Car Lists

Nine Best Off-Road Truck Trims

Just a mild shock and sticker package? No way!

Just a mild shock and sticker package? No way!

Off-road truck trims are a conundrum. People like the idea of them, but consumer surveys and studies have shown that few trucks are driven off the pavement often. The thought of having utility (a truck does have a bed), off-road capability, and more comfort (usually) than a Jeep Wrangler is intriguing. So here are the nine best recent off-road truck trims.

2012 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor

Conversations on off-road truck trims all flow downhill from a single source: the mighty Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. Or, more simply, the Raptor.

For the uninitiated: A 6.2-liter V-8 is paired with a six-speed automatic, four-wheel drive, and a suspension that makes you feel like a hero off the road and doesn’t punish you on the road.

In comparison after comparison, the Raptor was chosen as the best out-of-the-box off-road truck. But the conversation doesn’t end with the Raptor. Not everyone is looking for that level of off-road madness.

Ram 1500 Rebel

Sure, you can get the Ram 1500 Rebel with the base Pentastar V-6, but you’ll want to spring for the 395-hp, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. Outside of the dealer-built Ram Runner a few years ago, the Rebel is the most serious off-road truck you can purchase straight from the Ram dealership.

We liked it on-road but felt it lacked a special something when off the highway in a recent comparison.

Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

Toyota‘s Tundra TRD Pro is the flagship of the automaker’s off-road portfolio, and it perhaps comes closer to a true Ford Raptor competitor than anything else on the market.

The 5.6-liter V-8 under the hood cranks out 381 hp, giving it more than enough grunt to throw some rocks, and the suspension is tuned in such a way that the truck inspires confidence off-road but doesn’t make you suffer everywhere else.

Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

The Tundra TRD Pro is a champ in the big whoops and high-speed off-road running. The smaller Tacoma TRD Pro is quite a bit cheaper, but it’s also a bit less capable.

The Tacoma is far more comfortable at moderate speeds and would make a nice companion for occasional fire-road ripping.

Nissan Frontier Pro-4X

Throw the Nissan Frontier Pro-4X at something more significant than a fire road, and you’ll be surprised when it handles it without breaking a sweat. The Frontier isn’t known for being the most refined smallish pickup, but it does compose itself nicely when the dirt road gets rutted and twisty.

Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss

The Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss is an intriguing combination: Goodyear Wrangler DuraTex tires, supplemental LED lighting, a revised suspension, front recovery hooks, hill descent control, and an automatic locking rear differential.

It’s not a mini-Raptor, but the Colorado Z71 Trail Boss, perhaps with the new Duramax turbodiesel, sounds like an excellent truck for hitting the trails and fire roads.

Ram 2500 Power Wagon

A heavy-duty six-speed automatic, 410 hp, and some 6,700 pounds (3,039 kg) of metal: The Ram 2500 Power Wagon is comfortable and capable on-road, and it’s also surprisingly good off-road.

We took one rock crawling in Sedona, Arizona, and were impressed with how competently the full-size truck handled boulders and steep climbs.

2012 Ram 1500 Mopar Ram Runner

Ah, the Ram Runner. Buyers could take their brand-new Ram 1500 and throw the Mopar off-road parts catalog at it. The Ram 1500 became a legitimate threat on the performance front to the Ford Raptor.

Unfortunately, the window sticker never said “Ram Runner,” and the customer had to wait for the truck to be built. At this point many of those trucks are out of factory warranty limits, so turning to a respected aftermarket tuner might be the best plan if you’re thinking about a Ram Runner now.

2017 Ford F-150 Raptor

Will we be quoting Arthurian legend when it comes to the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor? It might remain the once and future king of the off-road trucks.

The new truck is slated to get a powerful iteration of Ford’s 3.5-liter, twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 that will crank out 450 hp and likely surpass the 434 lb-ft the previous truck’s V-8 produced. The same engine in the “regular” F-150 puts out 365 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. This is looking good. A 10-speed automatic will send power to the four corners, and mechanical lockers will make sure the truck can get traction.

Maybe might does make right.