The Top 6 Vehicles for Off-Roading
Off-roading enthusiasts look for specific features when shopping around for that next adventuring vehicle. Does the model offer sufficient road clearance? What’s the towing capacity? How does a model’s off-roading capabilities compare to other vehicles in its class? Can it handle sand, mud, standing water, and snow? You have a lot of questions, and luckily, there are many models currently on the market designed to tick all the boxes. Whether you’re a seasoned off-roader or you’re just now getting into the game, here are some of the best off-roading vehicles you can buy:
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4×4
The 2016 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon offers a slew of components that are the stuff of every off-roader’s dreams. While any Wrangler is more than capable, the hefty Rubicon sport utility vehicle features a swaybar disconnect system that frees up the suspension on the toughest trails, plus a 4:1 transfer case that provides slow-speed crawling when you need it. With its 17-inch polished mineral gray wheels, Tru-Lock locking differentials, wash-out interior with drain plugs, lockable center console storage, and premium sound system, this is one stylishly capable SUV you can’t wait to drive.
Dodge Ram 2500 Wagon
A truck may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of off-roading, but heavy-duty Ram trucks have had a place in four-wheeling since their inception. Simply put, Dodge Ram is the most capable off-road pickup currently on the market, drawing in countless buyers who prefer the rugged truck experience over an SUV. While any of the Ram 2500 trucks will do, the Power Wagon Crew Cab 4×4 stands out with its 6.4-liter Hemi and a 12,000-pound winch. Drivers will appreciate the hill descent control, ample interior, in-floor storage bins, large gauges, and 10,000-pound tow rating.
The latest Renegade may offer a modern, untraditional styling most off-roaders aren’t accustomed to, but it’s built for adventure. One of the most unexpected things about the new Renegade is its My Sky dual-panel roof, which can be removed and stored for an open-air experience. This SUV comes equipped with hill start assist, remote keyless entry, 16-inch steel wheels, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and a personalized instrument cluster that make driving just as enjoyable on the highway as it is off the beaten path. The 2015 Renegade was also honored with the Best-in-Class 4×4 Capability, so you know you’re getting a vehicle that’s proven itself.
Typically dubbed a family SUV, the Dodge Durango excels at off-roading, which makes it appealing to adventurers who need a vehicle that serves equally well as a family car. Dodge vehicles are generally built to be tough and rugged, and the Durango is no exception. It offers best-in-class towing at 6,200 pounds for the V6 and 7,400 pounds for the V8 in addition to its best-in-class standard fuel economy. Must-have features off-roaders will love include standard trailer sway control, a 50/50 weight distribution, smoother shifting, electronic stability control, all-speed traction control, and electronic roll mitigation.
The Jeep Patriot is a lightweight solution for off-road enthusiasts, but it stands up to rugged terrain just as well as the big boys. Because of its lighter weight, the Patriot offers optimal maneuverability and ground clearance that give it enough traction to perform well in extreme conditions, even water fording. Depending on the model you opt for, you can enjoy off-road brake traction control, an off-road engine mode and transmission calibration, hill descent control, front and rear tow hooks, skid plates, heavy-duty cooling, a three-mode electronic stability program, and reinforced rear lateral links. The Patriot has performed well in off-road testing, proving itself in sand, steep climbs, and rocky ledges.
Since the Jeep Compass saw vast improvements in 2014, it’s been considered the king of off-roading, which is saying a lot for a sprightly little compact crossover. This adventure-seeking crossover SUV is better than ever for the 2016 year, offering generous cargo space, a bold exterior, premium exterior details, improved responsiveness, and an adaptability like none other. The crossover’s Freedom Drive system provides full-time 4×4 capability with brake traction control, a LOCK mode, hill descent control, and an impressive crawl ratio. All of these features combine to allow the Compass to tackle mud, deep snow, and up to 19 inches of standing water.
With so many outstanding off-roading options on the market, the toughest part is deciding which one best fits your driving style. Test drive your favorites today to get a better feel for their handling capabilities. Then once you decide, you’ll be well-prepared to hit the dirt.