Off-roading can be just as challenging, scary and life-changing as a high-speed track session with a supercar .
With supercars, the chances of a costly mistake are present but manageable. The tracks are typically perfect, the guard rails are there to keep you out of the trees in the case of a spin out, and generally, backing off the throttle is enough to recover control before anything goes *crunch*.
Off-roading, however, brings a real chance that poor driving or the wrong car will result in serious damage to both that driver’s confidence and the car’s rolling ability.
While most racetracks are filled with other cars to help you get home after putting yours into a wall, the situation out on desolate off-road trails is much more grim is something really breaks. Being stranded becomes a real possibility, with bad results almost a sure thing.
After popping three tires and cracking an alloy rim of the 18-inch wheels and 35-section tires of my (poor, abused) Subaru Legacy GT wagon in Oak Ridge, Tennessee a few years ago, I had to limp down the mountain on two hideously-bent donut spare steel wheels. Tires sheared off long before, so it was a clunky and scary ride to a place that a tow truck could find me.
It was this moment I finally realized something: as with everything challenging, to go off-roading the right way, you need the right tools.
Those tools have adjustable suspensions, huge wheel travel, and tires so knobby that a 65 mph cruise on the highway sounds like a Monster Truck.
Great A/C, comfy seats and mechanical reliability are also key parameters for this list.
Click past the jump for the full Top-Ten Best Off-Road SUVs, featuring everything from Bowler Land Rovers to the Nissan Xterra .