off-road vehicles

What You Need to Know About Buying Off-Road Vehicles

If you’re looking for a vehicle that can take your adventures off-road, you need a specific type of model. You’ll find trucks and sport utility vehicles built with features that help them traverse various terrain. But not all off-road vehicles are the same. Learn about these models before you go shopping.

What buying off-road vehicles means

Just because a model is listed as off-road capable, it doesn’t mean it can take on all the challenges that lie ahead. For some vehicles, off-road just means it can drive over grass and dirt, but don’t give it anything more difficult.

Other models are designed specifically for getting off the pavement. For instance, when thinking about off-road vehicles, the Jeep Wrangler is one model that should come to mind. This SUV is designed for that purpose and every aspect focuses on it, from the high ground clearance to the wash-out floor with drain plugs. Not only can the Wrangler traverse sand, rocks, water, and mud, it makes the task look easy.

The Wrangler even looks tough with its trapezoidal wheel arches and removable top and doors. But even this model has two levels of off-roading: the basic level for any trim and the Trail Rated models. A Trail Rated Wrangler can climb over boulders, ford streams, and add to your fun in many ways.

Choosing your off-road vehicle

While the Wrangler may be easy to identify as a premium off-road model, it might not be so easy to know about other vehicles. Terms can be used quite casually when referring to off-roading, but they may not be exactly what you need. It pays to take the time to understand which features will make your chosen vehicle the perfect option for going off-road.

All-wheel drive or at least four-wheel drive is one of the most important features to have when off-roading. All-wheel drive means the four wheels are being powered at all times while four-wheel drive usually allows you to switch from two-wheel drive for those times when extra power is needed. Four-wheel drive can come in high and low, which provides more traction when the situation requires it.

Ground clearance is another feature to consider. In general, you need about 8.5 inches of clearance to take on most off-road environments. However, you’ll find vehicles with 11 inches or even more, which allows you to tackle rocky terrain and steep hills with confidence.

Other terms to pay attention to are the angles for approach, breakover, and departure. What these numbers represent is how steep the incline, descent, or obstacle can be, still allowing your vehicle to make it over without damaging the bumpers or undercarriage.

For the most capable of off-roading vehicles, you’ll want to consider the suspension system, tires, and wheels. While you can add these accessories after purchase, you must be careful of altering your vehicle and voiding your warranty. It’s much safer to purchase the off-road parts at the time of sale and customize your ride from the start.

Other off-road vehicles to consider

Even though the Jeep Wrangler is arguably the best representation of an off-road vehicle, other brands do offer some practical and impressive options. For instance, Toyota provides two options with the 4Runner and Land Cruiser to take you off the beaten path. The 4Runner features a high ground clearance to overcome larger obstacles. An extra benefit is these two models have space for seven passengers. The Land Cruiser also provides more comfort amenities, making it the perfect combination of off-roading fun and family ride.

Other Jeep models can take you off-road even if they don’t have the capability for adventure of the Wrangler. For example, the Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Renegade are two models that boast some off-roading capability with the Trailhawk trim.

Off-roading in a truck

While SUVs are the primary choice when going off the pavement, trucks are designed to work in remote areas and offer impressive capability over various terrain. The downside for some full-size models is they are too large to take on some adventures as easily as a mid-size truck.

One of the premier off-roading trucks is the Jeep Gladiator. In fact, it has been hailed as the Wrangler with a truck bed. This model is probably the closest option to the Wrangler with the ability to take on the toughest terrain. Toyota offers the TRD Off-Road models for its trucks with the Tacoma and Tundra to provide more capability. Most truck manufacturers offer special off-road packages, which can be added to any truck and some SUVs. Just remember that not all of them will have the extreme capability that you might be seeking, so consider your options carefully based on what you want to do when you blaze your own trail. 


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Joyce Morse Farinella
Hello! My name’s Joyce Morse Farinella and I’m a full-time writer who loves to research interesting and strange topics and explain them to others. I also enjoy hanging out with my daughter and being a foster parent. I love to travel and hang out at home, getting writing inspiration from both."

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