Sometimes you just gotta get away.
I am a Jeep girl and always have been. I had a Jeep Wrangler that was great for getting up in the mountains and hitting the trails. It had a lot of space for all of our gear and it handled the rough roads as well as the city streets, making it ideal for getting out of the city when we needed to.
But there are a lot of options if Jeep isn’t for you (not that I can imagine that possibility!). Here’s what you need to think about if you’re in the market for a car that can take you off the grid when you need to get away from the grind.
Off-the-Grid New Car Checklist
- Built in wifi and navigation. If you’re going off the grid, this is really important. A car’s wifi can be stronger than your phone’s signal, and its navigation system can function in places that your phone’s maps won’t (and to be safe, bring a paper map, too).
- All wheel drive or 4 wheel drive. If you’re going to be challenging truly off-road conditions, you’ll want 4WD; AWD is fine for driving on dirt roads, hills or slightly muddy conditions
- Adequate height or road clearance; if you’re crossing creeks or rocky roads you want to be sure you don’t get stuck (or worse, do damage to the underside of your car). A higher clearance is also great for snowy situations.
- Plenty of power ports and a household outlet. It’s common in many SUVs to find a household outlet on the back of the center console or in the cargo area. This is great for things like a portable cooler, air pump or other small appliance, or simply for charging phones and computers. Be sure to check the voltage of the outlet to know that your appliances are compatible; not all will be.
- Reachable roof rails. These are great but do you need a stepladder to reach them? Not all are created equal, so test these out before making a commitment, especially if you plan to bring kayaks, bikes or other equipment on your adventure.
- An accessible cargo area. These are not all created equal, either. Some have storage pockets and storage under the cargo floor. Some cargo areas are accessible via the window, others require you open the entire lift gate to get into the back. How you get to your stuff is as important as how you pack it.
Updated and Loaded Up Cars Perfect for Getting Away
The new addition to my family, a Grand Cherokee 4×4, is perfect for those long road trips. I love all the features it has and find the infotainment system to be very helpful on the road. It is a great assistant for finding a gas station, changing the radio station or checking the weather.
Great Cars For Hitting the Back Roads
Chevrolet Blazer – It’s back and better than ever: All the function you want in an SUV but the soul of the Camaro.
GMC Yukon – This one’s been climbing mountains forever, now more comfortably than ever
Ford Explorer – Its name says it all, and inside you’ll find most everything on your list, along with 3 rows and a great new technology interface (that touch screen 😍)
Honda Passport – This 5 passenger SUV is truly built for getting off the grid; it has surprising cargo space and capability
Hyundai Palisade – It’s full sized with seating for 7 or 8 and has nearly every convenience you can think of and many you didn’t know you wanted
Kia Telluride – Supreme comforts, grand style and one of the most affordable 3 row SUVs on the road
Mazda CX-9 – With AWD capability, great utility and a third row, this SUV is capable in most circumstances and will also look great if you decide to abandon camping for a nice hotel
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – Not only a very capable AWD 5 passenger SUV, but it’s a plug-in battery hybrid that gets an an average 25 MPG so you can go even further off the grid.
Nissan Rogue – This stalwart is getting a makeover for 2021 but we still love the current model for all its thoughtful features
Jeep Cherokee Latitude – Everything the Wrangler can do in a more elegant, comfortable package
Toyota 4 Runner – Rugged and ready to roll, you’ll find great storage, comfortable seating and all the conveniences to keep everyone occupied until you get there
Subaru Outback – One of the original for hitting the trials; the new 2020 model has nicely upgraded technology and a new interior
Volkswagen Cross Sport – This 5 passenger version of the Atlas is a bit sportier but has all the comforts and capabilities you need
Volvo XC90 – Elegant but super capable, with a roomy interior and beautiful details. And, the Swedes know how to do back roads.
If you need to go smaller: