Seek out nature’s healing embrace in one of the best off-road vehicles. Now is the perfect time to research the best 4x4 off-road vehicle for your needs, be sure to take into account the area you're most likely to go off-roading and peruse the list below. You'll be ready to go on your adventure, and to rock and roll in one of these cars that can chew up rocks and mud just as much as it does pavement.
Fear not fellow gearheads, we've included some classics as well as new off-road warriors on this list. So enjoy getting acquainted with the best off-road SUV’s, best off-road trucks, and best off-road campers for those times when you just want to get away from it all. Whether you’re looking for a rugged SUV, cheap off-road car, or classic off-road vehicle these models have been ranked by real-life off-road enthusiasts, and one these off-road cars is sure to catch your eye.
- 1104 VOTES
Toyota Land Cruiser (1974–1983)
The legendary FJ40 was Toyota’s response to the CJ/Willys Jeep, and its voice can still be heard resonating loud and clear all these decades later. Landcruisers are legendary for a reason, offering bulletproof drivetrains, and torquey V6 motors from the factory. Unless you’re a very small person, you can’t sleep in one of these cars, but you can easily stow or tow your gear. They’re slightly more nimble than they’re American inspiration, and the visceral experience that comes with driving one of these SUV’s far exceeds most other off-road rides. You feel much more like a participant than a viewer, and the personality of these vehicles sticks with you long afterwards.
- 292 VOTES
The Defender seamlessly blends on-road comfort with off-roading capabilities, thanks to its roots in the original Land Rover models. Those rugged vehicles were perfect as off-road rescue and post-office vehicles, but lacking in the luxuries department. Over the years, they added various quality-of-life upgrades, such as expanded drivetrain options, transmissions with synchros for smoother operation, more comfortable interiors, and coil-spring suspensions in place of leaf springs. By 1990, the Defender brand was officially in place, representing the combination of Land Rover’s indominable off-roading prowess with comfort, style, and luxury.
- 377 VOTES
This humble hero is considered by many to be one of the greatest off-road classic cars ever built. Suzuki has been experimenting with off-road vehicles since 1970, when they released the LJ10, or “Light Jeep 10.” After successfully selling several generations of their Light Jeeps in various markets, Suzuki crafted one for the US market. Dubbed the “Samurai,” these nimble, lightweight 4x4’s were sold from 1985-1995. They might not be the most powerful or attractive car on the lot, but they’ll keep on going where their heavier counterparts get stuck. Samurais are also very easy to modify and maintain, which makes these pocket-sized SUV’s exceptional rally cars.
- 482 VOTES
The Bronco was introduced to the blossoming world of civilian four-by-fouring in 1965. It was conceived by Ford general manager Donald Frey, the same brilliant mind behind the Mustang. The Bronco offers more interior space and a higher towing capacity than the Jeeps of its time, along with a more comfortable ride. It also boasts limited-slip differentials in the front and rear for better off-road traction. Best of all, it came from the factory with a 289 cubic-inch V8, which makes it the first civilian 4x4 sold with an eight cylinder motor. The first generation is considered the best choice of Broncos, because it has better safety ratings than the second gen and the best body style for off-roading out of the later models.
- 596 VOTES
The first generation 4Runner is one of the most versatile 4x4’s ever built. It holds its age well and comes loaded from the factory with off-road friendly goodies, including a removable fiberglass hard-top and solid axles in the front and rear. (It should be noted that the front solid axle was swapped out for independent front suspension in 1986.) Backyard mechanics can easily swap in various motors, drivetrains, and accessories to meet specific needs. Plus, it’s roomy enough to sleep in, and store all your gear. Keep it a daily driver, or transform it into a rock-crawler or Baja worthy pan-American camper. Whatever you choose to use it for, the humble 4Runner will get it done.
The Safari is a soft-top version of the iconic Harvester Scout, one of the coolest off-road vehicles on the planet. Initially offered as a consumer-friendly option to the bare-bones, utilitarian Willys Jeep of the 1960’s, the Scout helped set the standard for modern recreational off-road vehicles and 4x4’s. The Softop Safari II was International Harvester’s response to the Jeep CJ, complete with soft top and soft doors, a roll bar, plastic door inserts and grille, and Jeep-style side-mirrors mounted high on the A-pillars. These lovely beasts were only produced from 1977-1979, so finding one may be a challenge - but totally worth it.