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sábado, septiembre 30, 2023
HomeCars10 Pickup Trucks That Should Not Be Taken Off-Road

10 Pickup Trucks That Should Not Be Taken Off-Road


The pickup truck is every man’s trusty workhorse. The humble haulers date back to 1925 when Henry Ford introduced a pickup truck version of the old Model T. He saw that farmers were modifying the regular Model T to suit their needs better, so he decided to make a factory version meant for hauling stuff. Over the years, the pickup truck evolved into more than just a hauler and off-road capabilities became a staple in the segment. A workhorse needs to be versatile and be able to navigate tricky terrains where most vehicles wouldn’t dream of going.

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But not all pickup trucks are equal and some have strayed a bit too far from the traditional formula, instead opting to provide more luxury, performance, or on-road usability. In most cases, it’s very difficult to have all of that and off-road capabilities. These 10 pickup trucks are cool in their own right and shine in different aspects, but off-roading is certainly not one of them. Driving any of these on anything more than light off-roading will guarantee disappointment.

RELATED: How The Landscape For Compact Pickups Could Soon Change For Good


Hyundai Santa Cruz

Price: Staring at $27,035

Gray Hyundai Santa Cruz Limited AWD - Front Three Quarter
Chris Okula | TopSpeed

A front 3/4 shot of a 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Limited AWD

In 2021, Hyundai of all brands, gave us a compact pickup truck. The Santa Cruz shares a unibody chassis with the Hyundai Tucson crossover instead of traditional, ladder frame chassis like most pickups. It also shares the Tucson’s front-end design. The Tucson was never meant to be a rugged off-roader and this is also true for the Santa Cruz. It is a lifestyle pickup truck that’s best used for light-duty and on-road driving.

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Specs and Features

Engine

2.5-liter turbocharged inline-4

Transmission

8-speed automatic

Drivetrain

FWD/ AWD

Power

275 horsepower

Torque

310 lb-ft

0-60 Mph

6.0 seconds

Approach angle

17.5 degrees

Breakover angle

18.6 degrees

Departure angle

23.2 degrees

Payload

1,521 lbs (FWD), 1,609 lbs (AWD)

Towing capacity

3,500 lbs (FWD), 5,000 lbs (AWD)

All-wheel-drive is optional for the base model and standard for the turbocharged engine. The Korean pickup truck doesn’t feature low gears but does have central differential locking. Despite that, anything more than light to medium off-roading will be taking the unibody Santa Cruz off its comfort zone.

Ford F-150 Lightning

Average Used Price: $29,053

A parked 1999 Ford F150 SVT Lightning
Mecum

Front and side view of a 1999 Ford F150 SVT Lightning 

It’s obvious what the issue is here. The regular Ford F-150 may be a rugged workhorse, but the Lightning’s performance credentials make it unfit for any type of off-roading. Between the aggressive body kit and lack of all-wheel drive, low gears, and a transfer case, the F-150 is about as off-road worthy as a Nissan Sentra.

Specs and Features

Engine

5.4-liter supercharged V-8

Transmission

4-speed automatic

Drivetrain

RWD

Power

360–380 horsepower

Torque

440-550 lb-ft

0-60 Mph

5.2-6.2 seconds

Approach angle

N/A

Breakover angle

N/A

Departure angle

N/A

Payload

800 lbs

Towing capacity

5,000 lbs

Its Triton V-8 engine is derived from Ford’s modular design and is very similar to the one used in the S197 Mustang Shelby GT500 and Ford GT. It features a cast-iron block and forged steel internals, allowing for a lot more than the stock power figures. Models produced after the model year 2000 have more power and a lot more torque compared to models produced in 1999 and 2000.

Dodge RAM SRT-10

Average Used Price: $41,414

Ram SRT-10 on the track
Donut/YouTube

2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10 on the track

It’s pretty much the same story as with the F-150 Lightning. Dodge took a rugged truck and turned it into a slammed performance truck. Daimler-Chrysler’s Performance Vehicle Operations gathered Dodge and Plymouth engineers for the project, which got the nickname «Viper truck». That’s because, the RAM SRT-10’s engine was taken straight out of a generation three Dodge Viper, so were the wheels, and color options.

Specs and Features

Engine

8.3-liter V-10

Transmission

4-speed automatic/ 6-speed manual

Drivetrain

RWD

Power

500 horsepower

Torque

525 lb-ft

0-60 Mph

4.9-5.5 seconds

Approach angle

16 degrees

Breakover angle

N/A

Departure angle

25 degree

Payload

1,010 lbs

Towing capacity

7,500 lbs

The single-cab version was the sportiest and was even available with the Viper’s six-speed manual while the quad-cab version only came with a four-speed automatic. Believe it or not, the Dodge RAM SRT-10 underwent extensive tunnel testing, resulting in a drag coefficient of 0.43 for the regular cab and 0.45 for the quad-cab.

