The Best 8 Cars for Mountain Driving

Introduction

If you are planning to travel on demanding roads such as mountainous areas, you need to have the right vehicle that you need for the awkward road.
This article will help to lead you to choose which vehicle will be the best that you can purchase for mountain driving.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

The 2023 Grand Cherokee has six trims: Laredo, Altitude, Limited, Overland, Summit, and Summit Reserve. 

4WD / AWD

4WD is standard across the Grand Cherokee lineup coming in the form of four capable 4×4 systems: Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, Quadra-Drive II, and Quadra-Trac SRT that offer simple, low-range, tremendous off-roading, and ultimate in street and track capabilities respectively. Technologies such as climbing and descending hill control, an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential, an active transfer case, and a sway bar disconnect system are also included.

Ground Clearance

The Grand Cherokee comes with an 8.4-inch ground clearance as standard, while for models with air suspension, it’s 11.3 inches. 

Engine Power and Torque

A 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 petrol engine paired with an eTorque Mild Hybrid system with a combined output of 290 hp and 257 lb-ft is standard. A 5.7-liter Hemi V8 petrol engine with 357 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque is available.
A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol engine paired with electric motors (4xe plug-in hybrid) system with 380 hp and 470 lb-ft. The 17-kWh battery has an estimated range of 40 km running on power only with the capability of towing 2.7 tonnes.
These engines are attached to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

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Equipment and Safety Features

Equipment

Equipment comes in the form of a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment, navigation, wireless charging, USB ports, UConnect Guardian, and Apple CarPlay.

Safety Features

Standard features include collision detection with active braking and pedestrian detection, advanced brake assist, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, rear cross-path detection, parking sensors, and blind-spot monitoring.

Price

From US$ 2200 to US$ 86,700 (these are BE FORWARD prices as of July 2023).

Writer’s Perspective

Pros
True 4×4 luxury

Cons
Expensive to buy and own


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Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback The Subaru Outback is a 5-door crossover SUV that was introduced in 2009.

4WD / AWD

Asymmetrical AWD is standard on the Outback. This plus good ground clearance, tough suspensions, and skid plates, enables it to go places no matter the weather or road conditions.

Ground Clearance

The Outback has a standard ground clearance of 8.7 inches, while the Wilderness model has 9.5 inches.

Engine Power and Torque

The Outback comes fitted with a 2.5-liter (FB25) H4 petrol engine with 182 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. A turbocharged 2.4-liter (FA2AF) H4 petrol engine with 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque is available. These engines are paired with a CVT transmission that mimics an 8-speed (sequential-shift) Lineartronic transmission.

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Equipment and Safety Features

Equipment

The Outback comes with dual 7-inch screens as standard, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

Safety Features

The Outback comes with Subaru’s EyeSight safety package with active safety features that include a pre-collision braking system, adaptive cruise control, traction control, lane departure warning, a sway warning system, electronic stability control, anti-lock braking system, airbags, and hill descent control.

Price

From US$ 1960 to US$ 36,800 (these are BE FORWARD prices as of July 2023)

Writer’s Perspective

Pros
Spacious, smooth, and comfortable

Cons
The standard naturally aspirated 2.5-liter (FB25) engine delivers lethargic performance and the CVT transmission is sluggish

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Land Rover Range Rover

The Range Rover Sport is a performance-focused version of the Range Rover. It’s smaller and nimbler with great emphasis invested on handling and performance without compromising its offroad and on-road capabilities.

4WD / AWD

The Range Rover Sport comes with an advanced AWD system capable of decoupling the front axle in certain situations.

Ground Clearance

With an adjustable air suspension as standard, this SUV can be raised to a maximum of 11.1 inches of ground clearance.

Engine Power and Torque

The 2023 Range Rover Sport comes fitted with a turbocharged 3.0-liter I6 with a 48-volt hybrid system with a combined output of 355 hp or 395 hp as standard. Also available is a plug-in hybrid system that pairs the inline-six with an electric motor for a combined output of 434 hp or a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 powerplant with 523 hp. These engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The average fuel consumption of these engines is between 7.6 km/L and 9.4 km/L with the hybrid model having a 77 km electric-only range.

