Nowadays, off-road vehicles come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. If you find the right used truck or SUV, you can get awesome off-road capabilities for half the price of a new one, give or take. This is even true for luxury SUVs — yes, you read that right.
Of course, the type of off-roading you like to do will determine which SUV or truck will suit you best. That’s why we’re going to take a look at some of the best used off-road vehicles designed to flex hard and get put away dirty.
Read on for our top 10 picks.
10 of the Best Off-Road Vehicles You Can Buy Used
If you’re looking to buy a used car for the specific purpose of taking it off-road, your list of must-haves and concerns will be very different compared to someone looking for an inner-city runaround.
For example, you won’t necessarily be concerned with having the perfect interior or high-tech features. Instead, you’ll want to consider things like size, horsepower, torque, safety, as well as potential modifications that can be made.
Better still, you don’t have to compromise. There are plenty of used trucks and SUVs on our list that you’ll find up to snuff for both work and play.
As far as the best used off-road vehicles go, these are the ones you’ll want to take a look at:
1. Toyota Tacoma
The Toyota Tacoma has become something of an iconic off-road vehicle. Each model grew bigger over time, but you’ll find that most 2005 and newer model year Tacomas check all the boxes for a reliable, capable, and very attractive truck.
This truck is powerful, with an available V6 engine and a tow rating reaching up to 6,800 lbs.
2. Ford Explorer
You probably wouldn’t have guessed, but the Ford Explorer has some pretty notable powerful capabilities.
The newer models are especially worth a mention, as they’re more adequately equipped with a 3.5L V6 engine and 290 hp to take on rougher roads.
It should be noted that the Explorer is more of a crossover SUV, meaning it doesn’t have that full truck-frame welded into the chassis as some true SUVs do. So, while it has off-road capabilities, it isn’t necessarily made for the more extreme terrains.
If you can find yourself a used Explorer, you can take advantage of Range Rover-like driving aids, 4-wheel drive, and a seven-passenger seating capacity. This makes the Explorer worth considering when shopping for a good looking SUV that still has good off-road capabilities.
3. Land Rover Discovery
The Land Rover Discovery (specifically, the 2017 model) is impressively versatile. It still has a lot in common with the newer models on the road today, and because it’s a Land Rover, you know you’re getting some legendary off-road capabilities — despite its elegant design.
4. Chevrolet TahoeNeed a used off-road SUV that’s fit for a mountainside camping trip for the whole family? Look no further than the good old Chevy Tahoe. There are a lot of great years for a used Tahoe: 1995-1998, 2000, 2006, 2010, 2012-2014, and 2017-2020. Each is incredibly capable, especially when it includes the off-road special: The Z71 package.
5. Lexus LXNo SUV is too pretty to get dirty, and that has been proven by all of the Lexus LX generations. Being the Toyota company’s luxury brand, you know from the start that you’re getting a capable and reliable off-road vehicle. In fact, the LX’s design was initially based on the J300 series Land Cruiser, and it shares the same base platform and off-road technical capabilities. This makes the LX a force to reckon with — or, simply cruise in style.
There are several exceptional years for the LX, including 1996-1999, 2003, 2004, and 2006-2010.
However, there are virtually no bad years for this car, and the recently released LX 600 is arguably the cream of the crop with its top-of-the-line safety features, rock crawling capabilities, and luxurious stylings. Best of all, there are plenty of modifications that can be made for each model to make them even more off-road rugged, if that’s even possible.
6. Jeep CherokeeNo “best used off-road vehicles” list would be complete without mentioning the “Square Style” Jeep Cherokee — and never let anyone tell you otherwise. From 1987 to 2001, the XJ engine (which stands for experimental) has reigned supreme over virtually every other SUV known to man — especially the Classic and Sport models.
Because the 4L inline 6 engine can put out 190 hp with 225 lb-ft of torque and has a towing capacity of up to 5,000 lbs. It’ll also run forever — even poorly, it’ll still run.
On top of that, you can find a used XJ that’s still in pretty good condition for under $4,000, slap a lift kit and all kinds of off-road mods, and still keep your budget under $8,000.
There’s an entire community of Jeep lovers for a reason. So, if you’re looking for an extremely reliable and easily upgraded off-road vehicle that you don’t mind wrenching on from time to time, this is the one.
7. Toyota Land Cruiser
The Toyota Land Cruiser has gone through quite a metamorphosis.
It began as an SUV meant for off-roading only, with a style mistakenly similar to that of the Jeep CJ.
Flash forward to today, and it’s evolved into a more family-friendly vehicle that can still keep up on rough terrain.
8. Ford F-150 Raptor
If you’re looking for a used off-road vehicle that’s fun to drive and very much capable on tougher-than-usual terrain, the Ford F-150 Raptor is a truck to put at the top of your list.
Sure, there are several F-150 models that are up for a 4-wheel drive adventure, but the Raptor takes power and beauty to a whole new level.
It’s got a 3.5L Ecoboost V6 engine that puts out 365 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, which is enough to tow up to 8,200 lbs!
It also has an electronic “shift-on-the-fly” 4-wheel drive system that makes off-roading even easier, meaning you’ll get to where you need to go no matter what type of terrain stands in your way.
9. Jeep Wrangler
Did you really think we’d get through our best used off-road vehicles list without mentioning the Jeep Wrangler? If you thought the XJ had a serious community, wait until you dive into the Wrangler forums. These rugged little gems stand taller than the rest in that they were literally designed to crawl over anything and everything.
After all, they were designed as military and safari vehicles that were the first to trek through all seven continents.
There are tons of great years for the Wrangler, the most coveted being the 1990, 1997, 1998, 2003, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2017, and 2018. But then again, it depends on who you ask, what they’ve done to upgrade their suspension systems, and which body kit they’ve opted for.
Plus, each year the Wrangler comes equipped with even more off-road capabilities than the last, they’ve also become more “family-friendly” over the past decade, too.
10. Mercedes-Benz G Wagon
The G-Class Mercedes SUVs were originally designed as military vehicles — which means that the average off-roading capability demand is nothing compared to what this limited-production vehicle can handle.
Its power comes from its 5.5L V8 engine that puts out 382 hp and is backed by a 7-speed automatic transmission and two-speed electronic transfer case. The best thing about buying this luxury off-road beast used is that most people are a little too cautious to take it off road, considering its price tag. This means you’ll be able to find one in excellent condition to take on your next adventure.