Pickup trucks have come a long way in the past few decades, and continue to evolve as the years go on. A majority of trucks come with just as many luxury options as most cars do while having the flexibility to do so much more. Pickup trucks are utility vehicles that are often used as workhorses to perform many different tasks. The bed of a pickup truck can be used to haul all sorts of items. Most pickup trucks come with an option to add a tow package and four-wheel drive, which will usually beef up the truck’s suspension, making it capable of hauling and towing more weight. In addition, most pickup trucks have some sort of off-road package where its components are tweaked to make it more capable while on the trail.
According to Car and Driver, Henry Ford was the man responsible for both producing the first production pick-up truck and giving it the infamous name. The first pickup truck was actually a 1925 Model T that was simply fitted with a bed, and the rest is history. It wasn’t until 1946 that the pickup truck received four-wheel drive in the Dodge Power Wagon.
In today's market, there are some pickup trucks that are built for strictly vanity purposes, while some are built to be just ridiculously fast. Here are the 13 best trucks for off-roading and 12 that will get left behind on the trail, every time.
25 Best: Jeep Scrambler
There have been rumors flying for years that Jeep would be getting a truck back in their lineup, but those rumors are finally a reality. The new Jeep Scrambler was just officially unveiled at the LA Auto show, and it was worth the wait.
According to Quadtratec, the new Scrambler, or JT in Jeep lingo, will come standard with a 3.6-liter engine with a diesel option to be expected by 2020. The top of the line model will include a three-piece hard top and a folding windshield.
24 Best: Humvee
HUMVEE stands for a high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle and is a go-to choice for U.S defense. According to Army Technology, the Humvee is massive, as it's over seven feet wide and fifteen feet long, but still manages to weigh only 5200 lbs.
The Humvee comes in many different engines, but the turbocharged 6.5-liter diesel was the most popular of the bunch.
The Humvee has over 15 different configurations, depending on what it will be transporting, whether it’s troops or cargo.
23 Best: Ford Raptor
The Ford Raptor is the gnarly version of the F150, and was marketed to be the ultimate off-road truck. According to Car and Driver, what makes the Raptor so great off road is the combination of its twin-turbocharged V6 engine that is good for 450 hp, along with its upgraded suspension, and this year it will only get better. The 2019 Raptor will come standard with Fox racing dampeners that adjust in real time, and the option to put it into trail cruise.
22 Best: Rivian R1T
Rivian is known for making ridiculously fast cars, but they have recently announced that they will be releasing a pickup truck, and an all-electric one at that.
According to Top Speed, Rivian will be producing these trucks in a Mitsubishi factory in Illinois that they recently purchased.
The R1T will come with four massive electric engines that will be good for a total of 788 hp! The R1T will be able to tow up to 11,000 lbs and can get up to 400 miles of range on one charge.
21 Best: Nissan Frontier Pro-4X
Pickup trucks used to be dominated by US manufacturers, but Japan has recently shown that they might know a thing or two about building a truck. According to Car and Driver, the Frontier is considered a mid-sized truck with the 4.0-liter engine being the biggest option. The V6 is good for 261 hp and 281 lb/ft of torque, which makes the Frontier able to tow up to 6290 lbs and haul over 1000 lbs in its bed.
20 Best: Chevy Colorado ZR2
The Chevy Colorado ZR2 has big shoes to fill when they have a truck like the Silverado as a big brother. According to Car and Driver, the ZR2 edition comes ready to party, with its lifted suspension and comes standard with 31” tires.
The ZR2’s suspension gets the works, with locking differentials and taller shocks, springs, and beefed up control arms, and this all gets protected by dual skid plates.
The turbo diesel 4-cylinder is good for 186 hp and 369 lb/ft of torque while the gassier version gets 308 hp and 275 lb/ft of torque.
19 Best: Rebel TRX
Earlier this year it was confirmed that Dodge will be putting their Rebel TRX into production and we couldn’t be more excited. According to Ram Trucks' official website, the TRX will come standard with six-point harnesses for every person in the rig. Under the hood, the TRX will pack a supercharged Hellcat motor, with the concept making 575 hp but we wouldn’t be surprised if it makes its debut with a bit more. The suspension will consist of a link-coil system that we often see in the Baja 500.
