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.
2006 Toyota 4Runner Sport
Photo by Jacobs Auto Sales
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.
Mileage: 147,000 miles
Original MSRP: $32,250+
2005 Land Rover LR3
Photo by TRED
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 received all the major and minor repairs within the last 10,000 miles, and just had a full service 100 miles back. Based on its clean appearance and Texas home, it seems likely to be fairly free of rust. Plus, you can’t beat the LR3 when it comes to making boxy beautiful.
Mileage: 117,000 miles
Original MSRP: $49,995
2009 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 single buck. 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.
Mileage: 141,785 miles
Original MSRP: ~$46,000
2007 Jeep Wrangler X
Photo via cars.com
Sure, you could grab any number of used Wranglers out there for less than $10,000 — but if you’re planning on going off-roading with it, why not choose one that’s already somewhat built out for that eventuality? This baby comes outfitted with a full roof rack / pseudo-roll cage and an off-road-ready aftermarket rear bumper. Plus, it’s a Wrangler that’s almost painted Army green. How could you not grab it?
Mileage: 118,816 miles
Original MSRP: $20,530
2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser
Photo via cars.com
“Hot Car,” Cars.com warns of this ’07 FJ Cruiser, and with good reason: 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. Oh…did we mention this one has a six-speed manual?
Mileage: 125,000 miles
Original MSRP: $22,555+
2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac 4×4 Limited V8
Photo by Axis Motorcars
It may say “Explorer” in the name, but the Sport Trac effectively held down the midsize pickup truck category for Ford for a good piece of the Aughts. Unlike the Ranger, this body-on-frame four-door pickup truck also offered a V8 engine. Sure, it may not be the ideal off-roader in principle, but it is a pickup that can seat five people, has room for an ATV in the bed (with the help of a bed extender, at least) and has the power and grip to scramble around in the mud for less than $9K.
Mileage: 84,274 miles
Original MSRP: $30,235
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