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What Is the Best Off-Road Sedan? (Top Picks)

When it comes to off-roading, traditional wisdom often points to purpose-built SUVs and capable trucks. In recent years, however, the automotive industry has witnessed a transformation where sedans are no longer confined to smooth city streets. Automakers have recognized the need for sedans that can handle rough terrain without compromising comfort and style — and we will discuss these options in this guide.

What is the best off-road sedan? There is no absolute right answer to this since it depends on the intensity and frequency of your off-roading detours. That said, however, one of the best off-road sedans is the Subaru Impreza WRX, offering impressive off-road capability, excellent traction and stability, and robust suspension.

No sedan is inherently designed for serious off-roading due to limitations in height, power, durability, and overall performance. However, certain sedans feature distinctive designs and offer customization options, making them suitable choices for light off-road use.

In this article, we’ll explore these variations in more detail and highlight the best off-road sedan in each category, driven by consumer feedback and popular demand.

Off-Road Sedan

Types of Off-Road Sedans

Nowadays, there are several variations to the sedan that only seem to further blur the line between this segment and other vehicle types. And because consumers generally demand roomier and more capable four-wheelers, automakers tend to produce bigger sedans that could easily pass for SUVs or mini trucks.

Variations aside, however, three sedan spin-offs are able to adapt consumer-centric features while being able to retain their roots. Below is a list and brief description of each of these sub-types:


Crossover sedans are a relatively recent addition to the automotive market. They emerged as a response to the demand for vehicles that combine an SUV’s ruggedness with a sedan’s comfort and handling. These models often feature higher ground clearance, all-wheel drive (AWD) or four-wheel drive (4WD) systems and robust suspension setups.

These sedans are designed to handle light to moderate off-road terrain while providing a smoother on-road driving experience. They also appeal to those who want versatility without sacrificing sedan-like driving dynamics.


Traditional SUVs have long been used for off-roading. But in recent years, automakers have introduced SUVs with a stronger emphasis on luxury and on-road comfort. These SUV off-road sedans combine the practicality of an SUV with premium features found in luxury sedans. They often boast advanced AWD or 4WD systems, enhanced ground clearance, and off-road driving modes.

SUV off-road sedans are ideal for those seeking a balance between off-road capability and upscale amenities, making them versatile options for both city driving and adventures in the great outdoors.


Luxury sedans, while not primarily designed for off-roading, have seen an increase in off-road-capable variants. Manufacturers like Audi and Volvo have introduced luxury sedans equipped with AWD systems and higher ground clearance, allowing them to handle rougher terrain when necessary.

These sedans target buyers who value opulence but occasionally venture off the beaten path. Given that premise, these vehicles offer a combination of premium features, comfort, and the ability to tackle mild off-road conditions without compromising on luxury.

Off-Road Sedans — Top Picks

1. Subaru Impreza WRX

(Best Off Road Sedan of 2023)

Muddy, Blue Subaru Impreza

The Subaru Impreza WRX has long been celebrated as one of the best off-road sedans on the market, and for good reason. With its impressive overall performance and off-roading capability, it has won the hearts of adventure seekers and rally enthusiasts alike.

Equipped with Subaru’s symmetrical AWD system, the Impreza WRX offers outstanding traction and stability on diverse terrain. This system, combined with a robust suspension, provides excellent off-roading capability — whether on muddy trails, gravel roads, or snowy paths. Plus, its turbocharged boxer engine delivers ample power and torque, making it well-suited for both spirited on-road driving and off-road detours.

This sedan boasts a respectable ground clearance of 4.9 inches (or higher, depending on the trim or package), sufficient for tackling moderately rough terrain. Under the hood, its turbocharged 2.0-L or 2.5-L boxer engine generates a punchy power output of 250—271 hp. Torque figures are equally impressive at 350 Nm (258 lb-ft) for its 2024 model, providing the necessary low-end grunt to conquer challenging off-road obstacles.

Despite its off-roading prowess, the Impreza WRX doesn’t compromise comfort and convenience. Inside the cabin, you’ll find a well-appointed interior with comfortable seats and user-friendly technology. Creature comforts like climate control, a touchscreen infotainment system, and smartphone integration add to the overall appeal.


