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The best cars, SUVs, and vans to bug out in a disaster or emergency

Events like wildfires, natural disasters, and viral outbreaks are no laughing matter. When people have to flee urban centers around the globe, they often do so in whatever they can get their hands on. In a perfect world we’d simply leave the city to clear our minds for a bit, and there are some vehicles much better suited to the task than others. From spacious vans to long-range electric cars, here are some of the best bug-out rides available.

Sherp ATV

Sherp ATV

Born to tackle Siberia, the tundra-wise Sherp ATV is the ultimate all-terrain vehicle because it keeps moving through mud, snow, water (it floats!), and obstacles that would leave other 4x4s stranded. It was designed to survive just about anything nature can throw at it, so it keeps going even if the road doesn’t. The trade-off is that it’s powered by a Kubota-developed, 44-horsepower turbodiesel engine that limits its top speed to 25 mph. It weighs only 2,800 pounds, a figure that makes it about as heavy as a Mini Cooper, so it can be towed with relative ease.

Toyota Land Cruiser

Toyota Land Cruiser

Toyota’s Land Cruiser was recently elected the vehicle that’s most likely to surpass 300,000 miles. And, like the other cars on this list, it’s a cavernous vehicle that can effortlessly carry a full load of passengers and their gear while towing up to 8,100 pounds. It’s moved far upmarket in recent years so it’s more comfortable than many of its truly basic predecessors, yet Toyota made it posher without sacrificing an ounce of its go-anywhere off-road capacity.

Chevrolet Express

Chevrolet Express

Chevrolet’s Express van is about to celebrate its 26th birthday, which makes it absolutely ancient in car years. This old-school, body-on-frame cargo hauler made it this far by offering a simple, time-tested combination of dependability, space, and value. It’s not going to win a gas mileage competition, but it’s big enough to carry up to 15 passengers or haul 4,250 pounds thanks to a 6.6-liter V8. And, regardless of how it’s configured, its biggest advantage is that it’s huge; we’ve seen college dorm rooms that were smaller than its cargo compartment.

Ford Crown Victoria

Ford Crown Victoria

They don’t make ’em like this anymore. Last sold in 2012, the Ford Crown Victoria was considered the holy grail of the automotive industry by millions of police officers and taxi drivers because it keeps going, and going, and going … and going. It’s comfortable, it’s spacious, and it’s straightforward enough that anyone can fix it with basic tools. Put a hitch on it — several aftermarket companies make them — and its V8 will happily tow a camper for miles on end.

Tesla Model S

tesla model s

The range anxiety commonly associated with electric cars largely disappears behind the wheel of a Tesla Model S. The California-based company recently made a series of software and hardware improvements that increased the big sedan’s maximum driving range to 391 miles, a figure that places it at the top of the electric car segment. It’s quick, comfortable, and relaxing to drive, and its cabin is big enough to put a mattress in when all of the seats are folded. Tesla’s vast Supercharger network of fast-charging stations ensures you won’t have to look far for electricity.

Editors' Recommendations

Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
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