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In today’s market, 4×4 SUVs are extremely popular, whether you actually plan to off-road or just want to project that appearance. While brands like Jeep have long dominated the market with things like the Wrangler, there are actually cheap 4x4s out there, and some come from unlikely places. These are three classic European 4×4 SUVs that offer legitimate capability and budget pricing. 

3. Lada Niva

If you are an auto enthusiast or even not that familiar with cars, you might think that Soviet vehicles are not good. And to be honest, you aren’t wrong. Most vehicles built in the former Soviet Union have a bad reputation in terms of reliability. But one Soviet 4×4 SUV is actually known as the AK-47 of cars, and that is the Lada Niva. 

A Lada Niva 4x4 SUV shows off its capability off-road.
Lada Niva | IFCAR

The Niva is extremely simple, so simple that a basic toolkit can handle most repairs. But, it also offers legitimate 4×4 capability. After all, it was built to handle some of the harshest conditions in the world. 

Lada is still selling the Niva today, and it is still cheap. But, if you want one in the United States, you will need to find one that is over 25 years old due to importing laws that restrict what you can drive on U.S. roads. Lada did sell the Niva in Canada for a brief period of time. Because of that, you might be able to find one that doesn’t require shipping across the ocean. 

2. ARO 10

Another vehicle from the Soviet block, the ARO 10 was a 4×4 SUV produced in Romania. It utilizes a two-door design and is a body-on-frame vehicle. It is fairly small, but it does have rugged looks. Plus, who doesn’t love a quirky SUV? In the video below, you can see this Romanian SUV in action.

In terms of off-roading, the ARO 10 has a low-range transfer case, manual locking hubs, and a standard transmission. Some models even boast a soft top, which allows for an open-air experience. As a 4WD SUV, Romania never exported it to the United States. But, because of its age, it is possible to import one under the United States’ 25-year import law. 

According to Jalopnik, these off-road vehicles do pop up for cheap quite often. And considering how spartan the ARO 10 is, that does make sense. These SUVs were built for work and not much else. At the same time, it is ready to take on some rugged trails. 

1. Land Rover Range Rover Classic

OK, I know what you’re thinking, Land Rover does not have a great reputation for being reliable. But, this European 4×4 is also cheap, and it did kick off the luxury SUV craze. New Range Rovers are anything but affordable; however, older models can be fairly budget-friendly. 

A European 4x4 SUV, the Land Rover Range Rover Classic is actually pretty rugged.
Land Rover Range Rover Classic | National Motor Museum via Getty Images

Unlike the other two 4×4 SUVs, the Range Rover Classic was sold in the United States. So finding one should be an easier task. Different configurations were available, so pricing will vary on this British vehicle. 

If you do want an old Land Rover, it would not be a bad idea to find a mechanic who understands how to work on it. Doing so will at least give you some peace of mind that you can keep your 4WD SUV running properly.