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When car aficionados say that not all cars are created equal, believe them. And the very existence of off-road automobiles is a strong testament to such a claim.

Off-road cars are muscly at best, a characteristic that makes commanding attention a menial task. But don’t be fooled by their jacked-up looks, as they also boast agility, performance, and versatility. Technically speaking, owning an off-road car will allow you to dominate any kind of terrain. 

If you’re planning to upgrade to an off-road car, there’s no fitting guide other than this article. Read on to learn more. 

The Basics of an Off-Road Car 

Off-road cars are a different breed of vehicles. Their build and framing are usually much bigger, and they’re often outfitted with tougher housing and larger tires. They’re also designed with a flexible suspension. All these features make an off-road car not only ideal for city driving but also for adventurous rides on rough terrains, such as gravel, sand dunes, grassy lands, muddy surfaces, and unpaved roads. 

Read more: A Guide to Car Classifications

What to Look for in an Off-Road Car? 

Before you buy an off-road car, here are some of the things that you need to look for first: 

The Drivetrain 

A drivetrain connects the engine to the car wheels. When the engine runs, the power is sent to the wheels, which can be either the front, rear, or all of the wheels. If the power is sent to either the front or rear wheels of your vehicle, your car is a two-wheel drive. On the other hand, if the power is sent to all of the wheels of your unit, then your car is a four-wheel or all-wheel drive. 

If you’re planning to buy an off-road car, it must have a four-wheel drivetrain since it provides much better traction. This means that moving on a rough, uneven, and unpaved surface will be much easier. 

The majority of the cars in this list are actually four-wheel drives. Nevertheless, you can still use two-wheel drives on rough terrains, albeit the difficulty of navigating and risk of getting stuck. But to stay on the safe side, it’s much wiser not to put your two-wheel drive in sticky and rocky situations. 

The Torque Output

Much has been said about a car’s horsepower. But when it comes to off-road vehicles, the torque output is king. To give you a refresher, the torque is your car engine’s twisting power. This power is what will get your vehicle out of a muddy surface or help you navigate elevated and rocky hills. 

As such, you should opt for a car that has a high torque. When this high torque is paired with superior tire grips, your car easily makes a formidable off-roader. 

High Ground Clearance 

off-road car - high ground clearance

You don’t want your car’s belly to be constantly scraped by gravel or rock when you navigate uncharted roads. If this keeps on happening, the vehicle’s underside and other important parts may get damaged. To address this dilemma, your off-road car must have a high ground clearance. If you want a visual reference, just look at the ride height of some popular pick-up trucks and SUVs today. 

The Style 

Gone are the days when off-road vehicles were typified by boxy appearances. Today, an off-roader can take on different looks. It can be an SUV, a pick-up truck, or a crossover. What we’re trying to say here is that you should look for an off-road car that easily matches your taste. 

Safety Features 

Off-road vehicles are always game for adventures. However, driving unfamiliar roads sometimes comes with risks. To make your ride much smoother and safer, your off-roader must have comprehensive safety features, such as airbags, stability control, blindspot detection system, hill start assist, and the like.

Best Off-Road Cars in the Philippines

Now that you know what you’re looking for in an off-road car, here are the best options that may match your standards. 

Toyota Hilux 

off-road car - toyota hilux

Price: PHP 843,000 to PHP 2,005,000

Key Specs of Toyota Hilux:

  • Seating capacity: Five
  • Transmission type: Manual or automatic
  • Engine: 4-cylinder, 16-valve, 2,393 cc (2.4L)
  • Performance: 148 horsepower and 343 Nm of torque 
  • Fuel type: Diesel

The Hilux is a quintessential Toyota truck with an enduring history since 1968.[1] Its popularity is attributed to its practicality and adaptability; it can be a workhorse for business people, but it can also be a family car. 

Nevertheless, its precise handling and tight steering can take on some challenging road conditions (though the car must not be pushed to its limit). It also has a decent torque of 343 Nm, which makes it a practical off-roader contender. 

When it comes to safety, the Hilux has driver’s airbag, front passenger’s airbag knee airbag, electronic brake distribution, and anti-lock brake system. 

