While most people may try to avoid driving on rocky roads, mud, uninhabited desert areas, bogs, and sand dunes, off-roading enthusiasts thrive on the challenge these types of tough driving conditions present. While you could try to go off-roading in just about any type of vehicle, the difference between driving safely out of adverse conditions, or being towed out with potential injuries, comes down to having the right equipment. High-riding vehicles such as trucks and SUVs are much better suited to the difficult terrain, so when you set out for off-roading adventures, leave the Prius parked firmly in the driveway and consider one of these 30 best off-roading vehicles instead.
30. Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser (1973 – 1983)
Built between 1974 and 1983, the Land Cruiser proved ideal for off-roading fanatics. It required little to no modification and four-wheel drive made it ready to overcome most off-roading obstacles. The Chevy small-block engine was powerful and achieved great fuel mileage, and it could comfortably seat four. You’ll still find a few of these on the road today, with several hundred thousand miles on them speaking to their durability.
29. Chevrolet Colorado Diesel
Part compact 4×4 pickup truck, part mountain goat, the Colorado is amazingly nimble on and off the trails. It’s equipped with a 2.8-liter Duramax turbo diesel engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive. Its smaller footprint makes it ideal for tighter spaces, and various off-roading and equipment packages make it a fantastic option for outdoor enthusiasts who want to tear up a little ground. The ride is smooth and it’s well equipped, but beware – this one’s pricey.
28. Chevrolet K5 Blazer (1988-1991)
The Blazer was a powerful 4×4 full-size truck that was considered fun to drive and offered the kind of gearing off-roaders love. It included the buyer’s choice of a 5.7-liter 210-horsepower V8 or 6.2-liter 130-horsepower V8 diesel. It had a removable top for those who wanted to feel the wind in their hair. A tight turning radius made it a popular off-roading choice because it could easily maneuver through tight spots that larger trucks couldn’t handle.
27. Infiniti QX80
Infiniti’s answer to the Cadillac Escalade is big, luxurious, and affordable on a modest budget. While it may not be the first vehicle you think of in terms of off-roading, it is surprisingly capable. The QX80 sits on a full-sized truck frame and features a 400-horsepower 5.6-liter V8 paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission. Buyers can choose a rear-wheel or all-wheel drive configuration. With a big engine and great ground clearance, all you’ll need to add is perhaps some grippier tires and you’re ready for serious adventures.
26. International Harvester Safari II (1977-1979)
The International Harvester Safari rolled off the showroom floor ready to rumble on even the most challenging adventures. This 4×4 had a 106.5-inch wheelbase, a V8 engine, and the T427 manual transmission. By 1977, the Safari II had benefited from 10 years of tweaking to the design, axles and engine that made it a rock solid choice for off-roading.
25. Jeep CJ-7 (1977-1986)
Outfitted with a tight 93.5-inch wheelbase and a 3-speed T-150 transmission, the CJ-7 is capable of handling just about any conditions an off-roader is ready for. This 4×4 was offered with the buyer’s choice of three engines: a 232-cubic-inch I-6, and 258-inch I-6, and a 304-cubic-inch V8. Beginning in 1977, the extra 10 inches added to the wheelbase and wider rear leaf springs provided increased stability in tough conditions.
24. Dodge Power Wagon
The Dodge Power Wagon began production in the 1940s and was based on a WWII military truck, giving it the bones it needed for some serious off-roading. The original design was so solid that no changes were made until the 1970s. More modern versions feature large axles with lockers and manual transmission. Three engines are available, including a 3.8-liter Flathead I6, 4.1-liter Flathead I6, and 5.2-liter LA V8.
23. Scorpion MK1
The Scorpion MK1 tube buggy offers some advantages that other off-roading vehicles simply can’t. Its smooth-riding capabilities have positioned it for rescuing injured parties in extremely rough terrain, its softness on the ground reduces environmental impact, and its smaller form factor allows it to go where other 4x4s won’t. The vehicle was designed in 1997 and it is produced on a semi-regular basis.
