Auto Show report: Four off-road vehicles lead the way
For decades, the Jeep Wrangler has been the undisputed king of off-road vehicles.
However, several other automakers have entered the market with strong offerings in the last two years, making 2022 the best year ever for capable off-road vehicles. The basic Jeep Wrangler is still the strong sales leader, but here's a shopping list of the vehicles available now for serious off-roading.
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392
Putting a big V8 into a Jeep has been a common upgrade over the years, and now Jeep has made the near-ultimate power upgrade with the 392-cubic-inch Hemi V8. This engine delivers 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, enough to conquer any obstacle. With the Rubicon off-road package, buyers get tough Dana 44 front and rear axles, electronic locking differentials, an electronic disconnecting front sway bar, Fox shocks, and 33-inch BF Goodrich KM all-terrain tires on beadlock wheels. Even with all the off-road capability, this Jeep will hit 60 MPH in 4.5 seconds on the highway. If you can handle it, this Jeep starts at $75,095
Ford Bronco Badlands
Ford is making a bold challenge to Jeep's dominance in the off-road segment with the all-new Bronco.
Starting at just $28,500, any Bronco is a credible off-road tool. However, Ford offers several different off-road trims to match your taste for adventure. The Big Bend trim is designed for "mainstream off-roading" while the Black Diamond trim adds a locking rear differential, rock rails, a skid plate, washable interior, and seven Goes Over Any Terrain (GOAT) modes. At the top of the trim line, the Badlands model adds Bilstein monotube shocks, disconnecting sway bar, front and rear locking differentials, and up to 35-inch tires. The top Badlands trim starts at $42,495.
Jeep Wrangler 4XE
Jeep continues to lead the way with the innovative Wrangler 4XE. This model brings together the off-road capabilities of the Wrangler with an advanced plug-in hybrid drivetrain. This Wrangler can travel up to 21 miles on its electric battery alone before kicking in the 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine. The gas engine delivers 270 horsepower, but with the electric motor helping out, the Wrangler 4XE boasts 375 total system horsepower. The 4XE starts at $52,530 in Sahara trim, but you can upgrade to High Altitude luxury trim or the off-road optimized Rubicon trim, all priced under $60,000.
The Toyota 4Runner has been around for almost 40 years and has always been a favorite of off-road enthusiasts.
With its rugged body-on-frame construction and highly developed traction and off-road systems, the 4Runner is still a leading choice for serious go-anywhere capability. The 4Runner starts at $37,305, which is a little higher than other basic options, but by the time you move up to the TRD Off-Road or TRD Off-Road Premium trims, the 4Runner costs about the same or less than the competition. The TRD Off-Road trim starts at $41,135 with Crawl Control and a locking rear differential. The Off-Road Premium trim at $44,080 also includes Multi-Terrain Select driving modes. One of the best things about the 4Runner is that you get your off-road capability with a solid roof, which makes this SUV a more attractive winter vehicle.
You can see all these off-road vehicles and more at this year's Portland International Auto Show. So whatever adventures you've got planned, there's a vehicle to suit your needs this year.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.