Off-Road Electric Cars, Chevrolet Colorado Diesel and Subaru Love? [Ask Nathan]

[Photos: GFC Style]

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Will off-road electric cars be any good? 
  • Chevy Colorado diesel vs Silverado 1500 diesel? 
  • Where is the Subaru love? 

The first question comes from a viewer who is curious about off-road electric cars heading our way. 

Q: (Via NathanAdlen@Twitter) Will EV cars make good off roaders? 

I can think of a million reasons it’s a bad idea, but I wanted your opinion


A: The is a case for off-road electric cars and trucks – but it’s something that may require time to realize. 

There are a bunch of EVs that are already being sold and built to head off-road and there some benefits are apparent. Electric ATVs, bikes. motorcycles and upcoming trucks seem to have some off-road chops built in. 

The vehicle you see pictured is the GFC 2030 Concept. A vehicle designed in Saudi Arabia, it was supposed to debut at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show. Sadly, with that show’s cancellation, it will have to wait. The concept is said to be able to run 0 – 62 mph in 3.5 seconds, have an “any-terrain” top speed of 124 mph and drive 230 miles on a charge. 

The GFC 2030 concept is made of aluminum and carbon fiber. It’s built for two passengers and their luggage. Currently, little else is know about the vehicle, but the idea is popular. 

The 100% EV Acciona finished Dakar in 2017. [Photo: Acciona]

In 2017, the Acciona EV racer finished the grueling Dakar Rally – all on electric power. It finished 57th, and the fact that it finished at all is pretty remarkable considering the attrition rate. So, there is something to be said about potential. 

Benefits for EV off-road: 

  • Tons of torque, instantly available. 
  • In-wheel electric motors and packaging could be beneficial. 
  • The tech has been proven rugged in RC (Remote Control) cars – perhaps the same could be applied to real ones? 
  • Battery and power usage tech has come a long way. In time, the range (even off-road) could be impressive. 


  • We’ve witnessed some nasty fire safety issues with EVs after sever impacts and (in some cases), during engineering failures. 
  • Water and electricity do not get on well together. 
  • Electric vehicles are still very heavy and still expensive to build. 
  • There are not too many fast charging stations anywhere near ORV trails. 
  • Unlike an internal-combustion vehicle, you can’t bring a fuel source with to top off on a long trek. 

I don’t think we’re quite there – yet. We need to work on range, weight and cost issues along with safety concerns before we can be serious about EV’s off-road. Still, at the rate of EV advancement, I might be singing a different tune next year!

What do you guys think? 


The next question comes from a TFLtruck fan who is trying to decide between a Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 diesel and a Chevrolet 1500 Diesel 4X4. 

Q: I need a good truck to tow 4,000 lbs on a monthly basis. 

Since I was 16 and I’m now 61, I only buy GM products. For me and my family, they have never disappointed and I’m sticking with GM. So I wanted to know if you had need for a 4X4 off road smaller diesel, which would you buy? Would you go for the Colorado ZR2 diesel or a Silverado with the new Duramax 3.0 I6?  

2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

A: Hi!

That’s a great question.  

Andre and TFLtruck is the main point man on the technical pros and cons with these vehicles; however, I do have a point of view as well. After driving both trucks, I can say that – if you want to go off-road, get the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. 

It is one of the best all-around off-road trucks available. The diesel helps with torque and range, but the gas V6 is easier for daily driving. It’s not the best choice for towing. If you absolutely MUST tow with a small GM truck, we enjoyed the GMC Canyon 4X4 diesel and it was a great little tow vehicle. 

Still, a small truck is always second choice when it comes to regular towing. 

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with its new 3.0-liter diesel is an outstanding tow vehicle, especially for 4,000 lbs. It’s not the off-road machine the ZR2 is, but it’s more comfortable and remarkably efficient.   


The last question comes from a Subaru fan who doesn’t understand where the “love” went. Please note: We get several messages like this every week. This one stood out to me. 

Q: I don’t understand why you won’t review Subarus. 

I am a huge Subaru fan and in several places, I’ve read favorable reviews you, Nathan, posted about the Crosstrek. Why then will you not do current reviews of Subaru? Is it the Love campaign? I get it, it’s pretty cheesy and a total PR job, but that can’t be the reason. 

Adam K

Milwaukee, WI  


A: It’s not for a lack of trying. 

We have been blacklisted from Subaru for some time. It mainly has to do with their perception of how we view and review their products. We’ve made requests, but to no avail. The media relations branch will not work with us at all. 

While I find their vehicles safe and capable, but their continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) are a bit of a letdown. We even bought our own Outback and thoroughly tested it on and off-road. It was excellent in snow and a great daily driver, but on rough terrain, it didn’t do as well as some of its competitors. 

Yes, I did recommend the Crosstrek more than once. When it’s fitted with a six-speed manual transmission, it’s an outstanding ride.

Sometimes, you have to walk away from conflict. No one else from Acura to Volvo has a problem with our integrity. We want to review vehicles fairly, but sometimes, “love” is hard to find. 


Speaking of loving a car…