Best Four-Wheel-Drive SUVs of 2020

If you need your mode of transportation to provide more than just a spacious interior, there are a host of brilliant 4x4 SUVs on sale. Some are equipped for only lighter off-road ventures, while others have tech like low-range gearing and locking differentials that allow them to be suitable for some really rough terrain. With so many drivetrains on offer, it can be difficult to figure out which should be at the summit of your list.

It’s not only about the mechanicals, though, as the best 4WD SUVs also have superior ground clearance and approach/departure angles that make them well-suited for the rough stuff. Our detailed reviews also take into account on-road comfort, performance, features, and optional packages that increase your chosen 4x4’s capability. We’ll also look at warranty coverage, reliability ratings, and compare each model with its closest competitors. It’s everything you need to find the 4WD SUV of your dreams in 2020.

What Should the Best 4-Wheel-Drive SUVs Be Like?

If you are shopping for a capable sports ute, here are some things to look out for when choosing:

  • Highly proficient off-road: The highest scoring offerings in our reviews are exceptional at plowing through muddy waters and over rocky ground, with their systems finding grip in even the most treacherous environments. Not all of those we score highly cost a lot to buy, but sometimes a low price means less capability.
  • A wealth of ground clearance: In order to be able to safely navigate boulders and other obstacles without damaging the vehicle, you’ll find a raised ride height on all the entrants to our catalog. This also helps with visibility on the road and makes it easier to spot problems up ahead.
  • Powerful engines: In contrast to regular vehicles, most of the best 4x4 SUVs that we have rated highly are fitted with motors that have plenty of power and torque to help overcome the weight of the various components that improve versatility off-road. However, some smaller alternatives like crossovers generally have lower outputs, but this contributes to making them cheap.

Pros

  • Versatile capability
  • Plenty of space
  • More practical than regular cars
  • Good safety ratings
  • Numerous optional extras

Cons

  • Typically poor mpg ratings
  • More expensive than regular automobiles
  • Numb handling

Top-Rated 4x4 SUVs

There is an extensive range of variants to choose from in the US, with numerous automakers each providing their own idea of the ideal SUV. 4WD systems vary depending on the manufacturer, but with such a large number of different approaches, it can be difficult to tell which suits you best. If you’re in the market for one of the best 4x4s, our comparisons section at the end of each review will make the choice easier. We’ll discuss the highs and lows of each, but all of our favorites have excellent off-road chops, good towing capacity, comfortable suspension, and a pleasant cabin. The reliability to return years of carefree mileage is also important.

Specifications

Many different types of SUVs with 4-wheel-drive are marketed to satisfy your adventurous tastes. Some use a simple but effective permanent four-wheel-drive system, while others have technology that lets you switch between 4x2 and 4x4 configuration, which aids with maneuverability on the road, fuel economy, and tire wear. Most seat five with ease, sometimes more, but some are meant for fewer passengers, and the Jeep Wrangler stands out as one of the best off-roaders of all time, although it doesn’t have a lot of interior space. Most are gas-powered, but some turbodiesel power plants exist too. V8s are popular, as are V6s and sometimes turbocharged four-cylinders as well.

What to Buy?

Numerous distinct models are available, and if the option you want doesn’t have all the features you’re after as standard, our overviews cover the optional extras and increased abilities of higher trims too. This allows you to get an idea of if the specific trim you’re after can be tailored to your tastes. Various engines, seat upholstery choices, styling additions, safety features, and creature comforts are available on a wide range of trim levels. We also discuss everything from 2019 to upcoming models for 2021, so even used cars are catered for comprehensively.

FAQs

What’s the fastest SUV with 4-wheel-drive?

Many hot variants are made, with the likes of the Range Rover SVR providing incredible performance on the track and the trail in a single package, but for ultimate bragging rights, you’ll want the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.

Which three four-wheel-drive autos top our rankings?

The Cadillac Escalade takes the loftiest position on our podium for all-round brilliance and comfort, followed closely by the Lincoln Navigator and its long-wheelbase sibling. However, the Jeep Trackhawk is not far behind.

