One of the most useful automotive concepts ever devised is the pickup truck. It was built as a tool for farmers to bring their crops from the field to the market and workman to haul supplies and tools. Today it has become the vehicle of choice of people ranging from backwoods hunters to drugstore cowboys. While this has been a boom for the automotive industry, it has created a paradox for many truck buyers. Any pickup can look like a truck although many have now become luxury curb queens. These fancy beasts are better for taking the wife to the opera than to climbing hills and jumping terrace rows. To help clear the dust here are our choices of new trucks that are still what a truck should be; off-road mudslinging, rut running, grade eating beast for those whose preferences run to dirt and sand instead of asphalt.
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The granddaddy of all mid-sized pickup trucks the Toyota Tacoma, known as the Hilux outside the U.S., may not have kept up with all the little niceties that other makers have started adding to their truck lines but the one thing it has still got is rugged reliability. Any Tacoma is a solid truck but step up to the TRD Pro model with its 278-hp 3.5-liter V-6, heavy-duty long-throw off-road suspension and oversized feet and you have a truck that will take you over hill and dale and then bring you back again.
It may look like a Wrangler with a bed added as an afterthought, but the new Jeep Gladiator Rubicon has more going on that you can’t see than you can. The entire platform sits on a totally redesigned truck frame, giving it the ability to do truck stuff like tow up to 7650 pounds and carry 1600 pounds of gear in its bed but don’t forget this is a jeep. An advanced four-wheel-drive system, large off-road tires, a sturdy suspension, 6-cylinder power, and the tried and true Rubicon gearbox make it an off-road monster.
18-inch aluminum wheels, 33-inch-diameter all-terrain Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac knobbies, one-inch suspension, electronically controlled locking rear differential, hill-descent control, and skid plates for the front suspension, steering gear, transfer case, and it's awesome fuel tank tells you a lot about what sets the 1500 Rebel apart from the rest of Ram pack. Intended to be a smaller lighter brother to the Power Wagon, the Rebel is good but could have been made better if Ram had used a heavier frame and added more power.
Over the last two years, Ford has really shown they are committed to dominating the light truck market, and a big part of their investment has been geared toward the off-road community. Fox Live Valve Shocks, available bead lock system rims, military-grade aluminum-alloy body, and their proprietary Trail Control™ and Terrain Management System™ are just a few of the new goodies the 2019 Raptor brought to the party. It would seem Ford is trying to make off-roading fun for even the most inept drugstore cowboy while adding features even race hardened drivers can appreciate.
For many people, the Z71 Silverado is the truck that set the standard by which all full-size off-road trucks were to be judged. Alas, it is no longer available being replaced by Silverado 1500 LT Trail Boss. The Trail Boss is a beautiful truck, but it is what you don’t see that will really grab your attention; a 2-inch lift and enlarged bed area, Monotube Rancho shocks, 32-inch Dura-Trac tires, G80 Gov-Lock rear end, full skid plating and one of the most reliable and powerful drive trains on the market make it the new King of the hill.
Ram claims that the 2019 Power Wagon remains the most capable off-road pickup on the market. Some might argue the point, but there is little doubt that the new Ram 2500 PW all the truck its predecessor was plus some. It has the features that have made this entire family famous plus has been upgraded with a 2-inch lift, electrically disconnecting anti-roll bar, Bilstein shocks, re-engineered front and rear locking differentials, and an integrated 12,000-pound Warn winch with a new synthetic no kink, no fray cable.
The entire Titan XD family has been described as being tweeners, that is neither light nor heavy duty but somewhere in between. That is great news for those who really don’t need a behemoth but still, like being able to take four buddies hunting and their gear with them without anyone sitting cheek to crotch. To be honest, the Pro-4x doesn’t offer much beyond the standard Titan 4X except for a stiffer suspension and the missing running boards; then again it doesn’t need to.
Built-in collaboration with American Expedition Vehicles the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison may be the ultimate small Hammer truck on this li9st being capable of both steady rockclimbing and desert speed runs with equal spunk. A complete list of features that Chevy packed into this rig would be longer than our entire list to date, but it suffices to say that they include shocks typically found on 500k supercars and is the most stable vehicle to make our list albeit also one of the most expensive.
The 2019 GMC Sierra AT4 comes standard with four-wheel drive, low-range gearbox, a locking rear differential, full underbody skid plates and is available with a 6.2-liter V-8 or a 3.0-liter I6 turbo-diesel and those are all attached to the already great Sierra platform. It also comes with 15-inch heads up display, center mounted console screen and Surround Vision mode that stitches several camera feeds together and gives you a complete view of what going on around you. It is kind of hard to tell if this is a 4x4 or a prop from the next Spielberg movie.
You won’t find this one on your local car lot but send a check to the boys down in Sealy, TX, and you can not only buy this street-legal monster they will deliver it to your door. Here is a sampling of what 375k can buy you; triple axel 6-wheel drive, 705 bhp engine, 8-inch lift, 37-inch off-road tires, custom independent rear suspension system, and more bells and whistle than Barnum and Baily ever dreamed of. Yes, it has a hefty price tag but if you can’t get there in this thing your probably better off not going.
You might think that Land Rover has gotten too high and mighty to get down and dirty in the mud with the commoners, but you would be sadly mistaken. You have to remember that these are the vehicles that carried the Brits through every war since WWI and the majority of professional hunters still look to take them deep and the bush and bring them safely back out again. The 2019 SVX was designed by the Special Vehicle Operations team and has a 525-hp supercharged V-8, a locking rear differential, and knobby high-sidewall tires for slogging through the mud.
The venerable G-Wagon may be the ugliest vehicle listed but don’t let its sad looks deceive you. The newest version of the crackerbox on wheels is now 5-inches wider, 2.2 inches higher, has three locking differentials, a 422-hp engine, newly designed off-road suspension and driving moods ranging from rock and sand to fuel economy and sport+. If you have any doubt as to whether these things are built tough remember two words Mercedes-Benz, these folks have been building cars and trucks to last since before the Fuhrer was born.
Ok, this isn’t a truck or an SUV, but it still may be the coolest off-road vehicle on our list. For 2019 Mercedes decided to take their Sprinter delivery van and mount it onto a 4x4 frame to create what might just be one of the most versatile offroaders of all time. With a seven-speed automatic bolted to a 3.0-liter V-6 turbo-diesel putting out 190 horsepower and 324 lb-ft of torque, it has more than enough power to slog you through the mud and sand and being fully enclosed there is no need to bring along a tent.