The Bentley Bentayga probably isn’t the first choice for off-road enthusiasts based on price alone; the Lux-UV costs a hearty $229,000 to start. But it’s uncharacteristically capable on dirt. The full-time all-wheel-drive system and optional All-Terrain package – which includes a few different off-road settings, a brush guard, and 360-degree camera – gives the Bentayga a more rugged spirit.
But even out of the box, the Bentayga has a Torsen center differential, an open rear diff, hill descent control, hill hold, and an adjustable air suspension that improves wading depth up to 19.7 inches.
2019 BMW X5
The BMW X5 has a bigger, bolder look for 2019. And with it comes a host of new suspension upgrades that make it more capable than ever. With the available xDrive all-wheel drive, a new "Rock" driving mode, and optional Off-Road package, the X5 gets upgrades like an automatic locking rear differential, an adjustable two-axle air suspension, and underbody protection.
It’s more capable than ever, and in our first drive, we noted: "For such a road-focused car, the X5 has legitimate off-road chops."
2019 GMC Acadia
The GMC Acadia is the Chevrolet Traverse’s oft-forgotten luxury sibling. But it’s a capable crossover in its own right and has a handful of features for off-roading. With an optional All-Terrain package that tacks on a dual-clutch all-wheel-drive system, a terrain select option for either sandy or muddy surfaces, and hill-descent control. It’s completely competent on tougher terrains.
2019 Dodge Durango
Though Jeep soaks up most of the limelight in FCA’s off-road artillery, the Dodge Durango can hold its own. It doesn’t have a dedicated off-road trim, and all-wheel drive doesn’t come standard, but with an available low-range gearbox and riding on an enlarged Grand Cherokee platform, it’s good enough on the dirt.
2019 Honda Passport
The Pilot-based Honda Passport probably isn't the best choice for crawling up rocks or dealing with deep mud puddles. But it's tough enough, proving its off-road abilities with a 1.1-inch lift over the larger Passport, a new front grille with extra cladding, and thanks to its reduced length (6.2 inches shorter than Pilot), better approach and departure angles.
2019 Infiniti QX80
Like the Lexus LX, the Infiniti QX80 isn't so much a crossover as it is an overly cushy SUV. But even though it doesn't have nearly the same brand power as companies like Jeep or Land Rover, it's still a very capable machine off-road. The QX80 dons a four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel air suspension, and 18-inch wheels in its entry-level trim.
2019 Jaguar I-Pace
The electric Jaguar I-Pace gets high marks for its abilities on the road. But it's still a Jaguar-Land Rover product, which means it should be just as capable off the road, too. The I-Pace can wade nearly 20 inches of water, besting the Subaru Outback by about an inch.
Its approach angle of 16 degrees isn't hugely impressive, but with full-time all-wheel drive (and decent tires), it can tackle the relatively rough stuff when need be. The same can't be said for other EVs.
2019 Jeep Renegade
We know Jeep vehicles have a reputation for off-roading, but many consumers don't think of the lowly Renegade – which shares its platform with the European Fiat Panda – as capable. In the Trailhawk trim, the Renegade is blessed with Trail-Rated badging, which means it passes Jeep's rigorous rock-crawling, hill-climbing, and river-fording tests. The Renegade Trailhawk has all-wheel drive, can wade up to 19 inches of water, and has an approach angle of 30.5 degrees.
2019 Kia Sorento
Kia made it a point to tout the updated Sorento's off-road chops at launch. So much so, in fact, that it released a video of the crossover conquering Hell's Gate, one of the toughest stretches of Moab, with only a few slight modifications. The Sorento has, "a capability that's unexpected with a crossover utility vehicle,” says Saad Chehab, VP of Marketing Communications for Kia. And it has video evidence to back it up.
2020 Kia Telluride
Kia has two crossovers on this list: the Sorento and the Telluride. While the Sorento stretches its abilities, able to transform into an off-road vehicle with modifications, the Telluride has toughness out of the box. Optional all-wheel drive (a $2,000 extra) gives it tons of grip, and as Kia proved, it's customizable with a number of off-road options: bigger wheels, off-road tires, a snorkel – the whole kit. Rumor has it a full-blown off-road trim is even under consideration.
