Great Autos for the Boonies

Off-=Road best in a Chevrolet
Take a Chevy to the Levee
Getting away from it all – really away – is harder than most would like to think.

I went to an off-grid festival last month at Thoulestone Park, and all I could hear was the hum of the nearby freeway. Escaping completely from roads while hauling all the gear you will need requires the right auto. Too big and you will have trouble on mountain tracks.

Here’s my pick of the new off-roaders for any action excursion.


* Jeep’s latest vehicle may be small, but don’t call it cute.

In Trailhawk guise, this squat five-door has all the off-roading goods of its big brothers-a jacked-up suspension; bigger tires; a beefed-up four-wheel-drive system; bright red tow hooks to attach a winch cable-with a compact size that can fit your tent and pack, not to mention thread you into those Impossible-to-reach backcountry campsites.

It also comes with a removable double-paned sunroof for letting the light (and dust, and mud) in,

BASE PRICE Under $20,000 (est.)

BASE ENGINE: 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, 160 hp

OPTIONAL ENGINE: 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, 184 hp

CARGO CAPACITY; 50.8 cubic feet


* In recent years, full-size pickups have ballooned into ridiculous, unwieldy behemoths. Not so with the Colorado, Chevrolet’s latest version of what used to be called a “compact” truck.

The Colorado can carry bikes or kayaks or canoes, and can even brave the REI parking lot without executing a 15-point turn. And its incredible value.

Next year, the truck will come with an efficient turbo-diesel engine, raising its compelling outlier status to “undeniable,”

BASE PRICE: $20,120

BASE ENGINE: 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, 200 hp

OPTIONAL ENGINE: 3.6-liter V-6,305 hp

BED LENGTH: 6’1″ (long box) or 5’3″ (short box)


* Let’s say you’re towing something large-like a boat, an Airstream, or a pair of thoroughbred horses. Or all three. Then there’s no substitute for the nine-passenger GMC Yukon XL, or the potent pulling capability of its honking V-8.

And with optional power-operated second-and third-row seats, a push of a button (or two) creates a cavernous cargo hold for your gear, crew, family, and jockeys.

BASE PRICE: $46,335

BASE ENGINE: 5.3-liter V8,355 hp

OPTIONAL ENGINE: 6.2-liter V8,420 hp

CARGO CAPACITY: 94.7 cubic feet


* Subaru is known mainly for its quirky-yet-powerful all-wheel-drive Outback wagons, beloved by winter sports fanatics – until they break down. Avoid this one – even if the salesman gives you $5000 cashback.

This all-new version has more room for passengers (even more room for their snowboards), increased fuel economy, and upgraded interior materials and safety features, all wrapped in a handsome shape and at a surprisingly affordable price. But be careful where you break down – the network of dealers will it you with eye-watering parts bills.

BASE PRICE $24,895

BASE ENGINE: 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, 175 hp

OPTIONAL ENGINE: 3.6-liter 6-cylinder, 256 hp

CARGO CAPACITY: 73.3 cubic feet

3 Responses

  1. Find an early Dodge Cummins diesel pick-up. No computer all mechanical, easy to repair. Bullet proof drivetrain, decent economy @ 19-21 mpg, Will haul, tow most anything. 4X4 even better. Mine has half million miles and no major repairs, just wear items. Run from this ‘new’ junk.

  2. Instead of the obvious sales pitch for the automobile manufactures, why doesn’t “Off-Grid”, inform us on the best vehicles for “really” going off the grid. That is the premise for this website, is it not?

  3. So referring to this article, when I decide to go of the grid I am going to go out and buy me a “Chevrolet Colorado”, with state of the art electronics that includes a GPS locator, so the NSA can find my brand new “chevrolet” before the Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP will disable all new automobiles ) hits, so they can pick me and my family up and take us to the FEMA (concentration) camps. That is your answer for going off the grid “OFF-GRID”, buy a new Chevy or Jeep? I DON’T THINK SO “OFF GRID” !

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