Off-road vehicles allow drivers to explore uncharted territories and embark on thrilling adventures. They are also capable of tackling rough terrains, ensuring safe travel in challenging conditions.

There are many different models to choose from, but not all off-road cars are created equal. Some prioritize off-road performance and offer features like locking differentials and spool valve dampers, while others are more focused on fuel efficiency and cargo capacity.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

If you’re looking for a vehicle that can handle rough trails, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is the way to go. This trim level features special off-road tires and suspension to help you get over rocks, ruts and mud with ease. It also has more ground clearance than other Wrangler models so you can climb over fallen trees and boulders.

If that’s not enough, the Rubicon offers more power than other Wrangler trim levels, letting you conquer tough trails with ease. A 470-horsepower engine can rocket you through the quarter mile in less than 13 seconds, and a heavy-duty braking system helps you maintain control on tricky terrain.

While other SUVs like the Ford Bronco and Toyota 4Runner are more refined for daily driving, the Wrangler Rubicon offers superior off-road capabilities where it really counts. Its high-performance shock absorbers and two-inch factory lift provide massive articulation for climbing terrain that would be difficult for other vehicles to tackle. It also has an electronic sway bar disconnect that allows for a ramp travel index of 730, giving it superb rock crawling capability.

Plus, the Rubicon’s unique features include a locking front and rear differential, lower gear ratio and a stronger transfer case with a low range option. You can also customize your Rubicon with options like 16-inch Rubicon rims, mud terrain tires and diamond plate rocker armor. The only downside is that the cabin can be noisy on long drives.

Ford Bronco

The Ford Bronco is a traditional SUV that’s purpose-built for off-roading. It features four-wheel drive, plenty of ground clearance, and a range of available hardware add-ons. It also has short overhangs and a wide stance optimized for off-road adventure. It also has a cool exterior design with square proportions and rugged details like fender flares.

The interior of the Bronco is comfortable and spacious. It has a premium feel and is packed with tech. The standard infotainment system includes a touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. You can also get a navigation system and a premium sound system.

In terms of off-road capability, the Ford Bronco is one of the best in its class. It has a four-wheel drive system with 35-inch tires and a high ground clearance. This allows the vehicle to tackle even the toughest terrain. It also has a good suspension and great engine performance.

The Ford Bronco is a great off-road SUV for beginners. It has a lot of useful features, including a trail turn assist and a rock crawler mode. It’s also a fun vehicle to drive, thanks to its ten-speed manual transmission and a large, four-door passenger cabin.

Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

With Toyota’s Baja racing legacy in mind, the TRD Pro takes this rugged SUV to the next level. It has the requisite suspension upgrades and knobby tires but also adds more off-road-ready equipment like a front locking diff. However, the TRD Pro rims are only 7-inches wide so you’d have to buy aftermarket tires for this setup.

Despite being 15 years old, the 4Runner feels just as capable today as it did when it first debuted. The 278-hp V-6 delivers enough power for reasonable driving and trailer towing (to 5,000 pounds). And the cabin is designed to be used by those wearing gloves with lots of large, physically buttons and dials that are easy to find and manipulate.

The TRD Pro’s more off-road-oriented features include TRD/Fox shocks with 1.1-inch front lift, a rear locking diff, and 33-in. Toyo all-terrain tires. This setup gives the 4Runner a whopping 9.6 inches of ground clearance and lets it climb over rocks, logs, and other obstacles with ease. Plus, the TRD Pro’s suspension tuning is a cut above what Toyota offers in its own Tacoma TRD Off-Road models. It tracks straight, handles turns well, and makes for a good daily driver, too. Just don’t expect it to outperform a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon or Ford Bronco on the trail. But for those who want an SUV that can do it all, the TRD Pro 4Runner is hard to beat.