2019 Lamborghini Urus
Another entrant in the high-end, six-figure crossover class, the Lamborghini Urus, surprisingly, does actually have some off-road chops. The twin-turbocharged, 641-horsepower monster of a crossover has an all-wheel-drive system and three distinct off-road driving modes: Terra, Sabbia, and Neve (or gravel, sand, and snow), that change the settings dependant on the terrain. It’s more road-focused, but it can get the job done on the dirt when need be.
2019 Lexus LX
Okay, the Lexus LX isn’t really a crossover – with a body-on-frame layout it's very much an SUV. Still, it probably isn't the first choice most consumers turn to when looking for an off-roader. For that, there’s the more utilitarian Land Cruiser. Don’t let its luxurious styling fool you, though, because the LX is an incredibly capable machine. It has full-time all-wheel drive, an independent, double-wishbone suspension with coil springs, and a ride height that’s adjustable by up to three inches.
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE
Off-roading a luxury SUV that costs nearly $60,000 sounds like a silly exercise in most cases (unless it's a Range Rover, of course). But the GLE, surprisingly, has the chops to compete with the established crop on the trail. Its new E-Active suspension with “Curve” and “Rocking Mode” features can get the big crossover out of trouble. And with independently variable wheel control, it can crawl over even larger rocks and boulders, too.
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS
You might not peg a three-row posh crossover like the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS as off-road capable. But never judge a book by its cover. The new GLS offers E-Active Body Control as an option – the same suspension technology borrowed from the GLE which pairs electronically adjustable dampers with air springs and a 48-volt electrical system. With it, the GLS can rise up and crawl over rocks, or free itself from sand traps. In action, that technology looks something like this.
2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport may be the elder statesman of the group, but it can still hang on the trail. With 8.5 inches of ground clearance, the Outlander Sport sits higher than most of the vehicles in its class. It’s also longer (171.5 inches), and wider (71.3 inches) than most, and offers an optional all-wheel-drive system.
2019 Nissan Pathfinder
The Nissan Pathfinder is an old dog that hasn't learned a lot of new tricks. But for 2019, at least, it gets a quasi-rugged Rock Creek edition, which tacks on extra body cladding and new 18-inch wheels wrapped in all-season tires. The Pathfinder probably isn't the toughest crossover on this list, but with the ability to tow up to 6,000 pounds and a 3.5-liter V6 producing 284 horsepower, it has enough rugged cues to get by.
2019 Range Rover Evoque
Unlike its larger, more capable siblings, the Range Rover Evoque probably isn’t the first option in your search for a rugged, luxury crossover. With full-time all-wheel drive, an approach angle of 25 degrees, and a wading depth of 19.7 inches, it rivals many of the other crossovers on the list. And the most important fact: It’s still a Range Rover.
2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan
With a price tag of $325,000, you wouldn't think the Rolls-Royce Cullinan would be capable of taking on rocks and dirt. But that's where you'd be wrong. The high-riding Rolls is as at home on the trail as it is on the road. With a designated "Off Road" mode designed for dirt, rock, and light hill climbing, and a variable ride height that raises up to 1.5 inches for tougher terrain, it's the unsuspecting, six-figure off-roader of your dreams.
2020 Subaru Outback
Not only does the 2020 Subaru Outback look tougher, but it's one of the most capable crossovers on this list. With a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine producing 260 horsepower, the new Outback is powerful, and with a 70-percent boost in torsional rigidity, 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and a dedicated off-road mode (dubbed X-Mode) will hill descent control, this crossover can conquer almost anything.
2019 Toyota RAV4
The Toyota RAV4 has always had a reputation as being one of the more rugged options in its class. But the new-for-2019 model – in the Limited or Adventure trims option with all-wheel drive – is even more capable. Features like hill-descent control assure confidence while out on the trail, and a gratuitous 8.6 inches of ground clearance means it can hop over larger obstacles. The chunky 19-inch wheels and tires also give it some extra toughness to go along with the sharp new look.
Jeep, Land Rover, and even Ford and Chevy, to some extent, are brands all known for their off-road prowess. Buyers flock to these highly capable trucks and rugged SUVs like bees to a hive. But do a bit of digging and you’ll find that not all high-riding vehicles are created equal. Some crossovers from Kia, Toyota, and even Rolls-Royce, though they may see more inept for family duty, can actually keep up with the established crop of rugged SUVs. We’ve picked 20 of what we believe to be the toughest crossovers you probably never considered in your quest for off-road ecstasy.