Summer is almost here. The weather — at least, on certain days — is getting warmer. Hopefully, social distancing restrictions will soon lift enough to let Americans head to their cottages, lake houses and beach homes without upsetting the authorities (or risking social media opprobrium). For some families, that may raise a question: What do you drive when you’re out there?
After all, the vehicular requirements for such an adventure are quite different from everyday life. Mainly, you need a beach car: something to traverse sand and rutted beach roads, and to hold kids, dogs, and gear. Sure, that Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S could perform all those tasks, but it’s a bit too pricey and flashy for that low-key beach town life. And you may not want to leave your exquisite Land Rover Defender resto-mod exposed to that much salt.
In other words, you’re looking for a capable, not-too-expensive off-roader. You don’t want to spend a ton of money, but you also don’t want to entrust your family to a rusted-out rattletrap. Below are several fun, dependable beach cruisers we found on sale for $15,000 or less.
2000 Jeep Wrangler Sport – $14,850
This one-owner, manual transmission Wrangler has already been on beach duty for 20 years. In fact, it’s already on sale in the Hamptons. (Spanish speakers: check out the license plate.)
2000 Toyota 4Runner SR5 — $14,995
If there’s one car you don’t worry about having 140,000-plus miles, it’s a 4Runner. Here’s a third-gen with a five-speed manual.
2006 Lexus GX 470 – $13,495
Lexus luxury and Toyota build quality — how do you say no? This off-road beast has less than 90,000 miles — which, for a Lexus, is almost nothing.
2009 Chevrolet Suburban – $14,997
The Suburban is the everlasting three-row rig your family actually needs. This 2009 model has just over 80,000 miles.
2007 Toyota Tacoma – $13,995
This list would not be complete without a Taco. This manual double cab version still has at last 100,000 miles of life left.
2012 Ford Expedition XLT – $14,995
This Expedition with fewer than 75,000 miles will transport a large number of people to the beach. Plus, the camel-colored interior will stay relatively cool while you’re there.
2013 Nissan Xterra Pro-4x – $14,998
The Xterra was Nissan’s version of the 4Runner on a budget. Here’s a PRO-4x trim version with fewer than 80,000 miles.
1991 Toyota Land Cruiser – $13,987
The J80 Land Cruiser is one of the most respected off-roaders in the Land Cruiser lineage. This one is clean, green — and has a fair bit of life left.
2008 GMC Yukon – $14,995
This 2008 Yukon was from the era when GM was more into big headlights than big grilles. The odometer is still in the five figures.
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