It could be hard to comprehend, but there are over 120 SUV models (all classes) sold globally.
It is incredible how in just a decade, SUVs have managed to kill station wagons, obliterated the minivan market, and endanger the sales of sedans and compact cars. Just look at any busy street in the world, and you will see that they are everywhere.
However, what you see is just a sea of ordinary family wagons or crossovers, with higher ground clearance, front-wheel-drive and comfortable suspension. Even though all of them using an off-road image to boost sales, the reality is that none of them have any real off-road usability.
Fortunately, there are still few real off-road vehicles offered to enthusiasts who value rock-crawling more than how it looks parked in front of the downtown coffee shop. If you are one of those guys or gals, then here is the breakdown of the top off-road trucks of 2020.
Top Off-Road Trucks: Ford F-150 Raptor
The second generation of Ford’s insane Raptor truck has been on the market since 2017, and it can be best described as a “supercar for the desert.”
Powered by 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 with 450 hp, Raptor is capable of delivering very convincing on on-road performance while providing its owners with exceptional off-road usability.
This is way more than just a cool name and graphics package, and Ford gave the Raptor a unique suspension setup, beefed chassis, special electronic package, heavy-duty shocks, and off-road tires. All of this means that you can comfortably take Raptor to the Baja 1000 race and win.
Best Off-Roaders: Jeep Wrangler
The classic of the off-road genre is better than ever before. Offered in three body styles (two, four-door, and as a pickup truck), the Jeep Wrangler is globally recognized as the off-road hero.
Featuring body-on-frame construction paired with modern engines and technology is one of the best such vehicles you can buy. It is not as smooth as some other competitors in urban driving conditions; when the pavement stops, Wrangler is in its element. For the next model year, it will be offered with a mighty 450 hp Hemi V8 engine.
Top Off-Road Trucks: Chevrolet Colorado ZR2
For those who want Ford Raptor but cannot afford its $53,000 base price, Chevrolet is offering the Colorado ZR2.
Smaller and lighter, but every bit as usable and competent, the Colorado is significantly cheaper. Powered by 3.6-liter V6 or modern 2.8-liter diesel, the ZR2 package consists of numerous heavy-duty upgrades, suspension modifications, and off-road specific systems. The US Army uses its version of Colorado ZR2, which is a testament to its capabilities.
Popular Off-Road Trucks: Toyota 4Runner TRD
On sale since 2010, the current generation of the Toyota 4Runner TRD is still one of the best off-road SUVs you can buy, which is confirmed by annual sales numbers.
Powered by a 4.0-liter V6 with 270 hp, the 4Runner is not as powerful as some of its competitors, but its well-engineered chassis and rigid suspension make up for it. This is a rugged and dependable off-road SUV designed to carry, tow, and climb, all of which it does well, hence the popularity.
Top Off-Road Trucks: Land Rover Defender
In 2019, Land Rover presented the all-new Defender, which is the first significant redesign this model had in 40-odd years.
Continuing with the tradition of the definitive off-road model, the new Defender features compact dimensions, recognizable design, and two body styles (two and four-door). The biggest news is entirely new hardware, engines, and a host of modern technology, something classic Defenders never knew.
The first magazine tests and the review showed that the current Defender hadn’t lost a bit of its legendary toughness but unfortunately grew significantly more expensive with a starting price of over $46,000.
Between the Raptor and Colorado ZR2: RAM Rebel
While we are waiting for the insane, Hellcat-powered Ram TRX with 707 HP (shown above), due for sale in 2021, we might look at Ram Rebel.
Based on a regular Ram 1500 truck, Rebel is a mild off-road package for people who find Raptor too obnoxious and expensive and Colorado ZR2 too small.
Equipped with heavy-duty suspension, skid plates, big all-terrain tires, and higher ground clearance, Ram is perfectly balanced for on and off-road use. Apart from the standard Hemi V8, which would be our logical choice, Chrysler offers a fuel-efficient 3.0-liter diesel V6 as an option.
Top Off-Road Trucks: Toyota Land Cruiser
With body-on-frame construction, powerful engines, and dedicated engineering, Toyota Land Cruiser might be the last of the classic SUVs still on sale.
It is big, bulky, and filled with luxury appointments, but it is still surprisingly capable and usable off-road. Some say that the 2020 Land Cruiser is, in fact, a V8-powered and upscale 4Runner, which is not far from the truth. Especially when ordered in the attractive Heritage model, which comes with roof-rack, off-road tires, and lots of off-road goodies.
Luxury Off-Road Trucks: Mercedes G-Class
Even though Mercedes is satisfied with the G-Class’s popularity, we feel that it is a great injustice that this model is not used the way it was designed.
The G-Class started its life as a military vehicle with a very advanced chassis and drivetrain with a three differential set up. In the last 40 years, it gradually moved from being a recovery vehicle in the Alps and light infantry vehicle in many European Armies to décor of hip hop videos riding on 24-inch chrome wheels.
However, those willing to take a $130,000 Mercedes off-road will be surprised how capable it is.