10 Best Cars for Mountain Driving

Are you prepared to take your driving skills to greater heights? Whether you’re in pursuit of excitement, searching for tranquility among the peaks, or simply desiring to journey on the less frequented road, your choice of vehicle can be truly transformative. Prepare to discover the mountain landscapes with our carefully curated range of the best cars for mountain driving.

Prior to proceeding, it’s important to highlight certain key aspects you must consider when selecting the ideal car for navigating mountainous terrain.

How to find the best cars for mountain driving?

  • Engine Power: When assessing the best cars for mountain driving, the engine potency is a vital aspect to ponder. Regions with elevated landscapes frequently encompass abrupt slopes, and a car possessing ample power will facilitate smoother ascending and descending. Seek vehicles equipped with engines delivering ample torque for traversing hilly pathways effortlessly.
  • All-Wheel Drive: Choosing an all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicle can greatly elevate your driving encounter in mountainous regions. AWD evenly allocates power to the four wheels, resulting in improved traction and stability. This characteristic guarantees that, even in cases where a couple of wheels experience traction loss, the remaining ones can counterbalance effectively, ultimately enhancing comprehensive control.
  • Ground Clearance: When embarking on mountainous routes, adequate ground clearance becomes imperative. An automobile boasting greater ground clearance navigates through rough landscapes, pothole-ridden paths, and rocky trails, sidestepping undercarriage abrasions. This attribute mitigates potential vehicular harm, facilitating seamless driving experiences.
  • Safety Features: While traversing mountainous regions, focusing on safety remains paramount. The best cars for mountain driving are equipped with features like anti-lock braking systems, electronic stability control, hill descent control, and supplementary off-road assistance. These guarantee a driving encounter that prioritizes security.
  • Suspension: A properly crafted suspension system holds the utmost importance for navigating through mountains. It soaks up impacts and oscillations effectively, delivering a smooth and steady journey over rough or uneven roads. Prioritize vehicles equipped with sturdy suspension setups capable of conquering the demands posed by mountain landscapes.
  • Traction Control: Ensuring the presence of a dependable traction control system is crucial when navigating slippery terrains, a common occurrence in hilly areas. This functionality aids in averting wheel spin and maintaining command by engaging brakes and allotting power to the wheels with optimal traction. Its contribution to safety and stability proves particularly valuable, especially amid demanding weather circumstances.

In this blog, we have discussed the top 10 cars for mountain driving in the world.

1. Ford Bronco

Much like Jeep’s Wrangler, the Ford Bronco aims to master two key objectives: the thrill of open-top cruising and the excitement of mountain escapades. Even the base-level Bronco is equipped with a standard four-wheel-drive system and a two-speed transfer case. The Sasquatch package is a must-add for those seeking an extra dose of capability, endowing the two- or four-door SUV with increased ground clearance, 35-inch tires, and more.

Ford Bronco

The pinnacle Bronco Raptor beckons if you possess a penchant for robust off-road performance and serious mountain conquests. This exclusively four-door high-performance variant comes at a significant price of $85,375 but justifies it with a suspension tune tailored to its identity, broader front and rear tracks, substantial 37-inch tires, an impressive 13.1 inches of ground clearance (a near five-inch augmentation compared to the base model), and a commanding 418-horsepower twin-turbo V-6 powerplant.

2. Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban

The full-sized Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban SUVs exhibit notable mountain-ready capabilities owing to their body-on-frame design and 8.0 inches of ground clearance, courtesy of standard coil springs. However, if you intend to truly venture into the mountains with these impressive Chevy SUVs, then the Z71 trim should be your ultimate goal.

Chevrolet Tahoe

Coming in at a starting cost of $66,195 for the Tahoe and $68,895 for the Suburban, the Z71 trim might not align with budget-conscious individuals. Nevertheless, investing more provides you with features such as a distinct front fascia tailored to the trim, enhancing the SUVs’ approach angle, accompanied by a front skid plate and substantial front-mounted tow hooks.

If you desire, there’s also the choice of an optional air suspension system that grants a maximum ground clearance of 10.0 inches.

3. (Almost) Any Subaru

One of the favored vehicles for traversing mountains is the Subaru Outback, yet your key choice involves determining whether a car or crossover aligns better with your lifestyle. The Subaru Outback bridges this choice by embodying a wagon with an elevated suspension and additional body cladding, showcasing exceptional prowess in its Wilderness variant boasting 9.5 inches of ground clearance.

Subaru Outback

Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive system is a standard feature across its lineup, excluding the BRZ sports car, and this Japanese automaker is renowned for its resilience in damp and snowy conditions. If a crossover body type is your preference, a range of adept models, including the Ascent, Forester, and the high-value Crosstrek, remain at your disposal.

