Although vehicles featuring four-wheel drive are more and more common, the best used 4x4 trucks offer you a little something extra to go with their traction advantage. Typically, top-tier 4x4 trucks rise above being able to deal with mere snow and rain and provide the kind of rugged construction and suspension design that can tackle off-road driving, whether that be in a mud bog, rocky field, mountain pass, or desert plane. Sometimes used 4x4 trucks ask you to compromise on creature comforts and daily drivability, but for the most part these vehicles are as at home in a mall parking lot as they are on the trail.
Let's take a quick look at 10 of the best used 4x4 trucks.
The Toyota Tacoma has long been the most popular mid-size pickup on the market, and the TRD Off-Road edition provides a significant upgrade over the base 4x4 model's go-anywhere capabilities. The Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road provides skid plates to protect the truck's undercarriage, a stronger suspension package, hill start assistance and descent control, and a locking rear differential to improve traction even when not operating in four-wheel drive mode. Aim for the 4.0-liter V-6 edition of the TRD Off-Road Tacoma and you'll enjoy 236 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, managed by either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission.
Although Suzuki's automotive arm is no longer operating in the United States, there are plenty of Suzuki Grand Vitara used 4x4 trucks available on secondhand dealer lots across the country. The Suzuki Grand Vitara might look like a 'cute ute,' but the compact people mover is available with low-range four-wheel drive system that gives it legitimate capability when the pavement disappears. It also offers a unique platform that mixes full frame and unibody elements, providing it with a toughness that you won't find in a CR-V or RAV4. The Grand Vitara is powered by a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 166 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque, and a four-speed automatic gearbox is standard with four-wheel drive models. A bonus for RV enthusiasts: the Suzuki's modest size and neutral setting for its transfer case make it an easy flat-tow behind your home away from home.
The Nissan Xterra PRO-4X is the most hardcore version of Japanese brand's off-road SUV. 2014 was the last model year for the Nissan Xterra, but the PRO-4X remains an appealing used 4x4 truck choice, especially when you consider that the SUV doesn't ask buyers to sacrifice day-to-day comfort or practicality in exchange for being able to climb the next ridge. With 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque on tap from a 4.0-liter V-6 (that can be shifted by either a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission), the PRO-4X also features a low-range four-wheel drive system, a locking rear differential, skid plates, knobby 16-inch tires, and Bilstein shocks.
The Chevrolet Silverado Z71 is one of the few full-size pickups to make our list of the best used 4x4 trucks. A big part of this is the Chevrolet Silverado Z71's ubiquity: the Z71 off-road package was such a popular choice for legions of truck buyers that it's relatively easy to find a used version at a reasonable price. We recommend seeking out the 2007-2013 models, as they offer the best balance between cost and features. In addition to the stiffer suspension provided by the Z71 edition of the Silverado, it's also worth scoping out the 367 horsepower 6.2-liter V-8 engine that became available in 2009 - the same year that the truck also gained a more efficient (and capable) six-speed automatic transmission for its eight-cylinder options.
Only offered for the 2009 and 2010 model years, the Hummer H3T paired mid-size crew cab pickup truck practicality with Hummer styling and a respectable level of off-road competence. You'll want to avoid the modest five-cylinder engine option and head right to the 5.3-liter V-8 found in the Hummer H3T Alpha, which offers up 300 horses and 320 lb-ft of torque. Enhancing the H3T's toughness is the Adventure Package, which adds more aggressive gearing, 33-inch all terrain tires, and locking differentials front and rear to go with the Hummer's 4x4 system. A four-speed automatic transmission is included with all eight-cylinder H3Ts.
The Ford Ranger might be gone, but it's not forgotten. Out of showrooms since 2011, the Ford Ranger continues to do brisk business as a used 4x4 truck given that it's one of the few, true modern compact pickups available. The small size of the Ranger makes it an ideal off-roader, as it can squeeze down trails that would leave larger options looking for a bypass. FX4 models accentuated its four-wheel drive personality most strongly, as the package (which was available until 2009) includes upgraded shocks, skid plates, a nicer interior, and adventure-oriented rubber to go with its limited-slip rear differential. Four-cylinder Rangers squeeze 143 horses from their 2.3-liter engines, while the 4.0-liter V-6 pushes out 207 horsepower and 238 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic gearbox pulls duty across both drivetrains.
Photo by Ford
The Jeep Wrangler is the ringer in our round-up of the best used 4x4 trucks, an icon in a world where the ability to climb every mountain and ford every stream is viewed as the ultimate accolade. The Jeep Wrangler is available in both two-door and four-door (Unlimited) editions, which means you can choose between the better maneuverability of the short-wheelbase model or the family-friendly size of the stretched edition. It makes the most sense to aim for 2012-and-up editions of the Wrangler, as they come with a much-improved 3.6-liter V-6 that's good for 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, along with a standard five-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive across the board.
The Toyota FJ Cruiser can be thought of as the heritage-inspired answer to the Wrangler's off-road dominance. Meant to evoke the FJ Land Cruisers of old, the Toyota FJ Cruiser is notable for its more docile on-pavement performance as compared to the Jeep, and also for its ability to nearly match its rival when the going gets tough. Later editions of the FJ Cruiser (which was built between 2007 and 2014) see a more robust 260 horsepower and 270 lb-ft from its 4.0-liter V-6, a bump over the 239 ponies provided by the original version of the engine. Make sure to specify the full-time four-wheel drive system in your search, as it comes with a locking rear differential as well as an optional six-speed manual gearbox alongside the regular five-speed automatic.
The Lexus LX 470 heads in the opposite direction of the more barebones FJ Cruiser, offering substantial luxury built on top of the bones of the always-tough Toyota Land Cruiser. Mechanically-identical to its Toyota sibling, the Lexus LX 470 benefits from a four-wheel drive system that features a locking center differential, as well as an adaptive suspension system with adjustable ride height. Under the hood, the Lexus delivers 275 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque (2006-2007 models) matched with a five-speed automatic transmission, with slightly less grunt (and a four-speed autobox) offered in prior model years. There's three rows of seating to be found inside the LX 470, too, which means you can bring the entire family with you should you decide to go mudding.
The Ford SVT Raptor weaponizes the brand's best-selling full-size pickup truck and gives it off-road-ready teeth to match its aggressive appearance. With a wider track than the base F-150, along with desert-racing shocks and springs as well as a beefed-up four-wheel drive transfer case, the Ford SVT Raptor is a high performance all-terrain monster. This reputation is confirmed by the presence of a 6.2-liter V-8 engine under its hood, a unit that has been tuned to provide 411 horsepower and 434 lb-ft of torque (managed by a six-speed automatic transmission).