18 Best: Ford F150
While the Raptor was built to be a beast off-road, let’s not forget where its DNA came from. According to Car and Driver, the Ford F-150 comes in a plethora of different models, with countless variations available all the way from EcoBoost to diesel.
Believe it or not, the twin-turbocharged V6 is able to out-tow the V8s! No matter what variation is chosen, there is no arguing that the F-150 will be a contender on the trail.
17 Best: Chevy Silverado Z71
Every major truck manufacturer offers an off-road package to be added on to certain models, and Chevy calls theirs the Z71. According to Motor Trend, the Z71 includes bigger tires, upgraded suspension, and a more aggressive looking appearance. The upgraded suspension includes Rancho monotube shocks which make for a comfortable ride on the trail, but a stiffer ride on the road. The Silverado is the slowest of the full-size off-road pickups with its 5.3-liter being good for 355 hp and 385 lb/ft of torque.
16 Best: Toyota Tundra TRD
Up next is Toyota’s off-road version of their truck that they refer to as the TRD. According to Car and Driver, the TRD models will be back in 2019. Back and better than ever, now coming standard with Fox shocks, upgraded wheels, and exhaust system.
In addition, the TRD comes with a skid plate and upgraded LED lights to help you see when out on the trail.
The largest engine option is a 5.7-liter that can churn out 381 hp and 401 lb/ft of torque.
15 Best: GMC Sierra All Terrain
The GMC Sierra comes in all different shapes and sizes, but the All-Terrain X package is the one that will perform the best both on and off-road. According to Car and Driver, this is due to a few different factors. For starters, the upgraded wheels and exhaust system help the Sierra look and sound ready for the trail. The custom sports bar, rubber floor mats and stiffer suspension also play major roles in making the Sierra the ultimate off-road truck.
14 Best: Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X
The Nissan Titan XD was built with the intention to be a truck in its own class, being a bit more than a half-ton but not quite a heavy-duty.
According to Auto Trader, the XD made its debut only as a diesel option, but eventually received a gas model with a 5.6-liter engine that is good for 390 hp and 395 lb/ft of torque.
The Pro-4X received upgraded wheels, Bilstein coil-over shocks, skid plates and a whole lot of other bells and whistles to help increase performance when off-road.
13 Best: Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is the top of the line model and makes for a fun day out on the trail. According to Car and Driver, the TRD Pro has a stiffer suspension that performs well off-road but will make a rougher ride on the payment. In addition, the TRD Pro package comes standard with a skid plate, upgraded exhaust, and sunroof.
The Tacoma may be small, but it is mighty and can haul up to 6500 lbs.
12 Worst: Shelby F-150 Super Snake
Ford decided that they were going to make a limited batch of 150 trucks that they called the F-150 Super Snake. According to Car and Driver, under the hood of the Shelby Truck is a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 that is good for 750 hp.
This truck would get destroyed off-road due to its custom body kit that makes the clearance much lower on the Shelby Truck.
Plus, with a truck that has a price tag of almost 100k, you might want to opt for something else on the trail.
11 Worst: Honda Ridgeline
While the Honda Ridgeline excels in a lot of things, like comfort and safety, but going off-road isn’t necessarily one of them. According to Motor Trend, the Ridgeline doesn’t even come with the option to add four-wheel drive, coming standard with an all-wheel-drive suspension. Although the Ridgeline is a pickup truck, it has a car based chassis which makes for a great ride but not necessarily great for the trail. The Ridgeline is also only capable of towing up to 5000 lbs.
10 Worst: Escalade EXT
Just a few years ago, the Cadillac Escalade came with the option to come as a truck. Unfortunately, the half truck, half luxury SUV was never a huge hit and was eventually discontinued.
According to Motor Trend, the EXT came standard with a 6.2-liter V8 that was good for 403 hp and 417 hp, and an all-wheel-drive suspension with no option to add four-wheel drive.
In addition, the EXT was bulky and heavy, which made it terrible off-road.
