Making regular cars look off-roady has become a big thing this year. You can thank the rise of The Gambler 500 and lingering popularity of Mad Max: Fury Road for some of the lifted Crown Vics that have been thrashing your Instagram feed, but for “practical” adventuring I think a little lifted SUV is the way to go.

Early cute-utes like the first Honda CR-Vs, Toyota RAV4s and Mercedes MLs have the off-road competence to get across gravel, and a good set of tires plus a shovel will get you the rest of the way to wherever you could possibly want to go.

The design of these early compact SUVs, the first crossovers, really, even looks reasonably rugged compared to today’s jellybeans. But a big set of tires, well, do you see where I’m going with this?

Put some big-ass knobby tires on an old CR-V and become an instant badass. It’s likely that you’ll be replacing axles and ball joints more often than you might like to, but I have a feeling you’ll be more mobile than your Jeep buddies since you’ll be burning about half the fuel to go twice as far.

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These cars are a couple grand, the right set of wheels is maybe $1,500 more, and as j0rdanpears0n has proven here, that’s a recipe for a righteous-looking adventure rig. (The rubber here is 30 inches tall/9.5 inches wide, which is smaller than the stock tire on a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon).

I think we’re going to start seeing more of these and I am OK with that.