Car brands jumping on trend of maximizing off-road capabilities in pickup trucks

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ByDave Kunz via KABC logo
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
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Automakers are making pickup trucks bigger and bolder, with improved off-road capability.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Chevy's upcoming truck, the Silverado EV will be the hottest commodity in Chevrolet showrooms when it arrives next year. The pickup truck is fully-electric.

Until then, Chevy's new and hottest truck, the Silverado ZR2, is already in showrooms. It's a factory-built performance off-road truck with a base price of $70,490.

It has no electric motor to power the pickup, but a standard 6.2 liter V8, the biggest one Chevy offers these days. The big difference is underneath, with a raised ride height, special springs and specially-tuned shocks. Add in grippy off-road tires, and you've got a pickup that can really tackle the rough stuff.

It's obviously designed to tackle the king of these super trucks in the sales wars, the Ford F-150 Raptor. Now in its third generation, the Raptor has achieved legend status. They don't stay at Ford dealers long, and when they leave, it's rarely at sticker price which starts at $72,350.

Ram got in on this segment a couple of years ago with the supercharged TRX, becoming the king of both horsepower, and price tag, starting at nearly $80,000. Like Chevy and Ford, Ram has big plans for electric trucks, but also knows there are those who want something like this, and are willing to pay for it.

Oh, not to be outdone, Ford is readying the Raptor R model, with a supercharged V8 of its own making 700 horsepower, as well having as a six-figure price tag.

The commonality with these super-capable pickups is that they're all bold and big. Big both in terms of cost to own, and literally their physical size. They often won't fit in some residential garages. But soon, another extra-capable truck will be coming along in a much smaller size.

Ford's Maverick has ushered in a return to truly compact pickups, and demand has been very strong. Now demand could increase with the new Tremor model of the Maverick. It employs a similar formula to the big trucks: more ground clearance, better suspension, and better tires. And of course, stand-out looks. The Tremor package on top of the XLT trim Maverick should carry a sticker price of around $30,000 when it arrives late this year, whereas the Lariat version should be priced closer to $35,000.

Do buyers actually take these off road and test their capabilities? Sure, some do. But for those who don't, the appeal is still there.