Find Your Ride: Off-Road Vehicles That Satisfy Any Budget

Want to hit the trails, conquer snow and look awesome as hell but aren't sure where to start? We got you.

Editor's Note: So, you need a car. But not just any car – the perfect new car for your specific lifestyle. Whatever your needs, interests, or budget, you're in the right place. Welcome to Find Your Ride, a limited series of car-choosing advice for real people. Check out other Find Your Ride installments for advice on: family haulers, one-car households and sports cars.

Though many enthusiasts use their rig as a daily driver, a vehicle that's truly meant for off-road duty may not be a pleasant commuter and grocery getter. That being said, many new, [literally] turn-key 4x4s are manageable enough that you could do just that – the three options below, for example. In addition to serious off-road, rock-crawling, slippery terrain-handling and heavier-duty componentry, we also kept in mind another criterion: the Cool Factor. All three trucks below, whether by dint of lineage, sheer performance-orientated engineering or next-gen tech, are best-in-class #adventuremobiles that also happen to just be really cool.

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Budget Buy: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport ($30,000)
2022 jeep® wrangler rubicon

Yep, you saw this one coming. Despite the rampant and serious competition, Jeep's standby SUV still takes the top spot on an "everyday 4x4" list. Newcomers are nipping at its heels/tires, however; the all-new Ford Bronco was literally designed to de-throne the Wrangler. (Good luck taking delivery of a Bronco in the next year though, particularly at this price.) We're recommending the base trim here, as it is indeed a budget buy, yet still packs serious capability.

Even though it's an entry-level pick, the Sport offers a strong V6 mated to a fun six-speed manual transmission and part-time four-wheel-drive as standard. Start swapping for different engines (the EcoDiesel V6 is really, really good but the plug-in hybrid 4xe is even better) and you'll need to plop extra cash on the table. Regardless, make sure you perfect the Jeep Wave before heading out for your inaugural drive.

Also consider: Ford Bronco, Toyota 4Runner

Further Reading: The Complete Jeep Buying Guide: Jeep Wrangler

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Sweet Spot: Ford F-150 Tremor ($52,000)
2021 ford f 150 tremor

Tremor is separate series of Ford F-Series pickups that is available in multiple trim levels and comprises a suite of off-road options. In effect, Tremor F-150s (and the Tremor F-250, etc.) are more docile versions of the bonkers Ford Raptor super-truck. While Tremor owners probably shouldn't attempt all of the Raptor's tricks, like leaping off sand dunes and racing at highway speeds across rocky terrain, they are seriously capable on the trails.

Under its unique hood (one of many unique Tremor styling cues) is a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that cranks out 400 horses and 500 lb-ft; it's mated to Ford's very good 10-speed automatic, a locking rear differential, 33-inch General Grabber A/TX off-road tires and, of course, four-wheel-drive. Off-road front and rear shocks raise ride height and ground clearance quite a bit over a stock F-150, and the rest of the suspension has been overhauled to similar robustness. Tech like Trail Control, Trail One-Pedal Drive and Trail Turn Assist all aid in off-road maneuvering. There are plenty of other off-road options available too, and lots of runway here for modding and overlanding equipment.

Also consider: Chevy Silverado Trail Boss, Ram 1500 TRX

Further Reading: Ford's New F-150 Tremor Is a Practical Raptor Alternative With Bronco Off-Road Tech

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Upgrade Option: Rivian R1S ($72,500)
rivian r1s

To be frank, Rivian seems to have changed the automotive landscape with its two electric vehicles, the R1T pickup and the R1S SUV. The fully-electric vehicles are not only intensely capable on- and off-road, but they are groundbreaking in their use of cargo space and factory-available equipment. The motors that move the R1S generate a combined 600 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque and offer 260 to over 320 miles of range. Rivian's own summary is pretty to the point: "Drive through 3+ feet of water. Rock crawl at a 100% grade. Traverse just about any terrain with 14.9 inches of ground clearance. Tow up to 7,700 lbs." Yeah… see what we mean?

Tons of smart safety tech, like driver-assist capability, is standard; and the airy, luxurious and forward-thinking interior is loaded with an array of helpful gadgetry, high-end audio equipment, and more. Thing is, there's a significant wait for the R1S, even if you're already on the reservation list. But if you're in the market and can be patient, you're guaranteed to be happy.

Also consider: 2022 GMC Hummer EV SUT, Ford F-150 Lightning

Further Reading:

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