High Water Vehicles for Floods: 7 Vehicles to Escape High Water Doom

August 26, 2021 7 min read

best bug out vehicles

When the storm comes, you want to get out fast.

What better way to escape the impending doom that comes raining down from the sky than with the best bug-out vehicle in town! What’s your flavor?

Do you want something that can travel through heavy waters with ease? Then you’ll need a ride that has a high wade depth. Want something that can trek over destroyed and laid-out terrain? Then you’ll need to look for a vehicle with good ground clearance.

Want to be able to surf right through even the highest of waters?

Then you’ll probably need a submarine car. Like The Submarine Sports Car - Hammacher Schlemmer. Costing a mere $2.5 million.

Sadly, they no longer produce the submarine sports car. It probably wouldn't be very effective in a flash flood’s mudslide anyways. But, there are alternative amphibious cars out there.

Ones that are more affordable and would undoubtedly provide more protection than the Toyota Prius your neighbor drives. Don’t be afraid during the next torrential downpour. Style and affordability be damned.

If you can get your hands on one of these bad boys, you’ll be set the next time mother nature decides to unleash a Genesi-category flood. Just throw your emergency food in the back and get out of town!

Here are the seven best bug out vehicles to have during a flash-flood emergency.

The 7 Best Amphibious Vehicles to Escape Doom

7. The Ford Ecosport

best bug out vehicles ford ecosport

The Ford Ecosport may not be the best-looking vehicle in the built Ford tough lineup, but it certainly carries one of the most impressive characteristics for a bug-out vehicle when it comes to traveling through a flood.

The Ford Ecosport puts most SUVs out there to shame with the ability to transverse through 21.5” of water with ease!

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When it only takes 12” of water to carry a vehicle away, being to take on nearly double that average and still make it work on time is one heck of an edge you can have over every other car on the road.

In addition, the SUV model’s above-average gas mileage will guarantee you plenty of time to get out of the storm. And, the spacious cargo capacity means it has plenty of room to store the rest of your survival food when SHTF.

  • MSRP: From $20,395
  • MPG: Up to 27 city / 29 highway
  • Dimensions: 161″ L x 70″ W x 65″ H
  • Towing Capacity: 1,400 to 2,000 lbs
  • Horsepower: 123 to 166 hp
  • Wade Depth: 546 mm

6. The Jeep Wrangler

jeep wrangler

I personally believe this is one of the most symbolically American cars out there!

The Jeep Wrangler was there with our troops in world war two, and during the next flood, it can be there for you!

With an outstanding wade depth of 29.9”, you’ll move right through the floodwater as if it was a puddle. Its tighter dimensions and lift allow water to pass around and under the car with less resistance than other vehicles.

Plus, The wrangler has one of Jeep’s most extensive ground clearances at 10.9”.

With all that and a reinforced chassis, you’ll be able to take this tried-and-true bug-out vehicle right over toppled terrain and even the abandoned cars that got swept away.

  • MSRP: From $28,070
  • MPG: Up to 22 city / 29 highway
  • Towing Capacity: 2,000 to 3,500 lbs
  • Horsepower: 260 to 470 hp
  • Curb Weight: 3,948 to 5,103 lbs G.
  • Clearance: 9.4” to 10.9”
  • Wade Depth: 760 mm

5. Toyota Land Cruiser

toyota land cruiser

Ironic that a car named after cruising land would make it onto an amphibious vehicles list. After 60 years of offroading service, 2021 marks the last year for the Toyota Land Cruiser, and it’s a shame too.

In comparison, this water car was a staple for off-roading water travel with the ability to drive through 27.6 inches of water, but where it lacks those few inches, it makes up for class and durability.

The models have taken pride in their V-8 engines with the 5.7-L capability to give it a meaty 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. It also carried one of the best flood safety ratings for a vehicle on the market.

It is designed to keep the electrical systems safe and operational when flood water rises above the wading depth. And, it comes bottom sealed to make sure you’re ready to travel once the tires touch pavement again.

  • MSRP: From $85,665
  • MPG: 13 city / 17 highway
  • Towing Capacity: 8,100 lbs
  • Horsepower: 381 hp
  • Dimensions: 195″ L x 78″ W x 74″ H
  • Wade Depth: 700mm

4. Land Rover Range Rover

range rover

Not only will this vehicle help you escape certain doom, but it’ll also give you the comfort and security to take the scenic tour as you bug out.

This Range Rover will keep you nice and dry as it wades through nearly 35” of the storm’s floodwater. If you don’t believe me, then why don’t you let the car tell you itself.

Of all the bells and whistles, the 2021 Models come equipped with an optional Wade Sensing System that notifies you of the exact water level surrounding your car at any given time.

