5 Exciting Off-Road Trucks for 2016

Jan. 21, 2016 By Josh Burns
2016 Chevy Colorado Diesel Trail Boss. Photo: Jay McNally

2016 GMC Canyon Diesel, Chevrolet Colorado Diesel
When General Motors first unveiled its new mid-size GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado for the 2015 model year, it was first offered with a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6 engine. But GM vowed it would give the U.S. market its first diesel option for the mid-size market, and for 2016 the company followed up on that promise and offered both trucks with a 2.8-liter Duramax turbo-diesel engine.

The 2.8L Duramax is designed to provide great low-end and midrange power, as the engine is rated to produce 181 hp and a class-leading 369 lb-ft of torque. The Canyon/Colorado has a maximum tow capacity of 7,700 lbs. (7,600 lbs. in 4x4) and it is available in Z71 or more off-road focused Trail Boss package. EPA ratings also were released late last year, with the diesel-powered mid-size truck having the best fuel economy rating in the segment at 31 mpg on the highway.

2016 GMC Canyon Diesel

The Duramax will cost $3,730 more than a comparably equipped V6, so the diesel option doesn’t exactly come cheap. That said, it’s great to see more diesel options for truck buyers here in the U.S., especially ones that offer a notable improvement in fuel economy.

Ford recently unveiled its SuperCrew version of the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor.

2017 Ford F-150 Raptor
Technically it’s a 2017 vehicle, but we should see Ford’s newest version of the F-150 Raptor in dealerships later this year. Ford has made some waves with the next-generation Raptor, as the company has moved away from its 6.2-liter V8 engine in favor of a 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost.

Ford will also update the next-gen Raptor to feature the same construction used in last year’s 2015 F-150 truck, which includes a high-strength steel frame and military-grade aluminum body that helps reduce the weight of the Raptor by as much as 500 pounds and improving the power-to-weight ratio of the truck. Ford says the 2017 Raptor engine will produce 411 hp and 434 lb-ft of torque, and the new Raptor will also employ Ford’s new 10-speed transmission. Other notable features on the new Raptor will be a dual exhaust and 17-inch wheels fitted with BFGoodrich’s A/T KO2 tire.

We first spied the SuperCrew Raptor during testing a few months back.

Ford took a calculated gamble with the first Raptor, and it has been a huge success for the company. Although there are some major changes to the new truck, we expect Ford will have another hit on its hands later this year.

Toyota is offering an all-new Tacoma for 2016.

2016 Toyota Tacoma
After a long run of 10 years at the top of the mid-size truck segment, Toyota unveiled an all-new Tacoma for the 2016 model year. The new truck boasts a number of updates to the previous incarnation, with one of the biggest changes being a new 3.5-liter Atkinson style V6 engine that replaces the outgoing 4.0-liter V6. The new engine is rated to increase horsepower by 42 over the previous engine while only reducing torque output by 1 lb-ft. Toyota also ditched the prior five-speed transmission in favor of a new six-speed trans. The new truck will increase fuel economy to 19 city, 24 highway (18/23 on 4x4s), and Toyota will still offer the faithful a manual transmission option as well.

Toyota's all-new Tacoma is offered in a TRD Off-Road package designed for tackling the trails.

Aside from quite a few exterior styling updates, Toyota also was able reduce the drag of the truck by 12 percent for improved aerodynamic efficiency. The Tacoma’s interior features major updates as well, including a new touchscreen entertainment system and completely new instrumentation cluster. The Tacoma is offered in both Sport and Off-Road TRD models as well, the latter of which will feature no air damn for an approach angle of 32 degrees. The TRD Off-Road model also gains the CRAWL system to help fine-tune the truck’s traction depending upon the terrain. Single-cab options are gone for 2016, so the Tacoma will only be offered in Access Cab and Double Cab options.

Although TRD Pro versions of the Tundra and 4Runner have been announced for 2016, there’s been no word on a 2016 TRD Pro model of the Tacoma… but we’re keeping our fingers crossed we may something for this year.

2016 Nissan Titan XD

Nissan Titan XD
Nissan has teased its partnership with Cummins for the past few years in relation to its new Titan XD truck, and finally that truck is now on dealership floors. We’ve had a few opportunities for ride impressions of the new truck and gauge its real-world fuel economy, and so far we’ve been impressed with Nissan’s newest truck.

Grabbing headlines on the Titan XD is the Cummins diesel engine powering the truck. This 5.0-liter turbo-diesel Cummins V8 is rated to produce 310 hp and 555 lb-ft of torque. The truck is uniquely slotted between the half-ton and 3/4-ton truck segments, offering more towing capability (12,314-pound max tow rating) than half-tons without sacrificing ride quality and comfort is the goal of the Titan XD. We’ve recently learned the Nissan will also offer a gasoline engine for the Titan XD, which will also be available for the next-gen Titan that will launch later this year.

The Titan XD is powered by a 5.0-liter Cummins turbo-diesel engine rated to produce 555 lb-ft of torque.

Nissan also recently unveiled a host of new accessories for the truck from the SHOT Show, including lockable and removable Titan boxes that fit inside of the bed. Nissan is looking to carve out its own niche with the Titan XD, capturing those buyers who want more than a half-ton but don’t want to completely jump up into the heavy-duty segments. Time will tell if Nissan’s strategy pays off, but after our drive impressions we’ve come away impressed with what we’ve seen so far.

The Ram 1500 Rebel is a trim option available for the 1500.

2016 Ram 1500 Rebel
Ram Trucks is no stranger to the building great trucks that can tackle the dirt, as it has offered a great all-around truck in the Power Wagon in recent years. But it’s fair to say the Power Wagon isn’t exactly a pure off-road truck, and until recently Ram held off from jumping into the mix with a dedicated off-road offering.

But that all changed last year when it unveiled the new Ram 1500 Rebel model. The 1500 Rebel is a truck that offers upgraded off-road capability mixed with unique styling that makes it stand out. The Rebel takes a measured approach by offering upgrades to benefit the truck off of the highway while not sacrificing its on-road comfort. Aside from the bold RAM lettering on the grille and tailgate, the Rebel features air suspension that is upgraded to increase the off-road ride height of the truck by an additional inch. Ram then fitted the truck with monotube Bilstein shocks on all four corners to help soak up the bumps off-road. It also equipped the truck with 33-inch Toyo A/T II tires for additional clearance and more bite. The truck is powered by Ram’s 5.7-liter HEMI V8, which produces 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. The engine is rated at 15 mpg for city driving and 21 mpg on the highway.

The Ram Rebel provides an additional 1 inch of lift thanks to its air suspension system.

Ram first unveiled the Rebel trim option for late 2015, but it will again return for 2016 as well. We had a chance to drive the truck last year and came away with a positive impression of the truck during our testing, as the package makes worthwhile upgrades for off-highway travel without getting too far away from what makes the 1500 a great all-around truck.

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