Driving enjoyment comes in several forms, and there’s more to it than just having the keys to a high-powered sports car.
No, you can enjoy yourself just as much with an off-roader while heading off the beaten track exploring. It’s important to only do this where legal to do so, to ensure you’re prepared (e.g with suitable clothing, supplies, etc), but if you know what you’re doing, it can be a huge amount of fun.
Joining a club , such as the Green Lane Association, is one of the best ways to do this. You’ll be surrounded by people with the knowledge to help and aid you to go off-roading safely.
But what about the best cars for off-roading? Here are 5 great used options.
If ever there was proof that the best 4x4s don’t have to come in big packages, the Suzuki Jimny is it – despite its compact proportions, it’s one of the most capable off-roaders around. Its lightness pays dividends when off-road, while high and low gear ratios can get you a long way off the beaten track.
If you intend to use it a road car, it does have its flaws – it’s slow and not particularly comfortable. That said, the Jimny is a very charming 4×4 that’s built up a loyal following, and with prices starting from £2,500, it represents good value for money too.
Land Rover Discovery
Few manufacturers have a better reputation off-road than Land Rovers – after all, this is all the firm produces. Whether it’s a Freelander or a top-spec Range Rover, providing it’s got four-wheel-drive it’ll be hard to stop it off-road.
But for its mix of incredible off-roading ability, spacious interior and high-quality cabin, our choice has to be the Discovery – preferably in third- or fourth-generation guises where it represents the best value for money. It also comes with a special ‘Terrain Response’ off-road system that can reconfigure the car’s settings for maximum ability.
The Jeep Renegade is more of a crossover than a 4×4, but as you’d expect from Jeep, it’s still great off-road. While the majority of Renegades are front-wheel-drive, a small number on the used market do feature all-wheel-drive.
But the version to look out for is the Trailhawk, which can be rare due to its £30,000 plus list price. These come with a system known as ‘Selec-Terrain’, which offers a dedicated ‘Rock Mode’, as well as hill descent control and underbody armour to protect the engine, suspension and fuel tank. If you’re after a tough crossover that you could use every day and also go on an off-roading adventure with, this is it.
Toyota Land Cruiser
Toyota has an impressive reputation for building dependable and reliable cars – and its off-roaders are no exception. Models like the Land Cruiser are often the car of choice in underdeveloped and rugged parts of the world, so you can be sure its more than up to the job of doing some UK green laning.
Like the Jimney, off-roading is its core purpose. With permanent all-wheel-drive and a traditional body-on-frame structure that’s ideal for off-roading, the Land Cruiser is an impeccably rugged choice. Such levels of dependability command a price, though, with these Toyotas holding their value well – even 20-year-old examples can be worth around £7,000.
Fiat Panda 4×4
You might not think a small city car would lend itself well to being an off-roader, but the Fiat Panda 4×4 has been proving its worth away from tarmac for some time.
And don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just a jacked-up city car with plastic trim. The Cross version in particular comes with a system known as ‘Terrain Control’ which adds a dedicated off-road driving mode as well as hill descent control – things you’re more likely to find in a Land Rover than a Fiat city car.