Best Off-Road Vehicles You Can Buy in 2021
The planet is ruled by trucks and SUVs. However, not all of them can go anywhere in the world. That’s for real off-roaders only. Where the pavement stops, rock crawlers, desert pre-runners, and trail hounds all flourish. Many trucks and SUVs have names that make them sound like they can go anywhere they darn well want, but these are mostly just cosmetic options or trim levels.
Below are some real trail-ready beasts with low-range crawler gears that feed all four wheels, high-riding suspensions that clear obstacles, and underbody plates that shield the mechanical bits while rock crawling. Only by showing true talent and steadfast ruggedness can you win a spot on this list.
Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro
The Toyota 4Runner is designed for serious work, not just Target profiling. The four-wheel-drive-only TRD Pro, with an electronic locking rear differential, thick underbody skid plates, 2.5-inch Fox internal-bypass dampers, and specially tuned front springs that help lift the nose by 1.0 inch, is the beastly 4Runner.
A new 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility sits atop the dash for 2020. Between the speedometer and the tachometer is a digital display for monitoring the vehicle’s output. As a result, you can now crawl off-road while remaining confident that you have oil pressure.
Toyota Land Cruiser
Every Toyota Land Cruiser comes with a full-time four-wheel-drive system with a Torsen locking center differential, a 381-horsepower 5.7-liter V-8 engine, skid plates to protect the underbody, and a slew of high-tech digital assist features for tackling tough terrain.
A full-time four-wheel-drive system with a Torsen locking center differential, a 381-horsepower 5.7-liter V-8 engine, skid plates to protect the underbody, and a slew of high-tech digital assist features for navigating tough terrain come standard on every Toyota Land Cruiser.
The new 2020 Jeep Gladiator adds a pickup bed to the tail end of the four-door Wrangler’s efficient, appealing recipe. This also entails a longer wheelbase, which significantly increases the ride experience daily. It’s the most user-friendly Wrangler variant, which won it a spot on C/2020 D’s 10Best list. The roof and doors can be removed, just like a real Wrangler.
A disconnectable front anti-roll bar improves axle articulation over rough terrain, and wide 33-inch BFGoodrich KM all-terrain tires (optional) look good and provide traction. Various trims are available, all the way up to the Rubicon model, which is ready to take on any mountain. A 285-hp 3.6-liter V-6 with a six-speed manual transmission is standard, but Jeep recently added a 260-hp 3.0-liter turbodiesel with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Both the Gladiator Rubicon and the Mojave have a ground clearance of over 11 inches.
Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
Marty McFly wished to buy one. And it’s easy to see why. A four-wheel-drive system with an electronically controlled dual-range transfer case and an electronic locking rear differential is standard on the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro. TRD-specific springs and 2.5-inch Fox internal-bypass dampers lift the suspension.
The aggressive, blocky exterior gets a new grille for 2020, and it all runs on 16-inch wheels wrapped in Kevlar-reinforced Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires. Also, a sophisticated camera system aids the driver in spotting potential hazards.
Land Rover Range Rover
The Queen of England always rides in a Range Rover when she wants to get somewhere. Luxury, on the other hand, is pointless unless it is followed by competence. Range Rovers come fitted with an integrated all-wheel-drive system and adjustable air suspension to help them overcome challenging terrain.
There’s also a two-speed transfer case, electronically locking differentials, hill descent control, and a low-traction launch-control setting. It will also look fantastic when doing so. The Range Rover comes in two wheelbases and a dizzying array of trim levels, as well as stand-alone options. This is what you drive if you’re royalty—anywhere you darn well want.
Ram Power Wagon
The name Power Wagon comes from the post-World War II era when Dodge was repurposing its military trucks for civilian use. The current Power Wagon is based on the Ram 2500 HD, a truck designed to do more than just look good in the off-road park. The Power Wagon’s suspension has been lifted to provide more ground clearance and wider approach and departure angles.
Off-road essentials such as locking front and rear differentials and a disconnecting front anti-roll bar are also included. Should all hell break loose, the front-mounted winch can accommodate up to 12,000 pounds. The Power Wagon is powered by a 6.4-liter gas-fed V-8 that produces 410 horsepower.
Since 1979, Mercedes has been producing the G-class. And it wasn’t meant to be sold to regular people, Kardashian or not. It was a military vehicle designed to withstand punishment while being simple to repair. Today’s G-class has one of the most sophisticated four-wheel-drive systems available, with a trio of locking differentials that can be controlled to climb mountains.
The G-class was redesigned to lose its sturdy front axle, but it still has 9.5 inches of ground clearance and can wade through 27.6 inches of water. The G-class is available in two versions in the United States. There’s the G550, which has a 416-horsepower twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8. A 577-hp variant of the same engine powers the beast. That’s a boxy spaceship you’ve got there. Yes, and it’s also very costly.
Is the Lexus LX just a restyled Toyota Land Cruiser with a nicer interior? Yes, of course. But what does it matter? The LX570 backs up its flash and fluffy with all of the Cruiser’s off-road prowess. It has a four-wheel-drive system with a two-speed transfer case and a limited-slip center differential that works all the time. Hill-start assist and terrain-management tools are also on board.
Lexus employs a self-leveling air suspension with adjustable dampers, as well as a 383-horsepower 5.7-liter V-8 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. With 8.9 inches of ground clearance and moderate approach, break-over, and exit angles, the LX is better suited to pulling horse trailers out of mud than trail breaking.
Any of these vehicles are designed to crawl up boulder-strewn hills, where a single crimped brake line would bring all activities to a halt. Others are built to race through slick surfaces at breakneck speeds, in contrast to cars with amazing traction that can get them across impossibly slick terrain at walking speed. So, which one will you choose?