The worldwide microchip shortage has changed the way that car shopping is being done, at least for now. Today’s automobiles are more complex than ever before, and the shortage means that production numbers for new vehicles will be much smaller than in years prior. What this means for consumers is that the search for new vehicles will consist of shopping among models that are either used and Certified Pre-Owned.
Buying a used vehicle is not the ordeal it was a few decades ago. Used cars today are of the highest quality, and because their demand is beginning to rise, dealers are all too happy to add the very best models to their inventory. If you’re someone who enjoys getting off the beaten path and hitting the gas pedal while in the dirt, then you have a distinct advantage. Ford has long been a manufacturer of excellent off-road vehicles that have maintained greatness throughout the years. But before you open the google app on your phone and type “used car dealer near me,” you might want to have a brief look at some data we’ve accumulated. There are quite a few Ford trucks out there that might be used but are perfect for your off-road adventures. So, throw caution to the wind and get ready to become a dirt dynamo!
2011 Ford Ranger
While the new millennium brought about the paranoia of Y2K, a similar but not nearly widespread fear gripped us just one decade later. Many people were convinced that the world was going to end in 2012. While we’re not saying that the discontinuation of the Ranger from 2012 to 2018 had any correlation to this, it’s easy to look back and wonder if the prophecies had anything to do with it.
Finding a Ranger manufactured before its return in 2018 will be a good discovery should you come across one. A Ford Ranger of this vintage goes for a little over 10K, making it affordable and ideal for your dirt-based activities. A 4.0L V6 will give you all the necessary power to overtake dunes and dust clouds. 207 horsepower and 238 lb-ft of torque are both admirable numbers for the discerning dirt aficionado. One of the unique attributes of a Ranger of this vintage is that drivers were not only gifted a 5-speed transmission but had the choice between manual or automatic. If you’re concerned about fuel economy, you needn’t worry too much. An estimated 16 MPG in the city and 21 MPG on the highway is efficient enough to get around without breaking the bank.
2010 Ford Raptor SVT
While just about any pickup can be utilized for off-roading, the Ford Raptor was specifically designed to get off the pavement and into the untamed wilderness. While reviews about vehicles and their individual performances and advantages tend to be subjective, many agree that 2010 was a vintage year for the Raptor. The year in question saw the menacing and maniacal Raptor equipped with a monstrous 5.4L V-8, capable of generating an impressive 320 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. Of course, if you’re fortunate enough to track one down, a more powerful Raptor with a 6.2L V-8 with 411 horsepower and 434 lb-ft of torque can make any obstacle resemble a pebble in a matter of moments.
Because the Raptor was formulated to tackle any obstruction, a ground clearance of 11.2/12.1 (front/rear) makes it ideal for any adventure over every terrain. But that wasn’t even the half of it. FOX, the same company that had long been heralded as a favorite among the BMX and motocross community, had a hand (or several) in providing the shock absorbers for the Raptor. With so many items to praise, it’s understandable why this is still a viable option for the consummate outdoorsman all these years later. And if your off-roading features additional vehicles, you can bring them along, courtesy of the Raptor’s 6,000 lbs towing capacity.
2005 Ford Excursion
If you’ve ever been curious about how much SUVs have changed within the span of two decades, look no further than the Ford Excursion. The harsh criticisms made about SUVs in the late 1990s and well into the 2000s seem to manifest in the form of the Excursion. This vehicle was the ultimate double-edged sword in terms of how it was seen by many. For those who wanted to own the biggest item on the block, this was the vehicle for them. Spanning 19 feet long and seating nine adults comfortably, the Excursion was overbearing and powered by a monstrous 6.0L Powerstroke diesel engine.
While a previously owned Excursion won’t be to everyone’s taste, a towing capacity of up to 11,000 lbs and select models with 4WD makes it the ideal vehicle for a desert rendezvous with more than a few friends and toys in tow. There were quite a few options as far as powertrains were concerned, but if you wanted to go the extra mile, some owners reported that an Excursion equipped with a V-10 could last upwards of over 200,000 miles. If you’re on the hunt for one, you might be able to score a good deal for 20K or less. Even if you only end up using it for those off-road situations, you’ll own a piece of automotive history from an era where “bigger” was the name of the game when it came to SUV production.
2014 Ford Edge
We go from the biggest of the bunch to the not so much. The Ford Edge is the perfect example of an off-road vehicle in the shape of a consumer-friendly everyday driver. And much like the Raptor, many believe that it was one year that served as the vehicle’s defining moment. In this case, 2014. This year saw the Edge equipped with AWD, so it could go off the pavement when necessary, as well as three different powertrain options. Two V-6 engines were available, as was a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder. Horsepower rating varied upon which engine you chose, but the vehicle’s ratings, which ranged anywhere from 240 to 305 horsepower, meant that performance was at the forefront of the Edge’s unique design.
Finding a used Edge will be advantageous if you’re a shopper who wants the option to go off-roading but also has a keen eye for cost-effectiveness. Plus, 2014 is still relatively recent in terms of vehicle life, so you will probably find plenty of these models in good shape with a lot of mileage left in them. An average fuel economy of 19 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on the highway means that while adventures might be in your wheelhouse, overpaying for them at the pump won’t be.
Go Used, Go Off-Roading
For the time being, purchasing a used Ford might be one of the best advantages you have if you’re serious about hitting the dunes and going off-roading. Consumers and manufacturers alike both have to take the necessary steps to adapt to the microchip shortage, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t options available. As you start to think of the various vehicles that might be ideal for you, consider a Ford. As we’ve seen today, they’re not only in your price range, but many have aged like a vintage bottle of fine wine.