5 cars better on sand than they are on the road

Leave the supercar at home. You need one of these beasts if you’re going to tackle some of the UAE’s sand dunes.

Neil Churchill February 4, 2015

The above video is rare footage of the founder of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed, driving through the Abu Dhabi desert in his limousine. That's right, his limousine.

Not a big 4x4 off-roader, but a car that today you would only see on smooth, hard concrete roads. And it might just be one of the coolest videos we've ever seen. However, you are not Sheikh Zayed and do not possess the driving skills or knowledge of the desert he quite evidently had. That's why we recommend you stick to any of the below cars for your next dune bashing trip into the desert.

Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6
Price: AED 2.3 million

In all honesty, you're not going to find a better car to take into the desert than this, and the reason is an obvious one. Whatever a decent 4x4 can do on sand, the 6x6 G-Wagen can do with its metaphorical eyes shut. Its four-wheeled version, the G63, would also do the job with ease, but if you have a big enough bank balance to afford the 6-wheeler, then why wouldn't you? Best cars for the desert.

Toyota Land Cruiser
Price: AED 200,000

We'd argue the Land Cruiser is the UAE's most popular car, and for good reason. Long before the UAE had roads of smooth tarmac, traversing the desert and off-roading was the main way of getting from one emirate to the next.

Of course camels were the original mode of transport for bedouin tribes, but the Land Cruiser has been around long enough to call sand dunes from the Liwa Desert to the Empty Quarter home. Best cars for the desert. Toyota FJ Cruiser
Price: AED 108,000

What began as a concept car in 2003 has become one of the UAE's most loved off-road vehicles. As if to prove its popularity and sales success in the region, the Japanese company announced last year that it would stop selling the FJ Cruiser, except for in a few selected markets, one being the Middle East. Best cars for the desert. Jeep Wrangler
Price: AED 84,000

Off-road cars don't come cooler than the Jeep Wrangler. The retro, shrunken style of the car has made it a firm favourite for dune bashers in the UAE. After all, if you're going to go speeding across the desert, why not do it in something that sets you apart.

There's been a huge number of model variations since its creation in 1986 - including military versions - but we'd suggest the Islander or Mountain editions. Best cars for the desert. Land Rover Series I
Price: around AED 110,000

A classic in the 4x4 market - one of the first off-roaders ever in fact - the Land Rover Series I may not be for aggressive dune bashing, but with no roof and the 1950s styling, you will easily be the coolest guy in the desert. Rare and hard to find nowadays, there is a safari tour company in Dubai that still uses a fleet of them. Best cars for the desert.