Many of us love to head off the beaten track and a used off-roader is a great way to explore or have a bit of fun off-road. The AA have put together some top tips on what is important to consider when looking for a used off-roader.

Before shopping around, you should consider:

  • Terrain – Will it be used exclusively for off-road driving, or will you be using it as your daily driver?
  • Engine - Power and torque, do you want turbocharged or a non-turbocharged car?
  • Seats – Do you require a third row?
  • Springs – Do you want the comfort of coil springs or the robustness of leaf springs?
  • Fuel – Would you prefer petrol or diesel?    
  • Transmission – Do you require an automatic, or would you prefer a manual?
  • 4WD features – Do you want all the add-on accessories, like lockup diffs, hill descent control and high/low ratios?

Here are three interesting off-road used vehicle choices we recently found on Driven.co.nz that have been built with off-road abilities specifically in mind:

Jeep Gladiator 4x4

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  • Year: 2021
  • Mileage: 500km
  • Price on Driven.co.nz: $83,990 (+ORC)*

Coined as the only convertible lifestyle truck in the world, the Jeep Gladiator was last seen between 1972, until last year where it made a highly-anticipated comeback.

First off, it’s huge – at over five-and-a-half meters long and with a wheel base of just under three-and-a-half metres – it’s carries enviable road presence. Despite its size though, the Gladiator can only accommodate five people.

The Gladiator features class-leading 4x4 systems across the entire range, including the Selec-Trac 4x4 System as standard on the Sport variant.

The model we found featured the 3.6-litre V6 Pentastar petrol engine, which delivers 209kW and 347Nm of torque and has a fuel consumption of 10.8L/100km and a CO2 emissions rating of 260g/km. The conventional eight-speed automatic transmission adds some much-needed comfort.

Every Jeep Gladiator receives a "Trail Rated" badge that proves its legendary 4x4 capabilities. Trail Rated performance is the result of a series of heavy tests performed in the following areas: Traction, Water Fording, Manoeuvrability, Articulation and Ground Clearance.

The Jeep Gladiator is equipped with front passenger and side airbags as well as rollover, trailer and stability, there is also control fount Collison warning and crash avoidance with braking. The model received a three star ANCAP rating when tested in 2020.

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado

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  • Year: 2019
  • Mileage: 35,750km
  • Price on Driven.co.nz: $79,990 (+ORC)*

Despite being a couple of years old, the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (particularly with a diesel engine) tends to maintain its value – the example we found has only depreciated a little over one per cent from new.

Like the Jeep Gladiator, the Land Cruiser Prado is nearly five meters long, but unlike the American, it offers greater functionality in the form of a third row of seats. It’s also safer, and comes with modern safety features like Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, as well as Pedestrian Warning with Braking and Lane Deviation Warning - these features allow the driver to stay well in control. It currently holds a five star UCSR rating.

The Land Cruise Prado is a comfortable ride both on and off road. Under the bonnet it features a 2.8-litre diesel 1GD-FTV engine which develops 130kW and 450Nm of torque with a fairly lean fuel consumption of 8L/100km and 212g/km of CO2 emissions rating. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The Prado runs a full-time 4×4 system with a lockable centre differential, electronic traction control and a lockable rear differential.

It’s a strong off-road performer with reasonable off-road angles, good ground clearance and impressive rear wheel travel to boot.

Suzuki Jimny Sierra 4x4

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  • Year: 2018
  • Mileage: 35,500km
  • Price on Driven.co.nz: $41,450 (+ORC)*

The Jimny nameplate goes back as far as 1970, with the second-gen model boasting an incredible 20-year lifespan thanks to its combination of low price and genuine off-road ability.

We recently found a fourth-generation example on Driven.co.nz, complete with a two-tone paintwork, Mud-Terrain T/A BFGoodrich tyres, light bars, and even a bike rack, this Jimny seems to be the perfect combo for an off-road adventure.

This Jimny uses a K15 Engine, which is boosted by a decent 20 per cent power increase over the old model, equating to 75kW. There’s also an 18 per cent increase in torque, with the new engine now offering 130Nm. It’s a fairly frugal unit too, consuming just 6.4l/100km with a 146g/km CO2 emissions rating.

The Jimny has been refined over the years, and makes for a very competent, modern affordable off-roader. It has 2H for two-wheel-drive high gearing; 4H for four-wheel-drive high gearing and 4L for four-wheel-drive low gearing. On top of this, all-wheel drive can be utilised at speeds of up to 100 km/h.

With an overall stubby length of just 3,645mm and a wheelbase of 2,250mm, it’s a compact little unit on the road. It’s tall though, with a height of 1,720mm. These overall compact dimensions mean a weight of just 1,095 kg in the manual gearbox configuration.

Throw in your collapsible spade and sturdy winch, and the Jimny is ready to hit any trail you throw at it.

This model includes front airbags as well as side airbags it also includes brake assist along with electronic stability control. The 2018 variant is a Japanese Domestic Model only, and is not currently rated by ANCAP.

*Advertised price online at Driven.co.nz at time of writing

Find out more about how the AA can help when buying a used car:

Vehicle experts you can trust

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