Total Car Score Names the Top 10 Best Off-Road Vehicles for 2012

Jeep Grand Cherokee Tops List of Most Capable Four-Wheel Drive SUVs and Trucks on the Market

Jul 18, 2012, 07:40 ET from Total Car Score

LOS ANGELES, July 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As summer reaches its peak, there's still plenty of time to take to the hills for serious off-road fun. To celebrate this spirit of adventure, Total Car Score (, the most comprehensive automotive ranking and comparison website, has named the Top 10 Best Off-Road Vehicles for 2012.


The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee takes first place, which Total Car Score's editorial team attributes to the Jeep's available V8 engine and superb off-road capabilities, along with excellent on-road driving dynamics. The Jeep Grand Cherokee delivers high confidence when leaving the pavement behind by providing driver-selectable settings based on surface conditions, whether traveling over snow, rocks or mud. The Land Rover LR4 and Ranger Rover offer a similar "Terrain Response" system that allows the driver to tune the four-wheel drive system based on surface conditions.

"These 10 vehicles represent the most capable off-road SUVs and trucks available," said Karl Brauer, editor in chief of Total Car Score. "Every model offers a two-speed transfer case and advanced suspension design. If you want to go where few four-wheeled vehicles can tread, these 10 models will get you there."

Brauer also noted the relatively low Total Car Score for some of these vehicles, but he pointed out that the low scores are a reflection of how off-road oriented SUVs rate in relation to pavement-oriented crossovers – vehicles that could never provide the rock-climbing utility these models offer.

"The Jeep Wrangler is arguably the most capable off-road vehicle currently produced, but it gets a low Total Car Score because the industry rates it against compact crossovers that have a smooth ride and a quiet cabin at highway speeds -- but very little off-road talent," said Brauer. "That's why the Wrangler is on this list of Best Off-Road Vehicles despite its low score, and why shoppers seeking off-road prowess should look past high-level ratings to confirm what influences them."

Total Car Score's website supplements these overall vehicle scores with original car reviews for every vehicle on the list. This ensures potential buyers understand the driving forces behind Total Car Score's numbers.

The complete ranking of the 10 Best Off-Road Vehicles for 2012 is as follows:

Two other off-road contenders, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Lexus LX, weren't produced for the 2012 model year. The 2012 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is also quite adept at off-road maneuvers, but it had no industry ratings available. All three vehicles are likely candidates for next year's list.

About Total Car Score
Total Car Score is an automotive research and comparison website that establishes a new industry-wide standard for ranking every car, truck, van and crossover on the market. evaluates and ranks cars according to an aggregate score based on the most trusted automotive authorities available. The site also features original content, reviews and insights from a veteran automotive journalism and data team. For more information about cars, please go to

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SOURCE Total Car Score