Each year, some of the top automakers come out with the latest vehicles designed to handle the rigors of the trail. The vehicle that was truly the first designed for off-roading was Jeep, which is why each year, you can find the top trail models at your local Jeep Dealer. 2022 is no different, with Jeep offering the two best-equipped models for off-roading. However, rivals Ford and Chevy have taken notice, with each designing trucks and SUVs purpose-built for off-roading.
2022 is also the Fortieth Anniversary of the release of George Miller’s post-apocalyptic masterpiece, The Road Warrior. Aside from entertaining audiences and making an international star of Mel Gibson, The Road Warrior displayed some amazing cars, trucks, and SUVs chasing around the Australian Outback. However, if the film had wanted to be accurate, it should have been called The Off-Road Warrior. This is because if you took a regular street model out into the Outback, it wouldn’t be long before you’d have to hitch a ride on a kangaroo since most vehicles aren’t designed to handle whatever the trail can dish out. So, if you find yourself in a dystopian desert, then you are going to hope that you came equipped with one of these 2022 off-road warriors.
#1 – 2022 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392
While it doesn’t come with a rocket launcher like Mel Gibson’s police interceptor, that may be about the only thing you aren’t going to find on the 2022 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392. This is like a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon on steroids. The folks at the Jeep have decided to stick a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 into its already well-equipped Wrangler Rubicon and see what happens. This is actually not too different from the supercharged V8 that is under the hood of Mad Max’s Pursuit Special. This engine has a dual exhaust system and is capable of producing 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, making it quite easy to power through whatever nature throws in your way. That is because the Wrangler Rubicon 392 can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds while completing the quarter-mile in a blistering 13.0 seconds.
The Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392 is not just fast, but it is equipped with the capabilities for you to challenge the off-road trail. It rides on a set of 17-inch bronze beadlock capable wheels, and you can get a set of 35-inch all-terrain tires if you opt for the available Xtreme Recon Package. The suspension system features an electronic sway bar disconnect for improved articulation. The set of FOX aluminum-bodied two-inch diameter shocks provides solid off-road performance, giving you the feel you need without jostling your passengers. Like all Jeep Wrangler models, the 2022 Unlimited Rubicon 392 has removable doors and roof panels so you can experience the wild inside your Jeep.
#2 – 2022 Jeep Gladiator Mojave
If you plan on off-roading in desert and sand dune conditions, then your top choice will be the Jeep Gladiator Mojave. This is a purpose-built truck designed for the desert. In fact, the Gladiator Mojave is Jeep’s first Desert Rated model, having been tested to make sure this version of its 2022 Gladiator 4×4 pickup truck could handle the specific conditions you’ll find in places like Death Valley and the Australian Outback. If you want to use your off-road vehicle like a dune buggy, then this is the model for you.
The Gladiator Mojave features a standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 gas engine that is capable of 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. This is plenty of power to get you up and over any sand dune you’ll encounter. The Gladiator Mojave rides on a set of 33-inch all-terrain tires and has high-clearance fender flares to keep it from getting bogged down in the sand. Jeep has given this truck a one-inch front lift with rock rails to provide better protection from off-road conditions. The suspension has a locking rear differential to reduce slippage, while the FOX 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks with external reservoirs and front hydraulic jounce bumpers will help keep you and your passengers comfortable. The only thing that is missing from the Gladiator Mojave is a tripod-mounted crossbow that you can use to shoot out the tires of your enemies.
#3 – 2022 Ford Bronco Wildtrak
Ford entered the off-road SUV market with a bang last year, reintroducing the fabled Bronco. However, where the original Ford Bronco was an SUV designed for suburban Soccer Moms and Dads, the new Bronco is built for Off-Road Warrior Goddesses and Gods. Today’s parents are tougher and want a vehicle that can get them through all of life’s obstacles, even if that means driving through mountain passes, desert sand dunes, and dry riverbeds.
The 2022 Bronco Wildtrak features an available 2.7-liter EcoBoost Turbo V6 gas engine that produces 330 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. All that extra torque will come in handy with the Bronco Wildtrak’s Terrain Management System with the seven different GOAT modes. The Wildtrak trim includes the Sasquatch package standard, adding a set of 35-inch mud-terrain tires wrapped around 17-inch black-painted aluminum beadlock-capable wheels. The suspension features the HOSS 2.0 system with Bilstein Position Sensitive Dampers, with an available HOSS 3.0 system with FOX internal bypass dampers if you want to take things to the next level.
#4 – 2022 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison
Chevrolet showed it was serious about joining the off-road battle when it added the ZR2 trim to its popular Colorado midsize pickup truck. This trim features a standard 3.6-liter V6 gas engine capable of 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. Chevy also offers the ZR2 with a 2.8-liter Duramax Turbo-Diesel I-4, good for 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.
The key to the Colorado ZR2 is the segment-exclusive Multimatic shocks, a two-inch factory-installed lift, and a set of skid plates and rock sliders to shield your truck from damage when you push things to the limit. However, if you are serious about off-roading, then look for the Colorado ZR2 Bison. This takes the standard Colorado ZR2 and adds a number of other features to push the boundaries, all part of a collaboration between Chevrolet and American Expedition Vehicles (AEV). This includes a front winch with rear recovery points to help you traverse the toughest obstacles. There are AEV front and rear bumpers for greater protection. The ZR2 Bison also features five hot-stamped boron steel skid plates for the ultimate in undercarriage protection. With its rough and rugged looks, the ZR2 Bison appears ready for another Mad Max movie with no need for additional makeup.
#5 – Ford F-150 Raptor
Most off-road warriors have been satisfying themselves with SUVs and midsize trucks. However, folks who prefer full-size trucks have been left to get packages or aftermarket equipment to make their pickups off-road capable. Ford decided to address this by introducing the F-150 Raptor, a full-size truck that is purpose-built for the trail. The 2022 Ford F-150 Raptor features a powerful 3.5-liter High-Output EcoBoost V6 that delivers 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. This engine uses twin turbochargers to provide this performance, giving you on-road acceleration and off-road energy.
What really sets the Raptor apart from other Ford F-150 models is its specialized off-road suspension system. The multilink rear suspension features extra-long trailing arms, a Panhard rod, and 24-inch coil springs––the longest on any full-size truck. The shocks themselves are sport-tuned FOX Live Valve Racing Shox. These will give you position-sensitive damping that is better able to adjust to terrain conditions, something that is critical when off-roading. As a result, Ford has been able to give the F-150 Raptor a lift and 12 inches of ground clearance.
With an off-road full-size pickup truck, you can carry additional marauders in your rear payload. Or, you can use that room for a pair of dirt bikes to do some more exploring when you reach your decision. Just keep in mind to drive safely, and avoid attacking your fellow off-roaders since this is the real world.