When you need something more from your SUV– driving through rough roads, rocky terrains, and snow-clad lands, you inevitably need a 4×4. Four-wheel-drive is a type of drivetrain that provides torque to all of the wheels, but simultaneously.
We’re pretty sure the image of heavy-duty trucks comes to your mind the very moment you think of a 4×4. But thanks to the advent of the modern, powerful lineup of SUVs, you don’t have to drive a truck to ride through adventurous trails.
There are a plethora of SUVs out there with four-wheel-drive (FWD) available as standard or optional. Midsize to full-size, generalist to luxury, the options are many. And the biggest boon is, there are plenty of affordable four-wheel drive SUVs as well– ones that do not compromise on quality, yet do not drain out your bank balance.
In this article, we are going to discuss the best 4×4 SUVs you can purchase. Here we have included our top 10 picks, each of which has its own reason for being a notable contender.
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Best 4×4 SUV Comparison Table: How we ranked the cars in the table
Here are the best 4×4 SUVs of 2021 and 2022, ranked according to their off-roading ability and overall performance.
1. 2022 Ford Bronco
Class: Midsize, Type: 2-row, Price: $32,295
It’s no news that massive SUVs like these don’t offer fuel efficiency, so you should be willing to overlook this flaw. The 2-door variant offers seating capacity for 4 people, whereas the 4-door variant seats 5– enough to satisfy the off-roading needs of a small family.
- Engine-The new Bronco is powered by a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, which generates 300 hp. There’s also an optional 2.7-liter twin-turbo engine that generates 330 hp. Both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive options are available.
- Fuel economy-With the base engine, the estimated fuel economy is 19 MPG and 20 MPG for city and highway, respectively.
- Towing capacity-The maximum towing capacity is 3500 pounds.
- Cargo-The base cargo area is 22.4 cubic feet.
2. 2022 Toyota Sequoia
Class: Full-size, Type: 3-row, Price: $51,995
If you’re seeking electrification, this one offers a hybrid powertrain variant as well. If you opt for the TRD Pro, you’ll get a host of features including shock absorbers, lifted suspension, and special wheels meant for the roads less taken.
- Engine-The new Sequoia is powered by a 5.7-liter V8 engine, which generates 381 hp. You can choose between rear-wheel and four-wheel drive.
- Fuel economy- It offers 13 MPG and 17 MPG, on city and highway, respectively.
- Towing capacity- It has a maximum towing capacity of 7400 pounds.
- Cargo-The base cargo space is 18.9 cubic feet, located behind the third row.
3. 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Class: Midsize, Type: 2-row, Price: $40,120
Its stylish, robust, and outdoor-focused image is further propagated by its exterior design. If you’re looking for additional fuel efficiency, you’ll have the 4xe hybrid trim to meet your requirements. From city cruising to driving through snow, this vehicle will stay by your side on all roads and all weather conditions.
- Engine-The newest iteration of Grand Cherokee is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine, or a 5.7-liter HEMI® V8 one, or PHEV 4xe variant.
- Fuel economy-The 3.6-liter 4WD variant makes 18 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on highways.
- Towing capacity- It can tow up to 7200 pounds.
- Cargo-The base cargo space located at the back of the rear seats is 37.7 cubic feet.
4. 2022 Lexus LX
Class: Full-size Luxury, Type: 2-row/3-row, Price: $88,245
Its standard package is lucrative enough, despite the high entry-level price. It has a number of driver-assist and safety tech included as standard, so every trim level is equally value-packed, even the base one.
- Engine- It’s powered by a twin-turbo 3.4-liter V6 engine with an output of 409 hp. Four-wheel drive is standard.
- Fuel economy- It offers 17 MPG for the city and 22 MPG on highways.
- Towing capacity-The LX can tow up to 3630 pounds.
- Cargo-The base cargo area is 16.3 cubic feet.
5. 2022 Porsche Cayenne e-Hybrid
Class: Midsize Luxury, Type: 2-row, Price: $84,650
The biggest issue with this lineup is its exorbitant price, something that makes it out of reach for most buyers. But if you have the budget, and you’re looking for an electrified four-wheel-drive, then this is definitely a great vehicle.
- Engine-The 3-liter turbocharged V6 engine paired with an electric motor generates 455 hp.
- Fuel economy-The combined fuel economy is estimated to be 21 MPG, with PHEV equivalency rated at 46 MPGe. Four-wheel drive is available as standard.
- Towing capacity- It has a towing capacity of up to 7700 pounds.
- Cargo-The base cargo area is 56.8 cubic feet.
6. 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser
Class: Full-size, Type: 3-row, Price: $87,030
Anyway, the 4×4 is reliable enough, and so is the V8 engine. We hope Toyota soon comes up with a design revamp to make this beast of a car all the more popular among off-road enthusiasts.
