10 Best 2020 4x4s To Build For Overlanding
Photography: Courtesy of the Manufacturers
No matter if you are new to overlanding or if you simply need to upgrade your off-road camping rig, the 2020 factory 4x4s are more capable than any ever offered before. OE off-road packages have evolved far beyond the once common sticker package and shock upgrade. Today, many 4×4 platforms are available with extreme off-road gear, such as selectable locking differentials, dirt-worthy aggressive tires and even electric recovery winches. All of these components aid in making a 4×4 a great start to a competent overland/camping rig. A solid overland and 4×4 camping rig requires good ground clearance, great suspension, tough tires, admirable cargo capacity, plenty of power and gearing as well as a durable chassis, but perhaps most importantly it requires aftermarket support in the form of suspension, protection, camp gear and recovery components. Aftermarket modifications allow each user to personalize their overlander to help it meet their individual needs. Here are our top 10 2020 4x4s best suited for overlanding and 4×4 camping.
2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2
If you’re looking for a small maneuverable truck, the 2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 might be for you. GM is notorious for having extra low ground clearance on its trucks, especially under the chin in the form of an air dam to help with fuel economy. The Colorado ZR2 is the exception. Not only does it feature its own ZR2 specific high-clearance front bumper and skidplate, it also comes with Multimatic shocks, front and rear electronic locking differentials, a factory lift, rock sliders and an available Duramax 2.8L turbodiesel engine punching out 186hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Top it off with the standard 265/65R17 Goodyear Duratrac tires and you have quite the overland starter kit. For even more off-road prowess, you can option in the Bison package, which includes a flow-through Chevrolet grille bar, an AEV front bumper, fog lamps, an AEV rear bumper, wheel moldings, front and rear floor liners, embroidered headrests, a fuel tank skid plate, a transfer case skid plate, a rear differential skid plate and 17×8 AEV wheels.
2020 Ford F-150 Raptor
No other currently offered 1/2-ton pickup can cover desert and mountain two-tracks at speed more comfortably than the 2020 Ford F-150 Raptor. This is the pickup to own if you like to put a lot of off-road miles down in a day. With factory 315/70R17 (35-inch) BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires, optional forged beadlock capable wheels, 13-inches of front wheel travel and nearly 14-inches of rear wheel travel stroking through Fox internal bypass shocks at all four corners, not much can keep up with the Raptor in the rough. The high-output twin-turbo 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 churns an impressive 450hp and 510 lb-ft of torque and is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The F-150 Raptor also features a wider more stable track width than a traditional F-150, 4.10 axle gears, a rear selectable electronic locker, a front Torsen differential and heavy-duty skid plates.
2020 Ford Ranger FX4
Even though the 2020 Ford Ranger isn’t currently available in the U.S. in a Raptor trim level, small 4×4 pickup lovers should rejoice. The Ranger is available with the FX4 off-road package in any of its three trim levels to fit the off-road comfort requirements and budget of any owner. The optional Ranger FX4 package includes an electronic locking rear differential, specially tuned monotube shocks, generous skidplating, dirt-worthy tires and off-road technology that includes the Terrain Management System, which provides four selectable drive modes and Trail Control, which includes Hill Descent Control for help on steep descents. Overlanders that like to pack heavy will love that the new Ford Ranger also features a best in class cargo capacity of up to 1,860 pounds when properly configured. A turbocharged 2.3L inline-four pumps 270hp and 310 lb-ft of torque into a 10-speed automatic transmission. Adventure trailer fans will appreciate the Ranger’s impressive 7,500-pound tow rating.
2020 Ford F-250 and F-350 Super Duty Tremor
Adventuring off-road with lots of camp gear or a heavy slide-in camper often requires a 3/4- or 1-ton truck, and the 2020 Ford Super Duty Tremor off-road package does not disappoint. The optional Tremor off-road package is only available on the higher trim level F-250 and F-350 trucks, including the XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum models. The real newsworthy bit is that you can have a Super Duty Tremor with either the all-new 7.3L gas V-8 pushing 430hp and 435 lb-ft of torque or the third-generation 6.7L Power Stroke turbodiesel twisting out an impressive 475hp and 1,050 lb-ft of torque. Tremor off-road package features include off-road worthy 285/75R18 (35-inch) Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires, a factory lift, a rear electronic locking differential, a front limited-slip differential, performance twin-tube shocks, skidplates and more. An optional hidden Warn 12,000-pound winch is also available.
2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave
As the only currently available midsize pickup in the U.S. with solid axles front and rear, it’s no wonder that the 2020 Jeep Gladiator JT makes our list of top overland 4x4s to build up. The Mojave trim level in particular is especially admirable, even over the off-road savvy Rubicon trim. Why you ask? Well, the Gladiator Mojave features many of the same modifications as the Rubicon, but with more of a high-speed and cross-country off-road theme. These factory offerings include high-clearance fenders, 285/70R17 (33-inch) tires, a rear electronic selectable locking differential, Fox 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks with external reservoirs and Fox front hydraulic jounce bumpers. The Mojave’s 2.72:1 transfer case low range is generally preferred for overlanding over the ultra-low 4:1 low range transfer case gearing found in the Rubicon model, which is typically desired for extreme rockcrawling in technical terrain. An added bonus is that the Gladiator has incredible aftermarket support, thanks in part to the fact that is shares many components with the popular Jeep Wrangler JL.