4. Jeep Wrangler

When it comes to venturing far from the main routes, the Jeep Wrangler should be on your radar. While its road performance might not be impressive, the vehicle’s capability is a sure thing. The rest depends on your preferences. You can start with a basic trim and gradually enhance it using aftermarket options as you delve deeper into the wilderness.

Jeep Wrangler

Alternatively, if you’re aiming for the rugged look and the occasional dirt track adventure, opt for a soft top and the freedom of doorless driving. Just like the 4Runner, the Wrangler boasts a reliable V6 mill that might lack finesse but gets the job done efficiently for a vehicle of this nature.

There’s a plethora of choices, including the Rubicon model’s 33-inch all-terrain tires and high-clearance fender flares, which empower you to tailor the Wrangler for more challenging off-road escapades and mountain journeys.

5. GMC Yukon and Yukon XL

GMC Yukon

If your status exceeds that of the bow-tie badge but requires a large SUV with off-road capabilities, consider exploring the upscale GMC Yukon and Yukon XL. Similar to the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban counterparts, the Yukon and Yukon XL present a unique off-road, mountain-ready variant known as AT4. This edition incorporates features like an enhanced front design to better the front approach angle, a frontal skid plate, substantial tow hooks upfront, and additional enhancements.

6. Jeep Grand Cherokee and Grand Cherokee L

Blending the opulence of a luxury SUV with Jeep’s signature off-road excellence, the two-row Jeep Grand Cherokee and three-row Grand Cherokee L deliver a unique fusion. This blend truly shines with the application of four-wheel drive, ideally Jeep’s Quadra-Trac II or Quadra-Drive II systems, both boasting a two-speed transfer case.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Your optimal choice lies within the Trailhawk variant for the ultimate mountainous aptitude. Exclusive to the two-row Grand Cherokee 4xe (denoting the plug-in hybrid version), the Trailhawk package incorporates all-terrain tires, elevated air intakes allowing for water fording of up to 24 inches, and more.

7. Hyundai Santa Cruz

The broader population is just beginning to realize the impressive outdoor capabilities of Santa Cruz. Essentially, it offers the comfort and everyday usability of the Hyundai Tucson crossover, coupled with a pickup bed to store your muddy boots and camping equipment externally conveniently.

Hyundai Santa Cruz

If you’re seeking a top-notch all-wheel-drive system for tackling slippery mountain terrain without the bulk and inconvenience of a body-on-frame truck, the Santa Cruz stands out as an excellent choice for mountain driving enthusiasts.

8. Toyota Tacoma

A suitable option might involve a truck when considering the optimal vehicle for relocating to a mountainous region. Unless you’re engaged in towing or necessitate transporting substantial cargo, the Tacoma emerges as a highly favorable selection. Similar to the 4Runner, it’s displaying signs of age, but Toyota’s remarkable sales figures (pun absolutely intended) speak volumes about its appeal.

Toyota Tacoma

The decision between rear-wheel and all-wheel drive, as well as a choice between a four-cylinder or V6 mill, hinges on your intended truck usage and fuel budget. Catering to an outdoor lifestyle, the truck bed accommodates skiing, snowboarding, or virtually any necessary equipment.

Additionally, akin to the 4Runner, the Tacoma has demonstrated its robust dependability and rugged competence, even though it lacks excitement in on-road driving.

9. Rivian R1T

When it comes to seamlessly blending with the hipster vibe in the mountains, the Rivian R1T emerges as one of the best cars for mountain driving. The silver lining is it’s not just a regular vehicle; it’s a remarkable feat of mobile technology that encompasses every aspect expected from a lifestyle truck.

Rivian R1T

Operating solely on electric power, its EPA-rated range spans a commendable 314 miles. Nevertheless, it’s essential to consider battery efficiency in frigid temperatures. Yet, its boundless potency guarantees a smooth experience in transporting your loved ones and their belongings or even towing a weight of up to 11,000 pounds.

As long as you’ve charted your course in harmony with the placement of public charging stations, or you haven’t ventured too deep into untamed territories, the R1T stands tall as an exceptional electric pickup truck.

10. Nissan Pathfinder

The Nissan Pathfinder often escapes notice in the realm of family vehicles primed for off-road outings in support of an energetic way of life. Though it won’t match the 4Runner or Jeep Wrangler in capability due to its modest 7.1 inches of ground clearance and unitary construction, selecting the all-wheel-drive choice will ensure your comfortable journey to snowy escapades and camping getaways.

Nissan Pathfinder

Its power source is a 3.5-liter V6, pumping out 284 hp and 259 lb-ft, yet the major attraction lies in its roomy and cozy interior, complete with a third row of seating.

Debuting as an entirely new entrant for the 2022 rendition, the Pathfinder shows remarkable enhancements over its predecessor and now boasts a considerably more delightful automatic transmission.

Jasper has been an enthusiast of the automotive and IT industries since the age of 16. He independently writes on the auto industry's recent happenings.