  • Powerful engine options
  • AWD system
  • 1,500—2,000 Kg (680—907 lbs.) towing capacity
  • Compact sedan design allows for nimble maneuverability on narrow trails


  • Limited ground clearance
  • Not suitable for heavy towing or hauling
  • 21—27 mpg (8.7—11.2 L/100 km) combined fuel efficiency ratings

2. Audi A4

(Best Luxury Sedan, We Air Down)

Audi A4 Off-Road

The Audi A4, a staple in the luxury sedan segment, impresses with its overall performance and off-roading capability. It boasts the manufacturer’s iconic Quattro AWD system, a technology revered for its ability to provide exceptional traction and control. This feature is a game-changer when it comes to the vehicle’s proficiency in tackling challenging terrain, in addition to its responsive handling and precise steering in off-road situations.

As a testament to Audi’s commitment to providing luxury and comfort, the Audi A4’s in-cabin is adorned with high-quality materials, plush leather seats, and advanced technology. The latter includes dual-zone automatic climate control, an optional virtual cockpit display that keeps drivers well-informed about their surroundings, and other cutting-edge features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

While the Audi A4 is not an SUV, it offers a respectable 5.7 inches of ground clearance, allowing it to navigate moderately rough terrain without issues. Under the hood, the sedan typically comes with a turbocharged 2.0-L four-cylinder engine that delivers a hearty 201—261 hp and 320—370 Nm (236—273 lb-ft) torque. These performance figures provide the necessary power to tackle inclines, rocky paths, and uneven surfaces with ease.


  • Quattro AWD system
  • Impressive engine performance
  • Upscale interior comforts
  • Compact size enhances its maneuverability on narrow trails


  • 453—907 Kg (1,000—2,000 lbs.) towing capacity
  • 25—30 mpg ( L/100 km) combined fuel efficiency ratings
  • Inability to match the ground clearance, ruggedness, and off-road adeptness of dedicated off-road vehicles

3. Volvo V60 Cross Country

(Best Crossover Off-Road Sedan)

Volvo Car Covered With Leaves in Forest

The Volvo V60 Cross Country is a crossover off-road sedan offering a unique blend of performance, ruggedness, and luxury. It boasts the firm’s renowned AWD system, a suspension specially tuned for off-road use and torquey engines that deliver confident off-road capabilities and allow enthusiasts to confidently tackle challenging trails.

The interior of the V60 is plush and well-appointed, with supportive seats and ample space for passengers and cargo. High-quality materials and an infotainment system improve the overall driving experience. Furthermore, driver-assistance features like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and hill-descent control further elevate its off-roading competencies.

Among the defining characteristics of this crossover sedan is its increased ground clearance of approximately 7.9—8.3 inches (200—210 mm), enabling it to confidently traverse uneven terrain, rocky roads, and even shallow streams. Power options vary depending on trim and package. But the available turbocharged engines deliver sufficient torque — around 350 Nm (258 lb-ft) —to handle off-road challenges, making steep inclines and rough surfaces manageable.


  • Robust AWD system
  • Increased ground clearance
  • Comfortable
  • Spacious interior for long journeys
  • Well-rounded safety features
  • Respectable towing capacity at around 900—1,587 Kg (2,000—3,500 lbs.)
  • Competitive fuel economy figures for its class at 22—26 mpg (9—10.7 L/100km, city) and 31—34 mpg (6.9—7.6 L/100 km, highway), depending on engine choice


  • Limited to light off-roading (not suitable for extreme trails)

4. Subaru Outback

(Best for Overlanding)

While categorically not a sedan, the Subaru Outback is arguably the best choice for overlanding as it offers a winning combination of performance, rugged capabilities, and creature comforts.

Its legendary symmetrical AWD system provides exceptional traction on various terrain. This capability is further augmented by 8.7 inches (220 mm) of ground clearance, allowing the four-wheeler to traverse rocky paths and uneven trails without getting stuck or scraping the undercarriage. Meanwhile, its X-MODE feature optimizes engine and AWD settings for slick or steep surfaces.

Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology (available on many models) includes adaptive cruise control and pre-collision braking — features that enhance safety during off-road journeys. Spacious interior and supportive seats make long trips comfortable, while a large cargo area provides ample storage space for gear and essentials.

