It’s a new year, and we’re still far from being out of winter; but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re into winter sports, like to spend a chilly weekend in the mountains, or just need something that’ll have the ability to cut a swathe through the deep snow, you’re certainly going to benefit from one of these new off-road machines. Plus, if you’re looking forward to a summer filled with camping and tearing up mud, now might be the time to think about the new vehicle that you’re going to do it in.
So what are your best bets for 2013? We’re going to look at 15 of the vehicles that are going to help keep you dry this year, whether you’re carving through the snow, or fording a stream.
15.) Porsche Cayenne
Summary – When you think ‘Porsche’ you probably think of their legendary 911, or maybe their racing pedigree. These qualities have been synonymous to Porsche for decades, however the relatively new Cayenne is changing that. The turbo on this SUV means that it’s not only fast, but also has the power to scale a severe grade.
Pros – It’s a gorgeous car with gobs of power behind it.
Cons – …it’s so gorgeous you may not actually want to take it off road. Also, no guarantees on how long it would last under a dirt-infused beating.
14.) Toyota Land Cruiser
Summary - The land cruiser is a vehicle with legends behind it; surviving some of the roughest terrain since it’s introduction in 1951.
Pros - Limited slip differential with the ability to survive some serious terrain.
Cons - Priced at almost $70,000 you may have to save a while before you can get into this Toyota.
13.) Dodge Ram 1500
Summary - The workhorse of the Dodge brand, the Ram 1500 is not only affordable, but with a big V-8 it’s got the power to back up it’s aggressive styling.
Pros - It’s affordable, and it’s got locking 4WD. Unless you’re trying to drive through a tar-pit you’re probably not getting stuck.
Cons - It’s big, it’s heavy and it’s made for towing. While it’s got plenty of clearance, the design of the vehicle may not work if you’re trying to crawl rocks.
12.) GMC Sierra 1500
Summary - Like the Dodge above, the GMC Sierra is a powerful vehicle with an attractive design. As an added plus, the Denali package can have you plowing through snow surrounded by leather and woodgrain.
Pros - Tons of power, and the Denali package makes this truck look fantastic.
Cons - Like it’s Ram counterpart, ground effects and it’s long length make this pickup great for pulling and on flatland, but you may get in trouble heading into the outback.
Summary - Our most affordable off-roader thus far, the Nissan Xterra sports a locking rear differential with two-speed tranfer case. Best of all, with a price tag at around $25,000 you’re not going to be paranoid about getting it dirty.
Pros - Affordable fun with tons of off-road potential.
Cons - Maybe a little underpowered in some situations.
10.) Toyota 4Runner
Summary - The 4Runner has been around for years, and the 2013 model year has several new bells and whistles under the hood.
Pros - Great traction control, with a very competitive price and limited slip locking diffs make the 4Runner comfy both on and off-road.
Cons - Lots of room, but quite a bit larger in construction than several of the others on the list, which means it is harder to maneuver.
Summary - Subaru is replacing their long-revered Outback with their new XV Crosstrek. The XV sports better ground clearance, and with a capable flat four cylinder engine the center of gravity on this Subaru is lower enough to keep it stable regardless with the terrain.
Pros - Cool modern styling, and with the stock orange paint you’re not even getting lost even if you get caught in an avalanche.
Cons - You may want something with greater clearance if you’re looking at getting into some serious territory.
Summary - Land Rover’s new Range Rover Evoque is a more compact look at the Range Rover line. With modern styling, a short wheelbase and quite a bit of clearance, the Evoque may just evoke the desire to hit the dirt.
Pros - Super comfortable with surprising off-road ability.
Cons - While it’s surprisingly good off-road, this small SUV is going to struggle when faced with rocks, just because of a lack of power.
Summary - The Mercedes-Benz G-Class not only has an excellent off-road heritage, but is absolutely gorgeous.
Pros - Three lockable differentials, powerful axles, and military-spec engineering make the G-Class a force to be reckoned with.
Cons - At $100,000+ you’re going to spend a lot out of pocket to get out in the dirt.
Summary - It’s super unique; when you see an FJ it’s undeniable what it is. The car drips off-road, as it comes equipped with Bilstein suspension as well as heavy-duty skid plates. Plus, at under $30,000 starting it’s a good deal, too.
Pros - It’s an offroad machine right out of the box. Rubber floors covers also make it a breeze to clean.
Cons - Styling is take it or leave it. If you don’t like the looks you’re pretty much out of luck.
Summary - It’s the icon of the Range Rover line. The original range rover is meant to take a beating, while getting you there in comfort and style.
Pros - 8-cylinder power with the ability to scale some absolutely incredible inclines makes this machine an absolute bruiser.
Cons - It’s difficult to find a con with this one, though the $61,000 price tag means that you won’t exactly want to leave it outside in the harsh winter.
Summary - The TRD trim of the Tacoma was designed by Toyota to take this truck away from the concrete and into the countryside, and the Baja edition just sweetens the deal. It’s reasonably priced and features skid plates and hill assistance standard.
Pros - Excellent clearance and a suspension built for the dirt.
Cons - Since it’s based off the standard Tacoma, the Baja is limited by several design factors that the standard model presents, meaning it’s not as purpose-built as you might hope.
Summary - The reasonably new, and totally badass Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. The F-150 was already designed by Ford to take a beating and keep on kicking, but the Raptor completely ups-the-ante with insane suspension travel, big tires, and a powerful V-8. Not enough? You can get this truck in ‘Velociraptor’ trim, which supercharges this truck to over 500 horsepower.
Pros - Did you read above? Suspension, power, and 100% badass. What’s not to like?
Cons - Like the Tacoma TRD Baja, there are some limitation presented since the Raptor is built on a lesser platform. Honestly though, it’s not a big deal.
Summary - You’ve probably been wondering, “where’s Jeep on this list?”, and you’ve had a valid point. That’s because we had to hold out with this one for position number 2. The new Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon not only keeps the Jeep reputation alive, but built as an off road vehicle from the get-go, it’s an excellent stock platform regardless of where you want to go. Oh yeah, and it’s comfortable too.
Pros - It’ll do whatever you want, right out of the box.
Cons - It’s #2. We’re past cons now. Just go test drive one.
Summary - So this is a problem. The Bowler Nemesis EXR is built off of the legendary Land Rover platform, and WILL handle anything thrown at it. These vehicles were designed by Bowler for the brutal Dakar Rally; one of the world’s most grueling events. Is it street legal? Yes, but only just. So what’s the problem? Production is extremely limited, so chances of picking one up are zero-to-none.
Pros - It makes over 500 horsepower on a supercharged 4.2 liter Jaguar V8. Standard equipped with an automatic transmission, Recaro racing seats and a purpose-built Ohlins suspension there really isn’t anything about this vehicle that isn’t going to make you drool.
Cons - Back to reality. This vehicle will set you back around $190,000+ and of the 20 or so that have been produced, they’re probably all sold already.