Having the right off-road vehicle opens up a world of adventure. The right vehicle has the power, durability, and capability to explore back roads inaccessible to most cars. You know an off-road vehicle is what you want, but which model is the best fit for your lifestyle? Though they may initially seem similar, each model has different features best suited for all your adventures on and off the road.
Use this helpful guide when choosing your next vehicle. For extra perks and dependability, choose a Toyota off-road vehicle. A Toyota won’t leave you stranded in the backcountry roads you’re exploring. Read on and discover which vehicle will take you everywhere you want to go.
1. Know Your Terrain
Each off-road vehicle has different capabilities. Though all Toyota off-road vehicles are known for their impressive horsepower, torque, suspension, and safety, each model offers specialized features. Choose the vehicle whose performance capabilities match your needs.
Do you need a workhorse that can tow heavy loads, climb steep ascents, or handle rugged terrain? When you off-road, are you eager to navigate through muddy waters, dirt roads, sprawling rocks, or steep inclines? Different models best handle these varied terrains. If you love it all, choose an off-road vehicle that is well-rounded. Identify your needs and match them to the model best equipped to handle your lifestyle.
For instance, match different types of exploring with methods of power.
Types of Exploring
- Overlanding: Driving to remote locations loaded with gear for multiple days. For extended trips into the wilderness, opt for a four-wheel drive outfitted with strong shock absorbers able to handle increased weight from hauling gear, as well as a low range for steep grades and loose dirt or gravel.
- Rock Crawling: Driving over boulders with a person spotting outside. In addition to four-wheel drive with low range, look for a vehicle with higher ground clearance. When rock crawling, you are more likely to get stuck, so make sure to choose a vehicle with a front-mounted winch ready to pull you free. To increase traction in this difficult terrain, choose a vehicle with locking rear differential.
- Dirt Road Driving: Exploring dirt paths and unmaintained roads. Though many two-wheel drive vehicles can handle dirt roads, an all-wheel drive vehicle will take you farther. Don’t limit which type of dirt roads your car can navigate. All-wheel means you won’t have to turn around and abandon the path once the terrain gets rough. High ground clearance is ideal for these unmaintained roads.
2. Do Your Research
Once you know the type of exploring you prefer, and which terrain you’ll encounter, match these to the methods of power best suited for your chosen adventure:
Methods of Power
- Horsepower: Measures how much power an engine produces. It’s calculated by how much power is needed to move 550 pounds 1 foot in 1 second.
- Torque: Measures the turning force produced by the engine. Horsepower measures the speed at which an engine can perform work, while torque measures its ability to perform the work.
- Towing Capacity: The maximum amount of weight a vehicle can safely pull.
- Approach angle: Measures how steep of a hill a vehicle can successfully climb. The higher the degree, the better.
If you need a vehicle that can lift more than its weight, you’ll need monumental horsepower and towing capabilities. If so, the Toyota Tacoma is your vehicle. If you love rough terrain, go big with horsepower, torque, and approach angle. You can cover rough terrain and climb steep ascents with the Toyota Tundra. Or, maybe you want to go where most people can’t- from dirt roads to rocky paths and muddy streams. If so, choose the Toyota 4Runner, built to beat tough terrains without compromising its smooth ride. The reinforced body-on-frame construction can handle the toughest terrains.
3. Consider Your Lifestyle Beyond Off-Roading
What is your lifestyle beyond off-road adventures? Do you have a single-car household and your off-road vehicle must serve dual purposes? If it’s your primary car for daily commuting as well as weekend fun, you’ll need a more well-rounded vehicle suited to handle city driving and off-the-grid exploring. If so, look for other features such as fuel efficiency; focus on economy as well as power. If you are looking for a highly economical vehicle with less environmental impact, a hybrid model might be the best fit for your lifestyle.
Is your off-road vehicle a secondary vehicle, meant for the sole purpose of exploring? If so, you are free to choose a specialized vehicle built with aggressive performance. Have fun and explore all the specific off-road features.
4. Set Your Budget
How much car can you afford? Set a realistic budget that won’t break the bank and stick to this budget. It’s important to set a budget before you shop around and look for vehicles within this price range. If budget doesn’t matter, you can explore all available trims and luxury features.
However, if you have a tight budget, make sure to only shop for vehicles within that price point. Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to spend more than you can afford. Which off-road vehicle you ultimately choose will be determined by what you can comfortably spend. Look at vehicles in your price range, then choose from the available models and added features.
5. Test Drive Before Purchasing
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices and are ready to purchase your Toyota off-road vehicle, it’s time to test drive. Visit your local dealership and ask to test drive your top choices. Sometimes, making the final selection comes down to how the vehicle feels when you drive it. This is especially true if you are undecided between several vehicles. Which one handles better and feels right? You won’t know until you get behind the wheel.
Ready to test drive? Visit Beaverton Toyota in the Portland area. We are committed to being your trusted guide in all things automotive, from purchase to repair. See our full lineup of vehicles and find the best fit for all of life’s adventures.
To read more on topics like this, check out the Travel category
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