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What’s Your Family’s Off-Road SUV Style?

Nicole Wakelin

Your family’s SUV needs to be practical, with enough room to handle the kids and plenty of cargo. This might have you thinking that any chance of having fun off-road is out of the question, but the truth is there are lots of SUVs that are up for the challenge.

Our short list of family friendly off-road SUVs most recently tackled the mud, rocks, and dirt trails at the Texas Motor Press Association’s first-ever Texas Off-Road Invitational. Read on to determine your off-road style and get the whole family ready for a new adventure.

2020 Toyota RAV4 Adventure, photo credit: Mercedes Lilienthal

More Mud for the Money
For families who plan to make a run through the mud but need to stay on budget, the all-new Toyota RAV4 is a smart option. With seating for five in a range of five trims, pricing for the RAV4 equipped with all-wheel drive runs from $27,050 to $35,050.

Off-roaders will love that the RAV4’s all-wheel drive lineup includes drive mode select with mud, sand, rock and dirt, snow, or normal modes to improve handling depending on the terrain. The top Limited and Adventure trims also have downhill assist control. And for times when you’re cruising along the highway instead of climbing rocks, the family will undoubtedly enjoy available features like dual zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, heated outboard rear seats, and four USB charging ports.

2019 Honda Passport Elite, photo credit: Mercedes Lilienthal

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
It’s not as aggressively designed as other off-road SUVs, but don’t let its understated styling fool you. The 2019 Honda Passport can easily take you from the pickup line at school to an off-road weekend adventure.

With room for five passengers, the Passport features available all-wheel drive across the lineup and starts at just $34,935. There’s 8.1 inches of ground clearance and Honda’s Intelligent Traction Management system with normal, snow, mud, or sand settings, and an all-wheel drive torque indicator.

When you’re not seeking adventure on the trails, the Passport is also practical and extremely well equipped to keep the family safe in the concrete jungle. With the Honda Sensing safety suite, you get advanced features like forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control standard.

2019 Infiniti QX80, photo credit: Jesus Garcia

Keeping it Classy
Just because you want to go off-road doesn’t mean you have to rough it. The Infiniti QX80 dominates dirt and triumphs over the trails — all while combining premium comfort with competent capability. Nappa leather and a 13-speaker Bose audio system combine with 9 inches of ground clearance, 20-inch wheels, and hill start assist to make the QX80 a luxurious off-road choice.

It has a higher starting price of $68,600 for the base Luxe model with four-wheel drive, but you’re getting a truly upscale experience that’s worth the price.

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition, photo credit: Jesus Garcia

Rugged Off-Road Style
The Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition screams adventure with an appearance package that will not only turn heads, but also hold up to the elements. Dark 18-inch wheels, a black mesh grille, black roof rails, and black badges complete the look. Even the interior is adventure-ready with two-tone seating surfaces and high contrast stitching that create a bold first impression.

The base Pathfinder S with four-wheel drive starts at $33,220 while the top trim comes in at $44,560. Standard features to help off-road include hill start assist, hill descent control, and 7 inches of ground clearance. There’s also a powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine with 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque to conquer rugged off-road terrain.

2020 Kia Telluride, photo credit: Jesus Garcia

The Family Hauler
You might think the all-new 2020 Kia Telluride is too pretty for the dirt, but Kia’s latest entry into the SUV market is ready to take you off the beaten path. It has seating for up to eight passengers and is surprisingly affordable with a starting price of $33,690 for all-wheel drive trims.

In addition to the standard comfort, eco, sport, and smart drive modes found across the lineup, trims equipped with all-wheel drive also get all-wheel drive lock and snow modes. Hill-start assist is standard, too, and there’s 8 inches of ground clearance to make rocky trails easier to tackle.