Not all high-end 'utes are cream puffs once the pavement disappears.
Off-roading might not be your number one priority when shopping for a luxury SUV, but that doesn't mean all high-end 'utes are cream puffs once the pavement disappears. In fact, a surprising number of premium people movers have been designed with a substantial amount of off-road prowess baked right in to their spec sheet. Some of these vehicles hail from a long tradition of taking no prisoners far from civilization, but a few of these high end SUVs will likely surprise you with what they are capable of.
Let's take a quick look at five of the best luxury SUVs that are great on an off-road trail.
- 2016 Lexus LX 570
The 2016 Lexus LX 570 shares its platform with the venerable Toyota Land Cruiser, which is itself a plush seven-passenger, three-row sport-utility featuring a high price tag. The LX 570 ups the ante on comfort features while maintaining off-road goodies like a new-for-2016 Drive Mode Select system that can configure throttle, transmission, traction control, and stability control settings to deal with trail conditions, full-time four-wheel drive with low-range gearing, and an air suspension system that can give the Lexus additional ground clearance should it be required. A robust 5.7-liter V8 engine is standard with the LX 570, and it generates 383 horsepower.
- 2016 Land Rover Range Rover
The 2016 Land Rover Range Rover is one of the most exclusive rides in the SUV segment, but it also happens to be nigh-unstoppable even when fording through more than two feet of water. Its full-time four-wheel drive system also offers a low-range setting, its Terrain Response system goes a step past what Lexus offers by providing control over vehicle performance in specific situations (including snow, mud and ruts, and sand), and you can order Terrain Response 2 for even more hardcore off-road adventuring. Adjustable ride height is of course also along for the ride with the Land Rover Range Rover, as is hill descent control and forward crawl control, which can be thought of as a type of low-speed cruise control suitable for creeping from rock to rock. You can order the Range Rover with your choice of supercharged V6, V8, or turbodiesel drivetrains.
- 2016 Mercedes-Benz G-Class
Why is the 2016 Mercedes-Benz G-Class such a formidable off-road performer? Maybe because it's not all that far removed from the military transporter that inspired the civilian version of this rugged SUV. The G-Class offers squared-off proportions and decidedly industrial styling, but inside you're as pampered as you would be when driving other Mercedes-Benz fare. Once the pavement disappears you'll be chuffed to discover that the Mercedes-Benz G-Class comes with three locking differentials that can be used not just to improve traction when enjoying the vehicle's full-time four-wheel drive system, but also to control speed on downhill sections of terrain. Just make sure to bring along an extra fuel can or two if you take the AMG-built G63 edition too far from the closest gas station, as it consumes fuel at a quicker rate than any other vehicle offered in Canada. Turbocharged V8 power is the only option with the G-Class..
- 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland
Shocked to see a Jeep listed amongst the best off-road capable luxury SUVs? You shouldn't be - the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland is stuffed with just as many features and comforts as a modern Mercedes-Benz, Audi, or BMW sport-utility vehicle. What it delivers on top of that is legendary Jeep capability on the trail. You can choose between one of two four-wheel drive systems to go with the Grand Cherokee Overland, with the Quadra-Drive II design offering an electronic limit-slip differential out back alongside low-range gearing, the option of height-adjustable air suspension, and the Selec-Terrain traction management system. Turbodiesel, V6, and V8 engines can be had with the Grand Cherokee Overland.
- 2016 Land Rover LR4
The most traditional Land Rover in the showroom also happens to be amongst the most relentlessly competent of these British luxury rides when dealing with whatever Mother Nature might throw your way. This includes a rugged boxed-frame design, full-time four-wheel drive with the option of a low-range transfer case, an available locking differential, and the same Terrain Response feature offered by the more expensive Range Rover. If you opt for the low-range box, you also get a Rock Crawl setting for the Terrain Response dial, and air suspension is of course standard so as to provide exactly the right amount of ground clearance for dealing with any potential obstacles. All editions of the Land Rover LR4 are motivated by a supercharged V6 engine that's good for 340 horsepower.