Imagine it’s summer vacation. You’re on break from your auto mechanic apprenticeship and want to do some off-roading. You’re not particularly concerned about the automotive painting job the vehicle has, because it’s just going to get dirty when you head to the boonies – and stray beyond the beaten path.
If you’re considering purchasing a new car built for rugged off-roading, you might want to ask the auto sales college graduate working at your local dealership to take you to the Sport Utility Vehicle section. True, these days the sport SUVs are most associated with is hockey (as in parents picking their kids up from hockey practise). However, the off-road SUV is making a comeback.
Here are four of the most interesting SUV options for off-roading:
Land Rover Range Rover
Land Rover’s flagship SUV, the Range Rover, sure is nice to look at. It’s sleek and classy, but don’t judge a book by its cover. When it comes to off-roading, this vehicle has got what it takes. Here are some of the highlights of the 2015 model:
- 5.0 litre supercharged V8 engine
- Hill descent control
- 4-wheel drive
- Adjustable long-travel air suspension
- 510 horsepower
While the Range Rover may have the look and feel of an arguably roomy luxury car, it also has a luxurious price. They start at $84,000, but that does include most features you would want.
Toyota has really earned its off-roading street cred (more like trail cred) over the years and 2015’s 4-Runner is no exception. Here are some of the highlights:
- V6 engine
- Off-road ready
- Smooth drive on city streets as well
- Locking rear differential
- Crawl Control (like cruise control for off-road)
- Affordable pricing (in the $34,000 range)
There is also a really interesting option that can be added to the 2015 4-runner: the TRD Pro package. This gives an extra inch of wheel travel on both ends by replacing the suspension system with remote reservoir Bilstein shocks and taller Eibach coils.
2015 Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon
The Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon is really the best of both worlds. It is undoubtedly a luxury car, the kind you will see the wealthy and the trend-setters proudly driving to fancy events in the city. It’s also the car that the Canadian Military uses to navigate some of the roughest terrain they operate in.
The highlights of the 2015 version of this vehicle, the G500, are equally luxurious and rugged. They include:
- Three electronically activated locking differentials
- Radar cruise control
- 4-wheel drive
- Leather seats
- Eight inches of ground clearance
- Wood-trimmed interior
While the 2015 Mercedez-Benz G-Wagon may offer a robust assortment of off-road and luxury features, the price is quite robust as well. These start at a minimum sticker price of $115,000.
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Toyota’s FJ Cruiser is affordable (starting at $28,000) and tough. Or, rather, it was. The 2014 model was the last. But it was still good enough to make it onto this list. Features of this final model include:
- 4.0 litre V6 engine
- Rock rails
- Lifted suspension
- Roof-mounted driving lights
- Chunky tires
Do any of these SUVs sound like a car you’d enjoy taking off-roading?