Suzuki Jimny 

off-road car - suzuki jimny

Price: PHP 1,095,000 to PHP 1,215,000

Key Specs of Suzuki Jimny:

  • Seating capacity: Four 
  • Transmission type: Manual or automatic 
  • Engine: 4-cylinder, 16-valve, 1,462 cc (1.5L)
  • Performance: 101 horsepower and 130 Nm of torque
  • Fuel type: Gasoline

The Jimny has always captured the attention of both devoted car enthusiasts and casual spectators. And it’s easy to see why. It has a toy-like appeal coupled with good features. 

Running on just 101 horsepower with 130 Nm torque, the Jimny isn’t the most powerful car in the list. Nevertheless, it’s worth remembering that the power just matches its size. The features that make the Jimny a truly capable off-road car are its four-wheel drivetrain and high ground clearance. Add to this list its short wheelbase, which makes cornering faster whether in the city or on the dirt road. 

Safety features include airbags for the driver and the front passenger, anti-lock brake system, immobilizer, stability control, electronic door locks, and ISOFIX. 

Chevrolet Colorado 

off-road car - Chevrolet Colorado

Price: PHP 1,199,888 to PHP 1,638,888

Key Specs of Chevrolet Colorado:

  • Seating capacity: Five
  • Transmission type: Manual or automatic
  • Engine: 4-cylinder, 16-valve, 2,499 cc (2.5L)
  • Performance: 163 horsepower and 380 Nm of torque
  • Fuel type: Diesel

You can easily count on the Chevrolet Colorado when it comes to tough road adventures, since it’s designed to produce high torque output. Moreover, the Colorado boasts a four-wheel drivetrain, which makes moving over undesirable surface conditions a breeze. Maneuvering it should also be a simple task since it comes with light steering. 

As far as safety is concerned, the Colorado boasts the following features: driver’s airbag, front passenger’s airbag, immobilizer, security alarm, electronic door locks, speed-sensing door locks, and ISOFIX. 

Suzuki Vitara

off-road car - suzuki vitara

Price: PHP 1,458,000 to PHP 1,468,000

Key Specs of Suzuki Vitara:

  • Seating capacity: Five 
  • Transmission type: Automatic
  • Engine: 4-cylinder, 16-valve, 1,586 cc (1.6L)
  • Performance: 115 horsepower and 156 Nm of torque
  • Fuel type: Gasoline

The Vitara is a subcompact crossover that seems to be designed for city driving. But take its sophistication to the dirt road and it’ll definitely thrive and show its inner grit. 

The all-new Vitara has an all-wheel drivetrain that gets the job done when you’re treading an unfamiliar road. But what makes the Vitara a steal for car lovers is its fuel-efficient performance. So if you’re looking to save a lot on fuel expenses in the long run, consider this car. 

The Suzuki Vitara also makes a good family car since it’s laden with safety features, such as the following: driver’s airbag, front passenger’s airbag, side airbags, curtain airbags, electronic brake distribution, anti-lock brake system, immobilizer, electronic door locks, and ISOFIX. 

Mitsubishi Montero Sport 

off-road car - Mitsubishi Montero Sport

Price: PHP 1,568,000 to PHP 2,298,000

Key Specs of Mitsubishi Montero Sport:

  • Seating capacity: Seven 
  • Transmission type: Manual or automatic 
  • Engine:4 cylinder, 16-valve, 2,442 cc (2.4L)
  • Performance: 179 horsepower and 430 Nm of torque 
  • Fuel type: Diesel

Easily a status symbol in the Philippines, the Mitsubishi Montero Sport boasts an imposing and sleek body that makes pedestrians and drivers do a double take. With its roomy interiors and archetypal SUV look, the Montero Sport has become a popular family car. But you can also take it to long-distance and off-road sojourns. 

The Montero Sport boasts a full-time four-wheel drive system called Super Select 4WD-II.[2] With this in place, you can switch between two-wheel drive setting and four-wheel drive mode while the car’s on the move. This particular feature makes the Montero Sport a flexible drive in the city or down the country. Moreover, this car has off-road features that aid it in taking on challenging driving assignments, such as high ground clearance and a powerful torque. 

When it comes to safety, the Montero Sport has the following: driver’s airbag, front passenger’s airbag, electronic brake distribution, anti-lock brake system, electronic door locks, speed-sensing door locks, ISOFIX, and cruise control.

