The SUV will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most popular forms of transportation ever. The SUV started as a bare-bones version of transportation that you could pretty much take anywhere. As time went on, the SUV evolved into the modern comfortable family car that we see today.
The SUV has become the preferred choice for just about every walk of life, whether you live in an urban environment or you just want to have the ability to go off-road when you need it. The modern SUV has added a lot of new features that make them more fun to drive than ever.
The Jeep Wrangler has long been the staple of what a fun SUV is, and the market has never been hotter for these topless beauties. But other options on the market also offer a serious bang for the buck that you can’t go wrong with. The Wrangler looks cool and drives even better, which makes it the ideal choice for just about anyone who wants to drive a unique off-road vehicle.
We're going to take a look at some of the competing SUV models that have come out over the past few decades that also offer a notable bang for the buck. If you want to enjoy topless or off-road fun, we're going to take a look at some of these other SUV models that will offer everything you could want and more.
20 Plymouth Trailduster
Trailduster needs no introduction. I am sure that you've seen one of these at one point in time. This big burly SUV was Plymouth's answer to the Ford Bronco and it did everything right. From the removable top to the big V8 engine, the Trailduster was about as unique as they come, and it even featured a built-in cooler for your drinks.
19 Suzuki X-90
Suzuki was never a major player in the domestic car market in terms of sales, but the company was well-known for the Samurai compact SUV. Attempting to build off of that success, the company launched the X-90, which was a bite-sized topless two-seater that you could take off-road and drive to the grocery store too.
18 Isuzu Rodeo
Another interesting SUV choice that has been around for a long time is the Rodeo. At one point, the Rodeo accounted for almost all of the SUV sales in the mid-size category.
What made the Rodeo a great choice was the handsome exterior dimensions and the functional interior that offered plenty of room. It also helped that the Rodeo was quite capable off-road.
17 International Harvester Travelall
International hasn’t always been a commercial truck company. There was a time when the brand offered civilian vehicles as well. The Travelall was the original Suburban before it became popular to drive an SUV that seated that many people. It offered a modern design that allowed a whole group to go off-roading or to the snow for the weekend.
16 International Harvester Scout
You’ve probably seen a Scout at one point or another, this is one of the most popular two-door SUV models ever made. The Scout was in direct competition with the Blazer and the Bronco and it offered a similar array of features. Consumers loved how the Scout was so reliable and easy to fix as well, which made ownership cheap.
15 Suzuki Samurai
The Samurai was the original topless import SUV that could go just about anywhere. If you have ever seen one you’ll know why. The vehicle has an immense amount of ground clearance, which allows it to go just about anywhere with ease. Add in the ability to make engine repairs with no technology needed and you have a supreme off-road warrior that you can take just about anywhere.
14 Jeep Cherokee XJ
The XJ needs no introduction as it's one of the most iconic SUV models on the road. You can’t go wrong with the durable styling and the roomy interior, which gives the SUV a modern twist. The straight-six engine is a breeze to work on and you can’t go wrong with the trademark Jeep durability off-road.
13 Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen
There was a time when the G-Wagen was more than just a status symbol. It was a very capable off-road cruiser that could compete with the likes of the Range Rover and more. Over time, the G-Wagen has become a symbol of opulence and wealth but the vehicle is still one of the coolest and most off-road capable vehicles on the road today.
12 Dodge Raider
The Raider is an SUV that was based on the legendary Mitsubishi Montero. The high ground clearance makes for a pleasurable ride that you can take just about anywhere. Reliability was a strong suit for the Raider and the vehicle had an ample amount of interior room, which made it functional enough for everyday drivers.
11 Toyota Land Cruiser J40
There is a special place in the hearts of SUV lovers for the Land Cruiser. No matter what generation of this vehicle you drive, you are sure to enjoy it. The modern incarnations of the Land Cruiser have added multiple luxury touches that make the driving experience even better. There's no doubt that if you want to go off-road, the Land Cruiser is the way to go.
10 GMC Typhoon
When it comes to having fun driving a vehicle that you can take anywhere, the Typhoon is it. The supercharged SUV is among one of the most highly sought after models in the world. Known for its quick off the line time and interesting color combinations, the Typhoon is a vehicle that will look great in your garage for years to come.
9 Land Rover Defender
The Land Rover company hasn’t always been focused on the luxury market. The brand is known throughout the world for being one of the most capable automakers on the road. The Defender is a highly sought after SUV that has pretty much been to every part of the world in some form or another.
8 Land Rover Range Rover
The Range Rover has evolved a lot over the past few decades. The vehicle went from being universally panned for reliability to being one of the most sought after high-end SUVs that you can get. The Range Rover has a plethora of standard features and the same go anywhere, do anything design that has made Land Rover famous.
7 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-80
Another popular incarnation of the Land Cruiser is the FJ-80. What makes the FJ-80 unique is the addition of the modern luxury features that we know today. The FJ-80 was also available in a Lexus variant that made the first foray into the luxury SUV market for the Lexus brand. If you want a Land Cruiser that is more attainable, the FJ-80 is it.
6 Hummer H1
The H1 made its claim to fame during the ‘90s for being one of the most expensive toys that you could get. The H1 offers a powerful diesel engine and a boatload of ground clearance that means that you can take this thing just about anywhere. You can still find the H1 on the used car market for a reasonable price point.
5 Avoid: Isuzu VehiCROSS
There was a point in time when the Isuzu brand was the go-to place for sport utility vehicles. But as time waned on, the competition caught up to the Japanese automaker and you got vehicles such as the VehiCROSS.
From the outward appearance, it was a stylish SUV that you could take anywhere but in reality, it was nothing more than an outdated Isuzu Amigo with some extra bodywork done to it.
4 Avoid: Chevrolet Blazer/Tahoe 2-Door Diesel
The two-door Tahoe is currently one of the most popular used SUVs on the market. But there was another model that's best left avoided, otherwise you’ll find yourself on the side of the road.
The two-door Tahoe diesel version is known as one of the least reliable vehicles that GM has ever made. To make matters worse, parts for this engine are scarce, so good luck fixing it.
3 Avoid: Honda Element SC
The Element in and of itself was a pretty cool and trendy looking little UTE. But in terms of style and substance, the SC was just a failed attempt for the brand to take on Scion. The SC didn’t add anything cool to the mix, and the styling was lackluster at best, which meant that you weren’t getting anything unique for your money.
2 Avoid: Chevrolet Trailblazer SS
The Trailblazer was the long-awaited replacement for the Chevy Blazer. For the early part of the new millennium, the Trailblazer was the bestselling SUV for GM. Yet as time went on, the buying public grew tired of it. The SS was an attempt to revitalize the brand but all you get for the money is a supercharged engine and a special pair of wheels.
1 Avoid: Nissan Xterra
The Xterra was an addition to the already stellar Nissan lineup. It offered a plethora of features that made it a notable upgrade over the Pathfinder in a lot of ways. The Xterra is fun to drive and an easy to work on SUV, but the later model years brought a reduction in quality.
The Xterra is best left avoided and buyers would be wise to opt for the larger Pathfinder if you want exceptional off-road capability.
Sources: Car and Driver