Super-capable 4x4s setting trends as hot new segment in pickup trucks

Dave Kunz Image
Tuesday, August 22, 2023
4x4s setting trends as hot new segment in pickup trucks
The midsize pickup segment is a hot spot right now, with automakers adding rugged 4x4 models left and right.

Sometimes there's real magic in a vehicle name. At Ford, a great example is Raptor, a special version of the F-150 pickup with amazing off-road abilities. Capable, but pricey. The 2023 F-150 Raptor starts at $76,775. Through three generations, the Raptor has been a hot commodity at dealerships, with never enough to go around.

As if the regular Raptor weren't enough, this year Ford brought out the special Raptor R, with a supercharged V8 engine and a $109,250 starting price tag. It's an even more macho version of Ford's most macho F-150.

The Raptor R is a counterstrike to Ram's ultimate four-wheeler truck, the TRX, another supercharged V8 with big power and a big price tag. The TRX starts at around $85,000, but many found on dealer lots have a number of options and an MSRP of over $100,000.

These fully-capable full-size trucks have off-road ability that is hard to believe. But they come with a steep price tag, especially out of reach of the average truck buyer. But Ford has decided to give some extra off-road ability to its smallest, least expensive pickup.

The automaker's compact Maverick has been a hot seller right out of the gate, as it has a base price in the low-$20,000 range. Now, there's the Maverick Tremor with extra off-road capability, along with the more rugged looks that a lot of buyers are after. While it is still not a Raptor, it is not priced like one either, with a starting price below $35,000.

There will be another Raptor model from Ford soon enough, the upcoming Ranger Raptor with over 400 horsepower and upgraded everything else. Prices will start in the mid-$50,000 range, or about $20,000 more than the regular 2024 Ranger.

The mid-size pickup segment is a hot spot right now, so makers are adding rugged 4x4 models left and right. A good example is the Trail Boss version of the new 2023 Chevy Colorado: big all-terrain tires and a 2" lift add to the capability, as well as the off-road vibe. Prices for the Colorado Trail Boss start at right around $40,000.

And Toyota's segment-leading Tacoma will be all-new for 2024, with stout TRD models for ultimate off-the-pavement abilities. There will even be hybrid power to go along with the stout underpinnings, though not until early in 2024. Base models of the Tacoma are scheduled to arrive at Toyota dealerships by the end of this year.

So if you want to do some serious off-roading, the auto industry is delivering. But if you just want a truck that looks really cool on pavement, they're delivering there too. These trucks have that burly image, even if you never leave the city.