The beauty of the modern auto industry is that there’s really something for everyone. Are you looking for a truck with an engine from a muscle car? You’ve got it. Do you want an SUV that you can use to leave civilization behind for a few weeks? No problem. In fact, off-road SUVs have just about become a segment in and of themselves, with fantastic options available from numerous manufacturers. Although the Jeep Wrangler might still be one of the first models to come to mind, it’s far from the only terrific choice these days.
If you are looking at used SUVs for sale, it’s a good idea to know which models can best meet your needs. Today, I’m going to take you through the 10 best choices for a great used off-road SUV, plus one bonus model we can’t wait to see on the used lot. Just bear in mind that they’re not all made equal. There’s a big difference between the needs of someone who likes to go camping a couple times a year and someone who wants to spend a month overlanding as far from civilization as possible. Just make sure you know what you need from your SUV and choose accordingly.
#1 – Chevy Tahoe and Suburban
Most people looking for a Chevy to take off-road will probably focus on the Colorado or Silverado trucks, but there are several great Chevy SUVs built for the trail. Starting with 2021 models, both the Tahoe and Suburban are available in Chevy’s Z71 off-road trim, making them great options. This trim includes skid plates to protect the undercarriage, an improved approach angle thanks to a redesigned front bumper, and an available Air Ride suspension for greater ground clearance and a smoother ride during low-speed maneuvering.
#2 – Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport
Ford has a few solid off-road SUVs, but the clear winners in its lineup are the Bronco and Bronco Sport models. Both of these SUVs offer fantastic off-road capability and performance, with the Bronco Sport being a smaller option better suited to the lighter side of off-roading. The full-size Bronco has more powerful engines and body-on-frame construction, but both models have impressive ground clearance, excellent suspension, and trims designed to take the off-road features even further. For truly exceptional performance on the trail, nothing beats the Bronco Raptor model with its 400-hp twin-turbo engine and 37-inch tires, but it might be a year to two before it starts showing up used.
#3 – Ford Expedition
The three-row Ford Expedition is a great option for someone interested in off-roading who needs something larger than the Bronco models. It has tons of room inside for passengers and cargo, so it’s perfect for a growing family and offers space to fit tents, sleeping bags, and other equipment. You can shop for the FX4 trim to get the most off-road performance, as it features an improved suspension, all-terrain tires, skid plates, and more to turn the Expedition into a respectable off-road option.
#4 – Jeep Wrangler
It would be absurd not to mention the Jeep Wrangler, which is the quintessential off-road SUV for many people. While the Ford Bronco has recently stepped on its toes, the Wrangler is still a fantastic option for hitting the trail in a used SUV. In fact, it’s even better because of just how many used Wranglers are out there. This beauty can trace its roots all the way back to the Second World War and has iconic features like a removable roof and doors, a fold-down windshield, and much more. In particular, the Rubicon trim stands as the ultimate expression of the Wrangler’s Trail Rated design.
#5 – Jeep Trailhawk Models
The Wrangler is far from Jeep’s only great off-road SUV, but we’d be here all day going into detail on all of them, so I’m keeping things simple. From the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee to the Compass and Renegade, all Jeep SUVs are available in a Trail Rated Trailhawk trim that focuses on off-road design and capability. These trims include advanced all-wheel drive systems, improved suspension for the trail, and powerful engines that make them far better for going off-road than cruising mall parking lots.
#6 – Land Rover Range Rover
One interesting thing that has happened to the off-road SUV market is that it’s grown to the point where there are now luxury options available. The Land Rover Range Rover is an iconic piece of machinery on the trail that also has a gorgeous interior dripping with luxury. With adaptive all-wheel drive, adjustable air suspension, and tons of options throughout for sophisticated performance on the trail, the Range Rover is a terrific choice. Though honestly, Land Rover offers a number of luxurious off-road SUVs, including the Discovery and Defender, so it has a lineup that’s hard to beat.
#7 – Lexus GX
That being said, Land Rover is not the only game in town for a luxury off-road SUV––the Lexus GX is a terrific option for hitting the trail in style. One thing that sets the GX apart from many others is that this is a true SUV with a truck-like body-on-frame design it shares with the iconic Toyota Land Cruiser. The suspension on the GX is fantastic for going off-road while remaining comfortable, and used models are powered by an impressive V8 engine. Features like active traction control and available crawl control are available to make it a true beast on the trail.
#8 – Mercedes-Benz G-Class
Not to be outdone, Mercedes-Benz also offers a remarkable off-road SUV that lives up to its reputation for luxury and sophistication. The G-Class was originally designed as a military vehicle, with an incredible four-wheel drive system and engineering that can withstand a tremendous amount of abuse. It has plenty of ground clearance and water fording capability, with a couple engines to choose from, plus gorgeous styling and stunning luxury inside.
#9 – Subaru Forester Wilderness
Subaru is well known for offering all-wheel drive standard on all of its SUVs, but the Forester Wilderness is its best showing for off-road performance. This compact SUV looks great from the outside, with skid plates, all-terrain tires, and off-road suspension designed to let it go anywhere its driver wants. The only thing lacking in the Forester Wilderness is power––it could use an engine boost, but otherwise, this is an excellent choice and the best Subaru model for hitting the trail.
#10 – Toyota 4Runner
The Toyota 4Runner is an incredibly popular SUV, and the TRD Pro trim is an excellent option for going off-road. It features impressive skid plates on its underside, with Fox internal-bypass dampers, specially-tuned front springs, and more to create a great option for going off-road. There are several TRD trims for the 4Runner that have impressive features, but the TRD Pro is the best for hitting the trail. Toyota also offers a TRD Pro trim on the Sequoia SUV, creating an impressive three-row off-road option if you need more space than the 4Runner can provide.
Bonus – GMC Hummer EV
For those looking toward the future of off-road SUV design, we can’t wait until the all-new, all-electric GMC Hummer EV starts showing up on used car lots. This vehicle is an absolute beast, particularly with its available three-motor configuration that delivers 1,000 hp and monstrous torque, providing plenty of power for anything the trail throws at it. It’s highly maneuverable, with up to 32 inches of water fording, plenty of ground clearance, and a crab-walk mode that lets it drive diagonally for impressive new levels of control.