So you’re in the market for a real 4X4 Sport Utility Vehicle. Not so much something to take the kids to soccer practice in, but a down and dirty four wheel drive vehicle built for actual off-road driving. We’re here to help you find the best small 4X4 on the market today. The following is an overview of three smaller 4X4’s that are the best options for off-road work or adventuring that you can buy new today.
2014 Jeep Wrangler
Any discussion of a small four wheel drive vehicle built for rough and tumble driving should probably start with the Jeep Wrangler. The original is still probably the best commercially available all terrain vehicle. It’s got big wheels, high ground clearance, a six speed manual transmission, and a formidable 286 Horsepower V6 Engine. Although traditionally known for being a no frills 4X4, the later model Wranglers might surprise you with the stock or optional comforts it has. You can even equip it with Air Conditioning! The 2014 Wrangler has a starting MSRP of $23,390.
2014 Land Rover LR4
While definitely having a higher-end reputation than Jeep, Land Rover is certainly another respected off-road brand. This smaller four wheel drive entry of theirs is for someone who wants the off-road performance of a Wrangler with the luxury appointments of a Jaguar. This SUV has a beautiful leather interior, great audio system, and a rear view camera. It still has all the chops you need to launch over dunes or splash through creeks with a 6 speed manual, a 3 liter V6, and huge 19″ Wheels though. A downside is that all this luxury adds to the cost and the weight; reducing engine performance and fuel economy. A base model LR4 retails for about $49,533.
2014 Nissan Xterra 4X4
The XTerra has been a hit since it debuted as an SUV that is actually built to be off-road capable. The Four Wheel Drive version is the definition a Sport Utility Vehicle; and it is arguably more comfortable on rugged terrain than it is on the road. It has a powerful 261 Horsepower V6 Engine, Six Speed Manual Transmission, and sturdy 16″ wheels. The interior is well equipped, but definitely without the frills of the Land Rover. This is a good bet for someone looking for a smaller, rugged, truck-based, 4X4 that can do off-road as good as a Jeep for the same price, but with a fully enclosed cabin. The MSRP for the XTerra 4X4 is $25840.
Photo credit: Mustafa Sayed / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)