Steep slopes, muddy trails, river crossings and scree slopes turn a garden variety trip into a journey. Adrenaline junkies, take note: off-road excursions are just as exciting as transcontinental road trips, if not more so. Set yourselves up with any of these great vintage off-road adventure cars and you’ll see why.
Old School and Off Road
Bring the rugged past to the present
The Land Rover Defender 110 and the Jeep Grand Wagoneer are two of the finest classic SUVs on the market; both are as capable as they are classy. The only question is: how much money are you willing to throw at these bad boys?
Big tires, big ambitions
It used to be a well-known truth: getting an SUV that conquered the rough-and-tumble of off-roading and had good driving dynamics on the road was a holy grail, like marrying a woman with the physique of Lolo Jones and the brains of Marie Curie. Nowadays, that vehicular combination is no longer as elusive as you think. What you get in both the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport and the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk are excellent on-road manners and the kind of off-road chops that will have herds of mountain goats bowing in respect. You just have to decide how much you plan on doling out.
It's the little things that count
A car is certainly more than the sum of its parts, but sometimes it’s the little details that make an otherwise good car iconic. These details can be subtle as the Mona Lisa’s smile or bold as the LED spire on the new Freedom Tower, or, more often, somewhere in between. We’ve assembled a list of some of the best automotive features — both innovative and artistic, groundbreaking and evolutionary — to ever see the light of day.
Beach trips can be as much about getting there as what you do when you arrive. Mom’s minivan might be practical, but it might also eviscerate every ounce of road style you’ve ever had. If you’re at the beach on a regular basis (or you just dream of being there 24/7) it might make sense to upgrade your beach ride to one of these sandy shore, white wave seekers.
A small group of concepts deliver big production dreams
Though the New York International Auto Show isn’t a haven for many concept cars, there are always a handful of them to get your attention and whet your appetite for what might come. This year, there were four that we could count, and they’re all worthy of your dollars should they make it to production in some form.
From Good to Great
Some car models start out great but then topple from grace — the Nissan Maxima comes to mind (as much as we try to push it out). Then there are those automobiles that have only gotten better with time, tweaks, and tender loving care. Some have evolved gracefully, while others desperately needed a hefty dose of attention. Here are five models basking in the glow of recent changes that have brought them into their primes.
Get it dirty, just not inside, please
With a long history of producing rugged SUVs before that term even existed, Land Rover could sell incredibly well based on just their name. Still, they decided the all-new aluminum-bodied flagship Range Rover wasn’t enough. They’ve spiffed up their biggest seller, the Range Rover Sport, and we had the chance to drive it through one of Chicago’s snowiest winters see how it performed off the clean tarmac.
Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Black It’s been 20 years since Land Rover’s offered a long wheelbase Range Rover, and with 6 inches more legroom than standard and a 17° (rather than the regular 8°) rear seat recline angle — they’re available as a bench or buckets — this is a solid comeback. Chauffeur lifestyle…
Fall for all of them
The end of the summer doesn’t mean that the best driving months are behind us. With the arrival of fall comes cooler temperatures, the rainbow of foliage colors and fewer vacationers on the open roads — all reasons to open up the throttle. But all leaf-scatterers are not created equal. Some have drop-tops for feeling the crisp air zip by your ears and others want to blast snaking backroads; still others will get you, your gear and your family to the annual fall camping spot. These ten cars — our favorites for taking fall driving to the next level — can do it all. If you’re lucky enough to drive one, your winter doldrums just got put on hold.
The next generation
You expect sports cars to be fast but lacking in capacity and oftentimes creature comforts. You expect SUVs to be capable on rough terrain but lacking in performance, comfort and style. There are very few vehicles out there that can change your expectations about a specific type of car, and that’s why the all new Land Rover Range Rover is so special ($83,545). Land Rover’s flagship raises the bar on what a luxury SUV can and should possess — eye-catching design, impressive off-road prowess, a luxurious and refined environment, and uncompromised on-road performance — without losing the iconic Range Rover silhouette and brand identity.
Pavement pansies need not apply
The guys at Overland Journal know how to adventure, and adventure well. Their magazines can be found both on coffee tables and in some of the most rugged vehicles around. Case in point, on our shoot last week of Sportsmobile we found a few editions in the back seat — for inspiration no doubt. So it comes as no surprise that they’d be the perfect match to outfit a 2013 Land Rover LR4 ($50,000) for adventure and comfort.
Fujifilm X-A1 Is there a better intersection in camera consumership than light weight, high quality and relative affordability? Fujifilm just plopped their latest machine right down where those three criteria meet. It features a 16.3MP sensor, wi-fi image transfer and the same interchangeable lens mount as their X-Mount series. Face detection, JPEG/RAW modes, up to…
Unclean and loving it
When you’re looking to travel from coast to coast, you’ve got several options; planes are the fastest, trains are probably the cheapest, the interstate is a good DIY choice. But for the adventurer, the Trans-America Trail (TAT) is one of the best. The TAT is a westbound dual-sport motorcycle trail across America on unpaved roads. Sam Corerro, original founder of the TAT, spent years passionately pursuing his goal of charting a coast-to-coast, off-pavement motorcycle adventure. After studying reams of maps and personally surveying thousands of miles of unpaved roadway, Corerro finalized this 5,000-mile route across America in 1999. Over a year ago, Land Rover, too, had the idea to travel across the continental United States completely off road, and we recently joined them for a long leg of the trip.
A performance SUV is something tantamount to a chainsaw with jet propulsion. There’s really no need for it, but to dismiss it is to deny man’s inherent quest for power, in whatever form it may come. Gear Patrol’s wheeled staff had a chance to cruise around in some of the best four-wheeled tarmac eaters that just happen to ride on stilts in celebration of Octane‘s launch. Here’s what they thought.
