If you live for hitting up the mountain and getting as many days of powder as possible, these rigs will transport you with safety, utility and fun in mind. These four vehicles excel at practicality and ruggedness, and with some smart shopping, you’ll have money left over for that new ski equipment you’ve been eyeing.
A spartan hauler that ruled the roads before the SUV craze hit everywhere, the 1994-2001 version of the Cherokee is reliable, capable and can be had for a non-wallet-crushing amount. They are known for motors that won't quit and with simple maintenance can be kept running for years. It's a compact SUV that's big on capability and functionality with timeless looks to boot. The four-wheel drive is legendary, gas mileage is decent thanks to lightweight construction, and it’s practically built for hauling snowboarding or skiing gear up the slopes in any kind of weather.
Dog friendly, kid friendly, snow capable and not an atypical SUV, the Outback is great if you’re not into the whole truck thing. The rear fold-down seats mean there’s plenty of cargo space if you’re shredding with a partner, or if your packing the family in, pick from a large aftermarket accessory catalog to haul most anything. Most models can be had with AWD—as most were equipped—but with winter tires on the front-wheel drive versions, it’s still capable in its own right.
More Swedish practicality than you can throw a stick at; the XC90 will gobble any challenges of being your go-to people mover. Famous automotive personality Jeremy Clarkson has owned three and is quoted as saying the Volvo has no equal in terms of packaging and carrying things. It’s a utilitarian Swiss Army knife with a pickup truck’s worth of luggage space. With the first generation (2002-2014) you have a wide range of engine, drivetrains and even face lifted options after 2007, so finding one right for your tastes is just a matter of searching.
The great thing about pickup trucks is the ease in which you can load cargo and get great utility in a bare-bones, but an incredible workhorse of a package. The second generation, face lifted Ford Ranger (1998-2012) is a cool piece of kit that can be outfitting with beefier tires and suspension to give it a more aggressive demeanor. Great trucks for the money, most Rangers have engines that will run strong into 200k miles and offer as much utility as you need without resorting to a full-size pickup. As a bonus, you can find some models with some super sweet graphics packages, which just scream the 90s offering nostalgia at its best.
Currently the full-time Editorial Director and Content Manager for RxSpeed.com, & contributing writer for Scout.com. He also loves photography, videography, his Shiba Inu Mia and driving sports cars.