1. Car Buying Advice
  2. /
  3. Performance Research
  4. /
  5. Editor's Picks: Our Favorite Off-Road SUVs for Summer Road Trips

Exterior view of the Jeep Grand Cherokee L

In case you couldn't tell by the outside temperature, it's summer. That means it's time for shorts, ice cream, and road trips. Want to make your journey even more memorable? Upgrade from your well-traveled family hauler to a new SUV built for on- and off-road adventures. We've come up with a list of rugged SUVs from a broad spectrum of brands. You can find them all at your local AutoNation dealership.


2021 Bentley Bentayga

Exterior view of the Bentley Bentayga

Yes, you read that right. There's a Bentley on this list. Not only can it get the prime spot in the valet lot, it can also get you and up to six of your favorite people to a remote getaway in style. The Bentayga V8 routes its 542 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque through all four wheels already, but if you want to take its performance in the rough stuff to the next level, configure it with the All Terrain Specification. That adds four off-road drive modes that enable the Bentayga to take on mud and trails, sand, dirt and gravel, and snow, ice, and wet grass.

Shop Bentley Bentayaga Inventory


2021 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71

Exterior view of the Chevrolet Tahoe Z71

The Tahoe Z71 definitely looks the part of an off-roader. Its unique lower front fascia improves its approach angle to keep it from scraping its chin on challenging trails. Black tubular side steps make it easier to climb into the cabin after a long day in the wilderness. Luckily, the Tahoe Z71 can back up that image. Its standard 5.3-liter V8 is connected to a 10-speed automatic transmission and two-speed transfer case with a set-it-and-forget-it Auto mode. The limited-slip rear differential watches out for wheel spin and forces both rear wheels to turn at the same speed if it detects a loss of traction. Red front recovery hooks are there to help you and your family get out of the stickiest of situations and back on the road.

Shop Chevrolet Tahoe Inventory


2021 Ford Bronco

Exterior view of the Ford Bronco

At this point, it's an unwritten law that we had to put the Bronco on a list of off-road SUVs. With its available Sasquatch Package, which features 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels, 35-inch tires, locking front and rear differentials, and more, you and your crew can get deeper into the great outdoors. Thanks to the Bronco's removable roof and doors, you can get closer to the sounds and scents of nature around you, too.

Shop Ford Bronco Inventory


2021 GMC Yukon XL AT4

Exterior view of the 2021 GMC Yukon XL AT4

Denali isn't the only popular line of GMC vehicles. Over the years, its rugged AT4 selection of trucks and SUVs has been growing. One of the newest additions to it is the full-size Yukon and the extended-length Yukon XL. The larger model offers room for up to eight and an available air suspension to get everyone to their vacation destination in total comfort. Thanks to the Yukon XL AT4's 355-horsepower V8, all-terrain tires, and the air suspension's ability to raise the vehicle up two inches to help it clear obstacles, you can start an impromptu side adventure almost anywhere.

Shop GMC Yukon Inventory


2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L

Exterior view of the Jeep Grand Cherokee L

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has been taking families on their annual pilgrimages to Disneyland and Six Flags for decades. But this is the first time it's ever been available with a third row. Jeep picked the right time to add the often-requested feature: the beginning of the fifth-generation Grand Cherokee. Its handsome, upright styling is wrapped around a cabin that can be decked out with four-zone climate control; quilted leather seats with heating, ventilation, and massage in the front row; and a 950-watt McIntosh sound system with 19 speakers. You can listen to the sounds of nature by using the Grand Cherokee L's available five-mode Selec-Terrain Traction Management System and your choice of four-wheel drive system to get away from it all. The most aggressive of the three setups, Quadra-Drive II, uses a two-speed transfer case and electronic limited-slip rear differential to pre-emptively limit wheel slip and route power to the wheel with the most traction. If you happen to get stuck in some mud, just engage 4LO to stop the chorus of "Are we there yet?" from the back seats.

Shop Jeep Grand Cherokee Inventory


2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

Exterior view of the Subaru Outback

Technically, this is not an SUV, but it's the most SUV-like wagon Subaru makes. That's close enough for us. Subaru beefed up the already outdoorsy regular model to prepare it for even more challenging adventures. The all-wheel-drive Outback Wilderness has a substantial 9.5 inches of ground clearance that help keep its vital components away from jagged rocks and unforgiving tree branches. Redesigned front and rear bumpers increase the Outback Wilderness's approach and departure angles, respectively. Revisions to the dual-function X-Mode allow its 17-inch wheels and all-terrain tires to slip strategically so that the Outback Wilderness can get through deep snow, sand, and mud.

Shop Subaru Outback Inventory


2021 Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road

Exterior view of the Toyota RAV4 Off-Road

The RAV4 TRD Off-Road is what happens when Toyota lets the performance wizards at its Toyota Racing Development division work their magic on one of its most popular vehicles. The little brute of a ute is equipped with 8.6 inches of ground clearance, new springs, modified shocks, and a set of special 18-inch wheels wrapped in all-terrain rubber that has a TRD-specified tread pattern. Those parts combine to give the little two-row SUV substantial and accessible off-road abilities. We experienced them over the course of a week with a 2020 RAV4 TRD Off-Road and at the Texas Auto Writers Association's Texas Truck Rodeo, where the 2021 model was named the Compact SUV of Texas for the second year in a row.

Shop Toyota RAV4 Inventory


More Research

Browse more automotive research than you can shake a stick shift at.


Find great SUVs with AutoNation Drive research

Test Drive Reviews

Our automotive experts at AutoNation Drive weigh in on price, safety, and performance of popular cars, trucks, and SUVs.


Find great cars, trucks, and SUVs with AutoNation Drive research

Car Buying Advice

If you're buying a car, truck, or SUV, the chances are - you need help. Don't worry. Our automotive experts are here to help.



*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.