Here Are the Off-Road Vehicles to Look Forward to in 2023

Photo:  Porsche
Photo: Porsche

A new year means new off-roaders are on the way, either as models that debuted at the end of last year, or models we’ve known about for a while that are only now gearing up for the trail. Off-road models are arguably as popular as they have been for the last few years — which is to say very.

But in a welcome turn, the off-road has seeped into many other segments that would’ve been unlikely in the past. Trucks and truck-based SUVs won’t be the only ones going off-road in 2023. There’s an actual production off-road sports car coming from Porsche, and an off-road supercar from Lamborghini.

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Likewise, although EVs still account for a small part of the industry, carmakers wasted no time in hitting the trail with fully-electric vehicles. The future might be electric, but off-roaders are adapting. And that cuts both ways now that carmakers are responding to the off-road craze across many new segments.

Whether you want to go off-road in a sports car, supercar, a crossover, a family-friendly SUV, a small(er) truck or a huge pickup, there’s something on the way for you. Here are just some of the many diverse off-roaders that we can look forward to this year.

2023 Ford Maverick Tremor

Photo:  Ford
Photo: Ford

The Ford Maverick is a commuter car for people who want a pickup but would rather drive something smaller and more practical than a modern (big) truck. It turns out this group of people is pretty big, and there’s clearly overlap between Maverick fans and off-road enthusiasts.

This naturally led to the debut of a Ford Maverick with Tremor package late last year, which adds some capability to the multi-talented model. The Tremor package gives the little truck a one-inch lift, new all-wheel drive system, and stronger components in the drivetrain and suspension to help the Maverick get away from the city and onto the trail.

2023 Ford Ranger

Photo:  Ford
Photo: Ford

The new Ford Ranger is rumored to be released in the U.S. this year, after having been released in markets abroad. When the all-new Ranger makes it to the land of trucks, it’s likely to be a big hit. Ford will probably ask the Ranger to reprise its role as a mid-size off-roader with a variety of packages, including the Tremor. We may also see a Ranger Raptor for the first time, but that model is probably coming some time after the all-new Ranger’s release in America.

2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R

Photo:  Ford
Photo: Ford

From smallest to biggest and mild to gnarly: that’s how Ford’s new pickups are arranged here, making the 2023 F-150 Raptor R the last truck from the blue oval on this list. The V8-powered Raptor debuted at the end of 2022, and went on sale just as the year finished.

The Raptor R is Ford’s halo truck, and it could be one of the last V8-powered trail trucks we’ll see. If so, it’s a fitting end for the F-150 Raptor with a V8, which started its life — and the current off-road arms race — with the same number of cylinders.

2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

Photo:  Chevrolet
Photo: Chevrolet

By the time the original F-150 Raptor debuted, and when it was barely starting to muscle its way onto the trail with its broad oversized fenders, Chevy’s ZR2 had been around for a while.

The Chevrolet S-10 wore the badge once and its predecessor would later wear it proudly, too. The Colorado ZR2 was Chevy’s light-footed reply to the Raptor, but the Colorado ZR2 has mostly stayed true to the S-10. It’s still what we consider a mid-size truck, but has full-size power and a glorious suspension.

2023 Chevrolet Colorado Trail Boss

Photo:  Chevrolet
Photo: Chevrolet

Of course, not every off-roader needs a truck that’s most of the way there to a purpose-built motorsport machine. If having all the tech of a flagship 4X4 pickup like the Colorado ZR2 and F-150 Raptor R is too much (or if it costs too much money), then the new Colorado Trail Boss could a great alternative.

The Trail Boss will lack much of the ZR2’s over-engineered components, but will probably be plenty enough for most. And a truck that’s more down to earth about its capabilities — and, hopefully, its price — is worth celebrating.

2023 GMC Canyon AT4X

Photo:  GMC
Photo: GMC

The upcoming Canyon AT4X will give the luxurious mid-size truck from GMC the same capabilities as its Chevy twin, the Colorado ZR2, but comes with the amenities and looks that upscale models from GMC are known for.

That’s not to say it’ll soften the Canyon’s edges: it’ll have the same suspension and engine, after all. With the Canyon AT4X, GMC is merely suggesting that off-road prowess and luxury are not mutually exclusive.

2023 Porsche 911 Dakar

Photo:  Porsche
Photo: Porsche

And talking about mutually exclusive, there’s the track and the trail. They’re different arenas with different skill sets, and yet, enthusiasts have long dreamed of bombing through trails in cars with a different pedigree than work trucks.

Professional drivers have enjoyed a combination of trail and track talent for decades, but Porsche is finally bringing this to the masses in turn-key fashion. The soon-to-be released Porsche 911 Dakar could be the best of both worlds, leveraging the power and handling that made the 911 an icon but grafting that onto the trail.