RELATED: 10 Best Pickup Trucks Of 2023, Ranked

Subaru Baja

Average Used Price: $14,750

A 2005 Subaru Baja driving down the road
Subaru

A 2005 Subaru Baja driving down the road

Not all pickup trucks are based on 4×4 chassis. Instead, they share underpinnings with light passenger vehicles. The Subaru Baja is a weird, «quad-cab» pickup that shares underpinnings and overall aesthetics with the Subaru Outback, which in turn is a more rugged version fo the Subaru Outback station wagon. In typical Subaru fashion, the Baja came with permanent all-wheel drive and boxer engines, including a turbocharged version.

Specs and Features

Engine

2.5-liter turbocharged flat-4

Transmission

4-speed automatic/ 5-speed manual

Drivetrain

4X4

Power

210 horsepower

Torque

235 lb-ft

0-60 Mph

7.3 seconds

Approach angle

18 degrees

Breakover angle

N/A

Departure angle

19 degrees

Payload

1,005 lbs

Towing capacity

2,400 lbs

As with anything that’s based on a light passenger car, of-road capabilities are limited to light off-roading. The Baja features a central locking differential, which brings its all-terrain capabilities to above average, but there are no low gears. The front and rear overhangs also suggest abysmal approach and departure angles for an off-roader.

GMC Syclone

Average Used Prices: $39,346

Black GMC Syclone
Mecum Auctions

Front three-quarters shot of a black GMC Syclone

GMC’s Syclone may be a souped-up GMC Sonoma, but don’t let the humble roots fool you. This was, at one point, the quickest American performance model, in terms of 0 to 60 mph time. The regular GMC Sonoma wasn’t really intended for serious off-roading, instead serving as a light duty pickup truck. This goes double for the GMC Syclone and its aggressive body kit that significantly reduces ground clearance.

Specs and Features

Engine

4.3-liter turbocharged V-6

Transmission

4-speed automatic

Drivetrain

4X4

Power

280 horsepower (factory claimed)

Torque

350 lb-ft

0-60 Mph

4.3 seconds

Approach angle

N/A

Breakover angle

N/A

Departure angle

N/A

Payload

500 lbs

Towing capacity

2,000 lbs

The Syclone, however, does retain all-wheel drive unlike the aforementioned Ford Lightning and RAM SRT-10. The LB4’s power rating was severely underrated and some dyno tests suggest at least 100 more horsepower than the factory claims, explaining how the Syclone was able to punish supercars of its day.

Honda Ridgeline

Price: $40,145

Gray 2020 Honda Ridgeline
Honda

A front 3/4 shot of a Honda Ridgeline towing a boat

Honda and pickupw are two words rarely seen in the same sentence. The Honda Ridgeline aimed to freshen things up in a segment dominated by American and other Japanese carmakers with more experience in rugged off-roaders. One of the most important things for an off-road vehicle is ground clearance and the Honda Ridgeline simply doesn’t have enough of it. While about 9.0 inches is considered adequate for an off-road vehicle, the Honda Ridgeline comes with onl 7.64 inches.

Specs and Features

Engine

3.5 V-6

Transmission

9-speed automatic

Drivetrain

4X4

Power

280 horsepower

Torque

262 lb-ft

0-60 Mph

6.2 seconds

Approach angle

20.6 degrees

Breakover angle

19.6 degrees

Departure angle

22.1 degrees

Payload

1,530 lbs

Towing capacity

5,000 lbs

This means that approach, departure, and break-over angles are abysmal compared to its competitors. The J35Y6 engine is a proven powertrain, but the lack of manually-selectable low gears is a big drawback. Many customers bought the Ridgeline because of Honda’s reliability record, but there were many complaints about problems with the transmission, differential, and tailgate.

RELATED: Four Pickup Trucks That Prove Unibody Is Better

Subaru BRAT

Average Used Prices: $17,562

red 1978 Subaru Brumby/BRAT pickup
Cars Down Under / flickr

front 3/4 view of a red 1978 Subaru Brumby/BRAT pickup at a car show

Subaru’s glorious rally heritage spawned some interesting 4WD models. The quirkiest among them was, without a doubt, the BRAT. Produced in two generations, the BRAT was a compact pickup truck, based on the Subaru Leone, which was actually the car that laid the foundation for Subaru’s future success in rallying. The BRAT’s most unique feature were the rear-facing jump seats, located in the truck bed. For all its quirkiness, the BRAT lacked serious off-road capabilities.

