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10 Best Adventure Vehicles Under $15,000

The definition of an adventure vehicle might change depending on who you ask. To us, it’s any vehicle that’s willing to get, well, adventurous when the pavement ends. These are SUVs, trucks, and even vans with strong off-road capabilities along with some utilitarian functionality that can make them practical for daily driving.

Here are the 10 best adventure vehicles you can find on Autotrader for under $15,000.

2007-2013 Chevrolet Express

It might sound odd to use an old school van as an adventure vehicle, but the Chevy Express or the mechanically identical GMC Savana is often used as a blank slate for an overlanding vehicle. Find a used Express with four-wheel drive, add a mild lift kit and the right tires, and you might be surprised by the off-road capabilities of this van. Find a Chevrolet Express for sale

2006-2010 Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer of today has a car-like unibody construction which makes it a comfortable crossover. However, the Explorer used to have a more truck-like, body-on-frame construction that made it a better off-roader. It’s not hard to find an Explorer from this generation with four-wheel drive and a muscular V8 engine in this price range. Find a Ford Explorer for sale

2009-2011 Honda Element

You won’t find anything quite like the Honda Element in Honda’s lineup today, or in any other brand for that matter. The Element was an adventurous compact SUV based on the CR-V at the time, but decidedly quirkier. On top of the unique design, it had suicide doors, a durable interior, and it was a good off-roader when equipped with all-wheel drive. Find a Honda Element for sale

2007-2010 Hummer H3

The largely forgotten Hummer H3 is starting to get the attention it always deserved from off-road enthusiasts. It was based on the Chevy Colorado of the time, but more off-road oriented and had a more upscale interior. Most H3 models are SUVs, but if you keep your eyes peeled you can find the oddball H3T pickup truck. Find a Hummer H3 for sale

2011-2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has a long and well-earned reputation as a versatile SUV that’s just as at home on the daily commute as it is on the trails. Early examples of the “WK2” generation that came out in 2011 is in a sweet spot of value right now and they’re easy to find with four-wheel drive. Find a Jeep Grand Cherokee for sale

2007-2010 Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler famously holds its value exceptionally well. That means you generally need to go back to the early days of the “JK” generation to find one under $15,000. The JK modernized the Wrangler with more modern creature comforts more widely available and the popular four-door body of the Wrangler Unlimited. Find a Jeep Wrangler for sale

2010-2013 Land Rover LR4

Preceding the Land Rover Discovery that came out in 2017, the Land Rover LR4 is a more old school representation of the brand. Its extremely boxy shape yields a spacious interior for passengers and cargo, plus you get the outstanding off-road capabilities you’d expect. Four-wheel drive and a brawny V8 engine are both standard on every model making it easy to shop for. Find a Land Rover LR4 for sale

2008-2012 Nissan Pathfinder

The Nissan Pathfinder is another SUV that was once a veritable off-roader, but has morphed into a domesticated, car-like crossover over the years. If you’re looking for a big SUV that can get seriously adventurous, the “R51” generation of the Pathfinder was true to its nameplate’s roots while having the convenience of three-row seating. We recommend the available V8. Find a Nissan Pathfinder for sale

2006-2009 Toyota 4Runner

The Toyota 4Runner to get under $15,000 is the post-facelift “N210” model. The famously durable 4Runner is a favorite among off-road enthusiasts for its tried and true drivetrain, rock solid build quality, and outstanding off-road capabilities. It has available three-row seating, but those way-back seats are quite cramped. Skip it and take the extra cargo space. Find a Toyota 4Runner for sale

2012-2015 Toyota Tacoma

The previous generation of the trusty Toyota Tacoma got an update for 2012 that brought refreshed exterior styling and new infotainment features. The Tacoma is an excellent midsize truck for adventures because of its stellar off-road chops and utilitarian truck bed. The TRD off-road package is great, but really, any 4×4-equipped Tacoma is a beast off road. Find a Toyota Tacoma for sale

Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt is an author specializing in Oversteer content, new car reviews, and finding the best car, truck, and SUV deals each month. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Eric can often be found exploring the north woods on his 1983 Honda Gold Wing when the weather allows it. Father of four, husband of one, and unapologetic minivan enthusiast. Eric mastered driving stick by having a 3-cylinder Chevy... Read More about Eric Brandt

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