Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A red 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 Trailboss is on a dirt path in a field.

Finding the Perfect Truck or SUV for the Country-Life

Life in the country can be demanding. Whether you’re hauling feed or heading out into the rugged countryside, it is a good idea to have a truck or SUV that is as prepared for the country as you are. There are a wide variety of new or used cars that live up to the kind of ruggedly, ready-for-anything, expectations that you have; however, it helps to know exactly what to look for. Should you invest in a V6 or V8 engine? Do you want a lifted pickup truck, or would an off-road-ready SUV be a better fit? In this post, we’ll help you figure out what kind of vehicle you should be looking for, and what cars continue to be at the top of our recommendation list. The countryside can be a pretty unpredictable landscape, so you should have a vehicle that is ready to handle all of the obstacles and challenges that you throw in its direction.

Drivetrain is Everything

At the root of every off-road ready or ranch work-ready vehicle is a substantial and versatile drivetrain. Your drivetrain is a combination of parts and processes responsible for providing power directly to your wheels. These components include the driveshaft, CV joints, differentials, axle shafts, and the U-joints, and they work in concert to provide torque to push the wheels forward. There are four different kinds of drivetrains to choose from rear-wheel-drive (RWD), front-wheel-drive (FWD), four-wheel-drive (4WD), and all-wheel-drive (AWD).

RWD and FWD as you may have already expected only provide power to either the rear or front pair of wheels. FWD and AWD, on the other hand, provide power to all four wheels. While both of these drivetrain types work differently, they are both the preferred choice of drivers who expect a little more out of their vehicles. With an FWD and AWD drivetrain, you can expect greater versatility off-the-pavement and superior torque overall.

If you’re a resident of a rural area or just an outdoor enthusiast, it is almost always recommended that you drive a vehicle with FWD or AWD. Your drivetrain is often a direct representation of what your vehicle is able to do, and how maneuverable it is on a variety of terrain types.

A silver 2019 Chevy Blazer, not yet available as an option for used cars, is parked in an open area with a low sun.

The Horsepower and Torque Factor

If the drivetrain is the root of your vehicle, your engine is the heart. Your engine is the mechanism that provides the power in the first place, and when it comes to the country lifestyle, the more power and torque the better. There are three major types of enigines that you should be aware of when picking up a new or used car for country-living, four-cylinder, V6, and V8 engines; those engine configurations are separated based on the number of cylinders at their disposal. As you may have already guessed, the more cylinders you’ve got pumping fuel through your engine, the more horsepower and torque you’ll likely have at your fingertips. Although, excess power comes at a sacrifice. To have more cylinders, you’ll need more fuel, and the more fuel you need, the lower your gas mileage is bound to be.

So, which engine type should you go for? While there are plenty of four-cylinder engines that are up for the task of the country lifestyle, you’ll likely find greater satisfaction behind the wheel of a vehicle with a V6 or V8 engine. This extra horsepower matters, especially if you’re hauling large amounts of cargo, or even expect to tow with your truck or SUV.

Durable Vehicles for a Rugged Lifestyle

If your drivetrain is the root of your vehicle and your engine is the heart, then the body type of your vehicle is the bones. Your vehicle’s body type can dramatically affect what you can expect out of your vehicle. There are a wide variety of body types out there, but for the sake of this article, there are two types that rural residents and ranchers should have an eye on, trucks and SUVs. Sure, sedans are great commuter cars, but they won’t fair as well hauling feed or trucking down dirt roads.

Pickup trucks are great for drivers looking for a vehicle that is all utility. Pickup trucks are typically equipped with the right engine type, often have a 4WD drivetrain and are high enough up off the ground that they can surmount particularly challenging off-road obstacles; the handy truck-bed doesn’t hurt either. Great for anyone looking to haul lots of cargo, the pickup truck is an excellent choice for rural living.

On the other hand are SUVs. SUVs or sports utility vehicles are great at transporting both cargo and passengers. Like pickup trucks, you can expect large SUVs to be equipped with a more substantial engine and offer significant space. That said, there are a plethora of SUVs out there, and some are even designed for city-folk looking for a commuter that can ‘do-it-all.’ That said, there are plenty of SUVs designed for the rugged lifestyle, and it is important that you know the difference.

Our Recommendations

A silver 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 is on a dirt road.

So, what do we suggest? Well, there are plenty of vehicles out there that are up for the task of country-living. If you’re in the market for a pickup truck, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is an excellent pick. This is a classic pickup that has earned widespread praise since its first iteration. The 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 can come in a variety of configurations, going so far as to offer a four-cylinder engine as standard. Although, this rugged pickup can be upgraded to a roaring 420 horsepower 6.2-liter V8 engine. This Chevy pickup truck also comes with a 4×4 drivetrain as optional, giving it the kind of versatility that country-folk will enjoy. The truck can seat six, and at the same time offers a truck bed with a variety of sizes. Buyers can find the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado in variations from the 1500 through 3500HD in one of eight mind-blowing trim options (with some exceptions) including the Work Truck, Silverado Custom, LT, RST, Silverado Custom Trail Boss, LTZ, LT Trail Boss, and High Country.

What if you’re looking for an SUV? Well, the 2019 Chevy Blazer is certainly a worthwhile pick. The 2019 Chevy Blazer is a mid-sized SUV that can come with a 308 horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine. Sure, you can purchase the standard iteration which comes with a fuel-sipping four-cylinder engine, but if you’re looking for something that is truly up for any task, the V6 engine is the preferred alternative. What sets this SUV apart from the rest is its sleek package and AWD drivetrain. While the SUV may seem small compared to other larger SUV models, it packs quite the punch, offering a max towing capacity of 4,500 lbs. Buyers can pick up the 2019 Chevy Blazer in one of six different trim options the L, Base w/1Lt, Base w/2Lt, Base w/3Lt, RS, and the Premier.

Finding Your New or Used Car

If you’re shopping for a vehicle that is country-living ready, you’ll want to find either a new or used car that is up for any task or challenge you can throw at it. There are plenty of vehicles out there that are up for the challenge, and if you know what characteristics to look for, you can find yourself behind the wheel of something that is as rugged as you are.