These Cheap 4x4s Are Unstoppable in Any Weather

4x4s were first heard of in the public when nations across the world decided to go against each other. These machines were quickly engineered to allow soldiers and resources to access any location within the war zones. At the time, big manufacturers such as Jeep found their footing and started a new industry that is thriving to date.
When 4x4s went public, much of their military design was maintained. No one cared about comfort. It was either it could survive Armageddon or not worthy to be called a 4×4. But as urbanization kicked in, this category of vehicles evolution. Today, they’re price machines that carry the Queen or are a symbol of status. Gone are the days when 4x4s were considered cheap.
But that is only if you haven’t dug deep enough. Cheap 4x4s today are regarded as wannabes that can’t even climb over a pebble. However, these 10 are affordable yet proper machines that can tear up any terrain.

10 Isuzu Trooper – $5,000

Today, Isuzu is known in North America as the go-to company if you’re looking for an industrial truck. However, back in the day, this company was famed for producing some serious road cars and 4x4s. The Isuzu Trooper is one of their best creations.
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This boxy-looking SUV was incredibly rugged. It represented the best of what classic SUVs stand for. When it went on sale in 1981, it had a rather unrefined interior. But it made up for this incivility by packing massive amounts of practicality and unmatched off-road performance. It was later sold under several rebadges by Honda, Subaru, and Holden.

9 Geo Tracker – $1,000

When Chevy created the Geo sub-brand, “cheap” was their main keyword. That’s why petite economy cars like the Geo Metro highlighted the company’s portfolio. The Geo Tracker was their miniaturized rendition of a 4×4. At first sight, enthusiasts were not confident with the small stature and a rather cheap price tag. However, behind the wheel, the Geo Tracker is a different kind of animal.

This little 4×4 is very capable off-road. It was based on the Suzuki Sidekick, much like most other Geo cars which were rebadged imports. You can get one in good condition today for about $1,300 per Edmunds listings.

8 Subaru Forester – $15,000

The Subaru Forester is regarded as the bread and butter wagon for a Subaru. This marque transformed from a wagon into a crossover and finally into one of the company’s most successful vehicles.

The Subaru Forester was based on the remarkable Subaru Impreza. It was packed with great practicality and unstoppable off-road performance. Its mightiness on the dirt was thanks to Subaru’s revolutionary Symmetrical AWD system. The Forester has been on sale since 1997. It has thus gone through several generations. As far as costs go, the 1st and 2nd generations are the cheapest. You can get one in decent shape for under $15,000 per Cargurus listings.

7 Nissan Xterra – $13,000

The Nissan Xterra was a robust and rugged SUV with body-on-frame construction. Nissan made sure not to compromise with this marque to deliver a machine that was off-road ready.

The Xterra ended up being a huge success. Nissan sold the marque over two generations, the 1st one launching in 2000 and the second one in 2005. The marque’s production continued until 2015 when it was discontinued. The Xterra was based on the platform of the Nissan Frontier with a rear locking diff. You can get yourself a used Xterra in terrific condition for less than $13,000.

6 Lada Niva

This Soviet-made car earned its right to be mentioned among some of the greatest 4x4s ever made. That is despite most USSR vehicles not receiving the best reputation. The Lada Niva was remarkable with unstoppable off-roading capabilities that made it the king of the jungle.
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The Lada Niva was introduced in 1977 with a specific purpose. Since there were countless villages in Motherland Russia surrounded by harsh terrain that included snow in winter and mud the rest of the seasons, the Niva was supposed to be the “people’s car” that make these areas easily accessible. Its most iconic feature was the four-wheel independent suspension that was unheard of even in Western machinery of the ’70s.

5 Suzuki Samurai – $10,000

The Suzuki Samurai had a rollercoaster of success in North America. This extremely capable 4×4 was a serious off-roader which saw it become wildly successful when it was launched. However, sales suddenly plummeted making the car unwanted among enthusiasts.

The Samurai’s origins were from the ’60s Kei car. Thus, the Suzuki Samurai was designed to offer off-roading fun in a small package that fit Japanese cities. After it was a hit in Japan, the Samurai was introduced in North America as the Jimny. The Jimny debuted in 1986. Today, a good example will set you back $10,000 according to Autotrader listings.

4 Jeep Cherokee (XJ) – $11,000

This is one of the most underrated 4x4s when it comes to influence. The Jeep Cherokee (XJ) is the car that defined the mold for modern SUVs. It was the first 4×4 in the world to offer unmatched off-roading capabilities with a practical and comfortable interior that easily made it a daily driver.

Hardcore enthusiasts despisised the Jeep Cherokee (XJ) because it didn’t have a body-on-frame platform like the famous Wrangler. Despite using the more refined unibody construction, the Cherokee was still a serious off-roader that put it at par with most great 4x4s at the time. That’s why nearly 3 million were sold over the XJ generation. Today, about $11,000 can get you one in good condition.

3 Subaru Outback – $21,000

The Subaru Outback was created to be the outdoor-loving sibling of the famous Subaru Legacy. Since it was a capable off-roader, this machine quickly became a smashing hit for the brand.

The Subaru Outback was first introduced as a trim package in 1995. It transformed the Legacy giving it a durable interior and tough body cladding. In 1996, the Outback got a lifted suspension added to its features which further cemented its position as a very civilized yet highly capable off-roader. The second-generation Outback was renowned for offering the best value. You can get yourself one for less than $21,000.

2 Toyota 4Runner (Early Generation) – $10,000

The Toyota 4Runner is still on sale today. As far as its early generations are concerned, many petrolheads considered them the purest form of SUVs. The original 4Runner was nothing more than a pickup truck with an enclosed bed. That made it a very rugged 4×4.
RELATED: Here’s What Makes The Toyota 4Runner The Best Off-Road SUV From The ’90s

Underneath the original 4Runner was the Toyota Hilux pickup truck which was known as the Toyota Pickup in North America. The 4Runner quickly became the adventure rig for most enthusiasts with a mechanical build that was almost indestructible. Today, the 1st generation Toyota 4Runner will take you back around $10,000.

1 Mitsubishi Pajero – $12,000

Mitsubishi’s SUVs have recently been tainted by their use of the Eclipse nameplate. But that doesn’t mean that all their SUVs have been disappointing. In the older times, they had a lineup of serious, indestructible SUVs.

The Mitsubishi Pajero is still on sale today. The classic, 2nd generation Pajero in particular stands out as an awesome, rally-winning 4×4. That was the case since the marque was launched in 1982 at the Paris Dakar Rally. The Pajero went ahead to take first place 12 times in the rally. Its dominance proved just how good of a 4×4 it is. The second generation, launched in 1991, can be bought today for about $12,000 per CarGurus listings.


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