9 Worst: Lincoln Blackwood
The Blackwood was another ultimate flop. When Lincoln decided to take a crack at making a luxury pickup truck, it only took one year before it was discontinued. According to Motor Trend, the Blackwood back in 2002 was over 52k, and the only option it offered was to add a navigation system.
The Blackwood had a fancy carpeted and stainless steel bed and a split tailgate that opened like French doors. The Blackwood’s intentions were more for a city rather than a trail and didn’t come with the option to add four-wheel drive.
8 Worst: H2 Trucks
The Hummer H2 truck was officially known as the H2 SUT, which stands for “sports utility truck.”
The bed was so small that it was basically useless unless taking advantage of the mid-gate, but then one would be putting cargo inside a luxury SUV, and who wants to do that?
The H2 design is big and clunky, weighing almost 7000 lbs, and the engine was extremely underpowered with a V8 that was only good for 325 hp and 365 lb/ft of torque.
7 Worst: GMC Syclone
The GMC Syclone was awesome in so many ways, and will no doubt be a collector’s item down the road. One thing that a Syclone wouldn’t be good at, though, is taking it off-road. According to Road and Track, this is due to many different factors including the fact that it came standard with low profile tires and a lowered suspension. The Syclone actually even came with a warning label in the visor, advising not to take the rig off-road.
6 Worst: Dodge SRT10
The SRT10 was built with the intention to be fast, and there’s no arguing that it wasn't, but it wasn’t necessarily built to be off-road tough.
According to Car and Driver, the SRT10 came stocked with a massive naturally aspirated 8.3-liter V10 Viper engine that is good for 500 hp and 525 lb/ft of torque.
The SRT10 wasn’t even rated to get 10 mph, so even if you did attempt to go off-road, chances are you wouldn’t get very far before running out of gas.
5 Worst: Dodge Dakota RT
Back in the late nineties and early 2000’s the Dodge Dakota R/T was known for being more impressive on the track rather than the trail. According to Motor Trend, the R/T came standard with a snotty 5.9-liter, which is good for 250 hp and 345 lb/ft of torque.
The Dakota was only rated to tow up to 2000 lbs, but that’s not what the Dakota was meant to do. The fact that it came with a lowered suspension and wider tires tells us that Dodge’s intentions were for this little beast to go fast and that's just what it did.
4 Worst: Ford Lightning
The Ford Lighting was produced back in the early ’90s for a few short years after it was discontinued. The Lightning took a few years off and came back before the new millennium.
According to Car and Driver, the Lightning came packed with a supercharged 5.4-liter engine that was good for 380 hp and 450 lb/ft of torque.
But the fact that the Lighting only came in rear-wheel drive with no option to add four-wheel drive, and a lowered suspension would make you think twice about leaving the pavement.
3 Worst: G63 6x6
The G-Wagon is one of the most sought-after impractical vehicles out there, but what about a 6x6 version? According to The Drive, on paper, the G63 6x6 sounds like the ultimate off-road vehicle.
The 6x6 comes with five locking differentials, bead lock wheels and three transfer cases. Under the hood, the Brabus power plant is good for 700 hp and 708 lb/ft of torque. All of these components make for a crazy truck, but at the end of the day, who’s taking a 1.4 million dollar custom rig out on the trail?
2 Worst: Chevy SSR
The Chevy SSR, which stood for supersport roadster, was a major loss, but hey mistakes happen, right?
According to Car and Driver, the SSR was an odd-looking vehicle, and the 5.3-liter V8 that it made its debut with was less than impressive, making it a bit of an all-around loss.
The lowered suspension and wide rubber make it obvious that this truck wasn’t meant to be taken on a trail. Luckily, the Chevy SSR only lasted a few years before it was discontinued.
1 Worst: Hennessy Velociraptor 6x6
There is no arguing that the Hennessy Velociraptor 6x6 is awesome, but it is a much milder version of the G63 6x6 mentioned earlier on the list. The folks over at Hennessey Performance are known for taking already awesome production vehicles and upgrading them to their maximum.
According to Hennessy Performance, the Raptor received upgrades to its suspension, brakes and an additional locking axel. While the price tag is a lot cheaper than the G63 6x6, we doubt we will see this $350,000 rig on a trail any time soon, either.
Sources: Road and Track, Motortrend, Car and Driver