What Are the Best Small SUVs for Off-Roading?

Manufacturers News

Jun 10th, 2021

What Are the Best Small SUVs for Off-Roading?

Of all the outdoor adventures that Aussies love, going off-road definitely ranks on top. So, it’s no surprise that many Australian households have an off-road-ready SUV sitting in their driveway. Do you know that you don’t need the biggest, most powerful model available for the same purpose? Yes, instead, you can opt for the best small SUV for going off-road!

You should select a model with a clearance of around 8.5 inches to ensure that the vehicle is safe from obstacles that might damage the car’s underside. Some of the best small SUVs you can choose are the Jeep Compass, Subaru XV, Mitsubishi Outlander, Range Rover Evoque, and Suzuki Jimny.

In this article, we’re going to do a quick review of the best small SUVs for off-roading that you can buy in Australia today.

Let’s get to it!

What Is a Good Clearance for an Off-Roading Vehicle?

Just like when you buy any other car, there are some critical factors to consider. More important than getting the best SUV off-road tyres, you have to make sure that the vehicle is high enough off the ground, i.e. it must have good clearance.

An ideal clearance for an off-roading vehicle is around 8.5 inches high off the ground. This allows your small SUV to dodge obstacles like hills, mud, dead tree trunks, and rocks and prevent potentially expensive damage to the underside of your SUV.

As you’ll see on this list, some of the best small SUVs for off-roading have clearance below that height. No need to worry, though, as they’ll still clear most obstacles. Plus, their other strengths make up for that shortcoming. 

Top 5 Best Small SUVs for Off-Roading

So, without further delay, here are our picks for the best small SUV for going off-road.

Jeep Compass

Our first small SUV on this list is the Jeep Compass. With this car, you can switch to all-wheel drive, which comes handy when you're up against some challenging off-road terrain.

The Jeep Compass has a clearance of 7 inches, slightly below the ideal we mentioned above. Don’t fear, though, this is one of the most reliable off-road vehicles you can ever have, thanks to its max output of 129 kW of power and 229 Nm of torque.

Subaru XV (or Crosstrek in the US)

Next, we have the Subaru XV. Also known as the Crosstrek in the US, this off-road SUV has an excellent clearance of 8.7 inches. On some versions, this car comes with special mud and snow driving modes that you can choose, should the terrain call for it.

The Subaru XV has a maximum output of 115 kW of power and 196 Nm of torque.

Mitsubishi Outlander

What car list like this would be complete without mentioning a Mitsubishi SUV off-road vehicle? In this case, we’ve got our eyes on the Mitsubishi Outlander. It’s a little on the lower-end when it comes to clearance being 7.5 inches off the ground, but don’t rule it out just yet.

Most versions of this SUV have a maximum output of 124 kW of power and 220 Nm of torque.

Range Rover Evoque

If you’re looking for a more luxury option, you’ve got the Range Rover Evoque. Besides looking sleek and shiny on-road, this one can undoubtedly handle itself well off-road as well. It sits pretty high off the ground at 8.5 inches, so it’ll stay clear of most off-road obstacles and dangers.

The Range Rover Evoque has a maximum output of 177 kW of power and a whopping 500 Nm of torque. You’ll notice that it’s got more torque than any other small SUVs on this list, definitely more than enough to handle well off-road while still looking luxurious as ever.

Suzuki Jimny

Last but not least, we have the Suzuki Jimny. No doubt, this is a very familiar name when it comes to SUVs and off-roading. This is the perfect choice if you’re looking for some genuinely compact to take off-road. Despite the small size, it has a pretty good clearance of 8.3 inches.

In terms of specs, the Suzuki Jimny has a maximum output of 75 kW of power and 130 Nm of torque. Sure, that’s not as powerful as some of the other SUVs on this list, but remember that it’s carrying a lot less weight. So that power and torque is plenty for the Jimny.

Read More of Our Top Best Lists

To discover more of the best off-road vehicles on the market and other top best lists, stay tuned to the blog at Carpart.com.au. There, you'll find plenty of how-to guides, reviews, and the latest news from the auto industry in Australia and beyond!


By Ray Hasbollah