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.
2. Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is a compact, four-wheel drive, off-road SUV that is one of the best off road vehicles every produced by a company. The vehicle is produced by Chrysler under the Jeep brand, and it is not directly related to the Jeep of WW2 fame. The small size makes the Rubicon perfect for driving on tight trails, and it features great off-road tires, a 4:1 transfer case, six speed transmission, a high torque inline six engine, an option for automatic transmission for those who can’t drive a manual one, and the ability to remove the hard top or zip down the soft top depending on the driver’s preference for configuration. The Rubicon comes with air conditioning, a heater, and a radio, with a number of “add-on’s” available during different years of production of the vehicle.
The Chevrolet K5 Blazer was built between 1988 and 1991 and gave off-road enthusiasts a full-size 4×4 vehicle that was just fun to drive off-road. The K5 was sold with the option of either a 5.7 liter 210 horsepower V8 or optionally a 6.2 liter V8 diesel with 130 horsepower. Assessed to have some of the best gearing amongst the popular off-road vehicles, the K5 also has a nice wheelbase at 106.5 inches and a removable top for those who like to feel the elements when going off of the highway. Chevy made some significant improvements to the V8 in the 1990 model which included a redesigned rear crankshaft seal amongst other upgrades. The tight turning radius of the SUV helped it go further off-road in tight places that larger trucks could manage as well. And like all off road vehicles, ensure to add LED Light Bars to be able to see at night.
1. Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser (1974 – 1983)
The Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser was one of the best off-road vehicles every produced. The Land Cruiser is well-known for needing little to no modifications straight out of the factory and its stock four wheel drive was capable of overcoming just about any obstacle placed in its path by the driver. There are still FJ40s found throughout the world with more than several hundred thousand miles on them with both the stock engine as well as a popular Chevy small-block that produced even more power and better fuel economy. The vehicle is able to comfortably fit two adults in the front with two small children or equipment in the back of the auto. Air conditioning and power steering did not appear in the vehicle builds until 1979, and front disc brakes became standard in 1975. It’s smart to add a few after market LED Lights to ensure safety at night.