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Off-Road or Street Style? Choosing a Theme for your Truck Project

Now more than ever, pickup trucks are some of the most popular enthusiast platforms around. And they can be built to do just about anything you want.

Whether you’ve got your eye on an older truck or something newer, there have never been more aftermarket options for building and upgrading to your taste.

Lifted Chevy C10 Custom

With trucks, you also get the unique opportunity to choose whether you’d like to go for an off-road or a street-based approach.

Square Body Chevy on Nitto NT555 G2

While seasoned vets, be it street truck guys or 4x4 junkies, will already know which direction they want to go, others might not be so committed. Especially if this is one of their first truck projects.

Ford Raptor on Nitto Ridge Grappler

Either approach can be extremely satisfying. Here’s some insight that can help with the decision.

Off-Road Pros & Cons

It’s hard not to think of an off-road build as the more “traditional” use of a truck. You’ll most likely have four-wheel drive, which can be used in any type of weather or terrain.

Ford F-150 4x4 Build

You’ll have the ground clearance and the large tires that can make your truck feel impervious to the rough roads or unpaved areas you may encounter during the daily grind.

GMC Sierra on Nitto Recon Grappler

And we don’t need to tell you just how fun off-roading can be, even for newcomers. You can get out into the open, make tons of new friends, and enjoy things at your own pace.

Ford F-Series Off-Road Build

On the other hand, if you are going to be driving a lot of miles on pavement, there will be a significant fuel economy drop with the extra weight, especially with larger, heavier wheels and tires.

Vintage C10 Off Road Build

And if you still want a truck with good performance, you’re going to need to compensate with extra horsepower and torque.

Street Pros & Cons

If your plans include staying on paved roads and heading to car shows and meets rather than off-road adventures, a street truck will probably be the better choice.

Dodge Ram Hemi-Swapped

Ditto that if you want to build a “fast” truck. With less weight and less drag, there’s a reason most of the street-performance-oriented pickups, factory or otherwise, are 2WD.

Lowered GMC Sierra Truck

Depending on the specific truck you choose, your initial purchase price could also end up being lower as you’ll more than likely be going with a 2WD pickup rather than a 4x4.

Steeda F-150 Side View

On the other hand, some might say a lowered street truck isn’t really a “truck” anymore. And while we don’t agree with that, they aren’t going to be as work-friendly in most cases.

Slammed OBS Chevy Truck

No Wrong Answer

As with so many enthusiast choices, there’s no right or wrong answer here. And we get just as excited by a properly done street truck as we do a rugged off-road rig.

Customized Chevy C10 Trucks

Maybe the actual right answer is to simply buy two trucks — a lowered street truck and a lifted 4x4 for off-road use.

Now that’s the kind of advice you can count on.

  • Want to see a vintage truck that's been taken to new levels of performance? Check out Luvzilla.
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