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In recent years, off-road SUVs have become extremely popular. But, buying a new SUV is not right for everyone, especially if you plan to beat it up on the trail. Because of that, more folks are interested in what the used market has to offer. Buying pre-owned allows you to get a vehicle for cheaper, meaning you don’t have to break the bank. But which used SUVs are worth looking at if you want 4×4 capability and ruggedness?

3. Nissan Xterra

The Nissan Xterra was offered by Nissan for two generations before it was finally discontinued due to poor sales. The Xterra has been featured in shows like The Sopranos, and most view it as a cheaper alternative to the Toyota 4Runner. 

A Nissan Xterra shows off its capability as an off-road SUV.
Nissan Xterra | IFCAR

In terms of which Xterra is right to buy, any model produced after the 2009 update should be a decent purchase. If you are looking for an off-road SUV, you will want to purchase an Xterra with the part-time four-wheel drive system. This will give you power to all four wheels. Starting in 2005, each Nissan Xterra came with a 4.0-liter V6 engine that makes 265 horsepower. And that should be decent enough for most uses. 

Another notable feature about the Xterra is its optional locking rear differential. This helps to improve this SUV’s 4×4 capability. You can even hunt down this Nissan with a six-speed manual transmission. After the 2015 model year, the Xterra was discontinued. So, don’t expect all of the modern features you would find in a new SUV. But, you can still get 4×4 capability from an old model.

2. Subaru Crosstrek

The Subaru Crosstrek might seem like an unlikely candidate for off-roading, but it is actually fairly competent. This SUV comes standard with all-wheel drive, and it’s been on sale since the 2013 model year. The second generation was introduced in 2017, and if you can swing it, buying a second-gen is probably the right choice. Subaru was able to refine this SUV, and the brand gave it a six-speed manual, which was an upgrade over the old transmission. 

The Crosstrek also received a revised suspension in 2017, which helps it feel more confident both on the road and on the trail. If you want a serious off-roader, the Crosstrek does have a pretty active community around it. Common modifications include things like lift kits and skid plates. So, that is something that you can benefit from when joining the Subaru crew. 

It is worth noting that this Subaru SUV was heavily impacted by the craziness of the used car market. They are not as cheap as they used to be, but you should be able to find a decent deal. 

1. Land Rover Discovery Sport

OK, in terms of reliability, Land Rover is not viewed as super favorable. But, the brand does produce vehicles that are still equipped to handle the road less traveled. As an off-road SUV, a used Land Rover Discovery Sport can make for a good pick. According to Top Gear, this model functions fairly well on the trail. It can even tackle some legitimate water fording. 

A white Land Rover Discovery shows off its off-road capability.
2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport | Paul Ellis via Getty Images

The Discovery Sport does feature a standard AWD system and can come equipped with off-road driver assistance features. But, even used, you will be paying a slight premium for the Land Rover name.


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