22. 2004 Land Rover Discovery II
Where the Discovery II really excels in visibility, payload capability, and overall feel. The off-roading capability is above average even in stock condition, and it is powered by a 4.6-liter engine with locking center differential. On the negative side, the Discovery II suffers from poor gas mileage and the need for frequent repairs.
21. Toyota 4Runner (2004-2008)
Toyota’s 4th generation 4Runner offers a lot of space and comfort, great reliability ratings, and is one of the best off-roaders Toyota has ever produced. The engine is a 4.7-liter V8 making it a powerful beast in even the most challenging conditions. Some angles on the vehicle have limited clearance, but this obstacle is easily overcome by an attentive driver.
20. Land Rover LR4
The mid-sized LR4 offers the kind of luxury you want for a road trip while still proving itself formidable on the trail due to a shorter wheelbase and advanced full-time four-wheel drive. Land Rover’s Terrain Response feature and adaptable air suspension system are designed to automatically adjust to handle conditions such as snow, mud, gravel, and rocks. The engine is a powerful 3.0 liter supercharged V6 with 6-speed automatic transmission. A locking rear differential is optional.
19. Toyota Land Cruiser 100 Series (1998-2007)
This sturdy off-roader is durable, reliable and you can easily find these models on the road with 300,000+ miles on them. It’s powered by a 4.7-liter V8 engine with manual or automatic transmission. The lack of a solid axle creates limitations that prevent the Land Cruiser from taking on the toughest terrain, but later model improvements include improved brakes and better fuel economy.
18. Toyota Tacoma (2001-2008)
The generation 1.5 and 2.0 models are excellent off-roaders with a simple design and strong performance. The Tacoma performs well even if overloaded, and gets fuel economy ahead of other off-roaders. Those who use the Tacoma for off-roading often choose to modify the suspension, and some choose to upgrade the interior for additional comfort.
17. Land Rover Range Rover Sport (2015)
This mid-sized SUV is an excellent off-roader that offers comfort and a smooth ride. A supercharged V6 is standard on the Sport, and there is a V8 option available. An eight-speed automatic transmission is also standard and this vehicle manages good fuel efficiency. The Sport offers the versatility of being just as at home on the highway as in rugged conditions.
16. Ford Ranger XLT (1998-2011)
These models can be purchased used for as little as $5,000, and as a mid-sized pickup, it’s a great choice for driving around town or going off-road. Four-wheel drive enables it to handles bogs, dunes, and other adventurous terrain. Engine options include a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder and 4.0-liter V6. Transmission options include a 5-speed manual or automatic.
15. Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk
Jeep recently made a package available for the Trailhawk that contributed to its off-roading capabilities, drawing a good balance between a standard SUV and an off-roader with serious grit. Four-wheel drive is optional, and engine options include a 3.6-liter V8, a turbo diesel V6, and 5.7-liter V8. The standard configuration includes an eight-speed automatic.
14. Toyota Sequoia
This 4-door SUV has some serious off-roading capabilities, due in large part to locking limited slip differential, body-on-frame construction, and a 5.7-liter V8 with 6-speed automatic transmission. Whether you just want to grab some groceries or you want to go deep into a national forest, you’ll have room for eight on your trek and will enjoy a smooth, quiet ride. The brisk acceleration of the Sequoia is a definite and perhaps unexpected plus.
13. RAM Power Wagon
This fashionable monster has power plus, thanks to a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engine that produces 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and manually shifted transfer case. Goodyear Wrangler Dura-Trac tires offer the traction needed in off-roading. The exterior design is a tip to its off-roading capabilities, with features such as a new grill design, black bezel bi-functional projector headlights with LED marker lights, and a vent stamped hood with gloss black graphic.
12. Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X Diesel
The Pro-4X offers an off-roading package that includes skid plates and Bilstein shocks that combined with a high ceiling that allows for plenty of headroom when bouncing around on uneven terrain make this vehicle great for off-roading. It’s powered by a 5.6 liter V8 with 401 lb-ft of torque, combined with a seven-speed automatic transmission and a choice of rear or four-wheel drive. The ride is smooth and supportive seats in the cab make the Pro-4X comfortable for off-roading or long road trips.
