It doesn't take six-figures to buy a luxurious off-roader.
Mercedes just pulled the wraps off of its new G-Class, the first time it's been completely overhauled since its introduction back in 1979. Even though this G-Wagon hasn't received a price tag in the US, a German dealer is already trying to sell one at a markup. In Germany, Mercedes will sell the base G500 for 107,040.50 Euros ($130,977). We know US pricing will be different, but we still think that there are some much cheaper alternatives on the market. Our five options blend luxury with tough off-roading prowess.
The Range Rover Sport may not have three locking differentials like the G-Class, but it can certainly hold its own off-road. We chose the Sport over the larger Range Rover because we love the rarefied SVR model. A new SVR starts at around $113,000, but we found several used models with low mileage for less than $90,000. Most people never end up taking their G-Class off-road, so we would rather have an SUV that handles well on the street. The 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR is powered by a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 with 550 hp. This SUV can still handle itself when the road gets muddy, and the exhaust sounds almost identical to a V8 Jaguar F-Type.
It may not be as luxurious or as prestigious as the G-Class, but the Ford F-150 Raptor is still an iconic off-road vehicle. The Raptor starts at around $50,000, which means that it's possible to go out and buy a brand-new one for less than half the price of a new G-Class. Unlike the G-Class, the Raptor has been holding its value incredibly well. In terms off off-roadability, the Raptor is the best match for the G-Class on this list. If we were in the market for a cool off-road car, we'd take the money saved over a G-Class and buy a Raptor and a Shelby GT350 to drive on the weekend.
We mentioned that the G-Class tends to suffer from some pretty steep depreciation. This isn't necessarily a bad thing if you're willing to buy a used one. Since the G-Class has barely changed since 1979, it is easy to buy an old one and fit newer headlights and taillights to make it look brand-new. For less than $60,000, we found several used G-Wagons in the more powerful G55 AMG trim. Mercedes made several updates to the 5.4-liter supercharged V8 over the years so that it eventually produced 500 hp. It may not be as modern as a new G-Class on the interior, but at least it looks almost identical on the exterior.
Mercedes G-Class buyers are clearly comfortable driving around in a big box, so perhaps they would also be comfortable driving around in a wagon. That is why we have recommended the Volvo V90 Cross Country. This luxurious wagon starts at around $52,000 and can be optioned to well over $70,000. The Cross Country is packed with amazing semi-autonomous driving features and luxurious options like massaging seats. The V90 is the most luxurious option on our list and it's still more than $30,000 cheaper than a new G-Class.
The final car on our list is the Hummer H2. Like the G-Class, the H2 is boxy, luxurious, and imposing on the road. Amazingly, used H2 values have been holding incredibly well. We have seen low mileage SUT pickup models for as much as $75,000. The 2008 and newer models command a bit of a premium thanks to a more powerful 6.2-liter V8 with 393 hp. We think that the H2 may be the only other car on the road that can be as imposing as a G-Class, and at a fraction of the cost. These cars have held their value well, but an '08 or newer model can still be found for less than $40,000.