Specs and Features

Engine

1.6/ 1.8-liter/ turbocharged flat-4

Transmission

3-speed automatic/ 4-speed manual

Drivetrain

FWD/ 4X4

Power

67–94 horsepower

Torque

81-110 lb-ft

0-60 Mph

14.3 seconds (1.8 turbo)

Approach angle

N/A

Breakover angle

N/A

Departure angle

N/A

Payload

300-350 lbs

Towing capacity

1,800-2,000 lbs

Base models were front-wheel-drive only and even the most powerful engine couldn’t break the 100-horsepower border. The ground clearance was identical to the Leone it was based on. On the plus side, the BRAT was extremely-lightweight tipping the scales at 1,709 pounds (775 kg) for the first generation and 2,205 pounds (1,000 kg) for the second generation.

Chevrolet SSR

Average Used Prices: $27,918

red 2003 Chevrolet SSR pickup with the roof down
Chevrolet

front 3/4 view of a red 2003 Chevrolet SSR pickup with the roof down

The early 2000s were exciting times as neo-retro design was picking up. Each of the big American three gave us their interpretation of classic car design, and this even spilled to the pickup truck segment. Chevrolet SSR is as quirky as it gets for a number of reasons. This was the first pickup truck to feature retro-futuristic design, which was inspired by GM’s Advance Design trucks from the 1940s, particularly, those made between 1947 and 1955.

Specs and Features

Engine

5.3-6.0-liter V-8

Transmission

4-speed automatic/ 6-speed manual

Drivetrain

RWD

Power

300–390 horsepower

Torque

331-405 lb-ft

0-60 Mph

7.7-5.3 seconds

Approach angle

N/A

Breakover angle

N/A

Departure angle

N/A

Payload

1,349 lbs

Towing capacity

2,500 lbs

The SSR is also the only convertible pickup truck as it features a folding metal roof. Between the low ground clearance, lack of body cladding, and being offered exclusively as a rear-wheel drive model, the Chevy SSR is most comfortable on the road.

Lincoln Blackwood

Average Used Prices: $18,544

front 3/4 view of a black 2002 Lincoln Blackwood
Bring A Trailer

Front 3/4 view of a black 2002 Lincoln Blackwood luxury truck on a road in the prairie

Ford’s luxury arm, Lincoln, decided to introduce its own luxury version of the versatile F-150 pickup truck. The result was one of the worst sales flops in the brand’s history. The Blackwood, itself, looked like a mashup of different products from the blue oval, including the F-150’s crew cab, the front end of a Lincoln Navigator, and a heavily-carpeted F-150 interior that featured chrome, fake wood, and LED lighting.

Specs and Features

Engine

5.4-liter V-8

Transmission

4-speed automatic

Drivetrain

RWD

Power

300 horsepower

Torque

355 lb-ft

0-60 Mph

6.4 seconds

Approach angle

22.8 degrees

Breakover angle

20 degrees

Departure angle

20.7 degrees

Payload

1,200 lbs

Towing capacity

8,700 lbs

The 138.5-inch wheelbase wouldn’t be a bad thing if it wasn’t for the less-than-adequate (for off-roading) ground clearance. This made for an abysmal break-over angle and the complete lack of all-wheel drive meant the Blackwood was bound to be a pavement prowler. A few years later, GM made a better luxury SUT in the form of the Escalade EXT, but driving it off-road meant risking damaging the posh chrome.

RELATED: If The H1 Wasn’t Already Big Enough, This HUMVEE Has Taken Things To A Whole New Level

Hummer H2 SUT

Average Used Prices: $31,799

2006 Hummer H2 SUT Limited
Hummer

overhead side view of a blue 2006 Hummer H2 SUT driving off-road

Between the terrible build quality, poor performance, abysmal fuel economy, and posh image, you would think the Hummer H2 has some serious off-road capabilities. Unfortunately, the H2 succeeded the mighty H1 only in name and nothing else. The Hummer comes with a 4×4, electronically-locking central differential, and low gears. However, the SUT is simply too heavy for its own good and has an abysmal break-over angle.

Specs and Features

Engine

6.0-6.2-liter V-8

Transmission

4-speed automatic

Drivetrain

4WD

Power

329–398 horsepower

Torque

364-415 lb-ft

0-60 Mph

9.6-9.9 seconds

Approach angle

41.7 degrees

Breakover angle

25.8 degrees

Departure angle

40 degrees

Payload

2,200 lbs

Towing capacity

6,700 lbs

In addition, the truck bed is incredibly small and practically, useless. As with the regular Hummer H2, the H2 SUT is a posh 4×4 for people compensating for certain… shortcomings. If you want to spare yourself the shame of being seen in one of these, best go for the H1 or an entirely different model.

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