Summer Adventure Under $20,000: The Best Used off-Roaders for the Money

Used SUVs are popular choices for off-road vehicles. Trail driving can put a lot of wear on a vehicle, even in the most experienced hands. Second-hand doesn’t mean second-rate. These previously owned off-roaders are fit for adventure and can be found for a steal.

Take comfort and style on the trail

A silver Volvo XC70 SUV parked on a hill overlooking water
Volvo XC70 | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images via Getty Images

The 2013 Volvo XC70 is a high-end off-road wagon that stands up to modern crossovers. Its quiet, refined interior provides a comfortable and smooth experience even in rugged terrain. Critics love the tough exterior styling of this wagon. It holds up impressively against SUVs.

The XC70 is more than good looks. This capable wagon is also loaded with off-road driving features. A raised body, dent-resistant lower panels, and skid plates make the XC70 ready to tackle the roughest ground. All-wheel-drive keeps this wagon planted.

The downside to Volvo ownership is that parts and labor can be expensive when repairs are needed. For less than $20,000, shoppers can find this small luxury crossover with around 130,000 miles on the odometer. The CX70 is a reliable luxury option similar to a high-end Outback.

A rugged trail truck for off-road fun

A blue Toyota Tundra off-road pickup truck
Toyota Tundra | Tim Graham via Getty Images

The 2009 Toyota Tundra has topped the U.S. News Best-in-Class list for full-size trucks. This sturdy option has the power and pulls like a much larger truck. With a maximum towing capacity of 10,800 pounds, the 2009 Tundra can haul gear on the road or off.

This truck’s interior has been criticized for cheap-feeling materials. The controls, however, have been praised for being straightforward to understand. A 5.7-Liter 381 hp i-force V8 powers the 2009 Tacoma. All-wheel-drive and a suspension designed for off-roading round out this truck’s off-road credentials.

Models around 100,00 on the clock can be found for a bargain. This truck has high safety ratings and great reliability. Its only pain point is a thirst for fuel. Driers can expect to get around 15 miles per gallon in the 2009 Tundra.

A family SUV built with adventure in mind

The 2014 Nissan Xterra is a family SUV built with the trial in mind. Models with 50,000 miles on the clock come in under $20,000. This body-on-frame SUV is at its best when powered by a V6 and 6-speed manual. It comes with a low cost of ownership thanks to inexpensive and easy-to-find Nissan parts paired with brand reliability.

Even the interior is fine-tuned for outdoor adventure. Nissan included an innovative interior cargo solution, including easy to lean bins for muddy gear. Criticisms of this rugged truck-based SUV include its harsh ride, stiff handling, and cheap-feeling interior.

There are few SUVs as tough and capable on the trail as this option. It has a lower fuel economy than rivals in this segment. Trim-topping PRO-4X models with around 50,000 miles can be found under $20,00. The Xterra isn’t loaded with creature comforts of luxury features, but it makes up for its shortcomings with reliable performance.

A legendary trail-tackling option

The Toyota Land Cruiser is a popular off-road vehicle known for rugged performance in n attractive package. 2007 models can be found with 100,000 miles or more. Its 4.7-Liter V8 puts out a lot of power but chugs fuel.

Unlike many SUVs, the 2007 Land Cruiser offers a diesel engine. Few SUVs with diesel powertrains still exist as emissions regulations become more strict. The low-end torque of a diesel engine is great for crawling rocky terrain.

This model year represents a big leap forward for the Land Cruiser, and it still holds its value. The 2007 is at home on the road or off and makes an attention-getting daily driver.

There are plenty of used off-roaders that deliver fun and thrills without breaking the bank. You could certainly spend less, but $20,000 can snag a capable and stylish option.

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