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Best off-road vehicles

These trucks are rugged workhorses for all terrain

Last updated: May 2014

At our Auto Test Center, we have the ability to systematically evaluate the off-road capability of SUVs and 4WD pick up trucks. Ascending our "Rock Hill," a 23-degree slope of boulders set in cement, very quickly reveals differences in axle articulation, suspension travel, traction, approach and departure angles, and more. It also presents a repeatable surface that does not change after successive runs.

This off-road situation may not the most extreme a dedicated off-roader can encounter. However, it is an honest simulation of a realistic rugged, rocky trail that one might encounter in the Southwest and other parts of the country, if the owner chooses to venture into the wild.

Our list below highlights the ten most capable vehicles currently on sale. It shows that fancy off-road-oriented four-wheel-drive systems can help but aren't the final decider of off-road capability. While the Land Rovers make use of very sophisticated off-road electronics, it's matched by vehicles with rudimentary systems, like the in the Toyota FJ Cruiser.

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See our best and worst section to help filter down your purchase considerations including best new cars under $25K, best and worst new car values, and most fun to drive.


   

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