Off-road SUVs come in many forms, but finding the best off-road vehicles can be an exciting experience. SUV’s are generally great at handling dirt roads, but the overall capabilities can vary significantly from one model to another. Sometimes, there’s a tradeoff between capability, comfort, and cost, but it all mainly depends on your needs and expectations.

In this guide, we’ll show you some of the best off-road vehicles, but first here are some aspects of them to consider.

  • All-Wheel Drive/Four-Wheel Drive: With all-wheel drive, power is always distributed to all four wheels. Usually, four-wheel drive means you can switch from two-wheel to four-wheel drive mode when road conditions demand it.
  • Four-High/Four-Low Gearing: Four-high gearing is what’s used for normal driving, while four-low gearing provides additional traction and control for off-road travel.
  • Approach, Departure, and Breakover Angles: The higher the angle, the less likely the bumpers or underside of the vehicle will get scraped when climbing, descending, or traversing terrain.

Also, the vehicle should have at least 8.5 inches of ground clearance to avoid damage while traversing rugged trails.

Best Off-Road Vehicles on the Market

Truck-based SUVs are preferred for their off-road capabilities. Car-based crossovers are tough but are generally not suited for rugged off-road environments. For the best off-road performance, here are some of the best SUVs you can find:

Jeep Wrangler

This iconic off-roader has a high ground clearance and is also available with locking differentials for added traction on steep, rocky terrain. The latest models are feature-packed and designed for comfort. You can also find abundant aftermarket parts and support. For outstanding performance on rocks, mud, and rough terrain most other vehicles not dare go, the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon fits the bill. Its Rock-Trac transfer case has a 4.0:1 low-range ratio while an electronic-disconnect front sway bar and locking front and rear differentials are included.

Toyota 4Runner

Toyota comes pretty close to Jeep when it comes to off-road prowess. The 4Runner has the ground clearance to avoid obstacles. For the ultimate in off-road ready, the 2021 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is a modern luxury with a newly upgraded off-road suspension, shocks, and TRD-tuned front springs as well as all-terrain tires. It’s also fit with a robust skid plate and TRD roof rack. But that’s not the only option for this mid-size SUV; the 4Runner is available in SR5, SR5 Premium, TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, Trail Special Edition, and other trims.

Subaru Outback

The Outback looks pretty much like a standard SUV, but is in fact a station wagon. Its all-wheel drive is standard, while various driver assist technologies are included. The Subaru Outback Wilderness is better suited for more rugged off-road trails. It offers 9.5 inches of ground clearance, all-weather floormats, and the off-road ability enhancing Subaru X-Mode. An exceptionally durable roof rack can hold up to 700 pounds of gear.

Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

A mid-size truck capable of off-roading, the ZR2 has much to offer over the base model. Its track width is 3.5 inches wider and ride height is 2 inches taller. In off-road mode, traction and stability control are disabled. Other features include functional stainless steel rock sliders, high-clearance bumpers, and front and rear electronic locking differentials.

Land Rover Defender

The 2021 model received the MotorTrend SUV of the Year award. It is known for its advanced electronics, including the Terrain Response 2 system, which can adjust throttle response, stability control, and air suspension depending on the type of trail you’re cruising. In addition to permanent four-wheel drive, the Defender has auto-locking center and rear differentials. It also exceeds the Wrangler Rubicon in terms of breakover and departure angles.

Visit Hawthorne Auto Square

These are just some of the best off-road vehicles on the market in the SUV category. There are certainly other favorites and extremely capable names, including the Chevrolet Tahoe and Jeep Grand Cherokee. To learn more and find an off-road SUV that’s perfectly suited for you, visit our Los Angeles used car dealership. Or, call 866-707-7664 today for more information on our pre-owned vehicles, in-house financing, and low down payments.