Different strokes for different folks. Not all vehicles are created equal, and not all vehicles are designed for the same purpose. Case in point – off-road vehicles. Many people like to take their vehicle into remote, rural areas for excursions that include camping, fishing, hunting and exploring. For those nature explorers, there are many vehicles on the market designed for rugged terrain and hard climbing.
Whether it’s driving up steep dirt embankments, crawling over rocks and boulders, or using a winch to pull themselves out of a culvert or river, these are vehicles designed to withstand the harsh side of mother nature. Here are 10 of the best off-road vehicles on the market today.
10. Jeep Wrangler Rubicon – Hard Rock Edition
The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon remains the gold standard when it comes to 4×4 Jeeps. It’s a vehicle so durable, that it scales rocks as easily as it cruises through city streets. The latest incarnation of the Wrangler Rubicon includes some impressive new features that only serve to enhance this rugged off-roader. These include Dana 44 axles, a 4;1 transfer case to help with slow crawling, an improved suspension and removable sway bars.
The current model of the Wrangler Rubicon also has heavy duty bumpers, tow hooks at the front and rear, and rock rails on all sides to protect the vehicle’s body. This Jeep is so damn tough, it even comes with a specially designed tool kit to help owners remove the doors, roof, and bumpers if needed. Awesome!
9. Nissan Xterra Pro-4X
Consider the Nissan Xterra Pro-4X a fortified SUV. The heavy duty Pro-4X package can be added to Nissan vehicles such as the Titan, Frontier, and Xterra. But it is the Xterra SUV that is best equipped and positioned for off-road adventures.
Built specifically for dirt terrain, the Xterra Pro-4X package gives owners hill descent control, as well as hill start assist that prevents the SUV from rolling backwards when on a steep incline. Outfitted with larger all-terrain tires and top of the line Bilstein shocks, there are few places this vehicle cannot go.
A massive suspension and hard exterior plating round out the rugged offerings on the Xterra Pro-4X. This vehicle was meant to be taken into the woods and driven up and down hillsides. It’s durability is the main reason it has remained one of Nissan’s most popular offerings.
8. Ram Power Wagon
If a typical Ram Heavy Duty truck is not enough power for you, then you may want to consider jumping up a level to the Ram Power Wagon. This takes the monster pick-up truck to a whole new level. It includes an amped up coil link suspension and a sway bar that disconnects with the push of a button to provide even more maneuverability. Locking front and rear differentials help to pull this truck through even the harshest and muddiest terrain.
On the off chance you do find yourself stuck in the Power Wagon, you can use an electric powered winch in the front bumper to pull yourself out of trouble. Able to tow more than 10,000 pounds, the Ram Power Wagon is perfect for big jobs, rough terrain, and powering through just about any type of environment. It’s a truck to be reckoned with.
7. Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro
With a line-up of consistently strong pick-up trucks, the engineers at Toyota have proven that they take off-road driving seriously. The good folks at Toyota are now offering a TRD Pro package for their venerable trucks and SUVs, notably the Tacoma, Tundra, and 4Runner.
The TRD Pro package on the 4Runner SUV gets our vote. Armed with what Toyota calls “crawl control,” the 4Runner basically has a cruise control option for off-road driving. The TRD Pro package also features a supped up suspension, Bilstein shocks, and extremely large BF Goodrich all terrain tires wrapped around beadlock wheels that can grip anything and look pretty intimidating in the process.
Available for about $35,000, the 4Runner also remains one of the most affordable 4×4 vehicles on the market today. And one that is super fun to drive in any conditions.
6. Ford Raptor
Kudos to Ford for continuing to push quality enhancements and overall improvements in all of their vehicles. When it comes to off-road machines that can take the punishment and keep on working, we like the Ford Raptor.
Introduced in 2010, the Raptor continues to be the best performing off-road vehicle in dessert terrain. No other four-wheeled vehicle comes close when driving on sand. Boosted by a 411 horsepower V8 engine, the Ford Raptor is not only capable of scaling any road, it is also extremely fast. A bouncy suspension and massive 35-inch tires help make this truck a dream to drive on sand and dirt.
