As they become more and more popular, many automakers are favoring these versatile vehicles. Off-road SUVs, in particular, are gaining popularity, with adventure seekers looking for features to enhance their driving experience.
recently tested more than 200 vehicles, evaluating them on performance, safety, technology, efficiency, interior space, value and performance. Check out the automotive reviewer’s top three picks for the best compact off-road SUV.
is MotorTrend’s choice for the number one off-road SUV, thanks to its “outstanding off-road capabilities”. The military-inspired vehicle offers superior performance and efficiency, offering excellent characteristics for even the most inexperienced driver.
The Wrangler comes with a wide variety of trim and powertrain options, ranging from $31,195 for the base Sport model to $82,495 for the fully loaded 470-hp edition.
The Jeep Wrangler has a best-in-class resale value, running to three-quarters of the original purchase price after five years’ ownership, making the versatile vehicle a wise investment for off-road enthusiasts. MotorTrend says that while “the Wrangler won’t impress with traditional practicality or comfort like our top-level family SUVs do, its nearly unlimited off-road capability, timeless design and strong value make it a worthwhile choice.”
2. The 2023 Land Rover Defender combines luxury features with its off-road prowess
Earning second place on the coveted MotorTrend list is the luxury off-roader that has a starting price of $53,500 and goes up to $118,400 for the 100 Carpathian Edition.
While the Land Rover has refined on-road performance, it’s off-road that the all-terrain vehicle shines, with unsurpassed capabilities. The well-designed interior features an 11.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system and offers five passengers a comfortable and luxurious ride.
Three powertrain options are available, all mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels. The base model P300 uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that delivers 296PS and 295Nm of torque.
It is the most powerful Land Rover Defender, with the P525 engine generating 518PS and 461Nm of torque. The off-roader can go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, making it a solid choice for drivers who require quick acceleration.
3. The 2022 Ford Bronco is a worthy off-road SUV to buy
According to MotorTrend, the return of the Ford Bronco is the first real competition the Jeep Wrangler has seen in decades. But that doesn’t mean the Bronco isn’t a highly sought-after vehicle. With a , the Bronco has rugged styling and superior off-road capabilities.
Priced between $31,300 and $68,500, it offers a versatile interior with attractive design and technological features. A deceptive seven-speed manual transmission, locking differentials and super low crawler make the Bronco a worthy contender for exceptional off-road maneuvering. However, if you’re looking for a hybrid or diesel option, the Bronco isn’t for you, as it’s currently only available with a gas combustion engine.
The sets itself apart from the competition with its wide range of propulsion options. While it doesn’t offer the luxury of the Land Rover Defender, it has an attractive base price of $31,195 with unsurpassed performance. In a side-by-side comparison of the top three off-road compact SUVs, the 2023 Jeep Wrangler stands out, receiving high marks for technological innovation and overall value.