Sometimes you just need to go off into nature, away from people and noise, to rest and recharge for a few days. Having an off-road car allows you to skip the traditional crowded campgrounds and go deep into forests or deserts.
When you pick a car, read the reviews, consider what terrain you want to cover, the number of people you’ll usually have, and of course your budget. Read through this list to get an idea of what you might like, then start test-driving.
1. Land Rover Discovery
The Land Rover Discovery Sport with 4WD and 240 horsepower has a Terrain Response driving mode, which automatically senses and adjusts its traction, transmission, and suspension according to the type of terrain you’re driving on. Some models also have Wade Sensing technology so you can drive through water that’s about two to three feet deep. Though most years feature a 4 cylinder engine, it still packs a lot of power with a turbo engine. Some years offer the V6 in diesel or gas engine. With an average 5 star review, it’s available in a 5 or 7 seat configuration. Though it’s a luxury car, if you pick up a used one it can be quite affordable.
2. Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler is a classic. It’s well-known for its off-road capabilities for good reason. It’s one of the few cars that can go over boulders, with high ground clearance, so you can take it anywhere you want to off-road. Its 3.6-liter V6 engine whips you through the stickiest mud or over rocks with ease. There’s room in the back for gear, or you can add various camping accessories, including a tent that hooks onto the back.
3. Subaru Outback
If you’re not about that big SUV life, then the Subaru Outback may be the right car for you. It’s like a sporty station wagon, with 8.7 inches of ground clearance and all-wheel drive. However, its clearance isn’t as tall as SUVs, making this better suited for light off-roading than scaling mountaintops or fording through rivers. Its continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) does give it an edge on rough dirt roads. The car’s got a 5-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, making it one of the best. Its 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is responsive but fuel-efficient.
4. Nissan CX-9
5. Toyota FJ Cruiser
The Toyota FJ Cruiser is a well-performing, V-6, off-road vehicle that Toyota stopped making in 2017. It’s a car that’s held its value because it’s still popular among off-road enthusiasts, on par with Jeep Wrangler. Look for one with the All-Terrain option package. The car is meant for off-roading; it doesn’t come with the leather interior at all, but only water and dirt resistant materials. It can climb up or down steep hills or plow through swamps with ease.
6. Toyota Land Cruiser
Another Toyota, the Land Cruiser, also ranks high for off-road capabilities and number of people it can hold– up to eight. Built-in small quantities in special Japanese factories, it drives like a luxurious SUV with a silent cabin, 14 speakers, and 28 air conditioning vents. But with its powerful V8 engine, the SUV is crazy suitable for any off-road use, including slippery rock paths and water.
No matter what you pick, make sure you get all-terrain tires because often even cars with all-wheel drive (AWD) have standard tires on them. Every car has various camping accessories you can add, so you can also look those up by make and model. You may even want to sleep in your car once you reach your destination. Remember to research what permits you might need, and you’ll be set to go off-road camping on a moment’s notice.