When it comes to building your off-road vehicle, you usually take what you have and modify it to make it capable of handling out on the trail. Little thought is usually put into finding a vehicle knowing you are going to go push it to the limits. If you are looking for a a vehicle to turn into an off-road capable machine then check out our top five list.
Taking into consideration what the vehicle’s history is in the off-roading world and the availability of quality off road parts, we were able to put this list together.
Ford Ranger: The Ford Ranger is a vehicle that you can find all over for sale and it’s a platform that has been modified for off-roading time and timeagain. You can find parts all over the place from virtually anywhere to turn this truck into a desert prerunner, or going as extreme as turning it into a future race truck. Do not let the size of the truck fool you as it packs a punch for despite its small stature.
Ford Ranger I Beam Suspension
Introduced in 1983, up until late 1997, the Ford Ranger came with a twin traction beam front end. With this type of suspension, it either scares people away or people love it. Twin traction beam setups tended to be more durable than the traditional independent front suspension of most vehicles out there. Along with being more durable, the front end was easily able to be modified to help in off-roading. Regardless of
Race ready Ford Ranger.
what you do to your Ranger, you will be able to get great performance on and off the dirt.
The Ford Ranger has also been very popular in the desert off-road scene. The Ranger has a large market of off-road suspension parts for both the older beam suspension setup or the newer A-arm torsion bar set-up. The other nice thing about the Ranger is many of the parts from different years fit other years. With little change done to the cab, many parts can be found easily. With its availability and abundant aftermarket support the Ford Ranger is an excellent choice to start your off-road project.
Jeep Cherokee XJ: This Jeep, like its counterpart the Wrangler, has a huge presence in off-roading. The Jeep Cherokee can be seen at trails all over the country. It is a very affordable vehicle to get started with. The Cherokee aftermarket world is loaded with replacement parts to turn your vehicle from something ordinary to something extraordinary.
Jeep Cherokee with Aftermarket Add-ons.
You can find a lot of what you will need over at Currie Enterprises, as Jeeps run through their blood. From custom rearends, axles, sway bars, lift kits, they have what you need to have your Cherokee making it through trails for years to come.
With the aftermarket world being so large for this vehicle, the prices on kits to get a Jeep up and going are very reasonable. You do not need to go out and spend an arm and leg to get your vehicle trail ready. Another great thing about having an aftermarket like the Cherokee has is there are plenty of bolt-on kits that you do not need to know how to fabricate to get your Jeep out on the trails.
Jeep Cherokee getting some air.
Dynatrac also provides you with axle solutions for your Jeep, having plenty of options for any route you may be headed. Many lift kits, shock replacements, springs and axles merely just require you to install the same way you removed the stock setup. This makes it very easy for anyone with any skill level to get started, but it can not be said enough if you do not know what you are doing, please, take it to the professionals.
Toyota Tacoma: The Toyota Tacoma is almost the best of both trail and desert rigs. This truck can be turned into either one and still excel in both.
Trail Ready Toyota Tacoma.
The Tacoma can be a four-wheel-drive trail rig with sleeping area in the back or on top of a camper shell. It gives you plenty of room to haul everything you need into the woods or out in the middle of nowhere. With the Tacoma being a great four-wheel-drive vehicle, it gives you plenty of room for multiple configurations.
The Tacoma allows you to carry passengers comfortably inside the cab. Not having to worry about being crammed with gear. Its aftermarket world is filled with companies that carry anything from lift kits to heavy duty bumpers where you can put a winch in. The Tacoma has a very large add-on market for both trail rigs and desert toys. The Tacoma can be a dependable and capable vehicle to use out in the desert.
Toyota Tacoma ready to have some fun in the desert
There are plenty of bolt on suspension parts to handle any terrain being thrown at it. There are easy to bolt in coilover setups with new upper control arms to something as extreme as a long travel suspension kit. The long travel kit will widen the front of the vehicle by around four inches per side giving you extreme handling, suspension travel, and articulation in the desert. Either way you build the Toyota Tacoma, it will surely be able to handle the abuse you give it.
Jeep Wrangler (YJ/TJ/JK): When most people think of an off-road vehicle they think of one vehicle, the Jeep Wrangler. The Jeep Wrangler is the vehicle on this list that has seen more off road time than the others. The Wrangler and the aftermarket world get along very well.
Jeep Wrangler has stood the test of time.
The aftermarket companies have just about anything you can think of for the Wrangler. From increasing the tract width with longer axles to lift kits to easily fit larger tires, winches, and just about anything else you will need for your four-wheel adventure. Just like the Cherokee, the Wrangler aftermarket parts selection has everything you need from multiple companies.
Aftermarket support has everything that can be thought of for the Wrangler, with similar setups like the Cherokee. Custom rear ends, axles, lift kits, replacement shocks are all things that they manufacture for the Wrangler. Other companies have products to protect your Jeep. This company has armor to protect your Jeep as well as suspension components. There are cage kits to help keep the vehicle safe out on the trail as well as Rocker Armor to keep the driveline and everything under your Wrangler safe from rocks that may want to end your day out on the trail.
Jeep Wrangler with some aftermarket add-ons.
With the aftermarket market so large for the Wrangler finding parts at great prices is easy to do. The Jeep Wrangler is definitely a vehicle for you if you like all types of off-roading. Whether it is in the snow, in the mountains, or out in the sand, you can count on the Wrangler to get you through safely. There is not much that the Jeep Wrangler can not take, making it a perfect vehicle for someone looking to go and get dirty on trail.
Chevrolet Silverado: The Silverado is the largest and most powerful truck to make the list. The Silverado and its available 5.3L V8 has been able to provide the power needed for many different uses, but it shines when off-roading. The Silverado has been a popular truck to modify since it came out and the aftermarket companies today still make what you need to get these machines on the trail or out to the desert.
Desert ready Chevrolet Silverado.
You usually do not see too many Chevrolet Silverados out on the trail due to its large size. The Silverado cannot maneuver easily through tight areas like the other vehicles on our list. One thing the Silverado can do is go fast, and the desert community has taken that and ran with it. Silverados are all over the desert with aftermarket bolt-on lift kits, new control arms and long travel suspensions, serving as prerunners.
The aftermarket support for this truck is almost as prominent as it is for Jeeps. Many aftermarket companies carry a line of bolt-on or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts that will simply replace what you bought your truck for. There are many aftermarket companies out so finding something for the truck will not be difficult.
Chevrolet Silverado with a little bit of everything.
If you are looking to start a full-size project, especially a desert toy, the Chevrolet Silverado would be the one to check out. With the right add-ons, the Silverado will give the Ford Raptor a run for its money out in the desert for a fraction of the price. The Silverado is definitely one vehicle that will eat up any level or unlevel terrain thrown at it.
You could argue your favorite vehicle should have made the list but after close consideration these are the top five vehicle platforms we consider to stand out from the rest in terms of price, driveability, and reliability. Either way, whatever vehicle you decide to go with, half the fun is building it the way you want.
The more you put into your vehicle, the more you will have fun with it hitting the mud holes on the trail or catching air out in the desert. These vehicles all are great choices for an off-road capable vehicles, just make sure when selecting your vehicle you plan ahead for the build process and ultimately all the fun that will be had out on the trail.