Rugged SUVs are cool again! Mazda CX-50, Haval Big Dog, Ford Bronco Sport, Subaru Forester Wilderness and other butch high-riders trying to convince you of their off-road skills – Car News

SUVs were once the rugged, go-anywhere option for those who wanted to transport their families with gear over dangerous terrain.

Think of the mid-80s Jeep Cherokee, or the 90s Ford Explorer, or the Lamborghini LM002.

But somewhere over the past few decades, SUVs have turned into mellow fashion statements that share the same off-road capability as a small hatchback, making them more common in the supermarket parking lot than off the beaten track.

Learn more about rugged SUVs

Well, it looks like SUVs have finally come full circle thanks to a recent trend of ruggedized models designed to tackle tough things as well as suburban streets.

And if these models are successful, you can bet that many other manufacturers will release their own adventure SUVs.

Mazda CX-50

Similar in size to the popular Mazda CX-5, the CX-50 takes style into more adventurous territory with a square black plastic wheel arch liner, all-terrain tires, raised suspension, a blacked-out grille and a anti-reflective bonnet decals.

Buyers can also opt for a roof rack to maximize cargo capacities, while engine options include two 2.5-liter gasoline units, one turbocharged and one naturally aspirated.

Weekend Warriors should also be happy with the standard all-wheel-drive system, including the off-road drive mode, but unfortunately the CX-50 will be a strictly American offering.

Subaru Forester Wilderness

Approaching a full off-roader, the Forester Wilderness is distinguished by a higher ride height, all-terrain tires, and front and rear sill plates.

It might not turn the Forester Wilderness into a rival to the Toyota LandCruiser, but it certainly makes it perform better on the black roof.

Subaru has also improved the roof rails to support more weight, while the brand’s signature symmetrical all-wheel drive system.

Sadly, the Forester Wilderness is not in line for an Australian market debut, meaning it remains a US-only model for now.

Hyundai Tucson XRT

Far more of a styling enhancement than anything essentially mechanical, the Tucson XRT sports unique front and rear bumper inserts to resemble an off-road SUV.

Side steps, unique wheel arch protection, and transverse roof racks are also added to the Tucson XRT to complete the look, but all-wheel drive is an option with the front-wheel drive setup as standard.

Like the CX-50 and Forester Wilderness, the Hyundai Tucson XRT remains a US-only model for now, but Hyundai Australia could create its own rugged midsize SUV for local showrooms.

Haval Big Dog

Despite its odd name, the Haval Big Dog has the potential to hit really hard in Australia, especially since many of its other rivals on this list aren’t intended for local showrooms.

Underneath, the Big Dog is a Haval H6, but it sports a unique body with a chunky, boxy aesthetic that makes it look a lot more like a Jeep Wrangler or Ford Bronco Sport than a soft-roader.

As standard there is a BorgWarner four-wheel drive system, a braked towing capacity of two tons and a 2.0-liter turbo-petrol engine with 155 kW / 325 Nm, while the price is expected to be around 35. $ 000.

Ford Bronco Sport

Unlike its big brother Bronco, the Bronco Sport uses Ford’s C2 platform, the same one used for the Escape midsize SUV and Focus small hatchback.

That means it doesn’t have the same DNA as Australia’s favorite Ranger, but still has the same rugged, boxy styling that befits an off-road SUV.

Engine choices include a 1.5-liter three-cylinder petrol and a 2.0-liter turbo petrol, but sadly, like so many other desirable Ford models, the Bronco Sport is being kept away from Australians.

Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk

When you think of a rugged off-road SUV, you probably think of a Jeep. Whether it’s in the form of the original Willys Jeep, the fashionable Wrangler or the large SUV Grand Cherokee, the Jeep brand is synonymous with off-roading.

While not all of the aforementioned models are destined for Australia, or are yet to arrive in Australia, the Cherokee Trailhawk has been around forever for those looking for an adventure-ready SUV straight from the bathroom floor. ‘exposure.

Priced at $ 53,450 before on-road costs, the Cherokee Trailhawk has a number of off-road features such as a four-wheel drive system with terrain selection, red recovery hooks, all-round tires. terrain, additional underbody protection, an anti-reflective hood sticker and stain-resistant interior.

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