Best off-road vehicles

These trucks are rugged workhorses for all terrain

Last updated: February 2015

At our Auto Test Center, we have the ability to systematically evaluate the off-road capability of SUVs and 4WD pickup 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 may not the most extreme off-road situation a dedicated 4x4 enthusiast can encounter. However, it is an honest simulation of a realistic rugged, rocky trail that one might find in the Southwest and other parts of the country, if the owner chooses to venture into the wild.

Our list below highlights the most capable vehicles currently on sale that we've evaluated. 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 more rudimentary systems, like the Jeep Wrangler.

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