6 Luxury Off-Roaders That Can Still Wheel

Dec. 08, 2016 By Tim Healey

Only some of the SUVs that are off-road capable ever see the dirt, and if you move to luxury off-roaders that have off-highway functionality an even smaller percentage will actually see time on the trails. The truth is there are some luxury SUVs on the market that are surprisingly proficient in the rough stuff, and they offer the added bonus of coddling passengers to and from the trail.

Here is a look at six luxury SUVs that can take to the trails and then take the family to dinner in the city Ė after a good bath, of course.

Land Rover Discovery
The new Land Rover Discovery might surprise some with its spec sheet, as it features a maximum ground clearance of 11 inches, a wading depth of 35.4 inches and a breakover angle of 27.5 degrees. It also has full-time four-wheel drive, a two-speed transfer case, and gas or diesel engine choices. Drivers can even set a crawl speed for the Discovery so they can focus on driving during challenging off-road sections while the LR maintains the speed of a low-speed crawl. Luxury features include power-folding seats, power tailgate, navigation, in-car Wi-Fi, infotainment system and more to keep you entertained on the way to the mountains Ė or the grocery store.

Toyota Land Cruiser
The Land Cruiser is entering its 60th model year in the U.S., and while itís thought of mostly as a luxury cruiser, it has legit off-road chops. For starters, it comes with a V-8 engine under the hood that makes 381 horsepower and it offers a towing capacity of 8,100 pounds. Off-road features include a suspension that automatically hydraulically reduces stabilizer-bar resistance to reduce wheel lift, a two-speed transfer case with low range, full-time four-wheel drive, skid plates and a locking limited-slip center differential. Luxury features include an app suite, premium audio and navigation Ė all features that make traffic more tolerable.

Lexus GX 460
Also known as the Toyota Prado in other parts of the world, the GX shares some of its off-road features with the Land Cruiser (body-on-frame construction, full-time four-wheel drive, a two-speed transfer case with low range, and a electronic center differential lock), but itís a bit smaller. Even though it is not quite the size of the Land Cruiser, it can still seat up to seven with the optional third-row seating. The V-8 on the GX 460 pumps out 301 horsepower, and it offers 6,500 pounds of towing capacity; it doesnít have the same horsepower or tow rating as the Land Cruiser, but itís also nearly 700 pounds lighter (curb weight of 5130 lbs. vs. 5815 lbs.). The GX 460 offers hill-start assist and downhill assist, as well as luxury goods like navigation, an app suite and premium audio. Lexus also offers a high-end customer service experience, which comes in handy should something go wrong off-road or when out on the town.

Mercedes-Benz G550 4x4 Squared
It has a silly name and an old-platform, but this version of the celebrity-favorite G-Wagen has a 17-inch ground clearance, portal axles and three locking differentials. It also has a ladder frame and V-8 power. For around-town duty, it offers up navigation and Mercedesí COMAND infotainment system. Like most G-Wagens, it will likely see more duty in high-rent districts than lowlands, but in spite of its high price tag it can get through the rough stuff with the best of them.

GMC Yukon Denali
The Yukon offers a lot of luxury in and of itself, but the Denali adds to that. Available luxury features include heated and cooled front seats, rear-seat entertainment, power liftgate, 22-inch wheels, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. All this on a stout frame thatís well-suited to the available four-wheel-drive layout and the 6.2-liter, 420-horsepower V-8 that resides under hood. Most Yukon Denalis are used to shuttle VIPs across town, but if the road gets rough the body-on-frame SUV actually has the chops to get everyone to the destination safely.

Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeepís five-seat Grand Cherokee is known for its off-road chops, and the new Trailhawk trim adds to that, thanks to additional tow hooks, Kevlar-reinforced Goodyear tires and the Quadra-Lift air suspension that will provide the Grand with up to 10.8 inches of ground clearance. Other off-road features throughout the lineup include skid plates, an electronic limited-slip rear differential, hill-ascent and hill-descent control. Luxury features for the drive to school or the shopping mall include leather trim, Fiat Chryslerís UConnect multimedia system and touchscreen audio.

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