Polaris is famous for its ATV-style vehicles and off-road models. However, in the last several years, the U.S. Army has shown an interest in a special ATV they designed especially for Special Forces. And it is high maneuverability on rough terrain, so Polaris responded with the MV850, a special, extremely capable ATV (via Top Speed).
There are several interesting features of the MV850. First, it can carry up to 600 pounds and tow a small trailer if necessary. Second, it doesn’t have regular tires, but special tire-like covers that are far better on rough terrain as well as puncture-proof.
The original Meyers Manx is a kit car based on the VW Beetle blueprint and engines. But this car was so important to the American off-road scene that it has to be on this list. They introduced it in 1964. The Meyers Manx was a brainchild of Bruce F. Meyers, an American boat builder and surfer who wanted a dependable-yet-cool beach car (via Mayers Manx). They finished the first prototypes in 1964 and full production soon followed.
So by the early ’70s, they had made more than 6,000. The construction was simple. using a fiberglass tub mounted to VW Beetle mechanics. This rear-wheel-drive car was light and could tackle almost any terrain. Some owners even installed more powerful boxer engines from the Corvair or even from the Porsche. Due to its characteristic design and great driving capabilities, the Meyers Manx became one of the symbols of surfing culture.
Everything started in the mid-’60s when Ford realized that a market for compact and off-road capable SUVs was emerging. So Ford invested a lot of effort and money into constructing the Bronco since it had its own platform, suspension, and drivetrain components. Finally, they equipped it with straight-six and V8 engines, giving it enough power.
The Bronco was compact (via Bronco Bastards), making this Ford capable when the asphalt stops. The small dimensions meant that the interior was cramped, but buyers loved it nonetheless and sales went through the roof. The second and third generations were even more successful. However, despite solid sales, Ford decided to retire the Bronco in 1996 to concentrate on their pickup truck line as well as new SUV models. The first-generation Bronco is rapidly gaining popularity. Soon, it will be beyond the reach of the average customer.
In America, the Land Cruiser is a luxury SUV. But in Asia, Africa, Australia, the Land Cruiser is also a diesel truck (via Gear Patrol). It comes without any comforts but with maximum usability and unbelievable durability.
Interestingly, Toyota still produced the classic early 1980’s shape Land Cruiser. It comes with tough mechanics, a heavy-duty suspension, and a 4×4 drive. Also, they topped it off with a few modern features like an automatic gearbox and climate control.
For most SUVs on this list, the future is uncertain, but not for the Defender. Despite the fact they discontinued it in 2016 after staying in production for almost 70 years, Land Rover announced it will replace it with a new improved model suitable for the 21st century. The history of the Defender started out of necessity due to the after war shortages in Great Britain. With its numerous qualities, small weight and off-road capabilities, the Land Rover soon became the ultimate off-road SUV (via Auto Trader) capable of crossing deserts, jungles, and all kinds of rough terrain.
The Defender soon became a popular military vehicle, so they produced it in numerous variants. Land Rover later introduced the Range Rover, a plush and comfortable off-road SUV, but the Defender remained in production. In the last couple of years, despite the popularity of the Defender, it was obvious that its days were numbered. The modern safety and environmental standards made the 70-year-old model obsolete. Land Rover didn’t have any choice but to retire the old model and announce a new one. They have revealed the Defender concept, but they have yet to present the final production version.
It’s often interesting to see how some car manufacturers were ahead of their time. One of those manufacturers is the American Motors Company (AMC). One of their models was the Eagle, a passenger car lineup with a Jeep-derived all-wheel drive (via Silodrome). Also, it had great off-road capabilities in the form of a regular sedan, wagon or even a coupe. AMC conceived it in the late ’70s as their answer to the rising popularity of AWD vehicles and SUVs.
AMC wanted to combine their compact sedan and wagon lineup with the tough and proven Jeep AWD system. The result was a surprisingly capable vehicle with the comfort and luxury of a sedan. It had compact dimensions, a relatively low weight, and rugged off-road characteristics. The Eagle was one of the first crossover models in the world. It’s only today that people can see how important and influential this car was. AMC produced the Eagle with standard AWD.
Although Carroll Shelby never got a chance to see this truck, he would certainly approve of the insane 750 HP Shelby F-150 (via Motor Trend). After all, his company and legacy inspired the Ford Motor Company to build it.
Under the hood is a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 producing 750 HP and delivering Raptor-beating performance. With its insane price tag and eye-catching appearance, this Shelby F-150 is the definitive continuation of the iconic Shelby legend.
The Zetros is another all-wheel-drive beast on the list and a 6WD, for that matter. The 2733 A is based on an Actros platform. Some Unimog DNA is also involved, helping it offer amazing traction due to its proven mechanics and 6WD system. It has highly customizable living quarters. The weight of this six-wheeler ranges from 25 to 27 tons, which is a formidable number.
The Zetros 273A 6WD is a machine with a 7.2l inline 6-cylinder engine. It has approximately 1,000 feet per pound of torque at a low RPM, somewhere between 1,200 and 1,600. With those torque figures in mind, it’s clear the Zetros 2733 A 6WD can go anywhere (via Pktrucks). The interior of this RV is utilitarian to the max, which is expected because this is a car for hardcore outdoor use.