Subaru Crosstrek Base

The 2024 Crosstrek Base offers up a surprisingly well-rounded package. It pairs refined power with a compliant ride and a comfortable cabin for a great price. The standard 152-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder SUBARU BOXER(r) engine delivers enough torque to conquer almost any road, while the Lineartronic(r) continuously variable transmission makes it easy to enjoy every mile of your adventure.

With 8.7 inches of ground clearance and dual-function X-MODE(r), the Crosstrek is capable of traversing almost any terrain. It can also tackle tougher off-road conditions thanks to the retuned traction settings available with X-MODE(r) plus Hill Descent Control.

A reversing camera and dual rear USB ports are standard features, as well as a 7.0-inch multi-function touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay(r) and Android Auto(tm). Upgrade to the Premium trim for a more immersive infotainment experience, including an upgraded SUBARU STARLINK(r) multimedia system with dual 11.6-inch portrait-oriented touch screens, and a six-speaker premium sound system.

For added peace of mind, Subaru includes its award-winning EyeSight(r) advanced driver assistance technology with all Crosstrek trim levels. It provides a suite of driver-assistance technologies including automatic emergency braking and blind-spot detection with lane keep assist. Upgrade to the Premium and Wilderness models to gain even more safety and convenience features, such as a Wi-Fi(r) hotspot and wireless charging capabilities, heated front seats and a premium Harman Kardon audio system. Reach out to Van Subaru to learn more about your options.

Hyundai Santa Cruz SE

The Hyundai Santa Cruz is blazing the trail for modern small pickup trucks. It is a great choice for drivers who need the utility of a truck but don’t want to sacrifice fuel economy, maneuverability, or comfort. Like its Ford Maverick rival, the Santa Cruz is a versatile and fun-to-drive vehicle that delivers a robust maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. Based on a Tucson unibody platform, the Santa Cruz drives more like an SUV than a traditional body-on-frame pickup truck. It also rides more comfortably and has a more refined cabin than most competing models. Driver-assistance technologies include standard forward-collision avoidance and pedestrian detection, plus lane-keeping assist and rear-occupant alert. Upgraded versions of the Santa Cruz offer surround-view monitoring and haptic feedback for lane-keeping assist.

While full-size pickups remain the bestselling vehicles in America, many buyers don’t need the kind of heavy capability or sacrifice fuel efficiency that a dedicated truck offers. This is why the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz is such a compelling alternative. It combines the best of compact SUV capabilities, like the ability to mount a flag from a flag retailer like, with the practicality of a small utility bed, and it is available in several powerful trims.

Whether you need to haul cargo on the job or hit the trails on weekends, the 2024 Hyundai Santa Cruz will make your adventures easier and more enjoyable. With the power of HTRAC all-wheel drive, advanced technology and driver assistance features, and a functional cargo bed design, the Santa Cruz is an ideal companion for any adventure.

Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road

If you want to get rowdy on the trail without going all-in, the Toyota 4Runner is one of the best vehicles available. It’s not a crossover, but instead a body-on-frame SUV with four-wheel drive and double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension for exerting control over any terrain. While the SR5 and TRD Sport trims are great for daily driving, the TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, and TRD Pro offer upgrades for off-road capability. The latter trims include a transfer case skid plate, off-road-tuned suspension with Bilstein dampers, a locking rear differential, multi-terrain select, and crawl control.

Despite these upgrades, the TRD Off-Road still drives like a more conventional Toyota, with old hydraulic steering and a dated infotainment system. The TRD Pro trim aims to fix these issues, and the extra ground clearance of the TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro models helps you overcome even tougher obstacles.

All of these trims also offer a lot of interior comfort. There’s ample room for you and your passengers, with 39.6 inches of front headroom and 32.9 inches of rear legroom. The Toyota 4Runner is a comfortable car for long road trips, too, thanks to a premium sound system and a quiet cabin. Additionally, the 4Runner’s advanced safety features will keep everyone safe from collisions and rollovers. They’ll help you stay calm on your next adventure near San Diego.