For car enthusiasts who love frequent adrenaline rush traversing over off-road terrains, AWDs and 4WDs continue to be the most logical picks. Whether you cross hilly terrains or muddy riverbeds, you would be looking for one of these robust vehicles. The prime reason to get a 4WD SUV is the availability of necessary traction that keeps the cars going under all circumstances. Even when the surfaces keep changing, the powerful engines and enhanced grip enables them to negotiate obstacles on gravel paths, dirt, roads covered with rain and snow, sand, and mud.
The drivers can eliminate all sorts of guesswork when it comes to applying the right traction. To ease up your decision-making, we have come up with some of the most elegant and capable SUVs with four-wheel-drive.
Which SUVs are Four Wheel Drive?
Let’s take a closer look to understand these powerful off-road vehicles in detail.
1. Ford Explorer
The Ford Explorer finds its place in this list, thanks to its smooth navigational capabilities through rain, snow, mud, and sand. You would benefit from the Terran Management System, integrated into the models between 2017 and 2019. This feature comes standard on the trims starting from the Sports model. However, you can get the feature as an option in the Limited, XLT, or base model. This significantly optimizes the braking and powertrain systems to ensure adequate traction supply under challenging conditions.
The Ford Explorer models between 2017 and 2019 are capable of towing around 5,000 pounds. They come with the V-6 engines (3.5 liters). The cargo volume in this SUV also looks impressive, as you have around 81.7 cubic feet of space. Simply fold the second and third rows, so that you can carry the luggage and folded equipment.
The interiors have cloth upholstery, painted aluminum wheels (18-inch), lumbar support in the power driver seat (8-way), an advanced infotainment system, and a rearview mirror.
2. Toyota Highlander
The Highlander is capable of accommodating eight passengers. So, if you are looking for a dependable SUV capable of navigating seamlessly through mountainous terrains, this SUV with three rows would be a decent pick.
It would be wise to settle with the trims starting from the LE Plus model, as they come with a 295-hp engine (V-6, 3.5 liters). These models are capable of towing around 5,000 pounds. However, the models between 2017 and 2019 come with a 185-hp engine (4-cylinder, 2.7 liters). While all these models come with standard front-wheel drives, you have the optional Dynamic Torque-Control AWD feature across all the trims. This mechanism is responsible for directing torque in low-traction areas to the rear wheel. No wonder, why the Highlander continues to be one of the most stable SUVs on this list.
Some of the standard features in this car include the LED stop lights and taillights, alloy wheels (18-inch), an integrated backup camera, and customizable folding in the seats, among others.
3. Jeep Cherokee
While purchasing 4WD SUVs, you cannot possibly overlook one of the powerful models from Jeep. The Jeep Cherokee comes loaded with tons of off-road capabilities. The Jeep Active Drive Feature enhances the drive quality significantly in trims like Overland, Limited, Latitude Plus, and Latitude (2018-2019). Regardless of the road conditions, you would benefit from the traction you would get. The automatic mechanism is capable of transitioning in and out of the all-wheel drive at all speeds. Besides, the Cherokee comes with a brake-traction control to ensure a well-balanced distribution of torque.
You might also explore another AWD System, the Jeep Active Drive II which comes optional on the Overland, Limited, and Limited Plus trims. This mechanism ensures stability as it keeps the rear and front driveshafts locked. At lower speeds, this can provide extra power to the car.
The standard features in this car include steel wheels (17-inch), manual-folding mirrors, a rearview monitor, and comfortable seats.
4. Honda CR-V
The Intelligent Control System and Real-Time AWD happen to be two of the most sophisticated integrations in the Honda CR-V. These systems can bail you out of all conditions as you navigate through tough terrains. Moreover, the integration of the Traction Control System and Vehicle Stability Assist ensures the deployment of smart sensors for assessing conditions. Accordingly, it reduces activated braking and throttle in case of a slippage.
However, this SUV from Honda has a few downsides when you compare it to similar models. The cargo space is lower, around 75.8 cubic feet. Moreover, it cannot accommodate more than five passengers. However, it serves as a versatile vehicle, whether you want to go for a road trip or travel in adverse weather conditions.
The standard integrations in the Honda CR-V include the climate control system (automatic), alloy wheels (17-inch), easy-to-fold rear seats, manual adjustments (6-way) in the driver’s seat, and power windows.
5. Toyota RAV4
Well, have you thought of a well-engineered SUV where the traction automatically kicks in as the pavement ends? The Toyota RAV4 comes loaded with some amazing capabilities, and this should be a great pick for car enthusiasts. This is a compact SUV, where you would have the Dynamic Torque-Control AWD as an option. This system seamlessly distributes the engine power to the rear part of the vehicle from the front. It also assures better handling by controlling the braking system of the car from side to side.
Toyota redesigned this impressive SUV in 2019 to integrate Multi-terrain Select on every model with an all-wheel-drive. This system equips the driver with four modes to make automatic adjustments in the drive-force distribution, brakes, and engine throttle. This supplies the SUV with additional traction on challenging terrains.
The base model brings you standard features like steel wheels (17-inch), street assist, adjustable driver seat (6-way), lane departure warning, cloth upholstery, and the projected path display on the rearview monitor.
