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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

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A red 2020 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison is off-roading after leaving a Chevy dealer near me.

What Are The Best Off-Road Pickup Trucks?

There’s just something about taking your truck off-roading. The feeling of plowing through mud and climbing terrain no other vehicle is capable of handling. Returning home with a truck covered in dirt is more of a badge of honor than anything else. And yet you can’t just do that with any truck. If you’re passionate about taking your truck where most vehicles can’t reach, you need a vehicle designed for off-roading. Some trucks are ready right out of the gate, while other trucks make it simple to customize and alter the vehicle to better fit your specific off-roading needs. If you’ve found yourself typing “Chevy dealer near me” in your search engine to check out a ZR2 Bison, or maybe another option like the Gladiator or the Raptor has caught your eye, it’s important to know which of these great trucks is best for you. Here’s our list of the best trucks designed to amplify your time off-roading.

Jeep Gladiator

This is technically the newest entry to the list (even though the Gladiator has been around in other renditions), you had to expect a truck by Jeep would make its way onto an off-road truck list. The vehicle has the same kind of construction as a four-door Jeep Wrangler, only with an added truck bed. It also comes with a fully customizable design that lets you tinker and tailor the pickup for your specific needs. In terms of medium to small pickups, the Gladiator has the highest tow rating of any truck in its class at 7,650 pounds, which is great when you want to bring with you other off-roading toys. If you’re someone who loves to constantly add new features and performance upgrades to your vehicle (or anything, really), this is the pickup for you. It is also the only truck to receive a Trail Rated badge.

A red 2020 Jeep Gladiator is driving on a dirt road in the desert.

Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

Toyota might not get as much love as it should when it comes to off-road vehicles, but the Tacoma TRD Pro is an excellent option. It features crawl control for tough terrain, an electronically locking rear differential, Multi-terrain Select with five modes, Hill Assist Control, and more. It also comes with Fox internal bypass shocks, protective skid plates, and a Dessert Air Intake to help with water and mud crossings. It’s also lifted with 16-inch TRd wheels. It doesn’t have the kind of internal tech you might want, but when shopping for a purely off-road pickup, this is a solid way to go.

A white 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is parked on a rock over looking a lake.

Ram 1500 Rebel

When you want a full-size pickup that delivers some of the best bang for the buck, it’s hard to look past the Ram 1500 Rebel. The Ram 1500 itself is one of the best reviewed pickups currently on the market, and the Rebel adds to the design. This includes everything from skid plates, a 3.91:1 rear axle ratio, front tow hooks, hill descent control, and electronically locking rear differential. While the pickup does come with a standard V6, there’s just something about the optional 5.7L V8 that takes this truck to the next level. Plus, when comparing it to the other off-road full-size truck options, it’s one of the lesser expensive designs.

A red 2020 RAM 1500 Rebel is stopped on a dirt trail.

Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison

The ZR2 trim package of the Colorado is the more performance, off-road version of the Colorado. This vehicle comes packed with internal tech, proving just because you like to take your truck off the beaten path doesn’t mean you want to leave your music at home. For performance, it has an available Duramax 2.8L Turbo-Diesel engine with 369 lb-ft of torque and features Multimatic shocks. The Bison package takes the trim to an even higher level, with a lifted suspension, larger tires that come standard, and Boron steel skid plates. The Bison package also has a steel bumper, front winch, and sport fender flares (which go above and beyond what the standard ZR2 offers). The ZR2 Bison was designed in conjunction with American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) and even won Off-Road Truck of the Year by Popular Mechanics.

A red 2020 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison Rock is climbing a rock while off-roading.

Ford F-150 Raptor

The Raptor is Ford’s offering in the Off-Road market as a trim upgrade on the F-150, though it is almost a totally different truck. In terms of actual off-roading performance, the Ford F-150 Raptor churns out 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque. It also has a reinforced frame, Fox shocks, large off-road tires, a wider body than the traditional Ford F-150, and it has Terrain Management and Trail Control to improve off-road driving. Realistically this is probably the most expensive pickup on the list. Yes, the MSRP starts at $53,204, but as Ford produces a limited number, most dealerships significantly jack the price up, so you’ll be more than likely paying much more than this, but it does make it worth it as long as you actually intend to take it off-road.

A red 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor is parked off-road with a view.

Ram 2500 Power Wagon

Realistically you’re probably not looking for a commercial vehicle. But we thought we’d toss this option into the mix as a change of pace. Yes, the internal tech is great (it has a 12.3-inch touchscreen) and comes standard with a 6.4L V8 (plus an optional 6.7L turbodiesel I6). There is a 2-inch factory lift, locking front and rear differentials, front winch with 12,000-pound capacity (in other words, it’s the off-road truck you use to pull out other off-road trucks that became stuck), a disconnecting sway bar plus all kinds of other exceptional off-road features. This is the kind of truck you’ll want to consider if you need a commercial pickup that can go where most other vehicles can’t go. Some of the other pickups on this list are more nimble with the smaller size and lighter frame, but when you want sheer power jammed into a heavy-duty 2500 pickup, you’re really not going to find anything else like this (it also comes with a cheaper price point than the Raptor, so keep that in mind).

A red 2020 RAM 2500 Power Wagon is driving through the mud.

A Truck Match Made In Heaven

Your journey off-road is going to be different from the next person. You might want a truck that’s ready to tackle mud and rocky roads right off the dealership. Or you might be someone who wants to get under the pickup and put in the work to customize it. Every truck owner is different, especially when it comes to off-roading, so you’ll need to decide which is best. What are you looking for in an off-road pickup? Do you like a truck that’s ready-made, or do you want something that’s easily customizable? Let us know in the comments!

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