Winter is rapidly approaching. And where we live that means, as it does in many other parts of the country, freezing cold weather, filthy slush pools, snowy drifts, and layers of cumbersome and unattractive outerwear. But there is a relatively affordable way to counteract all aspects of this cruelest season: Buy yourself a vintage four-wheel-drive vehicle. Not only will it protect you from the elements, keep you warm, and get you through the worst of the weather (particularly if you shod it with snow tires and take a winter driving class), it will also make you look incredibly stylish and knowledgeable.
Click through the slideshow to see our dozen top picks. Decent examples of every one of them can be had for under $15,000 – less than the cost of the cheapest new car.
1983-1991 Isuzu Trooper
Though clearly inspired by the Range Rover's rectilinear design and off-road prowess, the Trooper was something of the anti-Range, lacking the slathered luxury of its British idol. What it did have was the tenacious underpinnings of the Isuzu Pup compact pickup. It also had massive interior space, amazing 360-degree visibility, a parsimonious 4-cylinder engine, an available manual transmission, and an altimeter built into the dashboard, so you could see how high you were.