6. Subaru Forester
Subaru has an established legacy for manufacturing powerful off-terrain vehicles. In case you wish to get a Subaru car with all-wheel-drive, take a look at its Forester. This car has the Subaru Symmetrical AWD to intelligibly distribute power to all the wheels. While navigating through challenging terrains, this assures better handling, grip, and agility.
Besides, the car has a standard Vehicle Dynamics Control, which remains functional along with traction control. This way, the vehicle can deal with slippage issues. Besides, the ground clearance in the Subaru Forester is 8.7 inches. So, you can cruise through rough terrains easily with the SUV.
In the base model, the standard features include steel wheels (17-inches), an adjustable driver seat, a rearview monitor, and cloth upholstery.
7. Jeep Compass
Now, if you prefer to go for a small SUV with AWD capable of navigating city terrains, the Jeep Compass would be a wise choice. The brand has launched this SUV particularly to handle urban environments. It also features a rear axle disconnect, so it eliminates the need to switch between the four and two-wheel drives every time.
Some of the models come with a Traction Management System (Selec-Terrain). This provides drivers with as many as four modes to choose from to navigate through different weather and terrain conditions. These include mud/sand, sport, auto, and snow. Besides, the Compass brings you additional control mechanisms with its Hill Start Assist feature. On inclined terrains, this capability makes it easy for the driver to start the car.
Some of the standard integrations in the Compass include black steel wheels (16-inch), a load floor with height-adjustment feature, a quad halogen headlamp, a sound system with six speakers, and Bluetooth connectivity.
8. Jeep Grand Cherokee
Equipped with rear parking sensors and fog lamps, the Grand Cherokee continues to allure car owners with its powerful performances. These cars with 4×4 systems astound the owners with their robust performance in all weather conditions. Besides, the base trims come with a Quadra-Trac I® System, that assists drivers with automatic traction on challenging terrains. For low range capability in the Limited and higher trims, you have the Quadra-Trac II system.
In the Trailhawk models, you have a Quadra-Drive II 4WD system. To enhance the off-road performance, Jeep has integrated a limited-slip differential feature (electronic). This significantly enhances the grip on the track or the road.
When you go for the base model, the standard features include aluminum wheels (17-inch), rear parking sensors, fog lamps, audio system with six speakers, and an automatic climate control feature (dual-zone).
9. Jeep Wrangler
A standard 4WD system in the Jeep Wrangler empowers it to give you memorable adventure rides at any altitude. You will find the Command-Trac 4×4 system in all the models except the Rubicon trim. With this system, it becomes easy to deal with challenging terrains. Besides, the Rock-Trac system present in the new Wrangler Rubicon models enables drivers to control the torque when they navigate at a lower speed. This enhances the overall performance when you drive off the road. Jeep is loyal enough to provide its customers with enough customization options. So, when you go for its Wrangler, you can choose between the two-door and four-door styles. Besides, one can choose from the soft roof and hard roof variants of this car.
The traction you would enjoy is excellent, and you would appreciate the off-road capabilities of this car. Even the open-air experience that the Wrangler offers looks great. Some of the standard integrations to enhance your experience with this vehicle include tow hooks, skid plates, cloth upholstery, fog lamps, and a rear bench seat (removable). Besides, you have drain plugs and removable carpets, that help in washing the interiors easily.
10. Nissan Rogue
If you try to balance comfort with agility, go for the Nissan Rogue, a capable SUV featuring intelligent AWD (all-wheel-drive). All the trims of the Rogue come with this smart mechanism. Whether you want to go off the road, or continue with regular road trips, commuting would be breezy enough with this car. The powerful AWD system assesses the surface conditions continuously. Accordingly, it distributes the car’s torque between both axles intelligibly. This explains why the Nissan Rogue has such an impressive adaptability in all weather conditions.
The newer models have a standard 170-hp engine (4-cylinders, 2.5 liters) to enhance their performance. The estimated mileage of the Rogue is 27 mpg with its AWD. The cargo space is around 39.3 cubic feet. In case you go for the Rogue S, the standard features would include wheel covers, steel wheels (17-inch), cloth upholstery, power outside mirrors, a rearview monitor, and an adjustable driver’s seat. Therefore, if you need a rugged yet practical SUV with excellent grip over rough terrains, you might settle for the Nissan Rogue.
11. Mitsubishi Outlander
This is a powerful crossover SUV in the compact category, offering three rows of generous space. In case you drive in the city more frequently, the smaller car size would ease up your experience significantly. However, the third row of the Outlander might make you feel cramped for space. Mitsubishi has come up with an affordable option for this car, and the standard safety integrations are quite large in number.
The car also has an appealing infotainment system, to which you can connect using your smartphone. However, the base engine lacks adequate power to navigate excessively rough terrains, which explains why the model finds its place at the bottom of this list. However, drivers enjoy quite a good handling of the vehicle, and you would love the responsiveness of the Outlander once you gather momentum.
The SUV can accommodate 7 people comfortably and comes across as many as 10 trims. The Outlander directly competes with the Nissan Rogue and the Volkswagen Tiguan.
Now you have a comprehensive idea of the most capable SUVs across all segments featuring four-wheel-drive systems. Based on your personal preferences, budget, and off-roading habits, you can make an intelligent purchase. Check out the mileage to ensure economical maintenance before you finalize your pick. With this approach, you can tactically balance cost-effectiveness, car performance, and overall experience as you stray away from your city roads.