With so many options on the market today, finding the perfect pickup truck can seem like a daunting task. Sorting through all the available makes, models, and options is not only time-consuming but can become overwhelming quickly. A great place to start is by comparing some of the top makes and models available today and seeing how they stack up. For instance, examining the off-road options on the 2023 Chevy Silverado 1500 vs 2023 Ford F-150 is a great model comparison for someone looking to excel on both the job site and the trails. Both models have trims specifically designed to conquer the outdoors, but the question is, which model has the best options available?
Off-roading is a pastime enjoyed by many, but it usually requires a little know-how and the right kind of vehicle. If you are looking for adventure and decide to hit the trails in your two-seater sports car, chances are you won’t make it that far before running into some problems. That’s why when it comes to off-roading, you need a vehicle built for exactly that. Luckily, there are plenty of options out there, and with a little legwork, you can figure out which one is right for you.
A Look at the Chevy Silverado Trail Boss Trims
Trucks are ideal for off-road adventures, especially when they are designed to take on some of nature’s most grueling obstacles. The 2023 Chevy Silverado 1500 has several off-road options with varying levels of features. The Custom Trail Boss, the LT Trail Boss, the ZR2, and the ZR2 Bison all offer a degree of off-road extras that improve and enhance the experience.
All of the off-road models come standard with a two-speed Autotrac transfer case. This optimizes how the vehicle reacts to different driving situations. For instance, 4WD LO Mode is suitable for sand, deep snow, or steep terrain. 4WD HI Mode is best for deep sand, snow, slippery road conditions, and rough terrain. Each setting is specifically designed to provide you with the best outcome.
The Custom Trail Boss comes near the middle of the trim tier, adding substantial luxuries and features. This trim would be the starter option for off-roading, providing just enough to tackle trails and adventures off the pavement. Features like skid plates located at the front end of the vehicle protect the underbody where vulnerable components sit. Another bonus is the addition of durable rubberized floor mats which add convenience without taking away from the appearance. The floor mats are designed to be easily cleaned for when you track the outside, inside.
Improved traction is courtesy of the equipped Eaton Locker Automatic Locking Rear Differential. Despite the complex name, the function of the equipment is fairly simple. If one wheel begins spinning at a different speed than the other due to loss of traction, the locking differential will lock both rear wheels so that they spin at the same time, allowing the wheels to grip onto the surface more effectively.
A Z71 suspension kit is also standard and includes specialized monotube shocks by Rancho. Along with the Z71 suspension kit, the Custom Trail Boss also receives a 2-inch factory lift that provides better approach and departure angles, along with a bump in ground clearance. This makes it easier to go over obstacles and avoid having any sensitive parts caught on your surroundings.
The LT Trail Boss is not all that different when it comes to off-road features, but it does build off the previous Trail Boss trim’s convenience and luxury features. The only addition that improves off-roading is the LT Trail Boss’ High-Intensity LED Reflector Headlamps. These make it easy to see what’s ahead of you when running the trails late at night.
The Rugged 2023 Chevy Silverado 1500 ZR2
Next is the ZR2 trim, which takes off-roading to the next level. To start, drivers get the benefit of a Driver-Selectable Full-Locking Front Differential and Rear Differential. This feature allows control over when the front wheels are locked together and when the rear wheels are locked together. Which axle to lock can be decided based on the situation, increasing traction when off-road.
The ZR2 has improved ground clearance, coming in just over 11 inches, and also sports a lifted suspension courtesy of the ZR2 Suspension Package. Additionally, Chevy outfitted the ZR2 with the GM exclusive Multimatic DSSV dampers. This revolutionary tech is designed to offer plenty of support for the rough terrain that comes with off-roading without compromising on comfort and control on the road.
Other additions include perimeter lighting, heated side mirrors, and the unique Chevytec Spray-On Bedliner. The Chevytec bedliner creates a watertight, non-slip surface for cargo. Add that to the Durabed truck bed that comes standard on all of the 2023 Chevy Silverado 1500s, and you are in for a treat when venturing into the unknown. The Durabed is made from high-strength steel, which allows it to withstand damage from hauling and such.
An exciting option is the ZR2 Bison Edition, which outfits the ZR2 with unique extras. The Bison is the brainchild of American Expedition Vehicles and Chevy, resulting in some stunning additions. Strong Boron Steel skid plates provide heavy-duty undercarriage and front bumper protection. Tow hooks sit within the steel front bumper, which matches the rear one. Rocker protection is also added, along with plenty of badging to show off your AEV pride.
