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.
The 2013 Jeep Wrangler isn't just an off-roading icon - it's also something of a bargain. Sure, the base Jeep Wrangler doesn't come load 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.
Cheap Off-Road 4x4 Trucks - 02 - 2013 Toyota Tacoma - MSRP $23,590
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 2013 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.
Cheap Off-Road 4x4 Trucks - 03 - 2013 Ram 1500 - MSRP $26,400
The 2013 RAM 1500 is a full-size pickup that, when ordered in the barebones Tradesman trim, squeaks onto our list of cheap off-road 4x4 trucks with its just-north-of-$26k purchase price. The Ram 1500 Tradesman is a steel and plastic affair, with 17-inch rims, vinyl floors, a locking tail gate, air conditioning, and power windows as its big selling points. Easy to clean and easy to get dirty, this version of the Ram 1500 comes with a 4.7-liter V-8 that generates 310 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque, managed by a six-speed automatic transmission. The Tradesman regular cab model also comes with a six-foot, four-inch cargo bed.
Cheap Off-Road 4x4 Trucks - 04 - 2013 Suzuki Grand Vitara - MSRP $23,799
The 2013 Suzuki Grand Vitara probably isn't on the radar of many off-road fans, but for those on a budget this compact SUV is well worth looking into. A 2.4-liter, 166 horsepower four-cylinder engine is standard with the Suzuki Grand Vitara, and a four-speed automatic helps channel that output to all four wheels thanks to an optional low-range-equipped four-wheel drive system. Inside, the Grand Vitara features five passenger seating and a spacious 70.8 cubic feet of total cargo space. It also comes with alloy wheels, heated mirrors, power windows and door locks, automatic climate control, Bluetooth, a navigation system, keyless entry, and a CD player.
Cheap Off-Road 4x4 Trucks - 05 - 2012 Chevrolet Colorado - MSRP $21,790
The 2012 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 2.9-liter, four-cylinder engine. and the unit comes with a five-speed manual transmission and puts out 185 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque. The base Work Truck model is meant for business, not pleasure, and standard equipment for the truck includes a bench seat, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, and tilt steering. The regular cab Colorado's cargo box measures six feet in length.
Cheap Off-Road 4x4 Trucks - 06 - 2012 Nissan Frontier - $25,840
The 2012 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.
Cheap Off-Road 4x4 Trucks - 07 - 2013 Jeep Compass - MSRP $23,045
The 2013 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.