Top Truck Features for Off-Roading
It’s fair to say that hardcore off-roading vehicles are equipped with four-wheel drive that includes low-range gearing, as opposed to all-wheel-drive without the 4-Lo option. The differences mean a lot when you’re deep into off-road territory, and having four-wheel drive can significantly decrease your likelihood of getting stuck. For all the details on the differences between four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive, check out our exhaustive AWD vs. 4WD breakdown.
Along with four-wheel drive, tire choice is very important when you explore the great outdoors, with knobby all-terrain tires allowing for more grip in rocky, muddy and just generally slippery situations. These off-road-focused tires will decrease fuel economy a bit, but they’ll provide much more capability when you need it the most. Every truck on our list comes with four-wheel drive and off-road-oriented tires, which helps cement their status as dedicated off-road vehicles. Most trucks on our list also come with a numerically higher axle ratio, which allows for more of the engine’s available torque to flow to the wheels. Combine off-road-ready features with the smooth delivery of low-end torque and you’re off to a great start.
Abundant ground clearance is also top of mind when it comes to off-road priorities. The higher up off the ground you are, the less likely you are to get caught on a rock, a stump or an obstacle of any kind. You’re also less likely to flood the engine or the cabin at water crossings. High ground clearance is often paired with improved approach and departure angles, as well as breakover angle. The approach angle is calculated at the front of the vehicle, while the departure angle is calculated at the back. One easy way to think of these angles is in terms of their relationship to the bumpers and tires of a vehicle: The closer the tires are to the front and rear of the car, the higher the approach and departure angles are, and the more capable a vehicle will be off-road. High approach and departure angles mean you’re less likely to scrape a bumper, or get one stuck and stop your progress entirely. A high breakover angle means you’re less likely to get hung up and damage something between the tires.
Whether you’re looking for an agile midsize truck with formidable off-road abilities, a full-size truck with some extra towing power and passenger space, or a heavy-duty rig with an abundance of torque, there’s an off-road truck for everyone. To pick the pickup that’s right for you, use the Edmunds comparison tool, build and price your vehicle, and check out the dealership prices in your area. You’ll be wreaking havoc on the Rubicon Trail in no time.