Feature article

Best Off Road Vehicles Available in NZ

These are some of the best off road vehicles available in NZ.

27 February 2024

When it comes to the best off road vehicles, the ideal mount is something you don’t care too much about. It’s an old bush pig that you don’t worry about putting a few more dents along the sides. It won’t be fancy, something that you can use a hose to clean the interior with after venturing too deeply into the mud holes.

But all these old 4x4 hacks started off as shiny new showroom stars well before their eventual fourth owner jacked it up, added some mud pluggers and ripped the bumpers off.

The following are some of the best off road vehicles available in NZ which are already extremely capable, fresh from the showroom floor.

Ford Ranger Raptor

Ford’s desert racer is born for ventures off road. It has unique suspension including a coil sprung rear end and the chassis is reinforced to withstand off-road abuse. It has big capacity Fox shockers with three selectable modes (Normal, Sport and Off-Road). And there are various off-road driving modes, including a ‘Baja setting’. It rolls on 17-inch wheels and big BF Goodrich rubber.

With a 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V6, it’s not lacking grunt, with 292kW and 583Nm on tap. There’s a ten-speed auto while the 4×4 system has 2H, 4H and an on-demand type AWD setting. There’s 4L too and front and rear diff lockers.

When out in the wilds, the Raptor is controlled over the bumps, there’s very little pitching and diving. Those Fox shocks really shine when landing a jump. They are tuned to provide maximum damping force during the last 25 per cent of their travel and so they diffuse the impact of the real testing hits, while the control via the rebound is equally deft, recovering its composure immediately and ready for the next test.

This is simply a beast off road.

Read the full Ford Ranger Raptor review on Autocar: 2022 For Ranger Raptor

View listings on Trade Me Motors: Ford Ranger Raptor

Suzuki Jimny

The wee Jimny remains an SUV in the traditional sense. It rides on a full chassis with solid axles, coils and control arms at both ends. It has superb off road credentials with approach and departure angles of 37 and 49 degrees, respectively, the ramp over angle is listed at 28 degrees, and there’s ground clearance of 210mm.

It’s not a powerhouse, the 1.5-litre unit delivering 75kW and 130Nm of torque at 4000rpm, but it’s only a little chap. It sends drive rearwards via a five-speed manual, or a four-speed auto. Switchable 4×4 is still on the menu, slipping into 4H on the go up to 100km/h and there’s a low-range. There are no diff locks but rather brake-activated traction control which nips away at spinning wheels.

The Jimny’s petite dimensions and accompanying lightness (just under 1100kg) are a boon off-road. With minimal overhangs, it can bump up and over decent obstacles and apart from the deep ruts, it has plenty of clearance too. There’s grand articulation considering its short wheelbase and it takes bumpy paths in its capable stride. Its ability to turn around in tight spaces is handy, and the driveline doesn’t bind up nastily on full lock when in 4H mode.

It’s still super affordable too, starting at just $32,500.

Read the full review on Autocar: Suzuki Jimny 5-door

View listings on Trade Me Motors: Suzuki Jimny

Ineos Grenadier

Ineos has effectively remade the old Defender 110, reimagining the off road icon as the new Grenadier. And it’s designed to be as simple as possible to get the job done effectively and reliably. For instance, engineers opted for recirculating ball steering because it works better in off-road conditions, the seats inside are fully manual so you can wash out the interior safely.

It uses modern BMW engines with either a 3.0 IL6 turbodiesel or turbopetrol, the diesel making 183kW and 550Nm, the petrol 210kW and 440Nm. Each is attached to an eight-speed auto. There’s also permanent AWD with a lockable centre diff and 264mm of ground clearance. There are no air springs underneath, rather solid axles and conventional dampers.

The Grenadier despatches the rough well, the long travel suspension sorts out the worst of the gnarly stuff. Traction is even more composed and secure once the diff lock is activated. The articulation is supreme too. Curtailed front and rear overhangs mean generous approach and departure angles of 36 degrees. With decent ground clearance, it’s rare that you’ll touch down anywhere. It will wade through 800mm of water too.

Read the full review on Autocar: Ineos Grenadier

Jeep Wrangler

Wrangler is built for the off-road life, especially the Rubicon model. Like all proper 4x4s, it has solid axle front and rear while the Rubicon rolls on 32-inch BF Goodrich pluggers, gains heavy duty axles and the Rock-Trac 4×4 system with a 4:1 low ratio. There’s a front sway bar disconnect and locking diffs front and rear, all activated at the flick of a button. Off road numbers for the four-door Rubicon include approach, breakover and departure angles of 34.8, 20.8 and 29.2 degrees, respectively, ground clearance they quote at 252mm, it can ford 760mm of water, and it can haul up to 2495kg.

The low range is super low in the Rubicon, so you can crawl over obstacles with more control. However, with an eight-speed auto and a wider spread of ratios, you can go plenty of places in 4 Hi too. You can look out your side window and see exactly where the front and rear tyres are tracking to help avoid those nasty rocks and roots that conspire to puncture your sidewalls. With plenty of ground clearance, the diffs hardly ever touch down in the ruts. The wheel articulation is something, and when you do run out of travel, any hung wheels are quickly braked by the TC system, the torque sent to the wheels with best purchase so there’s always plenty of traction. The steering is easy to turn when you’re high up on a siding or buried in a rut so you’re not wrestling with it in the rough bits. So basically you point it where you want to go, and the Wrangler will get you there.

View listings on Trade Me Motors: Jeep Wrangler