right vehicle for your situation, we've included three categories: trucks, SUVs, and other vehicles.
The vehicles below are picked based on overall capability, availability of after-market add-ons, and drivetrains that ensure smooth travel. They are listed alphabetically by manufacturer.
- AWD or 4WD: Four-wheel drive (4WD) is a no-brainer for the best off-road vehicles, but newer, more advanced all-wheel-drive (AWD) systems can be just as powerful while maintaining a smooth ride on road.
- Ground Clearance: When you're crossing rocky, wet, or snowy terrain, the last thing you want is your engine to be impaled by nature. For this reason, each of these vehicles has at least 8 inches between the lowermost point of the vehicle and the road.
- Tires: While this is certainly something that you can swap out on your own, heading into the wild without the right tires is like wearing flip-flops while hiking—things often don’t go well. To make it on this list, a vehicle must come with off-road or all-terrain tires.
We also factor in suspension, transmission, and brakes that are trail-ready. Most of the vehicles on our list also feature advanced off-road technology.
Chevrolet Colorado ZR2
At around $42,000, according to the MSRP, the ZR2 Colorado adds factory-ready off-roading to an already powerful truck. The suspension on the ZR2 trim is 2 inches higher and 3.5 inches wider than the standard version, giving it 10 inches of ground clearance. Front and rear locking differentials paired with the nubby tires make quick work of loose gravel. Its 3.6L V6 produces 308 hp, or you could opt for the 2.8L turbo-diesel, which produces 181 hp and has a 7,700-lb towing capacity.
Ford F-150 Raptor
RAM 2500 Power Wagon 75th Anniversary Edition
Since its inception in the 1940s for military use, the Power Wagon has been revered in serious off-road circles. It has a price tag of $64,000 according to the MSRP. After a hiatus, the truck came back about 15 years ago, and it is a beast. It has 14.2 inches of ground clearance and can wade through 30 inches of water without your coffee taking a tumble. Skidplates and powder-coated bumpers are standard on the Power Wagon, and its 149-inch wheelbase clears a shocking 22-degree break-over angle. The only engine available is the 6.4L V-8, a Hemi of course, that makes 410 hp and 429 lb.-ft. of torque.
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe
The world's perhaps most recognizable off-roader became even more capable once it was outfitted with a plug-in hybrid engine. With up to 25 miles of silent, fully-electric driving, the two electric motors help the
Land Rover Defender
Spotted in the wild and around the world, the Land Rover Defender holds firmly to its heritage in its latest iteration. Available in two- or four-door versions, called the Defender 90 and Defender 110 respectively, the iconic Land Rover is capable in any guise. Defenders equipped with air suspension can raise to give driver's 11.5 inches of ground clearance, but even base Defenders with the coil spring suspension come with 8.9 inches of ground clearance. Priced at around $52,000 according to the MSRP, the Defender's standard all-wheel drive AWD, dynamic stability control, hill descent, and configurable terrain response make it more than competent off-road and remarkably user-friendly as well.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4
If going into nature sounds great and staying there sounds even better, the Sprinter 4x4 van may be one of the best off-road vehicles for you. Long revered for its functionality and flexibility, the Sprinter van can arrive with extraordinary capability. Factory-outfitted with a 6-cylinder diesel engine and 4x4 construction, the 3500xd has a payload of 4,526 lbs. Also a favorite with the van-life crowd, the Sprinter 4x4, priced at around $61,000 according to the MSRP, has an endless supply of aftermarket add-ons, including kitchens, solar panels, and composting toilets.