2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel
You really can’t go wrong when choosing a 2020 Jeep Wrangler for your overland build. Every trim level drivetrain option is admirable. Even the two-door Wrangler is a highly capable and maneuverable off-road vehicle for those that prefer to travel light. For the rest of us, the extra cargo room found in the four-door Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon makes it the best overland platform of the bunch, specifically with the optional 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 engine cranking out 260hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. The diesel equipped Wrangler not only tickles 30 mpg on the highway, the added diesel engine weight seems to provide a smoother ride off-road than the gas models in most cases. Add this impressive fuel sipping engine to the Rubicon front and rear selectable locking differentials, high-clearance fenders, 285/70R17 (33-inch) tires, electronic disconnecting sway bar and tuned suspension and you practically have a long-distance overland-ready 4×4 right out of the box. No vehicle in the world is more commonly modified than the Jeep Wrangler, so if you can imagine an aftermarket part for it, it probably already exists in three different finishes.
2020 Ram 2500 Power Wagon
With front and rear selectable electric locking differentials, an electronic disconnecting sway-bar, specially tuned suspension with Bilstein monotube shocks, 285/70R17 (33-inch) Goodyear Duratrac tires, skidplates and a factory Warn 12,000-pound winch, the 2020 Ram 2500 Power Wagon is arguably the most capable off-road pickup ever offered. The 3/4-ton capability of the Power Wagon is a great benefit to the overland community, which tends to overload lesser 4x4s. However, the Power Wagon suspension is tuned for a smooth ride and articulation off-road, so its cargo capacity has been reduced to 1,560 pounds, which is still a respectable number for most overland campers. The Power Wagon comes standard with a 6.4L heavy-duty V-8 Hemi churning out 410hp and 429 lb-ft of torque into an eight-speed automatic transmission. Fullsize truck fans will appreciate the ground clearance and overall maneuverability of the fullsize Power Wagon.
2020 Ram 1500 Rebel
There is a lot to love about the 1/2-ton 2020 Ram Rebel when it comes to overlanding. First and foremost, it’s available with four different engine configurations that include the 3.6L eTorque Pentastar V-6 delivering 305hp and 269 lb-ft of torque, the 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 engine spinning 260hp and 480 lb-ft of torque, the 5.7L Hemi V-8 churning 395hp and 410 lb-ft of torque as well as an eTorque version of the 5.7L Hemi V-8. All engines are backed by an admirable eight-speed transmission. Fuel misers will love the 3.0L EcoDiesel, while the power hungry will prefer the 5.7L V-8 with optional 3.92:1 axle gears. Those leaning toward a good balance of fuel economy and power will appreciate the V-6 and V-8 with the eTorque option. The most notable off-road Rebel features include a high-clearance front bumper and skidplate, supple four-corner coil spring suspension with Bilstein monotube shocks, a rear electronic selectable locker and 275/70R18 (33-inch) Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires. A payload capacity of up to 1,770 pounds allows for plenty of camping cargo.
2020 Toyota 4Runner
The 2020 Toyota 4Runner is currently available in eight different trim levels, three of which are very overlander-friendly. These include the TRD Off-Road, the TRD Off-Road Premium, and the TRD Pro. Of course, the TRD Pro is the crown jewel of the bunch, but it does come at a cost, it’s the most expensive trim of the three. All three trims come with the 4.0L V-6 engine spinning out 270hp and 278 lb-ft of torque. The V-6 is mated to a standard five-speed automatic transmission. Other features of all three trims include an electronic selectable rear locking differential, skidplates, four-corner coil-sprung suspension, renowned ground clearance, and 265/70R17 (32-inch) tires. The TRD Pro also includes specially tuned TRD Fox shocks at all four corners, TRD spec’d front coils, sturdier all-terrain tires and a TRD trimmed interior among other items. The TRD Off-Road, the TRD Off-Road Premium, and the TRD Pro all have a total cargo capacity of 1,550 pounds, which leaves plenty of room for your camp gear.
2020 Toyota Tacoma
The Toyota Tacoma has been an affordable off-road staple for decades and an overland favorite long before overlanding became mainstream. The 2020 Toyota Tacoma continues that legendary best bang for the buck performance. You can currently option the Tacoma pickup in six trim levels, although the most noteworthy for overland use are the TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro packages. Both the Tacoma TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro come with the 3.5L V-6 churning 278hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. The V-6 is backed by your choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Checking the TRD Off-Road box gets you TRD tuned suspension with Bilstein shocks front and rear, while the TRD Pro rides on TRD tuned 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass coilovers up front and rear remote reservoir shocks out back. Both trim levels feature an electronic selectable locking rear differential, great ground clearance, skidplates, 265/70R16 (31-inch) tires and an admirable payload capacity of more than 1,100 pounds.