These rugged, surprisingly comfortable vehicles are prepared for rough terrain.
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Can you hear it? The call of the wild? Americans are venturing out to discover the great outdoors in record numbers, helped in part by extra-robust vehicles built with adventure in mind. If you're new to off-roading, however, you may be surprised at the variety, capability, and even comfort that many of these vehicles have to offer. While your current sedan or family crossover isn't likely to be scaling any mountains, there are several options up to the task. And you won't be making as many concessions as you might expect either.
2018-2020 SUBARU CROSSTREK
Every Subaru Crosstrek comes with standard all-wheel drive, a rarity for a small crossover SUV. This system provides enhanced traction in wet weather. Subaru goes a step further by adding higher-than-average ground clearance and special driving modes that also help give the Crosstrek extra traction on dirt roads and trails. The result isn't an extreme rock crawler like some Jeeps, but it can still take you farther into nature than most other economy-minded hatchbacks. The average cost of a used Crosstrek at CarMax is less than $24,500 (excluding taxes and fees) and can fluctuate up or down depending on things like the extra features you want.
2015-2020 LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SPORT
The Discovery Sport is an outstanding adventure vehicle compared to most small luxury SUVs. This is Land Rover's entry-level SUV, yet it maintains the brand's reputation for enhanced off-road abilities. Some trim levels even come with three rows of seats. The Discovery Sport has standard all-wheel drive and a helpful traction management system, though its standard street tires likely need an upgrade before you venture into any mud. Land Rover added driver-assistance features in 2018 that were pricey extras when new, but they now add to its value proposition. On average, the Discovery Sport can be found for about $26,000 (excluding taxes and fees) at CarMax.
2018-2020 JEEP WRANGLER RUBICON
For decades, the Wrangler has been a driver's gateway to the outdoors. Used models are plentiful, and it helps to know which version you're looking at. For instance, there are two kinds of 2018 Wranglers: one that's based on the older-generation model, commonly referred to as the JK, and the current-generation model known as the JL. The easiest way to tell them apart is the JL headlights cut into its front grille slats, and there is a black vent behind the front fender. The JL features an array of updates to make it more comfortable on the street, but that does not diminish its off-road prowess. The Rubicon trim, in particular, has a high ground clearance, standard four-wheel drive, big all-terrain tires, and exclusive traction-enhancing features that make it the king of the hill. Well-equipped versions of the Wrangler Rubicon are available at an average price of $41,000 at CarMax (excluding taxes and fees).
2018-2020 FORD F-150 RAPTOR
The Ford F-150 Raptor is the largest off-roader on our list. It can haul plenty of gear and drive across a bumpy desert at impressively high speeds. This is a factory-tuned 4WD pickup that best mimics a Baja 1000 race truck. A sophisticated suspension and powerful turbocharged engine make it both entertaining and proficient off-road, and 2019 versions come with upgraded shocks. The average used Ford F-150 Raptor sells for about $58,500 at CarMax (excluding taxes and fees).
2017-2020 AUDI A4 ALLROAD
The Audi A4 Allroad wagon shouldn't attempt any rock-crawling, but what it loses in off-road capability, it gains with a more premium feel. A slight suspension lift (compared to a regular A4 sedan) combined with plenty of modern technology and a classy cabin design make this a capable all-wheel-drive car that you can enjoy both on and off the trail. The Allroad has an average price under $34,000 at CarMax (excluding taxes and fees).
2017-2020 CHEVROLET COLORADO ZR2
Take one look at the Colorado ZR2 and you can tell it's not a typical everyday Colorado pickup. This off-road variant of the popular Chevrolet truck is 4WD-only and has a lifted suspension, knobby tires, and protective bodywork to send dirt and rocks tumbling harmlessly in its wake. An available turbodiesel engine provides lots of torque and impressive EPA-rated fuel economy, but there's also a V6 that is more responsive to your commands. The ZR2 is a top-tier choice for a go-anywhere vehicle and has an average price around $36,000 on CarMax lots (excluding any taxes and fees).
2015-2020 TOYOTA 4RUNNER TRD PRO
Thanks to its rugged SUV design, the 4Runner is ready to tackle rocky terrain right off the lot. This SUV should easily get your family just about anywhere you want to go, and its TRD Pro trim is the most adept off-road. On top of the standard 4Runner equipment, the TRD Pro gets items such as a locking rear differential to give you extra traction over rocks, beefy Bilstein shock absorbers, and a front skid plate for added protection. The average 4Runner TRD Pro has an average price around $43,000 at CarMax (excluding any taxes and fees).