Truck or Car-Based SUV


Is a truck-based SUV less susceptible to front end misalignment than a car-based one when travelling slowly over slightly rutted roads? I would like to do more outdoor stuff which requires travel over slightly rough terrain but can I get away with that with a RAV4 or CR-V without throwing off the front end alignment? I am looking at buying either of these two cars thinking it can handle minor off-roading. In the past, I have driven my 99 VW Passat over rough terrain and required expensive front-end alignment work. I would use the vehicle 90% city driving, 10% off-road.


I think you would be fine, especially if all you need is a little more ground clearance. Just don’t drive like a Rally Racer:)

If you find that the roads you drive on require low-range 4wd then you will need a truck based SUV. The Rav4 and CR-v don’t have adequate gearing or suspension for any serious off-road use.


It’s really a suspension issue, not a frame issue. Heavy duty suspensions will work better on off road driving. You may find heavy duty suspensions on frame-over construction, but it might exist in unibody SUVs. Which two are on your short list? Maybe we can help you choose. And check out SUV oriented web sites. Maybe they can offer advice, too.


I personally think rough roads are not good for car-based vehicles. Perhaps the CRV or Rav4 might have beefier suspensions than an actual car, but I don’t think they are.

Have you considered keeping your Passat and just buying a cheap pickup truck for your off-road adventures?


Maybe, but the smaller one will save so much on gasoline that you will have lots of leftover cash to pay for tires and alignments as well as eating at restaurants once more per week.


I agree. I drive my CRV through the mowed fields on my family farm- not often, but a couple of times a year. I also travel briefly on a gravel road every day. 99,000 miles, seven years no suspension problems yet.