- Engine-Under the hood of the Land Cruiser is a 5.7-liter V8 engine producing 381 hp. It’s available with standard four-wheel drive.
- Fuel economy- As per EPA, the fuel economy is 13/17 MPG, for city/highway.
- Towing capacity- It has a towing capacity of 8100 pounds.
- Cargo-The base cargo area is 41 cubic feet, located at the back of the third row.
7. 2021 Lexus GX
Class: Midsize Luxury, Type: 3-row, Price: $54,525
Finding a truly capable 4X4 midsize SUV is not an easy find, and the 2021 Lexus GX falls into that category. Premium seats and upholstery, loads of driver-assist tech, and an easy-to-use infotainment system are what you get with this vehicle. While the fuel economy isn’t nearly impressive, its performance on adventurous roads makes up for this shortcoming.
- Engine-The sole engine is a 4.6-liter V8, which generates 301 hp, and can be equipped with four-wheel drive.
- Fuel economy- As per EPA estimates, it offers 15 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on highways.
- Towing capacity-The maximum towing capacity is 6500 pounds.
- Cargo-At the back of the third row, the available cargo space is 11.6 cubic feet.
8. 2022 Land Rover Defender
Class: Full-size Luxury, Type: 2-row, Price: $50,050
Four-wheel drive is standard across all trims, so whichever model you choose, you’ll be greeted with a remarkable off-road experience. There are ample luxury additions here and there to keep the premium feel intact. Even though there are cheaper options available in the market, the advanced off-road equipment list offered by Land Rover is unmatchable.
- Engine-Standard offering is a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with FWD available for all trims. You’ll have the option to opt for the 3-liter inline-six engine paired with a hybrid system, or the more powerful supercharged V8 engine with an output of 518 hp.
- Fuel economy-For the four-cylinder variant, the estimated fuel economy is 18 and 25 MPG city/highway.
- Towing capacity- Its maximum towing capacity can be as much as 8201 pounds.
- Cargo-The base cargo volume is 15.6 cubic feet.
9. 2021 Toyota 4Runner
Class: Midsize, Type: 3-row, Price: $37,480
In the 2021 variant, there are dedicated trim levels to satisfy off-roaders, with generous features in every model. The top-tier model TRD Pro can be equipped with something called a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension to offer enhanced wheel movement and greater flexibility to the driver off-road.
- Engine-The base offering is a 4-liter V6 engine, which generates 270 hp. If you’re looking for standard 4WD, go for the TRD Off-Road or the more expensive TRD-Pro.
- Fuel economy-The fuel economy stands at 16 MPG and 19 MPG, on city and highway respectively.
- Towing capacity-Depending on trim level, it can maximum tow up to 5000 pounds.
- Cargo-The base cargo volume is 9 cubic feet, located behind the third-row seat.
10. 2022 Jeep Wrangler
Class: Midsize Luxury, Type: 2-row, Price: $31,590
Meant for heavy off-roading, this one is a promising contender in the best luxury 4×4 SUV segment. However, it would be too much to expect refined on-road performance from this midsize SUV– it struggles even when it has to pass through uneven roads. Ride quality remains somewhat firm.
- Engine-The base engine is a 3.6-liter V6 with an output of 285 hp, along with multiple options such as a 3.6-liter V6 hybrid assist, a diesel V6 engine, a 4xe plug-in hybrid with an output of 375 hp, and to top it all, a 6.4-liter V8 engine.
- Fuel economy-The diesel engine makes 22 and 29 mpg on city and highway respectively. The 4xe powertrain has an electric-only range of 25 miles.
- Towing capacity-The Jeep Wrangler can maximum tow up to 3500 pounds, depending on trim levels.
- Cargo-The base cargo volume is 31.7 cubic feet.
What 4×4 SUV is most mechanically friendly?
Dedicated to serious off-roaders, Ford Bronco is the most mechanically friendly 4×4 SUV.
Which 4×4 is most reliable?
With a JD Power rating of 83/100, Ford Bronco is the most reliable 4×4 you can buy in the current market.
Where can you drive a 4×4 SUV?
A 4×4 SUV is suitable for any hardcore off-roading job. Be it riding on rocky terrains, snowy roads, or something else, you can take your four-wheel drive SUV for a seamless experience.
What is the quietest and smoothest riding SUV?
Lexus GX is the quietest riding SUV. Be it on bumpy terrains or the highway, its excellent suspension system absorbs all road shocks and noise. Also, there is a 19-inch large wheelbase available with this vehicle to ensure a comfortable ride.
Each of the 10 4×4 SUVs mentioned above is great in its own way. We hope you’ll be able to find a vehicle from this list that ticks all your requirements, as well as your budget.
Among all, we have kept Ford Bronco at the top, and for all good reasons. Its outdoorsy image does justice for off-roaders, and quite surprisingly, it’s a treat to ride on regular roads too. You can easily get this under a budget of $40k, which is a great bonus.