Ask TFL: Off-Road Truck Choice Dilemma – Pros and Cons of Each

2019 Ram 2500 Tradesman Power Wagon package

Another day, another truck buying dilemma, and we are to help!

This week’s question demonstrates a helpful way to approach car buying: making a list of pros and cons. Reader Alec sent us his truck buying dilemma along with a long list of pros and cons that he has assembled for each pickup he’s looking at.

Every individual’s list would be different of course, but we happen to think that Alec’s list is fairly accurate and would be applicable for many truck buyers. So let’s take a look at Alec’s truck choices and then we’ll analyze the list:

2019 F-150 Raptor

I was hoping you could help shed some insight on an issue I’m facing: I’m currently in the market for a new truck (it’s paid for by my company so anything around 50k-55k will be fine). Even a little bit of room above if I’m completely set on something.

As far as usage goes it will be mostly long road trips out of state (I live in downtown Denver, Colorado and travel back and forth to Wyoming and Texas). It will also see its fair share of off road driving (mostly sand dunes and rough trails on the ranch every other week) but the terrain is rough enough to cause trouble for most stock 4×4’s. Eventually I’ll probably be upgrading the tires and adding a leveling kit if needed. I also pull a trailer a couple times a month (horse trailer and an atv trailer… So I want something that can safely pull 5-7k lbs). I’ve put together a list of choices that I’m interested in and would like some help narrowing down my options. 

Looking for something that checks all of the boxes (which might not exist)… Basically, I’m hoping to find luxury truck that can handle the ranch and tow my trailers while having great on road manners and up to date technology. I’d like something with plenty of power or unique features to set it apart from the crowd as well. Here’s my list of pros and cons:

ZR2 Diesel

  • Pros – Fun to drive, easy to maneuver, diesel is cool, very capable, can handle ranch trails well.
  • Cons – Towing is limited.

Ford Raptor

  • Pros –  Capable, fun, cool factor, can handle ranch trails well.
  • Cons – Hard to maneuver downtown, limited towing, might be too expensive.

Silverado 1500 (6.2 LTZ… maybe high country)

  • Pros – Powerful, good towing, comfort.
  • Cons – Styling still growing on me, don’t love interior, not super capable, would need leveling kit/tires

GMC Sierra AT4 

Pros and cons: Same as Silverado (Editor’s note: the AT4 would actually be more capable off-road, solving the issue of needing a leveling kit and tires, as the truck comes on a two-inch lift and with Goodyear Wrangler Duratracs.)

Ram 1500 

  • Pros – Towing, air suspension, interior is very nice.
  • Cons – Capability, I already have a Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee (not a fan of rebel), would need leveling kit/tires

F150 (King Ranch FX4 diesel) –

  • Pros –  Comfortable, luxurious, diesel is cool, towing, I lived near the King Ranch growing up.
  • Cons – Capability, hard to maneuver downtown, lack of power/speed with diesel, would need leveling kit/tires.

Tundra TRD Pro 

  • Pros –  Towing, Capability, Price.
  • Cons – Dated, Lack of options,  

Power Wagon 

  • Pros – Capable, Towing.
  • Cons – Huge vehicle , comfort (rough ride), mpg.

Gladiator Rubicon

  • Pros – Capable, cool factor.
  • Cons –  Towing, already have a wrangler rubicon, expected rough ride for ranch. 

You guys have more real world experience with these trucks than I do, so any information is appreciated. Hopefully I can find something that works well with my needs and keeps me happy. 

Thanks for the great list Alec! You’re certainly not making these easy, but it isn’t always a simple thing to choose a vehicle.

For a mix of fuel economy, off-road capability and city manoeuvrability, the Chevy Colorado ZR2 diesel would likely serve you well. The problem is, your need to tow between 5000 and 7000 pounds, as the ZR2 is limited to 5000 pounds of towing regardless of engine.

Moving up to a half-ton, it’s easy to recommend the Raptor, as it would check your towing box (8000 pounds as a Supercrew), and your off-road box, though fuel economy is only decent and in-town handling is not good. If off-roading is something you really like to do though, the Raptor is an extremely fun truck right out of the box.

Those are the two trucks we’d go with in your spot Alec, but you need to make the final decision. What would you do if you had this dilemma? Share your thoughts below.