As more and more people discover the joys of off-road adventures, SUV sales have exploded. It allows people to see more and explore more, especially knowing they are equipped with the best vehicles for the terrains. It is for thrill seekers who thrive under challenges.
But with so much choice out there it can be hard to know which vehicle best suits your off-road needs, with that in mind, here’s an insight into the essential adaptations to create the best off-roading vehicle and a guide to the top 5 off-roading SUVs around and the terrain that suits them best.
There is no point spending a lot of money on a new SUV and not equipping it with the best tires for the job. Unsuitable tires will negatively impact both your trail enjoyment and the performance of the vehicle, plus there are potential safety issues should you get stuck. It is essential your tires have the correct tire pressure as it is recommended you start with 20 PSI but it all depends on the size of your vehicle and wheel and the weight of the car.
An all-terrain tire such as the z-shaped grooved nitto tires is a great choice for off-roading, with its hybrid, rock and mud design. The grooves clear away mud and stones from under the tire, improving traction, while shoulder lugs provide gripping edges on the sidewall of the tire which improves traction in deep, unstable, terrain.
There are some easy adaptations you can make to any vehicle before you hit the trail in order to make sure it meets all of your off-roading needs. The most effective of these is a new set of tires. It is important to invest in quality when buying additional parts or upgrading the vehicle.
An adaptation that is wise to invest in, is also a winch if your car does not already have one. It can be a lifesaver if you find yourself in a rather difficult situation. It is an essential tool for not only your own use, but it can also come in handy for the aid of other off-roaders who may have become stuck.
Land Rover Defender
The Defender has been around for years, and its classic design may not appeal to everyone, but this iconic brand is still producing excellent cars. Considered one of the most reliable and rugged vehicles around, the Defender offers assured off-road capabilities with a considerable amount of luxury thrown in – thanks to its impressive interiors and infotainment features.
The top of the range 130, which comes with a whole host of off-roading features, including Wade Sensing technology, All Wheel Drive, Electronic Air Suspension with Adaptive Dynamics, Terrain Response system and a Clear Sight Ground View live feed camera.
The Wrangler has been one of the most popular off-road vehicles for years, thanks to its raw power and superb off-road capabilities. The classic design still looks great, plus there’s the option to remove the doors and roof, depending on your chosen trail.
It has the desired feature of a solid axle design and its dynamic 4 x 4 drivetrain which makes it the perfect sturdy and powerful SUV to go on the trickiest and roughest terrains.
It won’t win prizes for luxury with its rugged interiors, but that’s not what the Wrangler is about, so while it may lack some of the refinements and high-tech features of its rivals, it’s without doubt, the most fun to drive.
The new Ford Bronco is much like the Land Rover defender, with designers taking it’s classic, iconic styling and sympathetically updating it for more modern tastes. The new version continues to excel when it comes to off-road capability, offering a practical multi-purpose crossover vehicle at a great price. All of which explains the Bronco’s loyal following and why getting your hands on a new model from a dealer is proving almost impossible.
The Bronco was the original Ford All-Purpose vehicle when it was launched in 1966, and the new models, fitted with Ford’s exclusive Terrain Management System continue that pioneering legacy. This car isn’t about style or comfort, it’s about history, adventure, and the open trail.
Ram 1500 TRX
The 702-hp Ram can reach 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds, making it the quickest off-road vehicle we’ve come across. Sure, its supercharged HEMI 6.2-liter V-8 means fuel efficiency and running costs aren’t great, and good luck finding a parking space, but this car is all about the great outdoors.
The TRX is the first RAM to have launch control, and the Black Hawk e2 shocks are the most advanced off-road shocks found on a production pickup truck. Ground clearance is an impressive 11.8 inches, with 13 inches of suspension travel up front and 14 inches in the rear, plus there are eight drive modes to choose from depending on the terrain.
The Ram 1500 TRX is designed to be durable with enhanced stability, not to mention the 2023 RAM 1500 TRX that is assembled with a 98% high-strength steel frame.
Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro
The 2023 Toyota 4Runner comes in 8 different models, so there’s something for everyone here, but it’s the TRD Pro that really stands out. The design may be over a decade old, but record sales numbers suggest there’s no need to change a winning formula.
The Pro comes with a whole list of impressive extras, including aluminium front skid plate, high-performance shocks and TRD-tuned front springs, a Multi-Terrain Monitor, Crawl Control, Multi-Terrain ABS, electronic locking rear differential and Part-time 4WD. Plus there’s its famous reliability and huge cargo space to seal the deal. Yes, it guzzles gas, but it ticks every box for an off-road vehicle.
There is a clear difference between off-roading vehicles and on-road vehicles, due to the nature of the terrain associated with off-roading. It is down to the ground clearance, suspension, tires etc. Regardless of where you are choosing to go off-road, whether it is in the mountains, sand dunes or forest, it is essential to select the correct SUV/4×4 for the terrain.