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You’ve got the itch to head out on the trails for an adventure, but you don’t have the cash to pay for a brand new off-roader; what should you do? It’s high time you found one of the best used off-road SUVs for a price that you can afford. There are many excellent models to choose from providing you with the qualities you desire. Capability, durability, and affordability are what you need, and these five models can take you where you want to go.

Ford Explorer

Ford Explorer on a snowy road
Ford Explorer | Ford

You’ll need to choose a model from the 2006-2010 model years to fit your price range. Autotrader tells us this SUV has a body-on-frame construction made to handle the challenges of off-road driving. All SUVs were built on these frames before crossovers were part of the mix. It’s pretty easy to find an Explorer that has both 4WD and a strong V8 engine to give you the power needed to tackle any trail you find.

Don’t expect to find a comfortable ride on the road or to see modern electronics as part of the mix. The Explorer may be one of the best used off-road SUVs for you to drive, but it is still more than a decade old. There are ways around the tech issues, and off-roading is not a comfortable activity.

Mercedes-Benz ML350 4Matic

Silver Mercedes-Benz ML350 4Matic on the road
Mercedes-Benz ML350 4Matic | Mercedes-Benz

Just because it wears the three-point star on the front doesn’t mean the ML350 isn’t a cable off-road SUV. To fit your price range, you’ll have to select a model from 2006 or earlier, but you’ll still find excellent materials in the cabin, a stylish build, and the adventure features you need for your time on the trails.

The impressive off-road packaging of the 4Matic system, Mercedes-Benz’s form of AWD, will take you on the trails and through the streams with ease. Of the five SUVs you’ll see on this list, this one just might be the most appealing for on and off-road driving.

Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Wrangler with the top off out on the trails
Jeep Wrangler JK | Jeep

We could easily fill this list with Wrangler models from various generations, but that wouldn’t be interesting at all. The Wrangler that can fit your price and give you the off-road experience you desire is the “JK” generation from 2007-2010. You’ll find a wide variety of Jeeps from this model year range that fit what you need.

Every version of the Wrangler comes with Dana 44 sold axles at both ends and standard 4WD capabilities. Much like the Ford Explorer, this is easily one of the best off-road SUVs you can drive, but it won’t give you any form of comfort on the road.

Toyota Sequoia SR5

Green Toyota Sequoia in a parking space
Toyota Sequoia |Toyota

The 2007 Toyota Sequoia is one of the most capable off-road SUVs in the market. This Toyota can get the job done when you need to stick to a budget and want a large SUV with the desired capability. You’ll be glad to see a strong V8 engine under the hood, a transfer case with a low-range setting, and the massive size the Sequoia offers.

The Toyota brand name is one of the most endearing aspects of this full-size SUV. You know that you can’t go wrong with this SUV; it comes from a long line of vehicles with a stellar reputation for reliability. Because the Sequoia is tall and large, it can be prone to tipping over on a trail, but if you’re careful, you won’t have any trouble.

Land Rover LR4

Land Rover LR4 in the forest
Land Rover LR4 | Land Rover

The LR4 is the Land Rover that came before the Discovery model. Look for the LR4 from 2010-2013 to find one that will fit into your $15,000 price range. The boxy shape allows for a large interior area for passengers and cargo. Land Rover has a stellar reputation for off-road excellence.

Taking this SUV out to the wilderness will give you the power of a strong V8 and the capability of 4WD. You’ll need both for some of the toughest trails. You’ll quickly agree this is one of the best off-road SUVs you can buy for the money you have to spend.

Next, check out these unkillable classic luxury SUVs, or check out some of the cheap SUVs that are great for off-roading in the video below:

This article was updated on 9/8/2022.


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