Most cars can’t hack it in touch environments. They slip on mud, the beach on humps, and they scramble alarmingly on loose earth. However, all-terrain vehicles are designed to take on any environmental challenge. As a result, they have found use in militaries, expeditions, farms, and bougie city environments for years. Here is a list of some of the most iconic all-terrain vehicle design families.
All of these vehicles are still in production in some form – and all of them were first released over 50 years ago!
The Land Rover
In 1947 English car manufacturer Rover needed a way to boost sales in a post-war market that no longer had any room for their luxury saloon cars.
So, they settled on using the Jeep chassis to create a vehicle perfectly suited to farmers. The result was the Land Rover – a simple, rugged, sheet metal-covered workhorse beloved by farmers and off-roaders alike.
Second-hand examples can still be found all over the world, including at Car Synergy Land Rover Leeds. The classic Defender model is still considered to be the pinnacle of the Land Rover design family. Older bench-seated models are particularly prized by enthusiasts.
The Jeep in All-Terrain Vehicle Family
The Willy’s Jeep was the first mass-produced 4×4 vehicle and is widely considered to be a design icon. A small, lightweight utility vehicle with sprung suspension, the Jeep proved invaluable in the Allied invasion of mainland Europe during the Second World War.
Collectors prize these little vehicles, which can handle almost any terrain with surprising ease for a car that debuted in 1943.
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The G Wagon
The Mercedes G Wagon was originally developed for the West German military, but it has found a new lease of life as a luxury all-terrain vehicle. It has the high ground clearance and a distinctive boxy appearance that affords it great structural strength.
Today, G Wagons are just as likely to be spotted in Kensington as they are in Westphalia. The most luxurious models are absurdly expensive prestige cars.
The Toyota Land Cruiser and Hilux
The Toyota Land Cruiser series is renowned for its utility and toughness. It proved so popular with irregular military forces that a war was even named after the brand in the 1980s.
No video footage of a rebel force is complete without images of modified Toyota 4×4 trucks bristling with weapons and fighters.
The same rugged features that make the Toyota truck lines perfect for unconventional military use make them perfect for farmers and craftspeople.
Lada Niva in All-Terrain Vehicle Family
The Lada car manufacturing company is not typically known for its high-quality vehicles. Western reviewers scoffed at the simple design of the Soviet company’s roadgoing cars when they first made their way to Western Europe.
Where Lada did have pedigree, however, was in the 4×4 market. The Lada Niva is a bonified off-road legend, with rugged construction and surprisingly good suspension.
The original Niva – first conceived in 1977 – is still being produced to this day and can tackle some of Russia’s most unrelenting roads.