Read more: 12 Best Sedans in the Philippines 

Ford Ranger Raptor 

off-road car - ford ranger raptor

Price: PHP 1,998,000 to PHP 2,038,000

Key Specs of Ford Ranger Raptor:

  • Seating capacity: Five 
  • Transmission type: Automatic
  • Engine: 4-cylinder, 16-valve, 1,996 cc (2.0L)
  • Performance: 210 horsepower and 500 Nm of torque 
  • Fuel type: Diesel 

If you’re a Ford fan who’s head over heels for the Ranger, you’ll definitely love the Ranger Raptor. It’s bigger, bolder, and tougher. The large front emblem overlaying the grille simply screams muscle, and its humongous build easily suggests that it’s destined for adventures. Nevertheless, you can effortlessly take it for a spin in the city, provided that the roads are wide. 

No terrain is too tough for the Ranger Raptor since it’s equipped with a four-wheel drivetrain and a T6 platform, which is shared with the Ford Everest. Add to these incredible features the specs that are truly designed for off-roading, such as the long-travel shock absorbers and an engine that can churn out 210 horsepower and 500 Nm of torque. 

For safety, the Ford Ranger Raptor is outfitted with the following: driver’s airbag, front passenger’s airbag, side airbags, curtain airbags, auto brake system, electronic brake distribution, immobilizer, security alarm, stability control, electronic door locks, speed-sensing door locks, ISOFIX, lane departure warning system, and blindspot detection system. That’s loaded!

Toyota FJ Cruiser 

off-road car - toyota fj cruiser

Price: PHP 2,098,000

Key Specs of Toyota FJ Cruiser:

  • Seating capacity: Five 
  • Transmission type: Automatic 
  • Engine: 6-cylinder, 24-valve, 3,956 (4.0L)
  • Performance: 268 horsepower and 380 Nm of torque
  • Fuel type: Gasoline

The Toyota FJ Cruiser is a no-frills off-road car that’s ready for anything, whether it’s the smooth roads of the city or the gritty paths of the rural domains. And sure, it can take on varying road assignments since it’s built with an all-wheel drivetrain, a pretty athletic output of 268 horsepower, a steady torque of 380 Nm, and high ground clearance. Its beauty is understated but luxurious nonetheless, thanks to its modern features, from wireless door lock to multi-info display. The FJ Cruiser is high-end at best, but you’ll definitely get what you pay for. 

Safety-wise, the FJ Cruiser has the following features: driver’s airbag, front passenger’s airbag, anti-lock brake system, immobilizer, stability control, electronic door locks, and ISOFIX. 

Toyota Land Cruiser

off-road car - toyota land cruiser

Price: PHP 5,188,000 to PHP 5,657,000

Key Specs of Toyota Land Cruiser:

  • Seating capacity: Eight 
  • Transmission type: Automatic 
  • Engine: V6 Direct Injection, 24-valve, Twin Turbo Engine, 3,346 cc (3.3L)
  • Performance: 306 horsepower and 700 Nm of torque 
  • Fuel type: Diesel 

Off-roading can also be sophisticated and luxurious, especially if you’re driving a Toyota Land Cruiser. If you have a sizable budget to spare, you can’t go wrong with this elegant mean machine.

One of Toyota’s heritage lines, the Land Cruiser boasts an ultra-powerful torque of 700 Nm, making it a force to reckon with on gravel, sand, and other unfamiliar roads. It can also weather long-distance drives since it has an output of 306 horsepower.[3] These features will make you realize that strength can be really beautiful. 

The interior space of the Land Cruiser is the epitome of grandiosity, as it’s roomy and outfitted with premium materials. Furthermore, it’s built with smart and intuitive technology, making every drive or ride a remarkable experience. 

When it comes to safety, the Land Cruiser has the essentials. But a standout feature is the Toyota Safety Sense, which is made up of a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, among others. 

Read more: Brand New or Second Hand Car: Which is the Right Vehicle for You?

Final Thoughts

Adaptability, beauty, security―you can find these and more in an off-road car. It can be quite pricey, but you can easily justify that if you’re the type of driver who loves adventures, whether on the familiar terrain of the urban jungle or on the unpaved surfaces of the uncharted roads.  

And since you’re going on adventures with your new, trusty off-roader, it’s wise that you give your car another layer of protection. You know that strange, new roads can be risky, so we strongly recommend getting a car insurance policy. 

Compare different car insurance quotations in the Philippines through Moneymax. Use our comparison tool to find the cheapest rates in the market today. And if you spot the best deal, you can apply for it right away!

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