Here at Valvoline we have a deep appreciation for all things off-road. So much so that we asked Eric The Car Guy to share some of his knowledge on off-roading vehicles with Team Valvoline. Find out what he has to say about the world of Trucks, Jeeps, Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV’s), and Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV’s).
I recently took a road trip to southern California, and part of that trip consisted of some off road driving. We were in a new 2017 Jeep Rubicon. It was a great vehicle for driving both on and off road.
In this article I’d like to talk a little about the types of vehicles you’d use for different things, mainly focusing on trucks and how we use them.
When we say ‘truck’ it can mean a lot of different things. I look at anything that can haul or move something from one place to another as a truck. I suppose by that definition you could consider a Civic hatchback as a truck, and I’ve used them that way, but that’s not what I’m focusing on here. I’m speaking of vehicles that were specifically designed for the purpose of moving things or going off road.
Trucks have been around since the early days of automobiles. We’ve always had a need to tow things or move things from one place to another. Traditional trucks are perfect for this. However, trucks have gotten a lot more sophisticated. Many new trucks have things like navigation, heated seats, and other creature comforts you’d normally find in a luxury sedan. Some say you can’t even call them trucks anymore because of this.
According to Gavin Knapp, director of market research for SEMA (Specialty Equipment Marketing Association), about 54% of the approximately 270 million registered vehicles on the road in the US fall into the ‘light truck’ category. Included in the light truck category are SUV’s, Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV’s), vans, and pickups. It seems Americans love their trucks.
SUV’s have gained a lot of popularity in the past two decades. Partly because they bridge the gap between the traditional truck and a passenger vehicle. If you think new trucks have a lot of creature comforts, they’re nothing compared to the luxury SUV’s that are available today. It seems that every manufacturer makes an SUV of some kind, and most can be tricked out with the latest technologies and amenities. This means you can take your family in complete comfort as you tow your camper or boat to your destination.
Jeeps have always been considered one of the best vehicles for going off road. After driving one I can see why. They are very capable when you leave the pavement, and can go places other vehicles can’t. They can also drive on regular roads when they’re registered to do so. The one we drove, did very well on the highway as well as the trail.
There’s a new kid in town when it comes to off road though, the UTV. For the longest time it seemed that if you wanted to do some off-roading, you would get a Jeep and possibly modify it to be even more off road capable. Today, you can purchase a UTV which has been built to go off road. As a result, UTVs are the fasted growing market within the ‘truck’ buying public.
Choosing what type of truck to buy would ultimately depend on how you want to use it. If you want to tow a trailer or boat, a traditional truck would be a great choice.
If you are looking for something to take the family on a camping trip, consider an SUV.
If you’re thinking of driving off road, you have more choices now. You could go with a Jeep or a UTV. One thing about UTVs though is that most are off road only. That means you’ll likely have to tow it to the trail on a trailer, and for that, you’ll need a truck.
I guess that’s why there are so many trucks on the road today. In order to get your recreational truck to the trail, you’ll need another truck.
*The article reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily that of Valvoline.