There are a couple of trucks and at least one SUV on the market these days that are perfect just the way they come off the lot – no aftermarket modifications necessary.
As for the trucks, one is the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. It’s a full-size half-ton pickup that sits a little higher off the ground than other trucks, and it has an upgraded suspension and four-wheel-drive system to go along with it. A push of a button disengages the traction control, and another locks the differential so you can crawl out of even the worst mudhole.
Ram makes a great off-road pickup, too. The Power Wagon is the Chrysler Corporation’s answer to all those guys who buy a new truck, then spend thousands of dollars to make it more off-road worthy. The Power Wagon is a three-quarter-ton truck with a high-zoot four-wheel-drive system, including a sway bar disconnect, to give you more vertical wheel travel when the going gets tough.
As for the SUV that impressed me with its off-road capability, it’s another Toyota. The TRD Pro version of the Toyota 4Runner is the SUV version of the Tundra TRD Pro. Neither the Tundra nor the 4Runner have a sway bar disconnect, but both have incredible vertical wheel travel, and they both have increased ground clearance than their non-TRD models. However, the 4Runner has the Crawl feature and the terrain select system, which together work to make driving on nasty terrain a whole lot easier. If you select the right mode, you don’t have to think about how much gas to give it – all you have to do is sit back and steer.
All three of these vehicles cost a bit more than the base models, but not as much as it would cost to put all the extras on them after you buy them. And all those goodies are covered by the warranty. It’s good to know a couple of vehicle manufacturers are listening to what we want in off-highway vehicles.