Things You Should Look For in an Off-Road Vehicle

How to Find the Best Pickup Truck or Land Cruiser for Off-Roading

People don’t drive pick up trucks because they need to get to a knitting class. They drive pickup trucks because they want to get some serious work done. But you can use it to have some fun, too. Off-roading isn’t only for JEEP Wranglers. With the right tires and features, there is definitely an off-road vehicle that will meet your needs. Vehicles that you can use on the job site and take out on the trails for some no-holds-barred action. 

If you’re happily reading and you already have a heavy-duty vehicle, great! You picked the right blog. This is for those who want to know if they can take it out, and for everyone who’s thinking about getting one! So let’s talk about the things you should look for in an off-road vehicle.

what features are most important to you to have with your off-road vehicle

What Features Should an Off-Road Vehicle Have?

No two off-road vehicles are quite the same. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit just about any need or style desired. Here are some of the basics you want to keep in mind no matter what make or model you’re thinking of. 


Tires are going to be the backbone of your off-road experience. It doesn’t matter what kind of vehicle you’re looking at. You need to get tires that are the appropriate size, and most importantly the appropriate type. Your tires ensure your traction and keep you from getting stuck. Larger tires are better, but that’s far from the end of the story. 

  • All-Terrain tires are designed with everyday life in mind. They have smaller treads than mud tires, and therefore don’t grip onto mud and dirt as well. On the other hand, they handle much better in wet conditions like snow and rain. While you can have some fun on all-terrain tires, you’ll find yourself disappointed on a serious outing.
  • Mud tires are specifically designed for use off-road. They were made to get a really firm grip on loose terrains like gravel, sand, or, you guessed it, mud! They have large, blocked treads on them with big gaps in between to help really grip onto the loose ground. Mud tires can be very noisy and prove to be a rough ride on the pavement.
choose the right kinds of tires for your off-road vehicle

Locking Differentials

If you’re unaware, a differential system helps with how your vehicle turns. When you turn, the inside wheel is traveling a shorter distance than the outside wheel. That means the outside wheel takes more rotations to move to the same place as your inside tire. In a car with an open differential system, the outside wheel is automatically given more power to rotate quicker and move the same distance at the same time as the inside wheel. It reduces additional wear and balding from turning by providing more power to the tire with the least resistance.

If you plan on doing some off-roading, a vehicle with locking differentials is going to be a serious leg up. When you’re on the trail, the tire facing the least resistance is going to be your tire that is stuck in the mud without any traction. This is not where you want to be focusing your vehicle’s power, and that’s where locking differentials kick in. Going into your full 4 wheel drive system and giving all wheels an equal amount of power will be exactly what you need to make it out of a sticky situation.

locking differentials is a leg up when it comes to helpful off-road vehicle modifications

Helpful Modifications

  • A Lift Kit can vastly improve your ability to maneuver in off-road environments. When you’re trying to climb over rocks, tree trunks, and everything else Mother Nature can throw at you, ground clearance is king. Lift kits are available for just about every make and model of truck and SUV. Or, you can check out our online store for tons of models with lift kits already installed! 
  • Replacing Your Shocks is usually something you do along with your lift kit, but it can be done independently. Replacing your stock shocks with something designed for off-roading will give you a huge relief in comfort when you’re hitting the trails. 
  • Weight Distribution can really affect how your vehicle handles in different environments. For off-roading, the rule of thumb is to get more weight in the back, while trying to keep it just about even. Your front and rear distribution should be in the neighborhood of 54% in the front to 46% in the back. 

The Best Vehicles for Off-Roading

So now that we’ve talked about some of the things you want to look for in your off-road vehicle, let’s take a look at some actual vehicles! These makes and models were specifically picked for their ability to handle tough situations, and they are all currently in stock in our store.

Mercedes Benz G-Class 

the Mercedes Benz GLC 300 is luxury off-roading for sure!

Mercedez might not be the first name you think of when you think of getting dirty, but their G-Class series like the GLC 300 were made with every road in mind. We currently have a 2017 model with all of the luxuries you’d expect from Mercedez and all of the ruggedness of an off-road vehicle. Check out fastest woman in the world Jessi Combs demonstrating how to get your G-Class through the mud.

JEEP Grand Cherokee 

the Grand Cherokee Jeep Laredo 4x4

The Grand Cherokee continues the impressive legacy of the JEEP’s off-road capabilities. The Limited 4×4 and Laredo 4×4 are specifically the best models of Grand Cherokee for off-roading with differential capabilities and 4-wheel drive. Here’s a video of just how well they handle in the mud.

Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road 4×4

this Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road 4x4 is not a truck to be messed with

Toyota is another great option for getting on the trails and the TRD Off-Road 4×4 is about as good as it gets. The 2019 Tacoma has CRAWL Control on the automatic models and electronically-locking rear differentials. The model we have in stock is a beautiful all silver exterior and gray interior with stunning black wheels, and less than 1,000 miles on it. 

Land Rover Range Rover

the Range Rover can handle all terrain just like the big boys!

Our last pick today is another vehicle you might associate more closely with luxury than it’s off-roading capabilities. No matter how you think of the Land Rover Range Rover, it does all of that and more. If you’re a “seeing is believing person”, don’t take our word for it, take a look at the Range Rover in action.

check out what NWMS has for the best in Off-Road Vehicles

The Best in Off-Road Vehicles

All trucks might look like they’re ready for anything, but not every vehicle was made with the same demands in mind. Especially when it comes specifically to an Off-Road Vehicle! In truth, there are some trucks and SUV’s geared more towards comfort and luxury than to getting dirty. For instance, if you’re towing a trailer, a heavy-duty vehicle is going to be better suited for the job.

But, if you know what features to look out for, and how you can make some modifications yourself, great! You’ll have all of the knowledge under your belt to pick the right vehicle for your off-roading adventures.