Time to Drive
Wheels and gears, second hands and tach needles, power trains and power reserves. Men have always been fascinated by time, speed, accuracy and power — and the beautiful combination of high-end timepieces and exotic roadgoing automobiles captures these obsessions appropriately. And whether the watch of choice is used to measure lap splits or to simply echo the same kind of quality and heritage as his car, you can be assured that careful time was taken to select both. We match up some of the best in timekeeping and automobilia in Gear Patrol style.
The Founder's Reserve
The ninth installment of our Staff Favorites series features none other than GP founder, Mr. Eric Yang. Eric is, cliche be damned, the heart and soul of our team, and his vision and aesthetic define everything you love about what we do. Few people know that he can survive for days at without food or water, subsisting on a diet of symmetry alone. His first language was Photoshop. Helvetica was inspired by his childhood doodles. Michael Bay calls him for advice on being epic; errors fix themselves once caught in his knowing gaze. He was “old school before old school became new school”. He is the most fastidious man in the world. As we’ve found to be the case with all our staff, the gear speaks to the man.
The Man Bringing an Icon Back, One Defender at a Time
After being told he needed a license to sell his personal Land Rover Defender 90 to friends, Matthew Perlman decided to go all in for his passion. His company, West Coast Defender, brings 21st century updates — refinished exteriors, heated seats, power locking and other modern amenities — to classic machines. Sourcing Defenders from all over the world and backed by a staff of former Land Rover mechanics, Perlman’s leading the charge toward the rebirth of the iconic British SUV right here in the U.S. We jumped at the chance to fire up the cameras and chat with him about his passion, why these cars are so special, and how one handles being held at the Turkish border for no reason.
We dream up our road trip fantasy rides
When it’s time to make tracks — whether you’re escaping the daily grind or heading to the next adventure — few things will make or break your time on the open road more than the vehicle you’re piloting. Sometimes it’s best to tailor your ride to the destination; sometimes, the car itself should play more of a starring role in your road trip story than your map waypoints do. Why not go all out? From fun-to-fling to made-to-cruise to needs-to-be-seen, we dreamed up our ten fantasy road trip cars, one ideal for every getaway.
So bloody good, it hurts
Sometimes being American causes us great pain, especially when it comes to rides we can (1) never afford (which seems to occur often) and (2) never see in the States. Like a hot poker in the eye, Land Rover has issued a celebratory 65th Anniversary all-terrain yak known simply as the Land Rover Defender LXV (~$44,500).
Time to meet the winners
Imagine spending years designing, redesigning, engineering and finally building a car — only to have public opinion weigh in on your baby. No pressure, right? Well, at this year’s New York International Auto Show, plenty of brands did a damn good job. We were tantalized by some of what’s to come: cars that will certainly hit production in some form or another (and thank goodness for that). From track beasts to practical and attractive sedans, we rounded up the cream of the crop, in our humble opinion. Take a look at the 10 best in show.
King of the hill and vale
The remote West is a far cry from where most modern SUVs claim their stomping grounds, but it’s exactly where we found ourselves recently. Utah’s desert landscape isn’t what you’d call sparse, as far as scenery is concerned. Sedimentary rock formations that range from the utterly massive to the small and bizarre are scattered as far as the eye can see, peppered by small patches of remnant snow and capped by the beautiful winter desert sky. But this is where we tested the 2013 Range Rover — and the car felt right at home.
Hey There, Sport
How do you really define overkill? Is 510 horsepower too much or just being prepared? If your $100K luxury SUV can climb a 45 degree muddy slope in a forest, but only goes on grocery runs, does it really make a sound? The 2013 Range Rover Sport Supercharged answers the question, “what if you wanted…
Every Rover has its day
If you fancy yourself a lover of history, the outdoors, bowler hats and cigars, look no further. The Winston Churchill Series 1 Land Rover goes up for auction in the Cheffins Vintage Sale on October 20th, 2012. The included original logbook shows the vehicle as UKE 80, owned by Rt Hon. Sir Winston Spencer Churchill,…
Top of the Range
We’ve got a huge soft spot for Land Rover, so we were stoked to get wind of details behind the 2013 Range Rover. Though it’s not nearly as radical in design as the Evoque we recently drove, it does borrow some of the athletic design cues from its baby brother. The shape, though essentially unchanged,…
Toughed to bits
If you’re looking for quite possibly the most stylish cute/brute-ute on the planet, you won’t have to look much further than the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. Not so loosely based on 2008′s LRX Concept, the Evoque is meant to turn heads, empty wallets and generally be driven by urban dwellers who have no…
Makes its own shortcuts
Niche British car maker Bowler has been making road rally vehicles that can take serious punishment since 1989. Now they’ve gone all pedestrian on us by making a street-legal passenger vehicle. With the assistance of Land Rover in the creation of its powertrain, the all new Bowler EXR S ($242,000) delivers some serious automotive firepower…
Lone Star Lovin'
Sometimes we wonder, given the job prospects and varying degrees of instability, if writing auto reviews was the right decision for our lives. But then we realize that if Fate had wanted us to be anything else, we wouldn’t look so dang good behind the wheel. And so it goes, saddling up our horses we…
Back, to the Future
We don’t envy Land Rover. Upgrading, modifying, or simply touching their icon, the Defender is about as much of a Pandora’s Box as they come. But such is the way of progress, and in just a month, Land Rover will be unveiling their first concept, the DC100 at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Like any concept,…
The relentless pursuit. A painful obsession.
This story begins more than a decade ago. Two, really. All the way back to 1993. When you say it, 1993 doesn’t really seem like all that long ago. But it was a year full of memorable events. Lennox Lewis beat Tony Tucker for the heavyweight title, Intel announced the groundbreaking Pentium processor and NBC…