Trucks are the vehicle of choice for those who need to do work. Watch the average commercial and you’ll see them hauling trailers loaded with horses or hanging out at construction sites. Trucks are good at doing work, but they’re also good at having fun, especially if you like to go off-road.
While there are full-size trucks that can tackle rocks and mud, there are also a wide range of midsize truck options. These smaller trucks offer much of the functionality of larger trucks, but with a smaller price tag and smaller dimensions that make them easier to manage in urban environments.
They’re also capable off-roaders, which we had the chance to experience at a unique event held by Trail Trek Tour. We gathered at the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area in Coal Township, Pennsylvania to drive four popular midsize trucks in their most off-road worthy configurations.
The course included steep grades with loose gravel, washouts that had us all sideways, and plenty of water and mud. It was a challenging course that could easily have left lesser vehicles in need of a little help getting back to the road. Our four trucks completed the course without issue, minus one side step that took a liking to a particularly large rock.
Here’s a look at the vehicles we took out on the course and the features that make them all off-road trucks ready for a weekend’s adventure.
The 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison gets a nod for having over-the-top styling in the best way possible. It’s the kind of truck that turns heads and it looks like it should be able to tackle challenging off-road terrain. Sure, you can get groceries in this thing, but it just begs to be taken as far from civilization as possible.
The ZR2 is the off-road version of the Colorado while the Bison adds even more performance through a collaboration with American Expedition Vehicles (AEV). These include AEV stamped front and rear bumpers, five AEV boron steel skid plates, and AEV 17” wheels. There is also an available air snorkel and provisions for a front winch. Pricing on the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 starts at $43,995.
The 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is the off-road version of what is a famously capable off-road truck. Whether you’re planning on climbing rocks, fording water, or racing across a desert landscape, the Tacoma TRD Pro is ready for the challenge. It has a spacious and comfortable interior and strikes a good balance between off-road capability and on-road comfort.
The list of features that make this an off-road truck includes four-wheel drive, 16-inch TRD Pro black alloy wheels with all-terrain tires and a TRD Pro front skid plate. There’s also an electronically locking rear differential and 2.5-inch Fox shocks. Pricing for the 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro starts at $42,960.
The 2019 Ford Ranger brings back a familiar nameplate that offers exceptional on-road comfort. While some off-road trucks are rough and bouncy on pavement, the Ranger keeps its composure so you can relax on your daily commute and have fun on the weekend.
The FX4 Off-Road Package, which can be added to all three Ranger trims, adds the feature you need to head off road. These include off-road tuned monotube shocks, all-terrain tires, an electronic-locking rear differential, front bash plate and skid plate, additional skid plates for the transfer case and fuel tank, and both the Terrain Management System and Trail Control. Pricing for the 2019 Ford Ranger starts at $24,300 for the base XL trim.
The Jeep Gladiator is all-new for 2020 adding a capable midsize truck to the Jeep lineup. It looks the iconic Wrangler and boasts similar capability, but with the functionality of a midsize truck. Of the trucks we drove, this Gladiator Rubicon was the one that felt most at home out on the trail. It’s also the only truck where you can take off the doors and the roof, which adds to its fun factor.
Standard features include rock rails, skid plates on the fuel tank and transfer case, front skid plate, 18-inch all-season tires, Dana 44 axles, Fox monotube shocks, electronic sway-bar disconnect, and the Rock-Trac 4×4 system. Pricing for the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon starts at $43,545.
All four of these midsize trucks are up for an off-road challenge. Take one for a test drive and see which truck is the one for your next adventure.