Independent front suspension and solid-axle rear suspension give the Raptor more wheel space than any other pick-up truck. Add on Fox Racing shocks and carbon fiber brakes and you’ve got the makings of an off-road brute that is capable of speeding over dirt and taking corners with ease. Beauty!
5. Chevy Colorado Z71
As a mid-sized truck, the Chevy Colorado is not the strongest or best at towing heavy loads. But for running down a trail or driving in off-road conditions, there are few vehicles that can equal it. Built on a modified and nimbler chassis than the large full-sized Chevy Silverado, the Colorado is swift and agile.
The body is much lighter than larger trucks and the Z71 package arms this truck with a hill descent control system, automatic locking rear differential, enhanced shocks, and a loose suspension. Now available in a diesel powered version, the Chevy Colorado is ideal for camping and taking into the woods on light trails.
If you want a workhorse hauling truck, then the Colorado may not be the best choice. But if you want to tow a couple of dirt bikes into the woods or throw some fishing rods and tackle in the back and head to the lake for the weekend, than this is your truck.
4. The Range Rover
One of the SUVs most associated with off-road adventures, the Range Rover continues to remain an industry leader when it comes to driving off the beaten path. Don’t let the sleek design and luxury interior fool you. The flagship Land Rover vehicle was built with one purpose in mind – off-road driving.
Fitted with an adjustable air suspension and a high-tech computer controlled “Terrain Response” system that adjusts the four-wheel drive to the road conditions, the Range Rover is fearless in any conditions. Dirt, rock, gravel, sand, up hill and down — it doesn’t matter.
On wooded trails, the Range Rover can elevate on its springs and provide a foot of ground clearance. Did we mention that this vehicle is also capable of crossing water that is up to three feet deep? A five-liter, supercharged V8 engine provides 510 horsepower that helps the Range Rover go from 0-to-60 an hour in five seconds flat. Luxury never looked so good.
3. Jeep Grand Cherokee – Overland
For off-road driving and comfort, look no further than the Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland. Powerful 4×4 action in comfy leather seats never felt so good. A leather covered dashboard, heated front seats, and an Alpine sound system mean you’ll be cruising through the woods in style. Make no mistake though, this is still a vehicle meant for rugged roads and harsh terrain.
Propelled by a 217 horsepower, V6 engine and 4×4 drive train, this is one SUV that can deliver in the difficult spots. The patented Active Drive II four-wheel drive system enables drivers to adjust to slick, sticky, or deep mud conditions. It is designed to make it easy to adapt to any and all roads. Sleek and stylish, the Cherokee Overland is the type of SUV you drive to a wedding that is taking place on the side of a mountain at a wooded retreat.
2. Toyota Land Cruiser
One of the original off-road vehicles and one that is still associated with dirt roads and steep hill climbs, the Toyota Land Cruiser remains one of the most popular vehicles in this class. While the Land Cruiser has been modified over the years to include more bells and whistles, this vehicle remains, at its core, an SUV built for slogging it out on broken rock roads and through mud pits.
What truly sets the Toyota Land Cruiser apart is its huge 381 horsepower V8 engine and its coiled solid axle rear suspension that enables this SUV to bounce over any surface. The suspension in this vehicle literally adjusts to off-road or city street driving conditions. As with the aforementioned 4Runner, Toyota’s Land Cruiser also comes with Crawl Control and brakes that automatically tighten on the outside wheel when taking a tight turn on a narrow trail. It’s not for everyone at a starting price of $80,000. But if you can afford it, the Land Cruiser will not disappoint – in any environment.
1. Ford Super Duty Truck
The previously mentioned Ford Raptor might be the fastest and nimblest truck the company makes, but for sheer power, hauling capability, and off-road crawling ability, look no further than the Ford Super Duty pick-up truck. The “Big Bertha” of trucks, the Super Duty can haul a heavy payload over virtually any surface or terrain.
The axles and suspension on this truck put it in a class of its own. A diesel engine gives this monster some serious power and a mind inflaming 860 pounds of torque – more than enough to pull just about anything you can think of – whether it’s a boat or a boat house. When it comes to off-roaders that are capable of tackling any job, the Super Duty is number one. It really is “Built Ford Tough.”