Ford’s 2023 F-150 Tremor
Like Chevy, Ford has several off-road models, including the Tremor, Raptor, Raptor R, and the FX4 Off-Road Package, which is available on select trims. First up is the Tremor trim, which features selectable drive modes, allowing you to choose from ideal settings based on driving conditions. These modes include Deep Snow/Sand, Mud/Rut, and Rock Crawl to help you tackle a variety of terrain while exploring the wilderness.
Tremor-specific suspension components are used, with monotube shocks in the front and twin-tube shocks at the rear. The Tremor is equipped with an Electronic-Locking Rear Differential, which locks the rear axle so that the rear wheels turn in unison, allowing for increased traction in certain road conditions. The Tremor also comes equipped with underbody skid plates and heated side mirrors for off-roading in the cold.
The 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor
The Raptor is better equipped to handle off-road adventures than the Tremor, building on the existing features. One addition is the Sport-Tuned Fox-Racing Shox. These enhanced shocks react to changing terrain, providing a smoother ride. This is paired with a 5-link rear suspension that delivers more control and comfort. Another convenient feature available on the Raptor is Trail 1-Pedal Drive which regulates throttle and braking when experiencing rough terrain.
Widened skid plates offer more coverage of sensitive components, and the front and rear bumpers are made of stronger steel. Zone and box lighting also improve nighttime visibility when enjoying the great outdoors. Convenient rubber floor mats make the interior easy to keep clean when tracking through mud, dirt, and snow. Plus, the Raptor R edition includes unique Raptor R styling and beadlock-capable wheels, which allow for deflating and inflating.
Will You Become King of the Mountain in a Chevy or a Ford Truck?
As we can see, there are plenty of fantastic options out there that will allow you to take the road less traveled. Chevy has several options that cater to anyone from the dabbler to the go-big or go-home enthusiast. Both Trail Boss options are fantastic choices for hitting the trails with confidence. The Trail Boss trims share similar features with the Ford Tremor, with both makes featuring skid plates, electronic-locking rear differentials, and specialized off-road suspension.
However, one of the biggest differences is that the Chevy is lifted by two inches, providing just shy of 11 inches of ground clearance. Comparatively, the Ford tops out at a smidgen above nine inches. That is a significant difference when it comes to clearing obstacles and could mean the difference between a full day of adventure or ending your day at the repair shop.
The biggest similarity shared between the Chevy ZR2 and the Ford Raptor is that both include more specialized suspension components. However, the Chevy offers a few advantages over the Ford once again. The Chevy ZR2 has a driver-selectable locking differential on both the front and rear, whereas the Ford only uses a typical rear locking differential. Another difference is that the ZR2 once again receives a bump in ground clearance, taking it to just over 11 inches, while the Ford still sits at 9.4 inches.
Now, the Ford Raptor and Raptor R do offer Trail 1-Pedal Drive and bead-lock capable tires, but both of these features are designed to address rock crawling more than anything else. Bead-lock allows the air in the tires to be released, adjusting how firm they are. This can increase tire width, providing more area to grip rocks. Similarly, Trail 1-Pedal Drive is designed to make rock crawling easier by maintaining momentum with less effort on the part of the driver. This is great if you are specifically looking for a rock crawler with limited potential in other areas.
The ZR2 and ZR2 Bison, on the other hand, can properly handle more than just rock crawling. The Bison uses rocker panel protection and heavy-duty skid plates to protect sensitive components that could be damaged when rock crawling. Plus, the locking differential in the rear and the front makes it easier to focus traction where you need it the most when climbing obstacles.
Chevy’s Array of Off-Road Options Gives It an Edge Over Ford
Both models have some great off-road options, but it’s the Chevy that won’t force you into a box. Whether you trek through snowy terrain, take on sandy dunes, or explore the untamed trails, Chevy will ensure you keep moving forward. The Chevy Silverado 1500 is one of the best-selling pickup trucks for a good reason; it offers a broad range of versatility when it comes to off-roading, whether you’re an entry-level explorer or a more experienced adventurer. For those who find themselves spending more time off the pavement than on it, you can’t go wrong with Chevy’s impressive lineup of off-road-focused trucks.