Want to go off-road, but don't want to pay a significant amount of extra cash to do so? Maybe your typical off-road adventures consist of a rough trail on the way to a favorite fishing hole or a spring across a snow-covered field rather than the kind of rock-climbing shenanigans that would require the purchase of a special edition vehicle. Whatever the case might be, there are a few cheap off-road 4x4 trucks out that that keep you hovering around the $25k mark while still delivering genuine four-wheel drive capability and the ruggedness required to absorb trail-related punishment. Let's take a look at 7 cheap off-road 4x4 trucks currently available in America.
1) 2015 Jeep Wrangler - MSRP $22,995
The 2015 Jeep Wrangler isn't just an off-roading icon - it's also something of a bargain. Sure, the base Jeep Wrangler doesn't come loaded with amenities (manual windows, cruise control, and a CD player highlight the list), but it does feature a removable top, a 285-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6, a six-speed manual transmission, and a standard four-wheel drive system that includes low-range gearing. The Wrangler's excellent ground clearance, solid front and rear axles, and strong suspension articulation are also points in its favor when considering a cheap 4x4, and it also comes with a short wheelbase for additional trail maneuverability.
2) 2015 Toyota Tacoma - MSRP $24,800
Most truck fans are familiar with the TRD package available from Toyota for hardcore off-road activities, but for those on a tighter budget it's possible to order the base regular cab version of the 2015 Toyota Tacoma and just add four-wheel drive in order to improve its chances when leaving the pavement. The Toyota Tacoma's entry-level four-cylinder engine displaces 2.7 liters and delivers 159 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, and it is paired with a five-speed manual gearbox. As a bonus, the interior of the least expensive 4x4 Tacoma is a pleasant surprise, replete with equipment like a touchscreen audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, and air conditioning, while a skid plate keeps things safe underneath and a limited-slip rear differential is included free of charge.
3) 2015 Nissan Xterra - MSRP $25,710
The 2015 Nissan Xterra is a compact SUV that features an off-road-ready suspension right out of the box, making it an appealing option for shoppers who might prize capability over glamour. In other words, the Xterra knows where its priorities lie, and they aren’t trying to compete with more luxurious entry-level SUVs. The base Xterra is powered by a 4.0-liter V-6 engine that’s paired to either a five-speed auto or a six-speed manual transmission. Power output for the 2015 Xterra comes in at 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque, which makes highway acceleration a little sluggish but is completely ready for all-terrain adventuring.
4) 2015 Subaru Forester - MSRP $22,195
Every example of the 2015 Subaru Forester comes standard with the brand’s excellent all-wheel drive system, so the Forester’s actual base MSRP is genuinely low for what the vehicle offers, and it leaves a little wiggle room within our price threshold. Not that you’ll need it. The entry-level Forester comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine offering up 170 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque, which can be paired to a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission. However, top-of-the-line Forester models do come with a turbocharged four-cylinder, so more power is available. The 2015 Subaru Forester is as capable on the street as it is on rougher terrain, and makes an excellent and practical all-weather commuter.
5) 2015 Chevrolet Colorado - MSRP $26,885
All new for 2015, the Chevrolet Colorado is another low-buck 4x4 contender found in mid-size pickup form. The cheapest four-wheel drive vehicle on this list, the Chevrolet Colorado pairs the option of a low-range transfer case with its base 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine, and the unit comes with a six-speed automatic transmission and puts out 200 horsepower and 191 lb-ft of torque. The Colorado in base trim is a lot more comfortable than the previous generation, and offers amenities that are competitive with the class.
6) 2015 Nissan Frontier - MSRP $25,400
The 2015 Nissan Frontier - even when found outside of its PRO-4X trim level - is a faithful off-road companion thanks to its relatively compact construction and its durable design The Nissan Frontier's extended cab model has to be ordered in SV trim in order to make four-wheel drive available, and it comes with a six-foot cargo bed. Inside, buyers will find air conditioning, a CD player, cloth bucket seats, power windows and door locks, and cruise control A 4.0-liter, 261-horsepower engine is required for those wanting four-wheel drive, and this motor also generates 281 lb-ft of torque and comes paired with a six-speed manual transmission.
7) 2015 Jeep Compass - MSRP $20,995
The 2015 Jeep Compass is essentially a "soft-roader," until it is ordered with the Freedom-Drive II Off-Road package. That particular set of options - which includes a low-range four-wheel drive system, knobby tires, hill descent control and hill start assist, skid plates, and tow hooks - essentially transforms the compact SUV into a legitimate all-terrain ride. The Jeep Compass also gains a larger, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine when equipped with four-wheel drive, and this unit grinds out 172 horsepower and 165 lb-ft of torque behind a continuously-variable automatic transmission. Keeping the price down is the fact that Freedom-Drive II can be added to the base Compass Sport model, which offers heated mirrors, cruise control, a CD player, power windows and door locks, and air conditioning.