Since the invention of the first motor carriage, it has evolved into a more functional and more reliable mode of transportation. After its first initial inception, a lot of changes have transpired on it. It is now most commonly known as a car. It now looks modern, it features more technological advancements and there are now many manufacturers – all of which tries to bring something new to the table.
One of the many variations of the car is the off-road vehicle. The idea of an off-road vehicle was first conceived by Adolphe Kegresse. Since then, there have been multiple car manufacturers that not only adopted his idea, but also improved on it. Today, an off-road vehicle can be easily recognized because of its unique features.
An off-road vehicle has large dimensions, wide tires, and a fortified body. Such cars can be either two or four doors, as well as with one or two rows of seats. Based on the name, the main purpose of the off-road vehicles is the passage of difficult terrain and overcoming obstacles.
2 Types of Off-Road Vehicle
Cars of this class are divided into two types – body on frame and unibody. The former is ideal in complete off-road conditions. It is easier to lift the body and suspension, less whimsical, and able to last much longer. Off-road vehicles with unibody have a lower weight, greater handling, maneuverability, and stability.
The earliest cars were designed as body on frames. But in the middle of the 20th century, the unibody design was introduced and gained popularity.
Body on frame means the body of the vehicle is connected to the frame by a series of mounts. It is also known as ladder-frame because the underlying frame looks like a ladder. This design is most common in what is colloquially termed SUV or truck. SUVs or trucks that do not utilize the body on frame design are known as unibody crossovers or crossover SUVs.
For off-roading, the body on frame design is preferable for its strength. However, its weight and handling reduces its maneuverability and handling.
Unibody designs are the more known and used choice today due to the easier production it enables. This design is called so because the body and the chassis are made of one whole piece.
Unibody gives you better handling, less weight and cost, and it generally provides better protection when it crashes. Its main downside though is that it performs worse in the off-road and provides substandard towing capabilities.
Type of Fuel
It is also worth paying attention to the type of fuel. Cars with gasoline engines are usually more maneuverable but consume much more fuel. Diesel, more powerful and economical, requires a more regular oil change though.
As for the gearbox, an automatic transmission is not the most suitable option for off-road. Under harsh conditions, they can fail. Also, the off-road vehicle can easily get stuck in the mud, it will be problematic to pull it out due to automatic transmission. With a manual gearbox, it is much easier to control the engine.
And that is perhaps one of the most important aspects of off-roading: control. Because off-roading is deliberately putting yourself in an environment where the amount of control you have is essentially nonexistent, it is important to have tools you can control.
Another important element is the suspension. Independent one has a number of advantages, including reliable contact with the surface. Its drawback is low protection against damage.
The boom of off-road vehicles is not going to stop; automakers around the world are introducing new models one after another.
Not surprisingly, such cars are also in high demand in the used car market. But which of them can be recommended for purchase? This list of the 7 best off-road vehicles will help determine and make the right decision.
At a Glance
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
This incredible off-road looks like a common SUV, but it can brag of its enormous dimensions. Pajero as an off-road vehicle looks pretty stylish. The salon is chic, even in its smallest set.
There is no doubt that this is an off-road automobile because this car has a durable all-wheel drive, and there is also a rear differential lock here. Given that it is a three-liter V6, which has over 200 hp, you may be assured that Mitsubishi Pajero Sport will certainly overcome all the hurdles on its way.
Land Rover Defender
This vehicle has impressive dimensions, respectively, with it, you feel more comfortable in off-road conditions than in urban traffic. Externally, changes compared to the 1st generation Land Rover Defender has undergone a little. This car also looks aggressive and in general cool. However, from the inside, it does not look so impressive and quite mediocre in comfort and implements.
The vehicle has an all-wheel-drive with a central differential. It is outfitted with a 2.2-liter motor with a turbo-supercharger powered by 123 hp, and the car’s consumption is roughly 11.0 liters per 100 kilometers.
Toyota Land Cruiser Prado
A true classic among the best off-road vehicles is the Toyota Land Cruiser. With each version, the Japanese add a twist that makes the car more representative and sporty. As for the cabin, then everything is always on top. Only high-quality materials are used here. Depending on the configuration, the machine can be equipped with 2.7 and 4-liter gasoline engines that produce 163 and 282 hp. and a 2.8-liter diesel option, in which 177 horses.
As you can see, this car is suitable for the city, and the swamps as well.
Audi Q7 is equipped with permanent all-wheel drive (Quattro) with a distribution of torque between the front and rear axles in a ratio of 40:60. The third row of seats for passengers whose height is less than 160 cm is offered as additional equipment. Inside the cabin you will find a traditionally high level of convenience, even in minimal trim levels! What to say about the units – there were a lot of them. The car is immediately available in several engine options: a 3-liter gasoline engine for 272 horses, a 249-horsepower diesel engine with the same volume; TFSI also delivers 333 hp at 3 liters, while the 4.2-liter diesel engine boasts 440 horses and the 6-liter diesel engine at 500 hp.
Auto is perfect for the city because it is quite compact and very economical.
It is a full-size body on frame off-road vehicle, combining:
- Roomy interior
- Excellent level of comfort
- Good cross
Four-generation GM Vortec eight-cylinder V-engines with a working volume of 4.8 liters and a power of 290 hp and a working volume of 5.2 liters and a power of 320 hp were installed on these cars.
Four-wheel drive, 200-mm ground clearance, and many helper systems allow the car to confidently conquer the roads, and the memorable appearance of the model will not leave you unnoticed in the auto flow.
Classic off-road vehicle, available in 3-door and 5-door versions. Thanks to the ground clearance, 2 continuous axles, a reduction gear, and differential lock, the automobile is ready to master even the most difficult off-road conditions. It will simply get over a deep trench, climb a slide hill, and will be able to easily subdue high curbs during parking.
The boot of the Jeep Wrangler can pride a good capacity. With the backs of the 2nd-row seats raised, up to 899.0 liters of free space survives behind. Due to this capacity, the automobile can not only manage with the daily assignments of the city inhabitant but also without special efforts to take large luggage or bulky equipment on board.
You can even install winch in front of your Jeep Wrangler.
The 3.6-liter engine with a power of 285 hp can be equipped with both transmission options for this model: a 6-speed manual and 8-mode automatic, a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder unit with a power of 270 hp is only paired with an automatic one.
This review would be imperfect if it did not include the legendary G-Wagen. The Mercedes-Benz G-class is equipped with a huge V-shaped turbocharged gasoline unit with a volume of 3982 cubic centimeters. Thanks to a modern turbocharger and a large displacement, it produces 422 hp from 610 Nm of torque in the range from 2000 to 4750 rpm. All generated torque goes to a nine-band automatic transmission with several operating modes of the control electronics. The thrust is distributed between the axles in a ratio of 40:60.
Off-road vehicle weighing 2.5 tons accelerates to 100 km / h in 5.9 seconds, reaching a maximum of around 210 km / h. Mercedes-Benz G consumes about 14.9 liters of gasoline per 100 km in the city, 9.8 liters when traveling on the highway, and 11.7 liters in the combined cycle.
The Final Word
We can say that all these cars can be recognized as the best off-road vehicles. There are no winners or losers among them. Each car is good in its own way and I think it is safe to say that they justify their prices.
Any of these vehicles from these different brands have their own following of fans. It is undeniable though, that some of the cars in this list are generally considered more “high-end” than the rest. They are also a lot more expensive. But I think that, generally, their prices are worth their quality and reputation.
But what is important to remember is that, no matter what your budget is, there is a high quality off-road vehicle from you.