Equipment and Safety Features

Equipment

Standard tech features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, USB-C and USB-A ports, and a wireless charging pad. Storage options include front and rear cup holders, a center box, a glovebox, front and rear door pockets, and front-seat jacket pockets.

Safety Features

Safety features and driver aids include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, emergency braking systems, and surround-view cameras.

Price

From US$ 6410 to US$ 219,900 (these are BE FORWARD prices as of July 2023)

Writer’s Perspective

Pros
A good combination of state-of-the-art features with off-roading capabilities

Cons
High base price

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Toyota 4Runner

The Toyota 4Runner is a 4-door luxury SUV with 5 seats.

4WD / AWD

RWD is standard with a multimode 4WD available.

Ground Clearance

9.0 inches for 2WD and 9.6 inches for 4WD models.

Engine Power and Torque

The Toyota 4Runner is fitted with a 4.0-liter (1GR-FE) V6 petrol with 270 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. A 2.7-liter (2TR-FE) I4 petrol engine with 164 hp and 178 lb-ft is available. The engines are paired with either four- or five-speed automatic transmission.

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Equipment and Safety Features

Equipment

The 4Runner is not short of storage options which include a center bin, cup holders, a glove box, and door pockets, plus an enormous cargo area of 1311 liters with all seats in place and 2514 liters with the rear seats folded. Toyota’s Entune infotainment system with an 8.0-inch touchscreen and physical controls is standard. It also includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, voice commands, Amazon Alexa, satellite radio, multiple USB ports, and a Wi-Fi hotspot (subscription-based). A 15-speaker JBL audio system and a built-in navigation system are available as upgrades.

Safety Features

The 2023 4Runner comes with Toyota Safety Sense-P (TSS-P) as standard. Safety features included are blind-spot monitoring, a rear cross-traffic warning system, forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.

Price

From US$ 6800 to US$ 34,200 (these are BE FORWARD prices as of July 2023)

Writer’s Perspective

Pros
A versatile and true off-roader

Cons
A fuel-thirsty V6 and a high egress and egress height


Toyota Land Cruiser

The Land Cruiser J300 is a full-size SUV.

4WD / AWD

4WD is standard

Ground Clearance

The J300 has an adaptive variable suspension (AVS) with a maximum ground clearance of 9.3 inches.

Engine Power and Torque

The J300 comes fitted with either a twin-turbo 3.4-liter (V35A-FTS) V6 petrol engine with 410 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque or a twin-turbo 3.3-liter (F33A-FTV) V6 diesel engine 304 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. These engines are paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission.

Equipment and Safety Features

Equipment

Standard features include cloth upholstery, rubber mats, steel rims, and a snorkel. Available features include a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, 10-speaker stereo, 260-degree cameras, heated and ventilated front seats, four-zone climate control, synthetic leather trim, a sunroof, DRLs, alloy wheels, automatic wipers, and reverse autonomous braking. It’s also equipped with Toyota’s ‘Multi-Terrain Monitor’ and ‘Multi-Terrain Select’ systems.

Safety Features

The J300 comes with the Toyota Safety Sense package as standard, it includes automatic high-beam, 10 airbags, a reversing camera, autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian recognition, pre-collision warning, daytime cyclist recognition, lane-keeping assistance with steering-wheel vibration, steering assist, intersection-turn assist, and car a tracking device.

Price

From US$ 7400 to US$ 155,100 (these are BE FORWARD prices as of July 2023)

Writer’s Perspective

Pros
Rugged, powerful, and comfortable.

Cons
Not affordable


Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is a five-door crossover SUV.

4WD / AWD

Front-Wheel drive (FWD) is standard with All-Wheel drive (AWD) available.

Ground Clearance

9.0 inches for 2WD and 9.6 inches for 4WD models.

