Best Off-Road Pickup under 45K, Renegade vs Crosstrek and Kia Soul [Ask Nathan]

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  • Best off-road pickup truck under $45,000?
  • Subaru Crosstrek vs Jeep Renegade?
  • New Kia Soul?
Photo by: Chevrolet

The first question comes from Twitter (@Nathanadlen) regarding the best off-road truck for under $45,000.

Q: (Via Twitter@NathanAdlen) I’m disappointed. Can’t quite afford a Ram Rebel. Okayed for a $45K loan, but it’s not enough. Hate Fords. What else should I look at?


Photo: TFL Truck


The most capable off-road pickup trucks, the Ford F-150 Raptor and Ram 2500 Power Wagon (currently) share the spotlight with the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. It is still pricey, especially for a mid-size pickup truck, but its overall off-road abilities are remarkable. It is a hell of a package and, until the Jeep Gladiator hits the market, it is the best-off road pickup in your price range.




2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk

The next question comes from a hot hatch fan that’s choosing between a Subaru Crosstrek and a Jeep Renegade.

Q: Help! I’m in the market for a new used car and I can’t decide between the Crosstrek and the Renegade. 

For around $18k I can get a 2017 Renegade Trailhawk with 35,000 miles or a 2014 Subaru Crosstrek with about 40,000 mi. I only drive about 5,000 miles a year and I live in San Francisco where parking is at a premium (the main reason why I’m looking at smaller vehicles), but I’m a big backpacker and hiker so the majority of my driving is a mix of freeway and dirt/snowy mountain roads in the Sierras. I’m a little wary about buying a Jeep because of their poor reputation, but early versions of the Crosstreks didn’t get very good reviews either. In your opinion what’s the better buy?
(In case you’re wondering why I picked the 2014 Subaru Crosstrek: Crosstreks are extremely popular in the Bay Area and while I’d prefer a 2016 or 2017 model you can’t find one with low miles for under $20k.)
Thanks for your help!
Photo: Subaru

A: Hello Katie!

I think the Subaru Crosstrek is a better fit. I know the Bay Area and, you’re right, there are tons of them cruising around. That also means that there are several places you can go to service the vehicle. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Renegade, but the older ones seem to have a poor reputation for reliability.

Still, I like the Jeep’s interior layout, utility and capability. It truly is better off-road. The Jeep Renegade, if it was well taken care of, wouldn’t bee too shabby either.

Still, all in all, I think the Subaru Crosstrek is the way to go.



[Photo: Subaru]

The last question comes from a fan who wants to know if she should wait to trade in her Kia Soul for a new Kia Soul.

Photo: Kia

I saw photos of the new Kia Soul at the LA auto show and I was wondering if I should trade my 2016 in on one. 

I like the look and the idea of a nicer interior. Plus, I haven’t had a single problem in nearly three years and 33 thousand miles! I love my car, but having more modern features is tempting. Humm Nathan, what would you choose.

God bless!

Tammy G


A:  Hi Tammy!

Yes, it is full of new goodies, but I would hold off a little while. We (and other automotive journalists) have yet to test any of them and there is a lot to test. The Kia Soul is all-mew and comes in three different flavors. A sporty turbo GT, a adventure-themed X-line and a EV.

I would recommend waiting to hear about the vehicle(s) and test driving a new one against your current one.

Hope that helps!


Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at:[Ask Nathan]\