Go into any new car dealership and tell the salesman you have a strict budget of $10,000 and you want to buy a vehicle. He’ll smile, try to hold back a laugh if he’s polite…then he’ll point in the direction of the door.
On the other hand, in the used car realm, $10,000 opens up an entire world of transportation options. Big, small, foreign or domestic, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to halfway decent vehicles at this price. (It’s one reason why used car shopping online can quickly cause you to spiral down an internet rabbit hole.)
Still, when it comes to finding $10K cars, few categories offer quite the wealth of options as the 4×4 market. So we pulled together a few sweet trucks and SUVs you can grab right now for four figures that are primed for tackling some trails.
2000 Toyota 4Runner SR5
No list of affordable off-roaders would be complete without a nice used 4Runner. These indestructible Toyotas last past 100,000 miles with ease, and deliver a dynamite combination off-road capability and real-world usability. This example comes from a dealership that claims to pride itself in sourcing cars from states where the roads aren’t salted, as well — so rust shouldn’t be an issue, either. All you have do is fork over the money and start enjoying that off-roading life.
2007 Land Rover LR3
An older Land Rover, on the other hand, isn’t quite as sure a bet as a reliable Toyota. Still, if you want to roll the dice on a Landie, this LR3 looks to be a solid choice to put your money down on. According to the seller, this Land Rover has a clean history, with extensive repair records and many years of resting in a garage when not being driven. Plus, you can’t beat the LR3 when it comes to making boxy beautiful.
2008 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 LT
Suburbans rank among the longest-lasting vehicles on the road, which means they command a premium on the used car market. Still, with a bit of searching, it’s possible to find a quality example for less than $10K…even if it is only by a few bucks. This mid-tier Suburban LT has plenty of niceties inside, but they’re all second fiddle to the strong body-on-frame chassis and lengthy body when it comes to off-road and overlanding appeal. After all, there are plenty of SUVs you can camp from…but only a few you can turn into their own campers.
2001 Jeep Cherokee Limited
Sure, you could grab any number of used Cherokees out there for less than $10,000, but odds are good you won't find many this clean and decent for the price. Plus, just look how great it is in that green?
2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser
These retro-styled Toyotas don’t come up for sale often. Indeed, for a while, they were so prized as to be practically depreciation-proof, commanding close to their original price even with scores of thousands of miles racked up on the odometer. The design may not be for every off-roader, but there’s no disputing the solid build quality, the strong chassis or the compact proportions that make off-roading easier.
1990 Suzuki Samurai
Looking for a simple, super-entertaining off-road toy to smash trails and clamber over rocks? This 1990 Samurai has the old-school cool and the all-terrain prowess you need. This rust-free California car packs 31-inch all-terrain tires and an 8,000-lb winch, too, which should make it all but unstoppable.