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Looking For a Good Used Off-Road SUV? Check Out These Models

Published on April 8, 2022 in Pre-owned vehicles by The Car Guide

The call of nature is getting louder and louder, and this is shown by the market being recently flooded with many new vehicle models focused on off-road driving.

You're dreaming of adventure as well? We understand. But are you ready to wait many long months to become the owner of a brand new SUV? Great alternatives can be found on the used market, and here are a few examples:

Jeep Wrangler, Grand Cherokee and Cherokee

Photo: William Clavey

Instinctively, you should think of Jeep’s line of SUVs, which have reached off-road fame thanks to their excellent four wheel drive systems. None is more competent than the Wrangler, indeed, but do not underestimate the Grand Cherokee, which shows very good abilities wrapped in superior comfort. In both cases, the 3.6-liter V6 is the engine of choice in terms of reliability and performance. A bit more affordable, the Cherokee compact SUV is also a good contender, especially in the Trailhawk version.

Toyota 4Runner

Photo: Toyota

Almost unchanged since 2009, the Toyota 4Runner remains a reference in the off-road SUV segment (it’s also not bad on the road!). We know it’s a real utility vehicle just by looking at it. Powered by a solid 4-liter V6 that produces 270 HP and 278 foot-pounds of torque, the 4Runner seems to be made for muddy patches and mountain trails. Its ruggedness and reliability are proven. Special mention to the FJ Cruiser, which shared several structural and mechanical elements with the Tacoma.

Nissan Xterra

Photo: Nissan Canada

Launched in 1999, the Xterra is the most adventurous SUV ever offered by Nissan in North America. Until its discontinuation in 2015, it faithfully served many off-road expedition-loving patrons with a format designed for the family. Its 4-liter V6 was the same as in the Frontier pickup and the Pathfinder SUV. The power was 261 HP and the torque, 281 foot-pounds, all controlled by a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. When shopping and browsing through used models, look for PRO-4X versions, which come with all sorts of all-terrain equipment.  

Subaru Outback

Photo: Subaru

Subaru has a reputation for better-than-average all-terrain capabilities in its vehicles, which is emphasized with the arrival of a Wilderness version of the Outback and the Forester in 2022. Although some people see it as just a raised station wagon, the Outback is at ease in many situations, can navigate difficult terrain and be very durable. Let’s not forget its ample cargo space for your camping gear and other adventures. The former 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine, retired in 2020, still brings joy to many owners and its oil-burning proneness has been improved towards the end of its career.

In all cases, it is important to make sure that the inspection is positive, that the various fluids don’t need urgent replacement and that the lower portion of the body isn’t too damaged. Off-road driving is risky business and thus requires more rigorous maintenance. 

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