So, things literally just went south, and you need to get out of Dodge—or Los Angeles, wherever really. If you’re reaching for the keys to the family minivan, you might as well just sit and get comfortable, because you’re not going to get anywhere. After doing some in-depth research and homework, we take a look at six new vehicles that can pull double duty as your daily driver and bugout vehicle.
Ram Power Wagon
Looking for a pickup that’ll crawl down almost any trail you point it at, run over a small commuter car, and still be practical on a daily basis? The Ram Power Wagon has you covered. Equipped with front and rear axle locking differentials, front and rear disconnecting swaybars, twin alternators to run electrical accessories to your heart’s content, a WARN 12,000 LB winch, and a 6.4-liter Hemi V8, the Power Wagon will get you where you need to go, guaranteed.
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
When it comes to climbing over obstacles or low-speed technical terrain, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is the most capable 4WD vehicle sold in the United States, period. Available in a two or four door model, the Wrangler Rubicon comes standard with front and rear axle locking differentials, strong Dana 44 axles, and super grippy 32-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tires that’ll keep you going through the worst conditions imaginable. There’s also more aftermarket accessories for the Jeep Wrangler than any other 4WD, leaving you with the ability to modify, tune, and upgrade to your heart’s desire – or your spouse’s approval.
Toyota Land Cruiser
If you’ve ever seen a photo of a low-key, well-funded operator blasting through the streets of Kabul, it’s probably in an up-armored Toyota Land Cruiser. Known for being tough as nails, always running, and never breaking down … you could imagine why the Land Cruiser is a popular choice. Due to its size, it probably isn’t the best choice for narrow canyons or ultra rocky inclines with large boulders, but we wouldn’t doubt for a second that it’s the most reliable. Heritage, reliability, and the ability to stealthily upgrade your vehicle is a reason why you’ll find them roaming everywhere with someone important inside from Abu Dhabi to the deserts of Africa. Did we mention they’re pretty luxurious?
Land Rover LR4
Land Rover is synonymous with 4WD. They essentially created the SUV and since the first vehicle rolled off the assembly line in England in the 40s, they’ve been turning out some of the most capable off-road vehicles on the planet. While we don’t get the brutish, utilitarian Defender in the United States, we do get the LR4, a seriously capable off-road platform that could be your ticket to low-key performance. Equipped with Terrain Response, a system that allows you to tailor the vehicle’s off-road options to your specific terrain in order to improve performance, and a supercharged V6, you’ll be able to get where you need to go without issue. The Land Rover LR4 is so common in upscale residential areas that people will never bat an eye at you—or realize you’re driving one of the most capable 4WD vehicles sold in the US.
If you want a small truck that’s relatively affordable, capable in technical terrain, and won’t leave you stranded in the middle of the desert, don’t look any further than the Toyota Tacoma. I’ve seen these things take serious…and I mean serious…abuse on the trail, only to drive home at 80-mph on the highway without skipping a beat. TRD packages are equipped with Bilstein shocks, a locking rear differential, and a more aggressive off-road tire. The Tacoma is the king of understated 4WD trucks. They’re incredibly common for a reason—they last. There’s also a huge aftermarket community providing almost any modification that you’d ever need.
The Ford Raptor is not the king of understated 4WD trucks. It is loud, it is mean, and it is seriously aggressive. With over 400-horsepower on tap, the wide-as-a-bus truck soaks up the high-speed desert trails with ease thanks to its Fox Suspension. Ford’s SVT team blew it out of the water with this one. If you want to be the first person to get wherever it is you’re going, and there happens to be a wide open desert in-between you, get the Raptor. You won’t regret it. Don’t forget to check out the vibrant Raptor aftermarket community to give the truck some extra protection and capability — and make it stick out from the crowd. Even the U.S. Border Patrol uses these to get to remote areas no other truck can make it to.