2024 Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato

Photo:  Lamborghini
Photo: Lamborghini

Lamborghini is doing something similar to Porsche, but in an expectedly more outrageous way with the Huracán Sterrato. What started as a what-if exercise (as in “what if we took a supercar off-road?”) became a concept, and has now become an actual model that’ll go into production in 2023. It will then go on sale shortly thereafter, so possibly this year.

As an Italian supercar from Lamborghini, there won’t be as many of these made as the Porsche 911 Safari, but there will be enough to say that Lamborghini’s love for off-roading went beyond the LM002, aka the Rambo Lambo.

2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport

Photo:  Honda
Photo: Honda

I can’t imagine a brand that’s much further away from Lamborghini than Honda: one makes practical cars for the many; the other makes superlative machines for the few. But in 2023, Lamborghini and Honda recognize the appeal of off-roaders.

Honda is just going about it with a family-friendly SUV and a mild makeover rather than a supercar. Now that I think about it, an NSX Safari might be neat. But it’s neither real nor coming any time soon, unlike the 2023 Pilot TrailSport.

The Pilot will now be able to go past the parking lot to some locations off-road, such as fire roads and remote trailheads as opposed to stopping at the KOA. It won’t be a massively more capable Pilot, but that’s just as well for the majority of drivers and their families.

2023 Land Rover Defender 130

Photo:  Land Rover
Photo: Land Rover

Then again, some folks do need (or want) both serious capabilities as well as more passenger and cargo room. That’s why Land Rover introduced the Defender 130 last year, which is only now becoming widely available.

The Defender 130 will ostensibly fit only one additional passenger than the Defender 110, which used to be the bigger model. But Land Rover claims the 130 can fit a total of 8 adult passenger, and all of their cargo. It also looks like much of the Defender’s off-road capability made it through the growth spurt, showing that you don’t have to go alone (or under-equipped) to go far.

2023 Ineos Grenadier

Photo:  Ineos
Photo: Ineos

But while the Land Rover Defender went off and tried to class up its act with a redesign and a longer model, it couldn’t please everybody. This is where the Ineos Grenadier literally picked up: at the fork in the road where the Defender chose refinement over repetition.

The Grenadier is a back-to-basics machine with no push-button ignition and robust features like live axles front and rear, a locking center differential and full-time four-wheel drive. But its design takes after the older, more agricultural Defender. Look, nostalgia sells — especially when people long for the halcyon days of an icon like the Defender.

2024 Mercedes-Benz EQG

Photo:  Mercedes-Benz
Photo: Mercedes-Benz

The Mercedes-Benz EQG takes a similar approach to the Grenadier, but mostly on the surface. This G-Wagen EV could go on sale by the end of this year or at the start of the next, but it represents a whole new phase for Mercedes-Benz.

That makes the familiar design of the EQG all the more impressive; it’ll be an EV SUV that looks ahead and behind with a host of new features for the aging G-wagen thanks to its four electric motors and rigid rear axle that Mercedes is reportedly building into the EQG.

2023 Hummer EV SUV

Photo:  GMC
Photo: GMC

Like the EV from Mercedes-Benz, the Hummer EV SUV is also making a play at the fully-electric return of an old model. The Hummer EV SUV seems a little more dramatic than the G-Wagen because it’s reviving a nameplate rather than just revising and adding a fancy EV prefix (like EQ).

The Hummer EV SUV is a followup to the Hummer EV Pickup, which has already gone on sale. General Motors staggered production of the SUV by a couple of years, and the SUV will finally start reaching dealers this year.

2023 Suzuki Jimny 5-Door

Photo:  Suzuki
Photo: Suzuki

Let’s change gears for a second and go from new to “old” and big to small, with the Suzuki Jimny 5-door, which we sadly won’t get in the U.S. The latest Jimmy is due for release later this year in markets around the world, but it feels like such a waste to not sell the “big” Jimny in America, where off-roaders and SUVs with extra doors are popular. This is mostly the same Jimny we adore, there’s just Jimny to love. I guess that’s what we get for shooing Suzuki away. Ah, well.

2024 Toyota Tacoma

Photo:  Toyota
Photo: Toyota

While Toyota hasn’t confirmed it, an all-new Tacoma is probably due for release sooner rather than later, and it could follow the same design direction as the latest Tundra. We could see a redesigned Tacoma as early as this year, especially if Toyota plans on keeping the truck’s status as the best-selling mid-sizer. Chevy, Ford and even Nissan will all boast new versions of their mid-size trucks this year, so Toyota is probably not that far behind.

2024 Subaru Crosstrek

Photo:  Subaru
Photo: Subaru

We’ll close this eclectic off-road list with the upcoming Subaru Crosstrek, which is due for sale in the U.S. sporting a redesign this year. I wish I could close with a sedan to emphasize that off-roading is influencing every segment, but Toyota will probably focus on the Tacoma rather than off-road “sedans” like the Crown Outdoor Concept.

But crossovers are the new sedans, so it feels appropriate to close with one of the most popular current models, which just so happens to be a smaller Subaru with mild off-road capability that could be updated with a hybrid drivetrain in the U.S., as it has been in Japan.

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