Off-road cars take you where other vehicles can’t. While they’re usually workhorses used for work, there’s also a growing number of people taking up off-road driving as a hobby. As a result, you can find off-road vehicles in all sizes, forms, and price ranges. A good all-terrain vehicle not only needs to be able to traverse rough terrain but also be hardy, safe, and equipped with features that make it easy to drive on the road. Whether you’re looking for an off-road truck for work or for a car that can handle some weekend off-road driving, we have some great choices you can look at today.
Most Popular Off-Road Vehicle – Toyota Hilux
The Toyota Hilux is undoubtedly the most popular 4-wheel drive (4WD) pickup truck in Malaysia. Besides being a great off-road car, it’s reliable and easily hauls cargo wherever you need to. Toyota has updated the Hilux with modern, bold styling, as well as a host of new features.
What makes the Hilux one of the best cars for off-road driving is its choice of powerful engines: a 2.4 L turbodiesel engine that produces 150 PS of power and 400 Nm of torque, as well as a 2.8 L turbodiesel engine producing 204 PS of power and 500 Nm of torque. It also has a rear differential lock to maintain traction in challenging terrain, an auto limited-slip differential (LSD), and a heavy-duty suspension setup. You can take the Hilux on the toughest off-road trails and it’ll run just fine even after several years of heavy use, a testament to the Hilux’s durability.
Other features include LED projector headlights, up to seven airbags, Downhill Assist Control (DAC), Active Traction Control (A-TRC), and even a digital video recorder on the higher variants. The Toyota Hilux is available in one single cab variant and four double cab variants. Prices for the Hilux range from RM92,880 up to RM145,880.
The Durable Workhorse – Isuzu D-Max
Isuzu is a major producer of heavy-duty trucks, truck chassis, and diesel engines. With its expertise, it’s able to produce the rugged and capable pickup truck in the Isuzu D-Max. The D-Max is geared more towards users who need a reliable workhorse, and it delivers. It has graphite-coated pistons and a high-performance timing gear and chain design to ensure the engine performs and lasts under stress.
As an off-road vehicle, it boasts an impressive climbing ability with a 23.9-degree departure angle, 30.5-degree approach angle, and a 49-degree side slope angle. A unique feature on the D-Max is Terrain Command which allows you to switch between 2-wheel drive (2WD), 4WD-low which provides you with all the torque you need at slow speeds, and 4WD-high for relatively high speed driving in decent off-road conditions.
The D-Max is available with two engines; a 1.9 L turbodiesel producing 150 PS of power and 350 Nm of torque, as well as a 3.0 L turbodiesel producing 190 PS of power and 450 Nm of torque. The 1.9 L variant is among the most economical in the segment, which allows the D-Max to be the first Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV) certified pick-up truck in Malaysia. The price of an Isuzu D-Max ranges from RM88,599 to RM141,938 making it quite an affordable off-road car.
Luxury in the City and Off-Road – Land Rover Defender
The Land Rover Defender is quite possibly the king of off-road sports utility vehicles (SUVs). It has a long heritage of conquering off-road trails and it comes with numerous sophisticated electronic features to help it. For starters, it has Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system which adjusts the steering, throttle response, stability control, differential, and air suspensions to adapt to the terrain. It also has a permanent 4WD system and auto-lock center and rear differentials making it very capable at maneuvering over precarious terrain. Plus, the Defender has among the highest climbing capabilities in the off-road vehicle segment with a 38-degree approach angle and a 40-degree departure angle. These are thanks to its high ground clearance as well as short front and rear overhangs.
Of course, being a Land Rover, it does come with a hefty price tag starting from RM798,800. That said, you’ll be getting one of the best cars for off-road driving. Inside, it has a plush cabin decked out in premium materials, two or three-zone climate control, heated and cooled seats, as well as the latest safety features. If you’re looking for a luxury off-road car that can truly take you anywhere, the Land Rover Defender is it.
All-Rounder Off-Road SUV – Subaru Forester
If you’re looking for a car that can handle some light to moderate off-road adventures and is comfortable for your family, the Subaru Forester is it. This SUV is equipped with the Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system which is designed to maintain optimal balance and traction in all road conditions and weather. It also has a high ground clearance of 220 mm as well as Subaru’s suite of off-road driving technology. This includes Hill Descent Control (HDC), Auto Vehicle Hold (AVH), Active Torque Vectoring (ATV), Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) System, and X-MODE.
Two stand-out features that make the Forester one of the best cars for off-road driving are X-MODE and VDC. X-MODE further enhances the AWD system to provide even more traction on slippery surfaces, while VDC helps to provide a more stable torque control. VDC does this by monitoring the wheel speed, steering, and braking, and then applying the appropriate brake pressure and controlling the engine torque.
The Forester is powered by a 2.0 L flat-four engine which provides a low center of gravity. It produces 156 PS of power and 196 Nm of torque. Prices range from RM139,788 up to RM163,788. With its high ground clearance, off-road technology suite, and reasonable price tag, the forester is a winner if you’re looking for a family SUV that can perform as an off-road car.
We hope this list can help you decide on the right off-road car for your needs. There are many good options that can take whatever you throw at them, whether it’s off-roading, hauling goods, or just being a reliable family car.
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