14. Land Rover Range Rover Sport (2015)
For those who grew up driving the legacy Range Rover, the Range Rover Sport helps fill the growing niche for consumers who like to take a group off-roading in a mid-size SUV. The Sport is assessed as having excellent off-road capabilities, a large cabin, and a smooth ride. The vehicle is powered by a supercharged V6 engine for the stock purchase, but for those who want more power for off-roading there are two different supercharged V8 engines available to choose from. The Sport comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission and the overall fuel efficiency of the vehicle is pretty decent coming in at 17 MPG city and 22 MPG highway. With a number of “Family Friendly” features, the Sport is suitable to take on trails with more than just a co-pilot onboard; however, it has limited cargo space when compared to SUVs of the same size.
13. Toyota Tacoma (2001-2008)
The Toyota Tacoma Generation 1.5 and Generation 2 models produced between 2001 and 2008 are some of the best off-road vehicles ever produced. The trucks are based on a simple design that delivers strong performance, reliability, and an excellent value for the money. The Tacoma will not fail on the driver if it is overloaded, and they have decent fuel economy when compared to other off-road trucks. The stock suspension on the Tacoma does leave a bit to be desired with the front being under-dampened and the rear having its own issues. Most Tacoma owners have gone ahead and modified the suspension if driving the vehicle off-road to improve overall performance. Additionally, the interior quality is not equivalent to the remainder of the vehicle, so for those who like their autos to look good on the inside some work will need to be done to the truck to help it look nice.
12. Toyota Land Cruiser 100 Series (1998-2007)
The Toyota Land Cruiser 100 Series that was produced between 1998 and 2007 is another excellent off-road vehicle. The company took the effort to significantly improve the motor over the FZJ80, and it even sees better overall fuel economy. The vehicle features a 4.7 liter V8 engine and is available in manual or automatic transmission depending on the preferences of the owner. The 100 series does lack a solid axle which gives some limitations when it comes to taking the vehicle to some of the more extreme terrain locations available in the United States, but it has equivalent performance to the FZJ80 in these circumstances. Toyota also significantly improved the brakes in the 100 series compared to past models, and the vehicle is assessed as being extremely reliable and durable. For those who also enjoy driving on-road, the SUV has no issues with cruising at speeds above 80 MPH, and it is not uncommon to find models with more than 300,000 miles on them.
11. Mercedes Benz G500
The Mercedes Benz G500, or G-Wagen, is a 4×4 luxury SUV that is made by Magna Steyr in Austria and sold under the Mercedes-Benz brand. The vehicle is well-known for its boxy style and the body-on-frame construction. It is also one of the few off-road vehicles to feature three fully locking differentials on the auto. The G-Class is one of the longest produced models in the company’s history (more than 35 years), and was originally developed as a military vehicle. Straight out of the factory, the G-Wagen includes everything that an off-road enthusiast needs to include a rain gutter, strong axles, excellent payload capability, and is fun to drive. The fuel economy of the auto is low, and they are expensive to service and / or repair if taking the vehicle off-road in the United States.
9. 2004 Land Rover Discovery II
The 2004 Land Rover Discovery is one of the best models from the popular off-road brand to drive. Featuring a 4.6 liter engine and a locking center differential, the Discovery II provides the driver with some of the best visibility of all of the top 4×4’s out there, and it also includes an excellent payload capability and overall feel to the vehicle. Without adding any mods to the vehicle, it performs well above average off-road in stock condition, and provides the classic Land Rover adventure style that other models of the vehicle got away from. The Discovery II does have extremely low gas mileage on the negative front and it does take an owner who knows how to turn a wrench at times to keep it going off-road.
8. Scorpion MK I
The Scorpion MK I inspired a generation of tube buggies throughout the world. It is a semi-regular production vehicle, and is built from standard components to be driven both on and off-road. The vehicle was originally designed by Soni Honegger in 1997, and has been copied and improved upon by many individuals and companies since then. The MK I is designed to simply go where other 4×4’s cannot. It also incorporates a much smoother ride characteristic than class off-road vehicles which has allowed it to be used in a rescue role by the government for those who find themselves injured in extremely rough terrain. The vehicle is also much softer on the ground that it traverses when compared to other rides on the market.
7. Dodge Power Wagon
The Dodge Power Wagon is one of the original off-road vehicles produced in the United States since the middle 1940s. The original version of the truck was based on the Dodge WW II military truck, and it has been an excellent off-road vehicle since that time. The original design of the vehicle was so tight, that it lasted into the 1970s. The newer models include improvements in style and even comfort items for those who don’t spend a lot of their time off-road in the vehicle. The current version of the Power Wagon includes large axels with lockers and a manual transmission 4:1 transfer case. The truck features a 126 inch wheelbase, and it comes with three different engine sizes to choose from: 3.8 liter (230 cubic inch) Flathead I6, 4.1 liter (251 cubic inch) Flathead I6, or a 5.2 liter (318 cubic inch) LA V8. No matter which variant you choose to drive, you are in for a fun time off-road with the Power Wagon.
6. Jeep CJ-7 (1976-1986)
The Jeep CJ-7 was perhaps the most popular off-road vehicle produced between 1976 and 1986. With a 93.5 inch wheel-base, and a three speed T-150 transmission, the CJ-7 can just go places other 4×4 vehicles cannot. The CJ was available with three choices of engine type, the 232 cubic inch I-6, 258 I-6, or the 304 V-8. Many Jeep fans believe that the true “Era of the Jeep” ended when the last CJ was produced in 1986. When the model was first produced, it added an additional 10 inches of wheelbase to the vehicle when compared to previous models and it also include wider rear leaf springs that helped deliver a much more stable ride. Fans of the CJ-7 also love how easy it is to modify the vehicle with a lift kit, basic tools, and to even change out the engine. The CJ-7 remains one of the best off-road vehicles every produced.
5. International Harvester Safari II (1977-1979)
The International Harvester Safari II or the Super Scout II, was an American-made off-road vehicle produced in direct competition with the Jeep CJ. Also referred to as the “Cornbinder,” The Safari II / Super Scout II is one of the few 4×4’s that could be taken direct to work off road or to enjoy the trails from the dealership. It featured a whopping 106.5 inch wheelbase, and in later models had a V-8 (345 cubic inch) engine driving the T427 (BW-T19) manual transmission. The 1977-1979 models of the vehicle were the culmination of more than 10 years of tweaking with the vehicles design, axles, and engine), and remained a purpose-built automobile through the end of the decade.
Ford Bronco (1966-1977)
The 4×4 Ford Bronco debuted in 1966 and was one of three true off-road choices for consumers in the United States at the time due to parts support for foreign made vehicles being almost non-existent. The Bronco from this era remains one of the best off-road vehicles produced, and it includes a 92 inch wheel base allowing it to enjoy a “Jeep-like” turning circle of just 33.8 feet. Later models of the Bronco could be purchased with Ford’s V8 (302 inch) engine), and the Dana 44 was debuted in 1971 for under the hood. The production line for the original Bronco lasted until 1978 when the company shifted the line to a F-150 based SUV. Despite this, you can still find models that are off-road worth, and they feature the Ford 3.03 three speed manual transmission which is fun to drive.
See our previous article for best off road vehicle here.