11. Chevrolet Colorado Trail Boss
Adventurers will find a lot to love in the Trail Boss. It offers a special package with off-road suspension that when combined with the roof mounted sports bar with LED trail lighting, prominent fender flares, tubular assist steps, and black finish 17” aluminum wheels with Goodyear Wrangler Dura-Tec all-terrain tires gives it rugged, good looks. The gas-powered engine choices include a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder or 3.6 V6 engine. Drivers can also choose rear-wheel or 4-wheel drive.
10. Subaru Outback
Perfect for less challenging off-roading terrain, the Outback lacks locking differential, high ground clearance and knobby tires that allow an off-roader to thrive in nearly any environment but there’s a quality to it that makes it fun to drive, and a practical choice for going from city or highway driving to some light trail blazing. The engine is a modest 175 horsepower 2.5 liter boxer-four with CVT transmission. Not really ready for a mud bog run, but plenty good but for some modest hills and trails.
9. Range Rover (1970)
The Range Rover was originally designed as a passenger 4×4, but the all-coil suspension and full-time four-wheel drive meant a smoother ride with less tire wear and lower fuel consumption on even rugged terrain, making it a solid choice for off-roading enthusiasts. The engine is a 2.7-liter V6 with a six-speed automatic transmission.
8. Ford Bronco (1966-1977)
Making its debut in 1966, the Bronco became a favorite of off-roaders and remains one of the best choices available for off-roading. A wheelbase of 92 inches allowed for a tight turning circle of 33.8 feet, and Ford’s powerful V8 engine and 3-speed manual transmission gave it the power it needed to traverse tough terrain.
7. Lexus GX460
This Lexus GX460 is hiding some fierce off-roading chops behind the guise of a mid-sized luxury SUV. That tophat-and-tails exterior hides the heart of a mountain climber. Outfitted with a 301 horsepower 4.6 liter V8, six-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive, a sturdy chassis, and locking center differential, there’s little you can take the GX460 into that it can’t maneuver its way out of.
6. Nissan Xterra
The Xterra went out of production in 2015, and that’s a shame because it’s heavier body-on-frame construction and powerful 4.0-liter naturally aspirated V6 with stick shift made it a popular choice for off-roading. The Xterra also had a solid record of safety and dependability, not always a given in the compact SUV market segment.
5. Nissan Frontier
The Frontier includes a variety of choices that make it a rugged off-roading option, including an optional 4.0-liter V6 with 261 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque, choice of 5-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission, hill start assist, and hill descent controls, 4-wheel drive, and off-road suspension and tires. The ride is surprisingly comfortable, the cabin is well appointed, and nearly 9 inches of ground clearance ensures a great ride even over rocky trails.
4. Ford F-150 Raptor
A dedicated Baja mode and modifications to the F150 make the Raptor everything you could want in an off-roading vehicle. Big and brawny, this truck is nearly unstoppable in any conditions. The engine is a big bore 6.2-liter V8 with a six-speed transmission. It absorbs the impact of tough terrain thanks to triple-bypass Fox Racing Shox, aluminum front suspension arms, and generous wheel travel.
3. RAM 1500 Rebel
There’s always a level of competition among full-sized pickups for which is the top dog for off-roading. While the Ford F150 Raptor is the likely victor, those on a more limited budget can inch up close on the Raptor with the RAM 1500. You can opt for a Hemi V8 engine rich with torque, overdrive automatic transmission, and automatic four-wheel drive guaranteed to move through the ruggedest of conditions with aplomb.
2. Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
Produced by Chrysler under the Jeep nameplate, this compact SUV includes a six-speed transmission (manual standard, automatic optional), high torque inline six-cylinder engine, a 4:1 transfer case, and off-road tires. Owners can choose a hard-top of zip down soft top. Its smaller profile makes it a great choice for tighter spaces such as narrow trails.
1. Mercedes Benz G500
The luxury 4×4 G-Wagen is sold under the Mercedes-Benz brand and is manufactured by Magna Steyr in Austria. Originally developed as a military vehicle, a rain gutter, strong axles, and excellent payload capabilities make it a great choice for off-roading. It features body-on-frame construction and three fully locking differentials. The G-Wagen has a long production run, more than 35 years, making it one of Mercedes’ longest produced models.