What’s the best SUV not built in the USA?

Land Rover’s Range Rover is the ultimate all-rounder and is among our favorite picks, with the Velar and Defender proving similarly capable and comfy.
BuzzScore
Design
Performance
MPG
Interior
Infotainment
Reliability
Safety
Value
#1
2021 Cadillac Escalade
9.1
BuzzScore
9
Design
8
Performance
7
MPG
10
Interior
10
Infotainment
10
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#2
2020 Lincoln Navigator
9
BuzzScore
9
Design
9
Performance
8
MPG
10
Interior
8
Infotainment
9
Reliability
9
Safety
10
Value
#3
2020 Lincoln Navigator L
9
BuzzScore
9
Design
9
Performance
8
MPG
10
Interior
8
Infotainment
9
Reliability
9
Safety
10
Value
#4
2021 Ford Bronco Sport
8.8
BuzzScore
10
Design
7
Performance
8
MPG
9
Interior
9
Infotainment
9
Reliability
9
Safety
9
Value
#5
2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
8.8
BuzzScore
10
Design
10
Performance
6
MPG
9
Interior
10
Infotainment
9
Reliability
8
Safety
8
Value
#6
2020 Ford Expedition
8.5
BuzzScore
8
Design
7
Performance
8
MPG
9
Interior
10
Infotainment
9
Reliability
10
Safety
7
Value
#7
2020 Ford Expedition Max
8.5
BuzzScore
8
Design
7
Performance
8
MPG
9
Interior
10
Infotainment
9
Reliability
10
Safety
7
Value
#8
2021 GMC Yukon XL
8.5
BuzzScore
8
Design
8
Performance
7
MPG
9
Interior
10
Infotainment
9
Reliability
9
Safety
8
Value
#9
2020 Land Rover Range Rover
8.5
BuzzScore
10
Design
10
Performance
8
MPG
10
Interior
9
Infotainment
6
Reliability
8
Safety
7
Value
#10
2020 Land Rover Range Rover Hybrid
8.5
BuzzScore
10
Design
9
Performance
9
MPG
10
Interior
9
Infotainment
6
Reliability
8
Safety
7
Value
#11
2021 Chevrolet Tahoe
8.4
BuzzScore
7
Design
8
Performance
7
MPG
9
Interior
9
Infotainment
10
Reliability
9
Safety
8
Value
#12
2021 GMC Yukon
#12
GMC Yukon
8.4
BuzzScore
8
Design
8
Performance
7
MPG
9
Interior
10
Infotainment
9
Reliability
9
Safety
7
Value
#13
2020 Ford Explorer
8.3
BuzzScore
7
Design
9
Performance
7
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
8
Reliability
10
Safety
8
Value
#14
2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid
8.3
BuzzScore
7
Design
8
Performance
8
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
8
Reliability
10
Safety
8
Value
#15
2020 Land Rover Range Rover Velar
8.3
BuzzScore
10
Design
8
Performance
7
MPG
10
Interior
9
Infotainment
6
Reliability
9
Safety
7
Value
#16
2020 Land Rover Defender
8.1
BuzzScore
10
Design
8
Performance
6
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
8
Reliability
8
Safety
8
Value
#17
2020 Cadillac Escalade ESV
8.1
BuzzScore
7
Design
8
Performance
7
MPG
9
Interior
8
Infotainment
10
Reliability
8
Safety
8
Value
#18
2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Hybrid
8
BuzzScore
9
Design
8
Performance
8
MPG
8
Interior
8
Infotainment
7
Reliability
8
Safety
8
Value
#19
2020 Toyota Land Cruiser
7.9
BuzzScore
8
Design
7
Performance
6
MPG
8
Interior
7
Infotainment
10
Reliability
9
Safety
8
Value
#20
2021 Aston Martin DBX
7.9
BuzzScore
8
Design
9
Performance
7
MPG
9
Interior
7
Infotainment
7
Reliability
8
Safety
8
Value