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A silver 2018 Ford F-150 is parked off-road with distant mountains behind it.

4 Great Outdoor Adventure Vehicles to Buy Used

Spring is just about to shift into summer, and this is the perfect time of year to get outside for a little adventure. If you’re feeling a desire to get out into the wilderness, you may be in need of a vehicle that can take on those rugged spaces far away from paved roads and cement sidewalks. For the drivers who want to conquer mountains, forests, and deserts on wheels, here are a few vehicles that can do just that. Even better, you can find these vehicles in most places with used cars for sale, so you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to enjoy your exploration of the unknown.

Jeep Wrangler

If you haven’t had the pleasure of driving a truly capable off-roader, the Jeep Wrangler is one of the best vehicles to get out into nature and explore. Jeeps have a long history of holding value due to their tough bodies and long-lasting engines. A Jeep can take a serious beating during its lifetime, but as long as the previous owner took care to get regular oil changes and kept up on maintenance, a Jeep will last longer than most vehicles.

There have been lots of features to love about Jeeps for a long while, but even more so since 2015. Greatness may also be found in older models, but here we’ll start with 2015 to give buyers an idea of what might be on the used market. For starters, 2015 Jeeps come standard with a 3.6-liter V6 engine, which could be a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual. This engine is part of what gives the Jeep its powerful ability to handle off-road conditions better than any other vehicle, along with better ground clearance and strong axles.

All Jeep Wranglers come standard with four-wheel drive with a low-range transfer case, which allows the vehicle to operate at slower speeds so you can tackle that tough terrain with power. Jeeps will also have stability control with roll mitigation to help maintain safety on hillsides. If you happen to need to tow a trailer, Jeeps have hill-start assist, and trailer sway control. For those days when the weather allows for driving with the top down, you have a Torx Tool Kit with wrenches to remove the top and doors.

While everyone loves getting out in a Jeep to go off-roading, Jeeps are also great for camping, hunting, or other recreation where you plan to get muddy or messy. Since Jeeps are made with cloth seats that are designed to take a beating and come without interior carpets, this is the ideal outdoors-loving vehicle. Depending on the Jeep, you will have a towing capacity of anywhere from 2,000-3,500 pounds, which is enough for a pop-up or other small camper.

An orange 2019 Jeep Wrangler is parked off-road in the mountains.

Ford F-150

For the outdoor types who really want more towing power but still want plenty of off-roading capability, the Ford F-150 may be the perfect answer. This is a popular truck that is plentiful in used car lots due to the sheer number of them sold, so it shouldn’t be hard to find one. Things to love about the F-150 since 2015 are the engine power, the off-road ruggedness, and the versatile truck bed, which allows for ATVs or motorcycles to be easily loaded.

The F-150 comes standard with the 3.6-liter V6 engine, which has enough power to tow up to 7,600 pounds. If the truck has a V8 engine, it could tow up to 12,200 pounds. F-150s readily take to uneven and off-road terrain, so you can tow your camper to boondock in the wild country and then go adventuring in your truck. Depending on the cab you find, some of the larger models have back seats to rival sedans to allow for the whole family to go on the adventure with you.

Features to love about the F-150 are conveniences like the 360-degree camera, which comes standard, and allows for views around the entire truck. Anyone familiar with off-roading knows how valuable it is to see what objects might be too close for comfort. Some F-150s might come equipped with cargo bed ramps, which make loading bikes or ATVs a snap. Other great features on newer used F-150s are hill-start assist, and trailer sway control, hands-free phone connectivity and voice recognition, or the combined fuel efficiency of 20 MPG.

What’s even better is that the interior of the Ford F-150 is comfortable for long drives, and has a much smoother ride than the Jeep. While Jeeps may be kings of the off-road scene, they are not known for being great on the highway. For those of you who want to take longer trips to get to those outdoor places, the F-150 may be the better option.

Subaru Forester

A grey 2016 Subaru Forester, which is popular among used cars for sale, is off-roading in the mud.

While trucks and Jeeps are some of the best choices for the outdoor lifestyle, you may want a vehicle that can handle rough conditions and not need to break the bank at the gas pump. Subaru Foresters are quite capable when it comes to harsh road conditions, and can even handle mild off-roading if you aren’t planning to tackle creek beds or rocky mountain sides. Foresters come standard with all-wheel drive which powers through mud, snow, and other rough conditions better than most vehicles of this size. And even though it comes with a 2.5-liter boxer engine, it can actually tow a small trailer.

Foresters are much more affordable than trucks or Jeeps and get much better fuel economy. The base 2.5-liter engine gets a combined economy of 27 MPG, which makes it attractive for longer trips. And Subarus are known for lasting a long while, so buying used will not cause worry. Subaru has also worked on making the interior more comfortable and upscale, so the quality of the seats and other interior materials has gone up since 2015. Since that year, Subaru also made rear cameras standard on all models, and cargo capacity of just over 74 cubic feet means you can stuff this SUV to the gills with all your gear.

The tech that comes standard with the Forester base models is relatively generous, with Bluetooth, hands-free phone connectivity, remote start, and remote entry added to the hill-start assist for towing all in the newer used vehicles. Though the base engine may not seem like it could pull, you can actually manage to tow up to 1,500 pounds. If you have an ultra-light camper or pop-up, the Forester can handle it, though you could also fold down the seats and sleep inside.

Land Rover

Last, but certainly not least, is the Land Rover. What list of off-road vehicles could be complete without one? Buying used is probably the best way to enjoy such a wildly exotic ride. If you’ve never had the joy of driving one of these pampered beasts, you’re missing out on a lot of fun. Land Rovers are known for their off-road ability to nimbly conquer just about any terrain, from rocks to three feet of water, but they also boast incredibly comfortable interiors.

Like the Jeep, the Land Rover comes with low-range gear for tough terrain and has a 3.0-liter V6 engine, which gets a combined fuel economy of 20 MPG. What’s different about this British SUV is that it can blast to 60 MPG in about five seconds, an unprecedented feat for an SUV. Such speeds are typically expected in sports cars, not land-crawlers. Even more impressive is the luxurious interior with leather seats and a Meridian sound system, among all the features you expect, such as Bluetooth, navigation, voice recognition, heated steering wheel, and seats, remote start and entry, and plenty more.

Other features to adore are conveniences for off-roading, like fog lights, LED headlights, power-folding side mirrors, and a panoramic moonroof to be able to gawk at all the scenery while you rumble through the wilderness. Hill descent control and a park assist system are features that will make your driving experience much easier both in nature and in town. If you plan to tow a trailer, you can tow just above 7,700 pounds, which is plenty for a mid-sized camper. Since the Land Rovers tend to lose value quickly after purchase, you can snag one of these beauties for about half the price of new if you go back to 2015.

Used Outdoor Vehicles

Whether you are looking for a truck or an SUV for traveling to and through the great outdoors, buying used is always a good option. The aforementioned vehicles all can stand up to the terrain and stay reliable over many years. So, what are you waiting for? Go get one and hit the trails!

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