Apart from a generous ground clearance, the Outback ensures its 2.4-L turbocharged engine delivers 260 hp and 375.5 Nm (277 lb-ft) of torque. These performance figures are proof that the four-wheeler has the necessary oomph for steep inclines and rough trails.


  • Symmetrical AWD and X-MODE for enhanced traction and off-road control
  • 8.7-inch ground clearance
  • Creature comforts
  • EyeSight technology for added safety
  • Maximum towing capacity of up to 1,587 Kg (3,500 lbs. when properly equipped)
  • GVWR generally falls within the range of 2,125—2,245 Kg (4,685—4,950 lbs.)


  • Inability to match the extreme off-road performance of dedicated SUVs or trucks;
  • Limited cargo space;
  • Up to 26—33 mpg (7.1—9 L/100 km, highway) fuel efficiency rating may be less off-road

5. Jeep Compass

(Best Subcompact SUV Off-Road Sedan)

The Jeep Compass is a formidable contender in the subcompact SUV segment. Similar to the Outback, it doesn’t exactly fit the category but is the closest thing to an SUV off-road sedan. Expectedly, it’s known for its remarkable off-road capabilities since it’s designed with off-roading in its DNA.

It boasts impressive ground clearance, 4×4 capabilities, and a suspension system that can tackle rugged terrain with ease. Moreover, its Trail Rated designation signifies its competence in handling challenging off-road conditions regardless of sand, rocks, mud, or snow.

The Compass also offers a range of off-roading-enhancing features, such as Jeep’s Selec-Terrain traction management system and hill descent control. An available skid plate group adds underbody protection for rough terrain, while comfortable seating, ample cargo space, and advanced infotainment systems make off-road journeys enjoyable.

Typically around 8.1 inches (205 mm), the Compass’ ground clearance is considered competitive, allowing drivers to navigate over obstacles without getting stuck. As for its powertrain, options include a 2.4-L Tigershark four-cylinder engine generating around 180 hp and 237 Nm (175 lb-ft) of torque and a 2-L Multijet Diesel engine providing 350 Nm (258 lb-ft) torque and 200 hp.


  • Up to 907 Kg towing capacity (2,000 lbs., when properly equipped) allows adventurers to bring along small trailers or outdoor
  • GVWR typically falls in the range of 2,047—2,147 Kg (4,513—4,734 lbs.)
  • EPA-estimated mpg ratings fall within the range of 22—31 mpg (7.6—10.7 L/100 km) in combined city and highway driving


  • Limited cargo space compared to larger SUVs
  • Less-premium interior materials compared to counterparts
  • Bumpy ride quality on rough roads

Special Mentions

  • Volvo S60 Cross Country
  • Mitsubishi Mirage
  • AMC Eagle
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain
  • Acura TLX SH-AWD Sedan

How Much Is an Off-Road Sedan?

Blue Subaru Impreza

The price of an off-road sedan can vary significantly based on brand, model, features, and overall capabilities. On average, you may pay anywhere from $16,700 to $50,000 or more for a new off-road sedan. Luxury off-road sedans with premium features and high-end materials typically fall into the higher end of this price range. However, the specific cost of an off-road sedan ultimately depends on your preferences and requirements.

It’s worth noting that the used car market provides more budget-friendly options. Older off-road sedans can be found at a lower price point, contingent on their condition and mileage. This approach may be particularly practical if you’re considering customization and aftermarket upgrades to enhance off-road capability.

Are There Any 4WD Sedans?

While 4WD sedans are available, not all are well-suited for off-roading despite this feature. Ultimately, the suitability of a 4WD or AWD sedan for this application depends on your specific needs and the type of off-roading you intend to do.

Hence, it’s essential to consider factors like ground clearance, tire selection, and available off-road features when assessing a vehicle’s off-road potential. Moreover, professional training and a clear understanding of your vehicle’s capabilities are crucial for safe and enjoyable off-roading adventures.

Conclusion — Best Off-Road Sedans

The world of off-road sedans expands as the demand for versatile vehicles continues to grow. While these sedans may not directly compete with purpose-built off-roaders, they provide a unique blend of off-road capability and comfort.

Whether you prioritize adventure, luxury, or a compact footprint, there’s an off-road sedan guaranteed to suit your needs. Just remember to base your decision on your preferences, the vehicle’s capabilities and limitations, and the type of off-roading you plan to tackle.