If you think Land Rover has gone soft, then you need to check out the new Discovery SVX developed by the Special Vehicle Operations team. The 525-hp supercharged V8 means the SVX can keep up with just about anything and probably could crack 150 mph. But it’s also good at going slowly. Land Rover says the Discovery SVX has improved approach and departure angles, a locking rear differential, and knobby high-sidewall tires for slogging through the mud.

Want to go even more slowly…in reverse? Nestled in the rear bumper between the tow hooks, the concept SUV has a winch with a conspicuous orange hook—though it might not make it to production.

chevrolet-colorado-best-off-road

The ZR2 rolls on 31-inches tires, and it’s brawnier than the standard Colorado on which it is based. Specifically, the ZR2 is 3.5 inches wider and sits 2 inches higher. The ZR2’s advanced Multimatic DSSV shock technology is something normally seen on supercars. In this application, the tech is tuned to let the ZR2 excel at both rock-crawling (just remember to lock both the front and rear differentials) and high-speed desert blasts.

An optional turbodiesel has a sophisticated exhaust brake to save the brakes while towing—and it doesn’t rattle off a Jake-brake staccato to let the next town know you’re coming.

ford-f-150-raptor-best-off-road

The best thing about the 2019 Raptor is the new Jump Mode. When a 2019 Raptor goes airborne, it detects the wheels are off the ground and automatically cranks up the compression damping, helping the truck to avoid bottoming out when it comes back to earth. The rest of the time, the system constantly tailors the damping of the new Fox Live Valve shocks to match driving conditions.

A new “trail-control” is a sort-of cruise control for off-roading that can be adjusted from 1 to 20 mph and lets the driver focus on steering inputs while the truck moves at a constant speed. When set to 1 mph, the system can slowly pulse power to the wheels, which helps to rock the truck out of sand if it’s stuck.

Besides optional Recaro seats and a few small changes, the rest of the Raptor remains the same, with a 450-hp twin-turbo V6 feeding power through a 10-speed transmission.

Continue reading →