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You don't need Kanye's Sherp ATV. But you do need a specialized tool for the job. Side By Side Quad
Adventure is in right now. Nearly every crossover on the market offers an off-road appearance package with extra cladding, a nearly imperceptibly lifted suspension and knobbly all-terrain tires. Most of them will get you to your cottage, outdoor campsite or slightly out-of-the-way swimming hole without incident. But if you're embarking on a true adventure into the wilderness (or taking on a robust trail), you need a proper off-road vehicle.
You don't need to borrow Kanye's Sherp ATV. But you need a truck or SUV designed to handle the rough stuff. Often that will be a body-on-frame vehicle, but not always. Here are 20 of our favorites.
We can't wait to see what Toyota does with the next-generation Tacoma, which could go hybrid and all-electric. But the current generation remains rugged, dependable and charming (unless you're driving it on the highway).
The Wrangler descends from the Jeep CJs, which were the original off-roaders. It sticks to tradition with a solid axle. But you can now get virtually any Wrangler you'd want from a Hemi V8-powered monstrosity to a plug-in hybrid with more than 20 miles of EV range.
Ford went all in to challenge the Wrangler with the new Bronco. And they may have built the better all-around vehicle if you're driving on the road. You can't get a road-legal V8 or a hybrid Bronco yet. But you can get a Bronco Raptor.
What would a four-door Jeep Wrangler look like as a truck? Meet the Jeep Gladiator, which has the convenience of a truck bed but still lets you remove the top and doors. It can't clear every obstacle the Wrangler can with its longer wheelbase, but it remains very formidable.
We described the Toyota 4Runner as the Harrison Ford of SUVs. It's old. It's grumpy. It's a bit overpriced. And it plays its one role very well with little depreciation. We can't wait for Toyota to bring the 4Runner into the 2020s with the next generation.
The Grand Cherokee is a unibody crossover. But it's still a Jeep. And unlike the body-on-frame Wagoneer models, the Grand Cherokee is tough and nimble enough to earn Jeep's coveted Trail Rated badge in certain trims. The Trailhawk is the off-road specialist.
Chevy decided not to come after the Wrangler and bestowed the Blazer nameplate on a road-going crossover. But Chevy still offers the ZR2 version of its Colorado midsize pickup, which is all-new for 2023 with a revamped powertrain and a new Desert Boss Package.
Land Rover had to kill off the vintage Defender line for emissions reasons. But the new swankier, unibody Defender remains a supremely capable off-roader and, unlike the past generations, it's nice to drive on-road too.
The Lexus GX — known as the smaller, cheaper Toyota Land Cruiser Prado in other markets — is ancient. 2023 will be the current generation's 14th year on sale. It's an old-school, naturally-aspirated V8-powered Toyota truck beneath the Lexus veneer — though a new generation is on the way.
The GMC Canyon had been somewhat of an afterthought. But the new model is getting a new AT4X trim, the GMC answer to the ZR2. It comes with 33-inch maximum traction tires, a three-inch suspension lift, front and rear e-lockers, a heavy-duty skid plate, rock sliders and 430 lb-ft of torque. It also has Terrain, Off-Road and Baja drive modes.
The Chevrolet Tahoe is a family hauler. But it's still a proper truck. And the Z71 off-roading version comes with some helpful hardware like a front skid plate, recovery hooks, all-terrain tires and a mechanical limited-slip differential.
Chevy has thus far declined to chase Ford and Ram into the 700-hp land of the dinosaurs. But they did add a top-of-the-line ZR2 version with a two-inch lift, chunkier 33-inch MT tires, Multimatic DSSV dampers and locking front and rear differentials.
There are many three-row SUVs out there. Few of them can deliver more than 800 hp and 900 lb-ft of torque without using a drop of gas, hike up to nearly 15 inches of ground clearance and carry five toddlers in car seats like the Rivian R1S.
The Rivian R1T was our GP100 Game Changer in 2021. It can go anywhere a pickup could conceivably go off-road — easily. It can accelerate from 0-60 mph in less than four seconds. And adventures were always on the mind, whether it was the gear tunnel behind the rear seats that can fit a camp kitchen or the new Camp Mode.
The Ford F-150 Raptor profoundly changed the truck world and the off-roading one. It's still crazy quick, with more than a foot of suspension travel on both axles. You can now order one on 37-inch tires from the factory. And, yes, Ford responded to Ram with a 700-horsepower V8 in the Raptor R.
GMC added a new Sierra 1500 AT4X trim for the 2023 mid-cycle refresh. It gets Multimatic DSSV dampers, front and rear e-lockers, enhanced underbody protection and one-pedal driving in 4-low. Need a little more steel armor? Check out the AEV edition.
Ram challenged Ford's supertruck hegemony with the 702 hp 1500 TRX. It can accelerate from 0-60 mph in less than four seconds with launch control. It weighs 6,400 lbs. It earns ten mpg in city driving. You'll have to level up closer to $100,000 to get all the modern conveniences. The Sandblast Edition adds beadlock wheels.
We did not get the new J300 Toyota Land Cruiser in America. But we still get its fancier TNGA-F platform sibling, the Lexus LX 600. The LX 600 looks and sounds fancy — and it is. But it's still an inveterate Toyota truck underneath. We'd opt for the Premium trim for off-roading, which adds the Adaptive Variable Suspension but keeps the smaller wheels.
The new Hummer is an electric car. But it's even more audacious than the original. This 9,000-plus pound behemoth can accelerate from 0-60 mph like a Porsche, hike up to nearly 16 inches of ground clearance and even walk sideways. The only problem is finding a trail that will fit it.
The Mercedes G-Wagen is supremely impressive at everything except conserving fuel. And demand from G-Wagen customers — most of whom will never scratch the surface of what the truck can do — is insatiable, even with the base price now a staggering $140,000. If you're fretting about the G-Wagen's future, don't. Mercedes is building an electric one and building out an entire G sub-brand.
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