A pretty useful feature to let you know when confidently claim “it’s probably not that deep” is BS or not.

Even if the vehicle comes adrift, as long as one tire can touch the ground and gain traction, the pivoting equilibrium system will guarantee you’ll still be able to move along in a timely fashion. And, it better, for the staggering cost of a small house.

  • Body Style: SUV
  • MSRP: From $92,000
  • Make: Land Rover
  • Wheelbase: 115 to 122.9″
  • Engine: 3.0 L 6-cylinder, 5.0 L V8
  • Wade Depth: 889 mm

3. The Ford Ranger

ford ranger

The Ford Ranger is the default go-to for a top-of-the-line bug-out pick-up truck on the market today for people looking for a more economical option. This truck doesn’t mess around with its wade depth at 31.5”.

However, where it excels in clearance and flood travel, it falls short in horsepower and towing capability. While the Ranger’s 2.3-L 4-cylinder engine is decent enough to get the job done in a pinch, the 3,500lb towing capacity and 270-Horse Power pales compared to the next spot on this list (not like that’s really a fair comparison, though).

The most significant attribute of this water car is undoubtedly the impressive wade depth and ground clearance. Especially compared to the cost of other vehicles on this list.

With its modest price tag coming in at just under 25 grand, it’s hard to argue against this amphibious vehicle being the right tool for the job without going overkill.

It’s affordable, effective, and economically the best bug-out vehicle that’s flood resilient.

  • MSRP: From $24,820
  • Towing Capacity: 3,500 lbs
  • MPG: Up to 21 city / 26 highway
  • Horsepower: 270 hp
  • Engine: 2.3 L 4-cylinder

2. Land Rover Defender

land rover defender

This shouldn’t come as a surprise if you know your bugout vehicles. The next model of the Land Rover Defender had some historically significant, muddy, boots to fill.

After a consistently impressive lineup, the latest iteration made some major pre-release promises that built up our anticipation for the big boy. And, we’re happy to say, we weren’t let down in the slightest.

The 2020 model set out to make this the pinnacle of amphibious vehicles with its extreme wading depth of 35.5”. That's no water storage tank! If the vehicle runs into problems getting stuck in a mudslide, the wench attachment combined with its 8,000 lb towing capacity and 518-horse power engine would have it out of the muck quick.

Of course, the near $50,000 starting price may impact your choice to get this grade-A bugout vehicle at first, but know that price is well deserved due to this military and expedition vehicle’s off-road capability and engineering superiority.

  • MSRP: From $47,700
  • MPG: Up to 18 city / 21 highway
  • Towing Capacity: 7,716 to 8,201 lbs
  • Dimensions: 180-198″ L x 79″ W x 77-78″ H
  • Curb Weight: 4,550 to 5,735 lbs
  • Wade Depth: 900 mm

And The Top Spot For “Best Amphibious Vehicle" Goes To...

1. The 1967 Volkswagen Beetle

vw floating ad

Obviously, this is a joke. If you’re looking for the absolute top spot, it undoubtedly goes to the Land Rover Defender.

But, the fact that the 1967 Volkswagon Beetle has the reputation of being the first vehicle to float on the water makes it a novel champion for this list. The Original beetle became infamous for its ability to float on water. I don’t know who was the first person to discover this, but they must have been quite happy not to sink.

Ads quickly began using this to their benefit.

Commercials demonstrated this by driving the car straight off a dock and into a pond for it to float away into the sunset. Despite leading the car floating for only a few seconds in the commercial, people quickly assumed it was a James Bond style hybrid boat car.

A voice-over in future commercials would confirm some speculation, stating, “Yes, the Volkwagon beetle does float.” Followed by a disclaimer, “...But, it won’t float indefinitely”.

The peoples’ curiosity would improve them because they wanted to find out exactly how long it would float. The explanation as to why the VW could float is due to its simplicity. The automotive’s unibody design was faceted to a floor plan with very few openings.

The seal around the doors was extremely tight. As long as the body did not sustain any rust spots, it would float adrift for quite a while.

Those curious minds, who wanted to know precisely how long the car would coast, were brave enough to put several Bugs to the test. And, concluded that the average float time is… 42 minutes 35 seconds.

It’s debatable whether that drift time would be sufficient enough for you and the car to make it any location that would be considered safe.

In fact, since the vehicle is only floating on the floodwater surface, you would be carried along with the current to an unknown location.

And an unfamiliar place is nowhere near as safe as a planned one. And, since the testing environment has only been conducted on the surface of still water and gentle streams, i.e., ponds, lakes, lazy rivers, etc., it probably wouldn’t fare well against the raging waters and floating debris of a flood.

A good laugh for an outrageous fishing trip, but a wrong bug-out vehicle (no pun intended) for escaping doom.