Engine Power and Torque

A turbocharged 1.5-liter (L15BL) four-cylinder petrol with 190 hp and 179 lb-ft of torque is standard. A hybrid system that pairs a 2.0-liter (LFA1) petrol engine with a motor has a combined output of 212 hp and 232 lb-ft. These engines have an average fuel consumption of 13 and 16 km/L respectively. These engines are paired with either a nine-speed automatic, CVT, or e-CVT (Hybrid) transmission.

Equipment and Safety Features

Equipment

Standard features include cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and physical climate control buttons. Available features include chromed plastics and faux wood accents. Cubby storage includes a glove box, door pockets, jacket pockets, a center bin, and cup holders. Standard tech features include a 5.0-inch infotainment display, Bluetooth, a four-speaker stereo, a USB port, a rearview camera, automatic climate control, and alloy wheels.

Safety Features

The 2020 CR-V comes with the Honda Sensing suite, which includes a forward collision warning, a collision mitigation braking system, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and road departure mitigation as standard.

Price

From US$ 1540 to US$ 8000 (these are BE FORWARD prices as of July 2023)

Writer’s Perspective

Pros
Spacious interior and cargo area

Cons
Inferior towing capacity


Dodge Ram

The Dodge Ram is a full-size pickup truck.

4WD / AWD

Available in Rear-Wheel Drive and Four-Wheel Drive.

Ground Clearance

Standard ground clearance is 8.3 inches which can grow up to 11.8 inches depending on the wheels and tires.

Engine Power and Torque

The Ram comes fitted with a 3.6-liter V6 petrol engine with an output that ranges between 260 and 395 hp as standard. Also available is a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 petrol engine with 395 hp and 410 lb-ft and a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 with 240 hp and 420 lb-f of torque. These engines send power to the wheels via a five-speed manual, or a six- or eight-speed automatic transmission.

Equipment and Safety Features

Equipment

Standard features on the Ram 1500 Tradesman include keyless entry, push-button start, air conditioning, a new air filtration system, a backup camera, power door locks and windows, a 6-speaker radio, a USB port, a rearview camera, and 18-inch steel wheels. Available features include an 8.4-inch touchscreen, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, cloth upholstery, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, front and rear parking sensors, and satellite radio.

Safety Features

Standard and optional safety features include front-seat side airbags, cruise control, a switch-activated electronic parking brake, hill-start assist, full-length side curtain airbags, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, and trailer-sway control.

Price

From US$ 12,000 to US$ 51,000 (these are BE FORWARD prices as of July 2023)

Writer’s Perspective

Pros
Highly reliable

Cons
Inferior hauling and towing capability

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Ford Expedition

The Ford Expedition is a five-door full-size SUV.

4WD / AWD

The Expedition is available in RWD as standard with 4WD available.

Ground Clearance

Ranges between 9.7 inches and 10.6 inches

Engine Power and Torque

The Ford Expedition is powered by a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 petrol with two outputs. In a standard setup, it generates 380 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque while on higher trims it produces 400 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. This engine transfers power to the wheels via a ten-speed automatic transmission. Its fuel consumption rate ranges between 7.22 km/L and 9.77 km/L.

Equipment and Safety Features

Equipment

Standard features include an 8.0-inch touchscreen, a six-speaker audio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, four USB ports, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hotspot, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, Ford’s MyKey, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and alloy wheels.

Safety Features

The Ford Co-Pilot360 safety suite is standard, it bundles safety features such as a pre-collision warning and braking system, rear cross-traffic alert, lane keep assist, and blind spot monitoring.

Price

From US$ 11,900 to US$ 58,700 (these are BE FORWARD prices as of July 2023)

Writer’s Perspective

Pros
Carvenous cabin and a superior towing capacity

Cons
Tricky to maneuver


Final Verdict

SUVs, crossovers, and pickup trucks have been the best-selling categories in the automotive industry. But why is this so? SUVs, crossovers, and pickup trucks typically have better ground clearance than other cars, they do also offer drivers better visibility of the road ahead, but mostly they tend to be heavier, comfortable, more durable, and rugged, with a go-anywhere and do-anything ability which appeals to most buyers. The cars that we have covered fall within this category, they are all great cars with varying features. Whichever one you choose will be a great choice.

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Written by: Josephat Lukaza

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